Now that we’re already done with the terms and definitions from A to E, it’s time to proceed to the letter F. So many words you have never heard of when you try to buy a house. In this episode, David Sidoni breaks down real estate terms for the letter F. Enjoy!
First Time Home Buyer Terms And Definitions From A-Z – “F”
All The Terms First Time Home Buyers Need To Know – F
Buying your first home can be massively confusing. It’s tough to feel like you’re crushing it when someone says something and you have no clue what they’re talking about. We’re going to define terms that you need to know as a first-time homebuyer. Today’s letter is the letter F.
Fair Credit Reporting Act
It’s fun with words again. Fun with real estate terms that begin with the letter F. First up, we’re going to start with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This is a consumer protection law that imposes obligations to credit bureaus and other similar agencies or anyone who maintains or has your credit history. It also imposes these obligations on lenders and other businesses that buy the reports from the credit bureaus and parties who furnished consumer information to the credit bureaus.
Those are all the people it puts the obligations on, but what does it do? This is for all of you people who are freaked out about your credit and your privacy. If this is you and you want to buy a home and you need to get a loan to get that, this protects you. I need to tell you something. There’s going to be some harsh Uncle Dave, so get ready for it.
If you’re freaked out about your privacy, you don’t want anyone to get all up in your business when you’re buying a house and you need to get a loan, get over it. If you need a loan to buy a home and you’re going to freak out about all this privacy stuff, then you better sit back, take some value, get a nice massage, play some of that plinky-plonky massage room music, and get used to people being all up in your business. This is the only way that you can get a big loan. There’s no way around it.
You are protected by this FCRA. It limits the sale of your credit reports by the credit bureaus by requiring the purchaser to have a legitimate business need for the data. Lenders and credit bureaus all get in big trouble, and we’re talking big fines if they violate this law. You freakers out there can chill. Your credit is going to get pulled and it is going to get used or you are not getting a loan to buy a house. This act allows consumers to learn information about themselves that is in the credit bureaus, including once every three months with the annual free credit report, and it specifies the procedures for challenging errors in that data that you find.
Fair Housing Act
Our next F word is Fair Housing Act. This is a law that prohibits discrimination in all facets of the homebuying process. That means with the realtors, lenders, title, escrow, lawyers and everybody. It prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability. Some states have added on to this because the Fair Housing Act is a national law, but some of the things that are included but not limited to are sexual orientation, gender, etc.
Fair Market Value
The next F word is Fair Market Value. How do you come to a fair market value? It’s the hypothetical price that a willing buyer and seller agree upon when they are acting freely, carefully, and with complete knowledge of the situation. That doesn’t mean that they are in complete knowledge, but they still go through with it. It’s also described as the price at which a property would be transferred between a willing buyer and a willing seller. Each of whom has a reasonable knowledge of all the pertinent facts and is not under any compulsion to buy or sell. There are no compulsions. Leave all your compulsion at home.
Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac
Next up is Fannie Mae. This is one of my favorite F words. There are two cute little nicknames that the real estate industry has given to these fatty mortgage regulators in the United States. That’s Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Every time I hear that, I always think that it’s a smashup duet between some country and hip-hop artists. Fannie Mae is our first one and it is the Federal National Mortgage Association. It’s the nation’s largest mortgage investor. It’s a public company that operates under a Federal charter and it’s the largest source for financing home mortgages.
Fannie Mae is not a Federal agency itself. It is a government-sponsored enterprise under the conservatorship of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. It’s a private stockholder-owned company. However, the United States President does appoint some of the members of its board of directors. It’s weird. People will say, “FHA is government-insured. It’s government-controlled.” It’s not. It’s a private company, but it does have government oversight and regulation. Depending on whoever is in office and whatever party is controlling things, that might affect some of the guidelines of Fannie Mae and its buddy, Freddie Mac.
Fannie Mae doesn’t lend the money to the consumers themselves. You don’t go out and go to the bank of Fannie Mae. Instead, what they do is they work to ensure that the mortgage funds are out there for you guys and that they’re available and affordable. How they do, that is they purchase mortgage loans from the other people who give the loans directly to the consumers or you.
[bctt tweet=”Rents are out of control. You’re going to be paying one way or another. It’s a new slanted economy. Things have changed. Instead of whining about the old days, you need to figure out how to be winning in the present days.” via=”no”]
They’re only going to purchase the ones that follow their guidelines. They’re one of the largest people to go out and buy all the loans from the banks when they bundle them all together. Pretty much whatever guidelines they set up, those are the ones that most of the banks are going to follow, so they have someone to sell their loans to. This leads us to our next definition of Fannie Mae seller or servicer. That’s a lender that Fannie Mae has approved because they follow all their guidelines to sell their loans and service loans on Fannie Mae’s behalf.
Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac’s Loan Limits
The next one is something that you guys are going to run into. It’s a very important F-word. It’s Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s loan limits. When you apply for a loan, you’re going to hear about conventional loan limits. Sometimes called conforming loans. This is a number that is out there. It’s decided by Fannie and Freddie. It changes as the market changes. It’s also different depending on where you’re at in the country, but it’s Fannie and Freddie.
Here’s what it is. If you get alone below the number that they set up or their loan limits, that means you’re going to get the most favorable rates and terms. If you need a larger loan than the conforming loan limit, then you’re going to be getting what they call a jumbo loan or supersized. Unlike that fatty combo meal that you get at the drive-thru, you usually do not get a deal. You don’t get extra fries for a few pennies more when you go to a jumbo loan. It’s a little bit of a higher rate. That’s why everybody wants to stay within those conforming loan limits.
Everyone who’s involved in the real estate industry wants to make this entire process as totally confusing as possible, especially for first-time home buyers. The number on the conforming loan limit changes all the time. It changes in different areas of the country. It’s always this stupid wacky non-traditional uneven number that was totally plucked right out of the sky.
The 2022 Fannie Mae and Freddie loan limit for a single-family home in the United States is $647,200. What is that number about? What you do then is if you want to get the best rate and not get a jumbo loan, you have to stay below that number. Remember, that’s your loan amount, not your purchase price. If you stay below that for your loan amount, then you’re going to be able to get the best price rates and terms.
In more expensive areas of the country, like where I am here in California, it’s higher. Once again, it’s not a normal number. The conforming loan amount is $970,800. What’s weirder about that fact is the fact that it takes almost $1 million in a loan amount before you’re considered a jumbo loan. The fact that they pick such a stupid, ridiculous unorthodox number is so odd.
The next F is FHA. That’s the Federal Housing Administration. The FHA is a term you’re going to hear a lot. It’s a Federal agency and it’s in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, also known as HUD. You guys heard about HUD already because HUD begins with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. That was in the D episode.
What the FHA does is provides mortgage insurance for residential mortgages. It sets the standards for the construction and the underwriting. The FHA themselves do not lend money. FHA was established back in 1934. When everyone talks to me about the FHA and how it’s a bad thing, remember, it was established in 1934. If you don’t understand your history, take a quick think back, “What happened in the ’30s? What was so terrible?”
This was created by FDR in 1934 to advance homeownership because we were in the middle of the Great Depression. What they did was he tried to make it more affordable for people and give opportunities to everybody assisting the homebuyers by providing this extra little thing called mortgage insurance. That insurance was for the lenders, so the lenders were comfortable lending to people. If something went wrong, it would cover most losses that occur when a borrower would defaults. What that means is this is a government program ensuring and helping people, so the private lenders feel comfortable making loans to borrowers who might not qualify for the stricter conventional mortgage guidelines.
The next F word is an FHA Insured Loan. That’s what the FHA is. Let’s explain what the FHA Insured Loan is. It’s a part of a group of loans from private lenders that are regulated and insured by the Federal government. Instead of lending them money, what the FHA does is work on the backside and they ensure the banks and the private lenders that they’re going to cover any losses that are going to incur or occur in the event that the borrower or the buyer can’t repay the loan fully.
These loans are insured by the FHA and the Department of HUD. They differ from conventional loans because they allow for both credit scores and down payments to be lower. Credit scores can be sometimes as low as 580 even and down payments can be as low as 3.5% of the total loan amount. The maximum loan amount varies county by county. For loans below 20%, they are going to carry some mortgage insurance. That’s the PMI or MI. That’s what they will do for you. People, especially older people or anyone who listens to Dave Ramsey, think that MI is the devil. I’m here to tell you that it’s not.
Mortgage insurance is an extra fee that you pay monthly. That’s all it is. If you can use an FHA 3.5% down payment loan. That means you can buy a home when you only have to save up to 3.5%. Maybe you have the 3.5% in your bank account right now. Either way, even if you don’t, you only have to save up 3.5% and the MI or PMI, the mortgage insurance or private mortgage insurance fee, is simply charged for the privilege of being able to buy a home now with a low down payment, instead of waiting until you save up the other 16.5%.
How does that work? On a $400,000 home, the difference is you buy now and all you need is $14,000 down. You’re then going to pay $50 to $100 or maybe in the worst of times, $150 a month in your mortgage insurance, or for that same $400,000 house, instead of $14,000 down if you want to wait until you get 20% down, you’ve got to save up $80,000, an extra $66,000, while you’re still paying the rent. Which is more the MI fee at $50, $100, $125 or $150 a month or all the rent that you’re going to throw away while you’re paying that rent and trying to save $66,000?
Don’t forget you’re going to be getting equity in the home that you’re going to be losing if you don’t jump in if you’re in an appreciating market. If you’re not in an appreciating market, while you’re saving up, you’re going to be paying that rent, you could have been putting that rent into an asset that you would be paying down. That’s what’s happening.
If that wasn’t enough to convince you, I’ve got some more thoughts for the FHA haters out there. If you’re new to the show, this is going to be exciting and new information for you, but some of you might have heard this before. 1) Don’t let PMI scare you. 2) When people tell you, “You can’t do that. You don’t have enough skin in the game. You’re to have a foreclosure,” that’s not correct. A lower down payment doesn’t mean unsafe. It doesn’t mean you can’t afford it, so you shouldn’t buy it.
The game has changed and the rules are all different. Nobody could afford to pay high rents for several years while they’re also trying to save up a huge 20% down payment on the price of a home that has gone way up. This is not your parents’ rental market or your parents’ housing market. Rents are out of control. You’re going to be paying one way or another.
It’s a new slanted economy. Things have changed. Instead of whining about the old days, you need to figure out how to be winning in the present days. The system is rigged and you have to find the best way to beat the game. Oftentimes that low 3.5% down payment to help you lock in your payment for life is your way in. You could become a homeowner in any way possible, and this is a great way to help you get in there.
For all the haters, the cynics, and the worrywarts that think that low down payments are the devil, and you’re going to set yourself up for losing your home in foreclosure someday. Here are some thoughts with Math behind them. Have you ever missed a rent payment or ever been evicted? No. You’re likely not going to be a person who’s going to get your home foreclosed on. If you’re worried you can’t afford it, what if your housing payment was stabilized right now and never had a chance of going up? That’s more affordable and safer than gambling in the world of rising rents.
[bctt tweet=”A person with no ownership interest in a principal residence during the last three years preceding the purchase of a new property is considered a first-time homebuyer.” via=”no”]
Another thing, a portion of each payment goes towards paying down your loan and that’s a long-term investment. It’s a forced savings plan from a payment that you already make with your monthly rent payment every month. For first-time buyers, 20% down is a huge chunk. All the time it takes to save that is going to be wasted on expensive renting time.
Moving on, the FHA Funding Fee. This is a little fee that’s going to pop up when you do use an FHA loan. The FHA requires this funding feed as a monthly insurance premium or MIP for most of its single-family programs, but there is an upfront insurance premium that is sometimes called the UFMIP. Make sure you talk to your lender about that if you’re using an FHA loan. We’ve got the mortgage limits that we talked about before. They’re based on the location that can be revised every year.
Finance Charge And First Mortgage
That’s the end of all our FHA terms. Let’s get into our more F words. The Finance Charge is the total amount of interest and loan charges that you would pay over the entire life of the mortgage of your loan. The next one is something you might have heard before. I remember my parents talked about this a lot, a First Mortgage. I don’t remember hearing about the first mortgage. I always remember people talking about a second mortgage or a second.
Here’s the way that works. A first mortgage is a primary lien against the property. If you got a Home Equity Line of Credit, also known as a HELOC, then that would be taking out a second mortgage on your home. Next up is a first-time homebuyer. How many of you are freaking out now, like am I really going to define a first-time homebuyer? I have a reason for this because a lot of people think, “First-time homebuyer, that’s me.” Do you know that you can be a first-time homebuyer if you’ve owned a home in the past? It’s weird and stupid. You would think they have another name for it. You think they do a lot of things differently in real estate, but they don’t.
A person with no ownership interest in a principal residence during the last three years preceding the purchase of a new property is considered a first-time homebuyer. That means if you owned a home in the past, but you haven’t owned it for three years and then you buy again, you’re a first-time buyer again. There can be a lot of different reasons for that. You could have sold your home or unfortunately, maybe you lost it. Maybe you did sell your home and left. You didn’t buy another place because you were backpacking throughout the world trying to find yourself. When you come back with those sweet dreadlocks, toe rings, and stuff like that, and it has been three years, you will be a first-time homebuyer again.
First-Time Homebuyer Loan Programs
Next up are first-time homebuyer loan programs. There are a whole bunch out there. You can use a lot of different ones to help you out. As we talked about, FHA is a great one. VA is the bomb. If you’re a Military or Veteran, get all over that. USDA is one from more rural areas, and then Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are going to help out with a lot of low down payment programs. I like to say that the first-time homebuyer programs are cheat codes for you to be able to buy a home in this wacky economic new world.
Fixed Rate Period And The Adjustable Rate Mortgage
Moving on to the Fs, we’ve got the Fixed Rate Period and the Adjustable Rate Mortgage. We talked in the A’s about the Adjustable Rate Mortgage. It’s the ARM. It offers you that fixed rate for 3 to 10 years. Sometimes you’ll hear people call them a hybrid loan. I hear they get awesome gas mileage. Next up is a Fixed Rate Mortgage. This is what you want. This is a mortgage with an interest rate that doesn’t change during the entire term of the loan.
If you get a 30-year fixed loan, you’re going to pay the same in your first month as you did 30 years from now. Think about this. Let’s say you have been renting for 3 or 5 years. Maybe you’re even renting for 10 years right now. Imagine paying rent now for what you paid for your very first apartment. Imagine paying that same price 25 years from now or 20 years from now if you’ve been renting for 10 years. That’s what happens when you have a 30-year fixed mortgage.
That’s why stretching for a higher payment now is a good idea because it stays fixed. What doesn’t stay fixed? Rents. They keep going up. I just read the stat. The Consumer Price Index, also known as the CPI, has an extended track record for rent. It allows us to put in perspective the housing expenses when we’re looking at the long-term to see how they’re going against the rents.
Prices are going up now, but here’s what’s happening. In the first four months of 2022, nationwide rent inflation is a one year jump. It’s the largest since 1948. While houses have gone up in these past four months like crazy, this is the largest rental increase we’ve seen since 1948. Consumers are paying 4.3% more for rent than they were twelve months ago. That’s 2.07% higher than last year’s rent hike at 2.23%. When it comes down to it, I will take the fixed mortgage. Thank you very much.
Next up is flood insurance. This is something that a lot of people ask me about and it’s different everywhere you go. If your home is located in a flood plain, the lender is going to require flood insurance as a condition of the loan approval. You can’t get a loan without flood insurance if you’re in a flood plain. This is different everywhere and yet another reason why online national lenders are not my favorite.
Your local realtor and lender are going to know all the ins and outs of this because they do it every day. An experienced team has done it not only every day but for more than a few days. Are you reading between the lines? Let me spell it out for you. Real estate is whacked and any yahoo can get their license. It’s up to you. Do you want your realtor to be someone new, exciting, super fun, and have awesome TikTok posts but have no idea about the laws of the land where you are and no clue what’s going on with flood insurance? Maybe I look for someone with a little more experience, that’s just me.
The next definition is F for floor. I’m basic, but I am not that basic when I’m going to explain floor to you. It’s the minimum interest rate if you get one of those adjustable-rate mortgages. This is adjusting up and down with the rates throughout the time that you’re in the adjustable period. Just like when your boss says that you have a ceiling, then your rates have a floor.
Those rates have certain maximums that can only go up usually two points a year, but not only do they have a maximum up top to protect you, so they don’t go too high, but they also have a bottom. If the market bottom is out, you’ll instantly get to drop all the way back down. That’s the luxury that you have to work through if you’re going to be working with an adjustable-rate mortgage.
The next F word is one that nobody likes. It is foreclosure. Here’s the Google definition. A foreclosure is a legal action that ends all ownership rights in a home when the homebuyer fails to make the mortgage payments or is otherwise in default under the terms of the mortgage. Let me give you guys the simple everyday definition. A foreclosure is a legal proceeding that allows your creditor or lender to sell your house because they’ve got to pay off the unpaid mortgage. Your house can be foreclosed on if you don’t make the required house payments.
Here’s the legal version of that. It’s a legal process in which a mortgaged property is sold to pay the loan of the defaulting borrower. In some states, the lender has to go to court to foreclose on your property. That’s called a judicial foreclosure. In other states, they don’t require a court process. They are nonjudicial foreclosures. If you happen to get in this mess, you’re going to be notified. You’re going to get certified mail and all that stuff. There are a whole bunch of Federal rules that apply in order for any foreclosure procedure to start.
The next F word has to do with foreclosures, but it’s called forbearance. Forbearance is lenders’ act of not taking legal action despite the fact that your loan is delinquent or behind. It’s usually granted when a borrower makes some arrangement with the bank to pay the amount owed at some future date. It’s when your lender or mortgage servicer allows you to temporarily pay maybe at a lower rate or maybe temporarily take a little break. Your servicer might grant forbearance to you if you suffered a job loss, a disaster or a global pandemic that happened in the last few years. They’ll also do it for injury, illness, or crazy increases in healthcare costs that you weren’t ready for.
Forbearance is also known as a form of loss mitigation, which is a word you might hear. Depending on the loan that you have, there could be many different forbearance options. You have to contact your loan servicer to request it. Remember, most of the time, unless they waive it, you’re going to have to make up these payments at the end of the loan. That doesn’t mean you have to pay everything back because the house gets enough equity. You can sell it and then you get less of your profits. Does it make sense? Clear as mud? No? Welcome to real estate.
[bctt tweet=”There is never ever an exact number in a home purchase deal. Deal with it.” via=”no”]
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation
Next up is Freddie Mac. It’s Fannie and Freddie’s second half of that duo. The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation is a private company formed by Congress. Its mission is to promote stability and affordability in the housing market by purchasing mortgages from banks and other loan makers. As I said, with Fannie Mae, this corporation is under a conservatorship. We all know that’s a great thing. This is a hot-button topic. Again, it’s government-regulated, with the United States President putting people on the board. Half the country is going to love it and half the country is going to hate it. In a conservatorship, some people love it and some people hate it.
The bottom line is these agencies both support the secondary market in mortgages on residential properties with mortgage purchase and security programs. It’s very helpful for you because it creates some guidelines for you, but no matter when you Google it, you’re going to see some people that hate the guidelines and some people that love the guidelines. That’s the way it goes.
Front-End Debt-To-Income Ratio
Next up is the front-end debt-to-income ratio. Debt-to-income ratio is a term that you’re going to hear and you’re going to have to learn about, but there are two different ones, a front-end and a back-end. This is the front-end debt-to-income ratio. It’s something that you’re going to get real familiar with. It compares your monthly debt payments to your monthly income. It’s widely used for your credit worthiness. How do you compute your debt-to-income ratio? It’s by dividing not your gross but your monthly minimum debt payments, including your rent or your mortgage, by your monthly take-home pay.
This brings up a huge point that I want to point out, especially for all you seriously anal people out there. You know who you are, captain or princess spreadsheet. If you’re the person that won’t go out to dinner until you’ve read at least 250 Yelp reviews, and before you go, you look at the entire menu and figure out what you would get in each place. You punch in the prices to a calculator so that before you even walk out the door, you know what you’re going to consume and exactly how much it’s going to cost.
If that sounds like you, you’ve got two options moving forward when you’re buying a house. 1) You cannot do it. Buy a van and live in it. 2) You could change your entire personality. When buying a home, that type of buying does not exist. No one can ever give you an exact estimate. If everything changes all the time during the transaction, and that’s going to freak you out, then either get ready for it or have your partner do the whole transaction. Everything is going to change all the time.
This is a great example when I was talking about the debt-to-income ratio. Let me repeat something I said and see if you can identify the part that’s going to change. You compute your debt-to-income ratio by dividing your monthly minimum debt payments, not your gross, including your rent or your mortgage by your monthly take-home pay. What variable in that sentence will change your DTI with each individual home that you’re looking at? There’s a variable in there that’s going to change every time. What was it? It’s your potential new mortgage payment.
No matter how many finance apps you’ve downloaded, no matter how many mortgage calculator sites you have bookmarked on your laptop, you cannot calculate that payment properly on your own because the rates change daily. Your calculations from a month ago are worthless. Do you know what else is worthless? Your calculations from yesterday. With each individual home that you go for, the price is going to change and that’s going to change the payment. That will then change everything in your equation.
Let’s say you decided on our pricing and you get it under contract. That’s going to change within the contract because there are going to be negotiations even after you’re under contract if there are any credits or other negotiated things that happen while you’re under contract. You won’t know exactly. You can’t know exactly what that full DTI ratio is going to be, just like you can’t know exactly what your payment is going to be. If you don’t like that, then you have to buy all cash. That’s the way it goes. Deal with it.
Who thinks I’m telling you this because I want to capture your business and dazzle you with all these fancy words and terms and then slap you at the end with some crazy extra fees? Who thinks that this old dude doesn’t know that you have the entire world in your pocket? You have been researching every purchasing decision online that you’ve ever made since you were twelve years old. You always look up everything and you can always find out and make sure you get a good deal and don’t get the wool pulled over your eyes. That’s rad. That’s awesome for you. You’re super pitching.
I’m telling you this with love, this is a totally different gang, which is why you have to trust your professional team. There are variables that change daily. You are never ever going to have a spreadsheet that can keep up with the changes, the interest rates, the price you pay, or the negotiating changes once you’re under contract after the price has been decided. I’m saying this with love and a smile on my face. There is never ever an exact number in a home purchase deal. Deal with it.
Now that you’re in the right head space, I’ll give you two more. Closing dates are always fluid and you’re always going to have to compromise when you buy a home. Those are your three big lessons. Except for those three things, you can buy a home and build wealth for yourself and your family without pulling your hair out or upping your doses of antidepressants.
For Sale By Owner
Next up is FSBO, For Sale By Owner. That’s one that’s sold without the assistance of a real estate agent or a broker. The seller is attempting to save money by avoiding the agent-broker fees. Lots of people think this is a great way to get a deal. I think it’s a great way to get a lawsuit. I go into detail on that in episode 63 if you want more.
Fully Amortized Mortgage
The next one is the fully amortized mortgage. The fancy definition of a fully amortized mortgage is a mortgage in which the monthly payments are designed to retire the obligation at the end of the mortgage term. It means you pay off the obligation to the principal and the interest with the payment schedule that they create. That gives you your monthly payment. Once again, a $400,000 loan with 5% as a down payment at a mortgage interest rate of 5.27%, amortized over 30 years is going to cost you $757,153 if you pay the minimum payment.
I thought the letter definition episodes would be a lot shorter. I’m glad I’m doing them because they’re going to live on as a reference for all your friends and your family to use in the future when their rents are going up and out of control, and you invite them over to your house, which you now own, and they’re super jealous of you. I understand. They come over to your house and they’re all looking fly because their fit is dope. You’re sitting there in last year’s wardrobe, but you’re hanging in a home that’s going to make you financially fit for life. Do you see what I did there? I made the cringiest wordplay ever using the word fit.
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If you’re looking for more information or you got questions, I’m @DavidSidoni on Instagram. I’m @HowToBuyAHome on TikTok. Don’t forget to check us out on YouTube, How to Buy a Home Podcast, where we’ve got new episodes coming up all the time. If you have any questions, go directly to HowToBuyAHome.com for details. That’s where you can ask me anything. There’s a little button that says, Ask David, come find me. That’s it. If I can get through the entire F episode and get all the way around all the words with the letter F, then you can buy a home. You can do this.
- Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Ep 63 – FISBOs And Zillow Zestimates
- @DavidSidoni – Instagram
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- How to Buy a Home Podcast – YouTube
- Ask David
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