Homework Not Done Consequences Of Foreclosure

Foreclosure filings were reported on more than 424,000 U.S. properties during the first half of 2017, which means there are plenty of opportunities for those who want to invest in the foreclosure market.

Be aware, though, that purchasing a foreclosure can be complicated. Would-be buyers who haven’t done their homework can make costly mistakes.

Zillow polled some real estate agents to learn about the most common mistakes they see when it comes to buying foreclosure properties.  Here are their tips to help you avoid costly blunders.

1. Don’t limit yourself

It’s OK to go into your property search with the intent to purchase a foreclosure, but don’t wear blinders and assume those are the only homes you should check out. Yes, there are some competitively priced foreclosures on the market, but the same can be said of traditional listings.

Foreclosures often come with baggage — liens against the property, repairs that need to be made, and so forth. A traditional seller might be more flexible about taking care of repairs or negotiating price. Additionally, if you limit your search to foreclosed properties, you may not end up in your desired neighborhood or with the style of home you’ve always dreamed of.

Don’t rule anything out. Keep an open mind so you end up with the best house for your money.

2. Don’t go it alone

Find a real estate agent versed in the complexities of the foreclosure market. Whether you’re looking at a pre-foreclosure, short sale or bank-owned property, you’re going to need the guidance of a professional who has a background in buying and selling these types of properties in your local market.

Similarly, you must remember that real estate agents are not lawyers. Foreclosure laws and regulations are tricky, and they vary from state to state. Don’t rely on your real estate agent for legal advice; be prepared to consult with a local real estate attorney who understands how these purchases work.

3. Know your stuff

Know how much you can spend. Know the neighborhood where you want to buy. Know the process. Securing early financing is important because it will ensure you’re qualified to purchase the property. Being pre-approved will give you greater bargaining power when the time comes to make an offer.

Target a specific neighborhood or two to avoid becoming overwhelmed by listings. Ask your agent to notify you of listings within these neighborhoods that meet your other criteria, such as size and cost. Check comparable recent sales to get a good feel for the market.

Even though you’re working with a qualified agent and lender, you need to do some work upfront to become familiar with the basics of the foreclosure process.  Learning the lingo will give you credibility, which will help others realize you’re serious about this buying endeavor. Basic know-how may give you the added bargaining power you need to negotiate a better price.

4. Don’t skip the inspection

Sure, the house looks good, but what’s going on inside the walls and under the floorboards?

A 2011 survey conducted by Harris Interactive found that 72 percent of U.S. homeowners agree the home inspection they had when they purchased their current residence helped them avoid potential problems; 64 percent of respondents reported that their home inspection saved them money.

The American Society of Home Inspectors website includes a searchable database of certified inspectors.

Tag along while the inspector is looking at the property. Ask questions. Take notes. Most inspectors charge $300 to $500 for their services; it’s up to you to figure out how much it’s going to cost to address problems.

5. Look beyond today

A foreclosed home may decline further in value, so it’s smart to approach the transaction with a long-term perspective. Sure, you may be hoping to flip the property and quickly resell, but what if you can’t? Are you prepared for the long haul? What will the property cost if you hold onto it for five or 10 years? Crunch the numbers, or you may suffer long-term financial repercussions.

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Homework is probably the number one reason I get anxious about the start of school each year.

Homework time in our house has always been a little dicey. There have often been tears, sometimes screaming, and occasionally fists of rage shaken toward the sky. (By the kids … and by me.) So when my sixth-grade son and his third-grade sister started at their new school in Nashville, I was bent on taking advantage of the opportunity for a fresh start on homework habits, for all of us.

My son, when he was younger, attempted to get out of homework by using magical thinking. He would get an assignment and hide the paper away where no one could see it, as if it no longer existed. I’d find out weeks later from teachers that he had blown past deadlines or turned in some half-done, last-minute thing. (I’ll never forget the time his fourth grade teacher called to say that he’d turned in a project on a scrap of paper, written in highlighter. As my husband put it, nothing says, “Who cares?” like doing your homework with a highlighter.) When forced to redo a skipped assignment, he would do great work; the kind he could have — and ought to have — done in the first place. He made it twice as hard on himself by doing things this way. He no longer tries to pull off magic homework-disappearing tricks anymore, but as recently as last spring, he still had a habit of coming home unprepared or making homework take twice as long by complaining and getting mad.

And he’s not the only one fussing. In the evenings, at homework time, I know I need to channel my inner teacher — but I can’t seem to locate her. I’m pretty sure there’s a special type of teacher-DNA that people either have or don’t have. The two strands on this double helix are patience and positivity, with little ladder-rungs of stamina holding them together. I don’t have this DNA. I wish I did. I wish I didn’t turn frustrated and snappish so easily. Yet by the time the homework is complete each night, my child and I are both battle-weary and exhausted.

This year, I told myself, would be different. New city, new school, new attitude! The school provides great tools: Kids get a planner in which to write daily tasks, and there’s a website that lists homework, tests, and projects — meaning I can see every assignment. For my part, I committed to making a sacred homework space: chair, snack, fresh pencils, quiet. Let’s do this.

On the first day of school, my son and I made a deal. In three days, one of his favorite authors — Jon Scieszka, editor of the “Guys Read” short story collections — was coming to Nashville for a reading and signing downtown. If my son showed me that he could keep track of his early school assignments and bring home everything he needed for each of those first few nights of homework, he could go.

Things were looking good. On the afternoon of the event, he sat down, showed me on the website and in his planner what his assignments were, and did some homework. The last assignment of the evening was an easy one: Read over your notes from your summer reading in preparation for English class the next day. “Go upstairs and read over your notes for 15 minutes, then come down and we can go.”

He started up the stairs, made it halfway, and came back down, teary-eyed. “I don’t have my notes,” he said.

“Where are they?” I asked.

“In my locker at school,” he said.

“You know what this means,” I said.

“I can’t go see Jon Scieszka? I can’t go see Jon Scieszka! Noooooo!” There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. “Oh, why have I done this again? Ground me, mom! Ground me instead!”

I didn’t have to ground him. I just had to carry out our deal. Incomplete homework preparation, no author visit. He was so disappointed, and so was I, but the last thing he needed was to start off at a new school with old habits.

Things have gone well in the week since then. He has been much more prepared, if perhaps still a bit cranky at times. (Same here.) I’m crossing my fingers, although I’m not naïve enough to believe that one bummer of a consequence was enough to do the trick permanently.

So, this goes out to teachers and to fellow parents. As much as I struggle with supervising schoolwork every evening, I don’t know how teachers do it all day. How do you make a smart kid slow down and do the work of which he’s capable? If you have any tips, I’d love to hear them.

Mary Laura Philpott is a writer living (as of just recently) in Nashville. She is the editor of “Musing” for Parnassus Books, and her next book, “Penguins With People Problems”, will be published by Perigee Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, next year. She will be writing about her family’s transition to new schools and a new life in Nashville in “New In Town” through October, 2014.

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