Monday, February 23, 2009

Buying a Home: It's About More Than Getting a Loan

Are you are first time homebuyer? If so, there are more things for you to consider than whether or not you will be approved for a loan. In fact, there are several decisions you will need to make and several steps you will need to take before your new home purchase can be finalized.

Deciding if Buying a Home is Right for You

Many people assume that purchasing a home is the best financial decision you can make, but this is not necessarily true. If you are not ready to handle the financial responsibility of home ownership, it is important for you to wait until you are ready. This way, you won't find yourself in a tight situation where you are faced with the possibility of losing your home. Furthermore, if you anticipate moving within the next few years or if you do not have the time to tend to maintaining your home, it is probably better for you to continue renting a little longer.

Determining What You Want to Buy

If you have decided that you want to purchase a home, you will next need to get an idea of the type of home you are interested in purchasing. Start browsing through the Internet and looking at homes that are on the market so you can get a better idea of what is out there. The better idea you have of what you are looking for, the better a Realtor will be able to help you find the perfect home for you. If you have a good idea of what you want, it can take only a couple of weeks for you to find the right home for you.

Exploring Your Options

Once you find the perfect home that is within your budget, there is no need for you to continue looking at other homes available on the market. In all likelihood, however, you will find a few homes that you like and will have to narrow down your choices from there.

To help you in the process of narrowing down your choices, take a digital camera with you and take photos of the home so you can look at it again later. You should also take a notepad with you so you can take notes on each home. These notes should include information about the home's unique features as well as your thoughts and impressions.

After you have narrowed down your choices, revisit your top choices and pay special attention to the neighborhood. It is also a good idea for you to visit the neighborhood at various times during the day and night in order to make certain it suits your needs. In fact, you may even want to make a drive from the home to work in the morning so you can get a good idea of the traffic situation.

Buying a home certainly is not something you should rush into. Therefore, take your time and explore your options thoroughly so you can be certain to get the home of your dreams.

About the Author: Shannon Kietzman is a well known author and trusted resource. Shannon regularly writes for . For more info and to order your credit report with FREE credit score please visit

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What You Need to Know When Purchasing New Construction

Are you considering purchasing a new construction home? Many people searching for a home do not want to move into a used house and take on someone else's problem. Rather, they would prefer to start off new and to purchase a home that can be designed specifically to meet their taste and needs. If you are interested in purchasing a new construction home, however, there are a few things you need to know when it comes to getting the financing for the home of your dreams.

Getting Someone to Represent You

The first thing you need to know is that the builder's sales agent is there to help the builder, not to help you. Therefore, the sales agent may utilize high-pressure sales tactics in order to persuade you to sign a contract.

In order to make certain you are represented properly throughout the sales process, it is a good idea for you to hire a buyer's agent. In some cases, the seller will actually pick up the cost of hiring a buyer's agent for you. But, even if you have to pay the cost yourself, the fee will generally pay for itself in terms of the savings the agent is able to negotiate for you.

In addition to having someone negotiate a better price for you, a buyer's agent is also obligated to share the negatives and the positives of the deal with you. Therefore, you can be certain to obtain full disclosure when you hire a buyer's agent to represent you.

Obtaining a Lender

After you negotiate a deal with the builder, the company will likely have a lender that it will recommend to you. While this may benefit the builder because it will allow the builder to remain informed about the lending process, this is not necessarily the best deal for you as a buyer.

It is important for you to look into alternate lenders before you decide upon the lender that is right for you. In fact, your personal bank or credit union may actually be able to offer you an attractive deal. In addition, your buyer's agent should be able to provide you with some recommendations for potential lenders.

Regardless of how you learn about different potential lenders, be certain to take some time to interview each of them in order to find the one that can provide you with the best deal. Remember, in addition to finding a lender that will offer attractive rates, you need to feel comfortable working with the lender. You should also insist that the lender provide you with a Good Faith Estimate. Although a Good Faith Estimate is not a legal requirement, all reputable lenders will be willing to provide you with this estimate.

About the Author: Shannon Kietzman is a well known author and trusted resource. Shannon regularly writes for . For more info and to order your credit report with FREE credit score please visit

Monday, February 9, 2009

Is a Write Off the Right Option for You?

Are you one step away from having to file bankruptcy? Before you allow your financial troubles to result in taking this extreme action, you might want to consider entering into some negotiations with your creditor. Thanks to the current economic troubles, many credit card companies and other lenders are more willing than ever before to make deals with debtors. Why? Quite simply, the banks would rather get something from you now rather than get nothing from you later. Since the economy is only expected to worsen further, the banks believe the likelihood of their customers filing bankruptcy is quite high. Therefore, this fear provides you with a little more negotiating power. At the same time, it is important for you to understand the downside to pursuing this option before you head into negotiations with your creditors.

Leaving a Black Mark on Your Credit Report

Although negotiating with your creditors and getting a portion of your debt forgiven is certainly better than filing bankruptcy, it is important for you to realize that it will leave a negative mark on your credit report. In fact, the information reported by your creditor may remain on your credit report for several years. This is because forgiving a portion of your debt is referred to as a "charge off" or a "write off" and can cause your credit rating to take a significant nosedive.

On the plus side, a bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for up to 10 years. A write off, on the other hand, typically remains on the report for seven. Nonetheless, this black mark on your credit report can potentially lead to an increase in the interest rate on your other credit cards or loans. Not only will this result in losing more money toward paying finance charges, it will also take you much longer to get your debt paid off. In addition, if you apply for a loan such as a car loan or a home mortgage loan, you will likely be charged a much higher interest rate than you would have been charged before the write off showed up on your credit report.

Getting a Write Off of Your Debt

If you are still convinced that getting a write off is the right step for you, you will need to contact your creditors and start negotiating. In many cases, however, you will need to be at least 90 days behind on your payments before your creditors will be wiling to discuss the possibility of writing off a portion of your debt. In addition, you might want to look at negotiating your interest rate or getting late fees or other similar fees waived before going for a full write off. If you need some help with the process, however, you might want to contact the National Foundation for Consumer Credit, which is a nonprofit credit counseling center that can help you explore your options and can potentially help you with getting some of the terms of your loan modified.

About the Author: Shannon Kietzman is a well known author and trusted resource. Shannon regularly writes for . For more info and to order your credit report with FREE credit score please visit

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Are Credit Monitoring Services and Identity Theft Insurance Policies Worth the Cost?

In an effort to keep yourself and your finances protected, you may be considering signing up for a credit monitoring service or an identity theft insurance product. While these services may seem like they would be invaluable, you may want to think again before ordering one of these services. Or, at the very least, make certain you are truly getting a valuable service before you spend your hard earned money to put one of these services into place.

What You Need to Know About Credit Monitoring Services

Credit monitoring services make the promise to continually monitor your credit report and rating so you can be notified if there are any potential problems with your credit. Unfortunately, many of these services only check your credit report once or twice per year. In addition, many of them only check your credit report with one of the three credit reporting agencies. This is hardly a valuable service, especially considering you can do the same thing for free on your own.

In an effort to help consumers keep better track of their personal credit reports, the government has made it possible for consumers to request one free copy of their credit report per year. Since there are three credit reporting agencies, you can request one report from one agency every four months. If you notice anything wrong with the report you receive from one of the credit reporting agencies, you can get the information corrected and that agency is responsible for reporting the changes to the other two agencies. Therefore, you can track your own credit report without having to give up your information to an outside agency or paying them for a service you can perform yourself.

If you still want to hire someone to monitor your credit report, be certain to select one that continually monitors your credit throughout the year and that checks with all three credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. This way, you will be getting more value for your buck.

What You Need to Know About Identity Theft Insurance

Unless identity theft insurance is included for free with an insurance policy or is available at a very low cost, purchasing this type of protection is generally a waste of money. First, although identity theft is a very real threat, you are not likely to need to use this insurance coverage. Second, banks and insurance companies generally provide some form of identity theft coverage for free, which means you won't need a separate policy in order to be protected. In fact, if your identity is stole and someone uses your credit card, you can only be held responsible for up to $50 that is charged and many companies waive this expense. Third, most identity theft insurance policies only cover your expenses involved with cleaning up the mess resulting from the theft, not the amount of money you directly lost from the thief or thieves.

Your best identity theft insurance policy is yourself. Be vigilant about protecting your identity and check your credit report regularly and you will likely never have to worry about becoming a victim.

About the Author: Shannon Kietzman is a well known author and trusted resource. Shannon regularly writes for . For more info and to order your credit report with FREE credit score please visit

Buying a Home: It's About More Than Getting a LoanWhat You Need to Know When Purchasing New ConstructionIs a Write Off the Right Option for You?Are Credit Monitoring Services and Identity Theft Insurance Policies Worth the Cost? ~ - How's Your Credit? - Blog