What Items Can My Partner and I Expect to Remain in The Home We Are Considering Purchasing?

What Items Can My Partner and I Expect to Remain in The Home We Are Considering Purchasing?

There are many gray areas when it comes to determining exactly what should stay with the home and what may be removed by the sellers. In general, items that are fixed to the real estate must stay. Sellers may take any personal property that is not affixed to the property unless you have stipulated that it stays in a purchase agreement that both the seller and you and your partner, the purchasers, have signed.


The law of fixtures states that items are considered affixed to a property if it is attached by roots, imbedded, or permanently attached to an item that is permanent by methods including cement, plaster, nails, bolts, screws, glue or other means. Toilets, sinks, cabinets, flooring, and landscaping, fencing and other improvements are considered fixtures. On the other hand, if you and your partner purchase a farm and crops have already been planted, the fruit of those crops are not generally included in the sale unless the seller specifically intends them to be by including them in contract.

Personal Property

Items including stoves, refrigerators and lawn statutes that are not permanently affixed to the home or land are generally considered personal property. Although, in some states, it is normal practice for stoves and refrigerators to stay with the property, it is not a legal requirement since they are not considered fixtures.

How the Courts Determine Fixtures vs. Personal Property

When disputes arise related to a seller removing property from a home after it has been sold, the courts use four tests to determine whether an item is a fixture or is personal property.

1. How was it attached? Although an item may be attached by cement, plaster, nails, bolts, screws, glue or other means, if it can be easily removed without damaging the home, it is probably not a fixture. For example, drapes can be removed by unhooking them.

2. What did the parties agree to? If, for example, a light fixture in the dining room has been attached to the home with the use of wires and bolts, and the buyer and seller did not agree that it would be removed in the contract, the light fixture was included because of the method used to attach it.

3. Has the item been adapted for use with the property? If an item was installed for permanent use with the property, it is a fixture and is included in the sale. For example, solar panels, carpeting, and attic insulation. The final determination of the court in this test can be difficult to anticipate.

4. What did the parties intend? The buyer and seller’s intent will be considered to determine if an item that is personal property has become a permanent fixture.

How to Locate an LGBT Real Estate Agent

You should not assume that everything that you see when viewing a home you would like to purchase will come with the house. If there is a chandelier, built-in dishwasher or other fixture that you would like left in the home, it would be wise to include it in your contract to avoid any misunderstandings. Before submitting a purchase agreement to a seller, buyers should hire a reputable LGBT real estate agent. He or she will help ensure that your contract includes all of the information necessary according to your wishes and will protect your interests through the process of purchasing your new home. The best way to find a reputable agent in your area is to conduct a free search for your locality on GayRealEstate.com.

My Partner and I Want to Purchase a Foreclosed Home That is Being Sold at Auction

Purchasing a home is an exciting time in your life. Submitting a winning bid on a foreclosed home that is being sold at auction that you and your partner really want to buy can be even more exciting. Before actually making your bid, there are some facts and some pitfalls that you should consider.

imagesHow it Works

When a home is foreclosed on, lenders may sale the home at auction to try to recoup its losses. Some lenders set minimum bids while others do not. Minimum bids may not represent a good price for the home, depending on how much equity the original owner had built up before the foreclosure. If the owner was only in the home a year or two, there will be almost no equity and may not be the good deal that you are looking for. Equity is the difference between how much is owed to the lender on the original mortgage along with the costs of foreclosing on the property and the fair market value of the home.

Individuals who would like to purchase the property attend the auction and place their bids. Bidders must be equipped with either cash or proof of financing at the auction. Once all bids have been submitted, the highest bidder becomes the new owner.

The Pitfalls

Homes that are sold at auction are sold “as is”. This means that there are no guarantees on the condition of the home. Lenders generally will not let you into the home or allow inspections prior to the auction. This means that, no matter what problems the home has, you will be financially responsible.

The home may not have a clear title. This means that there could be liens on the property that have not been disclosed due to mistakes by the lender. In that case, title insurance companies will not insure you against any future problems that may arise from issues that a title search did not disclose. To avoid this problem, you could hire a title company and, for a fee, they will research the title and let you know if it is insurable. You should have this done prior to the auction.

Lenders are required by law to give homeowners notice that their home has been foreclosed, but lenders do not evict them. If the original owners are still living in the home after you purchase it at auction, you will be required to follow the legal eviction procedures in the state where the home is located. Although laws vary, you will basically need to file a lawsuit and pay the associated legal expenses and court costs.

In many states, the original homeowner has a certain amount of time that is dictated by law to buy the house back. This means, for example, that he or she may have six months or a year to pay you the price that you paid in purchasing the home at auction plus interest. If you make any improvements to the home during that time, you will lose the money and the labor spent making those improvements.

Hiring an LGBT Real Estate Agent

As noted above, there are many variables that can affect the purchase of a foreclosed home that is sold at auction. A reputable LGBT real estate agent will be aware of all of the issues involved in purchasing a foreclosed home at auction and will look out for your best interests during the entire process. The best way to locate an experienced, reputable agent is to conduct a free, no obligation search at GayRealEstate.com.

My Same Sex Partner and I Would Like to Purchase a Home, How Much Will it Cost Us?

Many potential home buyers begin with the mistaken impression that a down payment is all they need to worry about. Unfortunately, that is not the case. There are other costs involved that, in many cases, must be paid out-of-pocket before or at the time that the purchase closing is held. Following are some of the costs that may or may not be required.

downloadGood Faith Deposit

A good faith deposit is an amount of money that is paid at the time that you make an offer. The deposit indicates to the seller that you are serious about purchasing the home. The amount of your deposit will vary depending on the purchase price of the home. If the purchase is completed, your deposit will be subtracted from the total cost of the home at the time of closing.

Home Inspection

While general home inspections are not required in the United States, it is a good practice that your real estate agent will recommend. Along with a general home inspection, you may hire specialized inspectors, including termite, environmental, and electrical if the need arises. Note that many states have laws that require a pest inspection prior to the sale of a home. The goal is to protect you from potentially purchasing a home that will end up costing you a lot of money to repair. The average cost of a home inspection is approximately $400.


Your lender will require an appraisal of the home to ensure that it is valued at a minimum of the amount that they are lending you. A professional, licensed appraiser must be hired to give his or her expert opinion as to the value of the home. In most cases, you will be required to pay for that service out-of-pocket. The average cost of an appraisal $300 to $400.

Homeowners Insurance

Your lender will require that you carry homeowners insurance on the home for the duration of your mortgage. The insurance is intended to protect the lender against losing its collateral, your home, in the event of a disaster, such as a fire. The cost will depend on your state laws regarding insurance underwriting, the value of the property and other variables.

Closing Costs

Closing costs are fees that must be paid at the time of closing for the lender and any third parties that were involved in the purchase process. Those fees can include loan origination fees, attorney fees, inspection fees, title insurance and title search fees, and recording fees that are paid to the city or county for recording the new deed.

Lenders are required by law to give you a good faith estimate of what the closing costs will be within three days of your application for the loan. That estimate is not the final costs, but does give you an idea of how much you will have to pay. Within a day of your closing, the lender should give you a settlement statement that outlines the actual closing costs. Do not hesitate to question the lender if there are any costs you do not understand or do not agree with. Some of those fees may be negotiable.

Some lenders will allow the closing costs to be added to the mortgage. While it may help your pocket at the time, it will cost you more money in the long-term because you will end up paying interest over the life of your mortgage loan.

Down Payment

Your down payment will be set by the lender, but is generally around three to five percent of the purchase price. For example, if you are purchasing a home for $80,000, your down payment may be in the area of $2,400 to $4,000. You must pay the minimum at the time of closing, but may pay more than that amount if you desire.

If you are in the market to purchase a home, a reputable LGBT real estate agent will not only keep your best interest in mind, he or she will know the local laws and be in a position to answer your questions and give excellent advice. Conducting a search for a real estate agent on GayRealEstate.com is the best way to being your search for a reputable agent in your area that you will be comfortable working with.

What Documents do Unmarried Same Sex Couples need when Purchasing a Home Together

Unmarried same sex couples who are considering purchasing a home together should take precautions to protect themselves and their investment before buying. There are a couple of options available that would be of benefit in avoiding future problems if the relationship does not work out or one of you dies.

Domestic Partnership Agreement

images (1)Domestic partnership agreements can provide emotional and financial security if you are unmarried, either because you live in a state that does not recognize same sex marriage or you simply prefer not to marry. A domestic partnership agreement is a document that outlines the legal and financial responsibilities of your relationship. It should contain information such as how you will own property and share bank accounts, income and assets. Some states afford couples in these types of legal relationships the same rights and responsibilities as married couples. Note that domestic partnership agreements are not recognized in all states.

If domestic partnership agreements are not available in your state, you can create a similar contract that will be legally binding under contract law in courts. The cohabitation agreement must be in writing and should outline the same information as a domestic partnership agreement. You should check with your local attorney for information on that process in your state.

Title Your New Home

The best way to avoid probate and your partner potentially losing your share of the home to your heirs, if he or she does not have a will, is to title the home as Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship. Make sure that the right of survivorship language is included so that it does not end up being owned as joint tenancy only to avoid complications. The different ways that you can title your home depend on the state where the property is located. You should check the laws in that state to ensure that you choose the best form of ownership available for your particular situation.

Create a Will  

If you or your partner dies and you do not have a will or have not made other legal protections, you could lose his portion of the home to his or her heirs at law. Generally, state intestate laws dictate that a spouse is first in line, children are second and parents third to inherit. Whoever inherits could force you to move and sell the home if you cannot afford to buy their portion of the home from them.

Buying Your New Home

If you are considering purchasing a home, your local LGBT real estate agent at GayRealEstate.com can assist you with the process and protect your interests. He or she will have contacts that are LGBT friendly and can assist you in choosing an appropriate attorney, if needed, to assist you with contracts and wills.

Home Buying Tips for Same Sex Couples

When you find the perfect home that you and your partner would like to purchase, you will begin the process by making a purchase offer. The offer generally includes how much you are offering to pay for the home, contingencies to the purchase such as inspections or financing, and any conveyances you would like included such as furnishings or other assets. It may also include a good faith deposit, generally $500 or 5 percent of the home’s value, to show that you are serious about purchasing the home.

Sold-signBefore making your offer, there are some things that you should consider.

1. Find out why they are selling. If they are selling because they have to make a move for a job change or some other reason that makes them motivated to sell the home quickly they may be willing to negotiate on the asking price.

2. Do not make an offer that is a lot lower than the asking price if it is a fairly priced. This could insult the seller and make him or her unwilling to negotiate any further with you. If the home is fairly priced, you may consider offering a slightly lower amount if you are not buying in a fast paced market where you stand to lose out on the home altogether.

3. Do not show the seller that you are enthusiastic about buying the home. Doing so could    make the sellers think that you want it bad enough to pay a higher price than what you are offering. While this may open negotiations, the seller may be less inclined to lower the price or offer additional perks, such as paying closing costs or making a repair that you would like.

4. Be sure to include logical time frames for obtaining financing, inspections and other           contingencies that you can logically meet. For example, while you may believe that you can obtain financing within two weeks, there is no guarantee that it will happen. You may end up applying at a different mortgage company and miss the deadline. In that case, the agreement can be voided for noncompliance and the seller is free to sell the home to someone else.

The seller has the option of accepting your offer, making a counter offer with or without changes, or rejecting your offer altogether. Keep in mind that just because your offer may be the first, the highest or the best offer the seller has received, he or she has no obligation to accept it. In a few states, the seller is required to accept an offer or take it off the market if the offer is for full price with no contingencies. Generally, sellers have the authority to accept the offer that they prefer.

If the seller rejects your offer altogether, you have the option of submitting another offer. In that case, it would be wise to have your real estate agent, if you have one, find out why the offer was rejected in the first place. That knowledge will give you a base for making a better offer that may be accepted.

If the seller accepts your offer and all parties sign, a ‘meeting of the minds’ takes place and the contract becomes legally binding. This is why it is important to include any contingencies and conveyances that you would like included. Unless the seller is willing to negotiate and modify the purchase agreement, you will be legally liable to follow through on the purchase on the terms submitted in the offer.

If you are considering selling your home, you should consult with an LGBT real estate agent at GayRealEstate.com. He or she is in the best position to know and discuss the local market with you and guide you through the process of buying a home. In addition, an LGBT real estate agent has the knowledge to guide you through the process of making a purchase offer.

Top 6 Questions Every Gay Home Buyer Should Ask Their Realtor

Finding and purchasing a home is a major decision that a good realtor can help facilitate. But, how do you know if you are hiring the right realtor for you? Below are the top 5 questions every gay home buyer should ask their realtor.

Dear Gay Realtor1. Ask if the realtor knows what the current state laws are that relate to gay’s purchasing homes. If the realtor is not up-to-date on current statutes, it could result in him or her giving you the wrong advice for your situation and end up costing you money. He or she should have knowledge of any special requirements that you need to be aware of when purchasing your new home.

2. Ask for references from other LGBT clients that the realtor has assisted in buying a home. Call at least three of those references and ask them about their experience with the realtor. For example, were they kept informed? Was the realtor hard to get in touch with? Would they recommend him or her to others? Their answers should help you determine if you are compatible with the realtor. For example, would you be comfortable if your realtor was hard to get in touch with when you had a question. If the realtor refuses to give references or if his references were not happy with him, you should look for another realtor.

3. Ask about gay friendly neighborhoods. One part of a realtors job is to know the local market. He/she should be able to advise you of market conditions and give you community information on the neighborhoods that you are interested in, while staying within the guidelines of the law. He should also be able to tell you about gay organizations and businesses that are in those areas or that support those communities.

4. Can you recommend gay / gay friendly service providers who can help me obtain a mortgage, make home repairs, and help with other things I need done? A realtor should generally recommend more than one provider and let you know if they have any special relationship with or receive compensation from any of the providers.

5. Will you represent me exclusively, or will you represent both the buyer and the seller in the transaction? While it’s usually legal to represent both parties in a transaction, it’s important to understand where your realtors obligations lie.

6. Finally, ask if there is anything that you haven’t asked that you need to know. Pay attention to the answer. It should make you feel comfortable with his knowledge and experience in assisting LGBT home buyers.

Purchasing your home will be less stressful if you hire a realtor that you believe will look out for your best interests. You should be comfortable relying on his advice and get along with him well enough to have fun searching for your new home.

If you’d like to hire a gay realtor, you may visit the largest free directory of gay, lesbian and gay friendly realtors in the nation at www.GayRealEstate.com.

Gay Realtors Advice On Buying a Home with No Down payment

When it comes to owning a home, making a down payment can be very challenging. However, there are some instances you can follow in order to purchase a home with zero down payment according to our expert gay realtor.

USDA Rural Housing Loans

Gay Realtors Advice On Buying a Home with No Down paymentFor people with a lower income, rural housing programs may allow them to buy a house without making any down payment. Those whose income doesn’t go beyond the local area median income (AMI) may qualify for loan guarantee. Make sure your personal situation and the property you are interested in falls under the USDA guidelines. (http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/HSF-About_Guaranteed_Loans.html)

VA Loans for Veterans

If you have served in the National Guard or in military, then you are eligible for a ZERO down VA mortgage. The lender will request your COE (Certificate of Eligibility), veterans may obtain this on-line. The VA guarantees your home purchase to the lender. A funding fee maybe included in your total loan amount for the guaranty.

Down Payment Assistance

This can be furnished by charitable foundations, local governments and other organizations. This cannot be supplied by any anyone who has other interests in the finances of the home sale e.g. a real estate agent, the mortgage broker or the property owner.

Most of such programs include guidelines and are limited only for first-time home buyers, buying their primary residences. Some will have you go through a homebuyer education course first. This is more of a silent second mortgage that won’t require any payments. They may only ask for a refund once you sell the home, or it could be waived if you stay in the home for x amount of years.

Good Neighbor Next Door Program

Teachers, firefighters/emergency medical technicians and law enforcement officers who qualify for the program can purchase any HUD Home at a 50% discount. On the other hand if you use an FHA loan to finance your home, they will only require a down payment of just $100. The program provides a payment-free and interest-free second mortgage for 50% of the total homes value. The second mortgage balance is forgiven if you live in the home for three years or longer.

FHA Home Loans

FHA mortgages only require a down payment of 3.5%. Home buyers can get it from secured loans, employers, friends, relatives and other organizations.

Lease Option

This is part of a rental agreement. With the lease option deal, the renters can lease the house for a planned period of time, with an option to buy the home at some future date. This gives the buyer time to save for a down payment, while locking in today’s housing prices.

Any of the top gay real estate agents at GayRealEstate.com will be happy to provide you a free consultation to discuss your housing and financing needs. Just review the profiles of the agents in the city you’re considering, and contact them today! No cost or obligation.

Gay Realtor Tips on Buying your First Home Effectively

Tips for first time home buyers.

Gay Realtor Tips on Buying your First Home EffectivelyBefore you decide on buying your first home, you need to be sure that you are ready to make the investment. The following steps will help first time homebuyers to make correct economic decisions as they search for their new home.

Compare the available offers.

Check the price of the house or home you want to buy and compare the home sale prices in the location you want to invest in. You should be working with a gay buyer broker that can provide you comps, and do a complete market analysis to determine the fair market value.

Fix a limit on cost.

As a first time buyer, you should not buy for more than you can afford. Use the available bank rate calculator (on bankrate.com) to see how much your annual payments would be and if you can reach them. Choose a mortgage that will not be a strain on your income. You can also determine how much to spend from your income. It is not advisable to spend more than 28 % of your income on housing costs.

Calculate your costs per month.

It is important to calculate and analyze monthly housing costs plus taxes and insurance. Sometimes the tax and insurance escrow can be as high as the mortgage itself, depending upon the location. For example, average annual insurance premiums can be as low as $477 or as high as $1372 in Texas, according to insurance information institute. To have a clear number of the payment expected you could choose one of the properties and confirm all the payments with your insurance company. (plus don’t forget maintenance and upkeep, water/sewer and utilities)

Estimate your closing costs

The initial costs involved in setting up the home including lender charges, legal fees, taxes and prepaid insurance. Your realtor should provide you an average cost at closing, so know how much they need to have.

The first time homebuyers should also spend with precaution. Buying a home comes with other overhead costs such as roof repairs, floor repairs, repainting walls among others. Such expenses are always expected eventually. The new homebuyer should keep a cushion amount of money in their account to cater for these costs.

Consult Professionals

New homebuyers should be working with a full time profession gay realtor. It costs nothing to be represented in your home purchase (the seller pays your brokers commission) and you ll have a full-time professional advocate representing you ~ someone that does it many times each month!

Sites like GayRealEstate.com provide instant free access to the bio’s of the Nationa’s Top Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of GayRealEstate.com. Free Instant Access to the Nation’s Top Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Coast to Coast. FREE Buyers Representation ~ Free Relocation Kit to any City, USA ~ Free Sellers Market Analysis for home sellers.

What Your Don’t Know About Buying a Home Could Cost You

With the housing recovery now well underway  housing starts are up; builder confidence is at a 7-year high; there are fewer foreclosures; and home prices continue to rise  you may be inspired to get off the fence and buy that dream home. But are you really prepared? Here are a few things you may not know  and what you don’t know could potentially cost you.

Credit score

See, hear, speak no evilWhen was the last time you checked your credit score? Any idea how good or bad it is? Are there any errors on your report that need to be fixed? Long before you begin to house hunt, you need to know where you stand. The higher your score, the better your interest rate. Get a copy of your report ”for free” at www.annualcreditreport.com.


An astounding one-third of home buyers surveyed by Zillow are ill-prepared to get a mortgage. Among the findings: 34 percent of first-time home buyers are not aware that it is possible to get a home loan with a down payment of less than 5 percent; 26 percent of home buyers incorrectly believe that they are obligated to close their loan with the lender that pre-approved them; and 24 percent incorrectly believe that the best interest rates and fees can always be found through the bank where they currently do business. You have to shop around! Get multiple quotes, understand rates and fees, and read lender reviews online.


With the number of homes for sale at historically low levels, all-cash buyers ”typically investors eager to renovate and resell or rent out homes” are jumping into this rapidly rising market. And they’re swooping up homes like there’s no tomorrow!  Don’t underestimate this deep-pocketed competition, but don’t take unnecessary risks (such as waiving inspection contingencies, for example), either, simply for the sake of getting your piece of the American Dream. You may be inviting trouble, and that trouble could be costly.


Yes, you guessed it. Because there’s not much to look at these days (just a few months supply in some markets!), and you’re up against stiff competition, you could easily end up paying more than you bargained for. Don’t bust your budget! Your monthly mortgage payment should be 25 percent or less of your monthly take-home pay. Run the numbers using Zillow’s mortgage calculators.

Author Vera Gibbons is a financial journalist based in New York City ~ Connect with her at http://veragibbons.com/.

How Much Home Can You Afford to Buy?

Have you ever asked yourself this question: How much home can I afford to buy? If you did, and are still wondering the answer, we’ll help to answer it here.

How Much Home Can You Afford to BuyFiguring out just how much home you can afford is an important aspect of buying a home. You find a home you absolutely love and begin the whole loan process only to be disappointed because you simply cannot afford it. By figuring out how much house you can afford beforehand, you can avoid this disappointment and frustration.

The main factors you need to consider when looking at home affordability is your income vs. debt. We all know the importance of income, when it comes to borrowing; lenders want to know that you can pay your mortgage comfortably, while maintain your other debt. Essentially, no more than one third of your income should go towards housing costs. This applies whether you rent or buy. It is especially important if you are buying a home using the 33% rule, you can calculate just how much home you can afford. You need to remember, that this is not only the mortgage, but also homeowners insurance and property taxes.

While your income and the actual housing costs are important factors you must consider, there is also the home loan itself. There are aspects of the loan that will have a direct relationship to how much of a house you can afford. Essentially, your goal in finding a mortgage should be to get the best interest rate for the long term. The mortgage rate will depend on many factors, many of which you have some control over. One of these factors is the number of points you pay on the mortgage. They are the fees you pay to the lender at the closing of the home loan. Many lenders will only advertise one loan rate based on a certain number of points. However, you can ask if there are other options that will lower your interest rate on the mortgage. In general, the more points you pay at closing, the lower the interest rate. This may be a good option for those who have some cash after the down payment and would like to lower their overall mortgage payments in the future. Paying fewer points may be attractive to those who don’t have a lot of cash left over after the down payment.

You need to do a little bit of work in calculating how much home you can afford before shopping for a home. Make sure to consider your income, how much you have saved for a down payment, the amount of debt you have and the costs of insurance and taxes. By doing a little work, you will have a good idea as to how much home you may be able to afford.

Any of the professional full-time realtors at GayRealEstate.com will be happy to refer you to a reputable lender that can help you work through a pre-qualification before looking at homes ~ this will prevent any unwanted surprises.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of GayRealEstate.com. Instant Free Access to the Nation’s Top Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Coast to Coast. FREE Buyers Representation ~ Free Relocation Kit to any City, USA ~ Free Sellers Market Analysis for home sellers.