HARP is Ending December 31st

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HARP is the Home Affordable Refinance Program.  If you have a mortgage through Fannie Mac or Freddie Mac, you might be able to get your monthly mortgage payment lowered.  You might be able to get low cost financing also.



Housing Prices Going Up

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Median home values have gone up more than 8% over the last year.  The national median home value is now $217,300.  In many of the largest home markets, prices are at an all-time high.  Some people are calling this the most competitive home buying season on record.




Holiday Club Bank Accounts

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Holiday club accounts automatically withdraw money from your checking account each month.  You get the total amount transferred to your checking account once you have met your goal.  There is usually a penalty for early withdrawal so make sure to read all about the plan before you start.

How Much House Can You Afford?

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You can use the Affordability Calculator to see how much your maximum purchase price should be for a house.  You input your gross income and other numbers to come up with this calculation.  See below:



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A HELOC is a home equity line of credit.  A HELOC is actually not a loan, but a line of credit that is secured by your home.  You have to have enough equity in your home to get a HELOC.  The bank will look at the value of your home and how much you already owe on your mortgage.

Stay in Your Home

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If you have a mortgage and you have some financial problems, start exploring your options before you miss a mortgage payment.  Here are some options to avoid foreclosure:


Repayment Plan




Paying with a Credit Card Makes You Spend More Money

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If you pay with a credit card and not with cash, you will be willing to pay more.  The reason is that with credit cards, people look at a product’s benefits, and with cash, people look at a product’s cost.  When you use cash, you have to think about each bill.  When you use a card, you just swipe and you can think about the amount later.



Balance Transfer Credit Card

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A balance transfer can help you pay down your credit card debt faster. You will want a 0% APR for at least 18 months. During that introductory time period, try to pay down the balance while you have 0% interest. Make sure you understand the agreement. After the intro period, you will be charged a credit card interest rate, which can be higher than 25%.

Mobile Banking

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Mobile banking can help you manage your bank accounts and make better decisions.  You can get text messages from your bank and check your account balance.  50% of the people in a recent FDIC survey decided not to buy something at a store because of their bank account balance on their phone.



Ability to Pay

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For certain types of loans, such as payday loans, a lender is required to verify your ability to pay.  They will ask about your income, monthly debt, and housing costs.  Consumers have been getting themselves into trouble by getting into roll over loans, where they roll over the old loan into a new loan, and keep paying fees.  To read more, copy and paste this address into your browser:



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