When you find a home you love, you most likely will want to take the steps you can to buy it. When a home is already under contract, there’s actually a little-known strategy that can be used to help you have a chance at getting the property. 

When you make a backup offer, you’re doing all of the same things you’d do under normal circumstances. The only difference between a normal offer and a backup offer is that you’re not guaranteed to get the home. The first deal needs to fall through in order for you to have a shot.

Advantages To Backup Offers

The backup offer is a bit of a stretch, but it still does give you a little bit of a chance to get a home. When a backup offer is in place, the home won’t just go back on the market if something falls through. This is especially smart when it comes to lower inventory markets. When a home is re-listed, you’ll need to compete against other buyers. If a bidding war is initiated, the home’s price will keep going up. The backup offer being in place helps the seller to feel secure in the sale of their home one way or another. If for any reason the first buyer falls through, you’ll be able to swoop in and get the home yourself.

Timing Is Everything

Keep in mind that there’s a certain period of time before a deal needs to be closed on for a home. The original buyer will need to close the deal on the home in an average of 50 days. Knowing the time frame that you’ll need to wait around for a decision is helpful for you in your own search for a home.

You can also have your agent check in with the listing agent for the property on a frequent basis. This lets the agent ad seller know that you have a keen interest in the property in case there are any difficulties coming from the other side of the deal. 

If The First Deal Doesn’t Go Through

If the first deal on a home does fall through, you’re not the new owner of the home just yet. There’s always a possibility that the first buyers found some very difficult problems with the home during the inspection. These could be big issues like an issue with the roof or the foundation of the home. Be sure to include a home inspection contingency with your contract so that you can have your own inspection conducted. This way, you’ll know if there are any problems with the home and that you will be able to deal with them.

A backup offer can be a great tool to use in tight markets to help you get a home that you love. It’s always a good idea to proceed with caution in any home deal to make a sound financial decision.

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In your search for a home, there’s one option that you may be overlooking. That is the act of sharing a home with others. It can help you to divide the expenses of homeownership and even put you on a faster path to homeownership. When you do decide to share the cost of homeownership with others, there’s a few things that you should know.

There’s so many different advantages to co-buying a home with a relative, even as a married couple. You do need to make sure that the arrangement is well thought out and planned ahead of time. 

The Title

When you buy a house, you receive what’s called a title. In the case of co-ownership, it explains how the buyers are sharing the title. The way the title is set up could have consequences down the road, especially when it comes to one person exiting the house, and parting ways with the agreement.  

When Sharing A Property With A Non-Spouse

When you’re sharing the property with a non-spouse, you have a few options. These include:

Tenant In Common

With this option, there’s no need for a 50/50 split. Buyers are allowed to own unequal interests in the property. If one of the co-owners were to pass away, their ownership would be transferred to one of their beneficiaries. For this reason, tenant in common is the most popular way that buyers who are not related agree in guying a property together and take on the title.     

Joint Tenants With Right Of Survivorship

With this option, co-buyers have no option but to own equal interests in the property at hand as a 50/50 split. If you bought a home with two other people, you’d each have one-third interest in the home, and so on. If one tenant passes away, the remaining owners gain the deceased owner’s percentage of interest in the property. There’s no need for a court proceeding or probate, this happens automatically. Even if the deceased owner has a will designating their portion of the property be given to someone else, the request is null and will generally be refused.   

Both of these co-ownership options allow for an undivided interest in a property. All owners are co-owners as a part of the entire piece of property. If one owner wants to sell, for example, they would be selling their tenancy or part interest in the property.       

Important Things To Do:

  • Create a co-ownership agreement
  • Clarify who owns what percentage
  • Decide who pays the ongoing expenses
  • Give options if any owners want out in the future

You could draft one of these agreements with a qualified attorney. It’s a good idea to sit with everyone before the purchase of the property is made to talk and lay out all of the expectations. Everyone should have one of these agreements in writing, however. 

While sharing a property purchase can reduce your debt, it’s important to make smart agreements and understand whether the decision makes sense for you and all parties involved.

Finding an apartment or a house that you can afford to rent can take a lot of stress off of you. If the actual apartment or house that you move into looks as beautiful as the model that the landlord or leasing agent showed you,count yourself as fortunate.

The fact is, unless you’re renting a place that has been fully upgraded or newly built, the actual space that you live in probably won’t look half as attractive as the model you were shown, the seemingly perfect unit that you based your decision on where to rent on. That happens with many rental units.

Protect yourself from renting from a rogue landlord

Instead of getting a unit that mirrors the model, you could step into areal estate nightmare. Notice two or more of the below signs where you rent, and it might be time to move.

Structural damages like cracked ceilings, water stains on the walls and discolored carpeting are signs that you’ll likely notice immediately if you move into a rental unit that has been properly maintained. Report these conditions immediately, as they could indicate that there is further damage to the property. Even if you don’t move out, you don’t want the landlord to hold you responsible for the damages. Other signs that you could be dealing with a rogue landlord include:

  • Poor to no heat in the apartment or house that you’re renting – And it’s not just that there is no heat or poor heating. When you alert the landlord, she does nothing to repair or replace the heating system.
  • Inadequate air conditioning – If you’re paying for central air conditioning or a window air conditioner that the landlord owns, those systems should function properly. A good landlord will make sure that all systems are operating adequately before you move in.
  • Unsafe drinking and bathing water – Brown water could indicate that the water is contaminated with a chemical or rust. A rogue landlord may keep telling you that the water will eventually clear on its own.He may also indicate that you have to just deal with the unclean water.
  • Mold – Mold can cause you and your family to become ill. Spot mold at your rental unit and you’ll know that the landlord has not been ensuring that the unit is cleaned between leases or as one tenant moves out and another tenant moves in.
  • Pests – Cock roaches should not be your co-tenants. Neither should ants, rats, mice or termites.
  • Lack of exterior building lights – Poor exterior lighting can attract people who choose to commit crimes. A rogue landlord won’t care enough about your safety to install good lighting, security cameras or an alarm system.
  • No interior safety lights in stairwells – If you rent an apartment that has an exterior stairway, this area should be lit when it gets dark.
  • Rising rents that are too high to be competitive with area markets – A rogue landlord might raise your rent with short notice. They also might raise rents until the rent is no longer competitive with the market or the type of apartment or house you’re renting.

One of the best ways to protect yourself from a rogue landlord is to thoroughly review a lease agreement. There are several details to include in a rental lease. To protect yourself, in general, you’ll want to make sure that the lease agreement is in writing, and that the agreement indicates who is responsible for repairs. Also, make sure that the written lease agreement states when rents could increase and how much notice must be given before the landlord raises the rent. And ensure that the written agreement states how much the security deposit is, under what conditions the deposit can be withheld and how many days after you move out the security deposit will be refunded to you.

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You may keep a spare house key hidden somewhere around your home just in case you lose or forget your main set of keys. How does your hiding place measure up? Is it too obvious that anyone including thieves can find it? You can still have a spare key easily accessible to you without sacrificing the security of your home. 

Never sacrifice the safety of your home for convenience. If you fail to have an alarm system set as an added layer of security, you really could be in trouble if your spare key isn’t well hidden. Burglars now have free and easy access to your home.  

The Most Obvious Places To Hide A Key


Under The Mat

Everyone (especially burglars) will look under the mat for a key to get into your home. If you see it in the movies, it’s probably too obvious of a hiding place. 

The Flower Pot

This is a textbook area to hide a key in that can be easily accessed by intruders. Criminals know where to look, so you need to think ahead of them. 

Fake Rocks

If the rock doesn’t blend in, it’s not a good hiding spot! Many pre-fabricated hiding systems can be a bit obvious, so beware. 

On Your Person

Whether you put a spare key in a wallet or your purse, if that gets stolen, there goes your spare key. The perpetrator also has access to your home. It’s generally not a good practice to keep a spare key on your person. 

Good Places For A Spare Key

With A Trusted Neighbor

If the neighbor hides your key on their property, if a thief does find the key, they will assume the key goes to the neighbor’s house. This is a safe, convenient way to keep a spare key as long as the key is kept somewhere outside the home. You don’t want to face a lockout only to find out that your neighbor isn’t home.  

In Your Car

Surprisingly, most break-ins happen during the daytime when you’re not home. If you keep your spare key in your car, the key won’t be there while you aren’t home.

Near The Dog

If a key is hidden near the place where the dog will be, you’ll have little to worry about. Burglars really don’t like dogs, mostly because dogs don’t like them!  

Forget About Keys

Technology affords us one great option in the present day- keyless entry. If you are constantly forgetting your keys you should invest in a keyless lock system. These typically have codes that can be programmed. Just don’t forget the code! 

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