Groups are smaller communities within the larger ActiveRain. Join groups created by others. or start your own and
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This is the place to view the past and present contests put on by ActiveRain and its members. Everyone can join the
group and help encourage each other. Current contest will be highlighted posts so it's easy for you all to see. Let it
Curious as to what others in your profession think about a certain product or tool?
AR's community takes the time to leave honest and transparent reviews of their experiences
so you can be a bit wiser about your purchase.
Broken down by categories and subcategories for easy finds
Get an unfiltered look at what real users are saying
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Add new products as you use them and gain points for doing so
ActiveRain University (ARU) provides free on-line training. We coach, consult and support real estate professionals about real estate trends, technology and social media.
ARU Calendar provides class types and registration links
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Whatever it is you're into and wherever you are, AR surely has a group for you to join.
Brand, off the wall, specific subject matters…whatever it is you're looking for.
Each time you write a post you can syndicate your post to 5 groups.
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Find some that are close to home and close to heart
Each month AR runs numerous contests as a way for our members to engage in activities
that will boost their business and increase their visibility in the community and beyond.
Earn points by partaking in these contest and climb the leaderboard
Do what's good for you and your business by participating
If you have an idea for a contest, just let us know
Stay motivated and on track with new contests popping up each month
Ask a Real Estate Question
Here's another avenue for you to build relationships with others. Share your expertise with someone searching for answers.
Play the teacher role and help someone out today
Your Homepage will alert you of new questions in your state
A wonderful way to open a door to a possible new client
Ask a question yourself to get help
These state pages or hyper-local pages provide content directly related to a specific geographical location.
State, County, City and Neighborhood pages make it easy for consumers to find what they're looking for.
Post your listings, school information, local events, market reports and more
Consumers peruse these pages for information
Farm your niche market and cover all the happenings in your neighborhood
The current market makes it tough for everyone, buyers and sellers alike, albeit for different reasons. A recent Realty Times article places emphasis on basic home buying skills as the key to home ownership.
The current slow housing market and the recent risky lending scandals have led to lenders tightening their purse strings overall. Lenders now want to make certain that borrowers are gainfully employed, can afford to pay their mortgage during its full term and have the extra cash to cover additional costs that crop up during home ownership.
What does this mean for you as a buyer? It means that you need to have all your ducks in a row before shopping for a home. "If people were really responsible for their own financial behavior that would have taken the power away from people who put them in these [risky] loans," says Shawneequa Badger, a real estate agent with CENTURY 21-Alpha in San Jose, California. "There's still a market out there for people to keep things moving. Just stop the irrational financial behavior."
First, you need to realize that the benefits of owing your own home are far greater than any sacrifices you need to make to get into that home now. Next, follow these steps to prepare yourself for the now-rigorous home buying process.
• Set a budget and follow it. The key to responsible finances, and therefore to successful home ownership, is to understand where your money goes and how you can cut costs. If you're not sure where to start, you can check out the Better Business Bureau's budget template at www.bbb.org/ALERTS/article.asp?ID=709.
• Save, save, save, then save some more. Lenders today will expect you to not only have a sizable down payment, but also to have money left over for general home buying expenses, such as taxes, insurance and home maintenance. If your budget reveals that you are spending on some areas in which you can cut back (such as dining out or stopping at Starbucks every morning), make the necessary sacrifices and put the money aside in a savings account. Other recommendations for saving money include clipping coupons, renting movies through the mail instead of going to the movie theatre and entertaining yourself at home rather than going out. As a starting point, you should have three to six months of your net income in savings in case you aren't able to work. You will then have to save for a down payment and other costs on top of that.
• Know your credit report. Order your credit report off AnnualCreditReport.com (the only federally-approved Web site that offers a truly free credit report once annually) and read it completely. Check your report for errors and correct any you find. If your credit score is less than stellar, visit MyFico.com to find out how to improve your report and your credit score.
• Ask for help if you need it. Does your credit report not make sense? Are you not sure how to set up a budget? Do you not know how to calculate what you need to save? Buyers, especially first-time buyers, often need help in these areas and smart buyers will ask for it. Options for help include financial planners or counselors, real estate agents or mortgage brokers, as well as friends and family who are knowledgeable in these areas. You can also ask trustworthy friends and family for references for these types of specialists. Get help setting up goals, understanding mortgage programs, knowing what to expect during the title and escrow process and understanding how to finding and keeping a home - all before you are actually in the market to buy a home. Before you shop for a home, you should also understand market and economic conditions that could impact your home buying decision, including home prices, mortgage rates, home buying costs and other related issues. Another option for self-education is to attend real estate workshops, seminars and classes. You can also browse for information online. Start with MyMoney.gov and the Better Business Bureau. Above all, the best thing to have on your side is a good advocate, which means finding a reliable, trustworthy Realtor to guide you through the process, from start to finish.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.