real estate: buying, selling, renting, etc.

Ready to find your first home, or in the market for an upgrade? You’re on the right track -- we’ve got plenty of real estate advice for how to handle the house hunt, manage your mortgage, and how to tackle new home to-do’s. Our easy-to-use tools and helpful tips will help ease your way into a new place. Looking for a place to live forever, or an opportunity for real estate investing? Search thousands of listings near you with our home finder tool. Once you spot a few you like, browse our local pages to find a real estate agent who can help make your home-owning dreams a reality. Want even more help than that? Don’t worry, we’ve got all the basics of buying your first home. Use our mortgage calculator to find out how much house you can really afford. We can help you sort out the pros and cons of condos and co-ops versus houses. Learn what all those real estate terms really mean, and how to find the best interest rate on your mortgage. There’s advice and tips for every step of the way, from hitting open houses to making an offer. You can also find tips on selling your home and on real estate investing. And when you need a pick-me-up or a space to vent, you can chat with other Nesties and share real estate advice, tales from the house hunt, and more. From your first phone calls to putting up the sold sign, we’re here for you!

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How to Get A Home Loan

You can't get that dream home without a mortgage. Here's the complete guide to what you'll need to score a loan.

Proof That You're A Tax-Paying, Income-Earning (Legal) Resident

Any bank is going to need to verify your income level and any debt you're carrying. To check this, lenders will ask for your key paperwork, which includes:

-Photo ID and Social Security card

-Proof of home payments (this could be rent) for the past two years

-Two years' worth of W2 forms and two months' worth of pay stubs

-Checking and savings account statements for the past three months

-A record of debts, including credit cards, student loans and car payments

-Records of any other real estate you own and mortgages you're paying

A Solid Credit Score

First, check your credit score for free. A credit score higher than 780 will get you a prime mortgage rate -- which is currently around 3.25 percent. A 720 credit score will still get you a great interest rate, but things get uglier from there. The absolute bottom of the credit threshold is a score of 620. If you're lower than that, most lenders won't consider your application.

How can you get your score back up? Keep renting for another couple of years, and during that time, pay off your credit cards and make timely payments on all of your loans (i.e. student loans or car loans). Make sure you don't miss any utility, cell phone or other payments by setting up online accounts so that your money is automatically deducted each month.

Check your credit score annually -- but keep in mind that any inquiries stay on your report for two years, so don't overdo it.

Get more tips on buying a home from The Nest.

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