What do you do when your family outgrows your house, or when the quirks of the place you once found charming aren’t so charming anymore? 

Is it smarter to move or improve? Here’s some advice to help you decide.

Selling Has Gotten Easier

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U.S. troops, especially reservists and National Guard members, who return from active-duty service will get a further break on avoiding foreclosure, as House and Senate lawmakers will agree to extend until the end of 2015 protections for military members that prevent a bank seizure on their home for a year after they complete active duty.

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Still Looking to Refinance? Better Act Fast

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

In terms of refinancing, 2014 was pretty close to a dream, with rates hovering in the vicinity of 4%.

But even though this year is coming to a close, there’s still good news: Even if you haven’t refinanced yet, you haven’t missed the boat.

Rates are still low and buyers can lock in some great refinance rates, but it’s smarter to act sooner rather than later.

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The holidays, with all their joy and—let’s be honest—stress can feel overwhelming.

But there’s another way to look at the guests, the gifts, the cooking and the demands on your house: Use the holidays as the impetus to freshen up your home before the crowds come trooping through.

Here’s a few ways to spruce up your home for the holidays, in a way everyone can enjoy.

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You’ve done it. You’ve looked at properties, made an offer, obtained financing and gone to closing. The home is yours. Is there any more to the home buying process? Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a repeat buyer, you’ll want to take several more steps.

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The closing process, which in different parts of the country is also known as “settlement” or “escrow,” is increasingly computerized and automated. In many cases, buyers and sellers don’t need to attend a specific event; signed paperwork can be sent to the closing agent via overnight delivery.

In practice, closings bring together a variety of parties who are part of the transaction. For example, while the history of property ownership has been checked, it’s possible that the records contain errors, unrecorded claims or flaws in the review itself, thus title insurance is necessary. At closing, transfer taxes must be paid and other claims must also be settled (including closing costs, legal fees and adjustments). In most transactions, the closing agent also completes the paperwork needed to record the loan.

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No sensible car owner would drive without insurance, so it figures that no homeowner should be without insurance, either.

The essential idea behind various forms of real estate insurance is to protect owners in the event of catastrophe. If something goes wrong, insurance can be the bargain of a lifetime.

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While much attention is paid to the offering price of a home, a proposal to buy includes both the price and terms.

In some cases, terms can represent thousands of dollars in additional value for buyers or additional costs. Terms are extremely important and should be carefully reviewed.

How Much?

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The cost of real estate financing is often greater than the original purchase price of a home (after including interest and closing costs). Because financing is so important, buyers should have as much information as possible regarding mortgage options and costs.

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For first-time buyers and repeat buyers alike, the decision to make an offer on a home is both exciting and a little scary. If your offer is accepted, the place you’ve chosen will be your home for the next several years. Not only should you feel emotionally satisfied by your choice, but you should also feel financially comfortable that you’re buying a home that you can afford and that you feel confident will hold onto its value or hopefully increase in value over the years.

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