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September, 1999 Newsletter

The Home Buyer's Information Center Newsletter

+++++++++++ September 13, 1999 +++++++++++++++++++

Introduction and thanks!
Mortgage Rate Update
New on the Site: Budget tips
This Month's Tip: Home Inspections

Summer is virtually over, the kids are back in
school and it is time once more for many consumers
to concentrate on the home buying process again.
With mortgage rates smoothing out a bit, we have
seen a noticable increase in the amount of activity
in most areas, both in new construction as well as
existing housing.

Thanks to all of you who have sent us some great
comments (and suggestions) for the Home Buyer's
Information Center. Many of the updates and
new sections that we add to the site come from
visitor's comments. Thanks again! You can always
send feedback to us at:


Mortgage Rate Update
As of early September, in the U.S., mortgage rates
finally showed a bit of stability (and even a bit
of a decrease!) averaging in the 7.75% range for a
30 year mortgage with 1 point. In Canada, 3 year
closed term rates were in the 7.65% range.

Why the stability? It may be that the mortgage
market has settled just a bit, even though the
economy is still growing and inflationary fears
are still lurking on the sidelines. Does it make
sense to wait? You never can be certain, although
we have seen analysts who are predicting 30 year
rates in the 8.25% range by the end of the year.

Additional mortgage information can be found at:


New on the Site: Budget Tips
Buying a house can definately make big dents in your
household budget! Not only is there usually an
increase in your monthly outlay for a mortgage, there
is often increases in utility costs and maintenance
costs, not to mention the furniture and drapes and...
Getting a handle on your budget is a desirable
activity at any time, but it is definitely important
at home buying time and shortly thereafter. We have
added a whole new section on hints and tips on
saving money on your big (and your everyday) purchases.
You'll find them at:

Credit Reports
One of the very first steps, according to most
experts, in securing a mortgage is to get an up-
to-date copy of your credit report. Consumerinfo.com
offers the availability of not only a free copy of
your report but also 30 free days of their Credit
Watch monitoring service.
Free Credit Report

This Month's Tip: Home Inspections
We have had numerous questions from home buyers in
the last few weeks which have centered on the same
basic theme: "We bought a house 2 weeks (or 2 months
or 2 years) ago and now have major problems with
___________. What should we do?"
Many of the problems we hear about (structural
defects, roofs that are beyond their useful life,
leaking basements) could have been avoided had there
been an adequate professional inspection prior to
the home purchase. Unfortunately, the inspection
is a step that is skipped by some home buyers who
feel that it is not a necessity. Some of the
reasons that we have heard for NOT doing an
inspection include:

* "We don't want to spend the money."
* "I have a cousin who does construction on the
side. He'll check the house out for me."
* "The house looks fine to me!"
* "It's only 3 years old. What could be wrong
with it?"

To which we respond:

"Don't want to spend the money..." $200 - $400
for a professional inspection or the potential
of $2000, $4000, $6000 or more in repairs. Is it
a good gamble?

"Have a cousin..." Your cousin (or friend, or
co-worker) might be the best carpenter or brickmason
in town, but unless he or she has experience in
and is trained in the total home inspection
process, you won't get the complete picture.

"Looks fine to me..." Unless YOU have been trained
in home inspection procedures, as they say in the
legal world, "you have a fool for a client."

"Only 3 years old..." Major defects are often
found in brand new homes. Do you want to run the
risk that your 3 year old home wasn't one of them?

In our minds, there really just is not a good excuse
for not having a professional home inspection. Your
house is far too big an investment (and the potential
for huge repair costs just as big) to ignore an
evaluation of its condition.

Some tips on home inspections:

* A professional home inspection is designed to
reveal major defects in the home (structural,
electrical, plumbing, roofing, appliances, etc).
It is not designed to discover cosmetic items so
be certain that you spend an adequate time with
a personal inspection of any potential home.

* Don't lose a perfectly acceptable house over a
minor problem. Major problems must be dealt with
completely, but we have seen buyers and sellers run
the risk of losing a contract for purchase over a
$100 repair. Both drew lines in the sand that were
only $100 apart and refused to budge. If the house
is right enough for you to get as far as the home
inspection stage, don't let ego or stubborness cost
you the home!

For lots more information on inspections see:
General Inspection Information:
Professional Inspections:
Personal Inspections:


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

Thanks and have a great September!
The Team at the Home Buyer's Information Center

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