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For many looking to purchase their first home, a second home or even an investment or rental property, buying a foreclosure may seem like an easy way to get a lot of house at a bargain. While foreclosures are almost always priced competitively or even under market value, buying a foreclosure comes with some hidden hazards and hidden costs which are generally not found in traditional home sales. If you are not careful with your foreclosure purchase, these hidden costs can add up quickly, eating up any savings you found by purchasing a foreclosure over a traditionally marketed and sold home.

If you’re thinking about purchasing a property that has been foreclosed on, we’ve gathered a list of several hidden costs to be on the watch for before you finalize

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va-loan-mark-zIf you are a member of our armed forces, a veteran or the surviving spouse of a veteran you may already know that you can qualify for a VA loan, backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. If you’ve ever declared bankruptcy though, you may be concerned about whether or not you will still qualify for a VA loan.

The good news is that yes, you can still qualify for a VA loan if you have declared bankruptcy in the past. In order to qualify for a VA loan, your home loan will need to have been at least one year from the date of your Chapter 13 bankruptcy or two years from the date of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Additionally, you must have had no late payments reported to the credit bureaus since emerging from bankruptcy.

What are the benefits of

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Now that the economy and housing markets are recovering and becoming stronger again, many homeowners are looking at home equity loans and/or lines of credit in order to upgrade their home, pay off debt or make large purchases. Like any loan, there are some great ways to use home equity loans and lines of credit, and some not so great ways to use that money.

What are home equity loans and lines of credit?

Home equity loans are loans which are based on and tied to the amount of equity you have in your home. In a home equity loan, you use the equity in your home as the collateral a bank or lender will often require before loaning you money. You borrow based on the amount of equity you have in your home.

A home equity line of credit, or

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Boost Your Curb Appeal.

First impressions count, and this especially holds true in the case of having your home appraised. Prior to having your home appraised, make sure the lawn is mowed, the bushes have been trimmed, and fresh mulch has been dispersed. If you have been wanting to paint your door or outside of the home a new color, now is the time to do so. You want your appraiser to have a positive impression of the home from the first time he or she steps foot through the door.

Clean the House.

Many homeowners skip this step, but if a house is clean, it's much easier to see the features that will ultimately lead to a higher appraisal price. Take some time to vacuum, dust, and organize your home.

Hide Clutter.

While you're cleaning your

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If you own investment property, your aim is likely to make a profit, right? Or, at least, not to lose money each month whether you rent your property on a monthly basis or have a seasonal vacation rental. One of the best ways to decrease your monthly mortgage on your investment property and boost your profit each month is to refinance your mortgage at a lower interest rate.

With the rebounding housing market across the country and a hot rental market in many areas of the nation, lower interest rates coupled with higher rental rates could result in you having that investment property paid off before you know it. But, is it even possible to refinance a rental or investment property that you don’t live in? The answer is yes!

How can I refi my

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Not Based on Income or Credit Score.

Unlike all the hurdles you had to jump through to obtain your home loan, a reverse mortgage is very different in that you don't have to provide your income or credit score to apply for one. Therefore, if you've had a job loss or a reduction in your credit score, you can still obtain a reverse mortgage. These loans are solely based on the fact that you have equity in your home that you can use. You will still need to pay taxes and insurance on the home, so please keep that in mind.

You Have a Multitude of Payment Options.

When you take out a reverse mortgage, you will be paid funds from your home's equity. This is nice because you can be paid either through a line of credit, a monthly fixed payment, a monthly

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If you’ve never shopped for a mortgage before, you might find the information and options overwhelming. You’ve got conventional fixed rate mortgages for various terms, government-backed or guaranteed mortgages like FHA, VA and USDA loans and adjustable rate mortgages, or ARMs, for various terms and lengths. What’s the best option for you? In order to determine what your best mortgage option is, you’ll want to compare the types of mortgages.

What is a fixed rate mortgage?

A fixed rate mortgage, which is also often called a “conventional mortgage”, is what you most likely think about when you think about mortgages: you pay a fixed interest rate for the term of the mortgage loan, which is usually 15 or 30 years, although some lenders also offer 20 year

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Some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions are financial promises and plans for the coming year. Is buying a home or financially preparing yourself to buy a home on your radar for 2016? If so, the best way to ensure that you reach that goal is to be proactive and start working towards your goals as soon as you can.

Mortgage interest rates are currently still low and experts don’t believe that they will rise sharply anytime soon, so if you’re interested in buying a new home 2016 is likely to be a great year to do that! With rental markets around the country heating up, 2016 looks to also be a great year for those with homes to list on the market. Whether you’re just looking to get yourself ready to be in the position to buy sometime in the future,

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A reverse mortgage is a financial option that is available to homeowners who are at least 62 years old, and who have some equity built in their home. Many people in their 60’s have significant equity in their homes, or are living mortgage-free because they bought their homes in their 30’s and have ridden out the storms of the real estate market in the last decade.

 A reverse mortgage allows homeowners aged 62 or above to convert part of all of the equity in their home into cash. Instead of making a monthly mortgage payment to a lender, the reverse mortgage lender makes a monthly payment to the homeowner.

 What are the upsides of a reverse mortgage?

 A reverse mortgage can be a great financial option for older homeowners who are living on a fixed

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This month the federal government, via the Federal Reserve, increased its benchmark interest rate for the first time in nearly a decade. After years of historically low mortgage loan interest rates, what does this rate increase mean for future homebuyers? The good news is that this increase may not mean that you’ll see mortgage loan interest rates go up immediately – and certainly not at rates that correspond directly with the federal increase.

This interest rate hike was widely expected – both in terms of its timing and its amount. As with any market change, there will be some initial volatility as people react to the change and start to prepare for the future. However, because mortgage interest rates have been so low for so long, many people are

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