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Urban and rural property
After Dismal Year, Homebuilders See Hope in 2012
Home Sales Rise to 11-Month High
Report: Foreclosures Down, But Discounts Abound
Home Sales Sunnier as Spring Buying Season Approaches
New Home Sales Dip, But Beat Expectations
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Pending Home Sales Near 6-Year High
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Housing Market 2013: Predictions of What's to Come
Housing Recovery Officially in Full Swing, Data Suggests
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Home Prices Post Best Yearly Increase Since 2006
Tom Roeser Buys Up Town's Foreclosure Stock to Keep It Thriving
Housing Is Back! Best Moves for Homebuyers
Trulia: Housing Recovery Marches on in March
Are Real Estate Commercials Skirting Realities of Homebuying?
Trulia: Housing in 'Early Stages' of Multiyear Recovery
Obama Proposes Fundamental Overhaul of U.S. Mortgage System
What You Should Look for When House Hunting
If youíre shopping for a home and can afford to buy one, you couldnít be in a better position right now. In many parts of the country, housing inventory is high and both home prices and interest rates are low and as a buyer, you can take advantage of that.

With so many properties on the market, you can probably take a more leisurely approach to house hunting without getting into a fast-paced bidding war. There is a caveat, however. The best homes priced properly for the market conditions will always be in higher demand.

As you begin your search for the right home for you, it pays to keep in mind things you need to check carefully so that they donít cost you big bucks in the long run.
Kitchen

If kitchens matter to you, you might want to be fairly selective about them when looking for a new home. The2009 average price for a minor kitchen remodel for a midrange home is more than $21,000 and the cost for a major remodel is more than $57,000 and the costs are substantially more for higher-end homes.

Look carefully at the appliances, cabinetry, counters and floor. Those are the elements that cost more to replace. If possible, you want newer appliances to save money on repairs and energy costs; solid-wood cabinets; and solid-surface counters, such as granite, stainless steel, butcher block or engineered stone. Your floor choices include wood, cork, laminates and tile and itís a matter of whatís comfortable and durable for your lifestyle.

Bathrooms

Following kitchens, bathrooms are also expensive rooms to remodel at a 2009 national average of more than $16,000 because of the fixtures and plumbing. Make sure you see no leaks or evidence of leaks in tubs, toilets and flooring. Sharing bathrooms can be one of those pain points for families so make sure you get what you need.

Roof

A roof is a big-ticket item with an average 2009 replacement cost of more than $19,000 although adding a second layer to a roof is not nearly as expensive as replacing the entire thing. Inside the house, you can check the attic, ceilings and skylights for signs of water damage, look for places where the roof deck is sagging,
and see if you can detect any light coming through. If you do see light coming through, it is likely not a problem if the roof is made of shake shingles. Outside, inspect for cracked, ripped, curling or missing shingles and damaged flashing. Also look for rotting, buckling, blistering or algae growth, which could also be signs of trouble.

HVAC

An old heater can be hard to repair and eats up energy at a pace faster than newer units. Furnaces can start at about $5,000 to replace and if you buy a combined unit with the air conditioner, add on several thousand dollars. You may need to replace the heat pump or air conditioner if itís older than 10 years and a furnace or boiler if itís more than 15 years old.

Basement

The extra room you gain may be a huge headache if the basement floods. Look for water marks and find out if the house has a system for removing water.

Other areas of concern that might cost money down the line are the driveways and sidewalks, chimneys, insulation and windows.

If you find a house and your offer is accepted, youíll be dealing with a home inspector who can fill in the gaps with a professionalís eye. The thing is, if you really want the home, you donít have to let problems deter you. You are in position to negotiate a price reduction with the seller or insist repairs be made to the property before your offer is finalized.

If you can afford a house, you can afford the luxury of taking your time to find the right one for you.

  
Shopping for a Home in Winter
Secrets to a Successful Move
Saving the Best for Last
Renting to Own
New House or an Old One?
Make Them An Offer They Can't Refuse
Lifestyle Choices Affect Bottom Line
Inspecting Your Home Inspector
In Love With Two Houses?
How to Track Down Foreclosure Properties
Home-buying With Others
Five Keys to Successful Negotiation
Five Key Areas to Pay Attention to When Buying a Home
Finding a Good Home Inspector
Find the Perfect Neighborhood
Don't Overlook a Home's Potential
Do You Have Buyer's Paralysis?
Debt Reduction Not Required to Buy
Debating Between a Condo or a House
Contingencies Your Home Offer Should Include
Can You Afford to Buy a House?
Buying a Home With Loans from Family and Friends
Buyers, Get an Edge During The Busy Spring Season
Affordability Options for First-time Home Buyers
14 Things to Consider Before Buying a Home
12 Red Flags That Should Raise Concern
10 Summer Moving Tips
Experts Predict Annual Home Value Appreciation to Exceed 6 Percent in 2013
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Housing Starts Rise in July but Fall Short of Forecasts
Giants Masking Billions in Losses for Overdue Mortgages
Home Sales in July Rise to Levels Last Seen in 2009
Rise in Rates Reduces Demand for New Mortgages
Mortgage Rates Rise to Their Highest Levels in 2 Years
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Home Prices Rise in June at Slightly Slower Pace
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Foreclosures Fall 25% in July from a Year Ago
Home Prices Climbed 12.4 Percent in July
Mortgage Applications Rise, as Interest Rates Slip a Bit
Mortgage Rates Edge Up to Near Yearly Highs
What You Should Look for When House Hunting
What is PMI?
Trying to Buy A Diamond In The Rough?
Trouble Pulling the Trigger on Your First Home?
Title Insurance: Who Needs It?
Title Insurance
The Hidden Costs of Homeownership
The Art of House Hunting
The Appraisal Contingency
Sometimes Smaller Is Better
Signs That You're Ready to Buy
Should You Pay Discount Points?
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