credit cards http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/356/all en-US Pre-Approved for Credit Card Offers: Are You Pre-Qualified? http://www.wisebread.com/pre-approved-for-credit-card-offers-are-you-pre-qualified <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/pre-approved-for-credit-card-offers-are-you-pre-qualified" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000031564494_Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you ever received something in the mail to indicate that you are &quot;preapproved&quot; or &quot;prequalified&quot; for a new credit card account? If so, then you've probably wondered what this means, and why you've received it. The answers may surprise you.</p> <h2>What These Offers Mean</h2> <p>Credit card issuers are allowed to purchase data in bulk from consumer credit bureaus, and they scan that information to find people who are likely to be approved for a new account. The data will typically include your credit score, your zip code, your age, and other general factors. Thankfully, these inquiries to your credit information do not affect your credit score in any way.</p> <p>But even though you may have received one of these offers, there is no guarantee that you will actually be approved when you apply. First of all, the parameters that the card issuer used to generate your preapproval or prequalification are approximate, and the card issuer still reserves the right to deny you based on additional information that you provide in your application. Furthermore, the information it received to generate your preapproval could be out of date by weeks, or even months. So if you have recently applied for several new lines of credit, or worse, failed to make on-time payments to one or more of your accounts, your credit score will suffer and your application could be denied.</p> <h2>The Difference between Preapproval and Prequalification</h2> <p>In the mortgage industry, the terms &quot;preapproval&quot; and &quot;prequalification&quot; can have different meanings. A prequalification is generally the first step in the mortgage approval process where you get a general idea of the size of the mortgage that you can qualify for. In order to get a preapproval, you usually have to completed a full mortgage application, provide documentation on your finances, and have a credit check run.</p> <p>But when it comes to credit cards, the terms &quot;preapproval&quot; and &quot;prequalification&quot; are used interchangeably to indicate the same thing, that a card issuer feels that you may be approved for a new credit card, based on some preliminary data on you that it purchased from a credit bureau. In addition, you may sometimes see the term &quot;prescreened,&quot; which also means the same thing.</p> <h2>Checking to see if you are Pre-Qualified</h2> <p>Here is a list of the main banks and where you can check to see if you are pre-qualified. We will continue to update this list over time so you can select the bank you prefer and see which credit card offers are available.&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://secure.bankofamerica.com/login/eclo/entry/findCustomizedOffer.go">Bank of America</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.barclaycardus.com/apply/ProactivePrescreenLanding.action">Barclaycard</a></li> <li><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=166&amp;pid=98&amp;pp=0&amp;uv=sname">Capital One</a>&nbsp;(Highly Recommended. Great Tool!)</li> <li><a href="https://creditcards.chase.com/prequalified-offers">Chase</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.citicards.com/cards/credit/application/flow.action?isInvitation=N">Citibank</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.creditonebank.com/pre-qualification/data-entry/index">Credit One</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.discovercard.com/application/fmo">Discover</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.usbank.com/credit-cards/get-your-recommended-card-offers.html">U.S. Bank</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/getthecard/?linknav=us-CCSG-ProspectNav-SpecialOffers">American Express</a></li> <li><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=166&amp;pid=102&amp;pp=0&amp;uv=sname">CreditCards.com</a> Cardmatch (Recommended. Find offers from several issuers!)</li> </ul> <h2>What Should You Do With These Offers<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Just because you received one of these offers in the mail, it isn't necessarily a reason to celebrate. If you are interested in applying for that particular card, then you should check to make sure that you received a competitive offer. For example, you might find other offers online that have a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-bonus-cash-for-sign-up">higher sign-up bonus</a>, a waiver of the first year's annual fee, or more generous <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">promotional financing terms</a> than the offer you received in the mail.</p> <p>Nevertheless, you may receive a preapproved or prequalified offer that is as good or better than what is available online (sometimes they selectively offer better sign up bonuses that aren&rsquo;t available to the general public). But even if this is true, you will want to make sure that the card is the best one available for your needs.</p> <p>By understanding the meaning of these terms, you can select the ideal card offer, and not give too much weight to marketing material labeled with enticing offers of preapproval or prequalification.</p> <h2>How to Position Yourself with Special Offers in the Future</h2> <p>You'll receive the best special offers in the future if you have a higher credit score. If you have had credit problems in the past or you are working on building your credit, you may not find the offers you receive to be the most attractive. However, if you continue to make your payments on time, keep your balances low, and manage the accounts you have responsibly, over time, your credit rating will increase and you'll see a change in the prequalification offers you receive.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pre-approved-for-credit-card-offers-are-you-pre-qualified">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">Top Seven Reasons Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-people-with-good-credit-never-do">8 Things People With Good Credit Never Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score">This One Ratio Is the Key to a Good Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tricks-to-save-money-with-credit-cards">10 Tricks to Save Money with Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-rewards-credit-cards-really-work">How Cash Rewards Credit Cards Really Work</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards credit cards Sat, 19 Mar 2016 08:00:10 +0000 Jason Steele 1671106 at http://www.wisebread.com Visit Your Favorite Museums Free with Bank of America&reg; Credit Cards http://www.wisebread.com/visit-your-favorite-museums-free-with-bank-of-america-credit-cards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/visit-your-favorite-museums-free-with-bank-of-america-credit-cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000040283984_Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="133" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Over the years, credit issuers and financial institutions have competed heavily to provide the best rewards programs and benefits to meet the wants and needs of cardholders all over the world. These rewards often look the same across different issuers.</p> <p>Bank of America, however, provides a range of benefits that are different from the typical benefits that other cards offer. Free museum admission and bonus rewards are two unique reasons to consider Bank of America credit cards.</p> <h2>Free Admission with Museums on Us</h2> <p>If you carry a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card, you can present your card at over 150 museums in the country for free admission on the first full weekend of the month.</p> <p>Check out which museums are available at museums.bankofamerica.com. You can also get text or email reminders from there.</p> <p>There are a lot of museums available, including many of the big ones. In Los Angeles, for example, you can choose from Autry National Center, LACMA, or Skirball Cultural Center. The museums are also not limited to just big cities. In New York state, you have options in Albany, New York City, and Yonkers.</p> <p>With so many choices in each state, you can save some money and have a fun family outing every first weekend of the month.</p> <h2>Bonus Rewards for Bank of America&reg; Customers</h2> <p>Another unique benefit of Bank of America cards is the bonus rewards you get as a customer.</p> <p>For example, for the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-more-cash-back-for-the-essentials-the-bankamericard-cash-rewards-card">BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; credit card</a>, you get a 10% cash rewards bonus when you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America&reg; checking or savings account. That's in addition to the excellent cash back rewards of 3% for gas and 2% for groceries (up to a combined $1,500 in gas/grocery purchases each quarter). Plus there's a $100 sign-up bonus (after spending at least $500 in the first 90 days after opening the account).</p> <p>If you prefer travel rewards, and have the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bankamericard-travel-rewards-more-rewards-for-more-travel">BankAmericard Travel Rewards&reg; credit card</a>, you'll get a 10% customer points bonus on every purchase when you have an active Bank of America&reg; checking or savings account.</p> <p>For both cards, the Preferred Rewards bonus can be as much as 75% depending on your qualifying combined balances in Bank of America banking, Merrill Edge, and Merrill Lynch investment accounts.</p> <p>To learn more about these unique Bank of America bonus rewards, click to read Wise Bread's review of the cards:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-more-cash-back-for-the-essentials-the-bankamericard-cash-rewards-card">BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; credit card review</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bankamericard-travel-rewards-more-rewards-for-more-travel">BankAmericard Travel Rewards&reg; credit card review</a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christina-majaski">Christina Majaski</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/visit-your-favorite-museums-free-with-bank-of-america-credit-cards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bank-of-america-credit-card-offers-applications-reviews">Bank of America Credit Card Offers: Applications &amp; Reviews</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-more-cash-back-for-the-essentials-the-bankamericard-cash-rewards-card">Get More Cash Back for the Essentials: The BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ card</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pre-approved-for-credit-card-offers-are-you-pre-qualified">Pre-Approved for Credit Card Offers: Are You Pre-Qualified?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">Top Seven Reasons Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bankamericard-travel-rewards-more-rewards-for-more-travel">BankAmericard Travel Rewards®: More Rewards for More Travel</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Bank of America credit cards Tue, 08 Mar 2016 17:34:09 +0000 Christina Majaski 1665267 at http://www.wisebread.com Hotel Rewards for Business Owners: American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card http://www.wisebread.com/hotel-rewards-for-business-owners-american-express-starwood-preferred-guest-business-credit-card <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/hotel-rewards-for-business-owners-american-express-starwood-preferred-guest-business-credit-card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000022749147.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>\The Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards are among the most popular American Express cards on the market. Like the consumer version, the <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=148&amp;pid=15&amp;pp=0uv=sname1&amp;fot=1305 ">Starwood Preferred Guest&reg; Business Credit Card</a> provides the rewards program that American Express and SPG are well-known for, along with some great hotel perks for more comfortable stays. If you are a small business owner and fan of Starwood Preferred properties, this card can become a valuable tool for your business. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a>)</p> <h2>Why We Like This Card</h2> <ul> <li>25,000 sign-up bonus Starpoints after you use your card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months</li> <li>5,000 bonus points when you transfer 20,000 points to airline miles (with limits and restrictions)</li> </ul> <h2>How This Card Works</h2> <p>As a cardmember, you can earn up to five Starpoints for each dollar spent at Starwood properties, standalone Starwood retail establishments, and online Starwood stores owned by Starwood Hotels &amp; Resorts Worldwide, Inc. and its affiliates, depending on your SPG membership level. For example, you earn at least four points for Starwood purchases -- two points from American Express and two from SPG, but if you are a Gold or Platinum Starwood Preferred Guest, you earn three points from SPG rather than two, totaling five points. All other purchases earn one point for each dollar spent. There is a $95 annual fee that is waived for the first year. Terms and conditions apply.</p> <p><strong>Sign-up offer</strong>: Get 25,000 bonus Starpoints&reg; after you use your card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first three months of your account opening.</p> <p>Redeem your points for award nights at Starwood properties for as few as 3,000 points at a Category 1 property, up to 30,000-35,000 points for an award night at a Category 7 property. You can also transfer points to over 30 airline programs such as Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Japan Airlines, often at a ratio of 1:1. In addition, for every 20,000 points you transfer to an airline program, you'll receive a bonus of 5,000 points. You can also redeem points for room upgrades at 1,000 points, and there are various opportunities to redeem points for car rentals and special events.</p> <h2>Other Benefits</h2> <p><strong>Free in-room internet</strong>. One of the newest features of this card is its free in-room Internet access. You'll also receive complimentary unlimited access to Boingo Wi-Fi for up to four devices at over 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide.</p> <p><strong>Complimentary access to Sheraton Club lounge</strong>. As a cardmember, you and a guest staying in the same room will receive access to Sheraton Club lounges for the duration of your stay. Sheraton Club lounges include perks such as personalized service, complimentary breakfast, all-day snacks and beverages, and free Wi-Fi. For non-cardholders, these perks usually require an upgrade fee or SPG Platinum status.</p> <p><strong>SPG Elite status</strong>. The SPG program includes Elite statuses starting with Preferred Guest and then leading to Gold Preferred Guest, Platinum Preferred Guest, and the newest level, SPG Pro. Each level requires a certain number of nights or stays and provides additional hotel perks. The Preferred Guest level is the default level, but it includes benefits such as in-room Internet and as much as a 30% discount at over 1,000 restaurants and bars in Starwood hotels. As a cardmember, you earn credit for five nights and two stays toward SPG elite status each year.</p> <p><strong>Reach Gold status faster</strong>. If you make $30,000 in purchases with your card during a calendar year, you'll earn Gold Preferred Guest status, which usually requires 10 stays or 25 nights per year. Gold status includes benefits such as a 50% bonus of Starpoints, late checkout, upgrades at check-in, and your choice of welcome gifts, which can be bonus points, premium in-room internet, or beverages.</p> <p><strong>OPEN Savings</strong>. This card includes access to its OPEN Savings network of business retailers offering special discounts. You can also earn additional points when you shop online through OPEN Savings with retailers such as FedEx and HP.</p> <p><strong>Extended warranty</strong>. The purchases you make with your card are eligible for extended warranty which extends original manufacturer's warranties that are one to five years, for up to one additional year. Coverage is limited to a maximum of $10,000 per occurrence and cannot exceed $50,000 per card member per calendar year.</p> <p><strong>Purchase Protection</strong>. Purchases on the card are also protected up to 90 days against theft and damage. Protection is limited to $1,000 per occurrence not to exceed $50.000 per card member per calendar year.</p> <p><strong>ReceiptMatch</strong>. This card includes ReceiptMatch, which provides additional business benefits such as the ability to take photos of your receipts with a smart phone and then label and save them for record keeping. You can also sync your card account with QuickBooks to make managing and organizing your spending easier at tax time.</p> <p>Important Note: Exclusions and restrictions apply on benefits.</p> <h2>Costs</h2> <ul> <li>$95 Annual Fee (waived for the first year)</li> <li>15.49%, 17.49%, or 19.49% APR</li> <li>No Balance Transfer Option</li> <li>0% Foreign Transaction Fee</li> </ul> <p><a target="_top" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=148&amp;pid=15&amp;pp=0uv=sbutton2&amp;fot=1305 "><img alt="" class="img-exempt" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/apply-now.png" /></a></p> <h2>Pros</h2> <p><strong>Sign-up bonus enough for free SPG hotel nights</strong>. If you are able to earn the sign-up bonus for this card, you can receive enough points for at least 12 nights at a Category 1 property. This is not just one of the most valuable bonuses offered by any hotel rewards credit cards, but one that provides the most award nights. Although the annual fee of $95 is waived your first year, the sign-up bonus alone can help cover the fee for many years in the future, depending on the property and how you redeem your points. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-sign-up-bonuses-for-hotel-stays">5 Best Credit Cards with Sign-up Bonuses for Hotel Stays</a>)</p> <p><strong>Earn up to five points on Starwood purchases</strong>. If you are a Gold or Platinum Preferred Guest, you can earn five points for each dollar you spend at Starwood properties. Even without the elite status, you earn four points for those purchases as a cardmember. This card is one of the only business rewards credit cards available that will allow you to earn that many points for your Starwood hotel stays. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards">The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards</a>)</p> <p><strong>Transfer points to airline miles</strong>. You aren't limited to just redeeming your points for hotel stays and can transfer them to airline miles with many popular frequent flyer programs, often at a rate of one for one. Plus, if you transfer at least 20,000 points to miles, you receive a bonus of 5,000 miles just for transferring. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-transfer-points-to-airline-miles">5 Best Credit Cards That Transfer Points to Airline Miles</a>)</p> <p><strong>Numerous hotel and business benefits</strong>. This card not only includes numerous hotel perks and benefits that you would expect to receive from a Starwood Preferred Guest card but also provides the various business and credit cards benefits American Express has become so well-known for among cardholders. From free Internet to access to Sheraton Club lounges, ReceiptMatch, OPEN savings, and many others, this card is a well-rounded card for business owners who also enjoy staying at SPG Hotels.</p> <p><strong>No foreign transaction fee</strong>. If you frequently travel abroad, you'll certainly enjoy that this card has no foreign transaction fee. This fee on other credit cards can be as much as 3%, which not only decreases the value of your rewards but can become costly if you make foreign transactions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation">The 5 Best Credit Cards with No Foreign Transaction Fees</a>)</p> <h2>Cons</h2> <p><strong>Annual fee</strong>. The annual fee has increased over the years from $65 to $95, and although you won't pay it for the first year, many cardholders won't be able to justify the annual fee of $95 in the years after. It is crucial that you examine your business spending and how frequently you stay in SPG Hotels to determine if you will earn enough points and take advantage of enough of the benefits for the annual fee to be worth paying. There are business cards that offer rewards on purchases without charging an annual fee. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards with No Annual Fees</a>)</p> <p><strong>American Express is less accepted</strong>. Although there is no foreign transaction fee, which makes this card a great card for traveling the world, the American Express brand is still not accepted as widely as the Visa or MasterCard brands. The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-miles-without-the-fees-capital-one-spark-miles-select-for-business-credit-card-review?ref=review">Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business</a> is a great travel rewards business credit card that is not only more widely accepted, but also has no foreign transaction fees and offers reward miles on your card purchases. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Who This Card Is Best For</h2> <p>Because of the many hotel and business benefits, the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express is ideal for small business owners who frequently travel and stay in Starwood Preferred Guest Hotels, or for those who only stay in SPG Hotels occasionally but can transfer points to airline miles. It is also best for those who spend and earn enough to cover the annual fee after the first free year. Those looking to get the most out of the card should spend at least $30,000 per year with the card to reach the extra benefits of elite statuses.</p> <p>Terms and conditions apply.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=148&amp;pid=15&amp;pp=0uv=send&amp;fot=1305">Click here to learn more and apply for the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express today!</a></strong></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christina-majaski">Christina Majaski</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hotel-rewards-for-business-owners-american-express-starwood-preferred-guest-business-credit-card">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cashing-in-at-the-supermarket-blue-cash-preferred-card-from-american-express-review">Cashing in at the Supermarket: Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express Review</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-rewards-card-the-starwood-preferred-guest-credit-card-from-american-express">Best Rewards Card: The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amex-platinum-do-the-perks-justify-the-fee">The Platinum Card from American Express: Do the Perks Justify the Fee?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/american-express-premier-rewards-gold-card-review">Best Charge Card: Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amex-everyday-preferred-card-review">Amex EveryDay Preferred: More Rewards for More Purchases</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards american express amex business credit card credit card reviews credit cards Starwood Preferred Guest Thu, 28 Jan 2016 18:50:07 +0000 Christina Majaski 1642719 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways to Find Extra Cash for the Holidays http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-find-extra-cash-for-the-holidays <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-to-find-extra-cash-for-the-holidays" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/holiday-cash-can.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With just a few left days until the holidays, it's time to come up with cash for those extra presents that you still have left to buy. You can use your American Express card to earn points on all of your purchases, and with the <a href="https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/amex-everyday">Amex EveryDay Credit Card</a>, you get 20% extra when you hit 20 purchases in a billing period (not hard this time of year!!) But what about when you need cash today?</p> <p>Here are eight ways to fatten your wallet before Santa arrives.</p> <h2>1. Get a Seasonal Job</h2> <p>While normally finding a job can take weeks or months, during the holidays retailers are looking for help to get them through until New Years. This means that they will often hire on the spot and have night and weekend shifts available. Plus, many retailers offer a discount to employees. So, getting a seasonal job, if even for a few weeks, will help you earn additional money to fund your holiday shopping and get you a discount on some great gifts.</p> <h2>2. Use &ldquo;Untapped&rdquo; Membership Rewards&reg; Points</h2> <p>If you have a credit card, you should be earning points just for using it. If you haven't checked on and redeemed&nbsp; points for a while, you likely have enough saved up to buy some gifts for folks on your list. My personal favorite is buying a Home Depot gift card in the Membership Rewards store (which has a 1:1 conversion rate and at starts at a minimum of 2500 for a $25 gift card.) Check the <a href="https://rewards.americanexpress.com/myca/loyalty/us/catalog/giftcardhub">Membership Rewards site</a> for all their selection of gift cards including Gap, Saks Fifth Avenue and more. &nbsp;I've also used points to shop for actual things before &mdash; in law school I cashed in rewards points for a coffee grinder, which I still have today.</p> <h2>3. Work Overtime</h2> <p>If you don't want to get a second job, your regular employer may be looking for extra assistance trying to get work out by year end. If you are eligible for overtime, see if you can pick up an extra shift.</p> <h2>4. Sell Your Assistance</h2> <p>Not only are stores busy this time of year, but regular people are, too. If you have time, offer to run to Ikea and assemble your friend's son's present for a fee. Or cleaning before holiday parties is another good way to earn money. So how do you find these odd jobs? You could post on Craigslist, but this may be a little risky. Instead, try putting a post on Facebook or the neighborhood app Nextdoor, so that you are only offering your assistance to friends, family, neighbors, and their expanded networks.</p> <h2>5. Sell Stuff</h2> <p>December is a great time of year to sell unwanted stuff &mdash; particularly kids' toys. (Buying used toys is also great way to save money on holiday shopping.) Just this weekend we gathered several boxes of kids' clothing and toys to sell on Craigslist, Ebay, and Kidizen (an app just for kids' stuff). Last month we sold some furniture we were no longer using. Electronics and cell phones also sell well. The best part about Craigslist, is often people will come the same day for items. So, you've saved space and padded your wallet all at once.</p> <h2>6. Return Items</h2> <p>While malls are crowded with folks trying to return items this time of year, if you are in need of extra cash for the holidays and if you have items needing to be returned sitting around, now is the time to return or exchange it!</p> <h2>7. Find Unused Gift Cards</h2> <p>If you have accumulated gift cards during the year and have failed to use them, now is the time. Whether it's a Target gift card that you can use directly to buy gifts or a restaurant gift card that you can use instead of paying cash, digging through your dresser drawers to find these cards can go a long way towards your holiday shopping.</p> <h2>8. Book Travel With Rewards</h2> <p>If your holiday expenses include travel expenses, use Membership Rewards points to book travel; I have booked multiple flights and hotels with points and find that this is the best way to get the most value from my rewards points. Booking through <a href="https://travel.americanexpress.com/home">Amex's travel site</a> is super easy, too.</p> <p><em>How will you find extra cash this Holiday season?</em></p> <p><em>I was selected by American Express to help educate consumers about the </em><a href="https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/amex-everyday"><em>Amex EveryDay Credit Card</em></a><em>. As such, I was paid&nbsp;for my services, but tips and opinions shared about and American Express and the Amex EveryDay Credit Card are my own.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-find-extra-cash-for-the-holidays">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-cash-back-sites-to-earn-you-thousands-per-year">30+ Cash Back Sites to Earn You Thousands Per Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">Top Seven Reasons Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-secrets-of-highly-successful-craigslist-sellers">The 9 Secrets of Highly Successful Craigslist Sellers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/craigslist-vs-ebay-where-to-sell-10-common-items">Craigslist vs. eBay: Where to Sell 10 Common Items</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-rules-you-must-follow-when-shopping-at-costco">5 Frugal Rules You Must Follow When Shopping at Costco</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Shopping credit cards Thu, 17 Dec 2015 16:00:04 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 1622180 at http://www.wisebread.com Farnoosh Torabi Shares Favorite Holiday Shopping Tips With Wise Bread Readers! http://www.wisebread.com/farnoosh-torabi-shares-favorite-holiday-shopping-tips-with-wise-bread-readers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/farnoosh-torabi-shares-favorite-holiday-shopping-tips-with-wise-bread-readers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/holiday-shopping-kids.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I love giving gifts (and getting them) when the holidays roll around, but in the excitement to spread the good cheer, it&rsquo;s easy to get carried away and to spend a little more than I can afford. How can you plan wisely and avoid carrying debt into the New Year, without feeling like you&rsquo;re depriving yourself? Fortunately for us, Farnoosh Torabi, personal finance guru, TV star, and author of <em>When She Makes More: The Truth About Navigating Love and Life for a New Generation of Women</em>, is here to share her best holiday spending strategies, which I&rsquo;ll certainly be implementing this season, and hopefully, my wallet will thank me in the New Year!</p> <p><strong>1. What are some of your favorite &quot;overlooked&quot; tips about spending smart during the holidays?</strong></p> <p><strong>Make a kids-only rule</strong>. Limit the number of gifts you have to buy for friends and family by making a rule such as gifts for the kids only. Alternatively, you could do a gift exchange where you only have to buy one family member a gift instead of all of them.</p> <p><strong>Shop early</strong>. By doing some shopping in advance and taking advantage of sales throughout the year, you can avoid paying full-price at the last minute. Just be careful not to forget about the gifts you have stashed away.</p> <p><strong>Search your home for unused gift cards</strong>. They may be lying forgotten in a drawer. Even if they are to a store you don't normally frequent, chances are you can use them to buy a gift for someone else.</p> <p><strong>Favor clever over cost. </strong>Gifts with a clever touch &ndash; like ones that celebrate an inside joke or old memories &ndash; can often trump a pricey present. Sites like Living Social and Groupon are also great</p> <p><strong>2. Your book, When She Makes More: The Truth About Navigating Love and Life for a New Generation of Women, gives a lot of great advice for women who are the top-earners in their households. What do you think is a great gift for the ultra-successful woman CEO who already has everything?</strong></p> <p>The gift of time and/or a little luxury and pampering. Offering her a free weekend to do anything she wants while you run her errands and take care of the kids would be an incredible gift. During this time off, you could book her a day at the spa and invite her friends to surprise her at her favorite restaurant &ndash; because, really, when was the last time she saw them?&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>3. What are some of the biggest personal finance mistakes people make during the holiday season?</strong></p> <p><strong>Not communicating with your significant other</strong>. Few things put a damper on marital felicity like a giant credit card bill in January. While it's sweet to surprise your significant other with a nice holiday gift, make sure you're both on the same financial page to avoid unwanted surprises in the New Year. Be open about expectations and budgets this season.</p> <p><strong>Focusing on material gifts rather than experiences</strong>. In a few years, the toys and knick-knacks may be forgotten, but great experiences allow you to create memories with your friends and family that will last a lifetime. Make sure you prioritize quality time with your family and friends, which is more important than frantically rushing around buying gifts.</p> <p><strong>Not keeping an eye on your credit score</strong>. By spending more on your credit cards than you can pay off at the end of the billing cycle, you risk both paying interest on the balance, as well as dinging your credit score. One way to keep tabs on your credit score is to use a credit card like the Chase Slate card. As a cardmember, you'll have free access to your FICO score through the Chase Slate Credit Dashboard, as well as valuable information such as the main factors, positive and negative, behind your score. Additional tools allow you to track your 12-month credit trends, and offer suggestions on how to improve your credit. Managing seasonal finances wisely with the right planning and tools can help keep your score intact and even improve your score into the New Year.</p> <p>&nbsp;<img width="605" height="368" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/slate-credit-dashboard.jpg" /></p> <p><strong>4. If someone spent too much money this holiday season and is experiencing the dreaded &quot;holiday hangover,&quot; what is your best advice on how they can dig themselves out of that hole?</strong></p> <p>To minimize the impact on your finances, you might pick up a few side jobs (babysitting, dog-walking, seasonal jobs) to help offset the extra expenses, which can enable you to pay off your balance in full. You can also sell some unwanted items such as extra clothing, furniture, and electronics.</p> <p>If you do find yourself struggling with debt in the new year, you can alleviate the financial burden by making sure you have a good balance transfer card that doesn't have an annual fee or penalty APR, such as the Chase Slate&reg; card. That way, you won't be paying excessive interest as long as you make your monthly payments. This is a temporary solution, of course, as you'll have to pay your balance in full before the introductory period ends, but will give you some temporary relief.</p> <p><strong>5. What is the favorite gift you&rsquo;ve received that cost nothing or very little? </strong></p> <p>For one of my birthdays, my then long-distance boyfriend (now husband) surprised me by coming to visit me in New York a couple days sooner than he said he&rsquo;d be there. I got home to my apartment and he was waiting for me by the door with flowers!</p> <p><strong>6. Do you have a holiday message to the readers of Wise Bread?&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Remember to enjoy the moments more than the gifts! Things don&rsquo;t last, nor make us happy. But memories do.</p> <p>This post is sponsored by <a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=10986971&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=1">Chase Slate&reg;</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/farnoosh-torabi-shares-favorite-holiday-shopping-tips-with-wise-bread-readers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">Top Seven Reasons Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-rules-you-must-follow-when-shopping-at-costco">5 Frugal Rules You Must Follow When Shopping at Costco</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-your-credit-card-will-save-you-money-while-holiday-shopping">11 Ways Your Credit Card Will Save You Money While Holiday Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chase-total-checking-and-savings-easy-everyday-banking">Chase Total Checking and Savings: Easy Everyday Banking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-investing-today-acorns-lets-you-invest-your-change-while-you-shop">Start Investing Today: Acorns Lets You Invest Your Change While You Shop</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping chase credit cards Fri, 04 Dec 2015 16:00:03 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1618195 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Ways to Save on Your Thanksgiving Celebrations http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-save-on-your-thanksgiving-celebrations <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-to-save-on-your-thanksgiving-celebrations" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/shopping-for-pumpkins.png" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>This post contains references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Please visit our<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/advertiser-disclosure">Advertiser Disclosure</a> to view our partners, and for additional details.</em></p> <p>Have you volunteered to host your family's Thanksgiving meal this year, but don't want to break the bank? Or do you love that Thanksgiving brings your family together for a shared meal, but don't love how expensive it can get? Between all the holiday entertaining, your wallet definitely feels the pinch. On the upside, if you use the right credit card, you can accumulate rewards points to get something back for all that spending. I use the Amex EveryDay Credit Card, which bonuses you 20% extra Membership Rewards points after making 20 or more purchases in a billing period &nbsp;&mdash; all for no annual fee!</p> <p>Here's how I use my card to save money along with other ways to save this Thanksgiving season.</p> <h2>1. Using Points for Purchases</h2> <p>When you're shopping for the big meal, remember to use your rewards Amex EveryDay to pay at the grocery store because getting cash back at the grocery store is always a treat. You earn 2x the points at U.S. grocery stores and 1x for every dollar you spend. There are lots of flexible ways to use the Card&rsquo;s rewards points. For example, you can use Membership Rewards on the Membership Rewards <a href="https://rewards.americanexpress.com/myca/loyalty/us/catalog/giftcardhub">site</a> to book travel or get gift cards from popular stores like the Gap, Home Depot, and Saks Fifth Avenue. There are even <a href="https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/benefits/detail/points-for-charges/premier-gold">options</a> for you to use the points to pay for your purchases on Amazon.com, book Uber rides, or simply pay off your existing Amex charges.</p> <h2>2. Craft DIY Centerpieces</h2> <p>Thanksgiving centerpieces can get pricey quickly (plus they often end up getting moved off the table to make room for the food.) Make your own centerpiece and keep it simple. Start with fall leaves &mdash; red or yellow maple leaves are perfect. Clip a few small branches with leaves attached and stick them in a vase or old wine bottle. Or buy squash and pumpkins (a variety of colors and shapes is best) at your local farmer's' market or grocery store, then arrange them along the middle of your table.</p> <h2>3. Shop Secondhand</h2> <p>If you want a fancy tablecloth, festive cloth napkins, or decorations beyond a centerpiece, start looking now. Resale shops and estate sales are great places to find linens and decorations at bargain prices.</p> <h2>4. Rethink Tradition</h2> <p>Resist the urge to make grandma's Jello mystery casserole just because you've always made it. If there's a dish that goes mostly uneaten every Thanksgiving, pass on it this year. Cut down on waste and expense, and keep the menu simple and focused on food that everyone (or at least almost everyone) will eat. You'll save time and money.</p> <h2>5. Roast a Thanksgiving&hellip; Chicken?</h2> <p>Turkeys are a lot of work. If you buy frozen, you have to defrost it for a day or two. Then you have to stuff it, if that's your style, and cook it for three to six hours, depending on the size. Not to mention the hefty price tag and the constant basting. Why not try a chicken or two for your group? They're smaller, cheaper, quicker, and just as delicious. Plan on at least &frac12; pound per person, plus more if you want leftovers.</p> <h2>6. Plan Ahead</h2> <p>As is the case in so many situations, planning ahead will save you money on your Thanksgiving meal prep. Map out your menu and list of ingredients far in advance. In the weeks leading up to your celebration, look out for coupons and specials that will save you money. Think about whether there are dishes you can make ahead and freeze if you get a good deal on certain ingredients. These plans will save you not only money, but stress in the days leading up to the big meal.</p> <h2>7. Delegate the Deliciousness</h2> <p>Just because you're hosting doesn't mean you have to do all of the cooking. Invite your friends and family to bring a favorite side dish or dessert. People enjoy pitching in and sharing their own Thanksgiving traditions. You might even find a new favorite dish. Plus, delegating means you won't have to spend as much money on ingredients and time in the kitchen.</p> <h2>8. Buy Wine Early</h2> <p>Wine is the one Thanksgiving meal ingredient that only gets better with age. Plan ahead on this one and you can save a lot of money. Start watching for sales now and stock up when you see a good price.</p> <h2>9. Relax and Enjoy</h2> <p>While taking a deep breath won't save you money, it will help you enjoy spending these Thanksgiving #EveryDayMoments with your friends and family. Don't fret the small stuff. Something is bound to go wrong, especially if you're hosting, but it's unlikely that anyone will remember in a year. And if they do, it will be a good story!</p> <p><em>How do you save money on Thanksgiving? </em></p> <p><em>I was selected by American Express to help educate consumers about the </em><a href="https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/amex-everyday"><em>Amex EveryDay Credit Card</em></a><em>. As such, I was paid&nbsp;for my services, but tips and opinions shared about and American Express and the Amex EveryDay Credit Card are my own.</em></p> <p><a href="http://americanexpress.tumblr.com/"><img src="http://i.imgur.com/r5fZIrt.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-save-on-your-thanksgiving-celebrations">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-rules-you-must-follow-when-shopping-at-costco">5 Frugal Rules You Must Follow When Shopping at Costco</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/throwing-awesome-parties-on-a-budget">Throwing Awesome Parties on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-ways-to-host-an-oktoberfest-party-on-the-cheap">16 Ways to Host an Oktoberfest Party on the Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-practice-math-when-you-leave-a-tip">Do You Practice Math When You Leave a Tip?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-throw-a-fabulous-and-frugal-dinner-party">How to Throw a Fabulous (and Frugal!) Dinner Party</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Food and Drink credit cards Tue, 24 Nov 2015 18:00:04 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 1616589 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Flight Booking Hacks to Save You Hundreds http://www.wisebread.com/10-flight-booking-hacks-to-save-you-hundreds <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-flight-booking-hacks-to-save-you-hundreds" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000052282084_1.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I've been traveling and hacking flights since 2008, spending nearly eight years researching and finding secret methods to save money, earn points, and fly for free. These effective and easy-to-use tricks have saved me thousands of dollars over the years and now they can do the same for you.</p> <h2>1. Use Google Flights</h2> <p>If there ever was a single flight booking engine to rule them all, it would be <a href="https://www.google.com/flights/">Google Flights</a>. This incredible website will revolutionize the way you book flights and it can save you a ton of money along the way. Let's go over some of the main features of this booking site that blows others like it out of the water.</p> <h3>Two Months of Fares</h3> <p>A frequent flyer knows that there are always cheaper days of the week and times of the month to fly. Google Flights simplifies your fare search by showing you a calendar with two full months of fares. There's even a handy bar graph that makes it easy to see which day is the cheapest. I have found flights for nearly half price just by using this tool and flying on the right day of the month!</p> <h3>Destination Region, Not Just Destination City</h3> <p>Sometimes you want to go to Europe, but you want to be spontaneous. You'll fly to any city as long as it's cheap. Well, Google Flights will be your new best friend. Instead of having to input a destination city, you can input a destination region (ie: Europe). You can then open a map view of the entire continent which shows airfares on every major city and airport. With this trick, I found that I could fly to Paris for $150 less than if I flew to London on the same day. Using traditional methods of flight search, you'd have to separately search each city in Europe to find the cheapest flight and this could potentially take hours.</p> <h3>Happiness Factors</h3> <p>A good deal on a flight ticket is only a good deal if you're comfortable while you're in the air. Google has teamed up with Routehappy to include &quot;Happiness Factors&quot; in their search results. Now you can see if there is food, USB power outlets, TVs, video on demand, and Wi-Fi on your flight. The factors are shown using easy to spot icons right next to the fares in search results. You can even see how many inches of legroom you'll have!</p> <h3>Best Flight Recommendation</h3> <p>Google takes the guesswork out of choosing flights. Sometimes, customers are blinded by a cheap deal and they fail to notice that there is a 45-hour layover in Delaware. For an extra $40 you could have flown direct! Google automatically calculates the best flight for you based on a good balance of price and transit time. Brilliant. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-flight-search-site-savvy-travelers-use?ref=seealso">The Secret Flight Search Site Savvy Travelers Use</a>)</p> <h2>2. Clear Your Cache</h2> <p>This is a big one, everybody! Have you ever noticed that when you return to check the cost of your flight day after day, the price just keeps going up? This is not a coincidence. Flight booking engines and airline websites store cookies in your browser. These cookies can monitor your browsing habits and they'll know when you return to their website to check flight costs again and again. They will then jack the price up to urge you to buy! It sounds criminal, doesn't it? Well it's not illegal and it happens all of the time on pretty much every booking website. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-secrets-to-getting-the-lowest-rate-from-travel-websites?ref=seealso">4 Secrets to Getting the Lowest Rate From Travel Websites</a>)</p> <p>To avoid getting charged extra every time you book a flight, simply clear your browser cache before booking anything online, or if you use Google Chrome as your browser, simply hit control-shift-N to open an &quot;incognito&quot; window which ensures cookie-free browsing.</p> <p>Note: Clearing the cache is different for every browser, here are instructions for the most common ones: <a href="https://support.google.com/chromebook/answer/183083?hl=en">Google Chrome</a>, <a href="http://agsci.psu.edu/it/how-to/clear-internet-explorer-8-ie8-browsing-history-cache">Internet Explorer</a>, <a href="https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/delete-cookies-remove-info-websites-stored">Firefox</a>, and <a href="https://guides.instructure.com/m/4214/l/334964-how-do-i-clear-my-browser-cache-on-a-mac">Safari</a>.</p> <p>I recently booked a flight from Guatemala to Cuba and I noticed that each day before booking, the price kept going up. Luckily I utilized this simple hack and voila! The price magically went back down and I saved $250 on two tickets! Don't believe me? Check out the split image below. The bottom half is the flight before clearing the browser cache and the top half is the exact same flight, booked 10 minutes later using &quot;incognito&quot; mode.</p> <p><img width="605" height="456" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/flight%20prices.jpg" /></p> <p>If you didn't know about this hack before, then you've probably overpaid for pretty much every flight you've ever taken. Next time you book a flight, make sure you clear your cache or shop &quot;incognito.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Get Bumped</h2> <p>Is saving big money on flights not good enough for you? You want to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-free-or-almost-free-airline-tickets">fly for free</a>? No problem. You can get free flight vouchers so you don't have to pay for your future airfare at all. It's called &quot;getting bumped.&quot;</p> <p>Here's how it works: These days, there are so many people flying that airlines overbook their flights and bank on the fact that not everyone will show up to the gates come check-in time. Sometimes this works for them and they can overbook flights without a hitch, but other times they have to ask some passengers if they wouldn't mind taking the next scheduled flight instead. These passengers are &quot;getting bumped.&quot;</p> <p>Why is &quot;getting bumped&quot; such an awesome hack? Because if you get bumped, you'll be flown to your destination on the next scheduled flight, plus you'll receive a free flight voucher for your next holiday! That's right, your next flight will be free.</p> <p>But you shouldn't just cross your fingers and hope to get bumped. There are three things that you should do to better your chances.</p> <h3>Choose a Popular Flight</h3> <p>The more popular the flight route, the more likely it will be that the airline needs to bump passengers. Choose a destination city that is popular, and fly on the busiest day possible (usually Monday mornings, Friday afternoons, and around holidays).</p> <h3>Pack Light</h3> <p>Airline staff will try to choose the most convenient candidates for bump passengers. If they have to go fetch your bag from under the plane, they probably won't pick you. If you want to get bumped, try to pack only carry-on luggage.</p> <h3>Show Up Extra Early and Volunteer</h3> <p>Head to the check-in counter right when it opens and have a big smile on your face. Politely mention to the agent that you're in no rush, and you'd have no problem volunteering to take the next flight if they need you to.</p> <p>Now you just sit and wait with your fingers crossed. This hack may not work every time, but you can definitely get a few free flights if you keep trying.</p> <h2>4. Book at the Right Time</h2> <p>The &quot;right time to book&quot; has been a debate amongst frequent flyers since the invention of commercial air travel. How long before your departure date should you start shopping for flights? Are last-minute deals the best or is it better to plan in advance to get early bird discounts?</p> <p>According to a 2013 study conducted by CheapAir.com, the <a href="http://www.cheapair.com/blog/travel-tips/when-should-you-buy-your-airline-ticket-heres-what-our-data-has-to-say/">optimal time to book flights</a> is approximately 48 days (about seven weeks) before departure. The study also claimed that most airlines will charge hefty premiums for late bookings (within 14 days of departure) and for early bookings (more than five months in advance).</p> <h2>5. Become &quot;Cancellation Protected&quot;</h2> <p>Many flight booking engines have pretty strict flight cancellation policies that are often separate from the airline's policies. Sometimes you have to cancel your flight for unforeseen reasons and if you booked with an online booking site, you may be out of luck and out of money.</p> <p>Instead, find the flight using your favorite booking engine, get the flight number and date of the cheapest fare, and then go straight your chosen airline's website to book it. This way, you'll have a better chance of getting at least some kind of refund if you have to cancel down the road.</p> <p>Keep in mind, you can get refunds on many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-refund-when-something-is-non-refundable">&quot;non-refundable&quot; purchases</a> if you know how to ask.</p> <h2>6. Use Your Best Travel Rewards Credit Card</h2> <p>There's no reason why anyone should book travel without reaping the benefits of travel rewards and air miles from their favorite credit cards. Whenever you're paying for a holiday, trip or vacation, make sure that you're using your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">best travel rewards credit card</a>.</p> <p>Find the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-travel-rewards-credit-cards-really-work">best card for your travel preferences</a>, rack up your points and miles, and then <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards">redeem them for a free vacatio</a>n!&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">If you're a loyal flyer on a particular airline, a </span><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-co-branded-airline-credit-cards?ref=internal" style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">co-branded airline card</a><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;"> will get you extra travel perks like priority boarding and discounts off in-flight purchases.</span></p> <h2>7. Use the Flight+Hotel or Flight+Rental Tab</h2> <p>You've probably seen that little tab at the top of flight booking websites that says Flight+Hotel or Flight+Car Rental. It looks like it's just an aggressive upsell, trying to get you to spend more money than you really want to, but it turns out, there are huge savings hidden beneath that tab.</p> <p>Flight booking engines offer customers big discounts on their flights, hotels, and car rental if they book them all together. Even if you don't want to rent a car for the duration of your holiday, give this little hack a try.</p> <p>In my sample booking, the cheapest flight from Toronto to London in July of 2015 was $1,524. I then searched the same flight using the tab on the British Airways website that says &quot;Flight+Car&quot; and found it for just $1,444 including a rental for the duration of the one week holiday. That's $80 less for the flight, plus a free rental car.</p> <h2>8. Pack Your Stuff to Avoid Extra Baggage Fees</h2> <p>Everyone wants to avoid going over the baggage allowance on flights. It's a good idea to always carry the maximum allowed size for your carry-on luggage, plus a purse, and a laptop bag. Most airlines allow all of these items as carry-ons and having all three is a loophole that will help you to avoid expensive fees at check-in. (You can sometimes sneak on with a plastic grocery bag as well!)</p> <p>If that nasty scale at the check-in counter is calling your luggage fat, take the heaviest things out and put them in your purse or daypack. Toss some things in the laptop bag and distribute the weight into your carry-ons so that you don't have to pay an extra cent for heavy checked luggage.</p> <p>Bonus hack: If you're traveling with golf clubs, stuff the golf bag with as much clothing as you can to lighten your other checked bag and avoid overweight charges. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-secrets-from-the-worlds-most-frugal-frequent-travelers?ref=seealso">25 Secrets From the World's Most Frugal Frequent Travelers</a>)</p> <h2>9. Ask to Sit Close to the Emergency Exit</h2> <p>On most airlines, you are charged extra if you request the emergency exit seats because they have twice the leg room, but you can often get them for free. When you check in for your next flight, request that your seat is <em>close to</em> the nearest emergency exit row. This is free.</p> <p>As soon as the plane doors are sealed and you see an empty emergency exit seat, switch over to it. Because passengers are charged extra if they request exit seats before departure, there are usually a couple of empty ones available and once the plane is sealed, you don't have to pay to move into them.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-airport-hacks-from-professional-travelers?ref=seealso">15 Airport Hacks From Expert Travelers</a></p> <h2>10. Use the Multi-City Tab</h2> <p>Basically, the Multi-City tab can be found on almost all booking sites and it gives customers access to secret discounts for taking multiple flights at the same time. In my case, I needed to fly from Guatemala City to Havana and then on to San Jose, Costa Rica three weeks later. If I were to book these flights separately, they would have cost me $938, but booking the same trip using the Multi-City tab only cost me $710. That's a savings of $218. Use this tab when you're planning multiple flights in a specific time frame and you can save a lot of money.</p> <p><em>Do you know of some money saving flight hacks that I missed? Please share them with the world in the comments below!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-flight-booking-hacks-to-save-you-hundreds">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-travel-hacks-only-frequent-flyers-know">5 Smart Travel Hacks Only Frequent Flyers Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles">Everything You Need to Know About Frequent Flyer Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-transfer-points-to-airline-miles">5 Best Credit Cards that Transfer Points to Airline Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-might-be-the-best-travel-rewards-program-no-matter-what-airline-you-fly">This Might Be the Best Travel Rewards Program (No Matter What Airline You Fly)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-vacation-destinations-that-stretch-your-dollar">11 Vacation Destinations That Stretch Your Dollar</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel airline miles airline tickets credit cards flight booking flying travel vacation Mon, 07 Sep 2015 11:00:35 +0000 Nick Wharton 1548205 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Credit Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Mortgage Application http://www.wisebread.com/8-credit-mistakes-that-could-hurt-your-mortgage-application <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-credit-mistakes-that-could-hurt-your-mortgage-application" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/A000044377414_0.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><a href="http://r1.fmpub.net/?k1=cmx-metric&amp;k2=289|652|2247&amp;k3=logo&amp;k4=&amp;r=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.chase.com%2Fmortgage" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://vc.cdn.fm/video_conversationalist/system/published/opportunity/88244652/sponsor_logo.jpg" class="nopin" nopin="nopin" align="right" alt="" /></a></p> <p>Sponsored by Chase Mortgage Banking.&nbsp;<a href="http://r1.fmpub.net/?k1=cmx-metric&amp;k2=289%7C652%7C2247&amp;k3=disclaimer&amp;k4=&amp;r=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fmynewhome" rel="nofollow">Review their resources</a>&nbsp;to help you find and finance your home.</p> <p><img width="605" src="http://wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/072215-SurprisingThings-hires.png " alt="" /></p> <p>See more ways you can improve your credit score today.</p> <!-- Content Well 650x300 Zone --> <script type='text/javascript' src='http://static.fmpub.net/zone/20744'></script> <!-- Content Well 650x300 Zone --> <script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8" src="http://vc.cdn.fm/video_conversationalist/system/published/opportunity/88244652/289_2247.js"></script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lynn-truong">Lynn Truong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-credit-mistakes-that-could-hurt-your-mortgage-application">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-steps-to-finding-your-mortgage-lender">4 Steps to Finding Your Mortgage Lender</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mortgage-application-declined-here-s-how-to-respond">Mortgage Application Declined? Here’s How to Respond</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-is-the-best-time-to-lock-in-a-mortgage-rate">When Is the Best Time to Lock in a Mortgage Rate?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-crucial-things-homebuyers-overlook-at-open-houses">12 Crucial Things Homebuyers Overlook at Open Houses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-appraisal-facts-that-could-save-you-big-money">5 Appraisal Facts That Could Save You Big Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing chase credit cards mortgage Tue, 18 Aug 2015 11:00:00 +0000 Lynn Truong 1529667 at http://www.wisebread.com Chase Total Checking and Savings: Easy Everyday Banking http://www.wisebread.com/chase-total-checking-and-savings-easy-everyday-banking <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/chase-total-checking-and-savings-easy-everyday-banking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000037506278_XXXLarge.jpg" alt="man using smartphone" title="man using smartphone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Years ago, when you wanted to open a checking or savings account at a bank, you'd head over to a bank in your neighborhood. These days, setting up a new account no longer requires a live person to walk you through it. There are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-checking-accounts?ref=internal">banks exclusively online</a> to prove it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/banks-still-offering-free-checking-and-great-interest-rates?ref=seealso">Banks Still Offering Free Checking and Great Interest Rates</a>)</p> <p>If you're shopping for a bank to open a checking or savings account at, you're probably wondering which bank is best: local credit union, exclusive online bank, or one that provides both online and brick and mortar services. While online exclusive banks may offer slightly lower fees or higher APYs, a large, traditional bank can provide valuable resources and services along with integrated online and mobile options that make banking a breeze.</p> <p>Take, for example, Chase Total Checking&reg;. Their motto is &ldquo;Simple and Accessible&rdquo; &mdash; and with 15,500 Chase ATMs and 5,400 branches across the nation, it won&rsquo;t be too difficult to find a location to get cash or deposit checks in person. And you can get even more out of your banking if you open a Chase Savings<sup>SM</sup> account too. And they're offering new customers up to a $250 bonus! See details below.</p> <h2>How to Open an Account</h2> <p>To open a Chase Total Checking&reg; account, you need to deposit a minimum of $25. There is a $12 monthly service fee, which you can get around by doing one of the following:</p> <ul> <li>Make direct deposits to your account totaling $500 or more.</li> <li>Maintain a $1,500 minimum daily balance.</li> <li>Maintain an average daily balance of $5,000 or more in qualifying linked deposits or investments.</li> </ul> <p>The minimum deposit for a savings account is also $25. The monthly fee is $5, which is waived if you do one of the following:</p> <ul> <li>Maintain a $300 minimum daily balance.</li> <li>Have at least one repeating automatic transfer of at least $25 from your personal Chase checking account.</li> <li>Link your savings account to a Chase Premier Plus Checking, Chase Premier Platinum Checking, or Chase Private Client Checking account.</li> <li>Be younger than 18 years old.</li> </ul> <h2>Sign-up Offers</h2> <p>Chase is offering $150 for their new customers who open a Chase Total Checking&reg; account and set up direct deposit. If you open a new Chase Savings<sup>SM</sup> account (even if you already do some of your banking with Chase), you can get $100 by depositing $10,000 in new money within 10 business days and keeping a $10,000 balance for 90 days. This means that you can receive $250 if you qualify for both offers! But be sure to jump on them soon &mdash; these offers expire October 14, 2015.<a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=26126800&amp;fot=1253&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow"><strong><br /> </strong></a></p> <h2>Online and Mobile Banking</h2> <p>If you prefer to do your banking from the comfort of your living room &mdash; or really, anywhere with Internet connection &mdash; Chase offers online and mobile banking. Some of their services include:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Chase QuickDeposit:</strong> Take a picture of your check and deposit it with the Chase Mobile App. Easy!<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Chase QuickPay:</strong> Send money to another person, no cash or checks necessary. Just enter the recipient&rsquo;s email address or mobile number and Chase will send them an email with instructions on how to accept the payment. They don't have to be a Chase customer, but they do have to create a Chase user account.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Online Bill Pay:</strong>&nbsp;Your bill payments will be sent on the date you specify. If your payment is ever delayed, Chase will refund 100% of any late fees (provided they got the payment request before the cutoff time and the payee information was correct).</li> </ul> <h2>Automatic Savings</h2> <p>You can set up a repeating automatic transfer from your Chase checking to your savings account...and forget about it! Actually, don't, because it's important to monitor your money. But there's no denying that Chase's Automatic Transfer Program takes most of the effort out of saving, and it's an easy way to get the monthly fee on your savings account waived &mdash; just set the transfer amount to at least $25 a month.</p> <h2>Account Alerts</h2> <p>Need to keep a close eye on your account? (I mean, who doesn&rsquo;t?) Chase will text or email you if your account is low on funds, there is a large transaction, or other account activity. It&rsquo;s easy to personalize what account alerts you receive and how you receive them.</p> <h2>Pros</h2> <p>$250 is an attractive sign-up offer! Plus, between the online/mobile banking offerings and account alerts, it&rsquo;s easy to stay on top of your finances wherever you are. And you'll likely never worry about having to hunt down a Chase ATM or branch, if you need to access your money quickly or get a banker's help.</p> <h2>Cons</h2> <p>You might forget about the minimum balance or requirements for waiving the monthly fee and get hit with it. That's one of the disadvantages of having an account that &quot;waives&quot; your fee rather than provides it for free. <a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-10124087-1437509025000?sid=review-chase_total">Capital One 360</a> offers a free interest bearing checking account, and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-11035571-1443704483000?sid=review-chase_total">Discover offers a savings account</a> with a whopping 0.95% APY for all balances.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Are Chase Total Checking&reg; and Savings<sup>SM</sup> Right for You?</h2> <p>If you're looking for a solid bank with both a physical presense as well as plenty of online and mobile conveniences, Chase is a great option. Along with their basic banking offerings, Chase has a good reputation for their other consumer products like credit cards. Having a lot of your financial accounts under one company can be incredibly convenient.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chase-total-checking-and-savings-easy-everyday-banking">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-savings-accounts">5 Best Online Savings Accounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-checking-accounts">5 Best Online Checking Accounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/banks-still-offering-free-checking-and-great-interest-rates">Banks Still Offering Free Checking and Savings with Great Interest Rates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-360-review">Capital One 360: A Competitive Banking Option</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-appraisal-facts-that-could-save-you-big-money">5 Appraisal Facts That Could Save You Big Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking bank reviews chase checking account credit cards savings account Tue, 28 Jul 2015 23:01:36 +0000 Amy Lu 1500568 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Steps to Finding Your Mortgage Lender http://www.wisebread.com/4-steps-to-finding-your-mortgage-lender <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-steps-to-finding-your-mortgage-lender" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6 Steps to Finding a Mortgage Lender That Will Get You Your Dream House_PHOTO.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Sponsored by Chase Mortgage Banking. <a href="http://r1.fmpub.net/?k1=cmx-metric&amp;k2=289%7C652%7C2180&amp;k3=disclaimer&amp;k4=&amp;r=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fmynewhome" rel="nofollow">Review their resources</a> to help you find and finance your home.</em></p> <p>I vividly remember signing my first mortgage agreement, my hand trembling slightly as I held the pen. It&rsquo;s a lot of money to commit to paying back! Since that day, between refinances and new purchases, I&rsquo;ve signed or e-signed for a total of seven mortgages. It got easier because after going through the process a couple of times, I learned how to feel confident I was working with the best possible mortgage lender and getting the best deal I could. These are my tips on finding the best lender for you.</p> <p>When it comes to a mortgage, everyone has different needs. See <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99kpHX0vQ2Y">which products make sense for you</a>:</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/99kpHX0vQ2Y" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <h2>Compare Rates</h2> <p>When you&rsquo;re shopping for a home, price is just one factor among many more personal choices such as floorplan and neighborhood. But with the mortgage, let&rsquo;s be frank: Price is the main factor in your choice.</p> <p>I keep an eye on the general trend of mortgage rates in the financial news, then check <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/funnel/mortgages/?ic_id=home_smart%20spending_CompareRates_Mortgage_30YearFixed&amp;prods=1">Bankrate.com</a> to get an idea of the range of rates available.</p> <p>Comparing rates can be challenging because it&rsquo;s not always clear what a listed rate includes. Banks may charge a higher percent interest for a zero-fee loan, where the borrower&rsquo;s costs are wrapped into the mortgage. Another problem with consulting lists of rates is that your individual circumstances affect what rate is available to you. For instance, for my family&rsquo;s current home, in the high-cost San Francisco Bay Area, we needed a jumbo loan, which costs slightly more than a standard, or &ldquo;conforming&rdquo; loan.</p> <p>One way to get an accurate idea of what your mortgage should cost is to use a rate calculator like the one at <a href="http://www.mtgprofessor.com/Ext/Partners/PricingTool.aspx">The Mortgage Professor</a>. Then you can contact lenders and ask for their best rate/fee combinations; if they charge more than the amount you saw on the rate calculator, ask why. Just like any transaction, it pays to shop around and ask lenders to match or beat other lenders&rsquo; prices. For my most recent refinance, I got three quotes, and one of the lenders offered to match the lower fees quoted by another lender.</p> <h2>Decide What Type of Lender You Want to Work With</h2> <p>You could take out your mortgage with a major bank, with a credit union, or with a company that specializes in mortgages only. Many of that last category operate online instead of having offices you can walk into.</p> <p>Online-only lenders may advertise lower rates than other lenders, but remember that you could always ask the lender you like best to match that rate, so which kind of lender to work with isn&rsquo;t solely a rate decision. Rather, it&rsquo;s a decision about who you feel comfortable with and about how you want to get through the paperwork, which is likely to involve little actual paper with an online lender.</p> <p>&ldquo;Online financing is popular with tech savvy consumers and can be a convenient alternative to traditional lending sources,&rdquo; writes <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/moneybuilder/2013/03/26/a-look-behind-the-curtain-how-to-choose-a-mortgage-lender/">Forbes contributor and industry insider Mark Greene</a>.</p> <p>Then again, you might get less personal attention working with an online lender than you would with your local bank.</p> <p>Personally, I have taken out mortgages sitting in a lender&rsquo;s office, and I have also done them through a lender with which I interacted solely by email and phone. The latter advertised lower rates. Employees with the first lender spent more time explaining things to me, while the employees of the second company could sometimes be brusque. But since I was familiar with the mortgage process by the time I worked with the second company, I didn&rsquo;t mind the lower level of service. In fact, I liked that they were in a hurry, because my loan closed quickly.</p> <h2>Research Potential Lenders</h2> <p>You probably already have a checking account at a bank or credit union, so you could consider getting your mortgage from them and enjoying the confidence of working with someone you already know -- just don&rsquo;t expect a special rate, <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/choose-mortgage-lender.aspx">according to Bankrate</a>. If you&rsquo;re considering a lender you haven&rsquo;t worked with before, look them up on the Better Business Bureau and ask friends and family if they&rsquo;ve had experiences with the company. The real estate site <a href="http://www.zillow.com/agent-finder/mortgage-lender-reviews/">Zillow has reviews</a> of mortgage lenders. Your real estate agent probably also has one or more recommendations, and possibly even an <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/moneybuilder/2013/03/26/a-look-behind-the-curtain-how-to-choose-a-mortgage-lender/">in-house lender</a> which can make things very convenient. (But you won&rsquo;t be obligated to use the in-house lender and should still shop around.)</p> <p>Once you have a list of a few lenders that other people liked working with, call a loan officer at each and ask questions. If the rate and fees are comparable, go with the company you feel most comfortable with.</p> <h2>Consider Working With a Mortgage Broker</h2> <p>Once upon a time, using a mortgage broker to shop loan offers for you was commonplace. Nowadays, only <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/01/realestate/choosing-between-mortgage-broker-and-bank.html?_r=0">one in 10 borrowers work with one</a>.</p> <p>Should you? That depends.</p> <p>You could see now as a better time than ever to work with a broker, since post-financial-crisis regulations require brokers to pass licensing exams, and ban them from profiting off of <a href="http://www.thetruthaboutmortgage.com/how-does-a-mortgage-broker-get-paid/">getting borrowers to pay higher interest rates</a> -- a practice that damaged brokers&rsquo; reputations in the eyes of many. Then again, nowadays you also have access to mortgage rate and fee data online, so it&rsquo;s not too hard to do what brokers do for yourself.</p> <p>But working with a broker can save you time if you don&rsquo;t want to shop around. Brokers can be especially helpful to borrowers who have trouble getting a loan, like those with less-than-perfect credit. And working with a broker doesn&rsquo;t necessarily cost more than borrowing directly from a lender, according to the web site <a href="http://www.thetruthaboutmortgage.com/mortgage-brokers-vs-banks/">The Truth About Mortgage</a>.</p> <p>Just like with researching a lender, research a broker you&rsquo;re considering working with, talk to more than one, and compare the costs. Personally, I interviewed a broker recommended by my real estate agent once, but I found a better rate than the ones he quoted on my own, so I told him thanks, but no thanks. But I wouldn&rsquo;t rule out consulting a broker in the future if I needed help.</p> <script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8" src="http://vc.cdn.fm/video_conversationalist/system/published/opportunity/88244652/289_2180.js"></script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-steps-to-finding-your-mortgage-lender">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mortgage-application-declined-here-s-how-to-respond">Mortgage Application Declined? Here’s How to Respond</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-is-the-best-time-to-lock-in-a-mortgage-rate">When Is the Best Time to Lock in a Mortgage Rate?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-crucial-things-homebuyers-overlook-at-open-houses">12 Crucial Things Homebuyers Overlook at Open Houses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-credit-mistakes-that-could-hurt-your-mortgage-application">8 Credit Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Mortgage Application</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-appraisal-facts-that-could-save-you-big-money">5 Appraisal Facts That Could Save You Big Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing chase credit cards mortgage Mon, 20 Jul 2015 11:00:14 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1487213 at http://www.wisebread.com Start Investing Today: Acorns Lets You Invest Your Change While You Shop http://www.wisebread.com/start-investing-today-acorns-lets-you-invest-your-change-while-you-shop <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/start-investing-today-acorns-lets-you-invest-your-change-while-you-shop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/investment_000039524102.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What if you were able to automatically invest some money, every day, in small stress-free amounts? Could investing be that simple? Yep. Just <a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=26166697&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">sign up for Acorns</a>.</p> <p>Acorns' message is simple: plant your acorns of pocket change today for steady investment growth and wealth in the future. Their app allows users to invest small amounts of money frequently in one of its diversified portfolios.</p> <h2>Steps to Investing with Acorns</h2> <p>Intrigued? Here&rsquo;s how investing with Acorns works.</p> <h3>1. Invest your change and more</h3> <p>Acorns promotes the idea that you can build a portfolio by investing your virtual change from card transactions, similar to Bank of America&rsquo;s <a href="https://www.bankofamerica.com/deposits/manage/keep-the-change.go">Keep-the-Change Savings Program</a>.</p> <p>Charges to your linked credit cards and debit cards are rounded up to the next dollar amount and eventually invested. So, a $5.10 transaction generates a 90-cent investment. Further, whole-dollar transactions generate a $1 investment by default. When the accumulated change equals $5 or more, it is invested in your chosen portfolio.</p> <p>Investments can also be made on a one-time basis or set up to occur on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. The minimum investment is just $5 and the maximum daily investment is $10,000.</p> <h3>2. Link your accounts</h3> <p>There are two phases to getting started with Acorns. First, sign up for a general account; next, create an investment account.</p> <p>To initiate the investing process, establish your checking account as a funding source from which transfers are made to and from the investment account.</p> <p>You also have the option of setting up linked accounts consisting of credit cards and debit cards. These linked accounts provide the sources of transactions that can be rounded up, accumulated, and then invested when you cross the firm&rsquo;s $5 investment minimum threshold.</p> <p>If you are a customer of a large financial institution, you may be able to establish a connection between Acorns and your bank or credit card company by entering the username and password associated with your account.</p> <h3>3. Choose a portfolio&nbsp;</h3> <p>The investment portfolios offered by Acorns are diversified among stocks, bonds, and real estate. Like many advisory firms, Acorns adheres to the Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) in constructing its portfolios. Uniquely, the company has engaged the father of MPT on its investment committee, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Markowitz">Nobel Prize winning economist Harry Markowitz</a>.</p> <p>Based on your responses to a series of questions, a portfolio is suggested. There are five portfolios for various levels of risk tolerance: conservative, moderately conservative, moderate, moderately aggressive, and aggressive.</p> <p>Each portfolio contains six ETFs representing large company stocks, small company stocks, emerging market stocks, corporate bonds, government bonds, and real estate. The allocation of asset classes among the ETFs varies with the risk profile.&nbsp;Acorns manages your account with the goal of matching your investment portfolio with the model portfolio.</p> <h3>4. Monitor activity through the mobile app</h3> <p>You can monitor and manage investing activity from the firm&rsquo;s mobile app or its computer dashboard.&nbsp;From either location, review activity, monitor account value, link or unlink round-up accounts and sub-accounts (e.g., your Chase account and various credit cards held with Chase), manage account settings, and evaluate portfolio performance.</p> <p>Review and update settings as soon as your account is opened. Specify whether you want your virtual change or round-ups to be invested automatically or manually. Also decide whether you want to invest a full dollar with whole-dollar transactions. Adjust your settings to invest any amount between $0.00 and $1.00.</p> <h3>5. Pay low fees</h3> <p>Acorns charges a flat fee of $1 per month for accounts valued at less than $5,000. For accounts worth $5,000 or more, you are charged .25% of assets under management annually, billed monthly.</p> <p>Dividend reinvestment and rebalancing are included in its fee. There are no transaction fees associated with transferring money or buying and selling the ETFs contained in each portfolio.</p> <h2>Reasons to Embrace or Avoid Acorns</h2> <p>The ability to invest from your phone, easily, quickly, and often is Acorns&rsquo; key selling point. Those who like to invest spontaneously and tend to have extra funds in their checking accounts may especially enjoy interacting with the app on a regular basis.</p> <p>The investment portfolios are designed to be diversified, allowing investors to participate in the market. When (and if) markets trend upward, each portfolio should generate steady investment returns aligned with acceptable levels of risk.</p> <p>Oddly, even though Modern Portfolio Theory is centered on designing portfolios that align expected returns with certain risk levels through asset allocation, I was not asked specifically about my personal risk tolerance when I signed up with Acorns. Based on the firm&rsquo;s white paper, portfolio recommendations are based on age, net worth, income, time horizon, employment status, and need for liquidity, not necessarily how scared, steadfast, or stimulated you are in turbulent market conditions.</p> <p>Fees are low and competitive with advisors in the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers?ref=acorns">automated investing space</a>.</p> <p>Acorns offers regular investment accounts only, not IRAs, IRA rollovers, etc. Because you have a regular taxable account (and not a tax-advantaged one), you can easily withdraw money. However, there are multi-day delays in receiving funds due to standard settlement and bank processing times.</p> <p>I love the idea of investing the change but found the implementation of Acorns&rsquo; concept to be cumbersome. For starters, setting up the account is relatively easy but time consuming. Further, having to wait for virtual change to build to $5 makes sense in terms of controlling transaction-based costs for Acorns. But the accumulation process is counterproductive to fast and easy investing.</p> <p>Acorns offers an innovative way for users to start investing without needing to pull together a large lump sum. If this has been your mental hurtle, Acorns helps you leap over it. For others, it may seem like a lot of effort for small amounts at a time. Invest accordingly.</p> <p><strong><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=26166697&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Click here to start an Acorns account today!</a></strong></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-investing-today-acorns-lets-you-invest-your-change-while-you-shop">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">Top Seven Reasons Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-rules-you-must-follow-when-shopping-at-costco">5 Frugal Rules You Must Follow When Shopping at Costco</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-your-credit-card-will-save-you-money-while-holiday-shopping">11 Ways Your Credit Card Will Save You Money While Holiday Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/farnoosh-torabi-shares-favorite-holiday-shopping-tips-with-wise-bread-readers">Farnoosh Torabi Shares Favorite Holiday Shopping Tips With Wise Bread Readers!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-find-extra-cash-for-the-holidays">8 Ways to Find Extra Cash for the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Shopping credit cards Wed, 01 Jul 2015 06:35:13 +0000 Julie Rains 1475942 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Crucial Things Homebuyers Overlook at Open Houses http://www.wisebread.com/12-crucial-things-homebuyers-overlook-at-open-houses <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-crucial-things-homebuyers-overlook-at-open-houses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/open_house_sign_000003207979.jpg" alt="Things homebuyers overlook during an open house" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sponsored by Chase Mortgage Banking. <a href="http://r1.fmpub.net/?k1=cmx-metric&amp;k2=289%7C652%7C2081&amp;k3=disclaimer&amp;k4=&amp;r=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fmynewhome" rel="nofollow">Review their resources</a> to help you find and finance your home.</p> <p>I yell at my TV. I can&rsquo;t help doing this when watching reality real estate shows, where home shoppers seem to always be rejecting houses for things that could easily be changed. &ldquo;You can paint over that hot pink wall!&rdquo; I advise them. &ldquo;You could replace that light fixture in an hour!&rdquo;</p> <p>They never listen, but you should: When you are home shopping in real life, it&rsquo;s important to look beyond those little things to take note of things that would much more difficult &mdash; or even impossible &mdash; to change.</p> <!--<p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KirXg3rY4hc">Watch the experts call out what to look for at an open house</a>:</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KirXg3rY4hc" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p>--> <h2>1. Layout</h2> <p>Think about how one room flows to another, and look for wasted space or awkward areas that would be hard to make good use of. Quirks that might simply seem odd during an open house may become downright annoying if you have to live with them.</p> <p>&ldquo;Before deciding that a bad layout can be improved by moving walls, ask a contractor to tell you if the walls you want to relocate or remove are load-bearing walls because, if so, it might be impossible or financially unfeasible,&rdquo; real estate broker <a href="http://homebuying.about.com/od/buyingahome/qt/HomeLayout.htm">Elizabeth Weintraub writes</a>.</p> <p>Common layout problems include stairways or long hallways at the entrance (not welcoming), bathrooms visible from the front door or dining table (ew), and bedrooms right off the living room or kitchen (too noisy).</p> <h2>2. Major Systems</h2> <p>If the house is on the market during the summer, you may not think to ask about the furnace. If it&rsquo;s an older home being sold by a longtime occupant, you can bet the wiring is not up to powering big-screen TVs or computer monitors. Even if a house was modernized for the market, a quick job might include <a href="http://www.homepros.lendingtree.com/Article/hvac-sales-and-installation">installation flaws that compromise the system&rsquo;s efficiency</a>.</p> <p>Thoroughly testing major systems will be your inspector&rsquo;s job, but there is nothing wrong with taking note of the following warning signs of outdated systems:</p> <ul> <li>Window air conditioners, indicating a lack of central air<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A furnace made by a company that went out of business years ago (Do a quick search for the company while you&rsquo;re there to find out)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Steel pipes rather than new copper, probably indicating poor water pressure. (Run the hot water or get a look at the pipes in the basement to check)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Knob and tube wiring in the attic; outdated outlets and DIY wiring extensions, which both could be fire hazards</li> </ul> <h2>3. Structural Issues</h2> <p>You know a problem is going to cost you when an engineer is involved in fixing it. Whether it's drainage, foundation issues, or just a bad roof, you&rsquo;ll need a professional to diagnose the true extent of a structural problem. But there are a few <a href="http://homeguides.sfgate.com/there-structural-damage-home-46177.html">signs that can tip you off</a>: Large cracks in the walls or foundation, doors that stick or won&rsquo;t close, a <a href="http://lancaster.unl.edu/feature/structuraldamage.shtml">swayed or sagging roof line</a> when viewed from a distance, and wood joists that crumble with a jab from a screwdriver.</p> <h2>4. Water Leaks</h2> <p>Look up at the ceiling corners and see if you can spot discoloration or spots of peeling paint due to moisture. A leaking pipe, damaged roofing, an improperly finished chimney or other vent, or just a bathtub that overflowed long ago could cause water spots. Find out the source before you buy; some issues could be a quick fix, but a longtime problem could have caused extensive damage or mold.</p> <h2>5. Old Paint</h2> <p>Open windows and examine the sills for peeling paint. If the house was built before 1978, this paint could contain dangerous lead, which can be expensive to remove safely. If old layers of lead paint are thoroughly covered by newer paint in good condition, it&rsquo;s less of a concern.</p> <!-- Content Well 650x300 Zone --> <script type='text/javascript' src='http://static.fmpub.net/zone/20744'></script> <!-- Content Well 650x300 Zone --> <h2>6. Location</h2> <p>&ldquo;You can always change what&rsquo;s inside your home, but you can never change what&rsquo;s outside of it,&rdquo; warns the website <a href="http://www.newhouseflip.com/importance-of-location/"><em>New House Flip</em></a>. It&rsquo;s too easy to focus on a beautiful home to the exclusion of its surroundings. Ask yourself how the location would affect your driving time to work and friends&rsquo; or relatives&rsquo; homes. Find out how much crime the neighborhood has, and whether there are any parks or businesses you&rsquo;d like to frequent. Are the yards in the neighborhood and parks well maintained? Are the schools good?</p> <p>Also note the home&rsquo;s position within the neighborhood. Some people realize they don't like being on the corner, with pedestrians walking along two sides of the home and potentially more sidewalks to clear after a snowfall. An alley running alongside the house can be an eyesore and a security risk. And note what is directly across the street from you: This is what you will see every day when you look out your front window.</p> <p>If you attend a weekend open house, you might also want to swing by the block on a weekday. It may not have been apparent on Sunday that a nearby business attracts tons of weekday traffic, or that the warehouse across the street uses a loudspeaker to direct workers, or that the house is along a popular walking-to-school route.</p> <h2>7. Homeowner&rsquo;s Association</h2> <p>You might think to ask about the HOA for a condo, but keep in mind that single-family homes can be part of associations too. Find out how much the dues are, and take a look at the books and meeting minutes. (Are the meetings frequently contentious? You may be walking into a toxic interpersonal environment.) Have transparent and detailed records been kept? Does the HOA have adequate reserves? If the group is in debt or facing unexpected expenses, a fee hike might be imminent.</p> <h2>8. Neighbors</h2> <p>Don't be shy. Knock on a few doors while you're there. Talk to the people you may potentially be living next to. Find out if they have children or pets, how long they have been living there, and what they think of the neighborhood. Did they like the sellers? Does their basement flood? Does the power in the neighborhood ever go out?</p> <p>You are not just looking for information here. You&rsquo;re also testing the waters to see if these guys are going to be your future barbecue buddies or a daily thorn in your side. Does this seem like a household you would like to interact with on a daily basis?</p> <h2>9. Noise</h2> <p>Did you notice rail tracks on your way to the house? Is the real estate agent playing music or white noise during an open house? Ask for it to be turned off to find out what it&rsquo;s masking: Traffic noise? Barking dogs? A rattling furnace?&nbsp;</p> <p>You can also test to see how noise carries within a house by having a companion go to other rooms and stomp around or play music.</p> <h2>10. Odors</h2> <p>Breathe deeply in every room of the house and in the yard. Cigarette smoke and pet odors may call for the tearing out of carpets, but outdoor odors from a nearby factory or farm is something you would just have to learn to live with.</p> <h2>11. The Basement</h2> <p>Don&rsquo;t ever skip the basement when touring a home, whether it is furnished or not. Your primary concern is whether the basement stays dry year-round. Just because it is dry now doesn&rsquo;t mean it will always be that way. Sniff for musty smells. Look for <a href="http://homebuying.about.com/od/homeshopping/qt/Wetbasement.htm">water stains, mold, or efflorescence</a> (ashy or sparkling salt deposits) on the walls.</p> <p>Basements can be a pain to dry out, and it can be expensive to stop the problem from recurring. These concerns are especially relevant if the basement is finished or if you plan to finish it, because once you have invested in flooring and furnishings, you don&rsquo;t want them to be ruined in a flood.</p> <h2>12. Resale Value</h2> <p>You never know what the future holds. Things you might not mind, like a very small backyard, a hillside lot, no garage, or only one bathroom, could have a big impact if you have to make an unplanned move and sell quickly.</p> <p>Make sure that the home truly has the number of bedrooms it advertises. To most buyers, that means that the room has a window and a closet, at the minimum. Some will not consider a serial bedroom, which you have to walk through another bedroom to reach, to be a true bedroom.</p> <p>Most homes aren&rsquo;t going to be move in ready. You&rsquo;ll have to do a little bit of preparing, repairing, or upgrading. What&rsquo;s important is that you sort between the stuff that&rsquo;s simple and the ones that are costly. Do you have any additional tips to share about what can&rsquo;t be overlooked during an open house?</p> <script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8" src="http://vc.cdn.fm/video_conversationalist/system/published/opportunity/88244652/289_2081.js"></script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-crucial-things-homebuyers-overlook-at-open-houses">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mortgage-application-declined-here-s-how-to-respond">Mortgage Application Declined? Here’s How to Respond</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-steps-to-finding-your-mortgage-lender">4 Steps to Finding Your Mortgage Lender</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-is-the-best-time-to-lock-in-a-mortgage-rate">When Is the Best Time to Lock in a Mortgage Rate?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-credit-mistakes-that-could-hurt-your-mortgage-application">8 Credit Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Mortgage Application</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-appraisal-facts-that-could-save-you-big-money">5 Appraisal Facts That Could Save You Big Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing chase credit cards mortgage Thu, 11 Jun 2015 11:00:15 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1425900 at http://www.wisebread.com When Is the Best Time to Lock in a Mortgage Rate? http://www.wisebread.com/when-is-the-best-time-to-lock-in-a-mortgage-rate <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/when-is-the-best-time-to-lock-in-a-mortgage-rate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/When Should You Lock in a Mortgage Rate_PHOTO.jpg" alt="Man figuring out mortgage rates" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Sponsored by Chase Mortgage Banking. <a href="http://r1.fmpub.net/?k1=cmx-metric&amp;k2=289%7C652%7C2043&amp;k3=disclaimer&amp;k4=&amp;r=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fmynewhome" rel="nofollow">Review their resources</a> to help you find and finance your home.</em></p> <p>Big-ticket purchases are prone to freak us out. Simply put, the stakes are higher. And since a home is the most expensive purchase many of us will ever make, it's important to do whatever&rsquo;s in our power to ensure a fair deal. To do this, you have to look far beyond the price on the for sale sign. In fact, the mortgage rate can make or break your budget, so knowing when to lock in a good rate is crucial to your bottom line.</p> <p>Shopping for a mortgage typically plays out like this: You scope out a slew of lenders for the most favorable interest rate and apply to the lender offering the best terms. But by the time you reach the point of settlement, it&rsquo;s not uncommon that several weeks or even months will have gone by. Will you still receive the terms you bargained for? The answer depends on several factors. The mortgage rate you are quoted is typically only guaranteed at the time of the quote. It&rsquo;s possible that by the time the settlement&rsquo;s ready the rate will have jumped, maybe even so high that you can no longer afford to purchase a home. Fortunately, you can avoid such an unwelcome surprise by locking in your rate so it doesn&rsquo;t increase while your loan is being processed.</p> <p>So why doesn&rsquo;t everyone lock in the rate on their mortgage? First of all, not all lenders offer lock ins. And many that do charge a fee. Lock ins also commonly come with expiration dates, typically ranging from a few weeks to 60 days, and it can be difficult to forecast whether you&rsquo;ll be able to find the home you want and get your offer accepted within that time frame. It&rsquo;s also important to understand that locking in your rate comes at a risk. Unless your lender is willing to honor any lower rates that may become available while your loan is processing, a lock in could prevent you from scoring an even better deal than the one you started with.</p> <p>Truly, there&rsquo;s no perfect timing. But there is a bit of strategy when it comes to choosing when to lock in your mortgage rate. Read on for our roundup of the best times to execute a lock in, depending on your financial and situational needs.</p> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PAb58zaFSQ">See all the benefits of locking in your mortgage rate today</a>:</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6PAb58zaFSQ" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <h2>As Soon as You Get a Quote for a Rate You Can Afford</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;re on a tight budget and the possibility of even the smallest hike in your quoted mortgage rate could push your dream of homeownership out of reach, it&rsquo;s best to lock in a rate as soon as you find one you know you can afford. Consider basing the decision of whether to pursue a short- or long-term lock in based on the answer to the one question every home hunter should ask their lender: Approximately how long will it take to finalize my loan?</p> <p>Longer rate locks generally tend to make sense for folks who are building a new home or planning to buy one in foreclosure, since the legal process behind those types of deals tends to take longer. It&rsquo;s also wise, particularly if you&rsquo;re considering a long-term lock-in, to inquire about the availability of adding what&rsquo;s commonly called a &ldquo;float down provision&rdquo; to your lock in agreement. This provision allows you to take advantage of lower rates, should they drop while you&rsquo;re locked in to the rate you were first quoted.</p> <p>&ldquo;I just wanted a rate under 4 percent, so I locked in immediately when I got there,&rdquo; said Erica Howell, a 27-year-old first-time homeowner from Portsmouth, N.H. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a gamble to lock in so early because the rate very well could go down, but it also could go up. But I trusted my lender to know the market and I trusted my instinct that I needed a rate under 4 (percent). I got it and I grabbed it and I never looked back.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <h2>Upon Approval of the Loan</h2> <p>Choosing to lock in your mortgage rate after you&rsquo;ve been approved for the loan can be smart if a heavy demand for housing is slowing down the loan application approval process at a time when rates appear to be trending down. This strategy allows you to reap the benefit of any lower rates that may surface while you&rsquo;re waiting for your loan application to be finalized and saves you from wasting part of the duration of your lock in on waiting for the loan approval. &ldquo;As soon I got approved, I locked in my rate,&rdquo; said Kelly Dibble, who purchased a one-bedroom apartment in Stamford, Conn. in 2014. &ldquo;I wanted to lock in as soon as possible because it was one less thing to worry about, but my lender suggested I wait until I got approved. I trusted that advice and I think it worked out well for me.&rdquo;</p> <h2>After You Sign a Purchase Agreement</h2> <p>The situation you want to avoid is having the clock ticking on your lock in before you&rsquo;re ready to make an offer on a home. A situation like that can compound the pressure you&rsquo;ll feel to quickly find a home that&rsquo;s truly a good fit for you &mdash; and that can potentially lead to hasty decision making and down-the-road buyers&rsquo; remorse. Alas, you can dodge such problems by waiting to lock-in your rate until after you sign a purchase agreement. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a sellers market right now in San Diego, so we knew it could take a long time for us to find a place that worked for us,&rdquo; said Karin Pipczynski, who purchased a two-bedroom home with her boyfriend in March. &ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t want to feel rushed, so we locked in as soon as we signed the purchase agreement and that saved us from what I saw as a gamble.&rdquo;</p> <p><em>When would you suggest locking in a mortgage rate for a home purchase?</em></p> <script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8" src="http://vc.cdn.fm/video_conversationalist/system/published/opportunity/88244652/289_2043.js"></script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-is-the-best-time-to-lock-in-a-mortgage-rate">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-steps-to-finding-your-mortgage-lender">4 Steps to Finding Your Mortgage Lender</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-credit-mistakes-that-could-hurt-your-mortgage-application">8 Credit Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Mortgage Application</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mortgage-application-declined-here-s-how-to-respond">Mortgage Application Declined? Here’s How to Respond</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-crucial-things-homebuyers-overlook-at-open-houses">12 Crucial Things Homebuyers Overlook at Open Houses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-appraisal-facts-that-could-save-you-big-money">5 Appraisal Facts That Could Save You Big Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing chase credit cards mortgage Tue, 26 May 2015 11:00:07 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1425899 at http://www.wisebread.com Mortgage Application Declined? Here’s How to Respond http://www.wisebread.com/mortgage-application-declined-here-s-how-to-respond <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/mortgage-application-declined-here-s-how-to-respond" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/7 Steps to Take If Your Mortgage Application Was Declined_PHOTO.jpg" alt="Couple reviewing their finances" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sponsored by Chase Mortgage Banking. <a href="http://r1.fmpub.net/?k1=cmx-metric&amp;k2=289%7C652%7C2029&amp;k3=disclaimer&amp;k4=&amp;r=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fmynewhome" rel="nofollow">Review their resources</a> to help you find and finance your home.</p> <p>Buying your first home (or a subsequent one) may fill you with excitement. Making the decision to become a homeowner is likely one that you have carefully considered. After possibly months of searching, you may have found the perfect home &ndash; one where lifelong dreams for stability, community belonging, and the start or growth of a family will be fulfilled.</p> <p>You may think you have done everything right in getting ready for this big step. But then, your mortgage application is declined. Here are ways to respond.</p> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkIH3wVkwuU">Don&rsquo;t panic! Here&rsquo;s what to do if your mortgage is declined</a>:<br /> <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jkIH3wVkwuU" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <h2>Talk to Your Mortgage Lender</h2> <p>If your mortgage loan request has been denied, ask why your lender rejected your application. You have a right to know &ldquo;the specific reason for the rejection&rdquo; according to the <a href="https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0347-your-equal-credit-opportunity-rights">Federal Trade Commission (FTC)</a>.</p> <p>You may learn that your ratios, such as your debt-to-income or loan-to-value ratios, were too high or your credit score too low. If you have done an independent evaluation of your numbers, then you can confirm whether the lender has cause for concern or if there has been a miscommunication.</p> <p>Get your documents in order to discuss and tackle problems that led to the rejection.</p> <h2>If You Were Rejected Due to a High Front-End Ratio</h2> <p>Consider whether your proposed mortgage payment realistically fits within your means. Just as mortgage lenders often do, look at the percentage of your income devoted to your mortgage payment. Specifically, calculate your front-end ratio (<a href="http://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/front-endratio.asp">monthly housing expenses divided by monthly income</a>, expressed as a percentage) to determine if you could struggle to make payments. Ideally, this <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/how-much-house-can-you-buy--1.aspx">ratio will be 28%</a> or less.</p> <p>At first glance, your income may readily cover the principal plus interest associated with the mortgage loan. However, other expenses may be included in your mortgage payment, such as property taxes, homeowner&rsquo;s insurance, and private mortgage insurance. Depending on the location of your home and the amount of your down payment, these numbers could dramatically increase your monthly payment, moving the affordability of a home from entirely possible to extremely difficult.</p> <p>Identify ways to reduce your mortgage payment, particularly via add-ons that you may be able to control. For example, talk with your insurance agent about increasing your home&rsquo;s security features to reduce the cost of your homeowner&rsquo;s insurance.</p> <h2>If You Were Rejected Due to Debt Load From Other Loans</h2> <p>When evaluating your financial picture, look at your outstanding loan balances including credit card debt, student loans, and vehicle loans. Consider how much of your current monthly budget is applied to payments that service this debt.</p> <p>Generally, your mortgage lender needs you to keep total loan payments (including your proposed mortgage payment) to 36% of your monthly income. This percentage is your <a href="http://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/back-endratio.asp">back-end ratio (aka debt-to-income ratio)</a> and is calculated by dividing total monthly debt expense by monthly income, expressed as a percentage.</p> <p>Think about how and why you have acquired debt. Have you borrowed for your college education and a vehicle in order to build a career that generates significant income? Or have you spent carelessly and accumulated credit card debt? How have you managed your income to reduce your debt load?</p> <p>If you make payments on time and are steadily reducing debt, then you may have no problem handling your current debt load plus a mortgage payment. But if you have struggled to keep up with payments and your credit card balances are growing, then you may need to take aggressive action to deal with your loans.</p> <p>Measure your progress toward paying off non-mortgage debt. Develop a plan or simply stay focused on your current plan to reduce outstanding balances. Consider paying off one loan in order to eliminate a payment and reduce your back-end ratio.</p> <h2>If You Were Rejected Due to Your Credit Score</h2> <p>Consider that your creditworthiness may have prevented you from obtaining the mortgage you wanted. To deal with this issue, start by pulling your free credit reports at <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action">AnnualCreditReport.com</a>. Make sure your information is correct and up-to-date.</p> <p>In addition, you should be able to get your <a href="http://www.consumerfinance.gov/askcfpb/6/i-got-my-free-credit-reports-but-they-do-not-include-my-credit-scores-can-i-get-my-credit-score-for-free-too.html">credit score</a> from the mortgage lender that declined your credit application. Often, a lower credit score may simply mean higher mortgage costs, not a flat-out rejection. However, a higher interest rate may have priced the mortgage payment out of your reach.</p> <p>Based on your credit information, identify methods of potentially improving your score, such as eliminating credit card balances.</p> <h2>If You Were Rejected Due to the House Value</h2> <p>You may have fallen in love with a house and decided to buy the property at nearly any price. But since your mortgage application was denied, contemplate whether your offer (and loan request) may have been out of sync with the home&rsquo;s market value.</p> <p>The lender&rsquo;s rejection of your mortgage application may have had nothing to do with your financial worthiness and readiness, and everything to do with the value of the home. No matter how great your ability to repay a loan, lenders must protect themselves by making sure that the loan collateral (your home) has a certain financial value. As a result, lenders may require a certain <a href="http://www.zillow.com/mortgage-rates/buying-a-home/loan-to-value-ratio/">loan-to-value (LTV) ratio</a>.</p> <p>If your real-estate deal falls through because the home is valued at substantially less than your offer (and loan request), consider making a counteroffer or verifying the accuracy of the appraisal. Or make a larger down payment in order to reduce the LTV to a level acceptable by your lender.</p> <script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8" src="http://vc.cdn.fm/video_conversationalist/system/published/opportunity/88244652/289_2029.js"></script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mortgage-application-declined-here-s-how-to-respond">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-steps-to-finding-your-mortgage-lender">4 Steps to Finding Your Mortgage Lender</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-credit-mistakes-that-could-hurt-your-mortgage-application">8 Credit Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Mortgage Application</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-is-the-best-time-to-lock-in-a-mortgage-rate">When Is the Best Time to Lock in a Mortgage Rate?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-crucial-things-homebuyers-overlook-at-open-houses">12 Crucial Things Homebuyers Overlook at Open Houses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-appraisal-facts-that-could-save-you-big-money">5 Appraisal Facts That Could Save You Big Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing chase credit cards mortgage Mon, 18 May 2015 16:43:14 +0000 Julie Rains 1425891 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Appraisal Facts That Could Save You Big Money http://www.wisebread.com/5-appraisal-facts-that-could-save-you-big-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-appraisal-facts-that-could-save-you-big-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5 Appraisal Facts That Could Save You Big Money_PHOTO-605.jpg" alt="Looking closely at home appraisals" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Sponsored by Chase Mortgage Banking.&nbsp;<a href="http://r1.fmpub.net/?k1=cmx-metric&amp;k2=289%7C652%7C1879&amp;k3=disclaimer&amp;k4=&amp;r=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fmynewhome" rel="nofollow">Review their resources</a>&nbsp;to help you find and finance your home.</em></p> <p>An appraisal is a professional&rsquo;s opinion of your home&rsquo;s market value. Lenders will order an appraisal for home purchase loans to make sure the home is worth the price being paid. Often appraisals are <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/finance/refinance/pros-and-cons-of-refinance-appraisals-1.aspx">needed to refinance</a> as well. Here are five things you should know about the appraisal process, whether you are buying, selling or refinancing.</p> <p>The appraisal takes dozens of factors into account. Learn more about them in the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuD3rVCaoQw">video below</a>.</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UuD3rVCaoQw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <h3>1. Your Property is Not the Only Thing the Appraiser Will Look At</h3> <p>&ldquo;When I inspect a home for an appraisal, the inspection is really the &lsquo;tip of the iceberg&rsquo; of the work I do,&rdquo; San Francisco Bay Area appraiser Ann O'Rourke writes on her web site, <a href="http://www.appraisaltoday.com/nonappr.htm">Appraisal Today</a>. Before arriving at your home, the appraiser has probably already obtained a plat map and researched the zoning and public records. After checking your property against the map, and noting any improvements and damage, the appraiser will compare your home to others that recently sold to formulate an estimate of its value.</p> <h3>2. You Can Educate the Appraiser About Your Home</h3> <p>If an appraiser visits your home, this is your opportunity to show it at its best. <a href="http://homeguides.sfgate.com/steps-before-having-home-appraisal-2491.html">Complete any small repairs</a> before the appraisal date. Clean up the yard and house. Even though appraisers aren&rsquo;t supposed to take clutter into account, they are human, and no one feels upbeat when faced with a mess. Besides, cleaning <a href="http://www.realestate.com/advice/how-to-get-a-high-house-appraisal/">shows that you take good care of the home</a>. While the appraiser looks, let them know about improvements you may have done (New furnace? Bathroom renovation?). You can also give him or her a written list and may even want to provide receipts to show what you have invested in the home.</p> <h3>3. A Low Appraisal Can Stop the Sale or Reopen Negotiations</h3> <p>If the seller has researched the market and set an appropriate price, the appraisal is likely to come in at close to the agreed-upon price. But sellers should beware that if the appraisal comes in low, the deal will probably not proceed as agreed. Since the buyer most likely <a href="http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/12/home-appraisals.asp">won&rsquo;t be able to get a mortgage for a house priced above appraisal</a>, the deal may fall apart or the seller may have to agree to a lower price.</p> <h3>4. You Can Challenge a Low Appraisal</h3> <p>So the worst has happened and your appraisal came in below the selling price. All is not lost. You can request a copy of the appraisal and review it with your real estate agent. Pay special attention to the comparable homes the appraiser selected. If those homes sold for less because they lack updating or some other feature that your home has, you can have your agent <a href="http://www.trulia.com/blog/12-steps-fight-low-appraisal/">submit a list of more appropriate homes for comparison</a>. You can also write a letter listing improvements and features that the appraiser may have overlooked. <a href="http://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2013/02/27/low-appraisal-challenge/">The Bigger Pockets Blog</a> has advice on how to keep the letter non-confrontational, and even offers a template for download.</p> <h3>5. As a Buyer, Guard Against Inflated Appraisals</h3> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve agreed to pay a certain price, you naturally hope that the appraisal will back that up. But in reality, appraisers are protecting both the lender and the buyer against inflated prices. So it&rsquo;s a good idea to ask the same questions about an appraiser that a seller would: Is she licensed and local? Did he really visit the home?</p> <p>Request a copy of the appraisal, not only to check for accuracy, but as an information source to make sure you know all about your future property&rsquo;s strengths and weaknesses.</p> <script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8">if ("" === document.location.pathname) { var fm_custom_kvs = "fm-post=88244"; }</script><script type="text/javascript"> (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', "UA-47115411-1", {'name': 'fmTracker'}); ga('fmTracker.set', 'dimension1', '289'); ga('fmTracker.set', 'dimension2', '88244'); ga('fmTracker.set', 'dimension3', '1879'); ga('fmTracker.send', 'pageview'); </script> <p><img class="tracking" width="0" height="0" src="http://r1.fmpub.net/?k1=cmx-metric&amp;k2=289|652|1879&amp;k3=&amp;k4=&amp;img=true" alt="" /><img class="tracking" width="0" height="0" src="http://pixel.mathtag.com/event/img?mt_id=424466&amp;mt_adid=120808&amp;v2=s289&amp;v3=n101&amp;s1=c88244" alt="" /></p><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-appraisal-facts-that-could-save-you-big-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-need-to-know-before-buying-your-first-house">7 Things You Need to Know Before Buying Your First House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-steps-to-finding-your-mortgage-lender">4 Steps to Finding Your Mortgage Lender</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-credit-mistakes-that-could-hurt-your-mortgage-application">8 Credit Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Mortgage Application</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mortgage-application-declined-here-s-how-to-respond">Mortgage Application Declined? Here’s How to Respond</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-simultaneously-buy-and-sell-a-house">How to Simultaneously Buy and Sell a House</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing appraisals chase credit cards home buying home sale Mon, 20 Apr 2015 11:00:06 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1368848 at http://www.wisebread.com