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For Sale by Owner Articles • Owners.com - Money and Credit

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Credit and Your Mortgage 
Before buying a home, consider this...it has never been easier to become a first time homeowner. Mortgage requirements are more realistic and most lenders require only a small down payment. But before you start looking for your dream house:
Attend a free homebuyer workshop in your community
Obtain a credit report and understand your credit history
Have a realistic budget in place so you feel confident about how much you can afford
Decide as a family what type of house will work for you
Find qualified, reliable professionals you can work with
Be aware that all costs involved in buying a home are negotiable
What is a Mortgage Report? 
A mortgage report is a special credit report that lenders use prior to deciding whether or not to give you a home loan. Each report is compiled from credit reports from two or three credit bureaus. The mortgage credit report company purchases credit reports from the credit bureaus, combines them, and manually verifies specific information such as employment, credit account balances and public record information. You can obtain your own merged report (which contains essentially the same information as a mortgage report) or subscribe to credit monitoring which is an excellent way to stay on top of your credit while you're shopping for a mortgage and once you've acquired your new home.
Pricing your home for sale 
When you set your asking price for selling your home, it should be your best estimate of the house's true market value. To get the right price, don't depend on a single appraisal from a real estate agent, but instead get estimates from agents at several brokerages. Then, check the price yourself by looking up recent home sales. Take note of the selling prices of homes that are similar to yours in location, size and amenities (called comparables) and set your price accordingly.
Save money by accelerating your mortgage 
If you currently have a mortgage, you could save thousands of dollars by accelerating mortgage payments. Before you put investment dollars towards your mortgage, make sure you have money on hand in case of an emergency. Also, talk to a tax advisor before paying your mortgage back early, because it will reduce the amount of interest that you can deduct from your income taxes.
Avoid mortgage default 
If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot meet your mortgage payment, take the following steps:
Determine your financial priorities
Create a budget to reduce your expenses
Contact your lender to work out a repayment plan
Contact a HUD-approved housing counseling agency
Ask your lender for counseling or other options
Women and Credit 
How the death of a spouse affects your credit 
If you have a joint account with your spouse, a creditor cannot automatically close the account or change the terms because of the death of your spouse. More than likely, the creditor may ask you to update your application or reapply in your own name. The creditor will then decide whether to continue to extend you credit or change your credit limits. While your application is being reviewed, the creditor must let you use the account without new restrictions.
Credit in your own name 
Each year women are denied credit because they cannot show how they have used it in the past. If you become separated, divorced, widowed, or want credit in your own name, you may not have a credit file. You might have a great credit history in your husband's name, but not in your own. In addition, accounts that you held under your maiden name may not automatically transfer to a file listed under your married name. Check your credit report to make sure that the bureaus are correctly reporting your information.
How to begin a credit history 
If you do not have a credit history, you should begin to build one. If you have a steady income and have lived in the same area for at least a year, try applying for credit with a local business, such as a department store or a local bank or credit union. These local merchants may have lower credit standards than larger lenders. Before you apply for credit, make sure the credit grantor reports credit history information to one of the credit bureaus so you can build your credit history. Make sure to periodically check or monitor your credit report.

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