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home buyers information center

December, 1999 Newsletter

The Home Buyer's Information Center Newsletter
<http://www.ourfamilyplace.com/homebuyer>

+++++++++++ December 9, 1999 +++++++++++++++++++

CONTENTS:
Introduction
Mortgage Rate Update
New on the Site: First Time Buyer Section
Common Mistakes Made by Home Buyers
This Month's Tip: New or existing homes: Which
is right for you?
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Introduction

Welcome to the December edition of the Home Buyer's
Information newsletter. With the holiday season
upon us, activity has slowed a bit in the housing
market--normal for this time of year. For those
looking for value, though, it often can be an
advantageous time, due to the decreased number of
competing buyers and the increased time that many
homes have been on the market.

Have a suggestion for a topic for this newsletter
or the site? Let us know at:
<http://www.ourfamilyplace.com/homebuyer/evaluate.html>
If you have used the Home Buyer's Information Center
to assist you in purchasing a home, please let us
know what you found the most helpful.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Mortgage Rate Update
If there is one word that describes the mortgage
market at the beginning of December it is
"stable." After months of bouncing all around the
landscape, the mortgage market has calmed considerably,
with 30 year fixed rates in the 7.65 range. For those
who have been checking the rates almost hourly to see
their progress, it may give you a little bit of
breathing room!

Additional mortgage information, hints and questions
can always be found at:
<http://www.ourfamilyplace.com/homebuyer/mortgage.html>

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

New on the Site:
First Time Buyer Section
The Home Buyer's Information Center covers the whole
spectrum of buying a house, whether it is your first
or your 15th home--but first time buyers often have
their own unique needs. For this reason we have
devoted a whole section to first time home buying
<http://www.ourfamilyplace.com/homebuyer/first.html>
with links to the most important areas of the site
as well as those areas that can save the most time,
money and aggravation.

Common Mistakes Made by Home Buyers
When you see the actions of tens of thousands of
home buyers, you can sense a trend of the most
common mistakes that are made in the process. We
have summarized many of these--so you don't make the
same mistakes--in a special section at:
<http://www.ourfamilyplace.com/homebuyer/mistakes.html>

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<http://www.ourfamilyplace.com/homebuyer/freereport.html>
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This Month's Tip: New or existing homes. Which is
right for you?

One of the earliest decisions in the home buying process
is whether to buy a new or existing home. Although some
comparisons are obvious--everything new and up-to-date
versus much that is older and perhaps a bit dated--
other parts of the comparison are frequently overlooked.
Both a new home and an existing home can have their own
distinct advantages and disadvantages, so it is important
to explore your choices thoroughly so as to not have some
rather unpleasant (and potentially expensive) surprises
the day after moving in.

Here are some specific tips to consider when making a
choice between a new home and a re-sale.

LAYOUT
There definately have been a number of changes in the
last few years in the interior architecture of homes
in the U.S. and Canada. New homes, for example, tend
to have larger kitchens and family gathering areas
than older homes have, which are more likely to have
more--and smaller--rooms. Much of the new home
construction today features expansive kitchens flowing
into--or in close proximity to--a large Great Room or
Family Room. Homes built in the 1980s and earlier will
frequently have a smaller kitchen with a separate
family room, formal living room and formal dining room.
Depending on your preferences and lifestyle, one of
these layouts may be preferable to the other. Is the
kitchen the focus of your family gathering? Then
bigger, of course, is better. Do you prefer to have
a "retreat" area away from household activity? An
older design may be better suited to your preferences.

LOCATION
In general, new homes will be located further away
from populaton centers than will be older homes--
which may be an advantage or disadvantage to you,
depending on your point-of-view. If this is the
case in your local area, don't forget to factor in
longer commuting times to work, shopping and services
when you make your comparisons. Although shopping,
restaurants and services may eventually reach the new
area, it is possible that your job location never
will change. For this reason, in some areas of the
U.S. and Canada, housing trends are actually back
toward the city centers--and older homes--due to the
brutal commutes that often are involved.

AMENITIES
In the majority of cases, new homes will have more
of the amenities that today's buyers have considered
to be important--whirlpool tubs, skylights,
"culinary grade" kitchen appliances and the like.
Although many of these amenities can be added to
existing homes, the cost can often be prohibitive.
If you are concerned with the "newest and the best,"
it almost always is less expensive to build these
amenities into a new home rather than trying to
retrofit an older one.

THE COST
Although a new home may cost you a bit more, your
expenditures for repairs and maintenance should be
far less for the first 5 or 10 years since many
components of a home (heating systems, appliances,
etc.) have life spans longer than that time frame.
When you are making your comparisons, however, do
not forget the often forgotten cost considerations
when purchasing a new home, including:

Landscaping. Although the builder may do some
"starter" landscaping, it rarely is enough and
often does not last. Lawns, shrubs, plantings and
labor can get very expensive. Depending on the lot
size and the level of landscaping detail, this can
often run $1000 to $7500 and more.

Decorating. When you buy an existing home, you
inherit the decorating--wallpaper, paint and the
like. If it is to your liking, you will have no
immediate expense. In addition, there may be
additional items (for example, window treatments
such as blinds, draperies and curtains) that may
convey, saving you that cost. Unless you buy a
model home, the responsibility--and the cost--of
decorating will be yours. Again, depending on
your desires for decorating, this can add from
$2000 to "the moon" to your costs!

Want some additional hints on building a home
that is "user friendly?" We have a special new
article by Myron E. Ferguson, author of what
we consider the definitive book on building a
home, "Build It Right!" posted on the site at:
<http://www.ourfamilyplace.com/homebuyer/form.html>

For more information on new homes and building,
please see the section devoted to that subject
on the site at:
<http://www.ourfamilyplace.com/homebuyer/build.html>
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
From all of us here at the Home Buyer's Information
Center, here's wishing you a safe and joyous holiday
season. If you have been stressing due to the home
buying process, take a couple of days off, relax and
enjoy yourself and visit us after the holidays--we'll
be here to help!

As always, if you have suggestions for improving the
site, or topics you would like to see addressed in
this newsletter (or, if you have used the Home Buyer's
Information Center to successfully purchase a home),
drop us a quick line to
homebuyer@ourfamilyplace.com

The Team at the Home Buyer's Information Center

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