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Buying your first place can be an exciting but often overwhelming experience. From finding "the one" to figuring out how you'll pay for it, you'll face many choices along the road to home ownership. Before you box up your belongings and prepare to put your new welcome mat in place, you'll have to do some serious soul searching. Let's explore the most common decisions first-time homebuyers face.

1. Location vs. square footage?

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When it comes to real estate, the first thought that flashes through most minds is the old "Location, location, location!" But if you want a home in a coveted spot, you may have to make certain sacrifices in order to afford it. For example, if you're seeking waterfront property, a swanky pad in the city, or a

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Very few people are lucky enough to know what they want to do from a young age and even fewer are fortunate enough to see their dream through. You might have wanted to become an astronaut when you were 4 years old, but the chances that you're currently orbiting earth in the International State Station are fairly slim. But what we think we want to do and what we're destined to do aren't always the same thing. Many real estate agents try various professions before they find their true calling. There's an old saying, "A (wo)man does what he can, until his true calling is revealed." Here are eight signs that you were destined to work as a real estate agent:

1. You're very responsive to people and their needs

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When you think of your average rock star, you probably picture him living in a multi-million dollar mansion, surrounded by luxury items galore. But rather than be bothered with flashy art work, a one-of-a-kind wine cellar, or a pricy infinity pool, Michigan native Kid Rock prefers to keep it real. Real simple, that is. The multi-platinum artist, who's sold more than 26 million albums across the globe, hangs his cowboy hat inside a doublewide trailer he placed on the 102 acres he owns outside of Nashville, Tennessee. During The Big Interview with Dan Rather, the artist, whose music spans hip-hop, country, rap, and rock-n-roll, invited the longtime journalist inside his "troublewide." There, he offered a glimpse into the "simple" life and explained why he

Buying a home is, for many people, an essential part of the American dream. But for people with a checkered financial history - and a less-than-perfect credit score - it can feel like a dream that's out of their reach. But just because you don't have a perfect credit store or a pristine financial background doesn't mean you can't buy a home! While it may be a bit more challenging, you can find financing and buy the home of your dreams even if your credit score isn't quite up to the level you'd like it to be. Here are five tips for buying a house (even if you have a less-than-perfect credit score):

1. Make Sure Your Credit Report Is Accurate

If you're worried your financial past might prevent you from securing a mortgage, the first step is to go

There's no arguing there's costs associated with owning a home. But the adverse is also true; there are also definite costs associated with NOT owning a home. The benefits of buying vs. renting has always been a hotly debated topic, with most people believing that — at least in the short term — renting is more cost effective. But most people don't consider the hidden costs of not owning a home and sinking all of your money into your rental. Here are four sneaky ways that not owning a home will cost you:

1. Your pricing is never guaranteed

When you own a home, there are no surprises when it comes to your monthly housing costs. Once you lock in your mortgage, your payment will remain constant throughout the length of your loan (unless you decide

How many layers are there in a lasagna? There's no right or wrong answer to that. Other than, "more than one" probably. Even two is pretty skimpy. So, let's say three is minimal for argument sake. (But, four or more is better.) The number of layers probably just boils down to using up all the lasagna noodles and sauce you have, or getting to the top of the pan you have to use. No exact amount. Use what you've got. But, if all you've got won't stretch to make three layers in the size pan you have, perhaps you should use a smaller pan. At least have the three layers.

This isn't a lasagna lesson.

You could say that it doesn't really matter how many layers there are, as long as it tastes good. And, there really isn't any rule that you can't have a one

Have you ever walked into an open house, or called a real estate agent about a listing, and within minutes, they’re asking you if you are “pre-approved” for a mortgage? If you haven’t, then you have never walked into an open house or called an agent. Or at least enough of them... Just wait. It’ll happen. And you’re going to feel like it’s pretty pushy for them to ask that.

It’s like a joke.

It makes you feel like telling real estate agents this knock-knock joke… You: Knock-knock. Real estate agent: Who’s there? You: Nunya. Real Estate Agent: Nunya who!? You: Nunya business if I’m pre-approved or not! Just show me the house, and I’ll get pre-approved if I even like the house. I can definitely get approved for a mortgage. Probably way more than this

Who doesn't love an open house? Sometimes, the answer to that question, it turns out, is the Realtor® hosting it. Not that the idea of pairing someone with his or her dream home isn't thrilling, but there are plenty of moving parts agents need to put in place before presenting a home to the public. From signs and balloons to snacks and pets, the struggle is real. So real, in fact, that there's a hashtag to lament these common #openhouseproblems. Check out this list and see if you've experienced any yourself.

1. Shoe switcheroo

 

That awkward moment when a broker takes home the wrong pair of shoes and you have to track them down to return them! #openhouseproblems #takeoffyourshoesplease #onlyinnewyork #nyc #haberteam #elliman

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Kids, pets, family: all wonderful treasures that make every day worth living. That is unless you have nice wood floors. Then they’re all hell-spawn sent to destroy your floor to the point where it leaves you on top of your roof, crazed, screaming at the top of your lungs, “SEE, THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!!!” So here’s a list of wood floor hacks that will not only keep your floor beautiful over its lifespan, but you clothed and off of your roof.

1. An iron plus a wet cloth and you can fix dents on your floor. It works on wood furniture too! Just don’t leave it on too long.

 

2. Socks will help you prevent scratches, and allow you to make your furniture look like Flashdance.

 

3. With some toothpaste and a damp cloth you can prove

A lot of people think the best time to buy a house is during the Spring market. And, it is... ...in the sense that more houses are listed for sale in the Spring. But, there's also a heck of a lot more buyers trying to buy those listings. The thing is, some of the houses listed back in the Spring don't end up selling. (Usually just because they were overpriced.) Now, it isn't like new listings don't happen in the Fall. There's always new listings coming on the market. But it's not like, just because it's Fall and not Spring, prices are necessarily going to fall. In other words, new listings aren't likely to list for a lot lower than you would have seen in the Spring. However, the homeowners who did list back in the Spring, are much more likely to be