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6 Mortgage Questions a First-Time Home Buyer May Be Embarrassed to Ask

anyaberkut/iStock Mortgage questions abound when you’re a first-time home buyer. Compounding the challenge is the embarrassment over interrupting the conversation with a would-be lender or seller to ask, “‘Scuse me, what is a credit score? How much money do I need as a down payment?” Everyone knows this stuff, right? No, they don’t all know—so you should ask these …

The Top 10 Real Estate Tax Deductions for 2012

Looking for tips for the 2013 tax year? See 10 Important Tax Deductions for 2013 As the time to file income taxes approaches, we need to take a new look at the changing tax landscape for homeowners. The dynamic atmosphere in Washington, D.C. has a different effect each year on which tax breaks are proposed, …

How Does Paying Off Your Mortgage Affect Your Credit Score?

doockie/iStock A mortgage is probably the largest debt you’ll ever have, and paying it off is a significant achievement. But credit bureaus like Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion might not be as thrilled. “Paying off any debt will certainly affect your credit score, and your mortgage is no exception,” says Michael Mesa, branch manager and certified mortgage …

6 Home Tax Deduction Traps to Avoid: Do You Know What They Are?

RomoloTavani/iStock The tax benefits of owning a home abound—but with all of these rewards come great risks. Even the smartest of homeowners can have the best of intentions when itemizing real-estate-related deductions … only to end up in a pickle when they deduct the wrong things, or the right things for the wrong amount. To make sure you don’t …

This Tax Move Has Made a Lot of Real-Estate Investors Rich

Justin Sullivan/Getty As a real-estate investor, you may want to unload one property and replace it with another. But selling an appreciated property results in a current tax hit. This is a bad outcome if you intend to use the sales proceeds to buy replacement property. The good news: Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue …

FHA Loan Requirements: What Home Buyers Need to Qualify

designer491/iStock If you’re looking up “FHA loan requirements,” you are very likely wondering if you qualify for an FHA loan. These mortgages, which are insured by the Federal Housing Administration, help home buyers secure financing to buy a home despite their low income, lack of savings, or poor credit scores—the kind of things that often prevent people from getting a conventional loan. “FHA …

5 Credit Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs

Ivan-balvan/iStock When it comes to shopping for a mortgage, your credit score is very important. Lenders use your credit score and report to estimate risk, make decisions about interest rates—and decide on your eligibility for loans. Unfortunately, it’s easy for borrowers to make mistakes that affect their credit score, some of which are more costly …