Category: Definitions and FAQs

What is a Standard vs. Enhanced Title Insurance?

A title insurance policy protects you against financial losses due to claims against the title not discovered when you purchased the house. It also protects you against defects in the title when you sell your house. When you buy your house, you can purchase title insurance for a one-time fee that covers you for your […]

What is an Umbrella Insurance Policy?

In an increasingly litigious society, it can be scary to think about what might happen if you are responsible for an accident and get sued. It’s true that your auto insurance policy probably has liability coverage, but are the limits high enough? Adding more liability coverage to a homeowners policy or auto policy can cost […]

What is a VA Loan?

A VA loan is a mortgage that is backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and issued by private lenders. The key benefits of the VA loan are (1) the ability to purchase with as little as 0% down, (2) better buyer protection through a more rigorous appraisal inspection process, and (3) its relatively […]

Leasing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do I have to accept a service animal if I have a no pet policy? The Fair Housing Act defines assistance animals as animals that work, assist, or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, including providing emotional support that alleviates or improves the symptoms or effects of a disability. “Assistance […]

What is a Short Sale?

A short sale happens when the homeowner sells the property at a loss and requests that the lender forgives the remainder of the loan balance. For example, let’s say the house is worth $300,000 and it will cost the owner $21,000 in expenses to sell the property, however, the current market value of the property […]

Homebuyers Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Preparation How to prepare for a home purchase? There are three main financial objectives you need to accomplish to prepare for a home purchase: Save money for the down payment, closing costs, and other home-buying expenses.  Maintain and improve your credit score. Reduce your debt-to-income ratio. These are the primary criteria that your lender will […]

What is an FHA Loan?

An FHA loan is a type of mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The most attractive features of the FHA loan are the lower minimum down payments (e.g., 3.5% of the loan amount) and credit score requirements. On the downside, FHA loans have a lifetime mortgage insurance, called Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP), which […]

What is a Pre-Approval Letter?

A pre-approval letter is a letter issued by your lender to indicate that they have reviewed your income, assets, and credit; and has conditionally approved you for a specific loan amount. The pre-approval letter will also show the type of loan that you will be using and the conditions that you will have to meet […]

What is a Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)?

A Private Mortgage Insurance, or PMI, is a type of insurance that protects the lender (not you) if you default on your loan. All lenders require that you pay for PMI with less than 20% down payment on most loans. You see this as an extra cost on your monthly mortgage payments. Typically, you can […]