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5 Things that Kill Your Credit Score

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1. YOU PAY OFF THE WRONG DEBT

You would think paying off any debt would help your score, right? Not quite—it seems some debts are preferable than others. Auto loans, if paid off early, can potentially decrease a credit score.

2. YOU ONLY USE ELECTRONIC STATEMENTS

So you turned off paper bills, thinking you were saving trees… but records show that consumers tend to pay closer attention to paper statements versus email bills, which could end up in the spam folder or ignored over time. Only turn off paper if you’re meticulous about never missing a monthly payment, otherwise opt for both paper and an email notice to cover your bases.

3. YOU ASK FOR A HIGHER LIMIT

Some credit card issuers tend to issue credit limit increases automatically, without the cardholder requesting them, and don’t come with a hard inquiry to your credit, which can lower your score.

4. YOU CO-SIGN FOR A SIBLING, FRIEND, OR LOVER

Co-signing for a credit card, student loan, auto-loan/lease, cell phone, or even an apartment rental can have a negative impact to your credit score if the person bails on making payments.

5. YOU FORGET TO FILE YOUR TAXES

We all get busy and forget stuff, but if you fail to file and pay taxes you could see the result show up on your credit report.

Knowing what not to do with your credit history is as important as knowing what to do. If you’ve made any of these mistakes, don’t panic! It’s never too late to get your credit score back up to the number you want it to be.

Source: societyofgrownups.com By Jennifer Nelson

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Top reasons your Mortgage Loan Application was declined

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  1. Poor Credit History

Your credit history is a great way for a lender to tell whether you’re a risky investment or not.

  1. Insufficient Income

A lender can tell if you’re able to afford a mortgage payment by looking at your income to debt ratio.

  1. Down Payment is Too Small

A lender looks at the down payment as an investment in their future home, so a low down payment does little to put their mind at ease.

  1. Problems With the Property

A denial doesn’t always have to do with the homebuyer. Sometimes a property’s value isn’t enough to back the amount of the mortgage loan being applied for, and therefore is denied.

  1. Inadequate Employment History

A consistent employment history can be a very valuable thing when applying for a home mortgage loan. Source: bluewatermtg.com

Why Do Interest Rates Change?

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We’re all familiar with interest rates. Most of us have a credit card, student loan, or mortgage, and some of us have all three. And although consumers often are able to lock-in fixed interest rates on certain financial products like certificates of deposit (CDs), interest rates nevertheless are constantly in flux. For example, the federal funds rate—the rate at which banks lend to other banks and the basis for most consumer interest rates in the United States—has moved about quite a bit, from 0.25% to 19% since 1954. What causes rates to vary so much? There are many reasons, but two key factors are the supply of money and inflation.

The Money Supply

The US central bank—better known as “the Fed”—has two primary goals: full employment and stable prices. The Fed seeks to achieve these goals through monetary policy that can increase or decrease the money supply. The Fed primarily controls the supply of money by buying or selling government bonds through a process known as open market operations. Banks hold reserves at the Fed and through open market operations the Fed enters into transactions with banks to buy or sell government bonds. When the Fed buys securities from a bank, the Fed increases the amount of money in the bank’s reserve account at the Fed. With a greater supply of money on hand, the bank has an incentive to reduce the rate of interest it charges borrowers.

The interplay between borrowers’ demand for money and lenders’ supply of money also has an impact on interest rates. At the micro level, if a bank experiences greater demand for its loans relative to its supply of deposits, then its interest rates tend to rise. In order to lend additional money, the bank must incur additional costs—either from borrowing money from another bank, raising capital, or increasing the rate it must pay depositors to attract additional deposits. Ultimately, the bank passes these costs on to borrowers in the form of higher interest rates.

Inflation

Interest rates also can vary because of inflation. When determining the interest rate to charge borrowers, lenders factor in their estimates of what future price levels will be in order to ensure lenders will profit from the loan. High inflation, or anticipated inflation, will result in higher interest rates. For example, in the 1970s, the United States experienced greater levels of inflation after the Federal Reserve “loosened” the money supply. The Fed’s intention was to reduce unemployment, but it not only failed to keep unemployment in check, but also resulted in inflation that averaged almost 10 percent from 1974 to 1981. In response, the Federal Reserve “tightened” the money supply, taking money out of circulation by selling government bonds. As a result, the federal funds rate skyrocketed from five percent in 1976 to over 13 percent in 1980, in large part because there was significantly less money to loan out than was being demanded by consumers and businesses.

From the early 1980s through today, interest rates have fluctuated significantly. After the hyperinflation of the 1970s, interest rates remained high during the early 1980s, peaking in 1981 at over 16 percent. During the mid 1980s and early 1990s, the federal funds rate declined, ranging from 5 to 8 percent. Spurred by the economic boom of the 1990s, interest rates hovered between 3 and 6 percent, hitting the top end of the range as the dot-com and housing bubbles burst during the early 21st century. At present, the federal funds rate is below 0.25%, near an all-time low.

The Federal Reserve has kept the fed funds rate low in an attempt to stimulate borrowing, investment, and the economy as a whole. Whether or not low rates will bring about a speedier recovery is uncertain, but one thing is for sure: when interest rates start to rise, supply and demand and inflation considerations will almost certainly be the driving forces behind it.

Source: simple.com by by Ted Iobst

How does your business survive when sales are slow?

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Here are 10 tactics small business owners use to keep their businesses afloat during slow seasons…

  1. Cement every client relationship. Conducting one-on-one meetings with every customer to ensure complete customer satisfaction and to renegotiate temporary rates to keep the business where necessary has been a key strategic move during this season.

  1. Focus on advertising. My best tip for keeping business afloat during slow season is to focus on advertising, and actually invest and spend on advertising. In other words, take a counter-intuitive approach to advertising. Why? Because in the summer season for instance, advertising is a lot less competitive as most businesses (with the exception of travel) spend less during the summer. You can buy advertising cheaper, and you can also make your business stand out because of less competition. Consumers don’t just “shut off” in the summer, and in fact most consumers are predisposed to spend more money in the summer months, which can make advertising pay off.

  1. Get active. When things are slow, I have a number of actions to take to get myself in action again. You can’t rely just on online sales. I participate in craft fairs and flea markets and will often set up a sale to bring in new customers. I am also approaching stores to talk to the owners or managers about wholesaling my work. Finally, I do custom work. I have done a few pieces for people in my building and that leads to others who want jewelry made just for them.

  1. Recharge your business. As my company experiences slower moments, we leverage those opportunities to concentrate on ways to recharge and grow the business. So often, we are so busy serving clients that we often do not take sufficient time to organize ourselves, come up with new ideas and processes, and to shine the light on our own company. Thus, we change the emphasis at those times to truly working on our business, instead of solely in it, which recharges, educates, trains, and connects us. Further, as a marketing company, we brainstorm and work on our own marketing initiatives, as they seem to fall by the wayside in favor of our clients’ marketing.

  1. Produce more sales. This is the highest and best use of my time as without new sales the business will certainly fail. Spending two full days per week in the field with the sales team is an absolute must for the remainder of this year to ensure our revenues. , CEO of Estrada Strategies, a CEO coaching firm based in Southern California.

  1. Take your business online. We shut down the brick and mortar side of the business to preserve cash and save the business and operated solely online, leveraging top organic search placement in the search engines, in addition to paid search strategies. Everything online is trackable and measurable–there’s no fat. The online marketing emphasis helped us survive, preserve cash and reach a national client base.

  1. Do “good” work. When things are slow in my business, I find myself taking on more pro-bono work and volunteering. It not only allows me to use my time and talents for the greater good, but it also provides a platform me to try out new ideas or tools that have been wanting to implement. I volunteer because I am passionate about the cause, but it generally leads to more business opportunities as well!

  1. Adapt to the season. Some seasons are slower than others but if you keep your business relevant to what’s currently going on, your customers will appreciate the sentiment. Offer deals, contests, and giveaways pertaining to the holidays. Another appreciative notion your customers will take positive notice of is giving a nice ‘thank you shout out’ to all of your loyal supporters in your newsletter. Around the winter months remind your customers they are all priceless presents to your company.

  1. Improve efficiency. We’ve always tried to make sure that we keep on improving the efficiency of our operation. When we say we make our operation more efficient, it means we try to scale well when business grows. When we first began, our focus was obviously to grow the sales / revenue. However, as we grew, we made sure that our revenue / employee ratio continued to increase instead of decrease.

  1. Manage the bottom line. Cutting out all luxury expenses and managing the numbers month-by-month to maintain profitability and positive cash flow has been the most difficult thing to do. We get comfortable justifying many expenses in our business that are not operational critical and can be either completely eliminated, differed for a future date or cut back. Source: brandmakernews.com

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Email: your perfect secret sales weapon

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It puzzles me that the majority of businesses try to take potential customers from “nice to meet you” to “let’s get married” in the space of a couple of web pages, rather than taking the long view with email. Web pages are very weak for filling in the meat of the selling process, no matter how good you are at copywriting (and let’s face it—few of us are that good). But they are great for starting that process by capturing an email address—and for finishing it by providing an easy-to-use mechanism for payment. But even a half-competent copy monkey using email over the course of weeks can blow away the best A-level copywriter’s sales page, which has to sell then and there.

With email you can ask all kinds of questions using quick surveys, and deal with all the angles or reasons people might buy, without having to sound like you’re assuming anything about any particular person. If you’re cunning, you can even use systems like Office Autopilot or InfusionSoft to email people based on where they are in the buying process, what the most important benefit is to them, and so on.

That’s just impossible to do in a single web page.

Furthermore, email, by its very nature, lets you do this gently, gradually, without pressure—either for your prospect, or for you. And this is really important, because as I’ve said, when you feel pressured you automatically respond by trying to control the wrong outcomes (point #1). Email gives you lots of little chances to tell your prospect how to get what he wants, instead of one big chance you’re afraid of blowing.

Plus, because it is a highly personal medium, you give your prospect the reassurance he can reply and talk to you directly if he’d like.

All this combines to make a perfect environment for getting more sales. In fact, using email is perhaps the perfect way to sell. It removes the appearance of selling entirely, and replaces it with an ongoing conversation, where you simply keep telling your prospect how to get what he wants.

How well are you implementing the points above? Have you found any places you can use them in your existing processes? Are you using email to sell—or thinking about it? Share your experience in the comments below. Source: blog.kissmetrics.com by Bnonn

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Can you really get a loan to buy a house with ITIN number?

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An ITIN home loan is designed to allow borrowers to obtain a mortgage despite not having a social security number. While this may be good news for people who live within the United States undocumented, these loans have promoted plenty of debate as to who should be allowed to purchase a home and who should not.

ITIN Home Loan Explained

ITIN is an acronym for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. Not everyone is eligible for a social security number, so the Internal Revenue Service issues an ITIN to people who live and work within the United States in an effort to track their income and allow them to pay taxes. An ITIN home loan makes it possible for these undocumented workers to purchase a home, even if they reside within the United States illegally.

People are supposed to be able to obtain an ITIN from the IRS without fear of the information being forwarded to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The IRS is only concerned with getting the proper tax income from people and is not in the business of searching out illegal immigrants within the borders of the United States. For this reason, people who may not have otherwise ever paid taxes have no reason to avoid paying, but now also have the capability to request credit.

Lack of Documentation

Mortgage loans used to be issued routinely without much documentation from the applicant. These were called No-doc loans and have become quite undesirable to lenders because of the high degree of risk associated with lending money to borrowers who cannot document employment histories, income history, or other documentation.

Nonetheless, lenders still remain who are willing to make these types of loans. It is these lenders who are most likely to offer ITIN home loans to applicants who do not have social security numbers or permanent residency within the United States.

Extra Costs and Wait Time

Applying for an ITIN home loan is a little more complicated than applying for a conventional home loan. Potential complications with an ITIN mortgage application include:

Lack of credit history. Credit histories are based on social security numbers, and therefore it may be difficult – if not impossible – to gauge the creditworthiness of an applicant who has an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number instead of a social security number.

Problems with income verification. Employers are reluctant to document the wages they pay to workers who are not authorized to work within the United States. Many undocumented workers receive cash and have no way to prove their incomes.

Problems verifying a good payment history. Some mortgage lenders will give loans to people who don’t have credit histories as long as they can prove a payment history of some sort. Since undocumented workers may not have utilities and other bills in their own name then applicants may have difficulty with proving they can make payments in a timely manner.

ITIN home loans are issued to people, but the process takes much longer on average and the amount of fees can be astronomical compared to a conventional loan. The lender takes on much more risk when approving an ITIN loan and expects to be compensated accordingly. Since people without social security numbers don’t have many other options available to them, if they want to own a home they either need to save up the money to buy the house in cash or instead seek out a loan designed for people in their situation.

The interest rates with these loans are usually much higher than with traditional mortgage loans.

No SSN

Not everyone who has a ITIN illegally resides within the United States. There are some immigrants who reside within the country legally and with full documentation, but do not have social security numbers. ITIN mortgages are for this population as well.

The more documentation available regarding an applicant’s income and credit history, the easier the application process will be. Source: lovetoknow.com

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10 rules for multiplying personal wealth

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Rule 1: Be systematic, unemotional and diversified

This is the very first rule we touch on right from the beginning. There’s a popular bumper sticker that says, “I’m spending my grandkids’ inheritance.”

That whole idea just frustrates me. In some ways, our society’s personality is such that if we can spend our money before we die, we’ve lived a great life. But you can’t do that.

Rule 2: Never spend principal

That’s the second rule. Inflation has gone above 10 per cent in the US economy five times, and I’d bet you it will happen again.

Rule 3: Never borrow money to buy a depreciating asset

Almost everybody does this at some point. But as soon as possible, and definitely by retirement, you have to get back to a cash basis.

How many people know what a $30,000 car bought on credit costs them at age 25? In retirement dollars, at age 65 and assuming a hypothetical 10 per cent return, that financed car could cost as much as $11,314 a month in potential income. Forever!

So, do you or your children understand what an “investment” in a car really costs you? Yes, I know we all buy cars. But try to imagine what would happen if I got every 25-year-old to forgo just one car purchase and invest that same amount of money in their long-term retirement goals. What a huge difference that could make to their choices at retirement!

Rule 4: Never save money in a spending account

Keep separate bank accounts for saving and spending. You have to save in savings accounts. If you truly want those savings to grow, use an account that helps you leave the money at work, rather than a “slush fund” that’s easy to dip into.

People tell me they are saving $545 a month in an account. Yet when I ask them how much they have accumulated after seven years of doing this, their answer is often $1,123 because they spend out of that same account.

It is not a save-to-save account — it’s a save-to-spend account! If you know you’re not naturally a disciplined saver, make it harder to get at the money. You’ll be doing yourself a favor in the long run.

Rule 5: Use half, save half

Every time you pay off a debt, get a pay raise, get a bonus, or have any excess cash, have fun with half the money, and put the other half toward your long-term goals.

This is one of the best rules, especially for younger people. By following this rule consistently, in ten years, most people are amazed at how much they can save.

Whether you save or not has nothing to do with how much money you make. Either you save or you don’t. It’s a habit. Make a habit of investing half of any windfall, big or small, right off the top.

Rule 6: Always use matching money

For example, your employer’s 401(k) matching program (in India, the employer’s matching Providend Fund Contribution, for example).

Do whatever you must to take advantage of matched contributions in a retirement plan. You can’t afford not to take the free money.

Hypothetically speaking, if you invest $100 take-home pay in a taxable investment (25 per cent tax on growth) at an assumed 10 per cent return, you would potentially have $135,586 in 30 years (sales charges and fees not included).

If you put the same $100 into your 401(k) that is 100 per cent matched, now you have $150 a month saved because of the tax savings.

Meanwhile your boss adds $150 because of the match — and it grows tax-deferred, too! Using the same hypothetical return scenario, we have $683,797 to live on — five times as much wealth with the same work.

Sometimes being smart with our money is a phenomenal advantage. This is a classic example of where investor behavior, not investment performance, makes a huge difference in your long-term wealth potential. You can hate your boss, or plan to quit, but you must take advantage of the matched money.

Rule 7: Do not spend more than you make

This should seem painfully obvious, but people often have no idea how much they’re really spending and what relationship that has to how much they make.

In making a budget people often cannot account for 30 per cent of the money they earn and where it goes.

If you are just a little more vigilant, you can significantly enhance your long-term ability to reach your goals.

A budget doesn’t happen by accident; it takes practice and is an ever-changing tool in our financial planning. Practice makes perfect. Although “perfect” is never the ideal word for a budget, it does have more meaning and usefulness the longer we practice its use.

Rule 8: Never leave undivided real property to joint beneficiaries

Lots of things are more important than money. Family is probably at the top of the list. If you want a vicious family feud on your hands, breaking this rule would be a great place to start.

Imagine a farm that gets left to four sons: One has farmed it for 20 years; one is an environmentalist and wants it to be a park; one is broke and needs money; and one could not care less about it. Who will get wealthy from this plan? The attorneys. And the kids and grandkids will probably hate each other forever.

Remember that ‘equal’, ‘equitable’, and ‘fair’ are three different words with three totally different meanings.

Rule 9: Never name co-trustees or co-executors of your estate

This one goes right along with the undivided property rule above. Next to poor planning, litigation can be the biggest financial drain on an estate.

Minimize the number of trusted decision-makers, and you’ll reduce your chances for litigation. What’s more, the entire process will be easier and more efficient with one decision-maker.

Rule 10: Above all —

–Be happy with what you have, and it will lead to both unbelievable financial success and personal (not mere financial) wealth! Source: rediff.com

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9 secretos de Millonarios para afrontar el año 2016

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Millonarios destacados de alrededor del mundo comparten el truco de su éxito. Aquí te traemos estos 9 consejos para alcanzar tus objetivos en el nuevo año y convertirte en uno de ellos

  1. Si estás empezando, es demasiado pronto como para darte el lujo de tomar vacaciones. Trabaja, que esa es una buena palabra.

  1. Desvincúlate de las amistades que sean un caso perdido: las que son flojas, beben mucho o faltan a trabajar. Eso podrá reducir un poco tu círculo de amigos pero en los negocios ellos solo te van a perjudicar.

  1. Debes armar tu negocio de la manera correcta y por las razones correctas. Si sólo lo haces por dinero, entonces tendrás un negocio de corto plazo.

  1. Piensa digitalmente. Lo digital es una parte vital de los negocios hoy en día y eso va más allá de simplemente tener un buen sitio internet y estar en las redes sociales.

  1. Diversifica, piensa en cómo tu negocio puede crecer.

  1. Escucha, nunca dejes de escuchar a tus clientes. Ellos son la fuente más vital de información y sus comentarios son invaluables

  1. Cuando estés dirigiendo tu negocio, concéntrate en lo que te hace diferente, no lo que sea genérico

  1. Haz lo que más temas primero. Enfréntate a la tarea que menos te guste al comienzo del día. Eso requiere una disciplina increíble pero cuando hayas completado la tarea, no tendrás que malgastar energía preocupándote de lo que has estado evitando.

  1. Continúa implementando nuevas estrategias. Muchas compañías se vuelven dependientes de un solo gran cliente o proyecto y de pronto, cuando eso ya no está, se ven en serios problemas. Source: eldeber.com

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5 GOLDEN RULES of Excellent Real Estate Customer Service

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Providing great real estate customer service is an incredible way to build trust and loyalty. Apply these “Golden Rules” diligently to wow your clients and increase referral business.

Let empathy be your guide:

Having empathy means having the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand what that person is feeling. No matter the circumstances (first time buyer, investor, downsizer, re-locator) a real estate transaction is a big deal and it’s always personal. Whether you have to deliver bad news or you feel like a client is being a pest, take a step back and put yourself in their shoes. Empathy not only helps you to relate to your clients, but feeling empathetic will also help guide your ability to communicate, problem-solve, react and at the very least make the customer feel understood.

Be engaged & responsive:

Clients expect immediate follow up (which makes lead nurturing software like Zurple great, especially for new leads). In real estate, you aren’t treated like an organization with business hours – you will get calls and emails after hours and on weekends.

The key isn’t necessarily being available to answer emails at 1am (work/life balance is a great topic for another day). Instead, the key is reacting in a timely manner – and if you don’t have all the answers don’t leave your customer hanging. Keep them updated and try to give accurate timeframes whenever possible. Make it a priority to follow through when you say you will.

Pro Tip:

Let Conversations help! Our intelligent software automates fast, relevant, effective lead follow-up. See how it works.

Remember abc – always be communicative:

Good, clear communication is highly underrated in a high speed world of “lol” and “omg”. How you communicate and how well you communicate will leave a strong impression on a client. Taking time to construct a thoughtful, well-written email or calling instead of texting for more important discussions will give your client great comfort that they are in good hands.

Go the extra mile:

Give your clients a “wow” moment whenever possible – and keep in mind that wow moments don’t have to be complicated. They can be as simple as providing additional information that was not requested. Think beyond the stated question and seek the implied follow up question – so when your client asks “what are the HOAs at this condo?” don’t just provide the HOAs for that one unit. Follow up with more information – maybe some comparable condos where HOAs are lower and ask questions about what amenities are important to them so you can guide their search.

Show your appreciation:

You are nothing without your customers so be sure to show them how much you care. Make sure your clients feel appreciated for choosing to work with you. Many agents do this with a closing gift (already a great concept), but rather than going the generic route, choose something meaningful. We compiled a list of a few ideas here.

A handwritten “thank you” note makes a great impression too. To show true appreciation let them know why you enjoyed working with them (i.e. were they patient, funny, knowledgeable, easy-going?). Also try sending them a note or give them a call to wish them a “Happy Anniversary” to celebrate the date they closed or moved in. There are countless ways to make people feel special but these small acts of kindness can go a long way in building personal connections with your clients.

Empathy may sound easy, but if you are having a bad day it can be difficult to see someone else’s perspective. It’s easy to have a great idea for a closing gift but it takes effort to make the purchase. It’s easy to find out the HOA fees on that condo but it takes enterprise to dig deeper. Real estate is all about relationships and the strongest relationships take effort. Source: zurple.com by Michelle Salatto

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¿Y si no puedes pagar el préstamo hipotecario?

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¿Ahora qué puedes hacer? Lo primero es no caer en pánico y lo segundo informarte bien. Esto es lo que debes saber.

Un asesor de vivienda aprobado por el Departamento de Vivienda y Desarrollo Urbano de EEEU podría ayudarte discutiendo las opciones que tienes disponibles. Algunas opciones podrían ser:

– Obtener una modificación del préstamo.

– Obtener una indulgencia por incumplimiento

– Vender la casa al descubierto

– Entregarle la casa al prestamista a través de una escritura en lugar de ejecución hipotecaria

Un asesor de vivienda aprobado por el HUD puede ayudarte a determinar cuál de tus opciones disponibles es la mejor. Hay asesoría para prevención de ejecuciones hipotecarias y servicios de asesoría para personas sin vivienda disponibles sin cargos a través del Programa de Asesoría de Vivienda del HUD. Si tienes problemas con el pago de tu propiedad, llama hoy al CFPB: 1-855-411-CFPB (2372) y sigue las instrucciones grabadas para hablar con un asesor de vivienda aprobado por el HUD. Soruce: consumerfinance.gov

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