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Getting or refinancing a home loan can be an arduous task. While it may feel overwhelming, take the time to thoroughly educate yourself on the different types of home loans available and find the resources available to support you through this process. You may even ask a friend with experience getting a home loan to give you some advice on how to handle this process -- emotionally and logistically. The traditional home loan is repaid over the course of 30 years, but versions exist for 15 and even 40-year repayment periods. Banks once asked for a 20 percent down payment on the home, but the requirements are changing. Know what the financial expectations are for your mortgage, and know how you can minimize extra costs.

Yahoo Finance: Mortgage Basics. If you already have a mortgage, and you're having trouble meeting the payments, determine if you qualify for the government’s mortgage relief program: MakingHomeAffordable.gov. Mortgages can be good investments because they build "equity," or the difference between the value of a home and what is owed on the home. Calculate your equity to find out how much value your house has: MSN Money: How Much Home Equity Do You Have?

As you begin to make payments, you may want to consider a bi-weekly payment schedule. On this schedule, by making half-payments every two weeks, you will make one more annual payment than you would on a monthly schedule, thereby reducing your principal and the interest you owe significantly. About.com: Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payment Plans If you're concerned that you may default on a payment, learn how your mortgage works and what your legal options are.

Federal Trade Commission: Facts for Consumers
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