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5 Things You Didn't Know Could Ruin Your Credit!

5 Things You Didn't Know Could Ruin Your Credit!

Watch out for these harmful pitfalls that could ruin your credit and keep you from your new home.

When it comes to buying a home, car, boat and more, your credit score matters. By now you know there's no getting around the financial institutions that weigh on your credit score. But you may not know why your credit score is on a downward spiral, especially when you're trying to play it by the book and maintain flawless credit. So what's really going on that poorly affects your credit? Have you ever checked your credit score only to find yourself shocked and dismayed by the result? If so your credit might be affected by one of these sneaky pitfalls.

1. Generating hard inquiries:

When you start collecting quotes from various lenders, you're being financially savvy. Shopping around and choosing the right lender for a mortgage or a car loan will help you find the best rate possible -- and that translates into savings of much more money throughout the span of your loan. But there's a catch. When you receive a quote on interest rates, lenders look hard at your credit report. They get multiple inquiries within a 14-day span and are counted together. If you stretch out these inquiries over a longer period, each shows up individually. And too many inquiries can really hurt your credit.

2. Skipping out on the little things:

If you think an old library fine from 15 years ago can't hurt you today? It could, if the library system turns that account over to a collection agency or marks it as "delinquent." Unpaid bills -- including utility bills, medical bills and so on, that you thought you paid, -- can cause your credit score to plummet quickly if they're unresolved. In most cases, you can easy fix these matters by settling the outstanding debt you owe. So it is always to a good idea to pull up your free credit report and make sure nothing is weighing you down . Which leads us to another cause to ruin your credit

3. Incorrect information:

You need to pull your credit report regularly. Errors do occur and businesses do make mistakes. If your credit report has incorrect information about your financial records, this could weight heavy on your credit score. If you pull your report and find an error, call the credit bureau that issued the report right away. You'll want to file a claim and start the process of correcting any incorrect data. It can be long and stressful to correct these errors, but in the end it's worth the effort.

4. Utilizing your available credit a little too much:

If you use your credit cards for everyday spending and you pay off your balance in full and on time, you may be wondering why your credit score is still falling. It might be that you're only charging what's affordable and not carrying a balance month to month. What matters is how much credit you have and how much credit you're using. For example, if you have a $500 line of credit and you charge $499 each month, you'll earn a black mark on your credit score even though you pay off all $499. Maintaining a high credit-utilization ratio will hurt your score. Always keep your balances low on all lines of credit.

5. Not using credit:

Perhaps the easiest way to ruin your credit, is not using it at all. If you're afraid of messing up and getting into a financial disaster, or if your scared of the idea of using credit cards, you may negatively impact your score. By not using credit, you don't create a history that shows you're a responsible credit user who can manage your balances and payments. Inactive accounts may even closed over time, and that too can red flag your score. Whether you feel it's fair or not, the fact remains that if you want to purchase a home or car you need a good credit score. If you want to secure the best real estate deals available on the market,always watch out for these unseen score pitfalls that could ruin your credit.

When looking for the best in Real Estate, choose New Mexico Mountain Properties and let us help you find your dream home. With amazing homes for sale in Angel Fire and Taos you are sure to find that perfect home . Maybe land for sale in Taos and Angel Fire might be what you are looking for to build your dream, or live off the land in our stunning Earthship homes for sale in Taos. How about a scenic condo for sale in Angel Fire that puts you close to the slopes? Whatever your fancy, we are here to assist. Call us at 575-377-2626 in Angel Fire 575-758-5852 in Taos or speak directly to an broker at 575-770-3306 we are here to serve and welcome you to our growing community.

7 Quotes To Survive Your Home Search

7 Quotes To Survive Your Home Search

House hunting can be stressful and filled with frustration and challenges. There is hope, just keep these quotes in mind to help guide you through the challenge.

1) Home is the nicest word there is:

Looking for a new home takes time and patience, but it's important to keep in mind that this needs to be a place that makes you happy and where you feel comfortable.

2) It is not the beauty you should look at; it's the construction and foundation that will stand the test of time:

While flashy and glamorous often sell houses, it is the structure and construction that really matter in buying that perfect home. Try to pay just as much attention to the unglamorous things when choosing to buy or rent a home.

3) Patience is bitter, but it's fruit is sweet:

You're friends might tell you about how they went out with a real estate agent on a whim and the first house they looked at was the perfect house. These people need to be ignored. Real estate is like love. Sure, sometimes it happens at first sight, but it really takes patience, understanding, lots of work and examining all the pros and cons.

4) The root of suffering is attachment:

Buddha's quote says it all, when it comes to house hunting, detachment is vital. Until you have all the paperwork signed, there are many things that can go wrong. So don't get attached to that new home quite yet.

5) We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us:

Your home can affect you in many ways. Will that master bedroom without light make you sad? Will having a bigger bathroom give you more work to do? These are questions only you can answer for yourself. So make sure the home you are looking at it truly your dream home.

6) You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus:

You don't want to end up with a lemon that is going to cost far too much to fix up, so what you see at an open house might be just a mask to what's hiding underneath. Look past the sparkle and think about how you can make the space your own. You might be surprised at your own creativity.

7) Home is wherever I'm with you:

When everything is said and done, it's not the building that matters it's the people in it that matter most even if you live alone, a home is all about the people and animals in it. If you can remember that you will always find happiness in every moment that happens inside and outside your home, then the creaky floors or leaky pipes might not be such big deal after all. Home is where your heart and loved ones are.

To help you find that perfect piece of paradise, is New Mexico Mountain Properties we take the time to help you find just what you are looking for, from our stunning mountain homes for sale in Angel Fire and the unique homes for sale in Taos, to the wide open Taos and Angel Fire land for sale. Want seclusion from the mundane try our Earthship homes for sale in Taos and get in touch with nature. Our Angel Fire condos for sale offer beauty and walking distance to the Resort. Whatever your looking for we will help you find it, our agents go above and beyond the normal to give you the extraordinary.!So give us a call at 575-377-2626 in Angel Fire, 575-758-5852 in Taos, or speak to an agent directly at 575-770-3306. Let us serve and welcome you to this truly magical area.

Buying A House

Buying a House

If you are shopping for a new home, one of the most important things you should obtain is homeowners insurance. Many lenders require that you purchase insurance before the sale is final. It is also important to understand the types of insurance that are available and pick the one that's right for you. Also be aware of insurability issues.

When looking into an insurance policy, look at everything. Some only cover the dwelling, additional structures, personal property, loss of use. Others may also provide some liability if a person should get hurt on your property. It is very important to look at your surroundings. For instance, if you live by a river or lake your property could be deemed as high flood risk. Some insurance companies do not cover natural disasters, so always make sure to check over your policy.

Insurance companies will also look at "Acceptability Criteria" like construction, roof, and the use of the home,( whether you are living in it or renting it). They also look at personal past history, as well as if the property has any liability issues, like swimming pools, cliffs or other risks. The lender may also require you to get a home inspection done if it is an older home. So with all the issues that come with buying a new home, having the right insurance can give you piece of mind.

When buying a new home let New Mexico Mountain Properties assist you in finding that perfect home, With two convenient locations in both Taos and Angel Fire you are sure to find what you are looking for. Our stunning Taos homes for sale might spark your interest ,or the lovely Moreno Valley homes for sale in Angel Fire might be just right for you. We also have amazing mountain land for sale in Taos and Angel Fire.... or get in touch with nature in our Earthship homes for sale in Taos. Whatever you are looking for, we can help you find it. Our dedicated agents go that extra mile to find exactly what you require. So give us a call at 575-377-2626 in Angel Fire, 575-758-5852 in Taos, or speak directly to an agent at 575-770-3306. We are here to serve and welcome you to our glorious area.

How Can You Beat a Cash Bidder?

Cash buyers are flooding the real estate market in record numbers to take advantage of bargain housing prices. But these buyers may put consumers who need financing at a disadvantage.

Sellers often prefer cash deals because it can mean faster closings and transactions that are less likely to fall through. Some sellers are even accepting lower offers because they are from cash buyers than higher offers from a financing buyer just because they view it as a more solid deal that will be quicker to the closing table.

So how can your financed buyers compete? Experts offer a few tips.

Get pre-approved or pre-qualified for a mortgage.

Show you're in good standing. You'll improve your chances of getting a seller to accept your bid by having more cash that you're willing to put down, showing you have a stable job, and good credit. Also, a well-prepared, typed-out contract that includes a cover page summary of the contract deals is another way to show you're a serious buyer.

Offer more earnest money. Offering a high down payment and high deposit can also help improve your chances of beating out a cash bidder.

Act quickly. Cash buyers act quickly, so you do, too.

Realize, however, that while some sellers may be highly motivated to accept a cash buyers offer, even if it's lower than others, sellers with more equity in their homes may be less wooed by lowball cash offers. Instead, sellers who still have equity in their homes likely will be more motivated by the best and highest offer, since closing quickly may not be as critical to them.

Source: "How to Beat a Cash Bidder in the Housing Market," MarketWatch (April 13, 2011)

Sellers! Beware of Some Common Mistakes

It's difficult enough to sell your home in a down market. Buyers rule right now and sellers must avoid some common mistakes when they want to sell:

1) When pricing your home, don't rely only on sold properties to arrive at your price. Look at the competitive listed properties in your neighborhood, also. You may even want to take a tour of some in your area to see how your home stacks up against the competition.

2) Choose your agent carefully. You want an agent who's well-versed in all types of marketing: print, online, and social networking sites.

3) Use high-resolution photos, and lots of them when marketing your home. The more the merrier.

4) When your home is being shown, try to be away from the house, if possible. And if you must be there, let the buyers and their agent have privacy to talk about issues or plusses about the home. And don't engage in conversation with them, unless it's to talk about the beautiful day. Don't ever say anything that could come back to bite you.

Rmember, it's a tough market, and you need all the help you can get, so keep the above in mind, and let your agent help you with other do's and don'ts on marketing in your particular area.

10 Things You Need to Buy or Sell a Home

Paperwork! It's scary, a pain, and a daunting detail to consider if you're buying or selling a home. The following list contains pertinent documents you must have in order to close a transaction. It's only a great start, so rely on a reputable real estate agent, title company or lender to inform you of other docs you may need.

1) ID (e.g., driver's license, state-issued ID, passport). Buyers and sellers will need their IDs at the closing table so the title company and lender can determine for sure you are who you say you are.

2) Paycheck stubs. Who must produce it? Any buyer financing their purchase with a mortgage. Sellers, usually only in the case of a short sale. Why? Buyers' purchase price ranges are determined, in part, by their income. And short sellers have to prove an economic hardship.

3) Two months' bank account statements. Who must produce it? Buyers getting financing; sellers selling short. Why? Buyers' lenders now require proof of regular income and proof that the down payment money is your own. Short sellers? It's all about the hardship.

4) Two years' W-2 forms or tax returns. Who must produce it? Mortgage-seeking buyers and short selling sellers. Why? Banks want to see a stable, long-term income. They also limit you to claiming as income the amount on which you pay taxes. And in short sales, again, they want documentation of every single facet of your finances.

5) Updated everything. Who must produce it? Buyer/mortgage applicants. Why? Because things change, and because the time period between the first loan application and closing can be many months - even years! - on today's market.

6) Quitclaim deed. Who must produce it? Married buyers purchasing homes they plan to own as separate property. Married sellers selling homes that they own separately, or joint owners selling their interests separately.

7) Divorce decree. Who must produce it? Buyers and sellers who need to document their solo status or the property-splitting terms of their divorce.

8) Gift letter. Who must produce it? Buyers using gift money toward their down payment. Why? The bank wants to be sure the gift came from a relative, and is their own money to give.

9) Compliance certificates. Who must produce it? Usually sellers, but sometimes buyers, by contract. Why? Some local governments require various condition requirements be met before the property is transferred.

10) Mortgage statement. Who must produce it? Any seller with a mortgage. Why? the escrow holder or title company will need to use it to order payoff demands from any mortgage holder who has to get paid before the property's title can be transferred.

Selling Your Home . . . Buyer/Seller Turn-Offs

Selling and buying homes in most markets today is about as stressful as it can get. Sellers and buyers want to get the best price and terms they can, so avoiding complications is beneficial to both sides! Some common issues are as follows:

1) Trash-talking. Some buyers think they can negotiate the price down by slamming the house, telling the seller how little it's really worth. This doesn't work because it makes the seller defensive. Sellers should avoid being at home while it's being shown. Buyers should save their comments for their broker.

2) Buyers should not waste sellers' time by being unqualified for a mortgage.

3) Buyers should avoid making unjustified lowball offers. And sellers shouldn't get overly emotional if they get a lowball offer. That's what counteroffers are for!

4) Neither party should try to negotiate mid-stream.

5) Sellers should not try to mislead buyers with Photoshopped listing photos or fluffy property descriptions.

Remember, it's a competitive market out there and both sides to a potential transaction should realize that everyone's human and has feelings. Respect for the other party is of paramount importance. Think Aretha, be kind and considerate and honest. That's what gets us farther in life, no matter what the occasion!

Real Estate Market Showing Optimism in Home Owners and Buyers

RISMEDIA, March 14, 2011--The majority of America's potential homebuyers and sellers--68 percent--believe that the real estate market and property values will recover in the next year or two, according to a survey released recently by Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services, Inc., a Prudential Financial, Inc. [NYSE:PRU] company. This exceeds the 47 percent of Americans who expected house prices would rise in a similar survey conducted in April 2010, underscoring a more bullish outlook for the real estate market today.

In addition, 86 percent of Americans believe real estate is a good investment despite the market volatility of the past few years. The Prudential Real Estate Outlook Survey of 1,253 Americans between the ages of 25-64 in the market for buying a home was conducted Jan. 20-27, 2011. The survey reveals that six in 10 respondents are more interested in buying real estate (58%) and are optimistic about buying given the momentum of the economic recovery (59%). It also shows that although the price of many Americans' homes declined during the recession, 89 percent recognize they can also buy a new house at a lower price. "This survey clearly demonstrates that Americans continue to be optimistic about the real estate market and believe that home prices will rise," said James Mallozzi, chief executive officer of Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services, Inc. "A key take away from the survey is although consumers recognize that it is a good time to buy, they are concerned about their ability to sell their homes. This is one of the reasons the market is still struggling to recover."

For those on the fence about buying, uncertainty about selling an existing home (77 percent), concern about getting a fair price for the home (67 percent) and emotions (58 percent) are holding them back. For those who have sold homes in the past year, despite the down market 78 percent report that they were satisfied with the sale. Of these, 32 percent were very satisfied with the final price of their home and 46 percent were grateful they were able to sell given market conditions. A relatively small number, 22 percent, indicated that they were disappointed or resentful about the price they received for their home. The survey highlighted Americans' interest in trading up their homes. Of the 45 percent looking to trade up, 64 percent wanted more space or property, 49 percent a nicer house and 41 percent a better neighborhood. Only 21 percent surveyed said they were looking to scale down, and 34 percent said that they wanted a similar home.

The survey highlighted the importance of getting the right price in today's market --74 percent of buyers believe that many homes could meet their needs and that price is a significant differentiator, while 26 percent stated that they were willing to pay top of market for a home that specifically suits their needs. In setting the right price, however, sellers were split--with 53 percent wanting to price right at or slightly below market to attract more bids and 47 percent wanting to price slightly higher than market and hoping to find a buyer willing to pay more.

Why You Should Own a Home . . . NOW!!

This just in from's Tara Nicholle Nelson. She's giving us the lowdown on the advantages of home ownership:

"Ask a roomful of homeowners what's so great about owning versus renting, and you'll hear them holler in unison: "the tax deductions!" And it's true – homeowners who itemize their taxes are able to deduct 100% of their mortgage interest and property taxes from their income tax returns.

"That means that if you're in a 28% tax bracket, Uncle Sam effectively subsidizes about a third of your borrowing costs or more, making your home more affordable or allowing you to buy a larger home than you could have otherwise. Also, big chunks of your closing costs are tax deductible, and hundreds of thousands of dollars of any profit (or capital gains) that you realize when you sell your home are exempt from income taxes.

"At tax time, it's critical to know what you're entitled to, so you can claim it. So, here are five essential need-to-knows about home-related income tax tips to help you get the most tax-reducing bang out of your home-owning buck – and to avoid hefty home ownership-related tax traps.

1. You Have to Itemize Your Return to Claim Your Deductions

"During the recent debate on Capitol Hill about whether the mortgage interest deduction should be eliminated (it won't be, not anytime soon), it came out that nearly 40% of homeowners lose out on their major tax advantages every year when they fail to itemize their income taxes. If you own a home and otherwise have a fairly simple return, it might be tempting just to take the standard deduction – and if your mortgage, property taxes and income are low enough, the standard deduction might outweigh your homeowners' deductions. But you'll never know if you're losing out on the tax advantages of itemizing unless you try; before you grab a pen and start filling in that 1040-EZ grab those forms from your mortgage company and answer the questions on tax software like TurboTax, which will automatically do the math on whether itemizing or taking the standard deduction will result in the lowest tax bill – or the highest tax refund – for you.

2. Plan Ahead and Be Strategic When Taking a Home Office Deduction

"According to the Small Business Administration, the average home office deduction is $3,686 – multiply that by your tax bracket – 15%, 20%, 30% or whatever it is, and that's what you'll save on your taxes by writing off your home office. Know, though, that the space you designate as your home office cannot be exempted from capital gains tax when you sell your home later. The $250,000 (single)/ $500,000 (married filing jointly) income tax exemption for capital gains is only good on your personal residence, after all – not including any space in your home you've claimed as your tax-advantaged office. If you foresee selling your home for much more than you bought it in the future, near or far, discuss this with your tax preparer to see if the few hundred bucks you save is worth the capital gains complication later.

3. Tax Relief for Loan Modifications, Short Sales and Foreclosures Is Only Around Through 2012

"While the long-term housing outlook is beginning to look up, 2011 is projected to be the peak year for foreclosures during this market cycle. Distressed homeowners who are on the brink of a short sale, loan modification or foreclosure should be aware that normally, any mortgage balance that is wiped out by one of these outcomes is taxed as what the IRS calls Cancellation of Debt Income, or CODI.

"Under the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act of 2007, the IRS is currently not charging income taxes on CODI incurred through a loan mod, short sale or foreclosure on most primary residences through 2012. But right now, banks are taking many months, or even years, to work out mortgages in all of these ways; the average foreclosure in New York state right now occurs only after 22 months of missed mortgage payments. If you foresee any of these outcomes in your future, don't put things off. Do what you can to get to closure on your distressed home and loan, ASAP, while you won't have income taxes to add as the insult on top of your significant housing injury.

4. Project the Income Tax Consequences of a Refinance or Property Tax Appeal

"Homeowners everywhere are working on applying for a lower property tax bill on the basis of the last few years' decline in their home's value. Those who have equity have flocked en masse to refinance their 7% home loans into the 4% to 5% rates of the last few months. These strategies offer some of the heftiest household savings out there for the corresponding investment in time and money they take. But here's a caveat for savvy homeowners who slash these costs: remember that property taxes and mortgage interest, the very costs you're minimizing, are also the basis for the major tax benefits of being a homeowner. So plan ahead for your income tax deductions to go down along with your taxes and interest.

5. Don't Forget Those Closing Costs

"If you bought or refinanced your home in 2010, you may be so focused on your mortgage interest and property tax deductions that you forget all about your closing costs. Any origination fees or discount points that were paid to your mortgage lender at closing are tax deductible on your 2010 return, get this – even if the seller paid your closing costs. If you can't figure out exactly what you paid, look for your HUD-1 settlement statement, that legal sized paper full of line item credits and debits that you should have received from your escrow provider or title attorney at, or just after, closing. Can't find it? Drop your real estate agent or mortgage broker an email; they can usually get a copy to you quickly." Note: This post first appeared on on 2.28.2011.

Selling Your Home

Remodeling Magazine's annual survey of Realtors in 80 cities rank home remodeling projects according to those that bring the greatest cost recovered at resale.

If you want to add curb appeal & interior pizazz to your home before you sell, keep in mind these easy fix-ups:

1. Replace your entry door. Make sure it compliments the style of your house. No one likes to see scuff marks at the bottom of your front door, or paint that's peeling, or scratch marks from your key. Your front door should say, "Welcome to my home", not, "Go away and leave me alone."

2. Replace that nasty garage door with the mold & mud on the bottom from too much rain. Especially if your garage is on the front of the house, make your garage door look as well-maintained as the rest of the exterior.

3. Replace your siding if it's beyond spray washing.

4. Remodel your kitchen but don't spend too much doing it. A few upgrades such a countertops and appliances, along with de-cluttering will make a huge difference in kitchen appeal.

5. Add a deck, but make sure it's done right, with careful attention to craftsmanship. Have a contractor do it so it looks professionally-built, and don't make it too large or too small.

Spring is springing and now's the time to get your home glammed up and on the market. Remember to make your home inviting to prospective buyers by spritzing up the place with a few small updates. They'll pay off in a sale!

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