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Text-only newsletter stories for Issue 11 Vl. 6


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Headline: Mortgage Rate Math

Shopping around for the best possible mortgage terms is an important part of the home buying process. A few percentage points can make a difference of thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage. Mortgage rates can be a bit of a mystery—especially for first-time homebuyers—so here’s an overview of the most important factors.

Your FICO score

This is the part of the mortgage equation that should come as no surprise. From a lender’s perspective, your financial history is the best indicator of whether you’ll be a stable, responsible borrower. It’s the primary factor in determining your mortgage rate, so if you’re planning on purchasing a home in the near future, concentrate first and foremost on improving your FICO score.

Location and size matters

“Location, location, location” is an old cliché in real estate, but it also applies to mortgage rates. The city, county, and state that you live will factor into your mortgage rate. Mortgage rates can also vary among local lenders and the size of the loan will come into play. The more money you borrow, the higher your interest rate is likely to be, unless you’re also increasing your down payment.

Loan length and type

Lenders incentivize shorter mortgage terms with lower mortgage rates, so you’ll get a more favorable rate for a 15- or 20-year mortgage versus a 30-year mortgage. If you can afford the higher monthly payment, you’ll pay much less in interest over the course of the loan term.


Headline: Five Tips For A Better Closing Day

Buying a home can be a long process. The last thing you want after all your time spent searching for homes and getting the best mortgage rate is to have everything go wrong on closing day. Here are five tips that’ll ensure it goes smoothly.

 1. Schedule a date that works best for you: You have every right to request the closing take place at an ideal time for you, and the other parties in the transaction will usually work with you to make it happen. Whether it’s timing the closing around a pay date or the end of a lease, the first step is finding a date that minimizes stress or conflicts.

 2. Clarify your payment: Many title companies do not accept personal checks, so give yourself a few days to get a cashier’s check or set up a wire transfer.

 3. Double check insurance: You’ll need to arrange for a title insurance policy for your mortgage and purchase homeowner’s insurance (plus flood or earthquake insurance, depending on the area). Make sure your policy begins by your closing date.

 4. Do a final walk-through: You’d be surprised to find that buyers skip this step! Schedule a final walkthrough to ensure that all requested repairs have been made and everything is in working order.

 5. Take action based on walk-through: If any issues are identified, you may need to delay closing or negotiate a discount before the closing date to avoid delays.


Headline: Smartphone security: Be careful with your Bluetooth settings

Bluetooth offers great wireless convenience for your smartphone, allowing you to connect to your headphones, car stereo, wireless speaker, and other devices without dealing with a tangle of cords and wires. However, most of us aren’t careful enough when it comes to Bluetooth security.

As a general rule, you should turn Bluetooth off on your phone whenever you’re not connected to a device. Forgetting to turn it off will reduce your battery life because it continues to drain power even when there’s no device connected. But, there are even more serious concerns than that.

New hacker technologies, called “Blueborne” can scan for open Bluetooth connections and gain access to your device. Once a device has been hacked, it can then be used to gain access to additional devices. It’s not limited to one manufacturer either. Samsung, Google, Apple, and several car audio systems have all shown vulnerabilities.

So as a best practice, follow these two tips:

 1. Keep your phone updated. When Apple or Android releases an update, it’s not just for new operating system features—it also patches security issues.

 2. Make it a habit to turn off Bluetooth. As soon as you step out of your car or power down your headphones, you should turn off the Bluetooth on your phone. If nothing else, your battery will last a little longer.


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