Selecting a Realtor

Start by asking family and friends if they can recommend an agent. Compile a list of several agents and talk to each before choosing one. Look for an agent who listens well and understands your needs, and whose judgment you trust. The ideal agent knows the local area well and has resources and contacts to help you in your search. Overall, you want to choose an agent that makes you feel comfortable and can provide all the knowledge and services you need.
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Extra Inspections

If your home inspector discovers a serious problem, another more specific inspection may be recommended. It's a good idea to consider having your home inspected for the presence of a variety of health-related risks like radon gas, asbestos, or possible problems with the water or waste disposal system.
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15 vs 30 Year Loan

A 15-year loan is usually made at a lower interest rate. Equity is built faster because early payments pay more principal. In a 30-year loan, more interest is paid off than principal for the first 23 years, meaning larger tax deductions. As inflation and costs of living increase, mortgage payments become a smaller part of overall expenses.
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Improving Your Scores

There are no easy ways to improve your credit score, but you can work to keep it acceptable by maintaining a good credit history. This means paying your bills on time and not overextending yourself by buying more than you can afford.
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FWA Help

The Federal Housing Administration works to make homeownership a possibility for more Americans. With the FHA, you don't need perfect credit or a high-paying job to qualify for a loan. The FHA also makes loans more accessible by requiring smaller down payments than conventional loans. In fact, an FHA down payment could be as little as a few months' rent. And your monthly payments may not be much more than rent.
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Refinancing Tax

Refinancing you home loan can save you money and often reduce your monthly payments. If you take cash away from a refinancing, be sure the new loan balance isn't more than the original price of the property. If it is larger, your interest payments may not be tax-deductable.
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Refinancing Costs

If you are taking cash out of a refinancing and/or folding the closing costs into the new loan, watch the loan-to-value ratio of the new mortgage. If it's above 80 percent, you will have to purchase private mortgage insurance, the added cost of which may make the refinancing less attractive.
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Refinance Timing

The traditional answer to the question "When is the best time to refinance?" is when interest rates fall 2 percent below your current mortgage interest rate. However, in recent years some experts have argued that refinancing may be appropriate with a smaller point spread. Some weight is often given to the length of time the owner anticipates holding on to the property. If the owner expects to keep the property for at least three or four years, then refinancing may be worthwhile. While refinancing can involve upfront costs, in many cases it is possible to roll the costs of the refinancing into the new note and still reduce the amount of the monthly payment
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Find Out the Base Flood Elevation

The best way to prepare for a flood is in the planning stage of a new home. FLASH recommends an evaluation and inspection of your homesite and lot prior to construction to determine the flood zone and the Base Flood Elevation or BFE. The BFE refers to the elevation associated with the "100-year flood," or a flood with a 1% chance of occurrence in any given year. The "100-year flood" patterns form the basis for the National Flood Insurance Program rates and regulatory floodplain management.
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Housing Needs

Your home should fit the way you live, with spaces and features that appeal to the whole family. Before you begin looking at homes, make a list of your priorities - things like location and size. Should the house be close to certain schools? your job? to public transportation? How large should the house be? What type of lot do you prefer? What kinds of amenities are you looking for? Establish a set of minimum requirements and a "wish list." Minimum requirements are things that a house must have for you to consider it, while a "wish list" covers things that you'd like to have but aren't essential.
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