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HARP Loans and Their Benefits Explained

April 3, 2014

If you are barely treading water with your mortgage payments, a loan through the Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP, may be for you. HARP loans are designed for home owners who need to refinance to keep their homes but fail to qualify for typical refinancing. If you qualify, a HARP loan can help you obtain a mortgage with more affordable terms.

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DIY House Hunting 101

April 1, 2014

According to the National Association of Realtors, an increasing number of consumers are ditching their agents to shop for homes on their own. The organization reported that 57 percent of buyers in 2010 used real estate brokers, which was down from previous years. Additionally, just 37 percent of buyers found their home through an agent.

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How Personal Finance Influence your Home Loan

February 28, 2014

Many factors contribute to an individual’s credit score. Lenders look at your credit history, whichrefers to how long you have used credit. They also consider your payment history, balances, and any public records. Bankruptcies, liens, and court judgments will cause your score to plummet. Likewise, a history of missed payments results in a lower score.

Lenders decide whether to extend credit based on a borrower’s personal finances, which is primarily determined by credit score. To qualify for a loan subsidized by the Federal Housing Administration, borrowers must maintain a credit score of at least 580. For conventional home loans, a minimum score of 620 is required. Although regulations change from year to year, these numbers tend to stay fairly steady.

Credit Scores and Interest Rates
Aside from qualifying for home financing, your credit score also determines how much you will pay in interest. The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate. Over the life of your loan, a lower interest rate can save you thousands of dollars, resulting in more cash in your pocket.

How to Improve Your Credit Score
Because your credit score is the single most important factor in determining whether you qualify for a mortgage and the type of terms you will receive, it is important to improve your score in any way you can. Although building good credit takes time, there are a number of relatively easy ways to boost your score.

Tip 1: Check your credit report for accuracy. Surprisingly, many people have never bothered to look at their credit report. Examine your report for errors, such as duplicate accounts, inaccurate payment information, and incorrect items. If you find mistakes, dispute them with the credit bureau. Lenders have just 30 days to provide confirmation that a report is accurate. If they fail to do so, the credit bureau must delete the item.

Tip 2: Pay your bills on time. A positive payment history lets lenders know that you are responsible enough to take care of your obligations in a timely manner. If you aren’t late paying your electric bill, your car payment, or your student loans, you probably aren’t going to fall behind on your house payment. Start paying everything on time and keep at it for several months in a row. In many cases, it is a good idea to enroll in automatic bill pay so you don’t accidentally miss a due date.

Tip 3: Settle outstanding debts. If you do have a delinquent account on your credit report, try to work it out directly with the lender. Many lenders will agree to apply a one-time “good faith adjustment” to your account, which eliminates a negative mark in exchange for paying the debt in full. Make sure you have the funds to pay your entire balance before you call.

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What to Know before Refinancing

February 25, 2014
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There are a number of factors that go into such an important financial decision. Done correctly, refinancing can save you money and free up cash to put toward home improvement projects and other expenses. Before you refinance your home, however, consider your goals

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10 Ways to Improve your Property Value

February 14, 2014

Whether you are looking to sell or simply want to boost your home’s value, there are a number of ways to maximize your home improvement dollars. Before you sink all your cash into a swimming pool or invest in costly finishes, consider the top 10 ways to get the most out of your renovation budget.

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VA Loans Explained

February 13, 2014

If you served in the United States military for a certain period of time, you may be eligible for a VA loan. VA stands for Veterans Administration, which is the federal agency that backs these types of loans.

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Rundown home

Buying a Fixer-upper

February 12, 2014
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If you have found a fixer-upper home at a bargain basement price, a home improvement loan might provide you with a way to transform your diamond in the rough into the dream home you have always longed for.

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FHA Loan

FHA Loans Explained

February 6, 2014
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If you are in the market for a new house, you have probably heard about FHA home loans. But do you really know what they are? Or how to qualify for one?

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Underwater Mortgages

January 30, 2014
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If you are underwater on your mortgage – meaning you owe more than your home is worth – you have several options. Each potential solution has its pros and cons, and some are better than others.

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5 Best Cities to buy a home

January 28, 2014

According to a list originally compiled by CNN Money, these five cities provide a perfect combination of location, price, and housing stock that present potential home buyers with the pick of the proverbial litter.

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