Real Estate and Housing http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4810/all en-US 5 Best Neighborhood Features for New Families http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-neighborhood-features-for-new-families <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-best-neighborhood-features-for-new-families" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/parents_teaching_children_to_ride_bikes.jpg" alt="Parents Teaching Children To Ride Bikes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What you look for in a neighborhood changes as your life changes. When you are first out on your own, having an apartment or house that is within walking distance of local night life is a big draw &mdash; but it becomes more of a big drag if noise from the local clubs and bars keep your baby from sleeping through the night a few years later.</p> <p>But just because you know that you want a more family-friendly neighborhood doesn't mean you know what to look for. Here are five features you'll want to keep an eye out for as you find the home your family will grow into:</p> <h2>1. Good schools</h2> <p>Your little peanut may only be a baby right now, but preschool and kindergarten are just around the corner. Choosing a neighborhood that has good schools is an important part of finding a home that will serve you well for years to come.</p> <p>Websites such as GreatSchools.net allow you to search schools by ZIP code, city, district, or school name. You'll learn information about test scores, student-to-teacher ratios, and student demographics, which can help you figure out if the local schools will be a good fit for your family.</p> <p>Don't get hung up on ratings and test scores, however, because there is more to a good school than that. For instance, though I love our current house and my son's elementary school, I wish I had thought about the fact that our school district has no bussing. That means I will be on the hook for school drop off all the way into high school.</p> <p>This is why it's a good idea to make sure you fully check out the schools and/or districts you're interested in to make sure you know what to expect from them. A good fit for your children and for your family's needs is a crucial part of a good education. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-evaluate-a-neighborhood-before-you-buy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Evaluate a Neighborhood Before You Buy</a>)</p> <h2>2. A community of other families</h2> <p>It may be cliché to say that it takes a village to raise a child, but it certainly does make parenthood easier if you have a local village handy when your kids are small.</p> <p>My current home is on a street that includes about a dozen other families with small children, which is not only great for my kids in terms of making friends, but it has also been a major boon to my husband and me. For example, last week I was running late to pick up my seven-year-old from school, and I was able to call my neighbor whose daughter goes to the same elementary school. She picked up both kids and I didn't feel stressed at the thought of my son waiting forlornly by the playground until I made it there.</p> <p>You can look for evidence of whether a neighborhood will welcome a family and small children. Are there bikes and toys in yards? Are there children outside playing? Do you see families going for walks? If you see a community of families enjoying their time outside, there's a good chance this will be a welcoming community for your own little family.</p> <h2>3. Low traffic</h2> <p>One of the first houses my husband and I looked at when we moved last year was on the corner of a busy street. Before we went to look at the house itself, we sat in our car and counted the number of vehicles that passed by over the course of five minutes. Dozens of cars drove past, going faster than I was comfortable with. We turned down the house, even though it was otherwise exactly what we were looking for.</p> <p>It's not enough to pass on homes that are near busy streets. You also need to make sure your sleepy neighborhood street isn't used as a shortcut during rush hour. Long neighborhood streets that offer a straight shot from one high-traffic area to another can be abused by rush hour commuters who just want shave a few minutes off their drive. You can avoid this problem by looking for a house on either a cul-de-sac or curving street, or just checking out the traffic on the street of a potential home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-youll-hate-about-your-next-house?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Things You'll Hate About Your Next House</a>)</p> <h2>4. Sidewalks</h2> <p>Though the absence of sidewalks may seem like a minor detail when you are looking at a new home, having them can go a long way to making a neighborhood more family friendly. Not only do sidewalks make it more possible for families to get out for walks in nice weather, but they encourage children's independence, since you know your kids can safely get to a friend's house several doors down without needing to hold your hand. Sidewalks also make an ideal spot to learn to ride a bike, work on sidewalk chalk art, and hold a lemonade stand &mdash; all staples of a happy childhood.</p> <h2>5. Nearby parks or playgrounds</h2> <p>Having a park or a playground within walking distance can ensure that you find a family-friendly neighborhood. Even if the street you end up on doesn't have a lot of families with similar-aged kids, making the nearby park one of your regular haunts will help you to meet other young families in the neighborhood and build the kind of caring community you're looking for. And that's not to mention the benefit of having a nearby destination where you can take the kids to get their wiggles out without having to get in the car.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-neighborhood-features-for-new-families">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/6-money-moves-to-make-after-buying-your-first-house">6 Money Moves to Make After Buying Your First House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-youll-hate-about-your-next-house">14 Things You&#039;ll Hate About Your Next 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/house-hunting-these-features-will-save-you-big-over-the-long-haul">House Hunting? These Features Will Save You Big Over the Long Haul</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/what-you-need-to-know-about-homeowners-associations">What You Need to Know About Homeowners&#039; Associations</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/dangerous-neighborhoods-are-safer-than-commuting">Dangerous neighborhoods are safer than commuting</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing children community evaluating families homebuying homeownership neighborhoods new house safety school districts Thu, 14 Dec 2017 10:00:06 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2068619 at http://www.wisebread.com 17 Ways Your House Can Earn a Paycheck http://www.wisebread.com/17-ways-your-house-can-earn-a-paycheck <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/17-ways-your-house-can-earn-a-paycheck" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/saving_for_a_home_concept.jpg" alt="Saving for a home concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As interest rates creep up, the days of wringing cheap cash from your home in the form of refinances and home equity loans are waning. But have you ever thought of making money using your house <em>without </em>tapping the equity?</p> <p>Some concepts, such as taking in roommates, have probably been with us for as long as we have lived indoors. But the rise of peer-to-peer commerce and smartphone apps have opened up new opportunities for homeowners or even renters to put their homes to work.</p> <p>Here are a few jobs your house could get.</p> <h2>1. Billboard</h2> <p>If you're in a suburban homeowners association, forget it. But if you have a property on a well-trafficked street or in view of the freeway, consider selling advertising space on your fence, walls, or even in the yard. You might need to consult local laws to make sure you don't find yourself in violation of the planning department on this one &mdash; which is probably why you tend to see this on highways in rural areas more than in urban or suburban neighborhoods.</p> <h2>2. Filming location</h2> <p>You might not have what it takes to get a close-up on the silver screen, but maybe your home does. The going pay rate for television, film, and even commercial sets is your mortgage payment amount per day. Sign up on <a href="http://www.locationshub.com/list-your-property/" target="_blank">LocationsHub</a> ($5 a month) or <a href="https://www.setscouter.com/" target="_blank">Set Scouter</a> (free, but they take a cut of the rental fee) so producers can find you. And don't think you need a mansion to qualify; productions need ordinary homes, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-your-home-into-a-moneymaking-star?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Turn Your Home Into a Moneymaking Star</a>)</p> <h2>3. Extra storage</h2> <p>You've seen facilities that rent out industrial-looking storage sheds where you can keep your offseason clothes, Christmas trees, and that chair that never found a spot in your new apartment but you love too much to sell. But did you know that you can rent out a closet in your own place for this kind of use?</p> <p>No matter where you live, you can list your extra space for free on sites like Craigslist, including not just closets, but also garage space, sheds, and even backyard or driveway space. If the storage space has a private entrance, you can provide the renter with their own key; if it's in your living space, you can set access hours and have the renter call you to get let in.</p> <p>This type of service is so in-demand in space-sensitive locations like the San Francisco Bay Area, that there is an entire <a href="https://sfbay.craigslist.org/d/parking-storage/search/sfc/prk" target="_blank">Parking/Storage category on Craigslist</a>.</p> <h2>4. CSA drop-off point</h2> <p>My front porch is the pickup point for neighbors who subscribe to a community supported agriculture farm share program. I don't get paid cash for the space, but I get a healthy discount on my box &mdash; and if more people start picking up here, I could get my box for free.</p> <h2>5. Yard sale spot</h2> <p>I never would have dreamed that anyone would pay for a yard in which to host a yard sale, but then I learned about <a href="http://www.127yardsale.com/find-rental-spaces" target="_blank">127 Yard Sale</a>, an annual 600-mile-long yard sale, for which home and business owners do in fact rent out property along the sale route to vendors. This made me realize that you could also capitalize on other special events this way. Do crowds pass by your yard on the way to the Fourth of July fireworks or the weekly farmers market? You may be able to rent your yard for a sale operator or to a refreshments vendor. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-your-backyard-into-a-moneymaker?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Turn Your Backyard Into a Moneymaker</a>)</p> <h2>6. Co-working space</h2> <p>It never made sense to me that some home-based workers pay to rent out cubicles when most homes sit empty and silent during the workday. As a work-from-home mom, I've often wanted to get out of my noisy house to work, but I didn't want to travel to an urban area and pay top dollar for a co-working space with a fancy coffee bar. If there were a service near me where I could book space at someone else's empty house, I might have considered it.</p> <p>Here in the U.S., it seems that so far, startups trying to connect itinerant workers with empty homes have gone bust. Not to worry, you can always list your extra work-from-home space on Craigslist.</p> <h2>7. Child care location</h2> <p>You can of course open a home-based child care facility, but what if you're not interested in a career in child care? I found out that you can squeeze a little benefit out of your home by offering to host a nanny share for multiple families. Some share arrangements will allow the hosting family to contribute less to the nanny's salary. In my case, I received a different, but equally valuable benefit: Because both toddlers in the share took long afternoon naps, the nanny included several hours of housecleaning service in her workday, at no extra charge to me.</p> <p>Another way I have seen homeowners successfully use their homes for child care, outside the traditional home day care center idea, is by hosting after-school or summer programs. This is a home business that requires your labor in addition to your space, but you can host a summer camp at home based on arts or any other interest you have. Check into local licensing laws and insurance requirements before you get started.</p> <h2>8. Cold storage</h2> <p>There is a market of people who want to buy meat in bulk, but don't have the cold storage space at home. So it's plausible that you could rent out freezer space to folks who want to store a lot of food but don't have their own deep freeze.</p> <h2>9. Foreign exchange student housing</h2> <p>The U.S. State Department doesn't pay exchange student host families, although you can take a $50 per month tax deduction while you're hosting one. However, there are lots of private programs out there that bring foreign students to the U.S. and pay host families for their room and board. You can sign up with <a href="https://4stay.com/" target="_blank">4stay</a> or <a href="http://www.homestaynetwork.com/hosting/overview/" target="_blank">The American Homestay Network</a> to rent a room to students and interns.</p> <p>Another way to go about this is to contact a local university. Some of them keep a list of available rooms, or they allow people to post on a bulletin board to advertise their space for international students or visiting professors.</p> <h2>10. Lodging for nurses or other medical professionals</h2> <p>Some travel nurses move from city to city taking on new assignments arranged by agencies. These agencies may provide housing, so one way to become a host for a travel nurse would be to get in touch with one of these agencies. You can connect with these nurses through the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/travelnursehousing/" target="_blank">The Gypsy Nurse's Travel Nurse Housing Group</a>, or list your room on <a href="https://www.furnishedfinder.com/members/pm-add-property.aspx" target="_blank">Furnished Finder</a>, a housing site just for traveling professionals.</p> <h2>11. Get a roommate</h2> <p>If you have a second home or travel for long stretches, getting a roommate can be preferable to renting out your entire home, because it allows you to maintain access during the times when you are in town. Social media is a good way to find trustworthy roommates, since ideally they'll be recommended by someone you know. There are also websites and apps dedicated to helping people find renters. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-websites-for-renting-your-extra-space?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 11 Best Websites for Renting Your Extra Space</a>)</p> <h2>12. Parking</h2> <p>I live on an island, and the ferry terminal parking lot always fills up before the last ferry of the morning leaves. Some folks who live nearby are capitalizing on that by renting out their empty driveways to ferry riders. You can list a parking spot in any of 15 U.S. cities on <a href="https://spothero.com/rent-my-parking-space/" target="_blank">SpotHero</a>, either on a regular basis or for special events. I've also seen signs offering parking rental posted on lampposts in cities, and seen college kids simply holding up cardboard with the price scrawled on it to rent out their front yards on college game days.</p> <h2>13. Vacation rental</h2> <p>The vacation home rental industry has exploded in recent years thanks to Airbnb, and now anyone who lives in a popular destination can turn a spare bedroom into a consistent source of cash. If you have dismissed becoming an Airbnb host because you don't have an empty bedroom, give it another look.</p> <p>Not everyone realizes that you can list your whole home on Airbnb while you're on vacation; I have done this several times with good results, and have even had guests who were happy to care for my cats in exchange for a discount. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-i-learned-from-renting-out-my-home-on-airbnb?ref=seealso" target="_blank">13 Things I Learned From Renting Out My Home on Airbnb</a>)</p> <p>You might also be overlooking spaces in your home that are &quot;Airbnbable,&quot; especially if you live in a high-demand area. I have stayed in lovely RVs parked in people's yards. I've seen a breakfast nook rented as a bedroom in Monterey, and a living room sofa listed for $15 a night in Columbus, Ohio. Some people also rent out camping space in their yard; if you do this, think through where your guests will use the bathroom. And if you don't love Airbnb, there are a few competitors, like VRBO or HomeAway, that could help you rent out your space as well.</p> <h2>14. Event space</h2> <p>Even my nonexpansive home has garnered requests for use for a workshop through Airbnb (I turned them down because I don't have one large room where people could gather comfortably). If your home is more of a showcase than mine, you could register it with a company such as <a href="https://www.peerspace.com/host" target="_blank">Peerspace</a>, which lists spaces for all kinds of events.</p> <p>One advantage to listing with a company that specializes in events, rather than Airbnb, is that they tend to offer insurance coverage appropriate for events, and have safeguards in place to make sure your property isn't destroyed.</p> <h2>15. Home swap</h2> <p>This isn't necessarily a way to generate cash from your home, but it is a way to get more value from it. Sign up for <a href="https://www.homeexchange.com/en/nomap?utm_expid=57943643-3.15Uhzp2-R0O3WS1gU0YBCQ.1&amp;utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fdocs.google.com%2Fdocument%2Fd%2F1eBh-msBr8BBTqnBECUXr7LmXnLZZMflU8GGTzOAIsYk%2Fedit" target="_blank">HomeExchange</a> or another home swap site, and you can get a free place to stay while you're traveling in exchange for hosting travelers at your own place. Recently, HomeExchange debuted a points program that makes it easier to arrange non-simultaneous exchanges, which is great for folks who might want to rent out their home but don't want to deal with rent, which you may have to report on your taxes.</p> <p>In the past year, my family has enjoyed free stays in Santa Cruz, California; Lake Tahoe, Nevada; and Ashland, Oregon, thanks to home swapping; we're currently working on an exchange for France this summer. We enjoy that we are welcoming members of a more limited community into our home, as opposed to renting on Airbnb, and that when we swap with other cat owners, they are usually more than happy to care for our cats. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-exchanges-free-accommodations-with-perks?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Home Exchanges: Free Accommodations With Perks</a>)</p> <h2>16. Package locker</h2> <p>Since ordering online has become the de facto way for many people to shop, secure package delivery has become a problem. Even in my safe community, neighbors are constantly complaining of packages from UPS or FedEx disappearing from their porches.</p> <p>Providing a package locker is partly a work-from-home job, and partly getting paid for your space: <a href="https://eneighbr.com/how-it-works/customer" target="_blank">eNeighbor</a> pays you $3.50 for every package you receive. The work part is that you have to be home from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. to sign for packages, then hand them out to their recipients when they come pick them up. The space part, of course, is that your living room or other space becomes a little mailroom for these boxes.</p> <h2>17. Rehearsal space</h2> <p>You could rent out your garage, basement, or other large space to up-and-coming musicians who need a place to jam. Keep in mind, however, that nearby neighbors might take issue with this plan, so be mindful of local noise ordinances.</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/17-ways-your-house-can-earn-a-paycheck">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-costly-pitfalls-of-hosting-on-airbnb">5 Costly Pitfalls of Hosting on Airbnb</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-turn-your-home-into-a-moneymaking-star">How to Turn Your Home Into a Moneymaking Star</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-easy-ways-retirees-can-earn-extra-income">9 Easy Ways Retirees Can Earn Extra Income</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/got-extra-space-make-money-and-meet-travelers-with-short-term-rentals">Got Extra Space? Make Money and Meet Travelers With Short-Term Rentals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-websites-for-renting-your-extra-space">The 11 Best Websites for Renting Your Extra Space</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Real Estate and Housing AirBnb boarders child care extra money foreign exchange students homeownership renting roommates side gigs storage venues Fri, 08 Dec 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2068117 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Unexpected Costs of Living in a Tiny House http://www.wisebread.com/5-unexpected-costs-of-living-in-a-tiny-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-unexpected-costs-of-living-in-a-tiny-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/guest_house.jpg" alt="Guesthouse" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Not having a mortgage can certainly make life a lot cheaper. With the average price of a traditional home coming in around $273,000, according to Redfin, it's no wonder some people are turning to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford?ref=internal" target="_blank">alternative housing</a> in efforts to save more money.</p> <p>The tiny house movement has gained a lot of traction in recent years, made all the more attractive by tiny home prices as low as $20,000. But there are some expenses that tiny homebuyers may not consider before building or buying a small home. Here are five of the most unexpected. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-tiny-house-living-actually-save-you-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Can Tiny House Living Actually Save You Money?</a>)</p> <h2>1. Land</h2> <p>Adding the price of land to a tiny home's cost shouldn't be unexpected, but it can be forgotten about if the house is on wheels and you plan to move it. Even if you get a free deal to place your home on your parents' or friend's property, you should factor in the possibility that you may eventually want to move it. When you do, you may have to pay rent for a lot or space on the property of your choice.</p> <h2>2. Zoning laws</h2> <p>The jurisdiction in charge of the land you want to put your tiny house on will likely have laws on zoning, land use, building, and other red-tape headaches. None of these are cheap.</p> <p>Zoning laws and building codes are meant to make sure a home is safe and in an area where homes are allowed. If your tiny house isn't approved by your municipality, a code enforcement proceeding could be started against you and you could be forced to remove your tiny home and pay a fine.</p> <p>And while a tiny house built on a permanent foundation may have one set of zoning codes to follow, a tiny house on wheels that qualifies as a recreational vehicle will likely have others. An RV on wheels may only be allowed for temporary residential use, and it may be illegal to live in one unless it's parked at an RV or mobile home park. You'll need to check your local regulations so you understand the specific laws in your area.</p> <h2>3. Cost of being mobile</h2> <p>One appeal of a tiny home is that they're mobile, and can either be towed or put on a flatbed truck. If you're spending money to meet zoning laws and buy land, then being mobile may not be so cost-efficient. And unless you can safely tow your tiny house yourself with a truck big enough to haul it, you'll have to pay someone else to move it.</p> <p>To be legal to tow, a tiny home must meet certain road requirements; namely, it can't be bigger than 13 feet by 6 inches in height and 8 feet by 6 inches in width, according to regulations in the U.S. Even if you have a truck with a big enough engine to tow a tiny house of 15,000 pounds or more, you'll want to ensure you can hook up trailer brakes to the truck, that your truck has the proper transmission for towing, and that you have the skills required to tow it.</p> <p>These costs can vary, but <em>Tiny House Giant Journey</em> estimates the annual cost of towing their tiny house at $1,520. That includes gas, truck and trailer maintenance, truck insurance, campground fees, and propane.</p> <h2>4. Utilities</h2> <p>No matter how big or small your house is, utilities such as water, electricity, gas, and garbage are part of your living expenses. How do these utilities factor into the costs of living in a tiny home?</p> <p>Probably not by much if the area you're living in has such services normally available. But if you're moving around often, you may have to pay hookup fees each time. You may also face other unique obstacles such as not being able to find drinking water that can easily be hooked up to your tiny home. You might also need to pay extra for things like a mobile internet service, which can be more expensive than service in a fixed location, and regular visits to the laundromat if you don't have room for a washer or dryer.</p> <h2>5. Resale value</h2> <p>Selling your tiny home sometime down the road may be the last thing on your mind when you first move in, but resale value could be a potential problem later on.</p> <p>The tiny house market is too new to know yet if the resale value of these homes will go up. Location will likely play a big part, as it does for permanent homes. A home on wheels may be thought of more as an RV, which can depreciate quickly in value like a car.</p> <p>And since a tiny home is so small, the new owner will have to be happy with the same customizations you chose if they don't want to spend a lot of money changing things. You may be OK having a small kitchen and a bigger living room, but another buyer may want it the other way around. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-finance-a-tiny-house?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 Ways to Finance a Tiny House</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-unexpected-costs-of-living-in-a-tiny-house&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Unexpected%2520Costs%2520of%2520Living%2520in%2520a%2520Tiny%2520House.jpg&amp;description=5%20Unexpected%20Costs%20of%20Living%20in%20a%20Tiny%20House"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Unexpected%20Costs%20of%20Living%20in%20a%20Tiny%20House.jpg" alt="5 Unexpected Costs of Living in a Tiny House" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-unexpected-costs-of-living-in-a-tiny-house">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/10-hidden-housing-costs-new-homeowners-dont-expect">10 Hidden Housing Costs New Homeowners Don&#039;t Expect</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/23-hidden-costs-of-buying-an-old-house">23 Hidden Costs of Buying an Old 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-retirement-struggles-nobody-talks-about-and-how-to-beat-them">5 Retirement Struggles Nobody Talks About — And How to Beat Them</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-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford">5 Alternative Housing Options You Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-signing-a-lease">10 Questions to Ask Before Signing a Lease</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing expenses hidden costs lifestyle mobile homes resale value tiny homes tiny houses utilities zoning laws Thu, 23 Nov 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Aaron Crowe 2058940 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Reasons You Need to Downsize http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-need-to-downsize <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-reasons-you-need-to-downsize" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_and_woman_looking_at_house.jpg" alt="Man and woman looking at house" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It can be a tough decision to leave your home, especially if you've worked hard for it or it's the residence you've always dreamed of owning. But for many people, downsizing isn't so much of an option as it is a financial necessity. And if any of these situations apply to you, it may be time for you to do the same.</p> <h2>1. You're house poor</h2> <p>You're house poor if all of your income is going into your home (your mortgage payments, maintenance, property taxes, and utilities), leaving you with very little money to do anything else.</p> <p>This isn't only problematic from a quality-of-life standpoint (would you like to go on vacation anytime soon?), but also from a debt-avoidance perspective. You're one small financial crisis away from throwing your whole world out of whack. If you can't seem to save any money because your home is eating it up as fast as it comes in, it's time to investigate other options &mdash; like finding a less costly place to live. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youre-paying-too-much-for-your-mortgage?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Signs You're Paying Too Much for Your Mortgage</a>)</p> <h2>2. You're ready to retire</h2> <p>If you've lived in your home for many years and you've kept up on maintenance, chances are you're looking at a decent payout if you decide to sell. Real estate prices are on the uptick again, and you aren't required to pay capital gains tax on the first $250,000 of your home sale if you're single, or $500,000 if you're married. You must have owned and lived in the home for more than two years to take that exemption.</p> <p>If you got a late start to retirement savings or had to dip into that fund along the way, downsizing could be exactly what you need to set yourself up for financial success in your golden years &mdash; or at least very least, avoid poverty.</p> <h2>3. Your kids have flown the coop</h2> <p>Your decision to have children naturally dictated the type of accommodations you needed, but once they're out of the house, what's the point of paying for all the rooms that no one is using? If your kids give you grief for putting their childhood home on the market &mdash; a reason that many aging parents give for staying put when they should move on &mdash; suggest that they pay a portion of your mortgage. They'll see things your way soon enough. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-the-kids-move-out?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as the Kids Move Out</a>)</p> <h2>4. You want a change of scenery</h2> <p>Nobody enjoys moving, but we all need a change of scenery every now and then. In fact, that's all the reason you need to pack up and start fresh someplace new. If you're fed up with the cold weather, head someplace warmer. If you don't like the noise of the city, set up shop someplace quieter. You only live once &mdash; and the clock is ticking.</p> <h2>5. You want more time on your hands</h2> <p>Even small single-family houses require a lot of attention. From maintenance to regular cleaning, a one- to two-bedroom home can easily zap a daytime's worth of hours from your week. Less space demands less of your attention, and that all adds up to more time for yourself.</p> <h2>6. You want a lower mortgage</h2> <p>You don't have to be house poor to want a lower monthly mortgage payment. In fact, having the lowest mortgage payment possible while still maintaining a quality of life that satisfies you should be the goal for everyone. Sell the money pit and find something cheaper &mdash; then treat yo'self for being so savvy with your cash.</p> <h2>7. Your health is declining</h2> <p>If you're getting older and you live in a house with a lot of stairs and levels, it's important to consider the future and how your home fits into that. Do you want to spend money that you may need elsewhere to outfit your home to accommodate your needs as you age? It's an option, but not a cheap one. Your best bet may be to spend that money on a ranch home or a retirement or long-term care facility where you and your family will have more peace of mind. Plus, at the latter, you'll make new friends and play bingo. I'd like to move in right now.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-reasons-you-need-to-downsize&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Reasons%2520You%2520Need%2520to%2520Downsize.jpg&amp;description=7%20Reasons%20You%20Need%20to%20Downsize"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Reasons%20You%20Need%20to%20Downsize.jpg" alt="7 Reasons You Need to Downsize" width="250" height="374" /></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/7-reasons-you-need-to-downsize">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/3-ways-to-finance-a-tiny-house">3 Ways to Finance a Tiny 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/should-you-pay-your-mortgage-off-early">Should You Pay Your Mortgage Off Early?</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-why-your-house-is-not-an-investment">Stop Thinking of Your House as an Investment</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-money-moves-that-will-ruin-your-mortgage-application">5 Money Moves That Will Ruin Your Mortgage Application</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-benefits-of-carrying-a-mortgage-into-retirement">5 Benefits of Carrying a Mortgage Into Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing downsizing empty nesters homeownership house poor maintenance mortgages moving retirement selling home Wed, 22 Nov 2017 09:30:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 2056741 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Things Sellers Should Watch Out for During Escrow http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-sellers-should-watch-out-for-during-escrow <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-things-sellers-should-watch-out-for-during-escrow" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-505598422.jpg" alt="making it through escrow" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When selling real estate, such as a home or condo, you'll have to go through escrow &mdash; a process in which a third party holds your property and the buyer's funds until both you and buyer meet your contractual obligations.</p> <p>While waiting for your home to close can feel like forever (average escrow time ranges from 30 to 40 days, depending on the state and type of sale), escrow is a necessary process to make sure that your buyer is capable of making payments and your property is thoroughly inspected. Here are some key things you should do to make sure that your escrow period goes smoothly.</p> <h2>1. Fine tune your property's description</h2> <p>When you receive a first offer from a buyer, you'll notice that the offer will include a clause with a description of your property. It's best practice to add to the description, &quot;Exact legal description to follow in escrow.&quot; This is to cover the possibility that some material changes are found during the escrow process and to set the expectation that such changes could happen. For example, an escrow officer may uncover clerical or filing errors that could affect the deed or survey of your property. Once the full legal description of your property is set by your escrow company, the company will include that lengthy description in the title report.</p> <h2>2. Limit additional prorations and closing adjustments</h2> <p>During escrow, you should continue paying all obligations related to your property, such as mortgage payments, insurance premiums, taxes, and homeowner's dues. However, your costs will be prorated once you close, usually based on a 30-day month. (The terms of the proration are usually spelled out in the purchase contract.) For example, if you were to close your sale on the ninth of the month, you would be responsible for the first nine days of the month and you would receive a refund for the other 21 days in your final payment.</p> <p>Watch out if a buyer sneaks the words &quot;any other acceptable to buyer&quot; into the list of prorations and closing adjustments. This would open the door for a buyer to include expenses that aren't really your responsibility, such as the installation of a central air conditioning unit or keyless entry system not discussed prior to sale. If you see the phrase, &quot;any other acceptable to buyer,&quot; include an instruction in your counteroffer to delete that description and replace with &quot;none.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Keep the definition of your title objective</h2> <p>In your offer, you'll find a section that describes all aspects regarding the title of your property. In there, a clause will state that you agree to convey your property to the buyer free and clear of all liens and encumbrances save for some exceptions, such as an easement (somebody having the legal right to cross your property without owning it) or a rule from a homeowner's association.</p> <p>Under this clause, again look out for a buyer including &quot;any other acceptable to buyer&quot; in the list of exceptions, which could cause delays in escrow. It's best to delete those words and replace them with &quot;exceptions of record.&quot; Examples of exceptions of record are the discovery that a third party, such as a mortgage lender or the federal government, have a monetary claim to your property or a neighbor has invaded your property without you realizing (such as with a misplaced fence). This way, title exceptions will be set objectively and not be subject to opinions.</p> <h2>4. Tighten time frames for buyer's obligations</h2> <p>During escrow, it may seem that the seller has a long list of obligations to meet. In reality, the buyer also has several obligations, such as acting in good faith to obtain a mortgage loan, if applicable; delivering an approval letter of the mortgage; and providing actual payment.</p> <p>Ask your agent what time frames are appropriate for a buyer to complete these and other obligations. Use those benchmarks to evaluate the number of days presented by your buyer to complete those tasks. Depending on your scheduled closing date, you'll often find that those time frames can be shortened.</p> <h2>5. Shorten time for review of seller's disclosure</h2> <p>As part of the escrow, you'll have to fully and accurately disclose in writing to your buyer any fact, defect, or condition that would be expected to measurably affect the value of your property. Some examples include water damage to a wooden floor, a nasty carpet stain, or termite damage. The rule of thumb is that the more you disclose, the better. It demonstrates that you're acting in good faith and accurately describing your property.</p> <p>Since you put so much time and effort into this long list of disclosures, you want your buyer to review it and commit to it within a short period of time. Talk with your agent about what is an appropriate review time for the seller's disclosure in your local housing market.</p> <h2>6. Budget for buyer's contingencies<strong> </strong></h2> <p>During the inspection, a buyer will go beyond the items that you disclosed and will also focus on his or her own checklist. Here are some examples of items that your buyer could be on the lookout for:</p> <ul> <li>Installation of smoke detectors.</li> <li>Inspection of moisture in a bathroom, kitchen, or other room.</li> <li>Proper grounding of electrical outlets.</li> <li>Installation of a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) near a bathroom sink.</li> <li>Replacement of broken faceplates at outlets.</li> </ul> <p>Plan ahead for such expenses and build a cushion in the original listing price and counteroffer price, if applicable, to cover for such contingencies. While you want to sell your property sooner rather than later, you also want to make sure that you settle on a price high enough to cover these and all other expenses involved in the sale. Most real estate agents can show you a list of preferred contractors who can provide you quotes at reasonable prices.</p> <h2>7. Take out clauses to deliver existing warranties and plans</h2> <p>In the spirit of knowing what they're really getting themselves into, a buyer may include a clause to bind you to submit at closing all warranty documents covering improvements of the property, instruction booklets for included appliances, original blueprints of architectural or engineering drawings, and other types of documents.</p> <p>Save yourself a headache and mark such clauses as &quot;not applicable.&quot; When you're in the process of emptying your home, chances are you won't be able to find those documents or will misplace them. Don't commit to delivering those documents in writing, but feel free to provide them if they're readily available.</p> <h2>8. Limit scope of last-minute cleanings</h2> <p>When you got your property showing-ready, you probably spent big bucks in getting carpets professionally shampooed, windows professionally cleaned, and bathrooms scrubbed down. Keep all receipts for those expenses and don't budge at requests to repeat cleaning services a couple of days before closing. As long as you've done a good job to maintain the cleanliness of your home, especially if you already moved out before listing, there's no real reason to do a deep cleaning again.</p> <h2>9. Double check for addendums</h2> <p>In addition to combing through the contract, you'll also want to read through any addendums made by the buyer that could replace the rules of the contract in case of a conflict. Here are three addendums to watch out for:</p> <ul> <li>Request to remedy unpermitted work: In this scenario, a buyer would ask you to get permits for any renovations completed without one. You shouldn't agree to this type of addendum because there are many instances in which you can complete renovations without a permit. Depending on homeowner's association bylaws, some renovations may not require a permit at all, such as the installation of a bathroom sink or replacement of kitchen cabinets. Other type of work completed before a bylaw being introduced may be exempt of a requirement, such as noise proofing of a wooden floor.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Concession: Reject clauses that allow the buyer to submit a repair or credit request in writing. While the buyer has the right to inspect your property in different ways, you should be the one deciding on how to procure acceptable ways to comply with the buyer's requests.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Timeline contingency: The longer the escrow process lasts, the greater the chance for a sale to fall through. Delete in its entirety any timeline addenda requesting if a deadline falls on a weekend or federal or state holiday that it be moved to the next business day.</li> </ul> <p>Escrow is the final stretch of a home sale. Keep a positive attitude and stay in touch with your escrow officer and agent. You got this!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-sellers-should-watch-out-for-during-escrow">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/6-tips-to-sell-your-condo-fast">6 Tips to Sell Your Condo Fast</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-reasons-a-home-sale-could-fall-through">5 Reasons a Home Sale Could Fall Through</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/youre-ready-to-make-an-offer-on-a-house-now-what">You&#039;re Ready to Make an Offer on a House: Now What?</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/23-hidden-costs-of-buying-an-old-house">23 Hidden Costs of Buying an Old House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-real-estate-agents-hear-most-often">8 Questions Real Estate Agents Hear Most Often</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing buyers clauses contingencies escrow expenses home ownership inspections real estate agents selling a home Mon, 13 Nov 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Damian Davila 2051607 at http://www.wisebread.com Why You Should Ask for a CLUE Report Before Buying a Home http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-ask-for-a-clue-report-before-buying-a-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-you-should-ask-for-a-clue-report-before-buying-a-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/real_estate_agent_showing_house_to_a_couple.jpg" alt="Real estate agent showing house to a couple" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>That renovated Victorian home looks like the perfect fit for your family. But even though it may <em>look</em> like your dream home, how do you know there aren't expensive, hidden problems lurking beneath the surface?</p> <p>This is where a CLUE report comes in.</p> <p>The Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, or CLUE, database lists insurance claims on a property for the last seven years. Most home insurers participate in the database, reporting claims that homeowners file for everything from water damage, to fire loss, to break-ins.</p> <p>If a CLUE report indicates a chronic or repeat problem, that's a red flag. If you buy that home, and the owners didn't do anything to resolve the problem, you&rsquo;ll be the one paying for future repairs or filing future insurance claims. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-hidden-costs-of-buying-an-old-house?ref=seealso" target="_blank">23 Hidden Costs of Buying an Old House</a>)</p> <h2>How a CLUE report works</h2> <p>When homeowners file an insurance claim, most insurers report that claim to the CLUE database. The CLUE report lists the dates when claims were made, the type of loss that a home suffered, and the amount that the insurance company paid out. The CLUE report also lists when insurers deny homeowners' claims.</p> <p>All claim information, though, drops off a CLUE report after seven years.</p> <p>Some CLUE reports will be blank. That can happen if homeowners haven't filed any claims in seven years or if the owners' insurance company is one of the few that doesn't report information to the CLUE database.</p> <p>Homeowners can get a free CLUE report for their residence once a year from database company LexisNexis. The easiest way to do this is by <a href="https://personalreports.lexisnexis.com/fact_act_disclosure.jsp" target="_blank">ordering the report online</a>. Consumers can order CLUE reports for their homes, their cars, or both. Those ordering a report for the first time must open a new account with LexisNexis to access their documents.</p> <p>You can also order reports by mail or by phone at 1-866-312-8076.</p> <h2>The catch</h2> <p>For homebuyers, there is a catch: They can only order CLUE reports on the properties they already own. They can't order a report for a residence they are considering buying.</p> <p>Buyers must ask the current owners of the properties they want to buy to order the CLUE reports and share the documents with them. Of course, owners don't have to provide this information. Those who have filed plenty of insurance claims, especially if these claims were for a chronic problem, might not be eager to share their CLUE reports.</p> <p>Buyers, though, might get a sense of relief if they do request CLUE reports and homeowners are happy to provide them. This is one piece of evidence that owners aren't hiding anything.</p> <h2>The benefits of a CLUE report</h2> <p>Homebuyers should carefully search a CLUE report for indications of a recurring problem that could make living in the home a financial struggle.</p> <p>For instance, if a CLUE report on a particular property lists five burglaries in the last seven years, that's a sign that a home could need an alarm system. It might also mean that you don't want to live in that neighborhood.</p> <p>If a homeowner is making frequent claims for water in the basement, that might be another warning sign. Unless the homeowners did something to resolve the issue &mdash; such as waterproofing &mdash; you might not want to invest in a home with a basement that suffers frequent water damage.</p> <p>Insurance claims, though, don't always mean bad news. Maybe the owners of a home filed a claim for a roof that was damaged in a severe hailstorm. If the insurance company paid out for a new roof, that's proof that you won't need to invest in a new roof of your own for several years.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhy-you-should-ask-for-a-clue-report-before-buying-a-home&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhy%2520You%2520Should%2520Ask%2520for%2520a%2520CLUE%2520Report%2520Before%2520Buying%2520a%2520Home.jpg&amp;description=Why%20You%20Should%20Ask%20for%20a%20CLUE%20Report%20Before%20Buying%20a%20Home"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Why%20You%20Should%20Ask%20for%20a%20CLUE%20Report%20Before%20Buying%20a%20Home.jpg" alt="Why You Should Ask for a CLUE Report Before Buying a Home" width="250" height="374" /></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/why-you-should-ask-for-a-clue-report-before-buying-a-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-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/7-times-you-shouldnt-file-an-insurance-claim">7 Times You Shouldn&#039;t File an Insurance Claim</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-to-update-your-homeowners-insurance">7 Times to Update Your Homeowners Insurance</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-pros-and-cons-of-paying-cash-for-a-house">The Pros and Cons of Paying Cash for 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/what-is-private-mortgage-insurance-anyway">What Is Private Mortgage Insurance, Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-problems-home-sellers-must-disclose-to-buyers">8 Problems Home Sellers Must Disclose to Buyers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing buying a home claims clue report Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange damages homeowners insurance new homeowners Mon, 06 Nov 2017 08:30:16 +0000 Dan Rafter 2045807 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Tips to Sell Your Condo Fast http://www.wisebread.com/6-tips-to-sell-your-condo-fast <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-tips-to-sell-your-condo-fast" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/real_estate_agent_with_couple_in_luxury_home.jpg" alt="Real estate agent with couple in luxury home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>This year is turning out to be a great market for home and condo owners. Despite the consistent rise in home prices across the nation (prices saw a 5.8 percent increase in 2017), buyers are still rushing to take advantage of the lowest mortgage rates in history.</p> <p>If you have been thinking about selling your condo, now may be the one of the best times. Take it from me; I was able to get the right offer for my apartment in just 21 days. Here are the key strategies to keep in mind when selling your condo.</p> <h2>1. Review the DOM range for comparable condos</h2> <p>Short for &quot;days-on-market,&quot; DOM measure the days that a real estate property is on the market before a seller accepts an offer from a buyer, or the agreement between real estate broker and seller ends. Search online for real estate agents specializing in your building and look for a listing of the units that have been sold and are currently in escrow. That list will include the DOM for each unit.</p> <p>Look at comparable condos to yours (similar square footage, floor location, and type of unit) to determine a reasonable time frame for your condo to sell. The definition of<em> fast sale</em> varies from property to property, but this range will provide you a better benchmark.</p> <h2>2. Decide what improvements are worthwhile</h2> <p>It takes money to make money. Before officially listing your condo, you'll need to prep it. Depending on the condition of your unit, it may just need a fresh coat of paint, or it may need a total makeover. There are several ways that you can go about deciding how much money to put into renovations.</p> <p>First, attend open houses of comparable units, also known as &quot;comps,&quot; currently listed in your building and review the listing pictures of comps currently in escrow. This will give you a sense of what caught the eyes of buyers and what type of inventory you're competing against. Put yourself in the eyes of potential buyers and think of improvements that will make your unit stand out from the competition or compensate for less desirable features (perhaps there's no ocean view, but your unit is the only one with new cabinets).</p> <p>Second, review the <a href="http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2017/" target="_blank">2017 Remodeling Cost vs. Value report</a> from the National Association of Realtors to find out the average value that a renovation project adds to properties in your region. In 2017, a minor kitchen remodel recouped a national average of 80.2 percent of its cost while a bathroom addition only recouped 53.9 percent. Choose projects that don't break your budget and have a higher chance of boosting your asking price. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-are-pricey-home-upgrades-really-worth?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Much Are Pricey Home Upgrades Really Worth?</a>)</p> <h2>3. Gather documentation and review any HOA rules</h2> <p>The more you know about your condo, the more prepared you'll be to address questions from buyers. For example, the presence of asbestos in the popcorn ceilings in older buildings can be more common than you think. However, your building's homeowner association (HOA) may have already done a study to find out the percentage of actual asbestos in the ceiling. If the survey reveals that the actual percentage of asbestos in the ceiling falls within acceptable standards, you don't necessarily have to remove it and can include the survey in your disclosure statement to the buyer.</p> <p>Also, HOA rules can help you determine what improvements are worthwhile. Let's imagine that you have a wooden floor with partial water damage due to an open window during a storm. You're trying to decide whether to replace the floor entirely, lay down additional flooring on top, or leave the floor as is. Depending on the rules of your building, you may or may not be required to also soundproof your wood floor, which can add hundreds to thousands to your quote. Always check with your HOA before starting any work on your unit.</p> <h2>4. Look for ways to minimize listing costs</h2> <p>Skipping the standard real estate agent's commission of 5 to 6 percent sounds like an awesome idea in theory. While pocketing an extra $15,000 to $18,000 on a $300,000 condo is enticing, make sure to understand just how much easier a real estate agent can make the selling process. Even worse, you may dramatically reduce the number of potential buyers by going the &quot;for sale by owner&quot; (FSBO) route. Many buyer's agents won't show your property to their clients at all or strongly discourage those clients from making an offer, citing the risks of closing without a professional representing you.</p> <p>Still, there are plenty of ways that you can save on listing costs while working with a real estate agent.</p> <ul> <li> <p>Ask if the commission is negotiable. Don't assume that a 6 percent commission is the default. With the rise of low-fee real estate brokerages, such as Redfin charging only a 1 to 1.5 percent listing fee, some agents are more open to negotiation in some markets.</p> </li> <li> <p>Stage your home yourself. According to Realtor.com, a staged property sells an average 88 percent faster and for 20 percent more than one that hasn't been staged. But professional staging can be expensive: Realtor.com estimates an initial design consultation with a professional stager ranges from $300 to $600, and actual staging ranges from $500 to $600 per month per room. Staging is one area in which going DIY can help you keep costs down. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-stage-your-home-without-hiring-a-pro?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways to Stage Your Home Without Hiring a Pro</a>)</p> </li> <li> <p>Your real estate agent can be a useful resource to shop around for contractors for small fixes. In case a buyer were to ask for proper grounding of electrical outlets, replacement of broken faceplates, or other type of work, your agent may be able to hire a contractor at a much lower rate than one you'd find on your own.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>5. Screen the clauses in your buyer's initial offer</h2> <p>Receiving your first offer is very exciting! Still, take a step back and thoroughly review the clauses included in that buyer's offer. Here are some things to keep an eye on. (See also: 9 Things Sellers Should Watch Out During Escrow)</p> <ul> <li> <p>&quot;Acceptable to buyer&quot; prorations and closing adjustments. If you were to submit a counteroffer, request to delete such verbiage from the offer. &quot;Acceptable to buyer&quot; adjustments are subjective and can open the door for a buyer to include unnecessary items or requests.</p> </li> <li> <p>Tighten the time frames for any buyer's obligations. The longer that an escrow process takes, the higher the chance of the sale not going through. So, shorten review times, such as review of seller's disclosure and inspection after completing buyer's contingencies requests, whenever possible.</p> </li> <li> <p>Watch out for additional addendums. Here's where knowing your HOA rules comes in handy. Depending on when certain work was completed on your unit, some work may not have required a permit or certain additional requirements. Going back to the example of the wooden floor, if the floor was installed before the year in which the soundproofing requirement went into effect, you wouldn't have to remedy the situation. Pay close attention to addendums requesting to remedy unpermitted work or allowing the buyer to submit a repair or credit request for repairs.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>6. Understand your BATNA</h2> <p>Short for Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement, BATNA is a key concept in any negotiation. Here's why: This is the price point at which you can't do better than accepting your buyer's offer. When listing your home, you'll have to decide on the initial price. Most of the time, you want that first price to be above the lowest price that you'll accept for your condo. That way, you'll be more willing to lower the price to make a sale happen.</p> <p>Pricing your home too close or exactly at your BATNA will work against you because you won't have any wiggle room to work with a buyer. Unless you're in a red-hot seller's market, you can't take an all-or-nothing approach to your condo sale. Would you be willing to go down $1,000 in price to sell your condo today, or stick to your guns and wait an extra three months? Once your condo has been on the market for a few months, your agent may ask you to lower the price. Knowing your BATNA will help you negotiate your condo sale more efficiently and potentially lower the DOM of your unit.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-tips-to-sell-your-condo-fast&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Tips%2520to%2520Sell%2520Your%2520Condo%2520Fast.jpg&amp;description=6%20Tips%20to%20Sell%20Your%20Condo%20Fast"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Tips%20to%20Sell%20Your%20Condo%20Fast.jpg" alt="6 Tips to Sell Your Condo Fast" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tips-to-sell-your-condo-fast">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/9-things-sellers-should-watch-out-for-during-escrow">9 Things Sellers Should Watch Out for During Escrow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-real-estate-agents-hear-most-often">8 Questions Real Estate Agents Hear Most Often</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-unexpected-costs-of-selling-a-home">8 Unexpected Costs of Selling a Home</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/sell-your-house-faster-with-these-6-house-flipping-tricks">Sell Your House Faster With These 6 House Flipping Tricks</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-homebuying-questions-youre-embarrassed-to-ask">5 Homebuying Questions You&#039;re Embarrassed to Ask</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing apartments clauses condos escrow homeowners association listing costs real estate agents renovations repairs selling a home Wed, 01 Nov 2017 08:30:09 +0000 Damian Davila 2045381 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Things You Need to Know Before Buying Waterfront Property http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-need-to-know-before-buying-waterfront-property <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-things-you-need-to-know-before-buying-waterfront-property" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/holiday_on_beach.jpg" alt="Holiday on beach" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For many people, picturing their dream home &mdash; maybe a two-story Cape Cod on the shores of a lake, or a small ranch overlooking the ocean &mdash; involves a stunning waterfront view. They dream of long summer days spent swimming, fishing, surfing, or just relaxing on the shore, all a short distance from their doorstep.</p> <p>If you're one of these people, you should be careful before taking the plunge into buying waterfront property. These properties come with a unique set of challenges you must prepare for. Here are six questions to ask yourself before buying any home on the water.</p> <h2>1. Do you need flood insurance?</h2> <p>Water is pretty to look at from the comfort of your front porch. It's not quite as enjoyable when it's swamping your basement or pouring into your backyard. Before you purchase that waterfront property, find out if your potential new home sits in a flood zone. And start investigating flood insurance.</p> <p>Flood insurance, made available through the federal government's National Flood Insurance Program, protects you if those lake or ocean waters flood your property. How much you'll pay will vary, but you can expect to spend about $700 a year for this protection.</p> <p>You might not like that extra expense. But a single flood can cause tens of thousands of dollars' worth of damages to your home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-flood-insurance?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Everything You Need to Know About Flood Insurance</a>)</p> <h2>2. What can you build?</h2> <p>Part of the fun of owning waterfront property is, of course, enjoying all that water. You might want to build a pier, boathouse, or dock along your shoreline. Be aware, though, that many municipalities impose a list of regulations that homeowners must follow before building out into the water.</p> <p>Before building that pier or dock, you'll almost certainly need a permit. In some areas, you might not only have to follow regulations set up by the local municipality, but also rules from the county, state, or in the most heavily regulated areas, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.</p> <p>Before plunking down your dollars to buy that lakefront or beach home, do your research on what you can and can't build along your shoreline.</p> <h2>3. Are you responsible for maintaining a bulkhead?</h2> <p>Many waterfront properties are protected by a bulkhead, which is a barrier wall &mdash; often made out of rock and stones &mdash; that separates homes and property from the water. Depending on your community, the care of this bulkhead might be heavily regulated.</p> <p>The rules in some areas will state that homeowners are responsible for maintaining their bulkheads. This can be pricey. Before buying your waterfront home, it makes sense to hire a specialist to inspect your bulkhead. A specialist can tell you if your bulkhead will need expensive repairs and how much it might cost you to maintain this barrier wall each year.</p> <h2>4. What improvements can you make?</h2> <p>Maybe you want to convert that waterfront ranch home into a two-story with expansive views of the water. You better make sure you can actually do this before buying it.</p> <p>Many communities have strict restrictions on what improvements you can make to a waterfront home. You might not be able to build past a certain height, use certain building materials, or build as close to the shoreline as you might like. There are usually sound reasons for these restrictions. Other property owners, for instance, don't want you to build a three-story home that would block their view of the lake or ocean.</p> <p>Before you buy, make sure the dreams you have for your waterfront property are actually allowed.</p> <h2>5. What can you do on the water?</h2> <p>Local regulations can again play a role in what you're allowed to do on the water. You might dream of zipping around on a jet ski, but local regulations might not allow these water vehicles on your lake. Maybe the lake isn't clean enough to swim in, or the water isn't deep enough for your boat. Don't buy waterfront property only to learn that what you bought it for isn't a possibility.</p> <h2>6. Will your new home be part of a homeowners' association?</h2> <p>Many waterfront homes are part of homeowners' associations, or HOAs. In an HOA, board members are elected to oversee a cluster or neighborhood of homes and impose certain restrictions.</p> <p>These rules can severely curtail any changes you plan to make to your property. An HOA might vote, for instance, that you can't use a certain color when painting your home, even if you think that color would be perfect for your property. An HOA might forbid certain types of plants outside homes in the association. They might even specify exactly how tall the grass can grow on your property. Don't buy a home within an HOA if you're not ready to abide by its rules.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-things-you-need-to-know-before-buying-waterfront-property&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Things%2520You%2520Need%2520to%2520Know%2520Before%2520Buying%2520Waterfront%2520Property.jpg&amp;description=6%20Things%20You%20Need%20to%20Know%20Before%20Buying%20Waterfront%20Property"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Things%20You%20Need%20to%20Know%20Before%20Buying%20Waterfront%20Property.jpg" alt="6 Things You Need to Know Before Buying Waterfront Property" width="250" height="374" /></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-things-you-need-to-know-before-buying-waterfront-property">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/7-other-kinds-of-insurance-you-may-need-to-buy-for-your-home">7 Other Kinds of Insurance You May Need to Buy for Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-unexpected-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance">11 Unexpected Things Covered by Homeowners Insurance</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/17-ways-your-house-can-earn-a-paycheck">17 Ways Your House Can Earn a Paycheck</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/speeding-through-your-mortgage-0">Speeding through your mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-your-new-job-might-affect-your-mortgage-application">How Your New Job Might Affect Your Mortgage Application</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing building flood insurance flooding floodplains lakes oceans recreation regulations waterfront property Mon, 30 Oct 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Dan Rafter 2039977 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Benefits of Carrying a Mortgage Into Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/5-benefits-of-carrying-a-mortgage-into-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-benefits-of-carrying-a-mortgage-into-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/senior_black_couple_standing_outside_a_large_suburban_house.jpg" alt="Senior black couple standing outside a large suburban house" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The goal is a simple one: You want to enter your retirement years without monthly mortgage payments. Unfortunately, not everyone meets this goal. According to Voya Financial, 26 percent of current retirees still have an outstanding mortgage balance.</p> <p>If you're one of these retirees, don't despair. It's not ideal, but leaving the working world with monthly mortgage payments doesn't have to be a financial disaster. There are some benefits of carrying a mortgage into your retirement years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-retiring-with-debt-isnt-the-end-of-the-world?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Retiring With Debt Isn't the End of the World</a>)</p> <h2>1. It's better than credit card debt</h2> <p>Mortgage debt comes with low interest rates. That makes it much less painful than credit card debt, for example. While your mortgage loan might come with an interest rate of 4 percent or even lower, you'd be lucky if the interest rate on your credit card was only 15 percent.</p> <p>So if you are nearing retirement and you have both mortgage and credit card debt, it makes more sense to devote any extra dollars to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">paying off your credit cards</a> first. You can start worrying about your mortgage after you've eliminated your debt with the highest interest.</p> <p>Of course, it's best to enter retirement with neither mortgage nor credit card debt. If this isn't possible for you, do the smart thing and tackle those cards first. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-youre-retiring-with-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What to Do If You're Retiring With Debt</a>)</p> <h2>2. Sometimes it's better to invest</h2> <p>You might be able to pay off that mortgage loan before retirement if you sink enough of your extra dollars into it. But it might make more sense to place those same dollars into the stock market or other investment vehicle.</p> <p>The average annual return for the S&amp;P 500 since it was first launched in 1928 has been about 10 percent. And that's factoring in both great years and terrible years. So instead of pouring more money into your mortgage, you might do better financially by investing your extra dollars and enjoying the higher returns. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-to-invest-in-stocks-past-age-50?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Reasons to Invest in Stocks Past Age 50</a>)</p> <p>This only holds true, of course, if you can actually afford your mortgage payment once you move into retirement. If you're worried that you won't have enough monthly cash flow to make these payments on time, do everything you can to pay off that mortgage first. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</a>)</p> <h2>3. Paying rent can be risky</h2> <p>Your retirement plan might involve selling your home, paying off your mortgage, and downsizing to an apartment. But be careful: Renting comes with plenty of risk.</p> <p>If you have a fixed-rate mortgage, your payment will remain mostly constant until you pay it off. If you're renting, though, your landlord can raise your monthly payment every time your current lease agreement comes to an end.</p> <p>When living on a fixed income, certainty is good. The life of a renter doesn't have as much certainty. Again, if you can afford your monthly mortgage payment, you might want to keep it and avoid the uncertainty of rent that could fluctuate from year to year.</p> <h2>4. You won't lose the tax deduction</h2> <p>Homeowners with mortgage payments do receive a tax deduction every year. Each year, they can deduct the amount of interest they pay on their home loans. If you pay off your mortgage loan, you'll lose this deduction. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-safe-to-re-finance-your-home-close-to-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is it Safe to Re-Finance Your Home Close to Retirement?</a>)</p> <p>It's important to note, though, that this deduction might not be particularly large by the time you're nearing retirement. That's because you pay far more interest each year during the earliest days of your mortgage. By retirement age, you'll probably be paying far less in interest with each monthly payment.</p> <p>Again, though, if having a mortgage payment fits comfortably in your budget, you might want to keep that deduction. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-real-estate-cuts-your-taxes?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Surprising Ways Real Estate Cuts Your Taxes</a>)</p> <h2>5. You keep your dream home</h2> <p>Most retirees who need to pay off a mortgage do so by selling their homes. But what if you love your home? What if it's located in the ideal location near family members and friends? You might not want to sell.</p> <p>And what if selling your home won't generate enough income to allow you to move into an assisted-living facility, downtown condo, or smaller suburban home? There's no guarantee that you'll fetch the dollars you need in a home sale.</p> <p>Keeping the mortgage &mdash; if you can afford the payments &mdash; could allow you to stay in a home that already fits your needs.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-benefits-of-carrying-a-mortgage-into-retirement&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Benefits%2520of%2520Carrying%2520a%2520Mortgage%2520Into%2520Retirement.jpg&amp;description=5%20Benefits%20of%20Carrying%20a%20Mortgage%20Into%20Retirement"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Benefits%20of%20Carrying%20a%20Mortgage%20Into%20Retirement.jpg" alt="5 Benefits of Carrying a Mortgage Into Retirement" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-benefits-of-carrying-a-mortgage-into-retirement">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/5-money-moves-that-will-ruin-your-mortgage-application">5 Money Moves That Will Ruin Your Mortgage Application</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-pay-your-mortgage-off-early">Should You Pay Your Mortgage Off Early?</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-build-equity-in-your-home">How to Build Equity in Your Home</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-mortgage-details-you-should-know-before-you-sign">5 Mortgage Details You Should Know Before You Sign</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/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing Retirement benefits debt homeownership investing loans low interest rates monthly payments mortgages tax deductions Wed, 25 Oct 2017 08:30:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 2039415 at http://www.wisebread.com Weak Credit? You Can Still Get a Mortgage Despite Tough Lending Standards http://www.wisebread.com/weak-credit-you-can-still-get-a-mortgage-despite-tough-lending-standards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/weak-credit-you-can-still-get-a-mortgage-despite-tough-lending-standards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_young_family_0.jpg" alt="Happy young family" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Talk to anyone who bought a house in the mid-2000s and they'll probably relate a painless, smooth process. It was a period of easy lending. Whether a borrower had bad credit, good credit, or no credit (am I starting to sound like a used-car salesman?), mortgage lenders handed out no-money down mortgages like they were going out of style &mdash; even qualifying some borrowers without verifying their income and assets. As we know, these loose lending standards helped cause the housing bubble to burst which led to the financial crisis.</p> <p>More than a decade later, mortgage lending standards have tightened, with lenders putting a lot of emphasis on creditworthiness. This isn't an issue for borrowers with good credit. But if your credit score isn't up to snuff, you may have to delay your homeownership dreams.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-improve-your-credit-score-fast" target="_blank">Repairing a low credit score</a> is obvious fix in this situation. This involves paying your bills on time, correcting errors on your credit report, and keeping your debt to a minimum. But what if you're in the process of repairing your credit? It takes time to build a low credit score back up. So while your payment history for the past six to 12 months might be excellent, your credit score could still struggle.</p> <p>No worries. If your recent credit activity demonstrates a pattern of responsibility, it is possible to get a mortgage with weak credit &mdash; even with strict lending requirements.</p> <h2>Learn about FHA home loans</h2> <p>Conventional home loans are a popular choice because they require as little as 5 percent down and include temporary mortgage insurance. Lenders charge private mortgage insurance (PMI) when conventional borrowers put down less than 20 percent (and then cancel premiums once the property has 20 percent equity). The downside of a conventional loan is that lenders typically require a minimum 620 credit score.</p> <p>A 620 credit score is lower than the loan's previous minimum of 680. Even so, you could find yourself several points shy of the minimum guideline. If that's the case, check out FHA home loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration.</p> <p>This is an affordable alternative to a conventional loan, particularly if you have a weak credit score. Whereas a conventional loan requires a 620 credit score, an FHA loan allows for much lower credit scores &mdash; as low as 500 to 580. This is ideal if you've made a few credit mistakes in the past, yet you're on track to improve your credit score.</p> <p>Anyone can apply for an FHA loan, but it's certainly a fitting solution if you've filed for bankruptcy or experienced a past foreclosure. Currently, borrowers are eligible for an FHA home loan one year after a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, two years after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, three years after a foreclosure, and three years after a short sale (one year in cases of extenuating circumstances, such as a job loss or illness). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-an-fha-home-loan-right-for-you?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is an FHA Home Loan Right for You?</a>)</p> <h2>Prepare for a higher down payment</h2> <p>Be prepared to fork over a larger down payment if you're buying with weak credit. Even though 20 percent down payments are no longer required by lenders, an FHA home loan does require a minimum 3.5 percent down &mdash; but only if your credit score is 580 or higher. If you apply for an FHA loan with a credit score between 500 and 579, your mortgage lender will require a minimum 10 percent down.</p> <h2>Choose a portfolio lender</h2> <p>Using a portfolio lender is another option with a low credit score. Because many banks sell their mortgages to investors, they have to ensure these loans meet the requirements set forth by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored entities that buy most of the home mortgages in the U.S. This limits the number of bad credit score loans approved by mortgage lenders.</p> <p>But if a mortgage lender or bank doesn't sell a percentage of its loans, they have the freedom and flexibility to approve riskier loan applicants &mdash; but only if the borrower has compensating factors to offset weak credit like a higher down payment, high income, or substantial assets. These loans are known as portfolio loans because the lender retains the loan as part of its own investment.</p> <h2>Expect a higher interest rate</h2> <p>Even though some mortgage lenders and loan programs accommodate weak credit, there's no escaping a higher mortgage rate. A low credit score and higher rates go hand-in-hand. Because the size of a borrower's down payment and credit affects mortgage rates, people with the lowest credit scores usually pay the highest rates. A higher rate increases borrowing costs and monthly payments, which makes homeownership more expensive in the long run.</p> <p>Of course, as your credit score improves, so does the opportunity to refinance your mortgage loan. If you refinance down the road and snag a lower rate, you'll reduce the amount you pay in interest and potentially lower your mortgage payment.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fweak-credit-you-can-still-get-a-mortgage-despite-tough-lending-standards&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWeak%2520Credit-%2520You%2520Can%2520Still%2520Get%2520a%2520Mortgage%2520Despite%2520Tough%2520Lending%2520Standards.jpg&amp;description=Weak%20Credit%3F%20You%20Can%20Still%20Get%20a%20Mortgage%20Despite%20Tough%20Lending%20Standards"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Weak%20Credit-%20You%20Can%20Still%20Get%20a%20Mortgage%20Despite%20Tough%20Lending%20Standards.jpg" alt="Weak Credit? You Can Still Get a Mortgage Despite Tough Lending Standards" width="250" height="374" /></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/weak-credit-you-can-still-get-a-mortgage-despite-tough-lending-standards">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/make-these-5-money-moves-before-applying-for-a-mortgage">Make These 5 Money Moves Before Applying for a 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/do-you-really-need-a-20-percent-down-payment-for-a-house">Do You Really Need a 20 Percent Down Payment for 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-things-to-consider-before-buying-a-home-when-youre-single">5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Home When You&#039;re Single</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-mortgage-details-you-should-know-before-you-sign">5 Mortgage Details You Should Know Before You Sign</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-build-equity-in-your-home">How to Build Equity in Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing bad credit buying a home credit score down payments equity fha loan home loans homeownership interest rates mortgages portfolio lenders Thu, 05 Oct 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 2030975 at http://www.wisebread.com How Your New Job Might Affect Your Mortgage Application http://www.wisebread.com/how-your-new-job-might-affect-your-mortgage-application <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-your-new-job-might-affect-your-mortgage-application" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_stylish_paperwork_635876724.jpg" alt="Woman learning how new job might affect mortgage application" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You just got a new job. Congratulations! New beginnings are an exciting part of life. If you're in the market to qualify for a new mortgage, your new beginning could have an impact on your mortgage application. Here's what you need to know. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-that-will-ruin-your-mortgage-application?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Money Moves That Will Ruin Your Mortgage Application</a>)</p> <h2>Continuity of some kind is key</h2> <p>Lenders like to see financial and career stability. If you've recently changed jobs, that's OK, provided that lenders see some kind of continuity.</p> <p>For example, if your new job is in the same field that you've been in for the past two years, the lender would probably be comfortable with that. This is especially true if your new job is a promotion in title, responsibility, or salary. If you took a pay cut, but stayed in the same field, the lender would also likely find that acceptable, as long as your new income is at a level that is appropriate for the size of mortgage you want.</p> <h2>Stability and history in your field matters</h2> <p>Lenders start to get uncomfortable when you move into a brand-new field because they view that as a less stable work situation. That said, this is not an insurmountable problem. Be honest and upfront with your lender. Explain how your previous experience is applicable to your new field. This could take the form of your responsibilities, or similarity in the fields themselves.</p> <p>It is also helpful if you can show that your education and any other training you've received aligns with your new role. You could secure a reference letter from your new employer, too.</p> <p>Remember, getting a mortgage with a lender is a conversation. You aren't putting in an application as a faceless entity. The lender wants to know who you are, what you do, and, most importantly, how you will repay the mortgage. You need to paint a picture of yourself as a responsible professional on a stable career path.</p> <h2>The paperwork you need</h2> <p>In addition to a letter or contract, the lender will also need other paperwork to verify your income. If you have all of this paperwork together before going to the lender, your sense of organization and preparedness will work in your favor. You will need:</p> <ul> <li>Your job offer letter with the details of your start date, title, and compensation. This letter should be on official company letterhead.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>At least two pay stubs, though I have recently heard of lenders asking for three or four pay stubs.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The contact information for your human resources department. The lender will eventually need to talk to someone at your company to confirm the information you've provided is legitimate.</li> </ul> <p>A new job and a new home are exciting prospects. Though continuity of employment eases the path to a new mortgage, many people buy a new home in conjunction with a new job. Be prepared with a solid, concise explanation of your decision to change jobs and have your paperwork in order. Also remember to shop around for a mortgage with a few different lenders to secure the best terms and rates. Happy house hunting!</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-your-new-job-might-affect-your-mortgage-application&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520Your%2520New%2520Job%2520Might%2520Affect%2520Your%2520Mortgage%2520Application.jpg&amp;description=How%20Your%20New%20Job%20Might%20Affect%20Your%20Mortgage%20Application"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20Your%20New%20Job%20Might%20Affect%20Your%20Mortgage%20Application.jpg" alt="How Your New Job Might Affect Your Mortgage Application" width="250" height="374" /></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/how-your-new-job-might-affect-your-mortgage-application">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/everything-you-need-to-know-about-freddie-mac-and-fannie-mae">Everything You Need to Know About Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae</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-mortgage-details-you-should-know-before-you-sign">5 Mortgage Details You Should Know Before You Sign</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-buy-a-house-without-a-mortgage">4 Ways to Buy a House Without a 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/is-a-15-year-mortgage-a-good-idea">Is a 15-Year Mortgage a Good Idea?</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-lenders-look-for-in-a-loan-application">5 Things Lenders Look For in a Loan Application</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Real Estate and Housing approval home loans income lenders mortgages new jobs paychecks stability Mon, 02 Oct 2017 08:30:16 +0000 Christa Avampato 2029141 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Money Moves to Make After Buying Your First House http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-after-buying-your-first-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-money-moves-to-make-after-buying-your-first-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_woman_holding_keys_to_her_new_house.jpg" alt="Happy woman holding keys to her new house" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You bought your first home. This is an exciting conclusion to what was likely a long and winding road. As you are unpacking your boxes, settling in, and decorating your new digs, there are some smart money moves you should make immediately to keep the good times rolling.</p> <h2>1. Adjust your last will and testament</h2> <p>Now that you have a new home, you need to update your will. In this time of excitement, updating a will might feel like putting a damper on the fun, but it's critically important. You need to be responsible for protecting the future of your loved ones and your home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-make-these-5-common-mistakes-when-writing-a-will?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Don't Make These 5 Common Mistakes When Writing a Will</a>)</p> <h2>2. Get rid of PMI as fast as you can</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-private-mortgage-insurance-anyway?ref=internal" target="_blank">Private mortgage insurance</a> (PMI) is a necessary fee for most people who buy a home with less than a 20 percent down payment. This can be a significant expense, sometimes costing thousands of dollars each year. Do whatever you can to get to that 20 percent equity mark so that you can drop the PMI payments.</p> <h2>3. Make a plan to pay a little extra every month</h2> <p>At the beginning of a mortgage, you are mostly paying interest and very little principal with every monthly payment. That ratio of interest to principal will decrease eventually, but it will take a few years.</p> <p>To more quickly pay down your mortgage, set aside a little extra every month for your mortgage payment. Why? Anything you pay above your monthly payment goes directly against the principal. (Just be sure those extra payments are going to principal; check with your mortgage lender.) The faster you reduce your principal, the faster you will pay off your home. A lower principal will also make it easier to refinance the mortgage down the line if you choose to do that in the future. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-faster-for-mortgage-payoff-100-month-extra-or-1-payment-year-extra?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What's Faster for Mortgage Payoff: $100/Month Extra or 1 Payment/Year Extra?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Replenish your emergency funds</h2> <p>Many people use a substantial part of their cash savings, if not all of it, when they buy their first home. It&rsquo;s crucial that you begin to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency?ref=internal" target="_blank">rebuild this emergency fund</a> as soon as you can.</p> <p>An emergency fund is necessary if you lose your job for any reason, have unexpected bills, or if you need to do emergency repairs on your home. Experts in the consumer finance field have varying opinions when it comes to how much to set aside in an emergency fund, but many suggest having three to six month's worth of expenses saved. Some more conservative advisers even suggest saving up enough to cover one year of expenses. Consider your lifestyle and personal risk profile to find the best target amount for you.</p> <h2>5. Reconsider your life insurance policy</h2> <p>Now that you have this beautiful new home, you will need to make sure the mortgage can be covered by your life insurance. You don&rsquo;t want your heirs to struggle to figure out what to do in the event that an unforeseen circumstance occurs.</p> <p>How much insurance do you need? Generally, the guideline for life insurance is 10 times your annual income plus any large debts like a home mortgage. Talk to your insurance company and/or financial adviser to get their perspective, and make any necessary adjustments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Reasons Why Life Insurance Isn't Just for Old People</a>)</p> <h2>6. Change your locks and install deadbolts</h2> <p>Safety is a huge part of homeownership, and it has financial implications. As soon as you have the keys in your hand, contact a locksmith to get all of the locks on your doors and windows changed, and install deadbolts on doors where you currently don&rsquo;t have them. The previous owners likely gave copies of their keys to neighbors, friends, family members, the dog walker, or people who did work on the home. You don&rsquo;t want those people to have access to what is now <em>your </em>house. You may also want to consider a home security system.</p> <p>All of these safety measures may provide a financial deduction on your homeowners insurance. Contact your insurance company to find out if you qualify for a reduction in your rate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-to-update-your-homeowners-insurance?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Times to Update Your Homeowners Insurance</a>)</p> <p>There is a desire to rest on our laurels after completing the purchase of a home. You should definitely bask in the glow of new homeownership, but this is also a time to remain financially vigilant. Remember that when it comes to your personal finances, remaining responsible and forward-thinking is the key to lasting success.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-money-moves-to-make-after-buying-your-first-house&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Money%2520Moves%2520to%2520Make%2520After%2520Buying%2520Your%2520First%2520House.jpg&amp;description=6%20Money%20Moves%20to%20Make%20After%20Buying%20Your%20First%20House"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Money%20Moves%20to%20Make%20After%20Buying%20Your%20First%20House.jpg" alt="6 Money Moves to Make After Buying Your First House" width="250" height="374" /></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/6-money-moves-to-make-after-buying-your-first-house">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/6-times-you-need-to-update-your-will">6 Times You Need to Update Your Will</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/dont-buy-a-house-with-a-pool-until-you-can-answer-these-7-questions">Don&#039;t Buy a House With a Pool Until You Can Answer These 7 Questions</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/house-hunting-these-features-will-save-you-big-over-the-long-haul">House Hunting? These Features Will Save You Big Over the Long Haul</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family&#039;s Estate</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/17-ways-your-house-can-earn-a-paycheck">17 Ways Your House Can Earn a Paycheck</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing emergency fund estate planning first house homeowners insurance homeownership last will and testament life insurance new house private mortgage insurance safety Thu, 28 Sep 2017 08:01:06 +0000 Christa Avampato 2027477 at http://www.wisebread.com Is a 15-Year Mortgage a Good Idea? http://www.wisebread.com/is-a-15-year-mortgage-a-good-idea <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-a-15-year-mortgage-a-good-idea" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/coins_stack_in_columns_with_saving_book_and_paper_home.jpg" alt="Coins stack in columns with saving book and paper home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're ready to buy a home, and it's time to choose a mortgage. Mortgage loans come in a wide variety of options, including everything from a standard 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, to loans with interest rates that adjust every year.</p> <p>Then there's the 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage. It comes with an interest rate that doesn't change and is lower than the one you'd get with a 30-year loan. But because this loan has a shorter term, it also comes with a higher monthly payment.</p> <p>Should you consider a 15-year, fixed-rate home loan? Maybe. There are pros and cons to this type of mortgage.</p> <h2>The pros</h2> <p>Let's first look at some of the upsides to a shorter-term mortgage loan.</p> <h3>You'll pay a lot less interest</h3> <p>Say you take out a mortgage loan for $200,000. If you take out this loan as a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage with an interest rate of 4.10 percent, you'll pay more than $140,000 in interest if you take the full three decades to pay off your loan.</p> <p>Say, instead, you take out that $200,000 as a 15-year, fixed-rate loan with an interest rate of 3.25 percent. You'd pay just under $53,000 in interest if you paid off this mortgage over its full term.</p> <p>That's a savings of about $87,000 in interest.</p> <h3>Your interest rate will be less</h3> <p>You pay less in interest on a 15-year, fixed-rate loan for two reasons. First, because the loan is paid back in half the time, you pay off a greater amount of its principal balance with each monthly payment. Secondly, 15-year loans come with lower interest rates than 30-year versions because you aren't holding the bank's money for as long.</p> <p>According to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the average interest rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate loan stood at 3.78 percent as of September 2017. The survey showed the average rate on a 15-year, fixed-rate loan was 3.08 percent during the same time frame.</p> <p>If nabbing the lowest possible interest rate is important to you, a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage is a good choice.</p> <h3>You'll free up your money faster</h3> <p>Because the term is cut in half, you'll pay off your mortgage faster if you go with the 15-year version. Once you've paid off your mortgage loan, you'll be able to spend or invest the dollars that once went to your lender.</p> <p>Just be aware that many homeowners never pay off their loans in full. You might refinance your 15-year loan to another type long before you pay it off. Or you might sell your home and move before you reach the end of your term.</p> <h2>The cons</h2> <p>Here are the downsides to a shorter-term mortgage.</p> <h3>Your monthly payment will be higher</h3> <p>Because you pay off a 15-year mortgage in half the time as you would a 30-year version, your monthly payments will be higher.</p> <p>How much higher? If you take out a $200,000 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage with an interest rate of 4.10 percent, your monthly payment, not including property taxes and homeowners insurance, would be about $966.</p> <p>If you take out that same $200,000 in the form of a 15-year, fixed-rate loan with an interest rate of 3.25 percent, your monthly payment would be about $1,400, again not including property taxes and insurance.</p> <p>That's a big difference. Yes, it might sound good to eliminate all the extra interest payments that come with a 30-year loan. But if you'll struggle to make the monthly payments that come with a 15-year loan, the shorter-term mortgage is not a good move.</p> <h3>There's less flexibility</h3> <p>If you're worried about the higher monthly payments of a 15-year mortgage, but also concerned about paying too much interest over the life of your loan, you can take out a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage and pay a bit extra toward your loan's principal balance every month.</p> <p>Doing this often enough will put a dent in the amount of interest you pay. And if there's a tighter month in which you don't have as much extra money, you can simply make your required mortgage payment without sending along a bit of extra cash toward principal.</p> <p>However, if you take out a 15-year mortgage, you must make the higher mortgage payment each month. You don't have the option of paying less. If your budget is already tight, or if you're struggling with high amounts of other debt, the smaller payments of a 30-year loan might make more sense.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fis-a-15-year-mortgage-a-good-idea&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FIs%2520a%252015-Year%2520Mortgage%2520a%2520Good%2520Idea-.jpg&amp;description=Is%20a%2015-Year%20Mortgage%20a%20Good%20Idea%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Is%20a%2015-Year%20Mortgage%20a%20Good%20Idea-.jpg" alt="Is a 15-Year Mortgage a Good Idea?" width="250" height="374" /></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/is-a-15-year-mortgage-a-good-idea">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/5-mortgage-details-you-should-know-before-you-sign">5 Mortgage Details You Should Know Before You Sign</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/weak-credit-you-can-still-get-a-mortgage-despite-tough-lending-standards">Weak Credit? You Can Still Get a Mortgage Despite Tough Lending Standards</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/is-it-safe-to-re-finance-your-home-close-to-retirement">Is it Safe to Re-Finance Your Home Close to Retirement?</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/why-you-should-consider-an-adjustable-rate-mortgage">Why You Should Consider an Adjustable-Rate 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/how-long-does-it-take-break-even-with-a-home-refi">How Long Does it Take Break Even With a Home ReFi?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing 15-year mortgage home loans interest rates monthly payments mortgages principal pros and cons short term loan Tue, 26 Sep 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Dan Rafter 2025923 at http://www.wisebread.com Buying a House? Here's Where to Keep Your Down Payment http://www.wisebread.com/buying-a-house-heres-where-to-keep-your-down-payment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/buying-a-house-heres-where-to-keep-your-down-payment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/saving_to_buy_a_house_or_home_savings_concept_0.jpg" alt="Saving to buy a house or home savings concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I am in the market to buy my first home in the next few years. I have been saving and researching for a long time, and have learned many of the ins and outs of home buying, thanks to real estate agents, financial advisers, and friends who have generously shared their expertise with me.</p> <p>Living in New York City, the trickiest part of the process is saving up for a down payment. I have been diligently stashing money away for the past two years, and have become curious about whether or not I am parking my funds in the best place. Here is what I discovered. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-start-saving-for-a-down-payment-on-a-home?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Easy Ways to Start Saving for a Down Payment on a Home</a>)</p> <h2>The definition of a near-term purchase</h2> <p>The time horizon of your home purchase can dictate where to place your down payment savings. A near-term purchase is one that will occur in three years or less. If that fits your time horizon for buying a house, the best thing to do is to save your money in high-yield savings, money market, and CD (certificates of deposit) accounts. For near-term purchasers, the critical point of consideration is keeping your money liquid. Of course, you'll still want to compare interest rates from different banks, but keep in mind that you won't be earning a whole lot from these types of accounts.</p> <h2>There is a strategy to using CD accounts</h2> <p>If you decide to use CD accounts for your down payment savings, you will want to use what is known as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-basics-of-cd-laddering" target="_blank">the ladder method</a>. Let's say you have $10,000. The ladder method instructs you to place $2,500 in a three-month CD, $2,500 in a six-month CD, $2,500 in a nine-month CD, and the final $2,500 in a one-year CD. Here's why: If rates go up, you can quickly take the money returned to you each quarter and place it into the higher-yield account.</p> <p>Unlike savings and money market accounts, there are penalties for early withdrawals from CDs. If you think there is a chance that you may need your funds for emergency purposes of any kind, it is best to skip CDs and just place the money into a savings or money market account that you can withdraw from at any time without penalty.</p> <h2>There are additional options for longer-term home purchase plans</h2> <p>If you have a longer-term plan for your new home purchase, there are some additional vehicles that may be worth your consideration. Bond funds can sometimes provide a return of 2 to 4 percent, which is significantly higher than savings, money market, or CD accounts. If this option interests you, there are a few points to keep in mind.</p> <p>Bond funds lose value if interest rates rise, so it is best to consult an experienced financial adviser to get a sense of what is likely to happen to interest rates in the next few years. That said, no one has a crystal ball &mdash; so while a financial adviser can make a very educated guess, they cannot guarantee what will happen with interest rates. Risk is a part of investing. Also, unlike savings, money market, and CD accounts, bonds are not insured by the FDIC and you could lose money by investing in them.</p> <h2>The bottom line on down payment savings</h2> <p>Retirement savings can afford to be invested in vehicles like stocks and bonds because we often have decades before we will use the funds. That long time horizon means retirement accounts can weather the risks of a fluctuating market. Down payment funds usually do not have the luxury of time, so investing them in stocks or bonds carries a higher risk.</p> <p>If you are considering uninsured tools such as bond funds for your down payment savings, know and understand your time horizon, risk profile, and the likely trend of the market rates. That combination of factors will determine the best place to save your down payment funds, and eventually, buy the place you will call home.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fbuying-a-house-heres-where-to-keep-your-down-payment&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FBuying%2520a%2520House-%2520Here%2527s%2520Where%2520to%2520Keep%2520Your%2520Down%2520Payment.jpg&amp;description=Buying%20a%20House%3F%20Here's%20Where%20to%20Keep%20Your%20Down%20Payment"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Buying%20a%20House-%20Here%27s%20Where%20to%20Keep%20Your%20Down%20Payment.jpg" alt="Here's Where to Keep Your Down Payment" width="250" height="374" /></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/buying-a-house-heres-where-to-keep-your-down-payment">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/what-is-private-mortgage-insurance-anyway">What Is Private Mortgage Insurance, Anyway?</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-easy-ways-to-start-saving-for-a-down-payment-on-a-home">4 Easy Ways to Start Saving for a Down Payment on a Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/weak-credit-you-can-still-get-a-mortgage-despite-tough-lending-standards">Weak Credit? You Can Still Get a Mortgage Despite Tough Lending Standards</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/make-these-5-money-moves-before-applying-for-a-mortgage">Make These 5 Money Moves Before Applying for a 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/8-signs-youre-paying-too-much-for-your-mortgage">8 Signs You&#039;re Paying Too Much for Your Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing bond funds CDs certificate of deposits down payments ladder method liquid money market accounts saving Mon, 25 Sep 2017 09:00:05 +0000 Christa Avampato 2023544 at http://www.wisebread.com What You Need to Know About Filing an Insurance Claim After a Natural Disaster http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-filing-an-insurance-claim-after-a-natural-disaster <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-you-need-to-know-about-filing-an-insurance-claim-after-a-natural-disaster" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/flooded_street.jpg" alt="Flooded street" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The worst has happened to your home: a tornado, hurricane, or other natural disaster has damaged or destroyed it. Now it's time to rebuild. But what steps do you need to take when filing an insurance claim after a natural disaster? How can you increase the odds that your insurer will pay out as much as possible to help you rebuild not only your home, but your life? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-you-arent-prepared-for-an-emergency?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Signs You Aren't Prepared for an Emergency</a>)</p> <h2>Call right away</h2> <p>The Insurance Information Institute recommends that you call your agent or insurance company immediately after a disaster. You need to determine whether the damage to your home is covered under your policy, how much time you have until you must file a claim, and how long it will take to process the claim.</p> <p>You might want to talk about your deductible, too. If your home is destroyed by a natural disaster, the costs of rebuilding will certainly exceed your deductible. But remember that you'll have to pay your deductible amount first. If you have a deductible of $1,000, you'll have to pay that amount before your insurer starts kicking in its payments to help you rebuild your home.</p> <h2>Re-educate yourself on what your policy covers</h2> <p>Hopefully you understood the amount of coverage your homeowners insurance policy provided when you signed it. But if you've since forgotten, make sure to ask your insurance agent how much coverage you can expect to rebuild.</p> <p>Some policies provide what is known as replacement-cost coverage. This means that your insurer will pay the current value of a damaged or destroyed item even if you've owned that item for several years. Say your home's furnace is destroyed, for example. A replacement-cost policy will cover the cost of that furnace today, even if you bought it 10 years ago.</p> <p>An actual-cost policy isn't quite as good. Under such a policy, your insurer will pay for only a portion of the replacement costs of a new furnace because your 10-year-old furnace isn't worth as much as a new one.</p> <h2>Prevent more damage, within reason</h2> <p>The Insurance Information Institute also recommends that homeowners, once they set the claims process in motion, take reasonable steps to prevent further damage to their property. You might, for instance, pump water out of your home's basement. Or maybe you can cover or board up broken windows.</p> <p>Just be careful not to make more extensive permanent repairs. The temporary work you do &mdash; such as boarding up windows or doors &mdash; will be covered by your insurance company, if you provide receipts of this work. But hiring a contractor to make more extensive repairs before getting the OK from your insurer is a mistake; the odds are this work won't be covered.</p> <h2>Always keep receipts</h2> <p>If you have to move your family into temporary shelter such as a hotel, be sure to keep receipts. Your homeowners insurance policy will cover the costs of these additional living expenses if your home is destroyed. But you need to keep a record of what you're spending if you want to receive full coverage.</p> <h2>Make an inventory of damaged or destroyed items</h2> <p>Your insurance company will send an adjuster to your home to determine the damage and the costs of rebuilding. Your insurer might also send you a proof-of-loss form to fill out, either before the adjuster shows up or after.</p> <p>You'll use this form to list all of the items that were damaged or destroyed by the natural disaster. You should also gather any receipts you have for the items that were destroyed. You'll give this sheet to your insurance company's adjuster.</p> <p>It's also smart to take photos of damaged or destroyed items. These images can provide more evidence to adjusters looking to determine how much money is needed to rebuild your life.</p> <p>Do not throw away damaged or destroyed items until after the adjuster's visit. It helps for them to see the damage in person.</p> <h2>Make a list of the damage to your home's physical structure</h2> <p>List individual damages such as cracked walls, lost roof tiles, damaged electrical systems, broken windows, and demolished chimneys. Again, the more information you can provide to an adjuster about the specific damage to your home, the more compensation you are likely to receive.</p> <h2>Answer questions promptly</h2> <p>If a natural disaster hits your area, be aware that it might take insurance companies longer to process claims and sign proof-of-loss statements with homeowners. To avoid further delays, make sure to answer any questions that your insurance company has as quickly as possible.</p> <p>If your insurance company needs a document, send it as quickly as possible. Any delay on your end will only lengthen your wait for payment.</p> <p>In these times, you might not feel up to dealing with insurance process, but the longer you delay, the longer it'll be before you can start rebuilding. It must be done, so try to find a way to get it done now.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhat-you-need-to-know-about-filing-an-insurance-claim-after-a-natural-disaster&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhat%2520You%2520Need%2520to%2520Know%2520About%2520Filing%2520an%2520Insurance%2520Claim%2520After%2520a%2520Natural%2520Disaster.jpg&amp;description=What%20You%20Need%20to%20Know%20About%20Filing%20an%20Insurance%20Claim%20After%20a%20Natural%20Disaster"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/What%20You%20Need%20to%20Know%20About%20Filing%20an%20Insurance%20Claim%20After%20a%20Natural%20Disaster.jpg" alt="What You Need to Know About Filing an Insurance Claim After a Natural Disaster" width="250" height="374" /></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/what-you-need-to-know-about-filing-an-insurance-claim-after-a-natural-disaster">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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