Why Renters Should Do a Background Check on a Potential Landlord

As renters, we’re all used to getting our backgrounds investigated, whether through credit checks or letters of recommendation. They help protect landlords from taking on a tenant with a history of bad behavior.

But who’s protecting the renters? Most of us have never considered doing a background check on a prospective landlord before signing a lease, and that’s a mistake that can cause headaches and cost time and money.

Here’s how to quickly assess a landlord’s reputation.

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Why Neighborhood Matters When You’re Buying a Home

To find the perfect house, Neighborhoodyou have to find the perfect neighborhood — no small feat, especially if you’re moving to a new area and can’t distinguish one enclave from another.

How can you tell if your neighbors are friendly, and why should you care about good schools? Here are 10 things to scout.

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8 Dumb Reasons People Can’t Buy a Home

Buying a home—especially if it’s your tryingtofindahomefirst—can be a lot like losing weight in the sense that people end up doing, well, some pretty dumb stuff in the process. But while desperate dieters might waste money on “magical” weight-loss pills or silly exercise equipment (remember the shake weight?), misguided home buyers could be doing far more serious damage—like undermining their ability to purchase a house at all. Don’t be one of them! We asked real estate agents to shed light on some of the dumbest reasons people can’t buy a home. The good news? These flubs are easily avoidable.

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9 Ways to Make This Your Best Career Year Ever

Want to score a raise or clinch that careerladder-620x400title bump this year? Who are we kidding; of course you do! As 2017 settles in and companies gear up for first-quarter promotions and new hires, it’s prime time to rethink your professional goals and what you hope to accomplish over the next 12 months.

“A lot goes on in the workplace at the beginning of the year,” says Brandi Britton, district president at OfficeTeam, a national staffing firm. “Hiring picks back up in January, companies do annual performance reviews and managers reflect on what challenges they’re going to face over the next 12 months.”

Whether you’re working toward that corner office or just want to put yourself out there in the best light possible and see what opportunities come your way, consider making these New Year career moves.

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How Many Credit Cards Is Too Many?

Take a look at your wallet. If Falling credit cardsyou’re like most Americans, you have a credit card or two (or three) to your name—shiny pieces of plastic that can have a tremendous impact on your financial well-being.

In fact, about three out of four U.S. adults have at least one credit card, according to a 2016 Gallup report. Still, Americans, overall, do a fairly poor job of managing their credit usage: Case in point, the average U.S. household has $15,310 in credit card debt, according to a 2015 NerdWallet survey.

There’s no magic number for how many credit cards a person should have, says Bill Hardekopf, CEO at LowCards.com. Some financial pros say one card is enough, whereas others advocate for using multiple credit cards.

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7 Terms to Know Before Buying Auto Insurance

Next to your home and your office,red_car_in_hands your car is probably where you spend the greatest amount of time—and it’s likely one of the things you pour the most money into. Between the costs of routine maintenance, repairs and trips to the pump (is it time to buy an electric car yet?), being a car owner requires an investment—not the least of which is the auto insurance you’re required to buy.

But not all policies are created equal—and, put simply, “Consumers need to understand the terminology of car insurance to shop for and compare policies and coverage,” says Jeff Blyskal, auto insurance expert and senior editor at Consumer Reports.

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