The pros and cons of buying a home without an agent

These days, we’re hearing from a greater number of younger buyers who believe they can handle the home buying experience entirely on their own, with the help of the Internet. Often, these buyers (mistakenly) believe they’ll save money by purchasing a home without an agent, because the seller will only pay a half commission, instead of the full commission.

That just shows ignorance of the process. Sellers who have listed their homes generally pay between 4 percent and 6 percent of the sales prices as a commission to the listing agent. The listing agent, in turn, typically pays the buyer’s broker around half of the total commission. No buyers agent means the listing agent doesn’t have anyone to share in the commission. So, unagented buyers unwittingly allow the listing agent to pocket the entire commission.

Unagented buyers make other mistakes in the process that can cost them money, like not

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How to Negotiate When Selling a House: Advice from Real Estate Pros

In today’s hot sellers’ market, many of the standard rules are reversed.

For example, buyers usually have the upper hand in negotiations — in normal times. But according to a recent report from the National Association of Realtors, the inventory of homes for sale is down 21% from last year, and sellers are receiving an average of three competing offers.

With these record-low inventories and continued buyer interest, sellers start out in a strong position when they list their home. That said, getting the best price is still a long and involved negotiation process — and it pays (literally) to know how to play your cards right.

Here are five things to keep in mind when negotiating the best terms for the sale of your home.

1. Set Yourself Up for Success

The more perceived value a home has, the higher the price it fetches. And one of the best

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Your Roth IRA can help fund a home purchase. Here are pros and cons

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You probably know a Roth individual retirement account is one way to save for your post-working years. 

It also may come in handy for certain homebuyers.

Basically, up to $10,000 in Roth IRA earnings can be withdrawn — free of both taxes and penalty — for a home purchase if you meet certain requirements. That’s in addition to being allowed to withdraw your direct contributions at any time, because you already paid taxes on that money.

As home prices continue their upward trajectory, the amount of cash needed to purchase one continues to rise, as well. While it’s possible to buy a house with less than 20% down — the average is 12% overall and 6% for first-time buyers — going that route also might mean paying private mortgage insurance, or PMI, until your equity is at least 20% of the home’s value. PMI can

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Buying HUD Homes – The Pros, Cons & More

Searching sites like Realtor.com, Zillow (NASDAQ: Z) (NASDAQ: ZG), and Trulia is one way to find a house. But did you also know you can buy homes directly from HUD?

It’s true: The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) owns a slew of bargain-priced properties you can buy, as either an owner-occupant or an investor. Depending on your occupation, you might even get 50% off the list price.

Here’s what you need to know about HUD homes and how to buy them.

What are HUD homes?

When a homeowner with an FHA mortgage (Federal Housing Administration) defaults on their loan, the agency forecloses on the property and HUD takes control. HUD then sells these homes on the open market in hopes of making up for its financial losses.

HUD offers both single-family homes and multifamily real estate up to four units. The properties are sold in as-is condition and

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