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(AP) - HOMEBUYING HURDLE: The U.S. housing market appears back on track, with home sales and prices rising, and mortgage rates still near historic lows. But qualifying for a home loan remains a hurdle for anyone without a solid personal balance sheet.

WHAT TO DO: A thorough financial evaluation is critical in assessing whether one can afford the added costs of homeownership and qualify for a mortgage.

MORE TIPS: Experts recommend buyers start saving money for a 20 percent down payment to get the lowest interest rate. Also take steps to boost your credit score well before applying for a loan.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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