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The Sub-Prime Mortgage Crisis: What You Need to Know About Buying Real Estate

The buzz word phrase that is causing so much sting these days is indeed, "the sub- prime mortgage crisis". With far too many people having made impulsive and unwise decisions over the past few years, the economy is being led toward an unprecedented economic crisis. The spending wheels have now come off, the housing boom is bust, while foreclosures are at an all time high.

If you are looking to buy in today's market, you should be educated as to the risks and, yes, the potential opportunities. Consult a realtor and mortgage broker whom you can trust. There are still great options in such a market, but you may need to be flexible and you will certainly have to do some proper research.

What you needs to know:

- Yes, there is a situation here. But the sting is not equally distributed. Certain states are carrying the brunt of the bruise. If you are looking into purchasing in today's market, be prepared to be flexible in terms of where you purchase. Before you buy, take a good look at what is, and has been going on in the state you and metropolitan area you are looking in. High unemployment and declining populations are driving prices and the market down in Michigan and Ohio. In California and Florida unchecked sprees of new development have hiked up supply, while demand is turning ever-southward. Investigate and find the safer states for your investment.

- It's now a more difficult task and more expensive to borrow money than it was only a year ago. New mortgage fees have kicked in for people with low or marginal credit scores, bumping up the cost of their mortgages by thousands of dollars. You might want to consider some serious efforts to raise your credit score, if your below 700, before you get into a mortgage.

- In dark times, there is always a light, somewhere. The rash of foreclosures and sliding values have combined to create a serious buyers market. The surplus "well-priced" homes, alongside the Federal Reserves efforts to cut interest rates, will result in opportunities for some. This is a great time to buy if you meet certain criteria. You must have good credit, be planning to stay in, or hold on to your home for several years and have the funds for a decent down payment. This last point may not be mandatory. You can still find zero-down deals. But, to learn from our past would be a wise idea. Having a size able down payment up front reduces your monthly costs. If you can afford to invest and sit on your investment, now could be a good time to buy.

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