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First-time home buyer guides, helpful mortgage tips, and easy-to-follow articles to make you a better first-time buyer.

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What is Rent-to-Own?
Just Starting
3 min read

What is Rent-to-Own?

Rent-to-own is a real estate agreement where a tenant leases a home with an option or obligation to purchase it at the end of the rental…

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What is Multiple Listing Service?
Just Starting
3 min read

What is Multiple Listing Service?

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a comprehensive database of homes for sale, often managed by groups of real estate professionals.…

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What are Lender Overlays?
Just Starting
3 min read

What are Lender Overlays?

Lender overlays are additional qualification standards that lenders impose on home buyers, over and above the minimums established by the official…

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What is Real Estate Taxes?
Just Starting
3 min read

What is Real Estate Taxes?

Real estate taxes, also known as property taxes, are levies imposed by governments on a homeowner. Real estate taxes are based on the home's assessed…

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What is a Credit Bureau?
Just Starting
2 min read

What is a Credit Bureau?

A credit bureau is a company that gathers, maintains, and provides information to mortgage lenders about a home buyer's credit…

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What is Underwriting?
Just Starting
3 min read

What is Underwriting?

Underwriting is the process by which a mortgage lender evaluates a home buyer's mortgage application and determines whether the mortgage should be…

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What is a Letter of Explanation?
Just Starting
3 min read

What is a Letter of Explanation?

A Letter of Explanation is a personal document provided by a mortgage applicant to a lender, explaining specific details within their mortgage…

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What is Seasoning?
Just Starting
3 min read

What is Seasoning?

Seasoning refers to the length of time that money is in a home buyer's bank account before it's used to purchase a home. Longer seasoning periods are…

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What Is Title?
Just Starting
3 min read

What Is Title?

Title refers to the legal right to own, use, and dispose of real estate…

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What Is Title Insurance?
Just Starting
3 min read

What Is Title Insurance?

Title insurance is a form of indemnity insurance that protects lenders and home buyers from financial loss related to defects in a title to a…

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What Is A Soft Credit Check?
Just Starting
2 min read

What Is A Soft Credit Check?

A soft credit pull, also known as a soft credit inquiry, is a credit check that does not affect a home buyer's credit score. Soft credit pulls are…

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What Is A Balloon Mortgage?
Just Starting
3 min read

What Is A Balloon Mortgage?

A balloon mortgage is a home loan that offers a low, fixed interest rate for five to seven years, after which the remaining loan balance is due in a…

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What Is Prepaid Expenses?
Just Starting
3 min read

What Is Prepaid Expenses?

Prepaid expenses are specific charges home buyers must pay at closing, including prepaid interest, property taxes, and insurance…

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What Is Clear-to-Close?
Just Starting
3 min read

What Is Clear-to-Close?

"Clear-to-close" is the final stage of mortgage underwriting, signifying that all prerequisites have been met and your mortgage lender has given the…

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What Is Boarder Income?
Just Starting
3 min read

What Is Boarder Income?

Boarder income is a homeowner's earnings from people who rent and live in spare rooms or sections of a…

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What Is A Basis Point?
Just Starting
2 min read

What Is A Basis Point?

A basis point is a unit of measure in finance. One basis point equals 0.01%, or one-hundredth of a…

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What Are Mortgage-Backed Securities?
Just Starting
3 min read

What Are Mortgage-Backed Securities?

Mortgage-backed securities (MBS) are investment products based on groups of mortgage loans, which play a significant role in determining mortgage…

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What Is A Lien?
Just Starting
4 min read

What Is A Lien?

A lien is a financial claim on a property initiated when a person owes money and removed when the debt is…

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