"Broom clean" condition: Such a quaint term, isn't it? Often spotted on real estate contracts or rental leases (along with its kissing cousin, "broom swept" condition), anyone who's moving out might wonder what it really means. In other words, how clean should you leave your place for the new inhabitants? More important, what happens if you don’t bother?

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What you need to get a mortgage is by no means obvious: Do you just show up at a bank with a checkbook and a smile? Hardly! Mortgages aren't handed out to just anyone, but require a lengthy screening process. Just so you know everything you need to bring to the table, here's a guide on how to please the lending gods so they deem you worthy of receiving a huge pile of cash...and what to do if you haven't covered these bases quite yet so you'll pass muster soon enough. Let's jump in! Here are the essentials:

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If you've found yourself unable to afford your mortgage payments, you're not alone. In fact, 3.2 million households find themselves in that position, according to Black Knight Financial Services. In the real estate world, many people refer to this as an underwater mortgage. So what does that all-too-common euphemism actually mean and what are your options?

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While most home buyers spend their time at an open house passively observing the layout of the rooms and the name brands on the kitchen appliances, smart buyers know the things that are really important to look for when buying a home.

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When you’re flipping a house, time is money. And you don’t have time to make a lot of rookie mistakes.

That’s what Steve Cederquist learned when he first began renovating and flipping properties in 1994.

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“Should I buy a house?” This life-changing question is not something you casually ask the magic eight ball and get hit with a vague answer like, “Concentrate and ask again.” Instead of shaking a plastic novelty globe, there is an empirical way to find out if you should, in fact, buy a house or not—like asking yourself these questions below.

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Homes aren’t impulse purchases. It takes time to sift through listings and make your way from one home showing to the next; then, of course, there are those agonizing hours you wait to find out if your offer on a house was accepted, whether you can secure financing, and any number of other holdups.

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A new home means a fresh start: new paint, a new bedroom, even a fresh take on arranging your old furniture.

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Most people don’t plan on living in their first (or second or maybe even third) home forever, but knowing when the time is right to put that baby on the market can be tricky.

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Whether you’re a seasoned house hunter or a first-time buyer, the process of purchasing a home has plenty of pitfalls. And while you may assume that sellers are being upfront, it’s not uncommon for them to gloss over some of their home’s shortcomings.

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