Real Estate and Housing http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4810/all en-US 7 Ways to Rent An Apartment With Bad Credit http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-rent-an-apartment-with-bad-credit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-rent-an-apartment-with-bad-credit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000062152642_1.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've found the ideal apartment in the middle of the big city. But there's one problem: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-age-40">Financial mistakes in the past</a> have left you with a low credit score. Now you're worried that landlords will reject your application because of those times you paid your credit card bill late or forgot to make your auto loan payment.</p> <p>There is hope, though. It's possible to rent an apartment even if your credit score is weak. But you might need a little help from a family member, or be willing to pay a bit more rent each month.</p> <h2>Credit Matters</h2> <p>It's not surprising that most landlords today check your credit. Your three-digit credit score tells landlords how well you've managed your finances in the past. If you've paid bills late, missed payments, or suffered a negative financial judgment &mdash; bankruptcy or foreclosure &mdash; your score will be low. A FICO credit score of 740 or higher today is considered an excellent score. Scores of 620 or lower raise red flags.</p> <p>Don't give up hope if one landlord rejects your application. It helps to shop around with different landlords, said Brent Cotterman, owner and chief executive officer of Financial Rehab in Phoenix.</p> <p>&quot;Just because you're rejected from one place doesn't mean you will be from all of them,&quot; Cotterman says. &quot;Different landlords have different tolerances for risk. It doesn't hurt to apply at four or five different apartments.&quot;</p> <p>If your score is weak, here are some steps you can take to convince landlords that you're still a good risk.</p> <h2>1. Get a Cosigner</h2> <p>The easiest solution is to convince someone &mdash; usually a family member &mdash; to co-sign the rental application with you. In such an agreement, your cosigner is agreeing to make your monthly rental payments if you fail to do so. This provides protection to landlords wary of renting to someone with bad credit; your landlord will still receive rent, even if you aren't the one making the payment.</p> <p>Your cosigner will need good credit. But, be sure that you can actually afford your rent. You don't want to put your cosigner in the position of having to pay your rent for you. That's a good way of ruining a relationship!</p> <h2>2. Check Your Credit Reports</h2> <p>Before seeking an apartment, order copies of your free credit reports from <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/">AnnualCreditReport.com</a>. You're entitled to order one free copy of each of your reports &mdash; the national credit bureaus TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax each maintain a credit report on you &mdash; every year.</p> <p>Once you receive your report, study it carefully. It will list the money you owe on your credit cards, auto loans, and student loans. It will also list missed or late payments. If you spot any errors, correct them. You can do this online with the three credit bureaus. Don't skip this step: Fixing an error on your credit report can quickly boost your credit score.</p> <h2>3. Be Honest</h2> <p>Don't try to hide financial mistakes from landlords; once they pull your credit, they'll find them. Instead, prepare a written note explaining why you missed credit card or student loan payments. Maybe you briefly lost your job. Maybe you were injured and faced staggering medical bills.</p> <p>Whatever the reason, explain it in your letter and give it to potential landlords. Make sure to include an explanation for why you won't be missing payments again in the future.</p> <p>Your landlord might be willing to overlook a weaker credit score if you have an explanation for your past financial missteps.</p> <h2>4. Point to Solid Income</h2> <p>If you have a solid monthly income stream today, you'll be more likely to convince your landlord that you are no longer a risk to miss rental payments. Maybe those missed auto loan payments came when you were working a lower-paying job. Now you have a job that pays you a good salary. Point this out to your potential landlord. Show landlords copies of your most recent paycheck stubs stating how much you are now earning. A solid income might help ease any concerns your landlord has about a lower credit score.</p> <h2>5. Pay a Little More</h2> <p>Some landlords might charge you additional fees &mdash; often called risk fees &mdash; if your credit score is low. If you agree to pay these higher fees, landlords might be more willing to overlook a low score.</p> <p>You might also offer a bit more in rent each month to landlords who are wary of renting to you. An extra $50 a month might convince a property owner to overlook your weaker credit.</p> <p>Before agreeing to pay extra, though, make sure that you can afford the higher monthly payments.</p> <h2>6. Offer a Larger Security Deposit</h2> <p>Landlords might consider you a more attractive renter if you offer a larger security deposit. This makes sense: If you do fail to make your rent payments, your lender will keep your security deposit. If you provide a larger one, your lender is taking on less risk by renting to you and might be more likely to overlook that bad credit score.</p> <h2>7. Start Building Credit</h2> <p>If you do land an apartment even with weak credit, here is some good news: You can now build a stronger credit score by paying your rent on time every month.</p> <p>Traditionally, landlords have not reported monthly rent payments to the three national credit bureaus. This meant that renters didn't help their credit scores by paying rent on time. That is changing. Experian and TransUnion are now collecting data on rental payments. Renters who pay through online services such as RentTrack and RentReporters can have their payment data sent to TransUnion and Experian. As renters pay on time, their credit scores with these bureaus will steadily rise.</p> <p>&quot;The one thing that will improve your credit score the most is paying your bills on time,&quot; Cotterman says. &quot;So make sure to not pay your bills late. You won't get marked as late on your credit report until you are 30 days past your due date. Every time you hit that 30-day mark, you get a 30-day marker on your report. That will lower your report significantly. So pay your bills on time.&quot;</p> <p><em>What other techniques have you used for renting an apartment with weak credit?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-rent-an-apartment-with-bad-credit">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/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</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-reasons-why-youre-too-old-or-too-young-for-a-mortgage-loan">4 Reasons Why You&#039;re Too Old — Or Too Young — For a Mortgage Loan</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/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</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/9-common-apartment-hunting-mistakes-to-avoid">9 Common Apartment Hunting Mistakes to Avoid</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/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">Don&#039;t Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing apartments credit history credit score landlords renting Thu, 27 Aug 2015 15:00:25 +0000 Dan Rafter 1533280 at http://www.wisebread.com The Surprising Reasons Your Fixed-Rate Mortgage Payment Could Rise http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-reasons-your-fixed-rate-mortgage-payment-could-rise <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-surprising-reasons-your-fixed-rate-mortgage-payment-could-rise" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house_payment_000063906479.jpg" alt="Finding out why your fixed-rate mortgage payment could rise" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're paying off a 30-year or 15-year fixed-rate mortgage loan. Because the interest rate attached to your loan will never rise or fall, this means that your monthly mortgage payment will never change either, right?</p> <p>Not quite. Even if you're paying down a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-consider-an-adjustable-rate-mortgage">fixed-rate mortgage</a> loan, your monthly payment can still rise, or, if you're lucky, fall from year to year. That's because your property taxes and homeowner's insurance can change during the life of your loan. And when your taxes or homeowner's insurance rises, your monthly mortgage payment can, too. This can catch even financially savvy homeowners by surprise, says Kyle Winkfield, president and chief executive officer of the Winkfield Group, a financial planning firm in Rockville, Maryland.</p> <p>&quot;So many people make financial decisions without fully understanding all the moving parts,&quot; Winkfield said. &quot;Sometimes people make their mortgage decisions in a vacuum. When they think about a mortgage they think about the interest rate. They never think about all those other moving parts.&quot;</p> <h2>Property Taxes</h2> <p>When you take out a mortgage loan, your lender might require you to sign up for an escrow arrangement. Under an escrow plan, you send extra dollars to your lender each month to cover the estimated property taxes you'll need to pay each year on your home. When your taxes are due, your lender makes the payments on your behalf, using the money built up in your escrow account.</p> <p>Property taxes can account for a big part of your monthly mortgage payment, especially in expensive parts of the country. In some areas, you might have to pay $6,000, $7,000, or more every year in property taxes. That could mean $500 a month extra added to your mortgage payment if you are working under an escrow arrangement with your lender.</p> <p>If your property taxes increase, you'll have to pay more each month to cover this jump. Say your lender estimates that your yearly taxes will rise from $6,000 a year to $7,200. Instead of paying $500 each month to cover this amount, you'll need to provide $600 every month. Your mortgage bill, then, will rise $100 a month.</p> <p>Your lender does have to provide written notice of any increase it needs in escrow funds, so you won't open your mortgage bill one day to see that your monthly payment has suddenly increased.</p> <h2>Homeowner's Insurance</h2> <p>The other variable of your mortgage payment is your homeowner's insurance. The cost of homeowner's insurance varies across the country, but you can expect to pay about $1,000 a year. Lenders often request that homeowners pay this, too, out of an escrow account. Just as with property taxes, you'll pay a bit extra each month to cover the estimated annual cost of your homeowner's insurance. Your lender will make your payment on your behalf with these dollars once your payment comes due.</p> <p>This isn't a cost that you can avoid if you're financing your home. Mortgage lenders will require that you show proof of a homeowner's insurance policy before they'll approve you for a loan.</p> <p>Like your property taxes, your homeowner's insurance can change during the life of your loan. If you make significant improvements to your home, increase its size, or renovate it, your insurance costs might increase. And when they rise, your monthly mortgage payment might jump, too.</p> <p>Because even fixed-rate mortgages can be unpredictable, Winkfield recommends that consumers not take out mortgage loans with monthly payments that are at the very top of what they can afford. Instead, consumers should leave some breathing room in case their monthly mortgage payment does rise.</p> <p>&quot;Create a budget so that when it rains and you want a raincoat and an umbrella, you have the money for that,&quot; Winkfield said. &quot;If your payment does go up, there are solutions. You can budget your money differently. You can spend less. There is nothing like a bit of fear to make people realize that they don't have to eat out four times a week.&quot;</p> <p><em>Have you ever been hit with these unexpected mortgage payment hikes?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-reasons-your-fixed-rate-mortgage-payment-could-rise">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/14-things-insurance-agents-dont-want-you-to-know">14 Things Insurance Agents Don&#039;t Want You to 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/7-ways-to-rent-an-apartment-with-bad-credit">7 Ways to Rent An Apartment With Bad Credit</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/beginners-guide-to-finding-your-interior-design-style">Beginner&#039;s Guide to Finding Your Interior Design Style</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/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</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/the-pros-and-cons-of-paying-cash-for-a-house">The Pros and Cons of Paying Cash for a House</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing fixed-rate mortgages homeowner's insurance payments property taxes Wed, 19 Aug 2015 13:00:23 +0000 Dan Rafter 1524580 at http://www.wisebread.com The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy_bank_rent_reminder_000021309733.jpg" alt="Deciding how much rent you can truly afford" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you looking for a new place? Not sure how much you should be spending on rent? We've come up with some general guidelines to help you determine what the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-live-rent-free">ideal rent</a> is for your income.</p> <h2>1. Establish a Budget</h2> <p>First, you need to assess your income. How much do you bring in every year, with any salary, bonuses, dividends, interest, support, or other means of income included? If you're not sure where to get started, you can easily calculate your monthly budget using simple&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/smart-spending/home-budget-plan-calculator.aspx">home budget calculators</a>.</p> <p>You should expect to spend about 60% of your budget on the top three budget items for most families, which includes housing, transportation, and food. Avoid going too far over this number, because you'll also need money for emergency funds, your retirement plan, entertainment, credit card payments, insurance, and all of your other monthly expenses.</p> <h2>2. The 30% Income Rule</h2> <p>In the past most experts recommended spending no more than 30% of your income on rent &mdash; and it's still a fair rule of thumb. On the other hand, this may just be an arbitrary number because every person's situation is different. For instance, approximately 20% of households spend <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2014-07-17/housings-30-percent-of-income-rule-is-near-useless">more than half their income</a> on housing and are still living comfortably.</p> <h2>3. 40 Times the Rent</h2> <p>Many landlords require that your income is 40 times the monthly rent &mdash; or more. Simply take your pre-tax annual salary and divide it by 40 to find the monthly rent that you will be approved for, assuming your landlord uses this requirement.</p> <p>For example, if your annual household salary is $100,000, then you could afford to spend $2,500 per month on rent ($100,000/40 = $2,500 per month). If you find that your total income is not 40 times the rent, but you know that you can do it anyhow, consider applying with a guarantor.</p> <h2>5. 50/30/20 Guideline</h2> <p>A simple rule that many follow is the 50/20/30 guideline. This suggests spending your income in the following manner:</p> <ul> <li>50% on fixed costs (such as rent, utilities, and transportation).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>30% on day-to-day expenses (such as entertainment, dining out, shopping, and other miscellaneous things).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>20% on financial goals (like paying down debt, building an emergency fund, and saving for retirement).</li> </ul> <p>For example, if your monthly household income is $8,000, you'll want to budget $4,000 on fixed costs, $2,400 on flexible spending, and $1,600 on future financial goals. Once you account for all of your monthly income, you can budget half of your income towards fixed costs. Once you subtract utilities, transportation, and other fixed costs from this number, you will know what is left to spend on rent.</p> <h2>6. What About Additional Fees?</h2> <p>If you'll be working with an agent, remember to account for the broker's fee. They'll typically charge between 8%&ndash;15% of the full year's lease, usually as a large upfront payment due at the time of signing. There will also be a deposit to consider and move-in costs.</p> <h2>7. What Are You Comfortable With?</h2> <p>At the end of the day, you'll need to ask yourself what you feel comfortable paying. What is the most you're willing to spend every month? Figure out what your priorities are, what your necessities are, and what you can sacrifice in order to save money on rent. And when in doubt, spending less than 30% of your income on total housing costs remains a smart guideline.</p> <p><em>How much of your income do you spend on rent? Share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">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/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">Don&#039;t Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses</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/7-ways-to-rent-an-apartment-with-bad-credit">7 Ways to Rent An Apartment With Bad Credit</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/9-common-apartment-hunting-mistakes-to-avoid">9 Common Apartment Hunting Mistakes to Avoid</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/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed">6 Ways to Apartment Hunt on Craigslist Without Getting Scammed</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/20-tips-for-getting-your-security-deposit-back">20 Tips for Getting Your Security Deposit Back</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing apartments debt expenses income renting Wed, 19 Aug 2015 11:00:14 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1524661 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-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/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 Beginner's Guide to Finding Your Interior Design Style http://www.wisebread.com/beginners-guide-to-finding-your-interior-design-style <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beginners-guide-to-finding-your-interior-design-style" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tec-title.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Throughout the process of renovating my home, I've found that one of the most difficult decisions to make, early on, is what style to make a particular room. You want the design of that room to flow with the rest of the house, of course, but you also want it to have a unique touch and to reflect your personality. I've often found myself trolling the aisles of the home improvement store at a loss as to what paint colors or tile finishes to choose.</p> <p>What if there was a tool that could analyze your personal style and translate it into interior design style? Enter the <a href="http://www.tecskillset.com/color-selector/">TEC Color Selector Tool</a>, a web-based (mobile-friendly) app by grout manufacturer TEC Skill Set and Lowe's.</p> <h2>The Quiz</h2> <p>The TEC Color Selector Tool will ask you image-based questions about your personality and preferences that will help to determine your personal aesthetic. Then, the tool will generate a mood board with inspirational pictures of kitchens and bathrooms, as well as suggestions on tile and grout colors. Think of it as a design personality quiz, if you will, to help you determine what style you want to go for.</p> <p><a href="http://www.tecskillset.com/color-selector/"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/tec1.jpg" width="605" height="393" alt="" /></a></p> <p>It's a fun little quiz that will only take a few minutes, and you can take it several times to generate different mood board styles. I'm currently working on a bathroom renovation, and since we've basically gutted the bathroom and are rebuilding it from the studs out, some starter design ideas are welcome.</p> <p><a href="http://www.tecskillset.com/color-selector/"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/tec2.jpg" width="605" height="413" alt="" /></a></p> <h2>The Results</h2> <p>The first time I took the quiz, I chose a mix of things that appealed to me &ndash; a stone cottage, a contemporary painting, and classical music. I really liked the mood board it generated for me, which included sleek, contemporary finishes but with a warm and classic touch. The TEC Color Selection Tool also selected a variety of grout colors, from light grays and whites to darker grays and taupes.</p> <p><a href="http://www.tecskillset.com/color-selector/"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/tec3.jpg" width="605" height="410" alt="" /></a></p> <p>The second time round, I imagined I was designing a classic, vintage kitchen. The TEC Color Selector Tool suggested travertine and ceramic tile and a variety of light colored grout colors. I also found the &quot;modify results&quot; function helpful. If you're not a fan of the first set of images, you can choose to take another quiz question to generate another set.</p> <p>The TEC Color Selector Tool is especially useful if you take the quiz multiple times, as slightly different answers can generate slightly different styles. For example, you might be looking for a contemporary bathroom, but gravitate towards one that is warm and cheerful versus one that is more sleek and minimalistic. Seeing images of these bathrooms can help you to refine your preferred style.</p> <p><a href="http://www.tecskillset.com/color-selector/"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/tec4.jpg" width="605" height="454" alt="" /></a></p> <h2>You Can Keep and Share Your Mood Board</h2> <p>At the end of the quiz, you have the option of saving your mood board or sharing it to social media. I found it especially helpful to share some of my quiz results to Pinterest, where I could look at them side by side, and pin similar photos to help inspire my style.</p> <p>You can also schedule a free design consultation with a Lowe's designer to talk over your choices. This is a great feature, because you can send your mood board automatically to a Lowe&rsquo;s designer and she can recommend specific tile, countertop finishes, colors, and more.</p> <h2>There Are a Lot More Grout Colors Than You Thought</h2> <p>I had no idea how many colors of grout were available from TEC Skill Set. There are literally over a hundred colors that you can choose from. No matter what your design choices, you will definitely be able to find the perfect color to complement your tile. While you may not be at the right stage to choose your grout until later in the design process, it is certainly useful to know of the wide variety of colors and shades available.</p> <p>At the end of the day, the TEC Color Selector Tool is a great first step to see how your personality and style could influence the design of your home. You may choose to take that first step further and schedule a design consultation at Lowe's, or you may want to use the images it generates as a stepping stone to finding more inspirational designs. Either way, you're one step closer to a home that reflects you.</p> <p><em>This article was made possible by a sponsorship from TEC Skillset. Please support our sponsor by </em><a href="http://www.tecskillset.com/color-selector/"><em>checking out their Color Selector tool</em></a><em>!</em></p> <p><a href="http://www.tecskillset.com/color-selector/"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/tec-banner.jpg" width="353" height="605" alt="" /></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/beginners-guide-to-finding-your-interior-design-style">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/mcmansion-to-mccottage-why-smaller-houses-are-smarter">McMansion to McCottage: Why Smaller Houses Are Smarter</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/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</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/20-awesome-uses-for-milk-crates">20 Awesome Uses for Milk Crates</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-ways-to-save-on-a-long-distance-move">10 Ways to Save on a Long-Distance Move</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/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Lifestyle Real Estate and Housing Fri, 07 Aug 2015 20:42:41 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1493443 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Save $100s on Your Next Move http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-100s-on-your-next-move <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-save-100s-on-your-next-move" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_blueprints_000054338660.jpg" alt="Couple saving $100s on their next move" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether it's across the country or across the street, moving can be difficult. It can also be expensive, costing you thousands of dollars, particularly for long distance treks. If you'd like to save time and money on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">your next move</a>, then there are a few simple tips that can help get you started.</p> <h2>1. Have a Plan</h2> <p>A solid plan will keep you organized and help you quickly find what you need when you are unpacking. Keep track of what is in each box on a separate note pad, which can save you a lot of time when you are unpacking later. You should also consider labels or labeled packing tape that specifies which room each box belongs in. This will keep the move organized and save time moving and unpacking.</p> <p>The last thing you want is to get to your new place and realize that you don't have enough space to fit all of your belongings. If possible, print out the floor plan and draw your furniture inside beforehand. If it doesn't fit in the drawing, it probably won't fit into your new place. This will also help you arrange items quickly when you're moving in, saving time spent with the movers.</p> <h2>2. Get Rid of Junk First</h2> <p>The less you have to move, the easier the move will be. Having fewer items to move can also help save you money on a larger rental truck, moving supplies, and time with movers. By eliminating junk first, you can also store less, saving you money on your storage unit. If you get rid of enough stuff, you may be able to do a direct move and skip the storage unit altogether, saving you even more money.</p> <p>As you're packing your items, decide what you really need. If you haven't used something or worn certain items of clothing in over a year, what are the odds you'll use them in the next year? Consider recycling or donating these items instead. You may also have items that can be sold on eBay or Craigslist, so you can make a little extra cash before the move.</p> <h2>3. Compare Several Moving Companies</h2> <p>Check Yelp or other online review sites to find several moving companies in your area. Compare their prices, services, customer ratings, and willingness to help. Look for hidden fees and insurance costs to make sure you won't be shocked by the final price at the end. You don't need to hire a moving company just because you asked for an estimate, so make sure to do your research.</p> <p>Inquire about whether any of the companies can offer you a deal or can throw in any free services or packing supplies. See if your favorite moving company is willing to negotiate on the price to match your budget.</p> <h2>4. Find Free Boxes</h2> <p>Boxes can cost an average of $50&ndash;$400, particularly if you choose various sizes. On the other hand, you can get free boxes from your local supermarket, office supply store, home improvement store, liquor store, bookstore, furniture store, or coffee shop. Call some local stores and ask them to set aside some boxes for you to pick up. You may also be able to pick up some free boxes on Craigslist or <a href="https://www.freecycle.org/">Freecycle</a>. Make sure to also fill up any empty suitcases you have!.</p> <h2>5. Find Deals on Moving Supplies</h2> <p>Take advantage of free packing supplies, like old newspaper, tissue paper, wrapping paper, blankets, linen, towels, clothing, and area rugs. You can save money on supplies and just wash any blankets or linen you used for padding when you get to your new place.</p> <p>While you want to find a good deal, it's important to choose quality supplies, especially when it comes to packing tape. The last thing you want is for your items to spill out all over the street because the cheap packing tape simply couldn't hold up to the weight in the box.</p> <h2>6. Move During Off-Season</h2> <p>Moving during the off-season can result in savings. If you can be flexible on dates, keep your options open. Remember, the busier the season is, the more it will cost you.</p> <p>Most people move at the end of the month, so if you can move mid-month, you may save on your new lease, the moving truck, and moving services. Avoiding the 15th of the month can save you even more because this is another popular move-out date, so aim for odd dates. Moving mid-week, as opposed to on the weekend, can also save you money and help reduce traffic. Moving in the summer is the busiest time, while October is the slowest time.</p> <h2>7. Do Your Own Packing</h2> <p>Did you know that about 1/3 of the moving costs go straight to packing? By skipping the full-service move and packing the items yourself, you can save up to 35% on your moving expenses. Hiring movers to pack your belongings may seem tempting, but the savings in time and energy is likely not worth the cost. You may be surprised at just how quickly you can pack your belongings, especially when you have a plan.</p> <h2>8. Enlist Some Help</h2> <p>When all else fails, it's time to start cashing in on favors from your friends and family. They may be able to help you pack or move your belongings, so you can save money on movers. While enlisting help can save you money, you'll want to be careful with this tip because moving can be an extremely stressful process and can cause disagreements between you and your helpers. It may be worth the money to hire movers so that you can just sit back, relax, and delegate.</p> <h2>9. Ask Your Employer for Help</h2> <p>If you need to relocate for work, ask your employer if they are willing to pick up a portion of the tab. Many employers will offer a stipend to employees who are making a move for work. They may also have suggestions for affordable moving supplies or services in the area.</p> <h2>10. Save It for a Tax Deduction</h2> <p>If you are moving for work purposes, you may be able to write off some of your moving expenses. Speak with your tax professional about the options available to you. If you aren't sure whether your moving expenses are tax deductible, then read up on what the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc455.html">IRS says about moving expenses</a>.</p> <h2>11. Carefully Pack and Protect Your Valuables</h2> <p>Anything that breaks during the move becomes a loss. Carefully pack and protect your valuables so that they are not damaged or destroyed during the move. Invest in bubble wrap, furniture covers, packing paper, packing peanuts, and anything else you feel is necessary to protect your items. If the movers damage your belongings, make sure to say something.</p> <h2>12. Use Up Your Groceries</h2> <p>Another way many people waste money on a move is by neglecting their fridge and freezer. It is difficult to move these items, so many people end up throwing away perfectly good food and condiments simply because they couldn't eat them in time. Any food that is wasted is literally money thrown away. Challenge yourself to eat at home more so you can use up the contents of the fridge and freezer before the move, and you'll save money in the process.</p> <p><em>Do you have any other tips for how to save money on your next move? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-100s-on-your-next-move">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/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">Don&#039;t Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses</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/6-reasons-you-should-always-hire-a-moving-company">6 Reasons You Should Always Hire a Moving Company</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-7-best-affordable-cities-to-start-a-family">The 7 Best Affordable Cities to Start a Family</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/14-things-you-should-do-when-you-move-to-a-new-town">14 Things You Should Do When You Move to a New Town</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/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Real Estate and Housing expenses moving packing relocating tax deductions Wed, 05 Aug 2015 17:00:24 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1508948 at http://www.wisebread.com Frayed Relationships, Damaged Credit, and Costly Additions — What a Multi-Generational Home Might Cost You http://www.wisebread.com/frayed-relationships-damaged-credit-and-costly-additions-what-a-multi-generational-home-might-cost-y <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/frayed-relationships-damaged-credit-and-costly-additions-what-a-multi-generational-home-might-cost-y" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_home_000043205148.jpg" alt="Family learning what a multi-generational home might cost " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are your adult children moving back into your home after struggling to find <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-gross-jobs-that-pay-pretty-well">well-paying jobs</a> after earning their college degrees? Or maybe you've moved your elderly parents back into your house to help care for them as they age?</p> <p>If so, you're not alone. The Pew Research Center found that a record 57 million U.S. residents in 2012 lived in multi-generational households. That number &mdash; the most recent compiled by the research center &mdash; means that in 2012, 18.1% of the U.S. population lived in a home filled by residents of two or more generations.</p> <p>Living with two or more generations under one roof can prove challenging. It might also become expensive, depending on what modifications have to be done to a home to make sure that everyone &mdash; no matter what generation &mdash; can live in peace. Here's what it might cost you.</p> <h2>Mortgage Matters</h2> <p>Chris Copley, regional sales manager for the Delaware Valley, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey in the Mount Laurel, New Jersey, office of TD Bank, says that he's worked with adult parents and their children who want to buy a multi-generational home together.</p> <p>Such an arrangement can work. But Copley says that buyers need an exit strategy. What happens if after six years, the adult children whose names are on the mortgage note want to move on and buy their own homes?</p> <p>&quot;You need to have that conversation about what happens five to 10 years from now before you all agree to put your names on that mortgage loan,&quot; Copley says. &quot;There has to be an exit strategy.&quot;</p> <p>If there isn't? There could be hard feelings and damaged family relationships. That's because when people on the mortgage decide to leave the arrangement, there aren't many good options available. The owners could sell their home, splitting the mortgage. But that only works well if all parties are happy with selling.</p> <p>The owners could refinance their mortgage loan so that it is only in the name of one of the homeowners. But that assumes that the new sole owners could afford the monthly mortgage payment on their salaries alone. This isn't always the case.</p> <p>Copley's advice: Have a plan in place so that everyone knows what happens if one person wants to ditch the home.</p> <h2>Damaged Credit?</h2> <p>Some multi-generational households only list one generation's names on the mortgage loan. Parents who buy a home with their college-graduate children might only put their own names on the loan and then accept money each month from their children to help cover the costs of the monthly mortgage payment and other housing expenses.</p> <p>Copley says that this arrangement can work if one generation's income is high enough for them to qualify for the mortgage loan on their own. But credit problems can result once one generation moves out of the home.</p> <p>What if your name is on the mortgage and you're only able to make your payment each month because the members of the second generation in your home are covering half of your mortgage? What happens when the members of the generation move out and you can no longer afford the mortgage payment on your own?</p> <p>Copley recommends that multi-generational households not overspend on a mortgage loan. It's best to make sure that the home you buy &mdash; and the mortgage payment that comes with it &mdash; is affordable enough so that the members of just one of the generations can make the payment each month if necessary.</p> <h2>It Might Not Be Cheap</h2> <p>You might decide it is time to move your elderly parents into your home to help care for them. This can be a way to strengthen the bond between you and your parents. But it can also be expensive. You might need to turn main-floor home offices into bedrooms, installing new walls and doorways as you do so.</p> <p>You might also need to install grip-bars in bathrooms and widen hallways to make enough room for wheelchairs. To make sure that everyone is comfortable you might even need to build a new bathroom. You may be living with your elderly parents for 10 years, 20 years or more &mdash; you can't have your parents living like house guests arriving for a three-day stay.</p> <p>Maybe you've decided to buy a new home to make room for yourself and your elderly parents or your adult children. This can prove costly, too. You'll need enough bedrooms to provide enough living space for everyone. And housing prices can jump substantially when you add a greater number of bedrooms to the mix. Zillow found that in 2015, the average price for a three-bedroom home in the United States stood at $173,300. That figure jumped to $291,300 for a four-bedroom home.</p> <p>This doesn't mean that living in a multi-generational home can't work. It just means that families need to discuss financial matters honestly before making a move, and that they need to find a living space that provides enough room and privacy for all of the generations living under one roof.</p> <p><em>How do you make your multi-generational home affordable?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frayed-relationships-damaged-credit-and-costly-additions-what-a-multi-generational-home-might-cost-y">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/5-reasons-why-2015-is-the-year-to-buy-a-house">5 Reasons Why 2015 is the Year to Buy a 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/87-of-homebuyers-think-they-know-how-much-home-they-can-afford-but-they-really-dont">87% of Homebuyers Think They Know How Much Home They Can Afford (But They Really Don&#039;t)</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/4-reasons-why-youre-too-old-or-too-young-for-a-mortgage-loan">4 Reasons Why You&#039;re Too Old — Or Too Young — For a Mortgage Loan</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/six-options-if-youre-underwater-on-your-mortgage">6 Options if You&#039;re Underwater on Your Mortgage</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/whats-faster-for-mortgage-payoff-100-month-extra-or-1-payment-year-extra">What&#039;s Faster for Mortgage Payoff: $100/Month Extra or 1 Payment/Year Extra?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing credit family living with kids living with parents mortgages multi-generational living Wed, 29 Jul 2015 13:00:14 +0000 Dan Rafter 1501980 at http://www.wisebread.com 14 Things You Should Do When You Move to a New Town http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-you-should-do-when-you-move-to-a-new-town <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-things-you-should-do-when-you-move-to-a-new-town" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_walking_outside_000049746022.jpg" alt="Couple learning what to do when moving to a new town" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Moving to a new town is exciting, but it also can be intimidating. The physical move and subsequent unpacking is stressful enough; then you have to set up a whole new life, which requires weeks of your time, money, and energy. To help make the transition at least a little smoother for you, here's a mini-checklist of a few things to do <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">when you move</a> to a new town.</p> <h2>1. Change Your Address With the Post Office</h2> <p>So you don't fall behind on your bills because you didn't receive them in time, it's probably best to change your address with the post office a couple weeks before the move. It'll take about that long for the change to be processed and instituted. In the meantime, it's not a bad idea to make nice with the new renters/owners of your old place so you can ask if they wouldn't mind holding any stragglers that the mail carrier delivers after the move. Send a polite email at two and four-week intervals to pick up anything that fell through the cracks during the changeover.</p> <h2>2. Visit the DMV If You Move Out of State</h2> <p>Nobody wants to visit the DMV because it's literally, like, the worst place on earth, but if you move to a new state it's necessary, whether you think so or not. You'll need a new license and new plates, and the process will probably be easier if you take care of these things sooner than later.</p> <h2>3. Stop by the Town Hall for Local Service Schedules and Policies</h2> <p>Some things you'll want to know that you may not think of immediately include trash and recycling days, street cleaning, how to dispose of yard waste, if you need permits for home-based activities like yard sales, and more. Every town differs in schedules and policies and you'll avoid unnecessary fines if you brush up early.</p> <h2>4. Introduce Yourself to Your New Neighbors</h2> <p>Remember when we were kids and our neighbors were neighborly to one another? We're not as open and friendly as we used to be to the people who live in the vicinity of our home &mdash; many neighbors prefer to stick to themselves these days &mdash; but that doesn't mean that everyone is a Scrooge.</p> <p>I'm an outgoing guy by nature, so it's always my policy to introduce myself to my neighbors whenever I've moved. Most of the time a simple hello will lead to an initial conversation if you and your neighbors cross paths as you're moving in, but if that opportunity doesn't present itself, don't be afraid to knock on doors to let your neighbors know that you're new around these parts. If you're feeling particularly friendly, maybe you could host a mini meet-and-greet one early evening where you'll serve snacks and cocktails and get to know one another.</p> <p>Having at least a friendly relationship with your neighbors is important &mdash; in my book anyway &mdash; because you never know when you'll need a little help here and there, whether it's to keep an eye on your house while you're away, watch your pet for a bit, or that all-important cup of sugar when you're baking during a blizzard.</p> <h2>5. Explore the Area on Foot or by Bike</h2> <p>You can get a general idea of what's around your new home in the car, but you'll get a more specific view of the establishments that make up your area on foot or bicycle. Concentrate on the downtown area of where you live since that's likely where you'll find the bulk of the important businesses that you'll frequent as a resident.</p> <h2>6. Pop Into the Visitors' Center for Info on the Town's Highlights</h2> <p>I love visitors and tourists' centers because they have a comprehensive collection of all the info on your town that you'll need. Brochures, flyers, and coupons for the hottest restaurants, hotels, activities, and more are all available to help you familiarize yourself with the area as you get settled. Take home hard copies of these materials for your own use and for future guests who may visit you.</p> <h2>7. Patronize the Local Restaurants and Shops</h2> <p>While I don't recommend dining out often as a lifestyle choice, when you first move to a new place it's not a bad idea seeing as, your kitchen will probably be a mess for the first few days, and it's a good way to get out there and meet the locals. I also try to remember my servers' names &mdash; I jot them down in the notes section of my phone with characteristics to help me remember the person the next time &mdash; so eventually we can be on a name basis with one another. This practice not only helps me feel like I'm planting roots thereby becoming more comfortable with my surroundings, but it's a smart way to ingratiate yourself with local business owners and their staff as a supportive member of the community &mdash; and sometimes that has its perks, if you know what I mean.</p> <h2>8. Go Out and Get a Feel for the Social Scene</h2> <p>Where do the locals hangout? The best way to find out is to hit up a few of the bars, entertainment venues, and other party spots in town. You don't have to make this a regular thing &mdash; I totally understand that not everybody is built for this kind of social life &mdash; but I do think a night on the town hanging out at local joints is a good way to get a feel for the area's vibe and the type of people that make up its population.</p> <h2>9. Sign up for Meetup Groups That Pique Your Interest</h2> <p>If you're moving to a new town without any friends nearby, you'll want to make some; the transition will be much easier when you're not feeling lost and lonely. The online activity site Meetup helps connect users with groups and activities that pique their interests, and is a great place to start. Personally, I've joined groups that focus on brunch, my dog, outdoor activities, trivia nights, and more, and there are plenty of other groups that are sure to compliment your own idea of fun.</p> <h2>10. Research Local Clubs and Groups and Try a Few Out</h2> <p>One of the first things I do when I've moved to a new place is find the local recreational and social sports leagues. I love them because they get me out of the house, keep me active, and introduce me to new people. These groups aren't just kickball anymore either. I've joined dodgeball, bowling, trivia, cornhole teams, but other sports like softball, volleyball, basketball, flag football, and water polo also are offered in some areas. You'll also want to find other groups in which you want to participate, which includes church groups, professional groups, and support groups.</p> <h2>11. Find New Health Professionals in Your Network</h2> <p>While you may not need a health professional immediately when you move, eventually you'll need to find a new primary care physician and dentist, at the very least. To make the process more efficient, it may be helpful to ask your former health care professionals for your records to give to the new ones. Understand that it also may take a while to find suitable doctors in your insurance network and/or get an appointment, so you may want to plan ahead.</p> <h2>12. Register for a Library Card</h2> <p>Library attendance isn't what it used to be, but it's still helpful to have a library card in case you want to check out a book or free movie. It's also a good place to access free Wi-Fi if yours isn't set up right away.</p> <h2>13. Cross-Reference Your Social Media Contacts for Friends in the Area</h2> <p>Another great way of making new real-life friends is to cross-reference your friend list on social media to see who's in your area. Often just updating your status that you're moving to so-and-so area will reveal a few folks that are nearby. It's a good start, especially since you already know each other somewhat online.</p> <h2>14. Ask for Recommendations or Introductions From Social Media Friends</h2> <p>If cross-referencing your friend list with the area to which you've just moved doesn't pan out, don't be afraid to ask generally for recommendations or introductions. You don't know who may have visited or lived in your town previously or who may know someone in your area with whom they can connect you. This also works offline with neighbors, coworkers, and especially folks in the service industry in your neighborhood.</p> <p><em>Do you know other important things we should do when we move to a new place? Let me know some of your suggestions 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/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-you-should-do-when-you-move-to-a-new-town">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/how-to-save-100s-on-your-next-move">How to Save $100s on Your Next Move</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/6-reasons-you-should-always-hire-a-moving-company">6 Reasons You Should Always Hire a Moving Company</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/20-hiking-hacks-to-take-to-the-trail-this-summer">20 Hiking Hacks to Take to the Trail This Summer</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/the-7-best-affordable-cities-to-start-a-family">The 7 Best Affordable Cities to Start a Family</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/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Real Estate and Housing exploring making friends moving neighborhoods new town preparations Tue, 28 Jul 2015 11:00:20 +0000 Mikey Rox 1500833 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Qualify for a Mortgage With a Small Downpayment http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-qualify-for-a-mortgage-with-a-small-downpayment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-qualify-for-a-mortgage-with-a-small-downpayment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house_of_money_000012291442.jpg" alt="How to qualify for a mortgage loan without 20% down" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're ready to apply for a mortgage loan. Your credit scores are high. Your debt-to-income ratio is low. And you have the employment history that makes you an attractive borrower in the eyes of mortgage lenders.</p> <p>There's just one problem: You don't have enough money to come up with a down payment of 20% of your home's purchase price.</p> <p>The standard rule is that you need a 20% down payment when you are applying for a conventional mortgage, a loan not insured by the federal government. There's a reason for this bit of conventional wisdom: If you don't come up with this 20% down, you'll probably have to pay for private mortgage insurance, which can cost from 0.5% to 1% of your total loan each year. If you borrow $200,000, private mortgage insurance can cost you from $1,000 to $2,000 a year until you build up enough equity to cancel it.</p> <p>Here's some good news, though: You don't really need 20% down to qualify for a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-to-do-if-you-cant-afford-your-mortgage-payment">mortgage loan</a>. There are plenty of government programs that allow you to qualify for a mortgage loan with less. You'll also find that many banks and lenders will loan you mortgage dollars even if you can only come up with a down payment of 5%.</p> <p>Just make sure that you have strong credit and income. The better your financials are, the more likely you are to qualify for a mortgage loan with a lower down payment.</p> <p>If you <em>can</em> afford a down payment of 20%? That's probably your best move. It allows you to avoid private mortgage insurance and it helps you quickly build equity in your home, which could help if your home's value suddenly drops.</p> <p>&quot;While there are mortgage loans that allow less than 20% down, I would discourage it,&quot; says Dan Serra, a certified financial planner from Bethesda, Maryland. &quot;The 20% down to me is a good insurance policy against an unexpected drop in home values in which the homeowner could be trapped with negative equity. I saw this contribute to a lack of mobility for homeowners who had to pass up opportunities to move for a better job or to be closer to family.&quot;</p> <p>If you can't afford a 20% down payment &mdash; and for that $200,000 mortgage a down payment of 20% comes out to a whopping $40,000 &mdash; here are some options for loans that require smaller down payments.</p> <h2>1. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's 3% Down Payment Option</h2> <p>Most conventional lenders today offer the 97% loan-to-value program offered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This program allows borrowers to qualify for a mortgage loan with a down payment as low as 3% of a home's final purchase price.</p> <p>There is a catch, though. At least one of the borrowers applying for this loan must be a first-time home buyer. Your mortgage loan can't be higher than $417,000 for this program.</p> <p>If you're interested in this program, call a mortgage lender licensed to do business in your community. Most lenders offer this option.</p> <h2>2. FHA Loans</h2> <p>Loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration, better known as FHA loans, are another good choice for borrowers seeking a lower down payment. If you have a FICO credit score of at least 580, you can qualify for an FHA loan with a down payment of 3.5% of your home's purchase price.</p> <p>Even if your credit score is lower than 580, you can still qualify for an FHA loan with a lower down payment. If your score is at least 500, you can apply for an FHA loan requiring a down payment of 10% of your home's purchase price.</p> <p>The FHA doesn't originate mortgage loans, so if you want to apply for an FHA loan, you'll need to work with a bank or lender that offers them. Fortunately, the vast majority of lending institutions offer FHA loans.</p> <h2>3. VA Loans</h2> <p>Loans insured by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are an even better option &mdash; if you meet the requirements. VA loans require no down payment at all. To qualify for a VA loan, though, you must be a current or past member of the U.S. Military, National Guard, or Reserves.</p> <h2>4. USDA Rural Home Loans</h2> <p>Another government-insured loan product that requires no down payment is the Section 502 loan insured by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Better known as a <a href="http://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov/eligibility/welcomeAction.do">USDA Rural Development loan</a>, this loan product is available to homeowners in rural areas and some suburban areas. This program is designed to help borrowers with lower incomes. To qualify for such a loan, your household income can't be higher than the USDA's listed income limits in your county.</p> <h2>5. Call Your Lender</h2> <p>Even if you don't want to take out a government-insured mortgage loan, you might still qualify for a mortgage with a low down payment. Shop around with lenders licensed to do business in your community. You'll find that many will offer loans with down payments of 10%, 5%, or even lower &mdash; if you have the credit scores and income levels to put them at ease.</p> <p><em>Did you buy your home with less than 20% down? what program did you use?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-qualify-for-a-mortgage-with-a-small-downpayment">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/5-reasons-why-2015-is-the-year-to-buy-a-house">5 Reasons Why 2015 is the Year to Buy a 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-reasons-why-youre-too-old-or-too-young-for-a-mortgage-loan">4 Reasons Why You&#039;re Too Old — Or Too Young — For a Mortgage Loan</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/whats-faster-for-mortgage-payoff-100-month-extra-or-1-payment-year-extra">What&#039;s Faster for Mortgage Payoff: $100/Month Extra or 1 Payment/Year Extra?</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/when-it-makes-sense-to-apply-for-a-mortgage-loan-without-your-spouse">When It Makes Sense to Apply for a Mortgage Loan Without Your Spouse</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-prepare-for-a-home-purchase-in-2010">How to Prepare for a Home Purchase in 2010</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing down payments lenders loans mortgages pmi Fri, 24 Jul 2015 15:00:12 +0000 Dan Rafter 1494509 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-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/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-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 Mon, 20 Jul 2015 11:00:14 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1487213 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's What to Do If You Can't Afford Your Mortgage Payment http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-to-do-if-you-cant-afford-your-mortgage-payment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-what-to-do-if-you-cant-afford-your-mortgage-payment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house_payments_mortgage_000004582800.jpg" alt="How to keep your home if you can&#039;t afford the mortgage payment" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We know the scenario: Maybe your spouse lost a job, dropping your household income. Maybe your hours at work have been cut. Or maybe your own job has disappeared. Whatever the financial emergency, your monthly mortgage payment has become unaffordable.</p> <p>What can you do if you want to keep your house? There are steps you can take to relieve your burden. But be warned: Most of them involved a sacrifice on your part.</p> <p>&quot;Being faced with the threat of losing your home can force you to make some real serious financial decisions,&quot; said Kyle Winkfield, president and chief executive officer of the Winkfield Group, a financial planning firm in Rockville, Maryland. &quot;There are few things that can keep you as focused on how you are spending your money.&quot;</p> <p>Here are four possible strategies to keep your home when that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-need-to-know-before-buying-your-first-house">mortgage payment</a> becomes too much of a financial burden.</p> <h2>1. Bring in a Tenant</h2> <p>Rent a room and reduce your expenses. Do you have an extra room in your home? Maybe you have a finished basement that you rarely use. Depending on your municipality's regulations, you might be able to rent out that room. If you're fortunate, that extra income can be enough to help you cover your mortgage payment.</p> <p>Be sure to check with your local government first. You don't want to violate any local ordinances by renting out that extra room on the third floor of your home.</p> <p>If renting a room isn't an option, look carefully at your monthly expenses. Is there anything you can cut to provide some extra dollars for your mortgage payment? You might consider eliminating cable TV subscriptions or gym memberships. Maybe you can cut out restaurant meals and trips to the local movie theater.</p> <p>&quot;Taking a hard look at your budget might be more productive than you think,&quot; Winkfield said. &quot;Depending on how much of a burden that mortgage payment is, you might save enough each month to be able to keep your home until you can somehow boost your income.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Find Part-Time Work</h2> <p>This isn't always ideal, but maybe you can find a second part-time job to bring in enough extra income to help reduce the burden of your monthly mortgage payment.</p> <p>You don't want to spend all of your time at work, and holding down two jobs can be stressful. But so can losing your home to foreclosure. If a second job can help you cobble together enough income to cover your mortgage each month, sign up, and hold that part-time job until you can overcome whatever financial crisis damaged your household budget.</p> <h2>3. Modify Your Mortgage</h2> <p>As soon as you notice that you are struggling to pay your mortgage, call your lender. This can be embarrassing, but it's a necessary step. Ask for help. Ask for a loan modification.</p> <p>In a loan modification, your lender can take several steps to reduce the size of your monthly mortgage payment. It can decrease your loan's interest rate, forgive a portion of your principal balance, or extend the term &mdash; the number of years you have to pay back your loan &mdash; of your mortgage. All of these steps will result in a lower mortgage payment.</p> <p>Be warned, though, that your lender doesn't have to accept your request for a loan modification. You must first offer proof that you have suffered a financial hardship. This can be in the form of bank account statements showing a drop in available funds, paycheck stubs showing that your monthly income has plummeted, or medical bills showing how much you owe because of a recent illness and injury.</p> <p>You must also have the right household income. This can be tricky. Winkfield says that if you earn too much money each month, your lender will deny your modification request because it thinks that you make enough to pay your mortgage. But if you make too little money, your bank will deny your modification request because even after it modifies your loan, you still won't have enough funds to cover your monthly payment.</p> <p>Finding that sweet spot in the middle? That's no easy task.</p> <h2>4. Declare Chapter 13 Bankruptcy</h2> <p>You might be able to keep your home by declaring Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection. But Winkfield says that this should be a last resort. Declaring bankruptcy can hurt your credit score by more than 100 points. And a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing sits on your credit report for seven years, making it a challenge to qualify for a new mortgage loan or any form of credit.</p> <p>&quot;This should only be used if you have absolutely no other option,&quot; Winkfield said.</p> <p>In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a bankruptcy judge drafts a payment plan that allows you to pay back your creditors on a schedule that you can afford. This plan will include more affordable payments to your mortgage lender each month. You'll also get to keep your home.</p> <p>You might also file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, in which some or all of your debts are permanently wiped out. But this form of bankruptcy protection comes at a steeper price. First, it remains on your credit report for 10 years. Secondly, you might have to sell your home, and other assets, anyway as part of your bankruptcy agreement.</p> <p>Being unable to cover your mortgage is stressful. But being proactive and budgeting creatively can maximize your chances of keeping your home.</p> <p><em>What steps have you taken to overcome mortgage troubles?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-to-do-if-you-cant-afford-your-mortgage-payment">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-11"> <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/6-interesting-ways-technology-can-help-you-buy-a-home">6 Interesting Ways Technology Can Help You Buy a Home</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/4-reasons-why-youre-too-old-or-too-young-for-a-mortgage-loan">4 Reasons Why You&#039;re Too Old — Or Too Young — For a Mortgage Loan</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/whats-faster-for-mortgage-payoff-100-month-extra-or-1-payment-year-extra">What&#039;s Faster for Mortgage Payoff: $100/Month Extra or 1 Payment/Year Extra?</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-long-can-you-stay-in-your-home-after-you-stop-paying-the-mortgage">How Long Can You Stay in Your Home After You Stop Paying the Mortgage?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing bankruptcy loans loss of income mortgage Tue, 14 Jul 2015 09:00:09 +0000 Dan Rafter 1481988 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Common Apartment Hunting Mistakes to Avoid http://www.wisebread.com/9-common-apartment-hunting-mistakes-to-avoid <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-common-apartment-hunting-mistakes-to-avoid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_using_tablet_000037104790.jpg" alt="Couple discovering apartment hunting mistakes to avoid" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Looking for a new apartment to rent? Spring and summer are moving season for many renters. It's also a time filled with excitement and hope &mdash; the hope that the next place will be better than the last. I've been there.</p> <p>Fortunately, a lot of the problems that plague renters can be avoided just by choosing that apartment a little more carefully. Here are nine <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed">apartment hunting</a> mistakes to avoid while you're looking.</p> <h2>1. Assuming That Moving Will Solve Your Problem</h2> <p>As a renter, it's easy to get used to moving; new year, new apartment. Unfortunately, that new lease often means a new set of problems. Moving is stressful and carries a long list of expenses. Before you decide to move to where the grass is greener, consider whether you're really that unhappy where you are. Every living space has its pros and cons. Decide whether you can live with your apartment's drawbacks before moving on to a new set of problems.</p> <h2>2. Falling in Love Too Soon</h2> <p>These days, apartment hunting usually begins online, where you can browse through photos of apartments for rent in your area. There's nothing wrong with doing a little previewing before you go out to view these places in person; just keep in mind that in many cases, photos tell very little. Not only will landlords do their best to make their rental units look attractive, but photos also lack a lot of detail. A rental unit that looks super cute and cozy in a photo, might turn out to be much shabbier in real life. The problem is, if the photos put stars in your eyes, you might already be in love.</p> <h2>3. Failing to See the Big Picture</h2> <p>Before you set out to look for a new apartment, think about what's really important to you. Are you looking for a short commute to work? Proximity to certain amenities such as shopping, parks, or public transportation? It's important to understand the big picture in terms of what you want out of your apartment, to size up each apartment as a whole. Otherwise, you're likely to zero-in on smaller, less important details, like the size of the unit, the decor, or fantastically cheap rent.</p> <h2>4. Allowing Yourself to Be Wooed by Fancy Fixtures</h2> <p>Fancy fixtures like hardwood floors and granite countertops are great, but when you have a budget to stick to, it's best not to be too fixated on what are essentially details. For one thing, these amenities are purely aesthetic, and will quickly lose their luster if the apartment fails to meet your needs in other key ways. Plus, in many cases, apartments in less desirable locations get the best cosmetic upgrades to entice renters. If you wouldn't live in this apartment if it didn't have fancy fixtures, you probably shouldn't move in just because it does.</p> <h2>5. Going Out of Your League</h2> <p>Before you start looking for an apartment, you have to decide how much rent you are capable of paying. Most financial experts recommend that you spend no more than 30% of your take-home (after-tax) income on housing. Depending on your other financial obligations &mdash; and your personal financial goals &mdash; you may want to spend even less. But no matter what price point you decide on, once you have a number in mind, stick to it. And do not, under any circumstances, look at apartments that exceed your budget. Chances are they will be nicer. As a result, they will make the places you <em>can </em>afford look much shabbier in comparison. They might also tempt you to blow your budget.</p> <h2>6. Failing to Read the Rental Agreement</h2> <p>I once signed a rental agreement that stated that I was responsible for repainting the apartment before moving out. I was a student and had never painted anything in my life. Of course, I lost most of my damage deposit on that one. Rental agreements lay out, in legal terms, what you as a renter are responsible for. Read every word carefully and make sure you're up for it. If you aren't, move on.</p> <h2>7. Overlooking Existing Damage</h2> <p>Most rental agreements include a damage deposit. This is money that the landlord holds in order to pay for any damage the tenant may cause during the term of the lease. This can get tricky if you don't document any damages that were already there when you moved in. On the day you get possession of your apartment, walk through it with your landlord and document existing damage to ensure you are not charged for them when your lease is up.</p> <h2>8. Not Considering Roommates Carefully</h2> <p>I've been lucky to have really good roommates, but living with other people is still hard. When you share your personal space with someone, you get to know each other on a pretty intimate level. Things can get ugly. So try to choose your roommates carefully. There are different philosophies on this. Some people think it's best to choose a roommate who isn't a friend. Others say it's best to room with a bestie. Either way, make sure you get some references to ensure that your roommate has a solid history of paying their rent.</p> <h2>9. Not Vetting Your Landlord</h2> <p>Some landlords care about their properties and their tenants. They'll take your calls and fix leaking toilets and send an exterminator in to deal with your ant problem. Other landlords treat their tenants like cash machines; money is withdrawn, never to be seen again. If you have problems with your apartment, a bad landlord can make your life hell. I once tip-toed across a bridge of soggy cardboard boxes for weeks until my landlord got around the fixing a leaking hot water tank that flooded my apartment. So, be sure to run a check on your landlord before you sign a rental agreement. Do a Google search, ask if you can contact previous tenants, and check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against the landlord or property management company. If you discover serious issues, find another place to rent. Dealing with an uncooperative landlord just isn't worth it.</p> <p><em>What apartment-hunting mistakes have you made? How did you learn your lesson?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-common-apartment-hunting-mistakes-to-avoid">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/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">Don&#039;t Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses</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/7-ways-to-rent-an-apartment-with-bad-credit">7 Ways to Rent An Apartment With Bad Credit</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-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</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/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</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/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed">6 Ways to Apartment Hunt on Craigslist Without Getting Scammed</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing apartments Mistakes moving new home renting Mon, 13 Jul 2015 15:00:10 +0000 Tara Struyk 1485196 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Things You Need to Know Before Buying Your First House http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-need-to-know-before-buying-your-first-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-things-you-need-to-know-before-buying-your-first-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/7 Things You Need To Know Before Buying Your First House_PHOTO_NEW.jpg" alt="Family in front of their new home" 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%7C2150&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>My husband and I bought our first house when we were in our early twenties. Almost a decade later, we recently closed on our second home. We learned a great deal throughout the process, but we definitely had more confidence this time around. We were older, yes, and also wiser having gone through all the preparation, negotiations, and random struggles for the second time. But if I could go back, here are all the things I wish I had known before we signed on the line for that first deal.&nbsp;</p> <p>First-time buyers &mdash; review <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFkXnuU2qew">these tips</a> to help you through a complicated process.</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/zFkXnuU2qew" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <h2>Settling Isn&rsquo;t Always Wise</h2> <p>When we went around neighborhoods looking at various to-be homes, we&rsquo;d evaluate them based on a checklist. Inevitably, we wouldn&rsquo;t find absolutely everything we were looking for, so we&rsquo;d discuss if we could deal with a place that, say, didn&rsquo;t have a garage or another that had only one tiny bathroom. The old kitchen in another was hardly functional and our budget wouldn&rsquo;t allow for remodel. Eventually we did our fair share of settling and took on some not-so ideal features. These same features were &mdash; surprise! &mdash; difficult to sell when we put our place on the market last year. If you&rsquo;re not choosing a forever home, consider what's sticking out as a negative. Chances are it will delay future resale unless you have the funds to transform it.</p> <h2>Sellers Will Negotiate</h2> <p>Depending on where you live, markets can vary wildly according to location. Where we live, there&rsquo;s a glut of great houses sitting vacant at ridiculously low prices. In a college town just an hour north of us, you can&rsquo;t snag a deal unless you know a house is going to be listed weeks in advance. Then there&rsquo;s usually a bidding war. (Your agent should know this information specific to your area.) When we were buying our first house, we were so concerned with possibly insulting sellers that we weren&rsquo;t terribly aggressive with our offers despite it being a buyer&rsquo;s market. In fact, we even bid above asking price on our first house because we heard multiple offers were coming in, which may or may not have been true. We spent a good amount of time feeling like we paid too much, which is especially hard to reconcile when putting a place back on the market years later.</p> <h2>Agents Really Matter</h2> <p>Our first one didn&rsquo;t do much to guide our search or lead negotiations. At the time, we thought this was the norm &mdash; that perhaps all the agent does is give us access to see the homes we&rsquo;ve requested and to give us paperwork. Seems simple enough. Well, from our second sale and purchase, I can tell you that an experienced and politely aggressive agent can make a massive difference. Ours was a huge advocate for us and helped lower the asking price, deal with some tricky closing issues, and move the whole process ahead faster during snags. She definitely earned her commission.</p> <h2>You&rsquo;ll Fall In Love Again (and Again)&nbsp;</h2> <p>Having gone through a number of houses and potential homes by now, I assure you: You will fall in love with many properties. You might think that this or that home is the only place you can ever imagine nesting. Then something else will pop up and blow your socks off. Promise. If you&rsquo;re not getting the price or overall deal you want with a certain house, it&rsquo;s totally fine (and recommended) to walk away. Chances are it won&rsquo;t sell immediately (and you can revisit negotiations) or a place even more awesome will pop up. Just keep your eyes and ears open.</p> <h2>You&rsquo;ll Need Savings . . .</h2> <p>Even if you buy a relatively new home, you shouldn&rsquo;t deplete your savings account with your down payment. In the first year we lived in ours, we had to unexpectedly fix some plumbing issues in the bathroom. A DIY project to remove the carpeting in the kitchen turned ugly and expensive. Then the water heater died one cold January day. You see where this is going. Unexpected costs pile up, and you need to be prepared to financially deal with them. Consider this a kind warning before stretching your budget higher.</p> <h2>. . . And Some Stress Management Skills</h2> <p>At the height of the buying process, I felt like we were hemorrhaging money. We handed over a grand for our earnest deposit, a few hundred more for the home inspection and another hefty fee for this or that application. Then came the loan process as a whole. Since I&rsquo;m self-employed, the amount of documentation needed for my employment started to feel terribly invasive and almost accusatory. After that hurdle was cleared, we tried coordinating moving plans and other logistics only to discover that the closing was moved back due to a missed code issue (the deck was an inch too high and needed a railing &mdash; more money). It&rsquo;s not always this way, but it&rsquo;s best to set up a support system and maybe even some yoga classes in advance. Keep breathing.</p> <h2>Neighborhood Has Big Impact</h2> <p>We lucked out the first time around in that our house was situated in a quiet, quaint neighborhood with nice neighbors. However, we didn&rsquo;t check out any of this stuff during our search. We liked the house, rushed to the office to sign the papers and submit our deposit, and kept our blinders on until we moved in. With our second house, we spent a good amount of time researching the schools in the area, checking out the walkability score, and meeting the neighbors to ask about anything from the trash collection process to how often the fire house siren goes off in the middle of the night. If you&rsquo;re only looking at the inside of a home, you&rsquo;re only getting half the picture.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>What did you wish you knew before you bought your first house?</em></p> <script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8" src="http://vc.cdn.fm/video_conversationalist/system/published/opportunity/88244652/289_2150.js"></script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-need-to-know-before-buying-your-first-house">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/5-appraisal-facts-that-could-save-you-big-money">5 Appraisal Facts That Could Save You Big Money</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/6-interesting-ways-technology-can-help-you-buy-a-home">6 Interesting Ways Technology Can Help You Buy a Home</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/growin-home-how-much-house-do-you-really-need">Growin&#039; Home: How Much House Do You Really Need?</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-signs-the-house-you-want-to-buy-is-a-money-pit">5 Signs the House You Want to Buy Is a Money Pit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing chase home buying Mon, 13 Jul 2015 11:00:13 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1368899 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Ways to Finance a Tiny House http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-finance-a-tiny-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-ways-to-finance-a-tiny-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/colorful_houses_000001978946.jpg" alt="Three ways finance a tiny home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Could you live in a 400-square-foot home? How about one that comes with just 100 square feet of living space?</p> <p>People are doing this. They're joining the tiny house movement, living in homes that are 500 square feet or smaller. The proponents of this kind of living say that larger homes are wasteful, full of space that no one ever uses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mind-blowing-tiny-houses-with-huge-design-inspiration?ref=seealso">Mind-Blowing Tiny Houses With Huge Design Inspiration</a>)</p> <p>There is a challenge, though, with living small. And it's not just the struggle to fit sleeping, cooking, and dining spaces into a 400-square-foot space. Many who want a tiny home can't afford to purchase one with cash. They need to finance their tiny home. That's not always easy.</p> <h2>Financing Challenges</h2> <p>You might want to take out a traditional mortgage loan to finance your tiny home. But your bank might not consider it an actual home, especially if it is portable. And if banks don't consider your tiny home a real home, it won't qualify for a mortgage loan.</p> <p>Even if your tiny home does meet banks' lending requirements, you might struggle to find mortgage lenders willing to do the work involved in originating a small home loan because they might not earn enough on a home loan of $50,000, $30,000 or less to make the work worth their efforts.</p> <p>&quot;Lenders have to go through the same process for a $50,000 mortgage loan as they do for a $400,000 loan,&quot; said Peggy Burke, vice president and mortgage banker with PrivatePlus Mortgage in Atlanta. &quot;The underwriters still have to go through the same steps to approve a borrower. There still needs to be title insurance. They still have to prepare the loan documents. So banks are still incurring the same costs they would for a larger loan.&quot;</p> <p>And tiny homes aren't free. They are cheaper than traditional homes, but <a href="http://thetinylife.com/">The Tiny Life</a> &mdash; devoted to small-home living &mdash; says that the average cost of a tiny house is $23,000 if homeowners build them from a kit. If homeowners use a builder for their tiny home, they can expect to pay twice that amount.</p> <h2>Financing Options</h2> <p>The Tiny Life says that 68% of the owners of tiny homes don't have mortgages. But what if you're one of the 32% of owners who need to somehow finance the cost of a tiny home? You do have options.</p> <h3>Home Equity Loan</h3> <p>The easiest choice might be if you are building a tiny home as a second home or vacation home. Burke says that owners with a first home can tap the equity in these residences to take out a home equity loan or home equity line of credit. They can then use these loans to finance the construction of a tiny home.</p> <p>You need equity in an existing home to take out such a loan. Say your primary residence is worth $220,000 and you owe $150,000 on that home's mortgage loan. You then have $70,000 worth of equity. Most lenders will loan you a percentage of that figure in the form of a home equity loan or home equity line of credit.</p> <h3>RV Loan</h3> <p>But what if you don't own another home? What if you want your tiny home to be your only home? Todd Nelson, business development officer at LightStream, the online lending division of Richmond, Virginia-based SunTrust Bank, says that many tiny homes can be financed with an RV loan.</p> <p>Such homes must first be certified by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association as actual RVs. Nelson said that many tiny home manufacturers today are gaining this certification as a way to make it easier for consumers to finance their residences.</p> <h3>Unsecured Loan</h3> <p>Some banks will provide unsecured personal loans that consumers can use to finance small homes. An unsecured loan is one that does not use a property as collateral. A typical mortgage loan is a secured one; if you miss enough mortgage payments, your lender will take possession of your home through the foreclosure process.</p> <p>Unsecured loans, because there is no such collateral, are riskier for lenders, so they typically charge higher interest rates. Some banks, though, specialize in unsecured loans and provide lower-than-expected interest rates.</p> <p>How do consumers qualify for an unsecured loan? Nelson says that lenders at LightStream look at borrowers' credit histories, incomes, assets, and debts. Borrowers with high credit scores, low debt, a steady job, and strong incomes are more likely to qualify for an unsecured loan.</p> <p>&quot;We don't want to lend to someone who struggles to pay our loan back,&quot; Nelson said. &quot;It's all about stable income and a history of using credit and credit cards wisely in the past.&quot;</p> <p>Nelson says that he expects financing for tiny homes to become more common in the future. That's because the tiny home movement &mdash; though still a fraction of the overall housing market &mdash; is growing.</p> <p>&quot;These tiny houses have become something of a phenomenon,&quot; Nelson said. &quot;We are seeing Millennials who have no interest in buying cars and want a simpler, more affordable form of living buying these homes. But we are also seeing retirees looking at tiny homes when it's time for them to downsize or if they want a second home.&quot;</p> <p><em>Do you own a tiny house? How did you pay for it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-finance-a-tiny-house">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/5-reasons-why-2015-is-the-year-to-buy-a-house">5 Reasons Why 2015 is the Year to Buy a 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/frayed-relationships-damaged-credit-and-costly-additions-what-a-multi-generational-home-might-cost-y">Frayed Relationships, Damaged Credit, and Costly Additions — What a Multi-Generational Home Might Cost You</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/87-of-homebuyers-think-they-know-how-much-home-they-can-afford-but-they-really-dont">87% of Homebuyers Think They Know How Much Home They Can Afford (But They Really Don&#039;t)</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/4-reasons-why-youre-too-old-or-too-young-for-a-mortgage-loan">4 Reasons Why You&#039;re Too Old — Or Too Young — For a Mortgage Loan</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/six-options-if-youre-underwater-on-your-mortgage">6 Options if You&#039;re Underwater on Your Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing compact house homeownership mortgages moving tiny house Thu, 02 Jul 2015 11:00:16 +0000 Dan Rafter 1470951 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Reasons Why You're Too Old — Or Too Young — For a Mortgage Loan http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-youre-too-old-or-too-young-for-a-mortgage-loan <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-reasons-why-youre-too-old-or-too-young-for-a-mortgage-loan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house_jenga_000057875522.jpg" alt="Man learning why he is too old or too young for mortgage loan" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're never too old for a mortgage loan &mdash; and if you're at least 18, you're not too young to take out a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-55-arm-loan-just-might-be-the-best-mortgage-loan">mortgage loan</a>, either. Mortgage lenders are not allowed to use age as a factor for denying borrowers a mortgage loan. Thank the Equal Credit Opportunity Act for this; the federal law prohibits discrimination based on everything from a borrower's age to that person's race, color, or national origin. But just because you can qualify for a mortgage loan at 19 or 90, doesn't mean that you always should.</p> <p>&quot;To me, the age isn't the main factor, ever,&quot; says Kyle Winkfield, owner of The Winkfield Group, a retirement planning firm in Rockville, Maryland. &quot;Everything has to do with your own personal situation. Can you afford what you are biting off, what you are signing up for with a mortgage? A lot of financial tragedies could be avoided if people would ask whether they can really afford a mortgage loan, no matter what age they are.&quot;</p> <p>Here are four reasons why you might be too young or too old for a mortgage loan.</p> <h2>1. Your Income Isn't High Enough</h2> <p>When determining whether you can afford a mortgage, your lender will consider any source of regular monthly income. When you're younger, the majority of your income usually comes from your steady job. When you're past retirement age, your monthly income might be made up of Social Security benefits, a pension, legal settlements, income from real estate that you own, or several other sources.</p> <p>Lenders usually want your total monthly debts &mdash; including the cost of a new mortgage payment &mdash; to be no more than 43% of your gross monthly income. But just because a lender approves you for a mortgage of $200,000 doesn't mean that you can really afford the monthly payments that come with such a loan. Take a close look at your income. Will the addition of a mortgage payment, whether you're 20 or 70, bust your monthly budget? Owning a home is nice, until making those monthly mortgage payments becomes a real struggle.</p> <p>&quot;You might qualify for a mortgage with a $3,200 monthly payment,&quot; Winkfield says. &quot;But in reality, with all the other things that come up with owning a home &mdash; the electric bill, maintenance, surprise repairs &mdash; can you really afford it? You have to take a long look at your finances, no matter how old or young you are.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Your Credit Score Is Low</h2> <p>Lenders rely on your three-digit credit score to determine if you are a good lending risk. If your score is low, you'll pay a higher interest rate on your mortgage loan, and that might make your monthly payment so high that taking on a mortgage loan doesn't make sense.</p> <p>Erin Ellis, financial educator at Philadelphia Credit Union, says that a low credit score is often a challenge for younger borrowers. Some young borrowers might not have enough of a credit history to even have a score. If these borrowers can even find a lender to loan them mortgage dollars, they'll have to pay dearly for them in the form of higher interest.</p> <p>Older buyers, too, can have credit score issues, too. Older borrowers who have recent bankruptcies, missed payments, or foreclosures on their records will struggle to get a mortgage loan with a reasonable interest rate.</p> <p>&quot;If your credit score is low, it often doesn't make sense to apply for a mortgage loan,&quot; Ellis says. &quot;The low interest rates make mortgages appealing today. But if your credit score is low, you won't get those low rates.&quot;</p> <h2>3. You Won't Be Settling Down</h2> <p>Buying a house and taking on a mortgage loan is a better investment when you're able to hold onto the property for a long enough period of time &mdash; usually at least seven years. Historically, homes have tended to experience solid appreciation when owners hold onto them for at least this length of time, though appreciation is never guaranteed.</p> <p>If you're young and just getting started in your career, renting might make more sense. You don't know how long you're going to remain in one neighborhood or city. Job changes might take you to new communities or even countries before your home has a chance to appreciate in value significantly.</p> <p>And if you're older? There are again no guarantees that you'll hold onto your new home for a long enough period of time. You might suffer ill health and have to move to an assisted-living facility. You might decide to move to a new part of the country so that you can spend more time with your grandchildren.</p> <p>If you aren't sure how settled you are into your current community, taking on a mortgage loan might not be a wise choice.</p> <h2>4. You Can't Clear the Down Payment Hurdle</h2> <p>The down payment on a home can be a struggle for both younger and older borrowers. Even if you qualify for a mortgage loan backed by the Federal Housing Administration, you'll have to come up with a down payment of 3.5% of your home's purchase price, if your credit score is high enough. For a home costing $200,000, that 3.5% comes out to a down payment of $7,000. For conventional financing, you might have to come up with a down payment of 10%, or $20,000.</p> <p>That's a lot of money for a young person just getting started on a career. Yes, borrowers can use financial gifts &mdash; as long as they are true gifts and not a loan that they have to pay back &mdash; to cover all or part of a down payment. But young people whose parents don't have $7,000, $10,000 or $20,000 sitting around might struggle to come up with a down payment.</p> <p>Older buyers have their own issues with down payments. They have to make sure that their combination of monthly income and savings will last them through their retirement years. Spending a chunk of their savings on a down payment could put them at financial risk, especially if they don't have much money from another home sale to help cover down payment costs.</p> <p>If your down payment will wipe out all of your savings, it might make sense to wait until you've saved more money for a down payment. After all, you'll need money to furnish and maintain your home after you've purchased it.</p> <p>But if none of these factors are an issue for you? Taking on a mortgage loan might make financial sense.</p> <p>&quot;If you can qualify for a mortgage loan &mdash; and that's a fairly big 'if' &mdash; then I think a mortgage makes sense for most people,&quot; says Matthew Tuttle, chief executive officer and chief information officer of Tuttle Tactical Management in Greenwich, Connecticut. &quot;I know this can be controversial, but I'm a big fan of never paying your mortgage off. The only time when a mortgage doesn't make financial sense is when interest rates are extremely high. At these low interest rates, why wouldn't you want to take out a mortgage loan?&quot;</p> <p><em>Has your age impacted your search for a mortgage loan? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-youre-too-old-or-too-young-for-a-mortgage-loan">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-15"> <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/how-to-prepare-for-a-home-purchase-in-2010">How to Prepare for a Home Purchase in 2010</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/7-ways-to-rent-an-apartment-with-bad-credit">7 Ways to Rent An Apartment With Bad Credit</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/whats-faster-for-mortgage-payoff-100-month-extra-or-1-payment-year-extra">What&#039;s Faster for Mortgage Payoff: $100/Month Extra or 1 Payment/Year Extra?</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/when-it-makes-sense-to-apply-for-a-mortgage-loan-without-your-spouse">When It Makes Sense to Apply for a Mortgage Loan Without Your Spouse</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-ways-to-qualify-for-a-mortgage-with-a-small-downpayment">5 Ways to Qualify for a Mortgage With a Small Downpayment</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing age credit history credit score loans mortgages Wed, 24 Jun 2015 13:00:26 +0000 Dan Rafter 1462787 at http://www.wisebread.com