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Primary Concerns

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Posted On: 11/17/2010

QUESTION:

I financed a home with an FHA loan. It says I must occupy the property as my primary residence for a year. After one year, am I able to rent the property?

ANSWER:

Yes. FHA loan documents require borrowers to establish occupancy of the home as a principal residence within 60 days. Occupancy must then continue for at least one year after closing. Why? The FHA does not want to finance investors because such mortgages represent more risk than owner-occupant financing.

However, the one-year occupancy requirement is not absolute. There may be reasonable circumstances that arise within a year that cause borrowers to move, such as a job change.

QUESTION:

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Should a HUD-1 form be part of the documents of a home purchase in August 1975 or would the document have had a different name, or was the document not required in August 1975?

ANSWER:

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act was passed in 1974 and said several government agencies should get together to create a universal settlement form. I have papers from a 1975 closing that uses HUD documentation.

You want the closing papers in case the property is sold, rented or becomes part of an estate. Those papers will show the price paid for the property as well as financing and acquisition costs, information you need to show profits, losses and possible taxes. If you do not have such paperwork then there are several steps you can take.

First, did you buy title insurance? If yes, it's possible the title insurer has a copy of the settlement sheet.

Second, check the public records. They may show the exact price paid for the property.

Third, is the settlement provider still in business? They also may have such records.

Fourth, contact the IRS and get a copy of your 1975 tax return. It may show deductions from the closing. For additional information, speak with a tax professional.

Peter G. Miller is the author of The Common-Sense Mortgage and a veteran real estate columnist. Have a question? Please write to peter@ctwfeatures.com.

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