Credit Bureau Scores

A credit bureau score is a number, based upon your credit history that represents the possibility that you will be unable to repay a loan. Lenders use it to determine your ability to qualify for a mortgage loan. The better the score, the better your chances are of getting a loan. Ask your lender for details.
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Federal Housing Administration

Now an agency within HUD, the Federal Housing Administration was established in 1934 to advance opportunities for Americans to own homes. By providing private lenders with mortgage insurance, the FHA gives them the security they need to lend to first-time buyers who might not be able to qualify for conventional loans. The FHA has helped more than 26 million Americans buy a home.
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School Value

When looking for a house, be sure to check out the local schools, even if you don't have school-age children. Research has shown that properties near good schools appreciate faster in strong markets and hold their values better during weak markets.
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Vacation Home

Some people buy a vacation home with the idea of turning it into a permanent retirement home down the road, which puts them ahead on their payments. Another benefit is that the interest and property taxes are tax deductible, which helps to offset the cost of paying for a second home. A vacation home also can be depreciated if you live in it less than 14 days a year.
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Ready to Buy

You can find out if you're ready to buy a house by asking yourself some questions: Do I have a steady source of income? Have I been employed on a regular basis for the last 2-3 years? Is my current income reliable? Do I have a good record of paying my bills? Do I have few outstanding long-term debts, like car payments? Do I have money saved for a down payment? Do I have the ability to pay a mortgage every month, plus additional costs? If you can answer "yes" to these questions, you are probably ready to buy your own home.
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Keeping Track

If possible, take photographs of each house: the outside, the major rooms, the yard, and extra features that you like or ones you see as potential problems. And don't hesitate to return for a second look.
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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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Odd Rooms

Funky space? Think twice: When house-hunting, look closely at room shapes as well as sizes. Oddly shaped spaces can be interesting, but difficult to furnish–especially with the furniture you currently own.
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