How to Shop For Your First Home


At some point, many of us grow up and decide we want to buy a house. But not everyone knows the steps they should take for the process to go smoothly.

The first thing you should do is take stock of your finances. Buying a house is an investment, and you're going to be writing a few checks. Make sure your credit score is up to par.

Before you even start shopping, find out how much a lender will be willing to give you. You can get pre-qualified for a home loan. This will help you know the price range to look at.

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Real Estate Industry Sees New Trends


A new survey from reveals three hot new real estate trends: inviting, rustic and beachside charm. These trends are based on people's preferences and what they want in a house.

Inviting spaces offer an open atmosphere with lots of seating and a huge kitchen for guests to gather in.

Rustic spaces incorporate natural elements in the home, such as wood, stone, water and light.

Beachside charm homes offer a relaxed atmosphere with sundecks and terracotta tile - no beach required!

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Virtual Reality Tech Is On The Rise For Real Estate


The future of real estate could be in virtual reality. The trend is picking up in bigger cities and has now reached Tampa.

Previously used for video games, real estate is getting the same treatment, making it easier for home buyers to search and tour houses from the comfort of their own home.

“I think it helps you a lot, because from the comfort of your home you can go throughout the entire house without ever actually wasting your time and your realtor's time to physically go there,”said house hunter Holly Hostler.

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How to Create a Strong Business Credit Profile


Besides personal credit scores, small business owners need to make sure they have a good business credit profile.

"There’s a gap between what consumers understand about personal credit and what business owners understand about business credit," says Brian Ward, a senior director at Experian.

Having good credit will especially come in handy when you need to borrow money.

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Switch to Chip Technology Leaves Credit Cards Vulnerable to Thieves


With all the confusion and delays over the switch to chip credit and debit cards, identity thieves are pouncing on the opportunity.

Many have not yet received their new secure cards, and with so much news coverage, people are waiting anxiously for their new cards to arrive.

"This creates a golden opportunity for identity thieves to attack and steal people's personal information," said Adam Levin, chairman of IdentityTheft 911. "Scammers thrive when there's confusion and anxiety because that's when people are most vulnerable."

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Is Your Love Life Affecting Your Credit Score?


New research from the Federal Reserve Board reveals that your credit score may help you predict how successful in love you will be.

One of the findings was that the higher your credit score, the more likely you are to commit to a long-term relationship. Looking to settle down soon? You might want to find out their credit score first.

Another indicator of success is how well-matched your credit score is to your partners. Those with similar credit scores are more likely to stay together.

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Morgan Stanley Is Back in Real Estate


Morgan Stanley is making a recovery in real estate, after a devastating downturn.

The New York Investment firm raised $1.7 billion for its first higher-risk real estate fund since 2007. Investors include CIC and Australia's sovereign-wealth fund.

Commercial real-estate values are hitting record levels. Deal activity is also up.

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Could Crowdfunding Be the New Thing in Real Estate?


Crowdfunding is gaining momentum in real estate, with the amount of money raised, the size of deals and how fast they occur steadily increasing.

Crowdfunding is a way of raising money, usually through the internet, by getting small amounts from many people.

Nav Athwal, founder and chief executive of RealtyShares in San Francisco, says, "We are very eager to one day be able to open our platform to anybody that wants to put $1,000 or a couple hundred bucks into real estate, because let's face it, real estate is one of the best ways to build wealth and you shouldn't have to have a certain net worth to invest in real estate."

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How to Spot a Scary Real Estate Listing


Halloween is just around the corner, and that means spooky sightings are abundant - but you don't want to see anything nightmarish in a home you're about to buy.

Keep an eye out for listings without interior photos. Could they be hiding something? You should also be on the lookout for listings without a description or with a very short description.

Avoid the fixer-uppers. A small project is doable, but a huge remodeling overhaul is probably not something you want to invest in.

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How To Make Your Credit Score Better


Want to boost your credit score? There are a few simple things you can do to get the number where you need it to be.

Keep track of your utilization ratio. This shows how much of your available credit you're using. Aim to keep that ratio under 30 percent.

The most important thing you can do for your credit score is to make payments on time. Go automatic to avoid any late payments or set up alerts to remind yourself when it's time.

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