Learn how to find a home, make an offer, and close a sale. Discover money and time-saving tips that help you avoid common home-buying mistakes.
Frequently Asked Questions
  • Can I buy a two-family home and convert it?

    Yes, you can convert a two-family home into a single-family dwelling. Many two-family buildings were once one-family houses, and it is possible to convert them back. You will need to be prepared to spend money on renovations that may include hiring structural engineers if you are moving walls or stairs. Turning a two-family home into a one-family home could be expensive to renovate depending on the size and scale of the renovations needed to convert it.

  • Is buying a bigger home a better investment?

    Buying a bigger home will usually cost you more in mortgage payments and property taxes than a smaller, fixer-upper home. The question of return on investment depends on several factors, such as real estate trends at the time you want to sell, where your home is located, and how much equity you can accrue while you live in it. Smaller can still be expensive if you buy a modern home with a variety of fancy upgrades on a large piece of property.

  • How accurate are Redfin and Zillow home value estimates?

    Both companies claim they are highly accurate, with a median error rate of 2.28% for on-market homes for Redfin and a 1.9% error rate for Zillow as of 2021. That said, errors do happen, with outdated information a common reason for inaccurate estimates. If you have made major additions or renovations that don’t show up in the data collected on your home, then the estimates may be too low.

  • Are real estate commissions worth it?

    One of the biggest contentions about real estate fees is that they are too high, or that the service real estate agents deliver isn't worth the cost. If a home sells on the first day it's listed, the seller's agent could make a tidy sum for relatively little work. On the flip side, a home can also take weeks, months, or in the case of very unique or expensive houses, years to sell.

  • Are home warranties worth the cost?

    The improper maintenance clause common to warranties can mean a new homeowner isn’t really protected if something goes wrong and the previous owner hadn’t maintained the system properly. Rather than get a home warranty, it may make more sense to put premium payments into an emergency fund to use for any expenses that crop up.

  • How can I buy a house on a single income?

    Before applying for a mortgage, review your credit report and avoid any credit-busting major purchases. Consider a government-insured loan rather than a conventional mortgage if you have trouble making the down payment. Having a co-borrower on the loan can sometimes help you clear the underwriting hurdle.

Key Terms

Explore Buying a Home

Approved Mortgage loan application with house key and rubber stamp
How to Apply for a Mortgage Loan
Real estate agent showing woman a property
Listing Broker
A smiling Black couple review paperwork with a mortgage broker.
Loan Officer vs. Mortgage Broker: What’s the Difference?
Young couple sits at desk talking with female real estate agent about buying a house
How to Buy a House with Bad Credit
Couple with baby on a sofa looking at a laptop
Types of Home Loans
Couple surrounded by boxes while moving into new home
Homebuyer Education Courses: Are They Worth the Time?
A real estate agent stands in front of a house with a “For Sale” sign, talking with another woman
What to Do About Inaccurate Redfin and Zillow Home Value Estimates
House keys and mortgage loan agreement on desk, close up.
What Is a No-Closing-Cost Mortgage?
Document with title “Escrow Agreement”
What to Know About Your Escrow Balance
Real estate tax or Personal property tax
Real Estate Taxes vs. Property Taxes
Document with title “Escrow Agreement”
Escrow Balance: Definition, Purposes, and How It's Calculated
Loan estimate document, comparisons
Loan Estimate
Financial advisors who work with same-sex couples need to be aware of these key factors to provide effective advice.
Mortgage Lending for LGBTQ+ People
Best-home-inspection-companies-5096105
Best Home Inspection Companies
Mobile Home Park Community
Best Mobile Home Dealers
Mortgage Protection Insurance Companies
Best Mortgage Protection Insurance
Best-mobile-home-loans-5081673
Best Mobile Home Loans
man looking at VA loans while working on laptop at home
Best VA Loan Rates
Picture of Foreclosed House
Buying a Foreclosed House: Top 5 Pitfalls
Home inspection on exterior. Using digital tablet to record results
What Is a Home Appraisal?
Mother lifting daughter in kitchen
Are There Credits for First-Time Homebuyers?
Better Mortgage Review
Better Mortgage Review
A couple dancing in the kitchen.
How Millennials Are Changing the Housing Market
Architecture: Reg Summerhayes (1881–1976)
Is There a Correlation Between Inflation and Home Prices?
Chase Bank
Chase Mortgage Review
Bank of America Review
Bank of America Mortgage Review
What To Look for in a Starter Home
Realtor showing new house to young couple
11 Mistakes First-Time Homebuyers Should Avoid
Loans for First-Time Homebuyers: How to Finance
A girl walks in back yard with chickens
Restrictive Covenants: Definition, How They Work, and Examples
Monthly Maintenance Fees on Real Estate
Signing Agreement
Annual ARM Cap
Moving Up: Dream House or Money Pit?
Woman in empty room
Buying a House After Bankruptcy? It Is Possible!
Living in New York City: Co-Ops vs. Condos
A foundation at multi-family housing construction site.
Buying a House on a Concrete Slab: Advantages and Disadvantages
Unusual Ways to Come up With a Home Down Payment
Two-family house
8 Things to Consider Before Buying a Two-Family House
Are You Ready to Buy a House?
Young couple moving into their first home
How to Set a Budget for Buying Your First Home
Buying a Home Remotely: A Step-By-Step Guide
What Is a Home Inspection Contingency and Why Is It Important?
Making the Rent or Buy Decision
Fairway Mortgage Review
Fairway Independent Mortgage Review
Couple reading paperwork in new house.
10 Hurdles to Closing on a New Home
House with "sale pending" sign
Essential Tips for Buying a HUD Home
Businessman using laptop for analyzing data stock market, forex trading graph, stock exchange trading online, financial investment concept. All on laptop screen are design up.
Transfer of Physical Assets (TPA)
Cherry Creek Mortgage
Cherry Creek Mortgage Review
To Rent or Buy? There's More to It Than Money
What Is a Lease Option? Requirements, Benefits, and Example
Young Professionals: Should You Rent or Buy?
Primary Residential Mortgage
Primary Residential Mortgage Review
Finance of America Mortgage Review
Finance of America Mortgage Review
SWBC Mortgage
SWBC Mortgage Review
He can buy his dream home now
What Is a Broker Price Opinion (BPO)? Definition and How It Works
Home For Sale Real Estate Sign and House
Clear Title: Definition and Importance in Real Estate
Caliber Home Loans
Caliber Home Loans Mortgage Review
Citi Group Review
Citi Mortgage Review
Real Estate Websites
The 7 Best Real Estate Websites of 2023
S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices