Whom to Contact (How to Buy) - Q & A
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Q: What standards do appraisers use to estimate value?
A: Appraisers use several factors when estimating a home's value, including the home's size and square footage, the condition of the home and neighborhood, comparable local sales, any pertinent historical information, sales performance and indices that forecast future value. For detailed information on appraisal standards, visit the Appraisal Institute website, www,appraisalinstitute.org, or contact the Organization at 550 W. Van Buren St., Suite 1000, Chicago, IL 60607; (312) 335-4100.

Q: Where do I get information about housing discrimination?
A: For information about housing discrimination, call the U.S. Department of Justice at (202) 514-2000, 950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW DC 20530, www,usdoj.gov, or your local U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development office.

For detailed information, the booklet, "Your Loan is Denied, Defending Yourself Against Mortgage Lending Discrimination," is available from the Center for Investigative Reporting, 131 Steurt Street, Suite 600, San Francisco, CA 94105; call (415) 543-1200;

Q: Where do I get information on housing market stats?
A: Your HomeJoy Real Estate agent is a good source for finding out the status of the local housing market. So is your statewide association of Realtors, most of which are continuously compiling such statistics from local real estate boards.

For overall housing statistics, U.S. Housing Markets, www.meyersgroup.com, regularly publishes quarterly reports on home building and home buying. Your local builders association probably gets this report. Finally, check with the U.S. Bureau of the Census, www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing.html, in Washington, D.C.; (301) 763-3199; www.census.gov. The Chicago Title company also has published a pamphlet, "Who's Buying Homes in America." Write Chicago Title 601 Riverside Ave., Jacksonville, FL 32204; (888) 934-3354; www.ctic.com.

Q: How do I reach the IRS?
A: To reach the Internal Revenue Service, call (800) TAX-1040; www.irs.gov.

Q: Where do I get information on lease options?
A: Contact your HomeJoy Real Estate agent (www.HomeJoy.com) or read up on lease options at the public library. If you have a real estate attorney, ask if he or she has any prepared information you can review. Most bookstores have a fairly hefty real estate book section these days. Many current real estate books have at least a section on lease options.

If you are considering a lease option, be sure you do your homework first. And have an attorney or financial advisor on hand to review any paperwork before you sign.

Q: Where do I get information about finding a real estate attorney?
A: To find a real estate attorney, contact your local bar association, which may offer local referral services. You may also ask friends or your HomeJoy Real Estate agent for their recommendations. When you have several names, call each to find out about fees and their level of experience.

Q: How do I find a home inspector?
A: Your HomeJoy Real Estate agent is one source. But keeping them independent from the agent may be a good idea. Inspectors are listed in the yellow pages. You can ask for referrals from friends. Ask for their credentials, such as contractor's license or engineering certificate. Also, check out their references.

Copyright 1999 Inman News Features

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