Homeowners who have equity might be tempted to extract some of that wealth and use it for other immediate needs or wants.

QUESTION: I recently sold my home and was basically forced to use the buyer's title company. The closing process was quite a comedy of errors, and it seemed like nobody knew what they were doing. To top it off, I got my proceeds wired to me four days late, and I was overpaid by $7,000. Now the title company is demanding that I wire the money back, telling me I could be in trouble if I don't. Also, I'm worried that my mortgage pay-off may have been messed up. What do I need to do?

Consumers looking to purchase a home within the near future face many decisions, including how large a down payment to make. The down payment is the sale price (confirmed by an appraisal) less the loan amount. In most cases, home purchasers must have financial assets at least as large as the down payment they make.

In the battle for online real estate listings, two services have emerged in recent years as the dominant residential websites, surpassing even the National Association of Realtors' affiliated website and mobile service.

Homeowners who want to cash out their equity might be puzzled by the advantages and disadvantages of their three choices: a home equity line of credit, home equity loan or cash-out refinance.

Residential real estate has its own version of the 1968 cult classic "Night of the Living Dead." You could call it "Zombie Foreclosures."

QUESTION: The house across the street was purchased by one of those large investment funds snapping up properties. The upkeep has been less than stellar, and we are worried it will affect our values and neighborhood's charm. Is there anything we can do to encourage the fund to be a better neighbor?

Yes, U.S. mortgage lenders will pay rebates to borrowers. This is a potentially valuable option which, to my knowledge, is not offered anywhere else in the world. But having options means having to make choices, and this is a difficult one that borrowers often get wrong.

QUESTION: The house across the street was purchased by one of those large investment funds snapping up properties. The upkeep has been less than stellar, and we are worried it will affect our values and neighborhood's charm. Is there anything we can do to encourage the fund to be a better neighbor?



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