Real Estate and Housing http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4810/all en-US What You Need to Know About HOAs http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-hoas <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-hoas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_family_house_80411637.jpg" alt="Family learning what they need to know about HOAs" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're buying into a residential community &mdash; made up of condominiums or single-family homes &mdash; that is governed by a homeowners association. Is that a good thing? Or should having to deal with an HOA make you nervous?</p> <p>The answer, unfortunately, isn't simple. Homeowners associations, better known as HOAs, do come with some significant pros, including giving you access to community amenities such as swimming pools, parks, and fitness centers. But when you live in a community run by a HOA, you'll also have to follow the association's rules, which could limit everything from how many pets you can have in your condo or home to what type of alterations you can make to your property. You'll also have to pay an extra monthly fee to support the association.</p> <p>Before you move into a residential community governed by an HOA, make sure you do your research: Find out exactly how much it costs to be a part of the HOA and what benefits the association brings to its member-owners.</p> <h2>What You'll Pay and Why You'll Pay It</h2> <p>When most owners think of HOAs, they think of that extra monthly fee they'll pay. And it's true &mdash; HOAs can be expensive. Fees can vary widely, but you'll usually pay somewhere between $100 to $600 a month, though condos and housing developments with more amenities will typically charge more.</p> <p>There's a reason for this monthly fee, though: It's what you pay to make sure that the common areas of your community, whether it's the lobby or parking lot in a condominium, or the swimming pool and community center in a housing subdivision, are maintained and repaired. The fees that homeowners associations receive each month from residents go into a fund. The officers running the HOA &mdash; who are typically residents of the community itself &mdash; use this money to fund landscaping, mowing, cleaning services, maintenance, and any repair jobs that come up.</p> <h2>A Special Assessment Can Hurt</h2> <p>There might come a time when your HOA votes for a special assessment. This can be a big hurt to your finances. Say your condo building's roof needs to be replaced. Instead of paying for this big expense from the pool of money collected each month from HOA fees, the association might vote to levy a special assessment to cover the replacement costs.</p> <p>In an assessment, each household in the community will pay an extra fee to fund the repair job. These extra financial hits can be steep. Make sure, then, that your HOA has plenty of money in its coffers to tap when an emergency repair comes up. You don't want to be subject to a hefty assessment every time something goes wrong in your condo building or subdivision.</p> <h2>The Amenities Can Make a HOA Worth It</h2> <p>There is a big positive that comes with HOAs: They make the amenities in subdivisions and condo complexes possible. You might not be able to afford an in-ground swimming pool or on-site fitness center on your own. But if you buy into a condo development or residential subdivision, the fees collected by the HOA give you the chance to enjoy these amenities.</p> <p>Just make sure that the amenities themselves are important to you. Otherwise, you'll be paying a monthly fee for swimming pools, clubhouses, and business centers that you never use.</p> <h2>HOAs Do Place Limits on What You Can Do</h2> <p>Every homeowners association publishes its own set of covenants, conditions, and restrictions, better known as its CC&amp;R. These rules can severely restrict your activities while living in the community. Your association's rules might restrict you to just two dogs, for instance. They might prevent you from painting the exterior of your home your favorite color. The rules might forbid you from making certain exterior improvements to your home, too.</p> <p>Again, it's important to read a copy of an association's CC&amp;R documents before you make an offer on a residence.</p> <h2>You Can Serve on the HOA Board</h2> <p>HOAs are governed by a board usually made up of residents of the housing community. If you want to have a say on how your association operates, run for office. Yes, HOAs run regular elections. Sitting on a HOA can give you more power over how your condo development or subdivision is operated. But it also comes with significant responsibility; you are, after all, responsible for determining how to spend the money of your fellow residents.</p> <p><em>Do you live in a community with an HOA? How's it been for you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-hoas">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-questions-to-ask-before-buying-a-second-home-in-retirement">5 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Second Home in Retirement</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/10-sneaky-vacation-costs-that-add-up-quickly">10 Sneaky Vacation Costs That Add Up Quickly</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-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford">5 Alternative Housing Options You Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-best-money-management-tips-from-john-oliver">7 Best Money Management Tips From John Oliver</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/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings">9 Sneaky Home Money Pits That Sap Your Savings</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing amenities benefits condos elections fees hoas homeowners associations housing communities restrictions subdivisions Wed, 17 Aug 2016 10:00:13 +0000 Dan Rafter 1773245 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Alternative Housing Options You Can Afford http://www.wisebread.com/5-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_using_laptop_94437549.jpg" alt="Friends finding alternative housing options they can afford" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Keeping your housing costs low is key to achieving financial freedom. Minimizing your expenses frees up more money for investments, savings, and pursuing your passions. While renting an apartment or a house is still the mainstream approach, there are other alternatives available that are more cost effective. By pursuing one of these nontraditional housing options, you can cut your expenses and break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle.</p> <h2>1. Co-Living Spaces</h2> <p>Co-living spaces, which often resemble college dorms, are increasingly popular in places with a high cost of living, such as San Francisco. The tech capital is booming, and as a result, it is unaffordable for many; a one-bedroom can cost <a href="https://www.rentjungle.com/average-rent-in-san-francisco-rent-trends/">nearly $3500 a month.</a></p> <p>More and more people are turning to co-living spaces as a cost-effective way to get living situations they can afford. In Silicon Valley, co-living spaces can be <a href="http://www.coliving.club/">had for $1,000</a>, less than half what a regular apartment would cost. In these dorm-style spaces, renters usually have a small bedroom of their own, but share the kitchen and common areas with up to a dozen other residents. Besides cost savings, these arrangements also provide people new to the area with great social opportunities and allows them to meet others in their industries.</p> <h2>2. Housing Co-Ops</h2> <p>While housing co-ops are fairly common overseas, they are just starting to gain traction in the United States. In a co-op, residents pool resources to own and manage housing together. The property can be a cluster of homes or an apartment-style building. Dwellers use their joint contributions to purchase the facilities and pay for community amenities like utilities, Wi-Fi, and lawn maintenance. The community approach cuts down costs dramatically, allowing you to save a significant amount of money compared to traditional housing.</p> <p>The <a href="http://coophousing.org/resources/living-in-a-cooperative/how-to-find-a-housing-cooperative/">National Association of Housing Cooperatives</a> has comprehensive information on how to locate a co-op, how to start one yourself, and questions to ask before handing over your hard earned money.</p> <h2>3. Work-Trade</h2> <p>Many people find success with work-trade agreements. Most common in rural areas, people can get free or cheap housing in return for a set number of labor hours, such as weeding, yard maintenance, or gardening. However, this approach is also getting more common in suburban and city areas, as even regular apartment complexes are willing to offer rent subsidies for men and women with repair or maintenance skills. You can find work-trade arrangements by searching for &quot;work trade housing&quot; or &quot;rent-free exchange&quot; on community job boards.</p> <h2>4. Tiny Homes</h2> <p>While <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-tiny-house-living-actually-save-you-money">tiny homes</a> are increasingly popular for those looking for a cheap alternative to homeownership, these micro living spaces can also be a great avenue for renters. Many tiny home communities offer select units for rent. This approach can be a great option to cut down your costs while you save up a down payment for a home of your own, or to test out if small living is for you. Housing can cost as little as $300 a month.</p> <h2>5. House-Sitting</h2> <p>Another option is to act as a serial housesitter. When people are selling their homes, the structures often go vacant for months, leaving them vulnerable to thieves and squatters. Many sellers hire housesitters to live in the home rent-free to keep the home occupied and safe while it's on the market. This idea is a great strategy to get free housing without requiring a lot of work or time. You can often find housesitting opportunities on Craigslist, <a href="https://www.trustedhousesitters.com/us/">Trusted Housesitters</a>, community classifieds, or by connecting with local realtors.</p> <p>With the national rent average increasing for yet another year, many people are feeling pressure regarding their budgets. Housing eats up a huge part of their income, making it difficult to meet their other obligations or pursue their goals. Alternative housing solutions offer cost effective ways to keep a roof over your head while minimizing your expenses.</p> <p><em>Have you considered these &mdash; or other &mdash; alternative housing arrangements?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-7-things-when-living-with-roommates">Avoid These 7 Things When Living With Roommates</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-move-to-a-new-city-to-reduce-lifestyle-costs">Should You Move to a New City to Reduce Lifestyle Costs?</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-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings">9 Sneaky Home Money Pits That Sap Your Savings</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/can-tiny-house-living-actually-save-you-money">Can Tiny House Living Actually Save You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-faster-for-mortgage-payoff-100-month-extra-or-1-payment-year-extra">What&#039;s Faster for Mortgage Payoff: $100/Month Extra or 1 Payment/Year Extra?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Real Estate and Housing alternative housing co-living co-ops cost of living house sitting mortgages rent tiny homes work-trade agreements Fri, 12 Aug 2016 10:30:14 +0000 Kat Tretina 1770724 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Homes Are So Cheap Here, You Barely Need to Work http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-homes-are-so-cheap-here-you-barely-need-to-work <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-homes-are-so-cheap-here-you-barely-need-to-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_moving_in_87944031.jpg" alt="Couple finding cheap homes and don&#039;t need to work" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found articles on states where homes are so cheap you barely need to work, ways to maintain your home to avoid costly repairs, and easy ways to care for your mental health at work.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/10-states-where-takes-under-40-work-month-afford-house/">10 States Where Homes Are So Cheap You Barely Need to Work</a> &mdash; According to a new study, residents of the Midwest can work as few as 31 hours per month and still be able to pay their mortgage. [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="http://www.frugalvillage.com/2016/08/04/how-to-maintain-your-home-to-avoid-expensive-repairs/">How to Maintain Your Home to Avoid Expensive Repairs</a> &mdash; Check your roof after heavy storms or winter snows and clean out your gutters each season. [Frugal Village]</p> <p><a href="http://productivitytheory.com/easy-ways-care-mental-health-at-work/">Easy Ways to Care for Your Mental Health at Work</a> &mdash; When you have some downtime, offer to help another co-worker and learn some new skills from them. [Productivity Theory]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Sleep-Hacks-Boost-Productivity-41884167#photo-41884167">These 18 Bedtime Tips Will Boost Your Daily Productivity</a> &mdash; Tea can help wake you up in the morning, and for a good night's rest, pour yourself a hot cup of sleepy-time tea before bed [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/The-Bite/2016/0731/Healthy-retail-Helping-America-gain-access-to-healthy-foods">Healthy retail: Helping America gain access to healthy foods</a> &mdash; Partnerships between health agencies, community organizations, and small businesses are helping to increase access to healthy foods in underserved areas. [The Monitor]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="https://unclutterer.com/2016/08/04/garage-sale-right/">Is a garage sale right for you?</a> &mdash; Having a garage sale is a great way to make money on your old, unwanted things, but it isn't the best option for everyone. [Unclutterer]</p> <p><a href="http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/7-simple-ways-to-live-a-longer-and-happier-life/">7 Simple Ways to Live a Longer and Happier Life</a> &mdash; Don't underestimate the power of sleep! If you want to live longer, follow a sleep-wake cycle and make sure you get enough sleep every day. [Pick The Brain]</p> <p><a href="http://www.theorderexpert.com/study-productively-college/">How to Study Productively in College</a> &mdash; You only have so many hours in the day! Put a limit on extracurricular activities so that they won't interfere with your class and study time. [The Order Expert]</p> <p><a href="http://naturemoms.com/blog/2016/08/04/urban-homesteading-can-anyone/">What is Urban Homesteading? Can Anyone Do It?</a> &mdash; Homesteads are productive homes, and you can turn your home into a homestead even if you live in the city. [Nature Moms Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://bargainbriana.com/low-cost-high-class-decor-and-design-ideas/">Low-Cost, High-Class Decor and Design Ideas</a> &mdash; Look for ornate mirrors and picture frames with scrolling embellishments, and use a spray that creates a shiny, matte or metallic effect. [Bargain Briana]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-homes-are-so-cheap-here-you-barely-need-to-work">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-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford">5 Alternative Housing Options You Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-hoas">What You Need to Know About HOAs</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/10-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers">10 Dumb Ways to Scare Off Potential Homebuyers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings">9 Sneaky Home Money Pits That Sap Your Savings</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-avoid-getting-scammed-with-a-reverse-mortgage">How to Avoid Getting Scammed With a Reverse Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing best money tips cheap homes Mon, 08 Aug 2016 10:00:06 +0000 Amy Lu 1766923 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Reasons Millenials Should Invest in a Home http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-millenials-should-invest-in-a-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-reasons-millenials-should-invest-in-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/couple_moving_boxes_43085150.jpg" alt="Millennial couple deciding to invest in a home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you believe popular culture, most Millennials don't want to buy homes and would rather rent. But the numbers suggest otherwise. The National Association of Realtors found that in 2015, Millennials made up 35% of all homebuyers, up from 32% in 2014. No other age group represented a bigger percentage of buyers last year.</p> <p>If you're a Millennial who wants to make the jump from renting to owning, congratulations: There are several reasons why owning a home is a smart financial move for younger buyers.</p> <h2>Owning a Home Is an Investment</h2> <p>No one can guarantee that the home you buy will have increased in value by the time you're ready to sell. But the odds are high that it will.</p> <p>Just look at the most recent sales statistics released by the National Association of Realtors: The median existing-home price across the nation stood at $247,700 in June. That was up 4.8% from June of 2015, when that number stood at $236,300. This June marked the 52nd consecutive month that the median price rose.</p> <p>Just remember that price increases, though possible, aren't guaranteed. Plenty of people who bought homes in 2005 and 2006, before the housing market began its crash in 2007, still owe more on their mortgage loans than what their homes are worth. Many of these homes still are worth less today than what they sold for back then.</p> <h2>Interest Rates Are Still Low</h2> <p>If you're like the vast majority of buyers, you'll need a mortgage loan to finance the purchase of a home. Borrowing mortgage money today, though, is affordable thanks to historically low mortgage interest rates.</p> <p>According to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the average interest rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loan stood at 3.45% for the week ending July 21. For a 15-year, fixed-rate loan, that rate stood at 2.75%. These low rates mean that your monthly mortgage payment will be lower than if rates were closer to the 5% range.</p> <h2>You Can Build Equity</h2> <p>Every time you make a monthly mortgage payment, and pay down your home loan's principal balance, you build equity in your home. Say your home is worth $200,000 and you owe $180,000 on your mortgage loan: You have $20,000 worth of equity.</p> <p>You can borrow against this equity, in the form of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-equity-loan-or-heloc-which-is-right-for-you">home equity loans</a> or home equity lines of credit, to fund major home improvements, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oops-i-maxed-out-my-credit-cards-now-what?ref=internal">pay down credit card debt</a>, or even to help fund a child's college education. When you are renting, your monthly rent check disappears in your landlord's bank account.</p> <p>Do exercise caution, though, when borrowing against your home's equity. You will have to pay back whatever you borrow, in monthly installments. Don't add too much monthly debt to your expenses or you will feel the financial squeeze. And if you can't afford to make your monthly equity loan payments, you could lose your home to your lender.</p> <p>You can boost your credit score: Your FICO credit score is a key number. Lenders rely on it to determine if you're a good lending risk. The higher your score, the more likely you are to qualify for loans and credit, and the lower the interest rate attached to these loans.</p> <p>By paying your monthly mortgage payment on time each month, you'll steadily boost your credit score. Payment history makes up 35% of your FICO score.</p> <h2>Tax Breaks</h2> <p>Owning a home also comes with tax breaks each year. The interest you pay each year on your home is tax-deductible. This break pays off more in the earlier years of owning a home, because the majority of your mortgage payment at this time is interest.</p> <p><em>Are you ready to move from renting to buying? What's holding you back? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-millenials-should-invest-in-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/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-tax-deductions-new-homeowners-shouldnt-skip">4 Tax Deductions New Homeowners Shouldn&#039;t Skip</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/thinking-of-skipping-the-home-inspection-heres-what-it-will-cost-you">Thinking of Skipping the Home Inspection? Here&#039;s What It Will Cost You</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-be-saving-big-with-bi-weekly-mortgage-payments">Why You Should Be Saving Big With Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payments</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/3-times-a-refinance-is-the-wrong-move">3 Times a Refinance Is the Wrong Move</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing building credit buying a house equity interest rates millennials new homeowners tax breaks young adults Fri, 05 Aug 2016 09:00:08 +0000 Dan Rafter 1766255 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Avoid Getting Scammed With a Reverse Mortgage http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-getting-scammed-with-a-reverse-mortgage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-avoid-getting-scammed-with-a-reverse-mortgage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/upside_down_house_22048959.jpg" alt="Learning how to avoid being scammed by reverse mortgage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Reverse mortgages have been negatively cast as a last-ditch option for seniors short on cash. However, reverse mortgages can also provide many helpful benefits, including the ability to replenish or boost your retirement account or help you stave off foreclosure. Find out what a reverse mortgage is and the best ways to make it work for your financial situation.</p> <h2>What Is a Reverse Mortgage?</h2> <p>A reverse mortgage, also known as a home equity conversion mortgage (HECM), is a specialized loan available to individuals who are over 62 years old. This loan allows borrowers to convert a portion of home equity into cash. Interest on the loan is deferred until the home is sold or the last borrower dies.</p> <p>To qualify for a reverse mortgage, homeowners will need to own their home outright or have a low mortgage balance that can be paid off easily with the proceeds of the loan. Homeowners must also live in the home to remain qualified. Homeowners will still be required to pay for property taxes and insurance premiums.</p> <h2>What Are the Best Ways to Use a Reverse Mortgage?</h2> <p>If you have a lot of home equity but are still struggling to pay the monthly payments, a reverse mortgage can then pay you the equity, which can then in turn be used to pay off your mortgage. You will need to have a reverse mortgage with a lump-sum disbursement and show that you can afford taxes and insurance costs.</p> <p>Another great way to use a reverse mortgage is to give your retirement fund the boost it needs. If you didn't save enough for retirement, know that you aren't alone &mdash; the majority of Americans don't. Receiving some of your reverse mortgage as a lump-sum allows you to invest the money if market conditions are favorable.</p> <h2>What Are Other Ways to Use a Reverse Mortgage?</h2> <p>Technically, the money you receive from a reverse mortgage is your money, and you can use it however you like. You don't even need good credit or a lot of income to qualify for an HECM. Investing your HECM into your retirement is one of the best things you can do with the money. Here are a few other wise financial moves you can make with the money you earn from a reverse mortgage.</p> <h3>Purchase Investment Property</h3> <p>You can purchase property in cash from your HECM and not worry about being approved for a mortgage. Of course, buying property is not always a good investment, so be sure the property you purchase is worth it. Don't just throw your money into any property purchase and hope to live off rental income.</p> <h3>Buy a Second Home</h3> <p>If you love to split your time in a vacation home, then a HECM with enough equity can help you afford to buy a second home without having to worry about mortgage payments. Don't just buy a second home just because you can. A second home purchase should be considered if it can save you money and also earn you money. A second home can help you avoid vacation or hotel rental fees, and you can rent out your home when you are not living there. Remember you must keep your current home, the home you wish to get a HECM loan with, as your primary residence.</p> <h3>Pay Off Debt</h3> <p>If debt is weighing you down each month, then consider using your HECM to pay it off and save money on interest payments. However, don't be tempted to get back into debt. Using your HECM to pay off debt should be the start of a debt-free lifestyle, not a bandage to place on a shopping or gambling addiction.</p> <h2>What Are the Downsides of a Reverse Mortgage?</h2> <p>If you're currently using other government programs, such as Medicaid or SSI, having your HECM disbursed to you as monthly payments will be counted as income. You will face foreclosure if you cannot afford the property taxes or insurance premiums. Another thing to consider before proceeding with a reverse mortgage is that the upfront fees to do so can be quite high. Also, the amount of money you get upfront from your mortgage is dependent on several factors, such as your age and the value of your home. You might not get as much money as you need. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-downsides-of-a-reverse-mortgage?ref=seealso">5 Downsides of a Reverse Mortgage</a>)</p> <p>Before tapping into your equity, take time to consider if this is really the best option for your financial situation. If you truly have that much equity in your house, you could even sell your home and downsize to a smaller home, mortgage-free.</p> <p><em>Are you considering a reverse mortgage? How do you plan to use the funds?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-getting-scammed-with-a-reverse-mortgage">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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-downsides-of-a-reverse-mortgage">5 Downsides of a Reverse 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/3-times-a-refinance-is-the-wrong-move">3 Times a Refinance Is the Wrong Move</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-what-to-do-if-you-cant-afford-your-mortgage-payment">Here&#039;s What to Do If You Can&#039;t Afford Your Mortgage Payment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-faster-for-mortgage-payoff-100-month-extra-or-1-payment-year-extra">What&#039;s Faster for Mortgage Payoff: $100/Month Extra or 1 Payment/Year Extra?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-millenials-should-invest-in-a-home">4 Reasons Millenials Should Invest in a Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing equity HECM home equity conversion mortgage investment properties loans retirement reverse mortgages second homes Wed, 03 Aug 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1763994 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Sneaky Home Money Pits That Sap Your Savings http://www.wisebread.com/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_cash_grass_13020597.jpg" alt="Finding hidden home money pits you don&#039;t notice" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are so many expenses associated with paying the bills for a home that it is easy to miss money leaks that are costing you big dollars. Putting a plug into these leaks can make a big difference in your budget. From old-school thermostats to faulty plumbing, here are some of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pets-old-cars-and-3-other-common-money-pits" target="_blank">top money-pits</a> to watch for:</p> <h2>1. Old School Thermostats</h2> <p>I recently replaced my 1980s era thermostat with a new one for about $50. Why? Because the old thermostat was leaking money every day. My new thermostat is programmable, so I can automatically avoid heating or cooling the house when no one is home. It's paid for itself in just the first few months.</p> <h2>2. Drafty Windows</h2> <p>It may sound extreme to replace windows to save money on your heating bill, but I was paying hundreds of dollars every month for propane when I moved into an old house with drafty single pane windows. Old windows are almost as inefficient as having your windows open all winter. Replacing them will reduce your utility bill and add to the resale value of your house. If replacing windows is too big of a project, you can install clear plastic film over your windows for a few dollars each to help keep the money from flowing out.</p> <h2>3. Old HVAC Systems</h2> <p>I once lived in a house with a 40-year-old furnace. My home inspector said it was built like a tank, and I think it was about as energy efficient as a tank, too. If you plan to stay in your house for a few years, an energy efficient HVAC system can easily pay for itself through lower energy bills. Plus, the new system will increase the value of your house.</p> <h2>4. Poor Insulation</h2> <p>Don't be fooled: It can be hard to notice a poorly insulated home because the furnace can compensate for this by running more to try to maintain the desired temperature. The most effective place to upgrade your home's insulation is in the attic, since warm air is less dense than cold air and a lot of heat transfer happens through the attic and roof as warm air rises. If your floors are cold, you may benefit from adding insulation under your house, as well. Insulating walls can be a bigger project, but insulation can be often blown into the joint space in walls in a matter of just hours.</p> <h2>5. Old Appliances</h2> <p>Old appliances are energy hogs compared with newer, more efficient models &mdash; especially refrigerators, freezers, and dishwashers. It may be hard to notice that old appliance sitting there quietly sucking down extra electricity all the time, but the cost adds up every month. Some utility companies offer incentives to take away old appliances in order to encourage people to replace them with energy efficient models. And you may even qualify for <a href="https://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits">tax credits</a> related to energy efficient appliances.</p> <h2>6. Bad Mortgage Rates</h2> <p>When you got your mortgage, you probably shopped around and got the best rate you could find. But have you checked your rate lately? You may be paying more than you need to for interest every month. If you plan to stay in your house for a few years, refinancing your mortgage to get a better interest rate can help you hang on to more of your money each month instead of giving it to the banker.</p> <h2>7. Leaky Roof or Gutters</h2> <p>You won't get a bill right away if you have a leaky roof or gutters that don't work properly, but deferred maintenance is like a time bomb that can cost you a huge amount of money in the future in the form of repair bills and reduced property value. Take care of water leaks before they become a money pit.</p> <h2>8. Long Commutes</h2> <p>If your home is far away from work, shopping, and school, your commute is costing you time and money every day. Unfortunately, avoiding this money pit may require moving to a different house. I was able to move about 10 minutes closer to my work location, and it made a big difference.</p> <h2>9. Too Much House</h2> <p>If your house is bigger than you really need, you are paying extra every month for your mortgage, utility bills, and property taxes. Consider downsizing to avoid sinking money into paying for space you are not fully utilizing.</p> <p><em>Which of these home money pits are costing you money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings">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/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month">12 Green Living Habits That&#039;ll Save You Every Month</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-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford">5 Alternative Housing Options You Can Afford</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/10-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers">10 Dumb Ways to Scare Off Potential Homebuyers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-faster-for-mortgage-payoff-100-month-extra-or-1-payment-year-extra">What&#039;s Faster for Mortgage Payoff: $100/Month Extra or 1 Payment/Year Extra?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-on-a-long-distance-move">10 Ways to Save on a Long-Distance Move</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Real Estate and Housing appliances commuting energy efficient money pits money sucks mortgages thermostats wasting money Windows Mon, 01 Aug 2016 10:00:14 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1757850 at http://www.wisebread.com You're Ready to Make an Offer on a House: Now What? http://www.wisebread.com/youre-ready-to-make-an-offer-on-a-house-now-what <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/youre-ready-to-make-an-offer-on-a-house-now-what" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_new_house_94290869.jpg" alt="Couple learning what they need to know about making an offer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've found the home of your dreams. Now the hard work starts: It's time to make an offer, and hopefully, close the deal that will make the home yours.</p> <p>If you've never made an offer on a home before, the process can be intimidating. Fortunately, there is a formula here. Knowing that formula should at least remove some of the uncertainty from making an offer.</p> <h2>The Purchase Offer</h2> <p>Once you've found the home that you want to buy, you'll work with your real estate agent &mdash; or on your own if you're buying without an agent &mdash; to fill out a <em>purchase offe</em>r form. Most agents use a standard form. You'll fill in your name and the address of the home you want to buy.</p> <p>You and your real estate agent will also fill in the price you want to pay and provide an expiration date for the offer. Usually, you'll give the sellers and their real estate agent two to three days to respond, though you can set any expiration date you'd like.</p> <p>The purchase offer will also include information on how you will pay for the home, indicating that the offer hinges on you qualifying for a mortgage loan or that you are going to pay for the property in cash. The offer will also state a date by which the sale must close if the sellers accept the offer.</p> <p>How much you offer for the home is up to you. Your real estate agent will recommend a price for your first offer. If you really want the home, and you're worried that another buyer will make an offer, too, you might offer to pay the home's full list price. In some particularly hot markets, buyers even offer more than list price to make sure they don't lose the home.</p> <h2>The Seller's Move</h2> <p>After your real estate agent submits the offer to the agent representing the seller, it's your turn to wait. Sellers can accept your offer as is, make a counteroffer or reject your offer without making a counteroffer, effectively ending any future negotiations.</p> <p>You and your agent will review any counteroffers together. Usually, sellers will make a counteroffer based on the price you submitted. The sellers might have listed their home for $300,000 and you might have offered to pay $280,000. The sellers' counter offer might request that you pay $290,000 instead.</p> <p>Don't panic when you receive a counter offer. There is no limit to how many times you and the sellers can go back and forth. You and your agent can keep submitting offers until the sellers either accept one, or you or the sellers finally decide that the sale isn't going to happen.</p> <h2>The Sellers Accept &mdash; Now What?</h2> <p>When the seller accepts your offer, you'll sign a contract. The contract states that you intend to buy the home, as long as the property meets certain contingencies. The sellers can't entertain other offers for the home now unless your deal falls through.</p> <h3>Earnest Money</h3> <p>You'll supply earnest money with the contract. This money, which can range from a couple hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, tells the sellers that you are serious about buying their home. The money is held in an escrow account maintained by the title company handling the real estate closing. If you back out of the home sale for a reason not allowed in your sales contract, the sellers get to keep the earnest money deposit.</p> <p>If you go ahead with the sale, the earnest money that you already supplied is usually applied to the closing costs of the mortgage loan or the down payment on the house. If you supplied an earnest money deposit of $1,000, say, and you are providing a down payment of $10,000, you could use the earnest money so that you'd only need to provide $9,000 for that down payment.</p> <h3>Appraisal</h3> <p>After you and the sellers sign the contract, your mortgage lender will require that you pay for an appraisal to make sure that the home you are buying is worth at least what you are paying. If the appraisal comes in too low &mdash; say the appraiser says that the home you are buying for $250,000 is only worth $200,000 &mdash; the lender might rescind its offer to loan you mortgage dollars. This could scuttle the deal, though in most instances you will have your earnest money deposit refunded.</p> <h3>Inspection</h3> <p>You also have the opportunity to schedule a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thinking-of-skipping-the-home-inspection-heres-what-it-will-cost-you">home inspection</a> after signing the contract, and you really should. An inspector will tour the home and point out any problems with the property. You then can ask the seller to fix the problems, reduce the sales price of the home, or provide you with the money you need to fix the problems yourself. Your contract will also state how serious these problems have to be before you can cancel the sale. For instance, your contract might state that you can walk away from the home sale if the inspector turns up needed repairs that are equal to $10,000 or more.</p> <p>If the appraisal and the inspection go well? It's time to move to the closing table, where you'll sign a stack of papers that will officially transfer ownership of the home to you.</p> <p><em>If you've ever bought a home, how did your offer and negotiation go?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youre-ready-to-make-an-offer-on-a-house-now-what">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/4-reasons-millenials-should-invest-in-a-home">4 Reasons Millenials Should Invest in a Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-process-for-purchasing-a-house-with-cash">The Process for Purchasing a House With Cash</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-cost-of-a-free-ride-why-not-to-use-a-buyers-agent-submitted-by-ken-rick">The cost of a free ride - why not to use a buyer&#039;s agent</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-homebuying-questions-youre-embarrassed-to-ask">5 Homebuying Questions You&#039;re Embarrassed to Ask</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/23-hidden-costs-of-buying-an-old-house">23 Hidden Costs of Buying an Old House</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing buyers buying a house counteroffers escrow house hunting inspection purchase offers Fri, 29 Jul 2016 10:30:10 +0000 Dan Rafter 1757852 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Dumb Ways to Scare Off Potential Homebuyers http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_pink_wallpaper_65405345.jpg" alt="Woman finding dumb ways to scare off homebuyers" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When the time comes to put your home on the market, you will go from being a homeowner to a home seller. Make no mistake, the two are very different, and if you don't want to scare away the buyers, you will need to make a few sacrifices. However, if you avoid the following dumb mistakes, and keep your eyes on the prize, your home will be sold before long. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-hidden-housing-costs-new-homeowners-dont-expect" target="_blank">10 Hidden Housing Costs New Homeowners Don't Expect</a>)</p> <h2>1. Family Photos and Kids' Drawings Everywhere</h2> <p>It may seem odd to think this is a way to scare people off, but look at it this way: When anyone comes to look around the home you're selling, they are trying to picture themselves, and their family, living there. It's very difficult to do that when the home is clearly one that belongs to another family, with personal evidence of that in every room. If you have framed photos covering every wall, drawings over the fridge and up the staircase, and other shrines to your beloved family and friends, you need to take most of them down. Don't worry; it's not forever. In fact, if you do it, it will take you less time to sell your house, and put them up in your new home.</p> <h2>2. Unusual Smells and Stains</h2> <p>No home can stay new-looking forever. Homebuyers expect the house to be lived in, but what they don't want are odd smells and ugly stains. You may not notice them as you have lived with them for years, but you need to look at your home through fresh eyes. Do a walk-through, and examine every wall, ceiling, and floor in every room. Stains can easily be covered with paint, or shampooed out of carpets. If it's very stubborn, you may have to replace the carpet or rug. Smells, well, the cause needs to be tracked down. If it's mold in the corner of the basement, get it treated. If it's something rotten in the garage, dump it. Your home should look clean and smell fresh. Don't try and mask smells with air fresheners, as they will only make it worse (the sweet smell of vanilla and mold is not a nice combination).</p> <h2>3. Your House Is Stuck in the Past</h2> <p>It's one thing to keep your home in great condition. It's quite another to keep it in the exact same condition that it was in when you first acquired it. If you bought the home 20 years ago, it should not look that way, inside or out. Ideally, you will have performed upgrades over the years to modernize the look and feel of the place. New paint, new carpet or flooring, new appliances, updated cabinets, perhaps even a few additions or a finished basement, can all help with the appeal. Very few people want to move into a home that looks and feels dated. It is a sign that they will have a lot of work to do, and money to spend, to bring the home roaring into the present.</p> <h2>4. It's Dirty and Messy</h2> <p>One of the simplest ways to make a used car sell for more money is to detail it, inside and out. It can literally add thousands to the value. The same is true of your home. If the kitchen is dirty, and the sink is full of dishes, you are sending the wrong message. You are also putting a barrier in front of that potential buyer, and it's your job to remove them. You don't want them to have to imagine how it would look when it's clean and tidy. Show them. Every room should be clean, organized, and free of clutter.</p> <h2>5. You Have&hellip; Wallpaper!</h2> <p>What's wrong with wallpaper? Well, the chances are, it took you a long time to find the wallpaper you really liked. You scoured the pattern books, you mulled it over for days, and when you finally took the plunge, it was no easy task to put up. In fact, most people opt for a professional to do it. So, what are the odds that your perfect wallpaper is also the perfect match for someone who wants to buy your house? Exactly. When they see wallpaper, they see a chore. They see hours of steaming, scouring, scraping, and sweating. Removing wallpaper is about as pleasant as scrubbing the bathroom floor, only it takes 10 times as long. So, get rid of it. Scrape it off now, and put neutral paint in its place. It will vastly improve your chances of getting a buyer.</p> <h2>6. You Follow the Buyer Around</h2> <p>The easiest way to make the buyer feel really awkward, uncomfortable, and pressured, is to be the tour guide for your home. You know the feeling yourself, especially if you've tried to look at a car on the lot and the salesperson is breathing down your neck. This is a huge purchase, and buyers want time and space to look at everything without a chaperon. So, if you can, make sure you're not at home when the buyers come. If you have to be there, confine yourself to just one room, and leave that room when the buyers enter. Go out into the garden or yard, or even the garage.</p> <h2>7. Anything Broken</h2> <p>A door that won't close properly. An appliance that doesn't work well. A piece of tile that has come away from the wall. A cracked window. The list is endless, but whatever it is that's broken in your home, fix it before you put it on the market. Big things, like the roof or siding, that's a no-brainer. But it's the little things that you may have simply gotten used to that can be really off-putting to potential buyers. If they have to jiggle the handle in just the right way to get into the garage, that's not good. If they have to step over the broken piece of concrete in the backyard, they're going to remember that in a negative way. Do a thorough check of the home, and get everything fixed. You do not want to send a signal that you did not do a good job of maintaining your house.</p> <h2>8. Setting the Asking Price Way Too High</h2> <p>It may be a seller's market, but don't take that beyond the limits. If you start at the maximum price you could hope to get, you're excluding a vast number of buyers from ever taking a tour. They may have a maximum amount they want to spend, and your high starting price means they cannot afford to get into a bidding war. Remember, the Internet has given buyers a wealth of information about homes for sale, or recently sold, in your neighborhood. They can do their own comps, and quickly come to the conclusion that you are asking way too much. Now of course, you also don't want to ask too little for the home, because it's possible only one buyer will bite, and you may be stuck with that asking price. So do your homework. See what homes of the same size, age, and condition have sold for in your area, and price accordingly.</p> <h2>9. Poor Landscaping</h2> <p>There is something called curb appeal, and it's literally judging a book by its cover. Your home may be something out of <em>Architectural Digest</em> on the inside, but if it looks like the Addams Family did the yard work, you are not going to inspire people to come and look around. This is the first impression, and it has to count. This also applies to the backyard, too. If it's a bunch of weeds, rocks, rusted cars, and an eyesore called an &quot;above ground pool,&quot; you have your work cut out. People want to see a well loved landscape, front and back, that has green grass, healthy trees, flowering plants, and clean rocks. If it's anything less than that, you may never get the buyer through the front door.</p> <h2>10. Bizarre or Eccentric Features</h2> <p>You may have thought that decorating an entire wall of the den with hubcaps was cool, but potential homebuyers probably won't like it. Anything that is exclusive to the point of being weird or strange is not going to help you sell the home. Maybe the kids wanted a room that was like a forest, complete with lots of fake trees and a dark green carpet. Or perhaps the gray Batcave was something that you just had to have. All well and good when it's your own place, but you cannot expect buyers to share your passions. If you have something that is truly original, it may be time to take it out and go neutral. And in the case of this guy, who <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoInb9JGamA">built a roller coaster</a> through his house to try and sell it, well&hellip;that's not recommended!</p> <p><em>What's the scariest thing you've ever seen at an open house?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers">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/6-tourist-towns-that-are-actually-great-to-live-in">6 &quot;Tourist Towns&quot; That Are Actually Great to Live In</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing">6 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal for Next to Nothing</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/big-lessons-from-the-tiny-house-movement">Big Lessons From the Tiny House Movement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-sold-my-house-in-48-hours">How I Sold My House in 48 Hours</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/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings">9 Sneaky Home Money Pits That Sap Your Savings</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Real Estate and Housing cleaning decorations dumb mistakes housing market landscaping moving pricing selling home Tue, 26 Jul 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Paul Michael 1757121 at http://www.wisebread.com Thinking of Skipping the Home Inspection? Here's What It Will Cost You http://www.wisebread.com/thinking-of-skipping-the-home-inspection-heres-what-it-will-cost-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/thinking-of-skipping-the-home-inspection-heres-what-it-will-cost-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/70578731.jpg" alt="Learning what a skipped home inspection will cost you" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Buying a home is a lengthy process, and most likely the biggest financial decision you'll ever make. Even if you score a great deal on the cost of your home, there are several other fees that sneak in, like closing costs, private mortgage insurance, broker fees, and more.</p> <p>It can be tempting to want to forego the home inspection, especially since it's one more cost to handle. But even if your prospective home looks immaculate, you should still get an inspection. Doing so can potentially save you thousands of dollars.</p> <h2>Don't Take the Seller's Word</h2> <p>A few months ago, we bought a new home. Our home buying situation was a little unique, considering we were buying from a relocation company. The relocation company had gotten a home inspection before listing the house, and they were slightly put off by the fact that we wanted our own home inspection.</p> <p>The home inspection ended up finding about $2,500 worth of repairs that were invisible to the naked eye. Shingles need to be replaced on the patio cover, the plumbing wasn't covered correctly in the attic, and the patio lighting wasn't done properly and posed a fire hazard. These were all things we would have never noticed without an inspection &mdash; but could have caused serious issues if left unfixed.</p> <p>The company made the costly repairs right away, which saved us quite a bit of money. If we had foregone the inspection, then a number of things could have happened with the shoddy electrical wiring or uncovered plumbing lines. It was easily worth the $450 we paid for the inspection.</p> <h2>Prepare for Future Costs</h2> <p>With a home we bought in 2012, the inspector pointed out that we should keep an eye on the water heater, but he didn't write it in his report. Because of that comment, we opted for home warranty insurance, which cost about $400, and called in an inspection of the water heater within a few months of moving in. The home warranty covered the costs, saving us $400&ndash;$500, overall.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-you-need-to-know-about-a-home-appraisal?ref=seealso">9 Things You Need to Know About a Home Appraisal</a></p> <h2>Forgo Bribes to Skip the Inspection</h2> <p>If a seller offers a discounted price or cash back for skipping the home inspection, walk away from the deal. This could be a huge red flag. A home inspection takes only a few hours and the cost is footed by the buyer. Therefore, the seller is not really inconvenienced when it comes to the home inspection, and there is no reason to persuade buyers against it, unless there are critical issues with the home.</p> <p>Chicago homeowner, Lisa Keefe, experienced this when she and her husband put an offer in on a rehabbed cottage. &quot;The sellers offered us a $5,000 break on the price if we would forgo the inspection,&quot; she said. They chose an inspection, instead.</p> <p>Their inspection turned up a wide variety of issues, because the home was redone by the owner's inexperienced brother-in-law. A load-bearing wall was removed in the kitchen, the support beam was rotting, there were zoning issues with the basement, the roof was unstable, and the foundation was sinking. All of these issues were very serious and would have cost the Keefe's a lot of money, but thankfully they walked away from the cottage purchase.</p> <h2>What to Look for in a Home Inspector</h2> <p>You want to hire a home inspector that has many years of experience and the proper certifications and licenses. You also want an inspector that is thorough and will go into the attic, through the basement, and on the roof.</p> <p>We had the same inspector for both of our home purchases, and he noted the big stuff, as well as the minor issues. Not only did he tell us about the faulty electrical on the patio, but he also mentioned minor things, like the fact that the shower grate needed to be screwed down and the hot and cold water for the kitchen sink were switched. When it comes to your new home purchase, it is better to have too much information than not enough.</p> <h2>Should You Be There for the Inspection?</h2> <p>Home inspections are not mandatory, but it is a good idea to be there. Some inspectors are happy with you following them around asking questions, while others want to do a thorough search first, and <em>then</em> a walk through with you. Make it a point to meet with the inspector and walk through all of his findings. Be sure to look thoroughly through his report afterward too. You are paying for his time, so don't hesitate to ask several questions.</p> <p>Even if your home inspection turns up clean, it is nice to have that peace of mind. It can seem like an unnecessary expense, especially when your new home purchase is already squeezing your budget. However, the cost of a home inspection is worth it. It is better to pay $400&ndash;$500 for a report you don't need, than to skip it and pay $3,000 for a new roof within a year of buying your new home.</p> <p><em>Ever have a home inspection? Do you think it was worth the extra cost?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thinking-of-skipping-the-home-inspection-heres-what-it-will-cost-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-millenials-should-invest-in-a-home">4 Reasons Millenials Should Invest in a Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-private-mortgage-insurance-anyway">What Is Private Mortgage Insurance, Anyway?</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/5-things-you-need-to-know-when-renting-to-own-a-home">5 Things You Need to Know When Renting-to-Own a Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-process-for-purchasing-a-house-with-cash">The Process for Purchasing a House With Cash</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing bribes buying a house costs home inspections new homeowners repairs Wed, 13 Jul 2016 09:30:33 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1748330 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Things You Need to Know When Renting-to-Own a Home http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-need-to-know-when-renting-to-own-a-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-things-you-need-to-know-when-renting-to-own-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/house_hand_coins_88170549_0.jpg" alt="What you need to know about renting-to-own a home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your credit scores are too low. Or maybe you've run up too much credit card debt. Whatever the reason, you can't qualify for the mortgage loan you need to buy a home. But there is hope: You can enter into a rent-to-own agreement and begin living in a home today &mdash; one that you might eventually be able to buy.</p> <p>Just be careful: David Reiss, professor of law and research director for the Center for Urban Business at Brooklyn Law School, said that consumers need to be careful when entering rent-to-own arrangements. Often, these agreements end up with tenants losing money that they didn't need to spend.</p> <p>&quot;Potential homebuyers should be very careful with rent-to-own opportunities,&quot; Reiss said. &quot;They have a long history of burning buyers. Does the law in your state provide any protection to a rent-to-own buyer who falls behind on payments? Could you end up losing everything that you had paid toward the purchase if you lose your job?&quot;</p> <p>These worries, and others, are why you need to do your research before signing a rent-to-own agreement. And it's why you need to know these five key facts before agreeing to any rent-to-own contract.</p> <h2>1. How Do Monthly Rent and Final Selling Price Relate?</h2> <p>In a rent-to-own arrangement, you might pay a bit more in rent each month to the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-shouldnt-buy-a-house-yet" target="_blank">owner of a home</a>. These extra dollars go toward reducing a final sales price for the home that you and the owner agree upon before you start renting.</p> <p>Then, after a set number of years pass &mdash; usually anywhere from one to five &mdash; you'll have the option to purchase the home, with the sales price lowered by however much extra money you paid along with your monthly rent checks. Not all companies that offer rent-to-own homes work this way. Some don't ask for more money from tenants each month, and don't apply any rental money toward lowering the eventual sales price of the home.</p> <p>This latter option might be the better choice for you if you're not certain that you'll be able to qualify for a mortgage even after the rental period ends.</p> <p>&quot;A pitfall is if the tenant buyer signs into the program but will never be approved for financing, thus never purchases the house,&quot; said John Matthews, president of operations of Chicago Lease to Own. &quot;That is how the scammers out there have used rent-to-own to hurt people. They sell it to those who should never have been in the program and take their portion of the rent every month used 'for the purchase of their home' knowing that the tenant will never qualify to buy the home.&quot;</p> <p>Make sure you know &mdash; and are comfortable with &mdash; the home's final sales price and monthly rent payments before you agree to a rent-to-own arrangement. And if you don&rsquo;t want to pay extra in rent each month for a home that you might never end up buying? A rent-to-own agreement might not be for you.</p> <h2>2. What Is the Timeline?</h2> <p>To start the rent-to-own process, you and the owner of a home sign a contract listing what the home's final sales price will be after the rental period ends. The contract will also list how long you will rent the home before you have to decide whether to buy the property. The document will state, too, how much you'll pay in rent each month, and how much of that money will go toward lowering the home's final sales price.</p> <p>These are all key facts to learn before you rent-to-own. You don't want too little of your monthly rent going toward a home's final sales price. If it does, you'll barely make a dent in that final sales price.</p> <h2>3. What's an &quot;Option Premium&quot;</h2> <p>After you and the homeowner sign the contract, you'll pay what is known as an option premium. This premium is what gives you the right to purchase the home after the rental period ends. Be aware that this premium is nonrefundable, even if you don't decide to buy the house after your rental period comes to a close. You can expect to pay about 5% of the home's final sales price for your option premium.</p> <h2>4. What Happens to Your Extra Money If You Don't Buy?</h2> <p>If you don't end up buying the home after the rent-to-own period ends, you'll most likely lose the extra money that you paid each month to your landlord. Most landlords will include a provision in their rent-to-own contracts stating that tenants lose the extra rent they send in every month if they pass on their option of purchasing the home.</p> <p>If you're not certain that you will end up buying the home &mdash; and after five years or so of renting a home you might decide that the property or neighborhood is not the right one for you &mdash; be wary of entering a rent-to-own arrangement. You might be throwing away all those extra dollars each month.</p> <h2>5. How Strong Is the Local Real Estate Market?</h2> <p>It pays, too, to study the market in which your rent-to-own home sits. Are housing prices rising in value each year? Or is the market a sluggish one? This is important information to know. What if the home in which you are living loses value during the five years you are renting it? Will you still want to pay that higher final sales price that you negotiated with your landlord?</p> <p>If you signed a contract, you won't have any recourse but to pay more than what the home is worth or to walk away from the deal, meaning that you threw away all that extra rental money you sent your landlord every month.</p> <p>Renters need to be careful, too, when negotiating a home's future sales price. A landlord might ask for a price that is unrealistically high for a specific market.</p> <p>&quot;The landlord will greatly inflate the purchase price of the home when the tenant can buy it,&quot; said Mark Ferguson, founder of Invest Four More in Greeley, Colorado. &quot;The home may be worth $120,000 today, but in a year or two, the price for the tenant will be $140,000 or more. The landlord will justify this because prices always go up. Landlords won't tell you that the average appreciation of homes is 3% to 6% a year, and their price is 20% or 30% higher a year.&quot;</p> <p>It pays to meet with a real estate agent or to study the local housing market on your own. You can never guarantee that a home won't fall in value, but by doing your homework, you can at least increase your odds of renting a property that has a chance to increase in value during the rental period.</p> <p><em>Have you bought a home via rent-to-own? What was the process like for you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-need-to-know-when-renting-to-own-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/ask-yourself-these-5-questions-before-buying-a-home">Ask Yourself These 5 Questions Before Buying a Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-a-30-year-mortgage-is-a-smart-financial-choice">Here&#039;s Why a 30-Year Mortgage Is a Smart Financial Choice</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/everything-a-first-time-home-buyer-needs-to-buy-a-house">Everything a First-Time Home Buyer Needs to Buy 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/how-to-prepare-for-a-home-purchase-in-2010">How to Prepare for a Home Purchase in 2010</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing financing housing market landlords mortgages new homeowners rent to own scams Tue, 12 Jul 2016 09:00:09 +0000 Dan Rafter 1741716 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 "Tourist Towns" That Are Actually Great to Live In http://www.wisebread.com/6-tourist-towns-that-are-actually-great-to-live-in <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-tourist-towns-that-are-actually-great-to-live-in" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_bike_beach_93011895.jpg" alt="Man living in tourist town that&#039;s actually fun to live in" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's not uncommon to vacation somewhere spectacular and instantly become overwhelmed by the feeling that you never, ever want to leave. But, unless you're rich, relocating to Hawaii, Southern California, or Martha's Vineyard is probably not a very viable option.</p> <p>Alas, not every tourist town is overrun with millionaires and glitz. In fact, some destination enclaves are well-equipped with not just superior scenery, but also job opportunity and housing priced within reach. Read on for our roundup of tourist towns that you just might be able to afford to call home.</p> <h2>1. Virginia Beach, Virginia</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/virginia_beach_4432781.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Best known for its vibrant boardwalks and sandy beaches, Virginia Beach is also flush with many of the qualifiers that make a community a great place to call home: Good schools, low crime, very low tax rates, and a slowly, but steadily improving post-recession economic climate, to name a few. And let's not forget those warm summers and mild winters.</p> <p>The area is also riding high on a ranking by U.S. News &amp; World Report as one of the <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/real-estate/articles/2009/08/19/americas-10-best-places-to-grow-up.html">best places to grow up</a>. In the wake of the Great Recession, Virginia Beach's housing market is slowly rebounding. Right now the median home sales price falls around $235,000. Yet as the city's population grows, employment opportunities remain plentiful. The agribusiness, military, and tourism sectors are thriving, while active industrial and office space development continue to lure in new industries.</p> <h2>2. Flagstaff, Arizona</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/flagstaff_arizona_scene_80790977.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Full of Old West flavor, Flagstaff is a friendly Arizona mountain town with 288 days of sunshine, a mild climate (by southwest USA standards, anyway), and easy access to top-of-the-line camping, rock climbing, hiking, and skiing. Bonus: Grand Canyon National Park is just 90 minutes away.</p> <p>What you may not know is that Flagstaff is also a <a href="http://www.chooseflagstaff.com/doing-business-here/city-profile/">quaint college </a>town with an affordable rental market, thanks to nearly 25,000 students who call Flagstaff home. Homeownership, on the other hand, can be a bit more pricey &mdash; but not altogether out of reach. The median price of a home in greater Flagstaff currently hovers around $319,000. Overall, the <a href="http://www.flagstaffchamber.com/economic-development/cost-of-living/">cost of living</a> in Flagstaff is slightly above the national average. With an average household income of $70,000, Flagstaff is also a hub for bioscience, tech, and manufacturing. Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff Medical Center, and the medical device manufacturer W.L. Gore &amp; Associates are the top employers here.</p> <h2>3. Palm Beach, Florida</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/palm_beach_florida_86138281.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Six million visitors descend on Palm Beach every year for its beaches, boating, world-class shopping, and more than 160 golf courses, including some of the most acclaimed greens in the U.S.</p> <p>But did you know that this Florida resort region also has a blossoming technology industry, with app developers and web innovators carving out a new innovation hub? Or that Palm Beach County school district has eighth-highest graduation rate in the nation? Or that wages here are higher than most other parts of Florida? And, in addition to some of the world's most tantalizingly beautiful multimillion dollar waterfront homes, Palm Beach has <a href="http://realtime.blog.palmbeachpost.com/2016/03/23/top-10-palm-beach-countys-busiest-new-home-developments-have-nothing-for-middle-class-families/">middle class housing options</a> &mdash; they are not plentiful, but they do exist. The median price of an existing house sold in Palm Beach County is currently about $295,000.</p> <h2>4. Coeur d'Alene, Idaho</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/brewster_massachusetts_23888034066_553f4fc369_z.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Situated on a gorgeous natural lake by the same name, this Idaho Panhandle city boasts more than 100 miles of shoreline as well as a renowned parkway that's perfect for cycling, jogging, or walking. An enviable vacation destination, affordable housing, and favorable corporate tax laws also make Coeur d'Alene a great place to live.</p> <p>The median home price in Coeur d'Alene hovers around $188,000 and the cost of living is nearly 7% below the national average. There's also ample opportunity for jobs. The mining, health care, tourism, and food service industries all have a notable presence here, which has helped earn the city slot number 14 on Forbes list of best places for business and careers.</p> <h2>5. Brewster, Massachusetts</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/brewster_massachusetts_windmill_50072494.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Great schools, low unemployment, moderate housing prices, and easy access to museums, state parks, and beaches make Brewster one of the most livable small towns in Cape Cod. Bustling during the summer season, Brewster and the rest of the Cape fall quiet in autumn through spring, offering residents peace, quiet, and beautiful natural landscapes without the crowds.</p> <p>This region full of artists, small business owners, mariners, and outdoorsmen has a median home price of about $396,000 &mdash; and climbing. Yet while there are cheaper Cape towns, Brewster is worth the extra chunk of change for families and those who prize access to educational institutions and low crime.</p> <h2>6. Tampa, Florida</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/tampa_florida_beach_69509291.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Prized for its favorable weather, shoreline beauty, lively night life, and casual lifestyle, Tampa is a modern paradise that's all-too-often overlooked as place to set a welcome mat outside the front door. Tampa real estate is tens of thousands of dollars below the national average, with a median home price of less than $170,000. What's more, Tampa is <a href="http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2016/04/15/tampa-bay-region-ranks-second-in-job-growth-first.html">experiencing rapid job growth</a>. Other considerations: Tampa has the <a href="http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2016/01/25/tampa-metro-cost-of-living-lowest-in-florida.html">lowest cost of living in Florida</a>, and there is no state income tax.</p> <p><em>Have you considered relocating to one of these &mdash; or other &mdash; &quot;tourist&quot; towns?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-tourist-towns-that-are-actually-great-to-live-in&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%20-Tourist%20Towns-%20That%20Are%20Actually%20Great%20to%20Live%20In.jpg&amp;description=6%20%26quot%3BTourist%20Towns%26quot%3B%20That%20Are%20Actually%20Great%20to%20Live%20In" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20-Tourist%20Towns-%20That%20Are%20Actually%20Great%20to%20Live%20In.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tourist-towns-that-are-actually-great-to-live-in">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-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers">10 Dumb Ways to Scare Off Potential Homebuyers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-you-should-always-hire-a-moving-company">6 Reasons You Should Always Hire a Moving Company</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-cities-for-single-millennials">The 6 Best Cities for Single Millennials</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-incredible-world-cities-you-can-afford">5 Incredible World Cities 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/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">Don&#039;t Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing Travel housing market job market moving relocating tourism tourist towns us cities Wed, 06 Jul 2016 09:30:26 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1745833 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: The Most Affordable U.S. Cities of 2016 http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-the-most-affordable-us-cities-of-2016 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-the-most-affordable-us-cities-of-2016" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_city_bridge_87855925_0.jpg" alt="Woman living in most affordable city in the U.S." title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found articles on the most affordable cities in the U.S., how the Brexit vote will affect the cost of travel, and ways to cook dinner in the dishwasher.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="https://blog.mint.com/consumer-iq/top-17-most-affordable-cities-us-2016-062916/">Top 17 Most Affordable U.S. Cities of 2016</a> &mdash; The cost of living in Grand Rapids, Michigan is 11% lower than the national average, and the cost of housing is 31% lower! [mintLife]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2016/0628/How-will-the-Brexit-vote-affect-the-cost-of-European-travel">How will the Brexit vote affect the cost of European travel?</a> &mdash; While exchange rates are in our favor, flights may get more expensive in the future. [The Monitor]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Cook-Dishwasher-35504136">Yes, You Can Cook Dinner in the Dishwasher</a> &mdash; Learn how to make wine-poached shrimp, mustard-glazed green beans, couscous, and even strawberry cinnamon compote in the dishwasher! [Popsugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/amazon-says-prime-day-will-july-12/">Amazon Says Prime Day Will Be July 12</a> &mdash; This year's Prime Day sale will feature over 100,000 deals across all departments and categories &mdash; but you need to be a Prime member to get them. Also check out the countdown deals leading up to the big sale. [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="http://shopperstrategy.com/2016/06/30/4-creative-ways-to-keep-your-kids-busy-this-summer/">4 Creative Ways to Keep Your Kids Busy This Summer</a> &mdash; Take advantage of the sunshine and plant a small garden in your backyard! Give your kids the responsibility of feeding, watering, and weeding the plants. [Shopper Strategy]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.moneyspruce.com/4-common-household-accidents-renters-insurance-covers/">4 Common Household Accidents that Renters Insurance Covers</a> &mdash; Renter's insurance covers dog bites under the liability coverage. [Money Spruce]</p> <p><a href="http://actionecon.com/save-money-on-family-movie-nights/">Save Money On Family Movie Nights</a> &mdash; Popcorn is the go-to snack for movie nights. Microwave popcorn is easy, but you can save more by investing in a popcorn popper and getting kernels in bulk. [Action Economics]</p> <p><a href="http://www.dumblittleman.com/2016/07/thinking-critically.html">3 Unconventional Ways Of Thinking That&rsquo;ll Help You Change Yourself</a> &mdash; Cultivating good habits won't help you reach your goals if the habits are on autopilot. You also need to be engaged and mindful of the choices you make. [Dumb Little Man]</p> <p><a href="https://due.com/blog/5-tips-building-reputation-freelancer/">5 Tips for Building Your Reputation as a Freelancer</a> &mdash; Make sure to hit your deadlines. You're more likely to be trusted and recommended if you consistently turn in your work on time. [Due]</p> <p><a href="http://fitzvillafuerte.com/15-reasons-youll-remain-poor-whole-life.html">15 Reasons Why You&rsquo;ll Remain Poor Your Whole Life</a> &mdash; If you give up as soon as things become difficult, you'll never get anywhere in life. [Ready To Be Rich]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-the-most-affordable-us-cities-of-2016">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-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford">5 Alternative Housing Options You Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-hoas">What You Need to Know About HOAs</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/10-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers">10 Dumb Ways to Scare Off Potential Homebuyers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings">9 Sneaky Home Money Pits That Sap Your Savings</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-avoid-getting-scammed-with-a-reverse-mortgage">How to Avoid Getting Scammed With a Reverse Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing affordable cities best money tips Tue, 05 Jul 2016 09:30:29 +0000 Amy Lu 1743315 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Second Home in Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-buying-a-second-home-in-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-questions-to-ask-before-buying-a-second-home-in-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_house_retirement_21246021.jpg" alt="Couple asking questions before buying second retirement home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's nice image: You, your children, and your grandchildren gathering every summer at the lake house you bought after you retired from the workforce. Or maybe you instead picture these same children bringing their grandchildren for long weekends at the downtown city condo you purchased immediately after heading into retirement.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-retire-rich" target="_blank">Buying a second home after retirement</a> can be a reward for years of hard work. It might also be a good investment if you buy the right property; real estate, after all, has historically increased in value.</p> <p>But buying a second home in your retirement years can also be a financial misstep. These potential pitfalls are why you need to ask five key questions before you invest in that second home after you retire.</p> <h2>1. How Will You Pay for It?</h2> <p>Buying a second home is fairly simple if you plan to use cash from your savings. You still have to be careful, though, to make sure that such a big expenditure won't eventually make it more of a struggle to meet your other retirement goals. It might not be easy to take that long-awaited cruise if you've spent too much of your savings on a second home.</p> <p>If you need to finance the purchase of a second home with a mortgage, you might face an even bigger challenge. Under federal law, lenders can't reject you for a mortgage loan because of your age. They can, though, reject your application if they think you don't have enough income to afford your monthly mortgage payments.</p> <p>Lenders rely partly on your debt-to-income ratio when making mortgage decisions. Lenders want your total monthly debts, including your new mortgage payment, to equal no more than 43% of your gross monthly income. Income, of course, isn't just money you receive from a salary. You can also count Social Security payments, pension payments, monthly rent checks, money from legal settlements, and any other recurring source of monthly income. But if your income is so low that your debt-to-income ratio sails over that 43% mark, you'll struggle to get the mortgage you need to buy a second home.</p> <h2>2. Can You Afford It?</h2> <p>This, of course, is the big question: Even if you can buy a second home, can you afford the monthly expenses that go with it now that you can no longer rely on your regular paycheck?</p> <p>If you are financing the second home with a mortgage, can you afford to add those monthly payments to your existing expenses? And even if you are not taking out a mortgage, you'll have to face the normal expenses associated with owning a home: Furnaces go out, water heaters leak, and utility bills add up. If you buy a condo as a second home, are you okay with paying association dues each month?</p> <p>In short, can you afford the financial burden of owning that second home?</p> <h2>3. Who Will Maintain It?</h2> <p>Homes require regular maintenance. Someone has to mow the lawn, shovel the walks, sweep the floors, and replace fading paint jobs. Is this something you are willing to do, even as you get older? You might think your children will be happy to spend a few hours pulling weeds and mowing the lawn. But are they really okay with that?</p> <p>You might need to hire a service to handle the regular maintenance of your second home. That will ease your burden. But these companies don't come cheap. Can you afford the additional expense of hiring someone to maintain your second home?</p> <h2>4. How Often Will You Use It?</h2> <p>You might dream of spending months at your vacation home surrounded by visiting family members. But that dream might not be realistic. Your children and grandchildren have lives of their own. They might visit far less than you expect.</p> <p>And what about you? You might think now that you'd like to spend every summer at the lake house in that quaint, touristy town. But after three or four summers, you might get tired of that restaurant you've eaten at every visit or you might no longer have the appetite for all those fudge shops and antique stores. Yes, you might get bored with your second home, too.</p> <p>Instead of vacationing in the same spot, you might instead want to travel to new places each year. If so, a permanent second home might not be the best choice.</p> <h2>5. What Happens After You Die?</h2> <p>We don't like to think about dying. But when you buy a second home in your retirement, you need to consider it. What will happen to that second home after you pass on?</p> <p>You might want to leave it to one of your children. You'll have to decide, though, who gets it, without causing strife among them. What if none of your children want the home? They'll then have to go through the hassle of selling the property after you die. You'll need to determine before your death, just how the proceeds of that sale &mdash; if there are proceeds &mdash; will be divvied up.</p> <p><em>Have you considered buying a second home?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-buying-a-second-home-in-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-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frayed-relationships-damaged-credit-and-costly-additions-what-a-multi-generational-home-might-cost-y">Frayed Relationships, Damaged Credit, and Costly Additions — What a Multi-Generational Home Might Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford">5 Alternative Housing Options You Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-retire">12 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Retire</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/what-you-need-to-know-about-hoas">What You Need to Know About HOAs</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing Retirement condos family maintenance mortgages second homes vacation homes Fri, 24 Jun 2016 09:00:03 +0000 Dan Rafter 1737542 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Moves to Make If You Need to Break Your Lease http://www.wisebread.com/8-moves-to-make-if-you-need-to-break-your-lease <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-moves-to-make-if-you-need-to-break-your-lease" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_thinking_house_59055710.jpg" alt="Man making moves to break his lease" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most renters understand that a lease benefits them as much as it does landlords, since it protects both parties. However, if you need to break that lease, you could be on the receiving end of some tough penalties and legal actions. Don't panic yet, though &mdash; there are moves that could save you a lot of money&hellip; and your sanity.</p> <h2>1. Find New Tenants for the Landlord</h2> <p>The biggest issue landlords have with breaking a lease is the loss of income. The landlord has overhead, including a mortgage payment, HOA costs, water, and more, and they all have to be covered even when the property is empty. This is why there are penalties for breaking a lease &mdash; to cover the landlord against loss.</p> <p>However, if you are proactive and find good tenants to replace you, it's very possible the landlord will waive the fees and let you break the lease. After all, you have brought in new tenants, saving the landlord time and effort, and in most cases, extending the time the property will be filled. (If your lease expires in July, but you bring in someone to rent from March-February of the following year, you've done the landlord a favor).</p> <h2>2. Plead Your Extenuating Circumstances</h2> <p>Landlords are people, too. If you're renting from a big property management firm, you won't have much luck. But if it's an individual, arrange a time to sit and chat, and explain the reasons why you have to break the lease. Be open, be honest, and see what happens. If you have to break the lease to move back home with an ailing parent or relative, the landlord could be very sympathetic, and may do something for you (cutting the early termination fee in half, or waiving it completely). But, don't lie. Making up some bleeding heart story could backfire, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-landlords-cant-ask" target="_blank">you don't want an angry landlord</a> as an enemy, especially when they have the law on their side.</p> <h2>3. Look for a Contract Breach</h2> <p>If you have to break the lease, you may well be within your rights to do so without any kind of termination fee &mdash; <em>if</em> the contract is, in fact, not being adhered to. Remember, the contract is for your protection as well as the landlord's, and the property should be safe and well-maintained. If you have been living with a broken refrigerator, a moldy bathroom, or any other type of problem that makes the property tough to live in, you can use it to your advantage.</p> <p>However, you cannot just ignore these issues for months and then decide to break the contract. You will need to provide evidence that you asked the landlord to address the issues. Also, take pictures, and keep copies of all correspondence. If you can show your requests for help fell on deaf ears, you will have a great case to break the lease without a fee.</p> <h2>4. Negotiate Payoff Terms for the Penalties</h2> <p>Early termination fees can be very scary. When you see a $1,500 lump sum, it can make you think twice about even considering it. However, landlords can be very flexible if they know they are going to get the money in a set amount of time. Consider asking for an installment payment plan for any early termination fees.</p> <h2>5. Use Your Security Deposit as a Bargaining Chip</h2> <p>You will have put down a substantial security deposit when you signed the lease. Usually, it's around one month's rent, and this can be just enough to cover the costs of the landlord while they find a new tenant. If the property is in a highly sought after location, it will not be empty for long, and that security deposit will more than cover any costs the landlord has. It's much easier for them to simply keep that deposit and avoid a bunch of paperwork, rather than trying to take you to court for fees.</p> <h2>6. Find a Sublet</h2> <p>Ready to become a landlord yourself for a while? Well, try subletting. Now, you may find that the contract forbids you to sublet the property, so you may have to talk to the landlord (or do it without saying anything, and hope for the best). As a general rule, landlords don't really care where the money comes from, as long as the property is well maintained and the tenants cause no trouble. And remember, if you sublet to someone who wrecks the place, that's all on you. Your name is on the lease, so the landlord is going to be reimbursed, either way.</p> <h2>7. Can You Blame the Neighbors or Surroundings?</h2> <p>Do the neighbors upstairs have parties until 4 a.m. every weekend (or worse, every day)? Do the neighbors harass you, or make life hell for you in general? Is the neighborhood itself in serious decline, and no longer a safe place to live? These are all conditions that you may be able to use to break the lease without a termination fee.</p> <p>Once again, you would have to prove that you asked the landlord to deal with the situation, and that nothing happened. But if you can prove the property became unlivable, you can argue you were &quot;<a href="http://www.brickunderground.com/blog/2011/07/ask_an_expert_breaking_a_lease_over_neighbor_noise">constructively evicted from your property</a>.&quot; This is something that can go to court, so you need to be really buttoned-up, and will most likely require legal assistance.</p> <h2>Haggle Over the Early Termination Fee</h2> <p>Landlords would rather have some money than none at all. If you are going to have to pay $2,000 to break the lease, but can only afford $1,000, talk to the landlord about a lower penalty. This is easier to do with an individual than a property management company, as the latter has the backing of corporate funds and on-staff legal counsel. But&hellip; it's always worth a try.</p> <p><em>Have you ever broken a lease? How'd you get out of it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-moves-to-make-if-you-need-to-break-your-lease">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-questions-landlords-cant-ask">10 Questions Landlords Can&#039;t Ask</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-rent-an-apartment-with-bad-credit">7 Ways to Rent An Apartment With Bad Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-websites-for-renting-your-extra-space">The 11 Best Websites for Renting Your Extra Space</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/7-smart-ways-to-get-your-apartment-deposit-back">7 Smart Ways to Get Your Apartment Deposit Back</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing apartments breaking lease contracts landlords lease rental agreement renting sublet Wed, 22 Jun 2016 09:30:24 +0000 Paul Michael 1736373 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Reasons You Shouldn't Buy a House (Yet) http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-shouldnt-buy-a-house-yet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-reasons-you-shouldnt-buy-a-house-yet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_new_house_62322290.jpg" alt="Woman learning reasons she shouldn&#039;t buy a house yet" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You hate sending that rent check to your landlord every month. The neighbors living above you have a newborn baby that cries all night long. And you dream of planting your own vegetable garden.</p> <p>In short, you're tired of renting and you want to buy your first home. But wanting to buy a home and being ready to do so are two different things. Are you financially ready for the burden of a monthly mortgage payment?</p> <p>Here are five signs that you're not ready to buy a house just yet. But don't fret; even if you are struggling with these financial issues, you can still become a homeowner. You'll just need a bit of patience and improved financial skills.</p> <h2>Sign 1: You Have No Savings</h2> <p>Buying a home is expensive. You'll need money for a down payment. For most mortgage loans, you'll need at least 5% of the home's purchase price. For a home costing $200,000, that comes out to $10,000. If you are buying a home insured by the Federal Housing Administration, better known as an FHA loan, you'll need a down payment of 3.5% of your home's final purchase price, depending on your credit score. For a $200,000 home, that still comes out to a down payment of $7,000.</p> <p>Then there are closing costs, the fees that mortgage lenders, title insurers, and others charge you to originate your mortgage loan. Real estate website Zillow says that these costs can run from 2% to 5% of your total mortgage loan. If you are borrowing $180,000, then your closing costs can run from $3,600 to $9,000.</p> <p>It's true that you can get help with some of these costs. You can use gift money from relatives, for example, to pay for all or part of your down payment. You might be able to convince a home's seller to pay for all or part of the closing costs. But if you don't have any savings built up, lenders might hesitate to lend you mortgage money. They want to make sure that you have reserve funds on hand to cover your mortgage payment for at least two to three months if you should suddenly run into a financial crisis such as a job loss.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>It's best to start searching for a home only <em>after </em>you've saved enough money to cover a down payment and your estimated closing costs. Most lenders will also want to see enough money in your savings after you've paid closing costs and your down payment to cover at least two months of mortgage payments.</p> <h2>Sign 2: Your Credit Score Is Bad</h2> <p>Your credit score is a key number when you're applying for a mortgage. Lenders pass out their lowest interest rates to borrowers who have FICO credit scores of 740 or higher. But the lower your score, the higher your interest rate &mdash; and your monthly mortgage payment &mdash; will be. If your score is too low, say under 640, you'll struggle to qualify for a loan at all.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>First, order at least one of your three credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com. You are entitled to one free copy of each of your three credit reports &mdash; maintained by the national credit bureaus of Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion &mdash; once every year. Once you get your report, read it carefully. It will list how much you owe on your credit cards and how much you owe on student loans and car loans. It will also list whether you have any late or missed payments during the last seven years. Those late or missed payments will send your credit score tumbling.</p> <p>Next, order your FICO credit score. You can do this from the credit bureaus, too, but you'll have to pay about $15 to do so. If your score is low, and there are negative marks on your credit report, it's time to start a new history of paying all your bills on time. You also need to pay down as much of your credit card debt as possible. Both of these actions will steadily increase your credit score, though it could take months or even more than a year before your score recovers enough to make you a good candidate for a mortgage loan.</p> <p>Be patient and wait to apply for that mortgage until your FICO score is over 700.</p> <h2>Sign 3: You Have a Mountain of Credit Card Debt</h2> <p>Your debt-to-income ratio is another key number when it comes to buying a home. Lenders want your total monthly debts, including your estimated new mortgage payment, to equal no more than 43% of your gross monthly income. If your debt-to-income ratio is too high, you'll struggle to earn approval for a mortgage. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-stop-waiting-for-tomorrow?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">5 Day Debt Reduction Plan</a>)</p> <p>For many potential homebuyers, large amounts of credit card debt are what shoot that debt-to-income levels past 43%.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>Pay off that credit card debt. Always make more than your minimum monthly required payment. And wait until you've substantially reduced that debt before you add a monthly mortgage payment to your financial responsibilities.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=article">This Is The Fastest Way to Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt</a></p> <h2>Sign 4: You Routinely Miss Your Monthly Payments</h2> <p>Maybe you have more than enough money each month to pay all your bills on time &mdash; you just routinely forget to pay them. Making late payments, or missing payments completely, is a sure sign that you're not ready for the financial responsibility of owning a home.</p> <p>If you miss a mortgage payment by more than 30 days, your credit score will fall by 100 points or more. If you miss enough, you could lose your home to foreclosure.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>Learn better financial habits before you apply for a mortgage. Set up reminders on your phone or computer alerting you when bills are due. Or pay those bills as soon as they arrive to make sure you don't forget them. It might makes sense to set up automatic payments through your bank. But don't apply for a mortgage until you've broken the habit of regularly missing your monthly payment due dates.</p> <h2>Sign 5: You Don't Have a Stable Job</h2> <p>You'll need a steady, reliable stream of income if you use a mortgage to finance the purchase of a home. If you're worried that you'll lose your job, or if your income is sky-high one month thanks to overtime and then low the next, you might not be ready to buy a home.</p> <p>Your monthly mortgage payment will become the biggest financial responsibility you have. What happens if you lose your job? What happens if your company goes through a dry spell in which they reduce your income for several months? Would you still be able to afford that monthly payment?</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>Find a job that is reliable and that pays you a stable income each month. Don't take the risk that everything will work out. You don't want missed mortgage payments on your credit reports. And if your job is unstable? You'll greatly increase the risk of these black marks.</p> <p><em>Are you ready to buy a home? What steps are you taking to make it happen?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-shouldnt-buy-a-house-yet">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-a-first-time-home-buyer-needs-to-buy-a-house">Everything a First-Time Home Buyer Needs to Buy a House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-faster-for-mortgage-payoff-100-month-extra-or-1-payment-year-extra">What&#039;s Faster for Mortgage Payoff: $100/Month Extra or 1 Payment/Year Extra?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-youre-too-old-or-too-young-for-a-mortgage-loan">4 Reasons Why You&#039;re Too Old — Or Too Young — For a Mortgage Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/2-things-you-must-know-about-the-new-mortgage-rules">2 Things You Must Know About the New Mortgage Rules</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/ask-yourself-these-5-questions-before-buying-a-home">Ask Yourself These 5 Questions Before Buying a Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing credit score debt debt to income ratio down payments fha loans homeowners mortgages new home Fri, 17 Jun 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Dan Rafter 1732054 at http://www.wisebread.com