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Mortgage loans available through the Department of Veterans Affairs are an excellent mortgage option for current active-duty and veteran service members, National Guard troops and the surviving spouses of service members. VA mortgage loans are backed by the United States federal government and offer an array of attractive benefits and mortgage options including no required down payment. While it’s easy to understand that you’ll qualify for a VA loan if both you and your spouse are service members, what if you are a service member and your spouse is a stay at home parent? Or if you are a veteran and you would like to purchase a home with your long-term girlfriend or boyfriend who is a civilian? If you are looking to qualify for a VA loan with a

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Plumbing DIY Fixes If you wake up to a soggy carpet or see water seeping under a door, your course is clear––make that call immediately.

But sounds of running water, unpleasant odors, drain gurgles, and bubbles deserve your attention too. Sometimes they're the warning signs that can save you big bucks and major headaches.

There are ways to gauge the symptoms and determine what might be the problem––here's how:

Look and Listen for Bubbling and Gurgling

Dripping faucets and the sound of water running are symptoms that you shouldn't ignore, but they don't usually call for emergency action either. On the other hand, any gurgles, bubbles and unfamiliar noises bear attention, whether they're in the kitchen or the laundry room, in the garage, or in a bathroom.

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Selling a Historic Home: Things to Remember When it comes to selling a home, buyers have varied tastes. There are those searching for homes that are newly constructed with the latest technologies and innovations. Other people are looking for existing homes that offer the ultimate comfort to raise their families. People will also select homes based on their location to job, education and entertainment options.

Historic homes are also under the home-buying spotlight as they offer a range of unique architectural aspects and rich history from a different time period. Some historic homes may have been the place where famous people lived, studied, or made great accomplishments. Unfortunately, placing such a historic treasure on the real estate listings can make some sellers nervous. They may

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Owning your own home comes with many advantages, including tax advantages! Home ownership generally brings with it multiple ways to lower your tax bill via deductions home owners are able to take which renters are not eligible for.

If you were a first time homebuyer in 2016 and haven’t yet filed your taxes for last year, or if you are a prospective homebuyer for 2017 you might be unaware of the tax deductions you are able to take on your home. We find that first time homebuyers generally have many questions (understandably!) so we’ve compiled our top 3 tax tips and hints for first time homebuyers below:

 Itemize your federal return

If you are used to taking the standard deduction on your taxes, you are in for a change! Once you own a home, it

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Buying a fixer-upper home and what to keep in mind The fixer-upper home typically tantalizes home buyers with its potential for becoming the home of their dreams at a fraction of the cost. However, before purchasing a fixer upper and diving into renovations and repairs, there are a few key essentials to consider.

Location

With any home purchase, location is important—if the neighborhood doesn't suit your needs, it's not the right one, even if the home if is a bargain. When buying a fixer-upper, the location becomes even more crucial. Make sure the neighborhood is maintained well overall and has the amenities you want.

Layout  and Number of Rooms

When choosing a fixer upper, the layout and the number of rooms is an important consideration. Older homes often lack open floor plans, and

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Putting Money Into Home Buying a home for investment purposes can change the process, both in terms of what you’re looking for during the house hunt, as well as how you want to handle repairs that come up during an inspection. Before the purchase is completed, a major question comes into play: do you keep the home or flip it? Both options have their benefits, but what exactly do these terms mean?

There are quite a few television shows dedicated to home improvement these days, and a popular decision is for homeowners to buy a home that is in poor condition and make nice, yet affordable, upgrades with the intention of selling it at a substantial profit. While it requires a lot of sweat equity, the profits that can be earned with this type of remodel are substantial.

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Things to consider when living in a flood zone Home-buying locations come in all shapes and sizes, and in certain wetter regions, high water levels and occasional flooding are an inevitable fact of life. When purchasing a home near a body of water or within a flood plain, you have to seriously consider how the water levels may rise and flood into your home. Even areas that are not near large bodies of water may be located in flood zones.

Here are things to consider when buying a home in a place that has an increased chance of flooding, and what type of flood preparation you should take to minimize the damage and reduce stress.

Investigate the Chances of Flooding in the Home

Not every seller will tell you that there has been past flooding in the house. Some are afraid that this

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Smelly Empty Home Homes that haven’t been lived in for a while can develop a musty, stale odor that home buyers can find unpleasant. While this may not stop a home from selling, unpleasant odors can reduce the sale price or make the home harder to sell. Fortunately, there are many ways to air out a house and make it smell more appealing to home buyers.

Remove Carpeting

Carpeting and upholstery can absorb odors over time, so, while you can deep clean and shampoo your carpeting, removing carpeting in the home can quickly cut back on odors. Some homes will have hardwood floor boards under the carpet, which makes removing the carpet a relatively easy task. In homes where the carpet covers a sub-floor, new carpeting or flooring must be installed.

Repaint the

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Selling to First Time Buyer Putting your home on the market to sell is a lot of work. After a flurry of activity in cleaning, packing and staging your home to make it look irresistible during showings, you're finally ready to invite the world in and — hopefully — take your pick of offers. Though you've probably already spent time thinking about your ideal buyer's tastes and needs, you probably haven't given much thought to their financing. After all, as long as they have a loan, shouldn't that be good enough for you? Perhaps.

But understanding your potential buyers' mortgages will help you rank multiple offers with better accuracy. Federal Housing Authority (FHA) loans are quite common, but this type of financing comes with restrictions about the home inspection and

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How Much Home Can You Afford? 

When you apply for a mortgage, your prospective lender will check several factors, including calculating your debt-to-income ratio in order to determine the amount of mortgage to extend to you. You can get a jump start on the home buying process by calculating your debt-to-income ratio yourself so that you have a good starting point of the price range of homes you’re likely to be able to comfortably afford.

What is a debt-to-income ratio and how is it used?

Your debt-to-income ratio is the difference between your income each month and your monthly payment obligations, and it is expressed as a percentage. Said another way, how much income do you have left over each month after paying your bills? A high debt-to-income

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