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The financial well-being of your business is essential for continued growth and success. The following articles discuss a variety of business-related financial scenarios and tips.

How Escrow Works

Escrow is like an engagement period. Both you and the seller have accepted the idea of marriage. If you can iron out the details, you'll both say, "I do." An engagement ring doesn't always guarantee a marriage, however. And an agreement on an offer doesn't guarantee a sale. Problems with the title, financing or inspections could lead to a break-up.

How to Understand Your Purchase Offer

You've found a home you love and it's actually in your price range. Your real estate agent pulls out an offer form -- eight pages of legalese -- and you start thinking that renting wasn't so bad after all.

Don't let the fine print in the purchase offer, or sales contract, keep you out of your dream home. But do make sure you understand exactly what you're agreeing to and use the contract to protect yourself.

Should You Borrow From Your Home Equity?

Between replacing the family car every few years, remodeling the kitchen, and paying Junior's tuition, even consumers who don't consider themselves big spenders can end up with some hefty bills on a regular basis. Of course, you could use a credit card or take out a personal loan to pay them, but a home equity loan, with its lower interest rates and tax-deductibility, is often a better option.

What is Your Home Worth?

Do you know how much your home is worth? There are plenty of reasons why you might want to find out -- to set an asking price if you're going to sell, to calculate how much equity you have, to prepare a good estate plan, or just to satisfy your curiosity. An appraisal - formal or informal - will tell you what you want to know.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Buying Your Home

The most important day in my life wasn't the day I got married, but the day my husband and I bought our first home. Lest you think I'm unfeeling and materialistic, my husband absolutely agrees with me. We always knew we'd get married, but buying a house was a dream that we weren't entirely sure would come true, especially in our hometown of San Francisco - one of the most expensive housing markets in the country.

Should You Buy or Rent Your Next Home?

Rent or buy: The question confounds people in every income bracket, age group and geographic location. There's no easy answer, because the benefits of owning or renting are different for every person. Some people love the independence that renting offers -- no huge mortgage debt, no maintenance woes, and the freedom to move from place to place with just a month's notice. Still, in most cases, buying a home is better for your finances in the long run.

How to Pay for the Upfront Costs of Your Home Purchase

Not so long ago, if you wanted to buy a $200,000 house you'd need at least $40,000 for the down payment. While 20 percent is still the "gold standard," these days it's not uncommon for homebuyers to put down 5 percent or less. Since the size of the down payment you make still affects the interest rate, mortgage fees, and chances for loan approval, you shouldn't necessarily lower your target, but don't let a small down payment stand between you and the American dream.

How to Find the Right Real Estate Agent

You wouldn't hire someone to work in your office without interviewing them and checking their references, yet you might very well consider using a real estate agent you met briefly at an open house or called in response to an ad. Since this is the person who will be guiding you through the biggest financial and legal transaction of your life, search for your real estate agent with almost as much care as you hunt for your home.