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A mortgage is a long-term loan on a specific piece of property. Typical payments are made over periods of 15, 20, or 30 years.

Banks, savings and loan associates, credit unions, and mortgage companies are the typical forms of home financing.Applying for a mortgage involves three basic steps: 1. Complete the actual mortgage application. Next, a meeting between the lender and the borrower is scheduled. The borrower presents evidence of employment, income, ownership of assets, and amounts of existing debts. At this point, most lenders charge an application fee between $100 or $300. 2. The lender obtains a credit report and verifies other parts of the borrower's application and financial status. 3. The mortgage will now be approved or denied. The decision is based on the potential borrower's credit fixed transfer rate lowest cards without credit fees and financial history as well as an evaluation of the home (including its location, condition and value). Home buyers who are denied a mortgage may seek assistance under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.*Important Note The approval application usually locks in an interest rate for 30-60 days.To qualify for a mortgage, you must meet criteria similar to those for other loans. The home you buy will serve as security (collateral for the mortgage). The major factors that affect the affordable of your mortgage are; your income, other debts, the current rates. Here are basic 5-Step Mortgage Qualifying Steps 1. Indicate your monthly income. 2. Multiply your gross income by .28 (or .36 if you have other debt). 3. Subtract the monthly debt payments and estimate monthly cost for property taxes and home owners insurance. You arrive at your affordable monthly mortgage payment(ammp). 4. Divide the ammp buy your mortgage term and rate. Multiply that by $1,000. This is the affordable mortgage amount(ama). 5. To obtain the affordabel home purchasing price, divide ama by the amount being financed.A key to getting a lower rate on your mortgage is making a large down payment. A large down payment of 20% or more will make it easier to obtain a mortgage. You need to plan ahead and start aggressively saving money for a down payment. Personal savings, pension plan funds, sales of investments or other assets, and assistance from relatives are common sources of down payment money. Parents may help their children purchase a home by giving a cash gift or a loan, depositing money with the lender to reduce the interest rate on the loan, cosigning, or acting as comortgagors.The private mortgage insurance is required if the down payment is less than 20 percent. The coverage protects the lender from financial loss due to default. PMI charges, which the borrower pays, vary depending on the amount of the down payment. These costs may be paid in full at the closing or are sometimes financed over the life of the mortgage, depending on the type of financing. It's important to note that after build up 20 to 30 percent equity in a home the buyer may cancel the private mortgage insurance.2

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Rather than luck, getting the best rate on your auto loan is a skill that can be learnt, where knowing how to negotiate is the crucial component to getting the best deal for yourself. The best way to dispel nerves while negotiating is by remembering that you are trying to save yourself money, and without these nerves, you will easily find the courage to drive down the rate they are offering you. The following suggestions will also help you as you go through your uto loan interest rate negotiations.

Auto Loan Tip #1 Buy at the End of the Month

Frequently the marketing tactics of auto dealerships involve contests, with the winner receiving either a physical or monetary prize and some coverage in the local newspapers. Research indicates that these contests run for a month on average, by the end of which salesmen are desperate for a sale as buyers are waiting to see who wins, rather than purchase. Use this desperation for your own benefit, as the salesman will be more focussed on the sale than the margin it will earn him, and you will be able to drive the overall sale price down. The result of a lower sale price is a lesser amount financed, and this might enable you to negotiate better terms for your auto loan.

Auto Loan Tip #2 A Good Credit History

While seeming obvious, most people are unaware of the effect a poor credit history has on their auto loan rate. An excellent credit rating gives you the freedom to purchase at your convenience, as lenders will want you as a customer. However if you have a poor credit history, devote several months to trying to repair it and you will find it has wider benefits, in addition to helping you get a better interest rate on your auto loan.

Auto Loan Tip #3 Negotiate and shop around

When you are buying anything, the benefits of shopping around are clear, and arranging an auto loan is no different. Prior to your negotiations calculate your limits, so that you know the maximum you can afford to put toward an auto loan on a monthly basis. It gives you a reference point for negotiation of rates, and also prevents you tipping your hand and letting the other side know the point at which you will walk away. Always remember, no matter how high the pressure to make the sale, there are thousands of car dealers and lenders, so donít accept any offer of finance without shopping around.

Whatever time of the year it is, you have probably set a working direction for the rest of the year, including clear-cut objectives. Your first-iteration plan to reach them should be in place. This now (whatever time it is - if you are thinking about it) seems like an ideal time to rethink the whole thing, doesn't it? In our sped-up 21st century world, plans are subject to change just as soon as - or perhaps even before - they are written.

If you haven't already done so, now is an excellent time to review your company's year-end results and plan for the coming year. If you've already created your annual plan, you may want to look at it in a new light.

A typical approach to planning suggests multiplying last year's quantitative results by an acceptable growth factor. Industry standards vary, often from 5% to 25%. Add to that number scheduled enhancements to your product line plus solutions to key problems you've been meaning to address, and that's your plan.

Those of you who've been following my articles know that I advocate a different approach to this process: Step 1) Learn whatever you can from last year's results - something many of us forget to do. For example, make 1998 the year you act on the knowledge that it takes six months to train your field reps, not the six weeks you used to allocate. Step 2) Set targets which will excite you and your team and get you out of bed every morning; Step 3) Figure out how to reach the targets in Step 2.

A well rounded strategy which will provide a platform for continuous growth should impact these critical factors:

* revenue and profit
* product development
* customer satisfaction
* quality
* intellectual capital
* productivity
* strategic relationships
* new customer growth
* employee retention.

For each factor follow the three step analysis. Step 1. What can you learn from last year's experience in each area?

What did you do right - what worked - what should you do more of? What did you do wrong - what didn't work - what should be stopped immediately?

Also, ask what is missing from this area. In other words, what could you add - or eliminate - which will make a big difference in your organization's effectiveness. Random examples of what might be missing: an organizational knowledge manager, periodic competitive analysis, a report of market share, an employee training plan.

Step 2. What results are you committed to produce in each area?

Remember, these results should be bold and dynamic. They should inspire everyone responsible for making them happen to do whatever it takes to get the job done. These targets or measures work best when they are objective and quantifiable. They must be achievable, however difficult that might be. Some examples of bold results: a 50 percent increase in sales; top of the list in prospect mind-share; 100 percent customer repurchases; three new products shipped by June; customer problems resolved in half the current time, a career path in place for each employee, zero turnover.

Step 3. How are you going to achieve these goals?

Your implementation plan has a number of components:

Who is accountable for each factor? Which executive? Which managers? What department? Some factors map directly onto a functional department, like revenue to marketing/sales. Those are the easy ones. Less obvious are factors like intellectual capital or customer satisfaction - they don't fall under one clear domain. Nevertheless, one person has to pick up the ball. Along with their teams, whoever accepts accountability for specific the targets and goals will answer the remaining questions.

What strategies and tactics have a good chance to produce the results? Remember, if you've set bold objectives, you probably do not yet know how to reach them. That's what makes them bold in the first place. You are inventing the answers, making them up.

The approach to some targets will be simple, others more complex. While there are no guarantees of success, each target should have an identifiable path with a good probability of getting your company to where you want it to be. That path will define one or more initiatives to be put on a timeline. The path will also include milestones - checkpoints to measure the ongoing success of the initiative.

What structural and procedural changes will you make relative to this factor? Some examples are adding two salespeople, creating a quality czar, establishing new reporting lines, eliminating paper memos, making a large capital investment, acquiring a component vendor, or having a monthly new business quota. Each structural and procedural change will give birth to its own initiatives, which also need to be time-lined.

Does this initiative have any staffing implications? Do you need to increase headcount, create new job descriptions or add specific managers? Where a factor maps directly onto a department - such as revenue or customer service - what is the annual staffing plan? If there is a staffing increase, make sure the financial considerations are fed back into the budget.

Taken together, all the factors, targets, accountable parties, initiatives, structural changes, timelines, measures and milestones add up to a strategic plan for the year.

Can you live without addressing all of these factors?

Of course you can - but will you prosper, and for how long? Increase sales, but neglect quality - what will happen to customer satisfaction? Improve product quality but neglect employee retention? What will happen to quality next year? And then what will happen to sales? Focus on profits but not new customers or strategic relationships - next year's sales (and profits) decline, and so on. Each factor's improvement synergistically contributes to your company's survivability and prosperity.

Last issue: Can you do everything at once?

You probably don't have the resources for that. But the solution can not neglect any of your critical factors - we've just looked at the outcome of that approach. Instead, create another breakthrough. Create a breakthrough in planning which commits your company to some level of advancement for each of the factors. One that ensures they all receive some level of attention so that each is moving forward, although maybe not all to the same degree. To reuse a well-worn phrase, if you are not making progress in each area, you are loosing ground. ground.

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