Affordable Homes, Comprehensive Inspections, & Title Considerations

  • June 28, 2023
  • 4 min read

In the realm of consumer and business affairs, real estate stands out as a prominent subject. Everyone needs a place to live, whether it’s a personal residence or a commercial property for business operations. While news headlines often focus on the housing affordability crisis, it’s essential to recognize that there are still hundreds of thousands of affordable homes available. Across every market in the country, you can find houses under $200,000. These options range from cozy coastal properties, beachfront communities, homes with vast acreage, to spacious residences boasting thousands of square feet. While they may not be your ultimate dream home, each week, we diligently search for examples of homes under $200,000 in various categories, making you aware of their existence. Please note that we are not real estate agents; our goal is to inform and assist without any ulterior motives.

When it comes to purchasing a house, a crucial step is the inspection. Many people hire a home inspector after negotiating a contract with the seller. However, the home inspection industry is loosely licensed and regulated in many states, making it possible for anyone to claim expertise as a home inspector. Unfortunately, this often leads to significant flaws and defects being overlooked, causing frustration and financial burden for the buyer. To combat this issue, we propose an alternative strategy: instead of relying solely on a home inspector, consult five different tradespeople—such as electricians, plumbers, HVAC specialists, framing contractors, and painters—for their expert opinions and estimates on necessary repairs. These professionals are experts in their respective fields and can provide insights that a general contractor or a typical home inspector might miss. By utilizing their expertise, you gain a more comprehensive understanding of the property’s condition, empowering you to make an informed decision.

Another critical aspect of real estate transactions is the title search. It is vital to conduct a thorough search and consider obtaining title insurance to protect against potential issues and claims. There are various types of title searches, including current owner searches, two-owner searches, and 50-year searches. Depending on your lender’s requirements and your personal preferences, you may need to conduct additional searches. Remember, a lender’s policy only protects the lender, not the homeowner. To safeguard your interests, consider purchasing an owner’s policy in addition to the lender’s policy. While the cost may seem high, it is a one-time payment that offers valuable protection. Exclusions and exceptions listed in the policy’s fine print may limit coverage, so carefully review the details. Understanding the distinction between these policies is crucial, as it impacts your level of protection.

In recent news, the phenomenon of “zombie mortgages” has emerged, potentially forcing homeowners into foreclosure. These mortgages were charged off, not paid off, many years ago, usually around 2008. However, investors who purchased these loans for a fraction of their original value are now seeking repayment as the value of real estate has risen. Homeowners may suddenly receive bills for second mortgages they believed were resolved long ago. It is essential to be aware of this possibility and take appropriate action to protect your interests. Investors may view these charged-off mortgages as potential opportunities, while homeowners should investigate whether they have any charged-off loans associated with their accounts.

Lastly, electric vehicles (EV’s) present an additional consideration in the real estate landscape. The federal government offers a $7,500 tax credit for EV purchases, and additional incentives may be available from utilities and local governments. Residents in certain counties, such as Los Angeles, may qualify for substantial grants and rebates when purchasing an EV. These financial incentives make owning an electric vehicle more accessible and affordable. Keep in mind that the availability and amount of these incentives may vary by location, so it’s worth researching the options available to you.

By exploring the world of real estate, understanding the affordability crisis, conducting comprehensive inspections with specialized trade professionals, conducting thorough title searches, and considering financial incentives for electric vehicles, you can navigate the real estate market with greater confidence and make informed decisions about your investments.

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