Maria Milanes | Windermere Real Estate, Winter Garden Real Estate, Dr. Phillips Real Estate


Being a homeowner comes with a lot of responsibility. You'll need to keep up with your bills, cleaning and maintenance, and have a keen eye for managing your finances. What many people don't tell you when you buy a house is that you could also become the victim of scammers who specifically target homeowners. Like computer viruses, scams are constantly evolving to stay one step ahead of the game. However, many of them rely on behavior that should raise a red flag for homeowners. In this article, we'll cover some common scams that affect homeowners and tell you how to avoid them to keep you, your home, and your wallet safe.

You've won!

Congratulations! By reading this article you've won an all-expenses paid trip to the destination of your dreams. One of the most common scams affecting homeowners come in the form of phone calls, mail, or even door-knockers informing you that you've won some kind of prize. Unless you've specifically entered to win a certain prize, you can almost be certain that this is a scam.

Identity crisis

We've often heard of the dangers of identity theft, but homeowners in particular are an at-risk demographic. Identity thieves attempt to steal your personal information in order to commit fraud or crimes. To avoid identity theft, be responsible with your mail. Always shred mail with personal data and be sure to have someone take care of your mail for you when away from home for extended periods.

I noticed your roof needs to be repaired

Many scams come in the form of people knocking on your door to offer a great deal on a service. People who solicit you and ask to be let into your home or onto your property to "inspect" part of your home should never be allowed in. They may actually be a roofer attempting to convince you to repair your roof (regardless of whether it needs to be repaired). Or, they could be a would-be burglar scoping out your residence. These scammers will attempt to sell you anything from "subsidized" and "energy efficient" home energy products all the way down to fixing imagined water/moisture issues in your basement.

Make $60k a year working from home!

Work-from-home jobs do exist, and they're growing in number as technology makes it easier and more efficient than traveling. However, some job offers are too good to be true. Be wary of job offers that require you to enter personal information like your social security number before ever having met the employer. Many of these "too good to be true" jobs can be spotted when they ask you for money to get started. They may say to need to pay for your own training but then can make thousands, or will ask for a company buy-in that will pay off later. Regardless, never give money to a potential employer.

I came to read the meters

Someone in a safety vest with a name tag and clipboard knocks on your door and says they're from the energy company, water company, etc. They seem legitimate and tell you how important it is to have your meter read. The might even say you're eligible for a refund or subsidy. It's important to always ask representatives to show you their ID or ask them to call and make an appointment before letting them enter your home.

There’s numerous reasons why the name on a title to a home may not be the same as the name that’s on the mortgage loan. These reasons include:


  • Only one buyer had stable credit
  • Only one person was on the loan application
  • One person was released from the mortgage


No matter why this is the case, having your name on the mortgage but not on the title to a home can affect you and people residing in the home in different ways. 


Why Would Only One Name Be On The Mortgage?


If people are looking to get a home or refinance a home, but only one person has good credit a decision must be made. For the best possible mortgage rates, you’ll want to person with the best credit to be the primary loan holder. This may mean that you need additional legal documents in the process.  


The person with lower credit may still be able to have their name placed on the title to the home. Anyone who plans to contribute financially to a home, even if not on the mortgage, should place their name on the title. This would be one instance when a name would be on the title to a home and not on the mortgage loan. In this case, a person has property rights, but no legal-financial responsibility to the home. It’s important to agree on the home arrangement that you’re considering. This would be done through a will or a legal contract. This way, all parties are protected in regards to the ownership of the home should something happen to the individual whose name is on the mortgage.


Legal Things To Consider


Those who are listed on the mortgage are the people who are responsible for house payments. If a person’s name isn’t on the mortgage, it doesn’t release them from complete responsibility from the home. If your name is on the title to the home but not on the mortgage, the bank generally has first dibs on the home if there’s a lapse in payments. If you want to keep living in the house, you’ll have to keep making payments on the home. If you can’t make the mortgage payments, you’ll risk going into foreclosure. 


Taxes


An issue that can come up if your name is not on the mortgage is that you cannot use the home you’re living in as a tax deduction. Even if you make payments on the home, in order for you to get tax benefits, your name must be on the mortgage stating that you’re legally responsible for the home. If you are paying for the mortgage because your name appears on the title to the home, you aren’t legally entitled to pay, giving away your rights to tax benefits. If you’re married, filing jointly, and only one name appears on the mortgage, however, you can use this as a tax deduction. This becomes an issue if two unmarried people buy a home together.  


Ask For Legal Assistance


Whenever you have an issue with the title of your home or with names on the mortgage, it’s good to consult legal counsel. The attorney can assist you in determining who is legally responsible for the home and if the people listed on the title of the home are correct. This can help save you from trouble at a future date.


Since credit scores and loans can get messy at times during the home buying process, it’s good to understand all the implications of home mortgages and titles.


If you intend to find your dream house, it helps to establish a homebuying strategy. That way, you can enter the real estate market with a plan in place to accomplish your desired goals.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you craft an effective homebuying strategy.

1. Create Homebuying Criteria

If you know where you want to reside, you can narrow your house search. As a result, you may be better equipped than other buyers to accelerate the homebuying journey.

Creating a list of home must-haves and wants usually is a great starting point for homebuyers. This list typically forces homebuyers to think about what separates an ordinary residence from a dream house. And once a homebuyer crafts a list of home must-haves and wants, this buyer can search for residences that meet his or her expectations.

2. Budget for a Home

In most instances, homebuyers lack the necessary financing to buy a house. Luckily, lenders are available that can help a homebuyer assess mortgage options and get pre-approved for home financing.

Budgeting for a home is a major part of the homebuying process. Because if you know exactly how much you can spend on a residence, you could speed up your house search.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. Then, when you find the right mortgage, you can enter the real estate market with a budget at your disposal.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

There is no requirement to hire a real estate agent before you pursue your dream house. Yet the advantages of hiring a real estate agent can be significant, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

For homebuyers, a real estate agent takes the guesswork out of finding the right house at the right price. A real estate agent also collaborates with a homebuyer and will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure a buyer can achieve the optimal results.

If you want to purchase a house as quickly as possible, it may be a good idea to hire a real estate agent sooner rather than later. Oftentimes, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your homebuying aspirations. He or she next will work with you to craft a homebuying strategy and launch a successful house search.

Furthermore, a real estate agent is a housing market expert who will help you overcome any potential homebuying hurdles. A real estate agent understands the challenges associated with purchasing a house and will help you identify and address such issues before they escalate. And if you ever have concerns or questions as you search for your ideal residence, a real estate agent will respond to them.

Enter the real estate market with a plan in hand – take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can create an effective strategy to streamline your search for your dream residence.


Although a slow, gradual approach to selling a house often proves to be ideal, there may be instances when you need to work quickly to list your home. In fact, some of the primary reasons why an individual may try to accelerate the home selling process include:

1. You are planning to move to a new house right away.

If you recently submitted an offer on a house that is contingent on selling your current residence, you may need to act fast to sell your present home. Otherwise, you may miss out on the opportunity to finalize the purchase of your dream residence.

For home sellers who face a time crunch, there is no need to worry. If you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can get the help that you need to enjoy a quick, seamless home selling experience.

Typically, a real estate agent will learn about your home selling goals. This housing market professional then will craft a strategy to help you sell your house within your designated time frame. That way, you can boost the likelihood of getting the best-possible price for your residence, regardless of how much time is at your disposal.

2. You know exactly what your house is worth.

A diligent home seller likely knows all about the condition of his or her residence. Thus, this seller should have no trouble setting a competitive price for his or her house, increasing the possibility of a fast home sale.

To determine a "fair" value for a home, it generally helps to conduct a house appraisal. During an appraisal, a property expert will examine a residence and provide a valuation. Next, you can use this valuation to establish a competitive price for your house.

Also, it may be beneficial to complete a home inspection prior to listing a residence. An inspection will help you identify any "hidden" home problems and ensure you can address these issues before they escalate.

3. You understand the local housing market.

The real estate market can be complex, particularly for home sellers who face pressure to sell their residences as quickly as possible. Luckily, a home seller who knows the ins and outs of the housing market can improve his or her chances of achieving the best-possible results.

To learn about the housing market, you may want to consult with a real estate agent. In addition to guiding you along the home selling process, a real estate agent can teach you about the local housing market. By doing so, a real estate agent can help you make informed decisions at each stage of the home selling journey.

Furthermore, a real estate agent is available to respond to your home selling concerns and questions. And if you're ever uncertain about whether to accept an offer on your house, a real estate agent is happy to provide expert recommendations.

Want to list your house? Plan ahead as much as you can, and you can quickly navigate the home selling cycle.


Believe it or not, your home's bathroom may make or break your open house.

If you allocate the necessary time and resources to enhance your bathroom's appearance before your open house, you may be able to boost your home's chances of making a positive first impression on property buyers.

On the other hand, a dirty, messy bathroom is unlikely to do you any favors, particularly in a competitive real estate market.

Transforming an ordinary bathroom into an attractive space may seem difficult. Lucky for you, we're here to help you simplify the process of cleaning your bathroom from top to bottom.

Now, let's take a look at three tips that you can use to improve your bathroom's appearance before your open house.

1. Remove Shower Scum

Soap scum may accumulate in your shower over an extended period of time. However, it is quick and easy to eliminate this problem.

To remove shower scum, use a mixture of dish soap and vinegar. Then, scrub the scum with a dish wand, and you can make your shower sparkle.

2. Clean the Toilet

When was the last time you cleaned your bathroom toilet? If you don't know the answer, it probably means your toilet is overdue for a comprehensive cleaning.

A bathroom scrub brush can help you eliminate grime inside your toilet. You also may want to use white vinegar, as this all-natural cleaning solution has been shown to eliminate bacteria, germs and mold.

In addition, don't forget to wipe down your toilet's exterior. Dust and debris on the toilet surface are simple to eliminate in just seconds.

3. Take a Look at the Mirror

A bathroom mirror may appear streaky and blotchy. But for those who want their bathrooms to impress homebuyers, it is essential to clean a bathroom mirror extensively.

Cotton pads and rubbing alcohol may prove to be exceedingly valuable. Together, these products will enable you to clean your bathroom mirror and avoid streaks altogether.

Or, if you're searching for an alternative to rubbing alcohol or traditional glass cleaner, you may want to use vinegar and water. The combination of vinegar, water and a microfiber cloth offers proven results, especially for those who need a quick, easy solution to clean a bathroom mirror before an open house.

If you need extra help cleaning your bathroom, don't hesitate to reach out to cleaning professionals for expert support. These professionals can streamline the process of getting your bathroom ready for your open house.

Moreover, if you're uncertain about how to prepare for your open house, your real estate agent will be happy to assist you. This housing market expert will describe how the open house will work and what to expect from it. Plus, after the open house ends, your real estate agent can provide homebuyer feedback and insights.

Don't wait until the last minute to clean your bathroom. Instead, use the aforementioned bathroom cleaning tips, and you should have no trouble prepping your bathroom for your open house.




Loading