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How much can you afford

What determines my credit score?

We all know that a good credit score is important, especially if you're looking to buy a house. But how is your credit score determined? How do you improve your credit score, and what matters the most when it comes to maintaining your good credit score? Your...

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10 Ways to improve your credit score

We always hear about how important it is to have a good credit score. After all, even if you have a good score, an excellent one will get you better mortgage rates and save you more money. But what improves your score the most? What lowers it? And how...

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How much can you afford for a home?

How much you can afford is a main concern, if not the biggest question you'll have, when you begin shopping for a new home. If you are looking to buy a home, these steps will help you determine just how much you can spend on a home. Calculate the mortgage...

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How to find out how much you can afford

How much home can I afford? It's a funny question. Unlike buying a measured amount of rice at the market or a length of chain at Home Depot, home-buying doesn't lend itself to measure-and-cut precision. You can specify an exact amount of lumber, glass,...

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Do I need private mortgage insurance?

Every lender wants security—some form of collateral that can be claimed, and if necessary, liquidated—in the event that the borrower doesn't pay. Properties tend to be secured by "equity." That's the margin between the loan balance and the value...

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What is a pre-approval and why do you need it?

When shopping for a home, you're going to be asked at some point whether you've been "pre-approved" or whether you have mortgage "pre-approval." You're going to want to answer "yes" to these questions -- buyers who can are in a much better position to purchase...

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How to maintain a healthy credit score

When you're in the market to buy a home, your credit score is very important. Most lenders use this three-digit number (which is created by evaluating factors like how much debt you have, your payment history for things like credit cards and car loans, and...

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Sculpting your score - top ten ways to chip away at poor credit

What's harder to improve—your credit score or your bowling score? I'd say the latter. In bowling, eventually you'll hit a wall (not literally) where you've exhausted all the ways to improve. If you ever miraculously roll a 300, you're definitely done....

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Setting your financial goals

I bet you wrote down your goals in January 1st this year. Is that all? Did you re-think them this month and write them down again? If you don't know what your goals are, how are you going to measure whether you've reached them? And, I would bet that if...

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Getting started in real estate with little or no money

You've seen the late-night infomercials with self-anointed gurus promising you millions in real estate profits with no money down. The truth is that many of these people never made a dime in real estate. Most of us are smart enough to realize that no real...

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Why you need pre-approval letter

"Trust but verify" was a popular expression in the Cold War, conveying the need to hold nations true to claims about their own nuclear arsenals. The same principle applies to you as a home buyer when you make claims about your ability to buy. To verify your...

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