Real Estate and Housing http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4810/all en-US 5 Reasons Why 2015 is the Year to Buy a House http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-2015-is-the-year-to-buy-a-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-reasons-why-2015-is-the-year-to-buy-a-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_new_homeowners_000051793940.jpg" alt="Couple learning why 2015 is the year to buy a house" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've been dragging your feet or going back and forth about buying a house, 2015 might be the year to move forward with a home purchase. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-millennials-can-do-to-buy-a-house-within-the-next-decade">Buying a home</a> has become harder over the past six or seven years &mdash; we can thank the mortgage/housing meltdown for this. Lenders tightened their guidelines with regard to credit and income, which made it difficult for many to qualify for mortgages. Some would-be buyers had no choice but to delay buying until later.</p> <p>Well, later has arrived. Due to recent changes in mortgage loan products and shifts in housing markets across the country, this might be one of the best years to jump into homeownership since 2008.</p> <h2>1. Killer Interest Rates</h2> <p>Low mortgage rates were common in the early 2000's, but after the mortgage crisis, rates increased to around 6% or 7%. These higher rates made it harder for many to purchase, but rates dropped again in 2012 to the 3%&ndash;4% range and breathed life back into the lending industry. In mid-2014, some mortgage experts predicted that interest rates would rise sharply in 2015, but new data suggests <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/mortgage-rates-forecast.aspx">rates will remain low</a> for the remainder of this year. If you want to get in while rates are low, now's the time, especially since there's no way to know whether rates will rise in 2016.</p> <h2>2. Cheaper Mortgage Insurance Premiums (FHA)</h2> <p>You can purchase a home without a 20% down payment, but you'll have to pay mortgage insurance. Lenders require this type of insurance if you don't have at least 20% equity. Mortgage insurance protects the bank in case you default, and it's included in your monthly mortgage payment. It opens the door to ownership if you don't have a large cash reserve, but unfortunately, you'll also pay more monthly.</p> <p>There's good news if you're thinking about getting an FHA home loan. As of January 2015, the Federal Housing Administration <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/01/07/real_estate/fha-mortgage-insurance/">reduced their mortgage insurance premiums</a> from 1.35% to 0.85%. This 0.50% reduction means it'll cost less to have an FHA mortgage. In fact, an FHA home loan may be cheaper than getting a conventional mortgage. Ask your mortgage lender for an FHA and a conventional mortgage quote to compare the savings. According to the White House, &quot;The lowered premiums will help more than 800,000 homeowners save on their monthly mortgage costs and enable up to 250,000 new homebuyers to purchase a home.&nbsp;&quot;</p> <h2>3. Lower Down Payments for Conventional Mortgages</h2> <p>FHA home loans isn't the only mortgage program seeing changes in 2015. For the past several years, conventional mortgage lenders required at least a 5% down payment from buyers. If you were purchasing a $300,000 house, this meant coming up with $15,000 out-of-pocket. However, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced the return of the 3% down payment in 2015 &mdash; a tremendous savings that will help many first-time homebuyers purchase much sooner. Instead of struggling to save $15,000 to purchase a $300,000 house, you can get the keys to a new place with a $9,000 down payment.</p> <h2>4. Increasing Home Values</h2> <p>Rising home prices can be a good or bad thing, depending on which end you're on. If you're buying, higher prices mean you'll pay more for a property than if you had purchased last year. And as a seller, rising home values let you sell at a higher price, which might be the ticket if you're having difficulty drumming up a down payment for a new place. Down payments are a major stumbling block for people hoping to purchase a house. If you already own a house, increasing property values mean you're able to walk away with a bigger profit, which you can use to buy the next place.</p> <h2>5. Rent Isn't Getting Any Cheaper</h2> <p>Some people prefer renting because it gives them flexibility and they don't have to worry about home maintenance or repair. But at the same time, rental prices are unpredictable. Landlords can increase rental rates every year, and before you know it, you're paying way more than you started out paying. Buying, on the other hand, results in predictable monthly payments (if you have a fixed-rate), and you don't have to worry about a mortgage lender jacking up your rate. Because rental increases are inevitable, buying a house might be cheaper than renting in the long run.</p> <p><em>Are you planning on buying a house this year? Why or why not?</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/5-reasons-why-2015-is-the-year-to-buy-a-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-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-you-shouldnt-rush-to-pay-off-your-mortgage">5 Times You Shouldn&#039;t Rush to Pay Off Your Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-millennials-can-do-to-buy-a-house-within-the-next-decade">5 Things Millennials Can Do to Buy a House Within the Next Decade</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-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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-for-tomorrows-mortgage">6 Money Moves to Make for Tomorrow&#039;s 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/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 FHA homeownership mortgages pmi savings Fri, 29 May 2015 17:00:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 1433839 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Apartment Hunt on Craigslist Without Getting Scammed http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/for_rent_sign_000018543162.jpg" alt="Man learning how to apartment hunt on craigslist without getting scammed" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Using Craigslist to find an apartment is not a novel idea. As a matter of fact, it's by far the most popular way for prospective renters to find a new place. But it doesn't come without its drawbacks, the biggest being fraud and scams designed to separate you from your hard-earned money. Here are a few of the biggest scams currently going and some tips on how to protect yourself from them.</p> <h2>1. Always Verify the Owner</h2> <p>One of the most popular <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-vile-craigslist-scams-to-watch-out-for">Craigslist scams</a> these days involves a crook gaining access to the apartment or home, and showing it to you under the guise of being the real landlord or owner. To sweeten the pot, and get you to bite, they might even offer a deal on the deposit, or pick up some of the fees. As you can imagine, this has the potential of ending badly with you losing significant money. They'll end up taking your first month's rent and security deposit and you'll never see them &mdash; or your money &mdash; again.</p> <p>When looking at Craigslist listings, always make sure you verify the owner of the apartment or home. Most counties and cities have websites in place that allow you to look up public records to determine the real owner of the property. If this is not a possibility, drive by the property and look for signs showing that it's actually for rent. Be sure to call the phone number listed at the physical address and verify the owner, as well.</p> <h2>2. If It Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is</h2> <p>When scanning through Craigslist listings, be cautious of apartments that seem too good to be true, as they probably are. Often these listings are fake and designed to pull you in with the lure of a &quot;fantastic deal.&quot; Also, if a listing sounds terrific, but is chock full of misspellings and bad grammar, proceed with extreme caution as it could be a sign of a fraudulent or fake ad.</p> <p>Do some research ahead of time to familiarize yourself with the local housing market and the going rents and fees. Do this by scanning local classified ads and utilizing websites like <a href="http://hotpads.com/">Hotpads</a> and <a href="https://livelovely.com/">Lovely</a>. Once you do this, you'll be able to easily spot red flags like unusually cheap rent, small security deposits, and lack of tenant screening.</p> <h2>3. Never Give Personal Information Upfront</h2> <p>Another way scammers use Craigslist to try and entice potential victims is by convincing you it's a really hot property, typically via e-mail, and insisting you &quot;act fast&quot; to reserve it. The most typical scam is asking you to submit a rental application before you view the property. This is done in an effort to get your personal information, such as Social Security and bank account numbers.</p> <p>Avoid this situation by always making sure you view the unit and verify the owner <em>before</em> you fill out a rental application. The only thing that a landlord can legally ask you for prior to showing the place is a valid photo ID.</p> <h2>4. Never Trust an E-mail</h2> <p>Unfortunately, scammers are&nbsp;<a href="http://abclocal.go.com/story?section=news/consumer&amp;id=9513869">hacking into the e-mail addresses</a> of landlords and property owners on Craigslist and defrauding prospective tenants by posing as the real owners. The scam typically starts by answering your e-mail inquiry with a hard sell on why they need your personal information (or a deposit) before showing you the place. Because of this, it's always smart to talk to a real person to verify the property. Most scammers don't want to talk to you on the phone and will try to get your money without doing so. If the listing has a phone number, call it, and verify the rental and all the ad details. If all of your phone calls go unanswered, and unreturned, you should move on to the next prospective listing.</p> <h2>5. Never Wire Money</h2> <p>If a landlord or property owner insists on you wiring money to secure a property, it's probably a scam. There is absolutely no solid reasoning to ever pay with a wire transfer. Sending money by wire transfer is essentially the same thing as sending cash and once it has been sent, it's nearly impossible to get it back.</p> <h2>6. Beware of the Middleman Scam</h2> <p>The &quot;<a href="http://info.stevebrownapts.com/blog/bid/292049/9-Ways-to-Avoid-Apartment-Rental-Scams">middleman scam</a>&quot; is when a scammer pretends a property is available for rent on Craigslist and claims to be handling, or managing, the place for the &quot;real&quot; owners. They'll often claim the owner is out of the country and has trusted the place to them. This middleman will attempt to collect rent, a security deposit, and various fees and then will quickly disappear with your money. Typically, they'll use photos and property information copied directly from a real estate website and create a completely fake listing on Craigslist. Avoid this scam by insisting on seeing the property first and verifying that the place is actually for rent by talking directly to the landlord or neighbors.</p> <p>The bottom line is to always trust your gut instinct, especially in terms of the professionalism of the Craigslist listing and the ease (or lack thereof) of reaching the property owner directly. If something about the deal just doesn't seem right, then move on to the next apartment or rental home and avoid the strong potential for a scam. There will always be plenty of legit listings to meet your needs.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been the victim of a Craigslist housing scam? If so, how did it go down?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed">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/8-vile-craigslist-scams-to-watch-out-for">8 Vile Craigslist Scams to Watch Out For</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/how-safe-is-craigslist">How Safe Is Craigslist?</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-vicious-home-rental-scam-dont-get-conned">The vicious Home Rental Scam – don’t get conned.</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/countrywide-tried-to-steal-my-parents-money-how-you-can-avoid-being-a-victim-of-mortgage-servicing-f">Countrywide tried to steal my parents&#039; money - How you can avoid being a victim of mortgage servicing fraud</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> Consumer Affairs Real Estate and Housing apartments craigslist renting scams Wed, 27 May 2015 15:00:09 +0000 Kyle James 1431269 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Things Millennials Can Do to Buy a House Within the Next Decade http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-millennials-can-do-to-buy-a-house-within-the-next-decade <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-things-millennials-can-do-to-buy-a-house-within-the-next-decade" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_new_home_000060136542.jpg" alt="Millennial couple who just bought a house together" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Millennials &mdash; children born between 1980 and the early 2000s &mdash; are tech savvy and educated, but they also face more financial stress than previous generations. Between high unemployment rates and costly student loan debt, it's harder for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-millennials-should-do-today-to-prepare-for-retirement">Millennials to achieve financial independence</a>. As a result, many Millennials don't have immediate plans of buying real estate.</p> <p>If you're a Millennial, it might take longer to purchase your first property, but rest assured that homeownership isn't completely out of reach. With careful planning, there's plenty you can do to buy a house within the next decade.</p> <h2>1. Live With Your Parents a Few More Years</h2> <p>There's no shame in moving back home with your parents after college. For most Millennials, down payments and closing costs are the biggest hurdles to homeownership. Even with a full-time job, many Millennials simply don't have disposable income to save 5% to 20% for a down payment or come up with cash for other mortgage-related expenses.</p> <p>If you and your parents are okay with the idea, move back home and live with your folks while working full-time. Your parents will likely charge less rent than a landlord (or maybe you have a pair of those fiction TV parents who let their kids live at home rent-free &mdash; lucky duck!), giving you the opportunity to bank a lot of your income.</p> <h2>2. Get a Second Income Stream</h2> <p>If you can't move back home, secure another income stream and put this extra money toward your house fund. This approach gets you closer to your goal, especially if the money you earn from a full-time job only covers basic expenses and there's nothing left for building a down-payment fund.</p> <p>&quot;I was tired of rent increases and desperately wanted to buy, but didn't think it was possible, especially since all my income went to rent and other living expenses,&quot; says Erica, a 31-year-old English teacher from Chesapeake, Virginia. &quot;I sacrificed my free time and started tutoring and freelance writing on the side. I saved every cent, and in two years I saved a little over $7,000 for a down payment on a condo.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Adjust Your Spending Lifestyle</h2> <p>You're young and energetic, and naturally you want to have a good time. But if you're serious about buying a home within the next decade, you need to work in harmony with this goal and adjust your spending.</p> <p>Cash for a down payment and closing costs isn't going to fall out of the sky and miraculously appear in your bank account, so you need to make smarter decisions. It's okay to have a good time, but being young isn't an excuse to blow your money chasing fun or getting the latest electronic gadgets. The money you spend enjoying the &quot;good life&quot; can be put to better use, such as paying down debt or building your house fund faster.</p> <h2>4. Get Out of Debt</h2> <p>Between 2012 and 2013, approximately 60% of students graduating with a bachelor's degree&nbsp;<a href="http://trends.collegeboard.org/student-aid/figures-tables/average-cumulative-debt-bachelors-recipients-public-four-year-time">borrowed an average of $27,300</a>, and according to a 2014 Wells Fargo Millennial Study, &quot;About half of Millennials (47%) are using more than <a href="https://www08.wellsfargomedia.com/downloads/pdf/com/retirement-employee-benefits/insights/2014-millennial-study-report.pdf">half of their monthly incomes</a> to pay off various types of debt.&quot;</p> <p>Even if you have a job and cash to buy a house, lenders factor in your debt-to-income ratio. And unfortunately, if your monthly debt payments exceed 43% of your gross income, you might not qualify for a mortgage.</p> <p>Right now, paying off debt should be your biggest focus &mdash; and yes, student debt counts. You can also make headway if you take the above advice and live with your parents, or at least split living costs with a roommate.</p> <p>Making higher payments and living within your means also helps you overcome credit card debt. Too often, young adults are so concerned with having a certain type of lifestyle and keeping up with their friends that they live off credit cards and acquire massive debt at a young age.</p> <h2>5. Fix Credit Issues</h2> <p>According to Credit Karma, the average Millennial has a <a href="https://www.creditkarma.com/trends/age">credit score around 630</a>. There are mortgage programs specifically for borrowers who have a low credit score, but these mortgages come with higher mortgage rates, which means paying more interest over the life of the loan and a higher monthly payment. Improving your credit score will not only help you qualify for a mortgage within the next decade, it can result in a more affordable monthly payment.</p> <p>Paying down is one way to give your credit score a boost, but you'll also need to pay your bills on time, which accounts for 35% of your credit score. Applicants with credit scores in the mid-700s to 800s qualify for the most favorable rates.</p> <p><em>Are you a Millennial? Would you like to buy a house someday? Let me know what proactive steps you're taking toward that goal 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/5-things-millennials-can-do-to-buy-a-house-within-the-next-decade">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-for-tomorrows-mortgage">6 Money Moves to Make for Tomorrow&#039;s Mortgage</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/6-times-its-actually-okay-to-be-underwater-on-your-home">6 Times It&#039;s Actually Okay to Be Underwater on Your Home</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 loans millennials mortgages new house Tue, 26 May 2015 21:00:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 1431001 at http://www.wisebread.com When Is the Best Time to Lock in a Mortgage Rate? http://www.wisebread.com/when-is-the-best-time-to-lock-in-a-mortgage-rate <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/when-is-the-best-time-to-lock-in-a-mortgage-rate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/When Should You Lock in a Mortgage Rate_PHOTO.jpg" alt="Man figuring out mortgage rates" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Sponsored by Chase Mortgage Banking. <a href="http://r1.fmpub.net/?k1=cmx-metric&amp;k2=289%7C652%7C2043&amp;k3=disclaimer&amp;k4=&amp;r=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fmynewhome" rel="nofollow">Review their resources</a> to help you find and finance your home.</em></p> <p>Big-ticket purchases are prone to freak us out. Simply put, the stakes are higher. And since a home is the most expensive purchase many of us will ever make, it's important to do whatever&rsquo;s in our power to ensure a fair deal. To do this, you have to look far beyond the price on the for sale sign. In fact, the mortgage rate can make or break your budget, so knowing when to lock in a good rate is crucial to your bottom line.</p> <p>Shopping for a mortgage typically plays out like this: You scope out a slew of lenders for the most favorable interest rate and apply to the lender offering the best terms. But by the time you reach the point of settlement, it&rsquo;s not uncommon that several weeks or even months will have gone by. Will you still receive the terms you bargained for? The answer depends on several factors. The mortgage rate you are quoted is typically only guaranteed at the time of the quote. It&rsquo;s possible that by the time the settlement&rsquo;s ready the rate will have jumped, maybe even so high that you can no longer afford to purchase a home. Fortunately, you can avoid such an unwelcome surprise by locking in your rate so it doesn&rsquo;t increase while your loan is being processed.</p> <p>So why doesn&rsquo;t everyone lock in the rate on their mortgage? First of all, not all lenders offer lock ins. And many that do charge a fee. Lock ins also commonly come with expiration dates, typically ranging from a few weeks to 60 days, and it can be difficult to forecast whether you&rsquo;ll be able to find the home you want and get your offer accepted within that time frame. It&rsquo;s also important to understand that locking in your rate comes at a risk. Unless your lender is willing to honor any lower rates that may become available while your loan is processing, a lock in could prevent you from scoring an even better deal than the one you started with.</p> <p>Truly, there&rsquo;s no perfect timing. But there is a bit of strategy when it comes to choosing when to lock in your mortgage rate. Read on for our roundup of the best times to execute a lock in, depending on your financial and situational needs.</p> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PAb58zaFSQ">See all the benefits of locking in your mortgage rate today</a>:</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6PAb58zaFSQ" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <h2>As Soon as You Get a Quote for a Rate You Can Afford</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;re on a tight budget and the possibility of even the smallest hike in your quoted mortgage rate could push your dream of homeownership out of reach, it&rsquo;s best to lock in a rate as soon as you find one you know you can afford. Consider basing the decision of whether to pursue a short- or long-term lock in based on the answer to the one question every home hunter should ask their lender: Approximately how long will it take to finalize my loan?</p> <p>Longer rate locks generally tend to make sense for folks who are building a new home or planning to buy one in foreclosure, since the legal process behind those types of deals tends to take longer. It&rsquo;s also wise, particularly if you&rsquo;re considering a long-term lock-in, to inquire about the availability of adding what&rsquo;s commonly called a &ldquo;float down provision&rdquo; to your lock in agreement. This provision allows you to take advantage of lower rates, should they drop while you&rsquo;re locked in to the rate you were first quoted.</p> <p>&ldquo;I just wanted a rate under 4 percent, so I locked in immediately when I got there,&rdquo; said Erica Howell, a 27-year-old first-time homeowner from Portsmouth, N.H. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a gamble to lock in so early because the rate very well could go down, but it also could go up. But I trusted my lender to know the market and I trusted my instinct that I needed a rate under 4 (percent). I got it and I grabbed it and I never looked back.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <h2>Upon Approval of the Loan</h2> <p>Choosing to lock in your mortgage rate after you&rsquo;ve been approved for the loan can be smart if a heavy demand for housing is slowing down the loan application approval process at a time when rates appear to be trending down. This strategy allows you to reap the benefit of any lower rates that may surface while you&rsquo;re waiting for your loan application to be finalized and saves you from wasting part of the duration of your lock in on waiting for the loan approval. &ldquo;As soon I got approved, I locked in my rate,&rdquo; said Kelly Dibble, who purchased a one-bedroom apartment in Stamford, Conn. in 2014. &ldquo;I wanted to lock in as soon as possible because it was one less thing to worry about, but my lender suggested I wait until I got approved. I trusted that advice and I think it worked out well for me.&rdquo;</p> <h2>After You Sign a Purchase Agreement</h2> <p>The situation you want to avoid is having the clock ticking on your lock in before you&rsquo;re ready to make an offer on a home. A situation like that can compound the pressure you&rsquo;ll feel to quickly find a home that&rsquo;s truly a good fit for you &mdash; and that can potentially lead to hasty decision making and down-the-road buyers&rsquo; remorse. Alas, you can dodge such problems by waiting to lock-in your rate until after you sign a purchase agreement. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a sellers market right now in San Diego, so we knew it could take a long time for us to find a place that worked for us,&rdquo; said Karin Pipczynski, who purchased a two-bedroom home with her boyfriend in March. &ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t want to feel rushed, so we locked in as soon as we signed the purchase agreement and that saved us from what I saw as a gamble.&rdquo;</p> <p><em>When would you suggest locking in a mortgage rate for a home purchase?</em></p> <script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8" src="http://vc.cdn.fm/video_conversationalist/system/published/opportunity/88244652/289_2043.js"></script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-is-the-best-time-to-lock-in-a-mortgage-rate">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/mortgage-application-declined-here-s-how-to-respond">Mortgage Application Declined? Here’s How to Respond</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-simultaneously-buy-and-sell-a-house">How to Simultaneously Buy and Sell a House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-to-consider-before-buying-a-vacation-home">5 Essentials to Consider Before Buying a Vacation Home</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/7-secrets-to-refinancing-an-underwater-mortgage">7 Secrets to Refinancing an Underwater Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing chase credit cards mortgage Tue, 26 May 2015 11:00:07 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1425899 at http://www.wisebread.com When It Makes Sense to Apply for a Mortgage Loan Without Your Spouse http://www.wisebread.com/when-it-makes-sense-to-apply-for-a-mortgage-loan-without-your-spouse <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/when-it-makes-sense-to-apply-for-a-mortgage-loan-without-your-spouse" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_home_improvement_000043083204.jpg" alt="Woman applying for mortgage loan without her spouse" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You and your spouse or partner are ready to apply for a mortgage loan. It makes sense to apply for the loan jointly, right? That way, your lender can use your combined incomes when determining how much <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mortgage-application-declined-here-s-how-to-respond">mortgage</a> money it can lend you.</p> <p>Surprisingly, this isn't always the right approach.</p> <p>If the three-digit credit score of your spouse or partner is too low, it might make sense to apply for a mortgage loan on your own &mdash; as long as your income alone is high enough to let you qualify.</p> <p>That's because it doesn't matter how high your credit score is if your spouse's is low. Your lender will look at your spouse's score, and not yours, when deciding if you and your partner qualify for a home loan.</p> <p>&quot;If one spouse has a low credit score, and that credit score is so low that the couple will either have to pay a higher interest rate or might not qualify for every loan product out there, then it might be time to consider dropping that spouse from the loan application,&quot; says Eric Rotner, vice president of mortgage banking at the Scottsdale, Arizona office of Commerce Home Mortgage. &quot;If a score is below a certain point, it can really limit your options.&quot;</p> <h2>How Credit Scores Work</h2> <p>Lenders rely heavily on credit scores today, using them to determine the interest rates they charge borrowers and whether they'll even approve their clients for a mortgage loan. Lenders consider a FICO score of 740 or higher to be a strong one, and will usually reserve their lowest interest rates for borrowers with such scores.</p> <p>Borrowers whose scores are too low &mdash; say under 640 on the FICO scale &mdash; will struggle to qualify for mortgage loans without having to pay higher interest rates. They might not be able to qualify for any loan at all, depending on how low their score is.</p> <h2>Which Score Counts?</h2> <p>When couples apply for a mortgage loan together, lenders don't consider all scores. Instead, they focus on the borrower who has the lowest credit score.</p> <p>Every borrower has three FICO credit scores &mdash; one each compiled by the three national credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Each of these scores can be slightly different. When couples apply for a mortgage loan, lenders will only consider the lowest middle credit score between the applicants.</p> <p>Say you have credit scores of 740, 780, and 760 from the three credit bureaus. Your spouse has scores of 640, 620, and 610. Your lender will use that 620 score only when determining how likely you are to make your loan payments on time. Many lenders will consider a score of 620 to be too risky, and won't approve your loan application. Others will approve you, but only at a high interest rate.</p> <p>In such a case, it might make sense to drop a spouse from the loan application.</p> <p>But there are other factors to consider.</p> <p>&quot;If you are the sole breadwinner, and your spouse's credit score is low, it usually makes sense to apply in your name only for the mortgage loan,&quot; said Mike Kinane, senior vice president of consumer lending at the Mt. Laurel, New Jersey office of TD Bank. &quot;But your income will need to be enough to support the mortgage you are looking for.&quot;</p> <p>That's the tricky part: If you drop a spouse from a loan application, you won't be penalized for that spouse's weak credit score. But you also can't use that spouse's income. You might need to apply for a smaller mortgage loan, which usually means buying a smaller home, too.</p> <h2>Other Times to Drop a Spouse</h2> <p>There are other times when it makes sense for one spouse to sit out the loan application process.</p> <p>If one spouse has too much debt and not enough income, it can be smart to leave that spouse out of the loan process. Lenders typically want your total monthly debts &mdash; including your estimated new monthly mortgage payment &mdash; to equal no more than 43% of your gross monthly income. If your spouse's debt is high enough to throw this ratio out of whack, applying alone might be the wise choice.</p> <p>Spouses or partners with past foreclosures, bankruptcies, or short sales on their credit reports might stay away from the loan application, too. Those negative judgments could make it more difficult to qualify for a loan.</p> <p>Again, it comes down to simple math: Does the benefit of skipping your partner's low credit score, high debt levels, and negative judgments outweigh the negative of not being able to use that spouse's income?</p> <p>&quot;The $64,000 question is whether the spouse with the bad credit score is the breadwinner for the couple,&quot; says David Reiss, professor of law with Brooklyn Law School in Brooklyn, New York.&nbsp;&quot;The best case scenario would be a couple where the breadwinner is also the one with the good credit score.&nbsp;Dropping the other spouse from the application is likely a no-brainer in that circumstance.&nbsp;And of course, there will be a gray area for a couple where both spouses bring in a significant share of the income. In that case, the couple should definitely shop around for lenders that can work with them.&quot;</p> <h2>You and Your Spouse Can Still Own Your Home Together</h2> <p>Spouses or partners might worry that not having their names on the mortgage loan application means that they don't have an equal ownership stake in the home.</p> <p>Fortunately, that's not true.</p> <p>Rotner says that couples just have to put both names on the home's title. If they do that, both will have equal ownership of the home, no matter whose names are on the mortgage loan.</p> <p>&quot;Title expresses ownership in a property,&quot; Rotner says. &quot;Being on the mortgage loan expresses a financial obligation to the property. There is a difference.&quot;</p> <p>Partners might have one other concern about being left off the mortgage loan: It will be more difficult for them to boost their weak credit scores.</p> <p>Every time consumers make their mortgage loan payments on time, it helps their credit scores. But partners whose names aren't on the mortgage loan won't see any benefit from on-time payments, even if their income is helping to pay the mortgage bill each month.</p> <p>&quot;That is a valid concern,&quot; Rotner said. &quot;But what is the trade-off? You either get to buy a home that you couldn't otherwise buy or you get a 700 credit score. What is more important?&quot;</p> <p><em>Are you and your spouse both on the mortgage? What about the title?</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/when-it-makes-sense-to-apply-for-a-mortgage-loan-without-your-spouse">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/6-money-moves-to-make-for-tomorrows-mortgage">6 Money Moves to Make for Tomorrow&#039;s Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-millennials-can-do-to-buy-a-house-within-the-next-decade">5 Things Millennials Can Do to Buy a House Within the Next Decade</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/6-times-its-actually-okay-to-be-underwater-on-your-home">6 Times It&#039;s Actually Okay to Be Underwater on Your Home</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-things-you-need-to-know-about-credit-scores">5 Things You Need to Know About Credit Scores</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing credit scores loans mortgages spouse Mon, 25 May 2015 11:00:16 +0000 Dan Rafter 1429779 at http://www.wisebread.com Mortgage Application Declined? Here’s How to Respond http://www.wisebread.com/mortgage-application-declined-here-s-how-to-respond <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/mortgage-application-declined-here-s-how-to-respond" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/7 Steps to Take If Your Mortgage Application Was Declined_PHOTO.jpg" alt="Couple reviewing their finances" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sponsored by Chase Mortgage Banking. <a href="http://r1.fmpub.net/?k1=cmx-metric&amp;k2=289%7C652%7C2029&amp;k3=disclaimer&amp;k4=&amp;r=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fmynewhome" rel="nofollow">Review their resources</a> to help you find and finance your home.</p> <p>Buying your first home (or a subsequent one) may fill you with excitement. Making the decision to become a homeowner is likely one that you have carefully considered. After possibly months of searching, you may have found the perfect home &ndash; one where lifelong dreams for stability, community belonging, and the start or growth of a family will be fulfilled.</p> <p>You may think you have done everything right in getting ready for this big step. But then, your mortgage application is declined. Here are ways to respond.</p> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkIH3wVkwuU">Don&rsquo;t panic! Here&rsquo;s what to do if your mortgage is declined</a>:<br /> <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jkIH3wVkwuU" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <h2>Talk to Your Mortgage Lender</h2> <p>If your mortgage loan request has been denied, ask why your lender rejected your application. You have a right to know &ldquo;the specific reason for the rejection&rdquo; according to the <a href="https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0347-your-equal-credit-opportunity-rights">Federal Trade Commission (FTC)</a>.</p> <p>You may learn that your ratios, such as your debt-to-income or loan-to-value ratios, were too high or your credit score too low. If you have done an independent evaluation of your numbers, then you can confirm whether the lender has cause for concern or if there has been a miscommunication.</p> <p>Get your documents in order to discuss and tackle problems that led to the rejection.</p> <h2>If You Were Rejected Due to a High Front-End Ratio</h2> <p>Consider whether your proposed mortgage payment realistically fits within your means. Just as mortgage lenders often do, look at the percentage of your income devoted to your mortgage payment. Specifically, calculate your front-end ratio (<a href="http://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/front-endratio.asp">monthly housing expenses divided by monthly income</a>, expressed as a percentage) to determine if you could struggle to make payments. Ideally, this <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/how-much-house-can-you-buy--1.aspx">ratio will be 28%</a> or less.</p> <p>At first glance, your income may readily cover the principal plus interest associated with the mortgage loan. However, other expenses may be included in your mortgage payment, such as property taxes, homeowner&rsquo;s insurance, and private mortgage insurance. Depending on the location of your home and the amount of your down payment, these numbers could dramatically increase your monthly payment, moving the affordability of a home from entirely possible to extremely difficult.</p> <p>Identify ways to reduce your mortgage payment, particularly via add-ons that you may be able to control. For example, talk with your insurance agent about increasing your home&rsquo;s security features to reduce the cost of your homeowner&rsquo;s insurance.</p> <h2>If You Were Rejected Due to Debt Load From Other Loans</h2> <p>When evaluating your financial picture, look at your outstanding loan balances including credit card debt, student loans, and vehicle loans. Consider how much of your current monthly budget is applied to payments that service this debt.</p> <p>Generally, your mortgage lender needs you to keep total loan payments (including your proposed mortgage payment) to 36% of your monthly income. This percentage is your <a href="http://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/back-endratio.asp">back-end ratio (aka debt-to-income ratio)</a> and is calculated by dividing total monthly debt expense by monthly income, expressed as a percentage.</p> <p>Think about how and why you have acquired debt. Have you borrowed for your college education and a vehicle in order to build a career that generates significant income? Or have you spent carelessly and accumulated credit card debt? How have you managed your income to reduce your debt load?</p> <p>If you make payments on time and are steadily reducing debt, then you may have no problem handling your current debt load plus a mortgage payment. But if you have struggled to keep up with payments and your credit card balances are growing, then you may need to take aggressive action to deal with your loans.</p> <p>Measure your progress toward paying off non-mortgage debt. Develop a plan or simply stay focused on your current plan to reduce outstanding balances. Consider paying off one loan in order to eliminate a payment and reduce your back-end ratio.</p> <h2>If You Were Rejected Due to Your Credit Score</h2> <p>Consider that your creditworthiness may have prevented you from obtaining the mortgage you wanted. To deal with this issue, start by pulling your free credit reports at <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action">AnnualCreditReport.com</a>. Make sure your information is correct and up-to-date.</p> <p>In addition, you should be able to get your <a href="http://www.consumerfinance.gov/askcfpb/6/i-got-my-free-credit-reports-but-they-do-not-include-my-credit-scores-can-i-get-my-credit-score-for-free-too.html">credit score</a> from the mortgage lender that declined your credit application. Often, a lower credit score may simply mean higher mortgage costs, not a flat-out rejection. However, a higher interest rate may have priced the mortgage payment out of your reach.</p> <p>Based on your credit information, identify methods of potentially improving your score, such as eliminating credit card balances.</p> <h2>If You Were Rejected Due to the House Value</h2> <p>You may have fallen in love with a house and decided to buy the property at nearly any price. But since your mortgage application was denied, contemplate whether your offer (and loan request) may have been out of sync with the home&rsquo;s market value.</p> <p>The lender&rsquo;s rejection of your mortgage application may have had nothing to do with your financial worthiness and readiness, and everything to do with the value of the home. No matter how great your ability to repay a loan, lenders must protect themselves by making sure that the loan collateral (your home) has a certain financial value. As a result, lenders may require a certain <a href="http://www.zillow.com/mortgage-rates/buying-a-home/loan-to-value-ratio/">loan-to-value (LTV) ratio</a>.</p> <p>If your real-estate deal falls through because the home is valued at substantially less than your offer (and loan request), consider making a counteroffer or verifying the accuracy of the appraisal. Or make a larger down payment in order to reduce the LTV to a level acceptable by your lender.</p> <script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8" src="http://vc.cdn.fm/video_conversationalist/system/published/opportunity/88244652/289_2029.js"></script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mortgage-application-declined-here-s-how-to-respond">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-simultaneously-buy-and-sell-a-house">How to Simultaneously Buy and Sell a House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-to-consider-before-buying-a-vacation-home">5 Essentials to Consider Before Buying a Vacation Home</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/7-secrets-to-refinancing-an-underwater-mortgage">7 Secrets to Refinancing an Underwater Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing chase credit cards mortgage Mon, 18 May 2015 16:43:14 +0000 Julie Rains 1425891 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Times You Shouldn't Rush to Pay Off Your Mortgage http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-you-shouldnt-rush-to-pay-off-your-mortgage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-times-you-shouldnt-rush-to-pay-off-your-mortgage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/father_daughter_000039463172.jpg" alt="Father not rushing to pay off his mortgage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're fortunate enough to have disposable income, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-for-tomorrows-mortgage">paying off your mortgage</a> early might seem like a smart way to spend your cash. It's definitely a better approach than wasting your money on shopping and recreation. And given how a mortgage loan can take up a third of your monthly income, getting rid of this debt lets you do other things with your cashflow. But just because you have extra cash to pay off a mortgage doesn't mean you always should.</p> <p>Here's a look at five times when you shouldn't rush to pay off your mortgage.</p> <h2>1. You'll Miss Out on Tax Advantages</h2> <p>During the first half of a 30-year mortgage, a large percentage of your mortgage payments go toward paying down the interest, so your principal balance only decreases a little from year-to-year. It's frustrating to say the least, but think twice before dumping your disposable cash on extra principal payments.</p> <p>Some people will jump at any opportunity to pay off their home sooner, but there are tax advantages to keeping a mortgage loan. If you itemize your yearly tax return, there's the option of writing off your mortgage interest payments and lowering your taxable income. This reduces the amount owed to the state and federal government, or it might result in a bigger refund. This single deduction reduces my tax liability by more than $2,000 a year.</p> <h2>2. You Don't Have Any Type of Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Everyone needs an emergency fund, period. It doesn't matter who you are or what you do, if you're a middle-income American, you're going to hit at least one rough patch in your lifetime. A six to 12-month cash reserve is your backup plan for unexpected expenses or major setbacks like a job loss. However, you might feel paying off your home takes priority over saving. Your home is your biggest investment, and naturally, you want to protect it. But ask yourself: How's your savings account looking?</p> <p>If you have plenty of cash in a rainy day fund to handle life's curveballs, paying off your house early isn't a bad plan. But if you don't have any type of emergency savings, the focus should be on building your account. Paying more toward your principal builds equity and gets you closer to owning the property outright, but this plan might backfire if you find yourself unemployed without a cushion.</p> <h2>3. You Don't Have a Solid Retirement Plan</h2> <p>A few years ago I had a conversation with a couple that was committed to paying off their 30-year mortgage early. They put every extra cent toward their mortgage, sometimes paying an extra $400 or $500 a month. Both were in their early 40s, and despite their age, neither had started saving for retirement.</p> <p>Their plan was to focus on retirement planning after paying off the house. From their point-of-view, the house was their retirement. Without a mortgage, they wouldn't need as much monthly income later in life. I understand their thinking, but there are no guarantees a plan like this will work.</p> <p>Their plan didn't take into account curveballs like long-term unemployment due to illnesses or layoffs. If for some reason they couldn't pay their mortgage, they would potentially lose their house and their equity &mdash; and essentially their retirement.</p> <p>There's nothing wrong with paying extra toward your mortgage, just make sure you're also planning for the future and saving enough for retirement.</p> <h2>4. You Have High Interest Debt</h2> <p>What you paid for your house is probably more than what you owe on credit cards, and getting rid of your biggest expense may seem like the best way to attack debt. But although we spend hundreds of thousands of dollars buying a house, average mortgage interest rates aren't as high as some credit cards'.</p> <p>Credit card debt is a never-ending battle, especially when you have a high interest rate and you're only paying your minimum. Paying off your mortgage early is an excellent goal, but don't rush. Make high-interest debt your priority. These include credit cards, personal loans, and other lines of credit. Besides, paying off these debts gives your credit score a boost. Once you have these creditors off your back, you can focus on paying off your mortgage.</p> <h2>5. You Have a Prepayment Penalty</h2> <p>Some mortgage lenders stick borrowers with a prepayment penalty, which is basically a fee for paying off their mortgages early, usually within the first five years. This penalty discourages early pay-offs. Lenders calculate an estimated rate of return for each loan, and the longer a borrower owes on a loan, the more a bank earns.</p> <p>Typically, a prepayment penalty only applies to refinances and cash payoffs, and most banks waive the fee if a borrower sells the home. If you're coming into money and thinking about paying off your home, read your paperwork to learn whether your mortgage has a prepayment penalty.</p> <p><em>Did you pay off your mortgage early? Do you have other tips on why we shouldn't? I'd love to hear your thoughts 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/5-times-you-shouldnt-rush-to-pay-off-your-mortgage">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/5-facts-millennials-should-know-about-retirement-planning">5 Facts Millennials Should Know About Retirement Planning</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-millennials-can-do-to-buy-a-house-within-the-next-decade">5 Things Millennials Can Do to Buy a House Within the Next Decade</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/6-money-moves-to-make-for-tomorrows-mortgage">6 Money Moves to Make for Tomorrow&#039;s Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing debt investments mortgages savings Mon, 18 May 2015 09:00:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 1421641 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Times It's Actually Okay to Be Underwater on Your Home http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-its-actually-okay-to-be-underwater-on-your-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-times-its-actually-okay-to-be-underwater-on-your-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house_mortgage_water_000021615609.jpg" alt="Times it&#039;s okay to underewater on your home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the last decade or so, it's become quite common for people to find themselves underwater on their home loans. When real estate values plummeted around 2008, millions of people ended up owing more than what their properties were worth. This led to mass foreclosures and big financial problems throughout the country.</p> <p>Being underwater on your home is rarely a good thing, but there are some cases when homeowners can get through unaffected as long as they are responsible and otherwise in good financial shape.</p> <p>Here's a look at some cases when owing more than you own is not the worst thing in the world:</p> <h2>1. If You Have No Immediate Plans to Sell</h2> <p>The best advice for anyone who is underwater on their home is to stay put. It's obviously hard to predict what life may throw at you, but if you've purchased a home with the intention of staying in it for a long time, being underwater on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-for-tomorrows-mortgage">your mortgage</a> doesn't matter too much. This is especially true if you have a fixed-rate mortgage and are making the monthly payments without trouble. Someone who continues to live in a home really doesn't need to worry about its value. If you keep making payments, you'll eventually own the home free and clear, no matter what happens to real estate values.</p> <h2>2. If You're Working to Make Your House More Valuable</h2> <p>You might find yourself underwater, but if it's because you've spent money to boost the overall value of the home, it's probably okay. Maybe you renovated the entire kitchen or even added a family room or bedroom. Maybe you spent money to finish the basement. This money should be viewed as an investment that will pay off down the road. Just make sure you continue making payments on the mortgage in the meantime, as you wait for the value of the home to shoot up.</p> <h2>3. If the Home Is Generating Healthy Rental Income</h2> <p>If you're renting out the home and have tenants with good credit, being underwater is okay. If you're lucky, the rental income will meet or even exceed the mortgage payments. Be sure to have a plan if the rental income goes away, however.</p> <h2>4. If You Want to Offset Capital Gains</h2> <p>Generally speaking, selling a house for less than you paid for it isn't a good thing. But if the house is not your primary residence, there may be ways to save on your taxes by selling at a loss. If you own a rental property for more than a year, you may be able to sell it at a loss and have this count as a reduction of your income. This is called a <a href="http://www.irs.gov/publications/p544/ch03.html#en_US_2014_publink100072547">section 1231 loss</a>, according to the IRS. You can also use a capital loss to offset a capital gain, if you made a profit on another property. Note that this only works for investment properties, not for properties serving as your primary residence.</p> <h2>5. When Your Property Taxes Will Be Reduced</h2> <p>One of the silver linings about seeing a house decline in value is that you might pay less in property tax. If you're paying 1.25% annually in property tax, and your house has declined in assessed value by $50,000, that's a $675 savings. If your plan is to stay in the house for a long time, then you should be pleased to pocket a little bit of extra savings. Note that in these cases, there may be a difference between the home's market value versus the local government's assessed value for tax purposes, so check with your municipality.</p> <h2>6. If You Are Getting a Good Return on Your Money Elsewhere</h2> <p>These days, interest rates are so low that there's less of an incentive to make extra mortgage payments. You may feel tempted to boost your payments to ensure that your equity is more than what you owe, but if you have no plans to sell immediately, you may be better off placing that money in the stock market or other investments. As long as you continue making payments on the house, you may find that earning a 9% return from an index fund is a better deal than pumping the mortgage.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been underwater on a home? How did you deal with the situation?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-its-actually-okay-to-be-underwater-on-your-home">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/5-things-millennials-can-do-to-buy-a-house-within-the-next-decade">5 Things Millennials Can Do to Buy a House Within the Next Decade</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-for-tomorrows-mortgage">6 Money Moves to Make for Tomorrow&#039;s Mortgage</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-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 home ownership loans mortgages values Mon, 11 May 2015 15:00:11 +0000 Tim Lemke 1414191 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Money Moves to Make for Tomorrow's Mortgage http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-for-tomorrows-mortgage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-money-moves-to-make-for-tomorrows-mortgage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house_keys_000044377414.jpg" alt="Money moves to Make for Tomorrow&#039;s Mortgage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Borrowers who start preparing for a mortgage loan long before they're actually ready to apply for one are making the right move. They can identify potential trouble spots early enough to resolve them before lenders start picking apart their financials. Prepping for your mortgage application as long as a year ahead of time? That's not a bad plan, say mortgage lenders.</p> <p>Here are six steps you can take today to get ready for that mortgage application tomorrow.</p> <h2>1. Study Your Credit Report</h2> <p>Your first move should be to order your free credit report from <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action">AnnualCreditReport.com</a>. You are allowed one free copy of your credit report from each of the three national credit bureaus &mdash; TransUnion, Equifax and Experian &mdash; every 12 months. Don't order your reports from anywhere else. Other sites might try to charge you or provide their own reports rather than those from the big three bureaus.</p> <p>Once your report arrives, study it carefully. Your report will list basic information such as your name and address. But it also lists your open accounts. If you owe $10,000 on a car loan, your report will list it. If you owe $5,000 on a credit card, that information will be there, too.</p> <p>Your report will also list any negative judgments against you. This could be something big, like a foreclosure or past bankruptcy filing. This section will also list late payments on student loans, car loans, credit cards, and other debt. These negative judgments can all <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-to-negatively-affect-your-credit-score">cause your credit score to drop</a>.</p> <p>If you find any errors &mdash; maybe you never did make that late payment on your car loan, or maybe you paid off and closed that credit card account years ago &mdash; make sure to ask for a correction. This is easier today: <a href="http://www.experian.com/disputes/main.html">Experian</a>, <a href="https://www.ai.equifax.com/CreditInvestigation/home.action">Equifax</a> and <a href="http://www.transunion.com/dispute">TransUnion</a> all let consumers dispute report information online.</p> <h2>2. Get Your Credit Score</h2> <p>The information in your credit report is used to determine your credit score. Lenders rely on credit scores to determine the interest rates they charge consumers. And if your score is too low, you might struggle to qualify for a mortgage at all. Lenders today generally consider a FICO credit score of 740 or higher to be an excellent one.</p> <p>Unlike your credit report, your credit score usually isn't free. You can order your score from any of the three credit bureaus. If your score is low &mdash; say, under 700 on the FICO scale &mdash; it's time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score">take some steps to boost it</a>.</p> <h2>3. Pay Down Your Debt</h2> <p>If you are using too much of your available credit, your score will suffer. Pay down as much of your credit card debt as possible before you're ready to apply for a loan. But be careful. It often doesn't make sense to completely close a credit card account. If you close a credit card &mdash; and take away that available credit &mdash; the percentage of your credit that you are using could automatically soar. Better to pay off your credit cards but not close them.</p> <p>Framarz Moeen-Ziai, senior vice president of national sales and production for San Ramon, California-based Commerce Home Mortgage, says that credit card management is key for consumers preparing for a mortgage application.</p> <p>&quot;Some people live their lives on mileage cards. They charge everything because they want to earn their miles. Then they pay off the entire balance at the end of the month,&quot; Moeen-Ziai says. &quot;That's fine. But what if we get your credit information at the same time you have $7,000 or $8,000 worth of charges on a card with a balance of $10,000?&quot;</p> <p>Moeen-Ziai says that he's seen big credit swings because of balance management.</p> <p>&quot;If your balance is zero, your score is 770. If it's nearly maxed out, it might fall to 700,&quot; he says.</p> <h2>4. Pay Your Bills on Time</h2> <p>The other big drag on your credit score? Missed or late payments on credit cards, auto loans, student loans, and other forms of revolving credit. Resolve now to never again make a late payment. Your score will gradually rise as the months of on-time payments pass by.</p> <h2>5. Calculate Your Debt-to-Income Ratio</h2> <p>Lenders prefer to work with customers whose debt-to-income ratios are 43% or lower. What does this mean? That your total monthly debts, including estimated monthly mortgage payments, equal no more than 43% of your gross monthly income. If your debt-to-income ratio is higher than 43%, it's time to either boost your monthly income or pay down as much debt as possible.</p> <h2>6. Talk to a Lender</h2> <p>You might think you're wasting a lender's time if you're not prepared to apply for a mortgage loan in the next three, six, or even 12 months. Stop thinking that way. The sooner you speak with a mortgage lender about your finances, the more time you have to prepare for a mortgage. And just because you talk to a lender, doesn't mean you have to actually take out a mortgage loan with that professional.</p> <p>&quot;My advice is to call a lender as early in the process as you want to,&quot; says David Atis, senior loan officer with Home Point Financial Corporation in Parsippany, New Jersey. &quot;You want to work with someone who is ready to go on the journey with you, not someone who refuses to work with someone who isn't going to close in the next 30 days.&quot;</p> <p><em>Did you prepare for a mortgage application in advance? What steps did you take?</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/6-money-moves-to-make-for-tomorrows-mortgage">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-millennials-can-do-to-buy-a-house-within-the-next-decade">5 Things Millennials Can Do to Buy a House Within the Next Decade</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/6-times-its-actually-okay-to-be-underwater-on-your-home">6 Times It&#039;s Actually Okay to Be Underwater on Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing credit reports credit scores home buying loans mortgages Fri, 08 May 2015 11:00:08 +0000 Dan Rafter 1410183 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Essentials to Consider Before Buying a Vacation Home http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-to-consider-before-buying-a-vacation-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-essentials-to-consider-before-buying-a-vacation-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5 Essentials to Consider Before Buying a Vacation Home_PHOTO_NEW.jpg" alt="Couple relaxing in a vacation home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Sponsored by Chase Mortgage Banking.&nbsp;<a href="http://r1.fmpub.net/?k1=cmx-metric&amp;k2=289%7C652%7C1969&amp;k3=disclaimer&amp;k4=&amp;r=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fmynewhome" rel="nofollow">Review their resources</a>&nbsp;to help you find and finance your home.</em></p> <p>Wouldn&rsquo;t it be wonderful to have a little place waiting for you on a tropical island or a woodsy lake? Apparently a lot of Americans think so: second home purchases were up by a nearly a third in 2013 <a href="http://www.realtor.org/news-releases/2014/04/vacation-home-sales-surge-in-2013-investment-property-declines">according to</a> <a href="http://www.realtor.org/news-releases/2014/04/vacation-home-sales-surge-in-2013-investment-property-declines">the National Association of Realtors</a>. The pros are pretty obvious. It&rsquo;s a place where your family could make memories over generations; an opportunity to become part of a vacation community and make new friends you see year after year; and a place for getaways that require little planning. But there are also cons to owning a second home, compared to other vacation options. You may yearn for variety after spending a few summers in the same town, or the chores involved might make vacation feel like work. Here are five critical questions to ask yourself before you make the leap.</p> <p>Does that vacation property meets your needs? Review the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHY1LJBUIcY">video below to find out</a>.</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EHY1LJBUIcY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <h3>Do You Have Enough Saved for the Down Payment?</h3> <p>You may have bought your primary home with only five percent down, but that&rsquo;s not likely to happen for a second home purchase, which is considered a riskier deal from a bank&rsquo;s point of view. Lenders may ask for <a href="http://www.realestate.com/advice/should-you-buy-a-vacation-home-84561/">30 to 40 percent</a>.</p> <h3>Have You Taken the Expenses Into Account?</h3> <p>Beachfront properties can take a beating from storms and sun, and houses that sit empty for long stretches or get beaten up by renters may have higher maintenance expenses. Some families have found themselves paying tens of thousands in maintenance costs for every week that they actually use their vacation home &mdash; money that could put you in a five-star hotel instead. One adviser recommended this rule of thumb: if the total costs from both your primary and second home add up to <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-13/bought-a-new-vacation-home-i-m-so-sorry-.html">less than 30 percent of your income</a>, you&rsquo;re good to go. If not, think twice. Beyond maintenance, you need to account for homeowner&rsquo;s association fees, furnishings, taxes and possibly the costs of an additional vehicle.</p> <h3>Do You Understand the Tax Implications?</h3> <p>Income tax rules governing your vacation property may be different than those for your primary home when it comes to <a href="http://www.irs.gov/publications/p936/ar02.html">mortgage interest deduction</a>, <a href="http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/07/vacation_home.asp">profit from sale</a>, <a href="http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc415.html">profit from rent</a> and other issues. Then you will have to note your property tax responsibility for the second home too. Consult an accountant to get a clear picture of the taxes you will owe.</p> <h3>How Stressful Will it Be?</h3> <p>Advertisements frequently tout &ldquo;stress relief&rdquo; as one of the benefits of a vacation home. But real-life owners know that in some ways, owning a second property can add stress to your life. First, there&rsquo;s maintenance. Unless you are wealthy enough to pay a caretaker or other employee to maintain your vacation home, part of every &ldquo;vacation&rdquo; there is likely to be taken up by fixing, painting and making service appointments. &ldquo;People become slaves to their homes,&rdquo; <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/24/business/24wealth.html?pagewanted=all">Milton F. Pedraza, chief executive of the Luxury Institute, told the <em>New York Times</em></a>. For just the end of the season, there is a <a href="http://buildipedia.com/at-home/design-remodeling/summer-vacation-property-maintenance-interior-exterior-checklists">20-point list of recommended maintenance chores</a> for summer cottages. You&rsquo;ll also need a plan in place for <a href="http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/maintenance-repair/maintain-your-vacation-home/#.">emergency repairs in your absence</a>. Then there&rsquo;s worry. Will you fret about possible break-ins or bad weather when you are miles away from your property? If you rent the property out, you will have to either pay a management agency or deal with the inevitable work of answering tenant queries and cleaning up after their messes.</p> <h3>Are You Buying as an Investment or a Luxury?</h3> <p>When the real estate market was on a long boom, many people saw a second home an investment whose value increase would offset expenses. But the <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB122002210930483439">crash changed that</a>. Nowadays, experts are split on whether buying a vacation home is a good investment. Many warn that expenses eat up any rental income the property may generate when you&rsquo;re not using it. &ldquo;Financially, most vacation homes are probably a train wreck. I&rsquo;ve had one for about 10 years and to be totally honest I&rsquo;ve never made enough cash flow to cover my mortgage,&rdquo; <a href="http://www.biggerpockets.com/blogs/2872/blog_posts/24097-are-vacation-homes-good-investments">wrote real estate investor </a><a href="http://www.biggerpockets.com/blogs/2872/blog_posts/24097-are-vacation-homes-good-investments">Dave Van Horn</a>. Others point out that the market for vacation homes is <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/breakout/the--luxury--investment-even-the-missle-class-should-consider-141146807.html">recovering more slowly</a> than the rest of the real estate market, so bargains might still be get-able that would put the buyer in the position to cover expenses through appreciation and rental income. And, the emergence of the sharing economy via companies like Airbnb have made it easier for property owners to get generate cash with vacation properties.</p> <script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8" src="http://vc.cdn.fm/video_conversationalist/system/published/opportunity/88244652/289_1969.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/5-essentials-to-consider-before-buying-a-vacation-home">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/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-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/how-to-simultaneously-buy-and-sell-a-house">How to Simultaneously Buy and Sell a House</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing chase vacation home Mon, 04 May 2015 11:00:40 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1368909 at http://www.wisebread.com The 7 Best Affordable Cities to Start a Family http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-affordable-cities-to-start-a-family <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-7-best-affordable-cities-to-start-a-family" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/chicago_city_view_000026130108.jpg" alt="Chicago is an afforable city to start a family" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Looking to start a family? Many major metro areas can be tough choices, given their high cost of living, crime statistics, and public school quality. So, we've dug a little deeper to uncover seven U.S. metro areas that offer the best environments for starting a family.</p> <h2>1. Virginia Beach, Virginia</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/virginia_beach_000041511570.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>If you're looking to mix business with pleasure at an affordable price, Virginia Beach is an option that should be within your consideration. With several large companies in and around the area, along with a plethora of government opportunities nearby, the economy is strong and the property values are solid with an <a href="http://www.zillow.com/virginia-beach-va/home-values/">average home price</a> of roughly $240,000. Plus, wouldn't you love to take your kids to the ocean every weekend without having to board a plane or endure a long car ride?</p> <h2>2. Chicago, Illinois</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/chicago_city_view_000026130108.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>If you can bear the cold (it gets and stays well below freezing for weeks during the winter), Chicago is a fantastically affordable city, relative to its size and offerings. Its many amenities will keep your entire family entertained no matter what your interests. And its <a href="http://www.zillow.com/chicago-il/home-values/">housing costs</a> are among the lowest of any metropolitan area in the country, with an average home price of about $230,000.</p> <h2>3. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/city_of_pittsburgh_000021195550.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Pittsburgh is a city on the rise, quickly becoming a top education and health care center. These two industries have stabilized and grown an economy that once relied on the steel industry. The city's many museums, active waterfront, nearby natural areas, sports teams, parks, and festivals make it a wonderfully diverse area for families. The <a href="http://www.realtor.com/local/Pittsburgh_PA/home-prices">average home price</a> in Pittsburgh is approximately $230,000.</p> <h2>4. Nashville, Tennessee</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Nashville_000021951973.jpg" alt="&copy;iStock.com/MoreISO" width="605" height="340" /></p> <p>Music City is one of the greatest areas of innovation and arts in the country at the moment. People from all over the world are visiting and moving there thanks to the vibrant cultural and local business scene. It's no wonder that celebrities who want a lower profile and a high quality of life are buying homes in Nashville. It also happens to be a winner for families and kids, thanks to all of its culture and natural beauty. <a href="http://www.trulia.com/real_estate/Nashville-Tennessee/market-trends/">Average home prices</a> are still a bargain here at about $205,000.</p> <h2>5. Madison, Wisconsin</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Madison_000050792842.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Madison is a top pick for those who love the vibrant energy and cultural opportunity of a university town. Complete with one of the best farmer's markets in the country, a tight-knit community feel, and award-winning family-friendly attractions, Madison is an ideal place for families. <a href="http://www.trulia.com/real_estate/Madison-Wisconsin/">Median home prices</a> in Madison are some of the most affordable in the country at around $195,000.</p> <h2>6. Austin, Texas</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Austin_000048267910.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>&quot;Keeping it weird&quot; is Austin's motto, and they own it. This is a &quot;come as you are&quot; kind of town and known for its friendly, supportive vibe. Here, originality and creativity are highly encouraged and celebrated. Austin offers mild winters, some of the best music in the country, plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, and a growing economy based in the technology sector. <a href="http://www.zillow.com/austin-tx/home-values/">Typical housing costs</a> hover around $345,000. Though this is more expensive than most of the other areas on this list, it's still a far cry cheaper than places like New York City and San Francisco.</p> <h2>7. Chapel Hill, North Carolina</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Chapel_Hill_000022409564.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Like Madison, Chapel Hill is also rich with university town resources, but its winter is more moderate than Wisconsin's. As part of the Research Triangle, the economy is strong, and like many of the other cities on this list, it has a community vibe to match. Chapel Hill's calendar is loaded with kid-friendly events, and it boasts dozens of places to stage them, including its numerous gardens and parks. <a href="http://www.zillow.com/chapel-hill-nc/home-values/">Median home prices</a> are closer to Austin's at about $330,000.</p> <p>If the time is right to start a family and you're looking for a new city to begin that adventure, this list offers a strong starting point for your search. Curious about how the cost of living between different cities compares? Check out this <a href="http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost-of-living/">cost of living comparison tool</a> to find out.</p> <p><em>In which cities are you considering starting a family?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-affordable-cities-to-start-a-family">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-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-2 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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-delaying-marriage-or-kids-saves-you-money">Here&#039;s How Delaying Marriage or Kids Saves You Money</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/how-to-get-into-a-good-school-district-for-less">How to Get Into a Good School District for Less</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/big-lessons-from-the-tiny-house-movement">Big Lessons From the Tiny House Movement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Real Estate and Housing affordable living cities having kids metros moving raising family relocating Wed, 29 Apr 2015 15:00:26 +0000 Christa Avampato 1401147 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Appraisal Facts That Could Save You Big Money http://www.wisebread.com/5-appraisal-facts-that-could-save-you-big-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-appraisal-facts-that-could-save-you-big-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5 Appraisal Facts That Could Save You Big Money_PHOTO-605.jpg" alt="Looking closely at home appraisals" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Sponsored by Chase Mortgage Banking.&nbsp;<a href="http://r1.fmpub.net/?k1=cmx-metric&amp;k2=289%7C652%7C1879&amp;k3=disclaimer&amp;k4=&amp;r=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fmynewhome" rel="nofollow">Review their resources</a>&nbsp;to help you find and finance your home.</em></p> <p>An appraisal is a professional&rsquo;s opinion of your home&rsquo;s market value. Lenders will order an appraisal for home purchase loans to make sure the home is worth the price being paid. Often appraisals are <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/finance/refinance/pros-and-cons-of-refinance-appraisals-1.aspx">needed to refinance</a> as well. Here are five things you should know about the appraisal process, whether you are buying, selling or refinancing.</p> <p>The appraisal takes dozens of factors into account. Learn more about them in the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuD3rVCaoQw">video below</a>.</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UuD3rVCaoQw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <h3>1. Your Property is Not the Only Thing the Appraiser Will Look At</h3> <p>&ldquo;When I inspect a home for an appraisal, the inspection is really the &lsquo;tip of the iceberg&rsquo; of the work I do,&rdquo; San Francisco Bay Area appraiser Ann O'Rourke writes on her web site, <a href="http://www.appraisaltoday.com/nonappr.htm">Appraisal Today</a>. Before arriving at your home, the appraiser has probably already obtained a plat map and researched the zoning and public records. After checking your property against the map, and noting any improvements and damage, the appraiser will compare your home to others that recently sold to formulate an estimate of its value.</p> <h3>2. You Can Educate the Appraiser About Your Home</h3> <p>If an appraiser visits your home, this is your opportunity to show it at its best. <a href="http://homeguides.sfgate.com/steps-before-having-home-appraisal-2491.html">Complete any small repairs</a> before the appraisal date. Clean up the yard and house. Even though appraisers aren&rsquo;t supposed to take clutter into account, they are human, and no one feels upbeat when faced with a mess. Besides, cleaning <a href="http://www.realestate.com/advice/how-to-get-a-high-house-appraisal/">shows that you take good care of the home</a>. While the appraiser looks, let them know about improvements you may have done (New furnace? Bathroom renovation?). You can also give him or her a written list and may even want to provide receipts to show what you have invested in the home.</p> <h3>3. A Low Appraisal Can Stop the Sale or Reopen Negotiations</h3> <p>If the seller has researched the market and set an appropriate price, the appraisal is likely to come in at close to the agreed-upon price. But sellers should beware that if the appraisal comes in low, the deal will probably not proceed as agreed. Since the buyer most likely <a href="http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/12/home-appraisals.asp">won&rsquo;t be able to get a mortgage for a house priced above appraisal</a>, the deal may fall apart or the seller may have to agree to a lower price.</p> <h3>4. You Can Challenge a Low Appraisal</h3> <p>So the worst has happened and your appraisal came in below the selling price. All is not lost. You can request a copy of the appraisal and review it with your real estate agent. Pay special attention to the comparable homes the appraiser selected. If those homes sold for less because they lack updating or some other feature that your home has, you can have your agent <a href="http://www.trulia.com/blog/12-steps-fight-low-appraisal/">submit a list of more appropriate homes for comparison</a>. You can also write a letter listing improvements and features that the appraiser may have overlooked. <a href="http://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2013/02/27/low-appraisal-challenge/">The Bigger Pockets Blog</a> has advice on how to keep the letter non-confrontational, and even offers a template for download.</p> <h3>5. As a Buyer, Guard Against Inflated Appraisals</h3> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve agreed to pay a certain price, you naturally hope that the appraisal will back that up. But in reality, appraisers are protecting both the lender and the buyer against inflated prices. So it&rsquo;s a good idea to ask the same questions about an appraiser that a seller would: Is she licensed and local? Did he really visit the home?</p> <p>Request a copy of the appraisal, not only to check for accuracy, but as an information source to make sure you know all about your future property&rsquo;s strengths and weaknesses.</p> <script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8">if ("" === document.location.pathname) { var fm_custom_kvs = "fm-post=88244"; }</script><script type="text/javascript"> (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', "UA-47115411-1", {'name': 'fmTracker'}); ga('fmTracker.set', 'dimension1', '289'); ga('fmTracker.set', 'dimension2', '88244'); ga('fmTracker.set', 'dimension3', '1879'); ga('fmTracker.send', 'pageview'); </script> <p><img class="tracking" width="0" height="0" src="http://r1.fmpub.net/?k1=cmx-metric&amp;k2=289|652|1879&amp;k3=&amp;k4=&amp;img=true" alt="" /><img class="tracking" width="0" height="0" src="http://pixel.mathtag.com/event/img?mt_id=424466&amp;mt_adid=120808&amp;v2=s289&amp;v3=n101&amp;s1=c88244" alt="" /></p><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-appraisal-facts-that-could-save-you-big-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/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-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/how-to-simultaneously-buy-and-sell-a-house">How to Simultaneously Buy and Sell a House</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-money-moves-to-make-for-tomorrows-mortgage">6 Money Moves to Make for Tomorrow&#039;s 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/10-surprising-things-that-lower-the-value-of-a-home">10 Surprising Things That Lower the Value of a Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing appraisals chase credit cards home buying home sale Mon, 20 Apr 2015 11:00:06 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1368848 at http://www.wisebread.com Self-Employed? Here's How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_cartoon_apartment_000044030686.jpg" alt="Self-employed couple trying to rent an appartment" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While there are great benefits to being self-employed, like setting your own hours and working on projects you really enjoy, there are a few downsides to not getting a regular paycheck. Aside from the inconsistent income, you also have the added hurdle of <em>proving </em>your income when you want to move to a new apartment. This is something my husband and I are dealing with, because we both work from home.</p> <p>The standard apartment application includes providing proof of current employment and copies of your latest paycheck stubs. So how do you get approved for a new apartment when you don't have either of those things?</p> <p>Here are a few things to do if you're self-employed and moving to a new place.</p> <h2>1. Seek Out Independent Landlords</h2> <p>Any landlord wants the best tenants to ensure the rent gets paid on time. But larger property management companies often have stricter policies and guidelines for renting to self-employed individuals, so it may be best to avoid the big complexes.</p> <p>Opt for smaller, individually-owned duplexes or triplexes, where you can connect to an independent landlord. Their rules may be a bit more flexible, and allow you to apply for an apartment without a traditional paycheck. It's also a good idea to ask local contacts, friends, or family members if they know of any landlords who are open to self-employed individuals.</p> <p>We have an appointment with a landlord who was introduced by one of our family members, and on top of being lenient with self-employed income, we may also get a discount on our rent because of our connections.</p> <h2>2. Enlist a Real Estate Agent to Help</h2> <p>Of course, a real estate agent can help you <em>buy</em> a new home, but they also come in extremely handy when you're looking to rent an apartment &mdash; particularly in a new city. It's a real estate agent's job to know the local laws, as well as contacts for landlords who accept self-employed applications.</p> <p>They will be able to most effectively help if you share <em>all </em>the information about your work and lifestyle situation. I have a freelancer friend who had a difficult time finding roommates because they didn't want someone working from home all the time. I'm not sure why, but perhaps it's because many people view at-home freelancers as lazy or messy.</p> <p>In any case, be up-front with your needs and explain how you work during the day. This will also help you be the most productive if you need a place that's quiet and free of outside distractions.</p> <h2>3. Keep Your Financial Records Organized</h2> <p>There are several things you will likely have to hand over to your landlord or apartment management company during the application process. So it's important that your financial records are accurate and organized.</p> <p>Since you don't have the advantage of simply printing off copies of your latest paycheck stubs or W-2s, you'll most likely need:</p> <ul> <li>Six month's worth of bank statements</li> <li>Three year's worth of tax returns</li> <li>Copies of long-term client contracts or big projects that prove consistent income</li> <li>A healthy savings account that covers at least three month's worth of rent</li> <li>References in writing from previous landlords</li> </ul> <p>If you don't have a lot of extra debt, this will help your case as you become much less of a risk to the landlord. Obviously a few other things that will help are to dress appropriately when meeting the landlord, and sharing any other advantages you bring as a tenant (in my case it's the fact that we don't have kids or pets). Sell them on how great a tenant you are and make them feel good about having you in their apartment.</p> <p>Finding a new apartment is a bit more difficult when you're self-employed, and you'll likely have to save up a bit more money to prove you're financially responsible. However, by using these tips you can find a new place that works for both you and your landlord. Happy apartment hunting!</p> <p><em>What steps have you taken to find a new apartment while self-employed?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-smith">Carrie Smith</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">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/6-financial-questions-you-must-answer-before-going-freelance">6 Financial Questions You Must Answer Before Going Freelance</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-ways-to-fund-your-new-business-without-borrowing-a-dime">4 Ways to Fund Your New Business Without Borrowing a Dime</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <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> <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-signs-its-time-to-make-your-side-gig-your-career">6 Signs It&#039;s Time to Make Your Side Gig Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Real Estate and Housing freelance landlords moving renting self employment Fri, 17 Apr 2015 11:00:06 +0000 Carrie Smith 1392099 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Simultaneously Buy and Sell a House http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-simultaneously-buy-and-sell-a-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-simultaneously-buy-and-sell-a-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/How To Simutaneously Buy and Sell a House_PHOTO_NEW_1.jpg" alt="African American couple standing in front of new home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Sponsored by Chase Mortgage Banking.&nbsp;</em><a href="http://r1.fmpub.net/?k1=cmx-metric&amp;k2=289%7C652%7C1832&amp;k3=disclaimer&amp;k4=&amp;r=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fmynewhome" rel="nofollow"><em>Review their resources</em></a><em>&nbsp;to help you find and finance your home.</em>&nbsp;</p> <p>Selling a home is an overwhelming experience. Buying a home is an overwhelming experience. When you&rsquo;re moving, you&rsquo;re often taking on both of these herculean tasks simultaneously or within a very short time frame. Here's a comprehensive checklist of all the financial and logistical concerns you need to take care of during this doubly complex process.</p> <p>Timing is critical when buying a new home while selling your old one. Here&rsquo;s <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcb4nbOYiEw">how to get it right</a>.</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/kcb4nbOYiEw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <h2>YOUR SALE</h2> <h3>Start the selling process before you find your next home.</h3> <p>Once your home is on the market, it may take <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/realtorcom/2013/04/05/selling-times-in-hot-and-cool-markets-some-benchmarks-for-spring-and-summer/">three months or longer</a> to sell &ndash; and that&rsquo;s not counting the two to four weeks needed to <a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/article/real-estate/T010-C000-S002-how-to-sell-your-home-fast.html">prepare a well-kept home</a> for market. More time is needed if you have years of clutter to pack up or <a href="http://www.realtor.org/field-guides/field-guide-to-preparing-staging-a-house-for-sale">plan extensive staging</a> or repairs. Most people will need their sale proceeds for the down payment on the new home. But even if you can afford to buy before you sell, keep in mind that <a href="http://freefrombroke.com/reasons-why-you-should-sell-your-home-before-buying-a-new-one/">selling first puts you in a better negotiating position</a>. A truly simultaneous close, where you sell and buy on the same day, can be risky, because if your sale transaction falls through at the last minute, your purchase is endangered as well.</p> <h3>Use the sale contract to make sure you don&rsquo;t end up homeless.</h3> <p>Assuming you haven&rsquo;t yet purchased a home when you accept an offer, your agent can put a contingency in the contract saying you don&rsquo;t have to go through with the deal if you don&rsquo;t find a new house. Or if the buyer won&rsquo;t accept that, at least <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/finance/real-estate/sell-home-before-buying-another-4.aspx">ask for a slow close</a> to give yourself time to shop. You can also ask for the right to rent the home back from the new owners after the close if necessary.</p> <h3>Pick the best agent, and fill her in on your situation.</h3> <p>Get recommendations from friends and family who have sold in your area recently, research online reviews, and interview potential agents carefully. During the interview, mention that you are shopping for a new home too. Whether you choose to have your selling agent also represent you as a buyer is up to you, and there are <a href="http://www.inman.com/2012/05/10/pros-and-cons-using-same-agent-sell-buy/">pros and cons either way</a>. Just make sure the agent you hire is on board with your choice.</p> <h3>Cooperate with your agent.</h3> <p>Keep the house <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Business/top-things-real-estate-agents-knew/story?id=21125199#5">clean, clutter free and smelling good</a>, and for goodness sake never be home when the prospects arrive. When your agent calls with a showing request, try to always say yes. If a buyer on a tight schedule can&rsquo;t get into your house on the first attempt, they may never look back.</p> <h3>Review offers with a keen eye.</h3> <p>Think about the closing date proposed by the buyer. If you haven&rsquo;t yet started house hunting, a fast close is probably not what you&rsquo;re looking for in a purchase offer. Conversely, if you already purchased a new home, a 90-day close may be something you ask a buyer to change. Beware of buyer requests for price reductions or repairs that may leave you short for your new home&rsquo;s down payment.</p> <h3>If you&rsquo;re not getting offers, find out why.</h3> <p>After <a href="http://www.realtor.com/advice/what-to-expect-after-listing-your-house/">six weeks on the market</a> with no offers, meet with your agent to figure out what&rsquo;s wrong. It might be time for a price change, or to make cosmetic improvements.</p> <h2>YOUR PURCHASE</h2> <h3>Track down all financial statements.</h3> <p>Even after you submit that thick mortgage application, you may not be done with loan paperwork. It&rsquo;s not uncommon for lenders to request &ldquo;one more thing&rdquo; shortly before closing day, or want an updated bank statement if the escrow lasts longer than 30 days. You don&rsquo;t want all your paperwork and computer to be packed in moving boxes when those requests come in.</p> <h3>Create a paper trail for any large money movements.</h3> <p>If, say, a parent helps you financially with the purchase, the lender will need to see exactly where that extra $10,000 in your account came from. Photocopy large checks before depositing. You may need a letter confirming that the money does not need to be paid back.</p> <h3>Write your offer carefully.</h3> <p>Tell your agent exactly what you want in the contract, and read it before it gets submitted. A good agent will not forget anything that could be to your advantage when making an offer. Want to keep the appliances and the curtains? <a href="http://www.zillow.com/blog/5-things-not-necessarily-included-in-your-home-purchase-86738/">Put it in writing</a>.</p> <h3>Go easy on your credit during escrow.</h3> <p>It may be tempting to start shopping for furniture for your new home, but if another credit check is run and your credit isn't as good as it was initially, you could lose the loan. Shop with cash or at least <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/financing/mortgages/dont-apply-for-new-credit-before-your-mortgage-closes/">avoid opening new credit accounts</a>.</p> <h3>Get a good inspection and be ready to go back to the table afterward.</h3> <p>Interview and research inspectors just as you did your real estate agent &mdash; their role is very important. Get a thorough inspection that enumerates every problem with the home, preferably with estimated dollar amounts attached. Then <a href="http://blog.findwell.com/buying-a-home/negotiating-after-a-home-inspection/">decide which if any of the home&rsquo;s flaws the seller should remediate</a>. If you are in a seller&rsquo;s market, keep in mind that the seller may have the chance to sell the house to someone else as is. On the other hand, buyers are often successful in getting money back for some repairs detailed in the inspection report, especially safety-related ones.</p> <h3>Get extra inspections.</h3> <p>A general home inspection is a must, but it may be just a starting point, especially if you are buying an older home. Go over the report with your inspector and ask if she or he recommends any <a href="http://homebuying.about.com/od/homeshopping/f/31309_TypesInsp.htm">specialist inspections</a> for the roof, foundation, plumbing, or pest damage, and get estimates when possible. Not only could these inspections reveal deal-breaking information, they are your backup if you need to request a price reduction.</p> <h3>The walk through is not a stroll.</h3> <p>Don&rsquo;t schedule the walk through on closing day &mdash; <a href="http://www.homefinder.com/content/Buying-Guide:Handling_Closing_Problems_and_the_Final_Walk-Through">make it the day before</a> so that the seller has time to fix any issues that come to your attention. Bring a written checklist of items that were supposed to stay on the property. Turn on every faucet and flush every toilet. Turn on appliances and the furnace and AC to make sure they all still work. Note any personal property still in the home and request that the seller remove it before move-in day.</p> <h3>Have a plan for closing delays.</h3> <p>Mortgages can be harder to get nowadays, and it&rsquo;s not uncommon for <a href="http://www.zillow.com/home-buying-guide/closing-issues/">closings to get pushed back</a> more than once. Make a backup lodging and storage plan so you won't be left stranded if you can&rsquo;t move when you expected.</p> <script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8">if ("/how-to-simultaneously-buy-and-sell-a-house" === document.location.pathname) { var fm_custom_kvs = "fm-post=88244"; }</script><script type="text/javascript"> (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', "UA-47115411-1", {'name': 'fmTracker'}); ga('fmTracker.set', 'dimension1', '289'); ga('fmTracker.set', 'dimension2', '88244'); ga('fmTracker.set', 'dimension3', '1832'); ga('fmTracker.send', 'pageview'); </script><script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8">var _sf_startpt=(new Date()).getTime(), _sf_async_config={};_sf_async_config.uid = 25666;_sf_async_config.path = document.location.pathname;_sf_async_config.domain = "federatedmedia.net";_sf_async_config.authors = "289";_sf_async_config.sections = "1832";_sf_async_config.sponsorName = "[88244] chase-my-new-home";(function(){ function loadChartbeat() { if ("/how-to-simultaneously-buy-and-sell-a-house" !== document.location.pathname) { return; } window._sf_endpt=(new Date()).getTime();var e = document.createElement("script");e.setAttribute("language", "javascript");e.setAttribute("type", "text/javascript");e.setAttribute("src", "//static.chartbeat.com/js/chartbeat_pub.js");document.body.appendChild(e);} var oldonload = window.onload;window.onload = (typeof window.onload != "function") ? loadChartbeat : function() { oldonload();loadChartbeat();};})();</script><img width="0" height="0" src="http://r1.fmpub.net/?k1=cmx-metric&k2=289|652|1832&k3=&k4=&img=true" /><img width="0" height="0" src="http://pixel.mathtag.com/event/img?mt_id=424466&mt_adid=120808&v2=s289&v3=n101&s1=c88244" /><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/how-to-simultaneously-buy-and-sell-a-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/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-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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-to-consider-before-buying-a-vacation-home">5 Essentials to Consider Before Buying a Vacation Home</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-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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing buy and sell a house chase credit cards Mon, 06 Apr 2015 11:00:08 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1368908 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Reasons You Should Always Hire a Moving Company http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-you-should-always-hire-a-moving-company <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-reasons-you-should-always-hire-a-moving-company" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/moving_000025551302.jpg" alt="Young couple packing their belongings and should have hired movers" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I dread moving. Every part of it. From the packing, to the lifting, to the unloading, to the sifting; moving is on my list of least favorite things to do right next to &quot;have ingrown toenail surgery.&quot;</p> <p>Thankfully, now that I'm in my 30s and have a little more disposable income, I can afford to hire movers when I need them &mdash; and it's money very well spent. If you're not a convert yet, you should be. Here are six reasons you should always hire a moving company. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-unexpected-moving-expenses?ref=seealso">5 Unexpected Moving Expenses</a>)</p> <h2>1. There's Less Chance You'll End Up in the Hospital</h2> <p>I have one disastrous image in my head when I think about moving accidents, and it's that huge piano free-falling from a high story of a tall building &mdash; and splat! It's a totally valid nightmare in New York City, which is why I bump into lampposts all the time; I'm always anxiously looking up. Outside of killing somebody else with your ill-preparedness and overall negligence, you can hurt yourself pretty badly when you don't know what you're doing.</p> <p>Moving heavy items like sofas, beds, and furniture is awkward, requires either multiple people or the right equipment, and it needs to be done twice &mdash; moving out of one home and moving into another, explains John Bodrozic, co-founder of HomeZada, a digital home platform for the homeowner lifecycle. &quot;Hiring a professional mover eliminates the potential for injury.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Your Friends and Family Won't Regret Knowing You</h2> <p>One word: <em>pivot</em>!</p> <p>If you're a &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Friends-The-Complete-Series-Various/dp/B000H6SXMY">Friends</a>&quot; fan you know what that means, and if you're not, well, you should look up the clip on YouTube so you don't annoy and alienate your friends on moving day like Ross did.</p> <p>&quot;No matter how much they say they will help, friends and family hate helping you move because it's tiring and stressful,&quot; Bodrozic says. &quot;Keep your friends and family happy by just inviting them over for the housewarming party, not the moving bit.&quot;</p> <h2>3. You'll Free Up Time for Other Important Moving Day Issues</h2> <p>There's a lot more that needs to be done on moving day besides the actual moving. Perhaps you need to set up cable and utility service, maybe you need to get a new driver's license, or your time might be better spent readying the new place by making it move-in friendly. Professional movers can free up a huge chunk of time by taking that burden off your back &mdash; literally &mdash; so you can concentrate on other important tasks and exercise efficiency.</p> <p>&quot;Moving yourself will take you a lot more time,&quot; says Bodrozic. &quot;Having a company come in and do it for you with the right truck, the right hand tools, and the right resources gets the job done much more quickly.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Movers Will Have All the Right Equipment</h2> <p>You know what's worse than having to move your entire bedroom set down four flights of stairs? Realizing that you don't have the IKEA-issued Allen wrench you need to dismantle the darn thing. Forget about breaking your back; that aneurysm you're about to have will probably kill you first. But not if your superhero movers and personal saviors are on the job.</p> <p>&quot;Professional movers will size the contents and have the right sized truck and other hand tools to move equipment,&quot; Bodrozic says. &quot;Oftentimes, people who do it themselves will rent a smaller truck requiring more trips, and they forget about various hand tools are other things that make it much easier to move.&quot;</p> <h2>5. All Your Valuables Are Insured With Professional Movers</h2> <p>I don't trust myself with moving my own valuables. I don't put all my faith in the movers either, but I'm at least comforted that if they break it, they buy it. On the other hand, if I break it, I throw a fit and cuss at inanimate objects.</p> <p>&quot;Let's face it, if you drop your TV, you can't exactly collect from yourself,&quot; Steve Pardun, managing partner of FlatRate Moving Denver, says. &quot;Licensed and professional moving companies offer various coverage options to insure your goods against damage. In shopping around and checking out reputable companies, it's always important to ask what your options are for insurance as a consumer.&quot;</p> <p>I'll take the gold package, please, and I'll totally understand if some of my out-of-date appliances bounce off the concrete until they're unrecognizable.</p> <h2>6. It Can Potentially Save You Money in the Long Run</h2> <p>The major hesitation of hiring movers, of course, is the cost. I'm always telling you that should cut corners where you can &mdash; and, granted, hiring movers is definitely not one of life's necessities &mdash; but you may save money by letting a few jacked-up dudes do the heavy lifting.</p> <p>&quot;Despite the initial price tag on a professional move, you could end up saving yourself time and money &mdash; yes, money &mdash; when you hire professionals,&quot; says Joe Devost, operations manager at You Move Me in Canada. &quot;Oftentimes we underestimate the costs of moving on our own: the rush that can result in breakage, injury, or loss of items; the refreshments and dinner for friendly helpers; the time this job carves out of your day. We forget about all the tools and equipment that are needed, how much gas for a moving truck costs, and, most importantly, whether or not we are insured if something goes wrong.&quot;</p> <p>Way to bring it home and sum it up nicely for me, Joe. My work is done here.</p> <p><em>Do you have other reasons why we should always hire a moving company? Let me know 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/6-reasons-you-should-always-hire-a-moving-company">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-millennials-can-do-to-buy-a-house-within-the-next-decade">5 Things Millennials Can Do to Buy a House Within the Next Decade</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/how-to-get-rid-of-all-your-crap">How to Get Rid of All Your Crap</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/big-lessons-from-the-tiny-house-movement">Big Lessons From the Tiny House Movement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Real Estate and Housing movers moving new house relocating Thu, 02 Apr 2015 17:00:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 1366163 at http://www.wisebread.com