Like most industries, the world of real estate has a language all its own. Sometimes the terms used can be confusing, especially for first-time homebuyers. If you find a house for sale with a status listed as “sale pending,” “contingent,” or “under contract,” what does that mean, exactly? Is the house off the market, or can you still take a tour or make an offer? 

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Have you ever considered buying a home for someone else? Maybe you’d like to give a head start to an adult child, take care of an elderly parent, or help out someone with bad credit or who is simply having a hard time financially. It’s a noble idea and it can be done. But there are things you need to know so your generosity doesn’t end up costing you more than you expected.

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Whether buying or selling a home in St. Louis, finding the best realtor will involve some work. You’ll want to ask people you know for referrals, do some research, and finally, interview the best candidates. (Read Follow These 3 Steps to Find a Real Estate Agent.) Sales statistics and experience are important, but you need to feel confident in your decision on a more personal level, too.

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After the real estate bubble burst in 2008, it seemed like foreclosed houses could be found in almost every neighborhood across the country. The number of foreclosed homes reached an all-time high in 2010 but has steadily decreased each year since. Nevertheless, as long as there have been mortgages, there have been people unable to pay them. Buyers can get a bargain buying a foreclosed home. But if they’re not cautious, they can get more than they bargained for.

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