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CENTURY 21 New Heritage

The CENTURY 21 Newsletter
December - 2008
A New Lending Landscape
Hello Inspector
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A New Lending Landscape
It may seem like a tough time to be in the market for a home. In the wake of the sub-prime mortgage crisis and the related banking upheaval, lenders have tightened their purse strings and put the brakes on issuing homes loans, at least at the rates and terms that were prevalent just a year to six months ago. But not all the news is bad for today's buyers.

First, this new approach to lending can reduce the risk that you be a victim of unscrupulous lending practices. As a result, this more stringent approach may work to your benefit.

Use this time to learn as much as you can about the current lending landscape. Read articles in the newspapers and online. Reach out to your Realtor and ask for his or her interpretation of the recent developments. It is also wise to spend time analyzing your own finances including your income, assets, expenses and credit score. If you know your own budget and financial qualifications inside and out, you will know what is realistic and what is too good to be true.

Once you have identified what you want and are prepared with your own facts and figures start making some calls. Banks and mortgage companies may have reined in their lending, but it is still a free and competitive marketplace. Search for the best rates and terms available. However, if you feel you may get a better offer in a few weeks or months, and your timetable permits it, wait a bit. The advice of your real estate professional will be invaluable when making this decision.

Finally, remember that the real estate marketplace still favors buyers. The inventory of homes exceeds the current demand in most locations, so you have the opportunity to be more selective and a little more demanding at the bargaining table.

Hello Inspector
There are many variables at play during a real estate purchase; so when you have the chance to control one of those factors, it can be very appealing. That may be one of the reasons most buyers choose to "lock in" their mortgage rate.

Now the question becomes, "How do I find a qualified inspector?" Referrals are probably the best bet. Ask your real estate professional, friends and family who they recommend. But no matter who you choose, you need to ask a few key questions.

1. Are they a licensed home inspector? Most states require inspectors to hold a professional license. Ask to see the license or that a copy is faxed to you.

2. What are your qualifications? Find out if they take continuing education courses, how long they have been in the business and how many inspections they have completed. You may also ask for a list of references.

3. Are they a member of a professional association? There are national and many state associations for home inspectors. Ask to see their membership ID.

4. Are they insured? Inspectors or their employers should carry Errors & Omissions (E&O) insurance as protection in case something is missed or overlooked.

5. What process do they follow for the inspection? Here you want to find out if you will be able to attend the inspection. (Note: this is a great time for you to learn about the property first hand.) Also inquire about the cost and when the final inspection report will be ready.

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November is American Diabetes Month. You can reduce your risk for Type II (non-insulin dependeant) diabetes by keeping a healthy weight, exercising, maintaining target blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and learning more about the risks. For more information visitdiabetes.org.

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