Real Estate and Housing http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4810/all en-US Make These 5 Money Moves Before Applying for a Mortgage http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-5-money-moves-before-applying-for-a-mortgage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-these-5-money-moves-before-applying-for-a-mortgage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-506317138 (1).jpg" alt="Making money moves before applying for a mortgage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Each year, millions of people apply for a mortgage and purchase a home. This, however, shouldn't convince you that getting a home loan is a piece of cake. In reality, a mortgage is one of the hardest loans to qualify for. But if you make these money moves before meeting with a lender, you can swing the odds in your favor.</p> <h2>1. Pay off debt</h2> <p>Getting approved for a mortgage doesn't require zero debt, but the more you currently owe, the harder it can be to qualify for a desired amount.</p> <p>To avoid any roadblocks along the way, come up with a clearsighted plan to pay off as much of your debt as possible, especially <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit card debt</a>. A high <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit utilization ratio</a> &mdash; which is your credit card balance compared to your credit limit &mdash; can lower your credit score and make it difficult to qualify for a mortgage or trigger a higher mortgage interest rate.</p> <p>As a personal goal, keep credit card balances below 30 percent of your credit limit. To attain this, stop using cards and pay more than your minimums every month. Also, ask creditors to lower your interest rate. If you can pay less interest, you'll reduce the principal faster.</p> <p>Take it a step further and make higher monthly payments on other types of debts as well, such as a car loan, student loan, etc. This is to your advantage because the less expenses you have, the easier it'll be to adjust to a mortgage payment.</p> <h2>2. Determine what you're comfortable spending</h2> <p>Your mortgage lender decides an affordable amount based on your income and existing debt. Still, it helps to have an idea of what <em>you </em>are comfortable spending on a house before meeting with a bank. Typically, banks allow borrowers to spend between 28 percent and 31 percent of their gross monthly income on a mortgage payment.</p> <p>Do the math and calculate 31 percent of your gross monthly income, and then review your budget to see if you can realistically afford this amount on a monthly basis. After determining a comfortable monthly payment, use a mortgage calculator to estimate the maximum you can borrow based on the desired payment range.</p> <h2>3. Devise a savings plan</h2> <p>Qualifying for a mortgage entails money &mdash; lots of it. Not just money for the monthly payment, but also <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-start-saving-for-a-down-payment-on-a-home?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash for a down payment</a> (between 3.5 percent and 20 percent of the home's value), plus there's the cost of closing. These fees can run up to 5 percent of the purchase price.</p> <p>Even if you can afford a house payment at a certain price point, you'll only qualify for a particular amount if you have enough in reserves for mortgage-related fees. Let's say you want to purchase a $300,000 house. Your income may show an ability to afford the monthly payment. But if you only have $7,500 in savings for a down payment, instead of the required $10,500 (assuming you get an FHA home loan), you can't purchase the home. You then have two options &mdash; purchase a cheaper home, or postpone buying until you save additional cash.</p> <p>Once you have an idea of how much you'll spend on a property, devise a plan to save for your down payment and closing costs. Based on your amount of disposable income each month and your desired time frame for purchasing a property, decide how much to save. Keep this money in a designated high-yield savings account.</p> <h2>4. Pay your bills on time</h2> <p>There are no hard rules regarding how many late payments a lender allows within 12 or 24 months before applying for a home loan. If there are late payments on your recent credit history, it's up to your lender to calculate the risk level and determine whether you're creditworthy. To do this, some lenders request an explanation to assess whether lateness was due to irresponsibility or circumstances beyond a borrower's control. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Simple Ways to Never Make a Late Credit Card Payment</a>)</p> <p>Either way, late payments in your recent history can result in a higher interest rate, which means you'll pay more for your home loan in the long run. Therefore, aim to pay all your bills on time. If you often forget due dates, set up recurring or automatic monthly payments.</p> <h2>5. Shop around for lenders</h2> <p>According to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, 47 percent of homebuyers don't compare mortgage lenders when applying for a home loan. What's even more surprising, 77 percent apply to only one lender at all. It might seem convenient to get this step out of the way ASAP, but it just doesn't make smart financial sense.</p> <p>When you're ready to apply for a home loan, you need to do research and shop around. Don't just settle for the first mortgage lender who approves you. You might be eager to get the process underway, but be patient. The first person to give you the green light might not be offering the lowest interest rates (or charging the lowest fees), which could mean the difference between thousands of dollars. Maybe they're just not the right fit for you, or they don't take the time to really earn your business. You won't know unless you compare, and that step can save you a lot of stress (and money) down the line. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-mortgage-secrets-only-your-broker-knows?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Mortgage Secrets Only Your Broker Knows</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-5-money-moves-before-applying-for-a-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-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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <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-reasons-you-shouldnt-buy-a-house-yet">5 Reasons You Shouldn&#039;t Buy a House (Yet)</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-freddie-mac-and-fannie-mae">Everything You Need to Know About Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing buying a home credit history credit score debt repayment down payments home loans mortgages saving money tax deductions Mon, 20 Mar 2017 10:30:21 +0000 Mikey Rox 1908934 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Dumb, Costly Moves That Homebuyers Make http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-dumb-costly-moves-that-homebuyers-make <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-dumb-costly-moves-that-homebuyers-make" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_new_house_180809344.jpg" alt="homebuyers making dumb, costly moves" 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 costly moves that homebuyers make, when to book the cheapest flights for the holidays, and easy ways to spring clean your home in a day.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/7-dumb-expensive-moves-homebuyers-make/">7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers Make</a> &mdash; For most people, a home is one of the biggest purchases you can make. You want a proven professional to walk you through the process. Don't hire someone as a favor or try to do it yourself. [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2017/0317/When-to-book-the-cheapest-flights-for-holiday-travel">When to book the cheapest flights for holiday travel</a> &mdash; When it comes to cheap holiday flights, there IS such a thing as buying too early. [The Monitor]</p> <p><a href="http://www.easyways.net/10-easy-ways-spring-clean-home-day/">10 Easy Ways To Spring Clean Your Home In A Day</a> &mdash; Make a list of the areas that need cleaning and assign tasks to family members. [easyWays]</p> <p><a href="https://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Where-Travel-Alone-43080336#photo-43080343">4 Cities That Are So Much Better to Experience on Your Own</a> &mdash; Plus, What to Bring &mdash; Urban explorers will love New Orleans. Bring a cute hat, sunscreen, and aspirin just in case &mdash; there are brass bands playing on every corner, you know! [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://shebudgets.com/lifestyle/careers/how-healthy-is-your-job-signs-that-your-job-is-hurting-you/71572">How &ldquo;Healthy&rdquo; is Your Job? Signs That Your Job is Hurting You</a> &mdash; You can put your life at risk if you constantly work over 40 hours a week. [SheBudgets]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="https://blog.allstate.com/quick-fix-3-ways-remove-pet-hair-gif/">Quick Fix: 3 Ways to Remove Pet Hair</a> &mdash; Use rubber or latex gloves to remove pet hair on upholstery.&nbsp; [The Allstate Blog]</p> <p><a href="https://www.fool.com/retirement/2017/03/17/5-things-to-know-before-applying-for-social-securi.aspx?source=iedfolrf0000001">5 Things to Know Before Applying for Social Security</a> &mdash; If you're married, it's important to know how Social Security benefits for spouses work. [The Motley Fool]</p> <p><a href="http://www.stackthechips.com/planning-buy-foreclosure-follow-5-rules/">Planning To Buy A Foreclosure? Follow These 5 Rules</a> &mdash; Foreclosure laws vary from state to state, so you should get familiar with the laws that regulate foreclosure transactions in your area. Don't hesitate to hire a professional if you need help. [Stack The Chips]</p> <p><a href="https://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/how-to-learn-any-language-on-your-own-step-by-step-guide/">How to Learn Any Language On Your Own (Step-by-Step Guide)</a> &mdash; Reflect on past experiences and figure out the best way you've learned new things. When you know what methods do and do not work for you, you'll save a lot of time, stress, and hassle. [Pick The Brain]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/6-easy-ways-to-deal-with-a-bedwetter">6 Easy Ways to Deal With a Bedwetter</a> &mdash; Make sure your child pees right before bed. They may protest, but this might prevent an accident in the middle of the bed. [Parenting Squad]</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-dumb-costly-moves-that-homebuyers-make">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/these-are-the-8-most-common-homebuying-mistakes-foreclosure-experts-see">These Are the 8 Most Common Homebuying Mistakes Foreclosure Experts See</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/basic-tips-for-buying-a-bank-owned-home">6 Basic Tips for Buying a Bank Owned Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-5-money-moves-before-applying-for-a-mortgage">Make These 5 Money Moves Before Applying for a Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-i-learned-from-renting-out-my-home-on-airbnb">13 Things I Learned From Renting Out My Home on Airbnb</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/will-obamas-new-mortgage-plan-really-reward-responsibility">Will Obama&#039;s new mortgage plan really reward responsibility?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing best money tips homebuying Mon, 20 Mar 2017 10:30:15 +0000 Amy Lu 1911511 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Signs You're Paying Too Much for Your Mortgage http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youre-paying-too-much-for-your-mortgage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-signs-youre-paying-too-much-for-your-mortgage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-495980844.jpg" alt="Learning signs that you&#039;re paying too much for your mortgage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Buying a home can be a great step along the path to financial freedom, but it can also become a burden if you're not careful. A mortgage can be a heavy weight on your finances if you either buy a house you can't afford, or get locked into unfavorable loan terms.</p> <p>Here's how to tell if your mortgage is too expensive.</p> <h2>1. You Are Having Trouble Making Ends Meet</h2> <p>No matter what you do, you feel like you're struggling to get ahead financially. It always seems like there's only a small amount leftover at the end of each month to pay bills or place into savings. It could be that your house is weighing you down. If you're working too hard to get ahead with your money, it may be time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/refi-shy-how-to-determine-if-now-is-the-time-to-refinance?ref=internal" target="_blank">refinance your mortgage</a> or move into a less expensive home.</p> <h2>2. It's Eating Up More Than 30% of Your Income</h2> <p>The federal government advises that homeowners should avoid paying more than 30% of their income on housing. The theory behind this number is that for most people, keeping payments below this level will leave them with enough to pay for other non-discretionary spending. Keep in mind that many lenders will approve prospective homeowners for a loan even if their payments would be above that 30% threshold. Lenders will often instead refer to a person's &quot;debt-to-income&quot; ratio, and will lend if that ratio is as high as 43% &mdash; and banks went even higher during the housing bubble.</p> <p>Even if you are comfortably able to make your mortgage payments, it's wise to try and get under the 30% threshold. After all, more money in your pocket means more money to take care of your other financial obligations, invest for the future, or simply enjoy life.</p> <h2>3. Your Interest Rate Is Higher Than Everyone Else's</h2> <p>It's very easy to get a fixed-rate mortgage, make the payments, and not concern yourself with how interest rates are going up and down. But you never want to be locked into a higher rate than necessary. If you bought your home more than a decade ago, chances are your interest rate is higher than what's available now. The rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is a little over 4% right now. If your rate is considerably higher, look to refinance and see what you can save.</p> <h2>4. You Are Barely Making a Dent in the Loan Principal</h2> <p>You've been making mortgage payments for years, but every time you look at your account statement, it seems like the principal balance barely budges. What gives? It's normal to pay mostly interest when you first get a loan, but over time your money should increasingly go toward paying off principal. If you find that you're not paying down the loan as quickly as you want, it could be because your interest rate is too high or your term is too long (or both.)</p> <h2>5. Your Income Has Gone Up</h2> <p>When you bought your house, your interest rate was based at least partially on your household income. But if you've received multiple pay raises since, you might qualify for a lower rate. Or, you may be able to refinance into a shorter loan term, thus saving you money in interest over time.</p> <h2>6. Your Credit Score Has Improved</h2> <p>A mortgage interest rate is also partially based on a homeowner's credit score when they apply for a loan. If your credit score was mediocre back then, there's a chance you got stuck with a high rate. If you've worked hard to be financially responsible ever since, your credit score may be much higher. Thus, you may be able to refinance your mortgage into a lower rate. According to FICO, a person with a credit score of 650 might pay as much as $100 more per month on a $200,000, 30-year fixed loan than someone with a score of 800. That could add up to tens of thousands of dollars over the course of a loan. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-raise-your-credit-score-this-year?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Easy Ways to Raise Your Credit Score This Year</a>)</p> <h2>7. Your ARM Just Adjusted</h2> <p>During the housing bubble, many homeowners were lured into adjustable rate mortgages that offered low interest rates initially and then jumped after a certain number of years. (In 2005, these loans made up nearly 40% of the mortgage market.) Many families saw their payments increase sharply and beyond what they could afford. If you currently have an adjustable rate mortgage, make sure you are prepared to make payments once the interest rate adjusts upward. Otherwise, consider refinancing to a fixed mortgage with a low rate.</p> <h2>8. You Are Paying for Mortgage Insurance</h2> <p>Many lenders require borrowers to pay <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-private-mortgage-insurance-anyway?ref=internal" target="_blank">private mortgage insurance</a> (PMI) if they put less than 20% down on a home. This is to protect the lender if a home ends up in foreclosure. Mortgage insurance essentially adds to your cost of homeownership, often to the tune of hundreds of dollars annually. This requirement goes away once your principal balance drops below 78%. Ideally, you want to avoid paying PMI altogether by putting more than 20% down. This also means you're borrowing less overall and will save money in the long run. But if you can't quite save that much up front, work aggressively toward paying off your loan so you can get rid of the PMI requirement sooner.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youre-paying-too-much-for-your-mortgage">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-qualify-for-a-mortgage-with-a-small-downpayment">5 Ways to Qualify for a Mortgage With a Small Downpayment</a></span> </div> </li> <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/what-is-private-mortgage-insurance-anyway">What Is Private Mortgage Insurance, Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-your-own-amortization-schedule-0">How to Build Your Own Amortization Schedule</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing adjustable rate down payment fixed rate interest loans mortgage pmi private mortgage insurance saving Fri, 10 Mar 2017 10:00:23 +0000 Tim Lemke 1902766 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Things I Learned From Renting Out My Home on Airbnb http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-i-learned-from-renting-out-my-home-on-airbnb <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-things-i-learned-from-renting-out-my-home-on-airbnb" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-511477310.jpg" alt="renting your home on airbnb" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's a leap of faith to open up your primary home to paying guests. When I listed my family home on Airbnb while we were traveling, I had to accept the idea of strangers sleeping in our beds, snooping through drawers and closets, and perusing the shows on our DVR. I also had to accept the risk that something might be stolen or damaged. But most nerve-wracking for me was submitting my home to judgment. After each stay, guests are expected to rate my home on a scale of one to five, not just overall, but on cleanliness as well. Having your home and your hospitality critiqued on the Internet can be tough.</p> <p>The upside, of course, is the money. During one long trip, we earned enough on Airbnb to cover our own vacation lodging. Another trip paid for a new master bedroom set. The unexpected upside has been lessons &mdash; good and bad &mdash; that I've learned from the experience.</p> <h2>1. It Can Be Profitable if You Live in the Right Area</h2> <p>I've been pleasantly surprised to learn that because we live in the popular San Francisco Bay area, we are able to charge up to $200 a night for a home that would have otherwise been sitting empty. And I was amazed to read that another Bay Area Airbnb'er is close to paying the entire mortgage of a house in the mountains by renting it out, and that fellow Wise Bread writer Mikey Rox <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-rent-your-place-on-airbnb-and-succeed?ref=internal" target="_blank">bought a second home on his Airbnb profits</a>. My husband and I are now contemplating adding a bathroom to the lower level of our house, with the goal of renting out that area as a studio, even when we are home. We hope the rents will help pay for the project.</p> <h2>2. It's a Lot of Work to Prepare a Lived-In Home for Rental</h2> <p>Before hosting guests who are staying a week or more, I like to provide an empty drawer and some closet space in each bedroom, and generally declutter the house so that the guests can use every surface without being encumbered by all the junk my family usually has around. I knock off to-do list items such as getting a leaky faucet or a sticky door lock fixed, and scrutinize my house for fixable flaws such as scuff marks on walls or grubby shower grout. Then of course, I need to remove and lock up personal documents and valuables. All this takes <em>forever</em>.</p> <p>Prepping my four-bedroom home for rental typically takes me about 40 hours, meaning that the rental wouldn't even be a very good hourly rate, except for the fact that we enjoy returning to a decluttered home after our trips. On the downside, we sometimes can't find things that I've boxed up and stored away while we were gone.</p> <h2>3. People Are Generally Polite and Honest</h2> <p>Maybe we've just had good luck so far, but we have never come home to find that our home has been blatantly abused. Once I accidentally left a sheet of bank account passwords out &mdash; of all things! &mdash; and none of my accounts were breached. (Of course I changed all the passwords immediately.) We always have the house professionally cleaned before we return, but the cleaners have told us that the house is usually not terribly messy when they arrive.</p> <h2>4. Some People Are Complainers</h2> <p>A few times, we have had guests stay in our home at a discount in exchange for caring for our cats. They're pretty low-maintenance cats, and guests have enjoyed having them around. All except that <em>one</em> lady, who texted me daily to complain about the cats and various other problems around the house. Her constant kvetching ruined our trip.</p> <h2>5. You Must Be Completely Upfront About Any Potential Problems</h2> <p>In retrospect, I realized that although the guest mentioned above was probably just a complainer in general, one reason she was upset was that I had waited until the last minute to warn her about one potential behavior problem with the cats. She felt blindsided by that.</p> <p>On the flip side, we received one booking while the central heat in our home was unexpectedly inoperative. Not only did we get in touch to warn the bookers, we invited them over, since they were local, to check out the situation and determine whether the electric space heaters we'd borrowed were adequate. We gave them the option to cancel the booking, of course, but they opted to stay (at a discount) and left us a positive review.</p> <h2>6. Something Always Gets Broken</h2> <p>Despite the fact that people seem to have treated our home pretty gently, it seems some little thing is always awry when we return. A door will have stopped closing properly or a picture has been knocked off the wall and cracked. We've come to expect it as part of the cost of doing business.</p> <h2>7. Something Always Gets Left Behind</h2> <p>Some folks have left useful things in our house &mdash; the complainer left a small space heater, even though it was summer when she was staying &mdash; and since she never replied to my email asking if she wanted it back, we've enjoyed using it over the years. Others leave things that we don't notice until weeks later and then wonder where on earth it came from.</p> <h2>8. A Few Items Are Usually Moved Around</h2> <p>Although we've never had anything stolen, it's very common to come home and immediately notice something is not in its usual place. Once I searched and searched for the dishpan I always keep in the kitchen sink, finally locating it in the backyard. Naturally, dishes that have been used and washed are often put away in the wrong places. These little things, while not harmful, can be unsettling reminders that others have been using your things while you were gone.</p> <h2>9. You Have to Really Spell Things Out for People</h2> <p>Once I went to a bit of trouble putting together a nice gift basket for guests, with a fancy chocolate and a bottle of local wine. When we returned home, it was still sitting on the counter, untouched. The only explanations for this I could think of were the guests were non-drinkers or on a diet, or they didn't realize this was for them.</p> <p>Now, I always leave my guests an introductory note and specifically invite them to eat, drink, or use any of the things we've left for them. I also spell out house rules clearly, since things that might seem natural to us &mdash; like don't remove the dishpan from the kitchen &mdash; apparently aren't universally obvious.</p> <h2>10. People Use Airbnb for More Than Just Vacation Lodging</h2> <p>I've had a request to book my house for a school seminar &mdash; which I declined &mdash; and another from folks who are between moving out of their old home and moving into a new one. Since Airbnb encourages it, we typically hear from guests why they want to stay in our home, and it's kind of fun to learn that.</p> <h2>11. It's Hard to Get a Lived-In House &quot;Hotel Room&quot; Clean</h2> <p>Although our guests report positive experiences, we always get only four stars for cleanliness &mdash; despite the fact that we hire a professional cleaner to go over the house before they arrive, in addition to extra cleaning I do myself. This is a little embarrassing, but not that surprising when you think about it. Many rental houses are practically empty, with just a few cooking supplies in the kitchen. There's nothing in the closets or on the shelves to collect dust. Also, my home is almost 100 years old and the interiors are not up to date. Some surfaces are going to look a little dingy even when freshly scrubbed.</p> <h2>12. It's Hard to Find Lodging With a Lot of Beds for a Family</h2> <p>Most of the people who book our house are families, sometimes multiple generations traveling together. They've told us that our listing is often one of the few houses with enough beds for them available. When I see full-time rental units on Airbnb, I often wonder why more of them don't put a bunk bed or two in a room to increase the bed count.</p> <h2>13. Neighbors Are Probably Watching and Listening When You Rent Someone's Home</h2> <p>Every time we rent out our house, we ask neighbors to keep an eye on things. We never request that they <em>spy </em>on the guests, of course, but we tend to hear about it if the guests say anything about our house to neighbors, or if they do anything weird like put out an excessive amount of garbage on trash day.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div align="center"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F13-things-i-learned-from-renting-out-my-home-on-airbnb&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F13%20Things%20I%20Learned%20From%20Renting%20Out%20My%20Home%20on%20Airbnb.jpg&amp;description=13%20Things%20I%20Learned%20From%20Renting%20Out%20My%20Home%20on%20Airbnb" 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></div> <div align="center">&nbsp;</div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/13%20Things%20I%20Learned%20From%20Renting%20Out%20My%20Home%20on%20Airbnb.jpg" alt="13 Things I Learned From Renting Out My Home on Airbnb" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-i-learned-from-renting-out-my-home-on-airbnb">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/got-extra-space-make-money-and-meet-travelers-with-short-term-rentals">Got Extra Space? Make Money and Meet Travelers With Short-Term Rentals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/turn-your-home-into-a-rental-in-9-easy-steps">Turn Your Home Into a Rental in 9 Easy Steps</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/what-to-do-about-a-terrible-airbnb-stay">What to Do About a Terrible Airbnb Stay</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-you-get-a-vacation-rental-instead-of-a-hotel">When Should You Get a Vacation Rental Instead of a Hotel?</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-get-over-jet-lag-and-enjoy-your-trip">10 Ways to Get Over Jet Lag and Enjoy Your Trip</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Real Estate and Housing Travel AirBnb home rental lessons learned life lessons real talk travel tips traveling vacation rental vrbo Thu, 09 Mar 2017 11:00:10 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1905993 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Surprising Ways Real Estate Cuts Your Taxes http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-real-estate-cuts-your-taxes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-surprising-ways-real-estate-cuts-your-taxes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-121277252.jpg" alt="Learning surprising ways real estate cuts taxes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Once you own property, you may be eligible for a long list of tax breaks, whether you use it as your primary home, for rental income, or sell it for profit. Let's run through familiar benefits, such as the mortgage interest deduction, and also the various (stunning!) tax breaks real estate investors, landlords, and homeowners enjoy.</p> <h2>1. Mortgage Interest<strong> </strong></h2> <p>This is the most familiar of all deductions and one of the very few times that you can use the interest that you're paying to reduce your tax bill. Besides deducting mortgage interest that you're paying for the purchase of your primary residence, you can also deduct mortgage interest from a second mortgage or a home equity line of credit (HELOC).</p> <p>You can deduct up to $500,000 ($1 million if married filing jointly) in all mortgage interest used to buy, construct, or make substantial improvements in your first home (and second, if applicable). You can't, however, deduct any mortgage interest for purchases on a third home and so on. You can also deduct up to $50,000 ($100,000 if married filing jointly) from all home equity debt for reasons other than to buy, build, or substantially improve your first or second home.</p> <h2>2. Mortgage Interest Credit</h2> <p>Recipients of a mortgage credit certificate (MCC) by a state or local government under a qualified mortgage credit certificate program could be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to 20% of their annual mortgage interest. Figure this credit on Form 8396. The best part is that the remaining 80% of your mortgage interest is still eligible as a deduction!</p> <h2>3. Points</h2> <p>Charges paid by a borrower to secure a mortgage (also known as origination fees, maximum loan charges, or discount points) can generally be deducted. However, if you were to pay points to refinance an existing mortgage, you would amortize the points over the life of the mortgage. When you refinance a loan, your lender will send you a Form 1098 listing the points that you paid, but in the event that they don't, look for your points in your HUD-1 settlement sheet.</p> <p>Page 6 of <a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p936.pdf" target="_blank">IRS Publication, 936 Home Mortgage Interest Deduction</a> provides a useful diagram to determine whether or not your points are fully deductible for this year.</p> <h2>4. Real Estate Taxes</h2> <p>You can deduct real estate taxes, including state, local, or foreign, you paid on real estate you own that wasn't used for business. Tally only taxes paid to government institutions and don't include itemized tax charges for services to specific property or people, such as a gardener or trash collection service. If you were to sell your property and receive a refund or rebate of real estate taxes, you would reduce your deduction by the amount of the refund or rebate.</p> <h2>5. Mortgage Insurance Premiums</h2> <p>You can deduct eligible mortgage insurance premiums provided by government authorities, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Federal Housing Administration, and the Rural Housing Service, as well as private mortgage insurance (PMI) issuers on loans issued after December 31, 2006. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-private-mortgage-insurance-anyway?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What Is Private Mortgage Insurance, Anyway?</a>)</p> <p>In 2017, you can't deduct your mortgage insurance premiums if your adjusted gross income is more than $54,500 ($109,000 if married filing jointly). If your adjusted gross income falls between $50,000 and $54,500 ($100,000 and $109,000 if married filing jointly), your deduction is limited and you must use the Mortgage Insurance Premiums Deduction Worksheet to figure your deduction.</p> <h2>6. Capital Gains Exemption</h2> <p>Eventually, you may sell your real home. Depending on several factors, such as years of ownership, substantial improvements, and neighborhood developments, your home may have appreciated by several thousands of dollars. To lessen the tax hit on taxable capital gains from the sale of your property, the IRS may exempt up to $250,000 ($500,00 if married filing jointly) of that gain from your income.</p> <p>In general, you qualify for a capital gains exemption as long as you have owned and used your home as your main home for a period aggregating at least two years out of the five years before its date of sale. Consult <a href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p523/index.html" target="_blank">Publication 523, Selling Your Home</a> for more details. The beauty of this tax break is that there is no restriction as to how many times you can use it!</p> <h2>7. Investment Interest</h2> <p>Real estate investors also get a tax break on interest paid on money they borrowed that is allocable to property held for investment. Such investors need to use Form 4952 to figure out their investment interest expense deduction.</p> <p>Despite its name, this investment interest deduction doesn't cover interest gained from passive-income activities or securities that generate tax-exempt income.</p> <h2>8. Expenses for Business Use of Homes</h2> <p>Freelancers, independent contractors, and small business owners can deduct expenses for business use of their homes. With Form 8829, you can claim the area used regularly and exclusively for business to allocate a deductible portion from a wide range of expenses, including utilities and depreciation.</p> <p>If your deductions for home business are greater than the current year's limit, you can carry over the excess to 2017! This carry-over will be subject to the deduction limit for that year, whether or not you live in the same home during that year.</p> <h2>9. Tax Credits for &quot;Green&quot; Improvements</h2> <p>To encourage more energy efficient home improvements, the IRS provides tax credits for qualifying expenses. Here are two examples:</p> <ul> <li>Windows, doors, and skylights that met the ENERGY STAR program requirements and were installed between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016 at the homeowner's primary residence may grant you up to $500 in energy efficiency tax credits.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Solar energy systems provide a tax credit of 30% of cost with no upper limit through December 31, 2019. The credit will decrease to 26% in 2020, drop to 22% in 2021, and goes away in 2022.</li> </ul> <p>To learn about other tax credit opportunities from energy efficient home improvements, visit&nbsp;<a href="http://www.energystar.gov" target="_blank">EnergyStar.gov</a>.</p> <h2>10. Deductions From Rental Income Activities</h2> <p>Rental real estate provides several tax breaks to landlords. For example, landlords could potentially deduct:</p> <ul> <li>Local transportation expenses to collect rental income or to manage, conserve, or maintain rental property;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Expenses for managing, conserving, or maintaining rental property from the time it was made available for rent;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Depreciation expenses for the wear and tear of rental property;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Local benefit taxes for maintaining, repairing, or paying interest charges for the benefits;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Legal and professional fees directly related to operating expenses; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Prepaid insurance premiums.</li> </ul> <p>To learn the full list of rental expenses and guidelines for deduction, consult <a href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p527/ch01.html#en_US_2016_publink1000218979" target="_blank">Publication 527, Residential Rental Property</a>. If you use some of your rental properties for personal purposes throughout the year, then you should hire a tax pro to appropriately deduct expenses for rental income. Hiring an accountant to report income from your rental activities is itself an eligible deduction, after all! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-you-should-splurge-and-hire-a-pro?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Times You Should Splurge and Hire a Pro</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-real-estate-cuts-your-taxes">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/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-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-ways-student-loans-impact-your-taxes">4 Ways Student Loans Impact Your Taxes</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/3-unbelievable-real-estate-tax-shelters-of-the-rich">3 Unbelievable Real Estate Tax Shelters of the Rich</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing Taxes business owners capital gains credits deductions energy efficient homeowners interest landlords mortgages rental properties Fri, 24 Feb 2017 10:00:13 +0000 Damian Davila 1897585 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways to Get the Most Out of a Home Warranty http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-the-most-out-of-a-home-warranty <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-get-the-most-out-of-a-home-warranty" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-516251216.jpg" alt="make the most of your home warranty" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have ever bought a home with a real estate agent, chances are they told you they convinced the seller to include a home warranty in the deal.</p> <p>Unfortunately, those home warranties often turn out to be difficult to use. I have a friend in Florida whose central air system failed twice while the home was still under warranty, and the company found a different reason each time to deny the claim. I myself have had home warranty companies (initially) deny a claim for a clogged drain and a broken garbage disposal. Even when the warranty does cover a problem, many consumers are disappointed with the quality of the repair service.</p> <p>Is it impossible to get results from a home warranty? No, it's not. While I'm not a huge fan of the policies, I personally have had home warranties pay for themselves several times over. It wasn't easy, though. Here are some tactics for getting the most out of your home warranty.</p> <h2>Shop Around for Policies</h2> <p>Not all home warranties are created equal. If you're buying your own warranty, first check the company's reputation, and then look at the different levels of coverage it offers. If the warranty is being given to you with a home sale, you can ask your real estate agent the same questions.</p> <h2>When Something Breaks, Contact the Warranty Company First</h2> <p>You have no heat in the dead of winter! Shouldn't you call the furnace company first and worry about getting compensated for it later? Not so fast. The home warranty company may not cover a repair if you hire someone first, and later contact them.</p> <p>Some warranty companies offer 24/7 support, but if the warranty company puts you on hold forever or can't send a technician for a week, you may be in a tough spot. What you do then comes down to how much you want your claim covered, and how much damage &mdash; like frozen pipes &mdash; might occur while you wait.</p> <h2>Read Your Contract Before Calling</h2> <p>When filing your claim, explain exactly how your problem qualifies for warranty coverage. For instance, say your warranty covers appliances but not plumbing. Your dishwasher failed and caused water damage to your kitchen floor. Don't call and simply tell them you have flood damage in your kitchen. Call and report that your warranty-covered dishwasher malfunctioned and damaged your floor.</p> <h2>Be Persistent, Both With Phone Agents and Service Providers</h2> <p>Continuing with the above scenario, if the phone agent tells you your floor damage isn't covered, have the contract handy so you can cite the passages that support your claim. And if the agent isn't helping you, ask to be transferred to a manager. Follow up in writing or by email if denied.</p> <p>Once a service provider is dispatched, be present for the visit. Some providers will show up, charge the visit fee, and say that the repair isn't covered &mdash; without thoroughly investigating. If they try to say it's not covered, point out why it should be. Contact their supervisor if necessary before paying the fee.</p> <h2>Ask If You Have a Choice of Service Providers</h2> <p>Before agreeing to allow a service provider into your home, check their online reviews. In my experience, home warranty companies sometimes send low-rated providers. You can look up a provider on Angie's List or Yelp quickly while on the phone with the service company. If it's a terrible company, ask to have a better one dispatched.</p> <h2>Ask If You Have the Option of Taking a Cash Payment</h2> <p>Warranty companies do sometimes offer cash instead of replacing an appliance. On the downside, the cash they pay probably won't cover your true replacement cost. On the upside, if you get the cash, you can choose the model and installer you want.</p> <p>My home warranty company offered a $500 check when our water heater broke shortly after we bought our current home. Our new water heater cost twice that with installation, but we were glad to have the flexibility to upgrade the unit and work with a more reputable plumber than the warranty company initially sent.</p> <h2>Be Persistent Even If You're Not Sure Who's Right</h2> <p>The home warranty initially refused to cover my clogged drain because it was in the basement, leading to the outside of the house, and they only covered the inside the house. Was this argument valid? I wasn't sure, but because it required jackhammering and repairing my basement floor, it was going to be a very expensive repair &mdash; so I just kept at them. I emailed, I faxed, I called. It took weeks, but I finally got the company to pay for the repair &mdash; probably just to get me off their back.</p> <h2>Don't Schedule Service If You Know the Repair Isn't Covered</h2> <p>When the home warranty company dispatches a service provider to your house, they'll charge you a visit fee of $35 to $100 &mdash; whether they fix anything or not. So there's no sense calling them for a repair that falls outside the coverage, and there's certainly no sense misrepresenting your repair. You'll just lose the service fee.</p> <h2>Keep a Close Eye on Older Appliances and Systems During the Warranty Period</h2> <p>Is your furnace making a funny noise, but you can live with it? If your warranty expires soon, it may be worth paying the visit fee to have a technician check it out, just in case that noise indicates a major problem that will come to a head just after the warranty expires.</p> <h2>Keep Your Expectations in Check</h2> <p>Don't get surprised or angry when your home warranty provider tells you they won't cover a claim. Go in with a lot of patience and persistence on tap, and try your best to get something out of them. In the end, if you end up with a less-than-perfect repair or a smaller-than-desired check, acknowledge that at least you got something. Life's too short to waste time fuming at a company that angered you.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-the-most-out-of-a-home-warranty">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/4-warranties-that-arent-worth-it">4 Warranties That Aren&#039;t Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-a-home-energy-audit-will-save-you-money">4 Ways a Home Energy Audit Will Save You Money</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/citimortage-told-me-to-default-on-my-loan-if-i-want-their-help">CitiMortgage Told Me to Default on My 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/making-home-affordable-expanded-again-borrowers-allowed-to-refinance-loans-up-to-125-percent-of-valu">Making Home Affordable expanded again - borrowers allowed to refinance loans up to 125 percent of value</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-can-renters-do-if-their-landlords-are-in-foreclosure">What can renters do if their landlords are in foreclosure?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Real Estate and Housing Angie's List appliances cash payouts filing claims home warranties phone agents repairs services Wed, 15 Feb 2017 10:30:29 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1889842 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Unexpected Things Covered by Homeowners Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/11-unexpected-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-unexpected-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/611293320.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>This post brought to you by <a href="https://bob.dmpxs.com/bob_007.gif?s=post&amp;l=289%7C921%7C3488&amp;e=click&amp;p=disclaimer&amp;ids=null&amp;imp_hash=%7BIMP_SIGNATURE%7D&amp;bobredir=http%3A%2F%2Fad.doubleclick.net%2Fddm%2Ftrackclk%2FN4492.127014FEDERATEDMEDIA%2FB10893953.145514384%3Bdc_trk_aid%3D317173286%3Bdc_trk_cid%3D78536406%3Bdc_lat%3D%3Bdc_rdid%3D%3Btag_for_child_directed_treatment%3D&amp;c=113322" rel="nofollow">Progressive</a>. See how much <a href="https://bob.dmpxs.com/bob_007.gif?s=post&amp;l=289%7C921%7C3488&amp;e=click&amp;p=disclaimer&amp;ids=null&amp;imp_hash=%7BIMP_SIGNATURE%7D&amp;bobredir=http%3A%2F%2Fad.doubleclick.net%2Fddm%2Ftrackclk%2FN4492.127014FEDERATEDMEDIA%2FB10893953.145514384%3Bdc_trk_aid%3D317173286%3Bdc_trk_cid%3D78536406%3Bdc_lat%3D%3Bdc_rdid%3D%3Btag_for_child_directed_treatment%3D&amp;c=113322" rel="nofollow">Progressive </a>could save you when you bundle your policies.</em></p> <p>Homeowners insurance is absolutely essential if you want to protect your house and assets. If you take a look at a typical insurance policy (commonly known as an HO-3), you&rsquo;ll find it protects homeowners from a wide range of mishaps, from fires to vandalism, lightning strikes and tree falls. But do you know the full scope of what your homeowners policy covers?</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s a look at some of the surprising things that you may find are covered by homeowners insurance.</p> <h2>1. Patios, Gazebos, and Sheds</h2> <p>You may think that you&rsquo;re only buying insurance for your home. But in reality, the homeowners policy usually covers your entire property, including all structures such as storage sheds, gazebos, and that luxury doghouse you just had built for Fido. Be sure to let the insurance company know ahead of time, however, that you have these structures on your property. This will ensure you have documentation for coverage.</p> <h2>2. Tombstones</h2> <p>Believe it or not, grave markers at a cemetery are considered &ldquo;personal property&rdquo; and are therefore covered under most homeowners policies. Thus, most people are covered up to $5,000 worth of damage. It&rsquo;s important to note, however, that some gravestone damage is caused by the cemetery&rsquo;s own landscaping equipment, and would therefore be covered by the cemetery&rsquo;s perpetual care fund. So be sure to check the source of damage before making an insurance claim.</p> <h2>3. Riots</h2> <p>A typical HO-3 will cover your home and personal property in the event that they are damaged during civil unrest. (Some policies refer to it as &ldquo;civil commotion.&rdquo;) Vandalism, fire, and explosions are usually covered. If a State of Emergency is declared in your area due to rioting that could help your case when filing a claim. If not, it&rsquo;s a good idea to get a police report to document the event and damage.</p> <h2>4. Volcanoes (But Not Earthquakes)</h2> <p>Most of us outside Hawaii don&rsquo;t have to worry about this, but if your home is in the path of an erupting volcano, rest assured you&rsquo;ll be covered. It&rsquo;s worth noting, however, that earthquake damage (sometimes referred to as &ldquo;ground movement&rdquo;) is not covered under most standard policies.</p> <h2>5. Flooding (In Some Specific Cases)</h2> <p>A typical homeowners policy does not cover flood damage. You&rsquo;ll need separate insurance to cover damage caused by persistent rainfall, an overflowing creek bed, or flooding of a similar nature. But, some policies will cover water damage caused by things like a faulty sump pump, busted water heater or broken pipe. And you may find that water problems may be covered if the water is the indirect result of other kinds of damage (for example, a roof blowing off during a storm). Be sure to check your policy carefully to see what&rsquo;s covered when it comes to water.</p> <h2>6. Your Kids&rsquo; Stuff at College</h2> <p>If you send your child off to school and he&rsquo;s living in a dorm, his items are usually covered under your homeowners policy. That&rsquo;s because most policies cover anyone in your household as well as students under the age of 24. Not all policies cover students living in off-campus housing, however. It&rsquo;s also worth noting that liability limits on students&rsquo; items may be lower, so if they have expensive items like a computer or bicycle, it may be a good idea to get some renters insurance as well.</p> <h2>7. Identity Theft</h2> <p>If some nefarious person gets ahold of your sensitive data, it can become difficult to straighten out. Fortunately, many homeowners policies now allow for reimbursement of the cost of fixing your credit reports and restoring your identity. This can include the cost of lost wages, phone bills and possibly even legal representation. If this coverage is not included in your basic policy, it may be available as a low-cost add-on or endorsement, so check with your insurance provider.</p> <h2>8. Anything You Travel With</h2> <p>Most homeowners policies cover your belongings wherever they go, under something called an &ldquo;off-premises&rdquo; provision. That means that if your laptop or luggage is stolen while you&rsquo;re on vacation in Europe, you&rsquo;re usually covered. For pricey items, like your engagement ring or your triathlon bike, it may be worth getting an additional rider to ensure you have enough coverage.</p> <h2>9. Spoiled Food</h2> <p>Let&rsquo;s say a big storm blows through your town and you&rsquo;re without power for six days. Say goodbye to whatever was left in your refrigerator. The good news is that most homeowners policies will cover the cost of replacing spoiled food. Just make sure you take pictures of the food. Also, take note of the deductible on your plan. Some policies have no deductible on food spoilage claims, others may have a high deductible, which would make filing a claim pointless.</p> <h2>10. Dog Bites</h2> <p>If your dog bites someone, your homeowners policy may cover the cost of medical care, usually up to as much as $300,000. Just be aware that some dogs can do serious damage when they bite, and may require additional insurance to cover the cost of any potential claims.</p> <h2>11. Home Upgrades Required by Law</h2> <p>If your local government passes an ordinance requiring your home to have a new roof, the cost of that improvement is often covered. This is nice to have if, for instance, your home is damaged in a storm and the repairs must be in line with new zoning laws. There are usually limits to this coverage &mdash; insurance may not pay for full demolition, for instance &mdash; but it&rsquo;s nice to have for homeowners who may live in older houses. Check your insurance policy to see if this coverage is included in your basic plan or available as a low-cost endorsement.</p> <script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8" src="https://vc.cdn.fm/video_conversationalist/system/published/opportunity/113322921/289_3488.js"></script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-unexpected-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance">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/dont-let-your-bank-pick-your-homeowners-insurance">Don&#039;t Let Your Bank Pick Your Homeowner&#039;s Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-definitely-need-renters-insurance">5 Reasons You Definitely Need Renters&#039; Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-have-renters-insurance">Why You Should Have Renters Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-facts-about-flooding-and-your-home">10 Surprising Facts About Flooding and Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-things-your-homeowners-insurance-doesnt-cover">9 Surprising Things Your Homeowners Insurance Doesn&#039;t Cover</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance Real Estate and Housing coverage dogs flooding homeowners insurance progressive insurance state of emergency theft volcano Wed, 08 Feb 2017 14:15:06 +0000 Tim Lemke 1888619 at http://www.wisebread.com Yes, You Need Home Title Insurance — Here's Why http://www.wisebread.com/yes-you-need-home-title-insurance-heres-why <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/yes-you-need-home-title-insurance-heres-why" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-470522924.jpg" alt="Man learning why he needs home title insurance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The closing costs on a typical mortgage loan can seem overwhelming. According to Zillow, the <a href="http://www.zillow.com/mortgage-learning/closing-costs/" target="_blank">closing costs</a> for a $150,000 home can range from $3,000 to $7,500, with an average falling around $3,700.</p> <p>So when you discover that you'll also have to pay for something called title insurance when closing your loan, you might wonder if this fee is necessary, or if title insurance is something you can skip.</p> <p>Here's the short answer to those questions: Yes, title insurance matters. And no, mortgage lenders won't let you skip it.</p> <h2>What Title Insurance Does</h2> <p>To sum up, title insurance protects you from clerical errors, mistakes in property records, or unpaid taxes involving the home you are purchasing.</p> <p>Maybe the past owner of the home hasn't paid property taxes in years. If you buy the home, the government agencies levying those taxes will come after <em>you</em> to pay them &mdash; unless you have title insurance.</p> <p>Or, maybe a past seller bought the home with a sister. Maybe these two siblings had a falling out, and the brother sold the home without telling his sister. That spurned relative could come after you for the profits she says she is owed from the sale &mdash; again, unless you have title insurance protecting you.</p> <p>Title insurance is like most other forms of insurance: You pay for it in the hopes that you'll never need to use it.</p> <h2>What Title Insurance Doesn't Do</h2> <p>Title insurance covers the window of time before your ownership of the home, protecting you from certain claims and legal fees that were beyond your control. Even though it extends backward through time indefinitely, coverage ceases on the date you take ownership. If you decide not to pay property taxes once you're the official homeowner? That's on you.</p> <h2>A Two-Part Transaction</h2> <p>Title insurance will be included as part of your third-party closing fees, charges levied by companies that work with your mortgage lender to originate your home loan.</p> <p>There are actually two parts to title insurance. First, the title company providing your insurance will search all the property records associated with the home you are buying to make sure there aren't any unpaid taxes, long-lost heirs, or charges of fraud associated with the property. This is known as the title search.</p> <p>Once the search is complete, and the title insurer is confident that the seller has legal ownership and the right to sell the home, it will create two title policies. The lender's title policy protects your lender from anyone claiming rights against your property. It also reimburses your lender if you lose your house to a title claim and are no longer making your mortgage payment. All lenders will require that you pay for a lender's title insurance policy.</p> <p>The second part of title insurance is the part that actually protects you: the owner's policy. This policy protects you from the above mentioned unreleased liens, people who might claim ownership of your home, or public record errors that were missed during the title search. Most lenders will also require that you purchase an owner's policy, too.</p> <h2>How Much Will It Cost?</h2> <p>Title insurance is not cheap. In fact, it ranks as one of the biggest fees buyers will pay when closing a mortgage loan.</p> <p>The cost of this insurance does vary quite a bit, usually depending on where you live. But you can generally expect to pay a one-time premium between $1,000 to $3,000 for title insurance.</p> <p>Most lenders will select a title insurance company for you. But you aren't required to work with that company. You can shop around for lower rates. This is usually a smart move: You can often shave hundreds off the cost of title insurance by shopping around.</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/yes-you-need-home-title-insurance-heres-why">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/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-your-bank-pick-your-homeowners-insurance">Don&#039;t Let Your Bank Pick Your Homeowner&#039;s Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-pay-your-mortgage-off-early">Should You Pay Your Mortgage Off Early?</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/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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance Real Estate and Housing closing costs fees homeownership mortgages property liens property taxes protection public records title insurance Fri, 03 Feb 2017 10:30:32 +0000 Dan Rafter 1885598 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Effective Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Fast http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-effective-ways-to-pay-off-your-mortgage-fast <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-effective-ways-to-pay-off-your-mortgage-fast" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_piggybank_house_509480788.jpg" alt="" 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 effective ways to pay off your mortgage fast, simple ways to fend off colds and flus, and over 100 ways to save money on your wedding.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.dontpayfull.com/blog/pay-off-mortgage-fast">10 Surprisingly Effective Ways to Pay Off Mortgage Fast</a> &mdash; Consider a flexible mortgage, which will allow you to pay off your mortgage faster without penalties. [Don't Pay Full]</p> <p><a href="http://www.cheapism.com/blog/cold-flu-prevention-tips/">15 Simple Ways to Fend Off Colds and Flu</a> &mdash; When you feel a cough coming on, soothe your throat with a tablespoon of honey. [Cheapism]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Save-Money-Wedding-23603315#photo-23603315">130 Ways to Save Money and Still Have the Wedding of Your Dreams</a> &mdash; Choose wedding invitations that will fit into a standard-sized envelope to avoid paying extra on postage. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/The-Bite/2017/0119/As-promised-Panera-dumps-all-food-additives">As promised, Panera dumps all food additives</a> &mdash; All of Panera's products and in-store menu items are no2 100% free of all food additives. [The Monitor]</p> <p><a href="http://www.experian.com/blogs/news/about/creditchat/financial-strategies-help-weather-emergencies/">Financial Strategies to Help You Weather Emergencies</a> &mdash; For many families, one emergency is all it takes to knock a budget into the red. Join Experian's #CreditChat today at 3 p.m. ET for a discussion on financial habits that can help you get through an emergency. [Experian]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://everythingfinanceblog.com/19462/9-inexpensive-ways-beat-winter-blues.html">9 Inexpensive Ways to Beat the Winter Blues</a> &mdash; Bring spring into your home by cooking with fresh herbs and decorating with greenery and flowering plants. [Everything Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.adventuresinfrugalland.com/toxic-healthy-streamline-laundry-routine/">From Toxic to Healthy: Streamline Your Laundry Routine</a> &mdash; Use mesh bags for socks and other laundry items that can easily get lost in the washing machine. [Adventures in Frugal Land]</p> <p><a href="https://due.com/blog/3-things-business-slow/">3 Things to Do When Business Is Slow</a> &mdash; Marketing tends to be the first thing that is cut in tough times, you should actually focus more on marketing when business is slow. [Due]</p> <p><a href="http://www.modestmoney.com/financial-savings-working-from-home/37002">Financial Savings You Can Make By Working From Home</a> &mdash; When you work outside the home, you have more opportunities to spend money, like on snacks, coffee, and other temptations. [Modest Money]</p> <p><a href="https://www.pennymacusa.com/blog/winter-improvement-summer-enjoyment">Winter Improvement, Summer Enjoyment: Home Fixes for Right Now</a> &mdash; Doing home improvements in the winter, the offseason for home improvements, can mean easier scheduling, better contractor choices and stronger negotiating power. [PennyMac]</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-effective-ways-to-pay-off-your-mortgage-fast">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/8-signs-youre-paying-too-much-for-your-mortgage">8 Signs You&#039;re Paying Too Much for Your Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-reasons-not-to-apply-for-a-loan-modification-in-the-home-affordable-modification-program-hamp">5 Reasons Not to Apply for a Loan Modification in the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)</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-ensure-you-get-the-home-loan-you-want">How to Ensure You Get the Home Loan You Want</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing best money tips mortgage Wed, 25 Jan 2017 10:30:30 +0000 Amy Lu 1879643 at http://www.wisebread.com My 2016 Budget Challenge: Can a Paint Job Help an Old House Pass a Re-Fi Appraisal? http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-can-a-paint-job-help-an-old-house-pass-a-re-fi-appraisal <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/my-2016-budget-challenge-can-a-paint-job-help-an-old-house-pass-a-re-fi-appraisal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_painting_walls_539825724.jpg" alt="Couple doing paint job on old house" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>[<em>Editor's Note: This is the latest episode in Max Wong's journey to find an extra $31,000 in a single year. Read the whole series </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/max-wongs-budget-0" target="_blank"><em>here</em></a><em>.</em>]</p> <p>We paid off our home equity line of credit two years early! It was a Festivus miracle.</p> <p>Kind of.</p> <p>Earlier this year, we failed to refinance the mortgage of Dinky Manor not once, but twice. We could not get our ramshackle, 1,000 square foot house to appraise for the whopping $640,000 we needed to get Mr. Spendypants out of his horrifically structured, pre-2007 housing crash home loan.</p> <p>For all of you wondering about that $640,000 for 1,000 square feet&hellip;I guess you don't live in Los Angeles.</p> <p>On Thanksgiving Eve, our friends Mary Ellen and Bob invited us out to dinner with Betsy and Murray (Mary Ellen's sister and brother-in-law). As Mary Ellen and Bob are both Wise Bread readers, they immediately started quizzing us about the 2016 Budget Challenge. They wanted to know all the sordid details &mdash; like how Mr. Spendypants puts up with my ever-increasing level of crazy. We were in the middle of whining about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-reduce-debt-or-save-for-an-emergency" target="_blank">our underemployment</a> and our ever more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-decide-when-to-sell-your-house" target="_blank">complicated real estate situation</a> when Murray reached across the table and handed me his business card.</p> <p>Murray is a mortgage banker.</p> <p>We followed up with Murray at his office the following week. He had already looked at a ton of real estate data for our area and couldn't understand why the house hadn't appraised for over $600,000. He started crunching the numbers. He thinks he can figure out how to refinance Dinky Manor's mortgage.</p> <p>However, Murray had two immediate demands. First, Dinky Manor needs an exterior paint job, stat. The fact that our house is the dumpiest on the block isn't helping our cause. Alas, we don't have the $17,000 it would cost to hire professionals to paint the house, so Mr. Spendypants and I will spend a relaxing winter holiday scraping and sanding 80 years of bad paint jobs off the outside of our home. Luckily, one of my best friends is a retired painting contractor. He has agreed to come out of retirement to help us rehab the house for the appraisal before the mortgage rates jump any higher.</p> <p>Could we pay down the home equity line of credit? This was Murray's second ask. Although our debt-to-loan ratio is better than average, if we zap our HELOC down to zero, it would make us look much less risky as borrowers.</p> <p>Conceptually, paying off the debt is a no-brainer. What the bank wants dovetails nicely with my goal of paying off the loan (that is due in 2018) by the end of this year. It's the actual execution of this goal that sucks. After a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-everything-breaks" target="_blank">solid start in January</a>, finding extra cash this year has been more difficult than we anticipated. Could we juggle the finances to pay off our loan at this later date without completely cannibalizing our emergency fund? Short answer: sort of. We took a $6,000 chomp out of our emergency fund. Since there is a small but real chance of us both being underemployed come March, and a somewhat larger chance that this mortgage refinance will fall through, this move makes us financially vulnerable.</p> <p>Worst case scenario: We have to take out a new line of credit in March as a precaution. While this would not be the end of the world, that situation would not be ideal. I would like to avoid being that loser personal finance writer who can't kick her debt habit.</p> <p>Best case scenario: The re-Fi goes through and we both find decent employment in March. If this happens we will be able to put the money we were using to pay down the HELOC each month toward replenishing our emergency fund and paying down the new, less expensive mortgage at a faster pace.</p> <p>Fingers crossed.</p> <h2>Progress So Far</h2> <p>Although we did pay off a $15,000 loan with money we had socked away, I am not adding the $6,000 we pulled out of our emergency fund to the plus column of my 2016 budget challenge because we are going to have to pay our emergency fund back, as fast as humanly possible.</p> <p>Panic is a really good motivator. If only we'd had that kind of &quot;inspiration&quot; all year long. We earned a combined $3,258.98 in the first two weeks of December. Here's how we did it.</p> <p>Mr. Spendypants and I DJ'ed a corporate Christmas party. Although we did not win one of the flat screen televisions that were raffled off as door prizes, we did make $1,500 for five hours of work. Also, we ate at least $800 in foie gras cotton candy, spearified olives, and wagyu beef, so that was a great job perk.</p> <p>To take advantage of the holiday shopping fever, I had planned to spend the first two weeks of December selling every single thing that is not nailed down in the house on eBay and Etsy. Alas, this did not happen, so my house is still filled with crap we don't need. Mr. Spendypants and I deemed it more prudent that I use every available second of daylight doing yard work and prepping to paint the house in advance of the looming mortgage appraisal appointment. We will save a lot more money if we can refinance the mortgage than I could ever make selling our stuff online.</p> <p>Even with my new, yucky manual labor schedule, I managed to earn $1,758.98 on the side. In a previous incarnation, I was a jewelry designer. Mary Ellen and Betsy were nice enough to buy $243 in old stock from me for holiday gifts. I made $41 selling books to a second hand bookshop. I have been <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-to-make-deluxe-gifts-for-under-15" target="_blank">propagating succulent cuttings</a> from my garden all year long. I made $124 selling little potted plants off my front porch to passers-by. I made $10.73 selling an old dress (that I had gotten for free) to a consignment store. One of my neighbors paid me $25 to run an errand for her, and another neighbor paid me $100 for pet sitting. I made $100 from writing jobs. I sold $707 in jam, honey, and handmade lip balm. Although I barely have any merchandise for sale on Etsy, I received a last minute order that netted me $363.25.</p> <p>Phew.</p> <p>Because I source holiday gifts year round, we actually managed to spend $0 on holiday gifts for friends and family this year. Just about everyone got <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-now-you-can-make-these-23-delicious-holiday-gifts" target="_blank">homemade goodies</a> that I had made in advance or gifts paid for through barter. This was a total win. Unfortunately, we did not get to wallow in our thrifty genius for long. We have spent $495 on painting supplies for the house so far&hellip;</p> <p><strong>Goal:</strong> $31,000.00</p> <p><strong>Amount Raised:</strong> $33,126.40</p> <p><strong>Amount Spent:</strong> $14,093.66</p> <p><strong>Amount Left to Go:</strong> $11,967.26</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-can-a-paint-job-help-an-old-house-pass-a-re-fi-appraisal">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/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/my-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-decide-when-to-sell-your-house">My 2016 Budget Challenge: How to Decide When to Sell Your House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/quicken-loans-review-competitive-rates-and-good-customer-service">Quicken Loans Review: Competitive Rates and Good Customer Service</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-5-money-moves-before-applying-for-a-mortgage">Make These 5 Money Moves Before Applying for a Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-you-shouldnt-refinance-your-mortgage">5 Times You Shouldn&#039;t Refinance Your Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing appraisal budget challenge HELOC home equity line of credit home loans max wongs budget mortgages re-fi refinancing Fri, 13 Jan 2017 10:30:36 +0000 Max Wong 1870057 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Famous Houses From Film and TV You Can Buy http://www.wisebread.com/7-famous-houses-from-film-and-tv-you-can-buy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-famous-houses-from-film-and-tv-you-can-buy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home_for_sale_502211716.jpg" alt="Finding famous houses you can buy" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It could be the ultimate in fandom: You've seen the movie, you've had the poster autographed by the star &mdash; now move into the set.</p> <p>When a real home is used for a film or television show, chances are that it will eventually go up for sale. That's when you, the fan, gets the chance to pore over photos in the real estate listing, tour the place, or even purchase it.</p> <p>Hope you've been saving up: With only one exception, the famous houses I found on the market are all asking over a million bucks. On the upside for shoppers, being a movie or TV star doesn't seem to confer a premium to these homes. Some have been on the market a long time and seem reasonably priced for their neighborhoods and features.</p> <h2>1. Twilight</h2> <p>Featured as the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.virani.ca/vlist/property_detail?t=q&amp;code=&amp;vlist=1010000654" target="_blank">Cullen family house</a> in the movie <em>Twilight: New Moon</em>, this 5,000-square-foot contemporary mansion is located in West Vancouver. As of 2010, the asking price was $2.7 million, and it sat on the market for years. Perhaps home shoppers feel a little unease at sleeping in bedrooms once occupied by fictional vampires?</p> <h2>2. Sixteen Candles</h2> <p>Who could forget Molly Ringwald pouting on the staircase while her family ignored her 16th birthday? Those John Hughes movie families always had some nice homes in the northern Chicago suburbs, and the one in which that scene played out is no exception: six bedrooms, five bathrooms, gorgeous (not 1980s original, thank goodness) kitchen. With an <a href="http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/3022-Payne-St-Evanston-IL-60201/3516226_zpid/" target="_blank">asking price of $1.4 million</a>, it likely stands out in its Evanston neighborhood, where the average property value is under $400,000.</p> <h2>3. Boy Meets World</h2> <p>Located not in Philadelphia, where this teen comedy show was set, but in Studio City, California. This 2,500-square-foot Cape Cod is <a href="http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/4196-Colfax-Ave-Studio-City-CA-91604/20027179_zpid/" target="_blank">on the block for $1.5 million</a> &mdash; after a $100,000 price cut.</p> <h2>4. Miracle on 34th Street</h2> <p>Another Hughes mansion, the yellow house featured in the remake of <em>Miracle on 34th Street</em> has been <a href="http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/771-Washington-Rd-Lake-Forest-IL-60045/4857301_zpid/" target="_blank">on and off the market</a> for more than a year. Its most recent asking price was $2.8 million, and Zillow says it's worth $500,000 more. Located in the Chicago suburb of Lake Forest, the five-bedroom, 6,000-square-foot palace has <em>seven and a half bathrooms</em>. If you buy this one, better ask about a full-time cleaning crew.</p> <h2>5. The Bodyguard and City of Angels</h2> <p>Lake Tahoe is known more as a getaway for San Francisco techies than a movie filming location, but this <a href="http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1131-Fallen-Leaf-Rd-South-Lake-Tahoe-CA-96150/18570499_zpid/" target="_blank">$6 million, five-bedroom &quot;cabin&quot;</a> has starred in two. Even some of the <a href="http://hookedonhouses.net/2016/08/09/cabin-bodyguard-city-of-angels-for-sale/" target="_blank">furniture seen in both movies</a> appears in the listing photos.</p> <h2>6. In the Heat of the Night</h2> <p>If you are old enough to remember Carroll O'Connor playing a police chief on this drama series, you might recognize this <a href="http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2130-Monticello-St-SW-Covington-GA-30014/69875079_zpid/" target="_blank">1886 five-bedroom home</a>, which O'Connor's character purchased and lived in during the course of the show. Because of its location in a small Georgia town, the seller is asking only $437,000, a price reduction of more than $60,000.</p> <h2>7. The Godfather</h2> <p>Don Corleone thought this mansion was a good enough location for his daughter's wedding, so this <a href="https://www.6sqft.com/don-corleones-godfather-house-lists-for-3m-in-staten-islands-todt-hill/" target="_blank">Staten Island &quot;mini-mansion&quot;</a> should be good enough for you to lounge in its &quot;man cave&quot; or alongside the backyard pool. The five-bedroom, 6,000-square-foot home has gone through multiple price reductions and was last listed at $2.3 million before being <a href="http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/110-Longfellow-Ave-Staten-Island-NY-10301/32293579_zpid/" target="_blank">taken off the market</a>. Since no sale has been recorded, it's safe to assume the house could still be purchased if you make the right offer.<em> I think you know the kind of offer I'm talking about.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-famous-houses-from-film-and-tv-you-can-buy">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/5-dramatic-vacation-spots-for-tv-and-film-fanatics">5 Dramatic Vacation Spots for TV and Film Fanatics</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-tricks-for-a-better-netflix-experience">6 Tricks for a Better Netflix Experience</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-watch-movies-in-the-theater-for-free">How to Watch Movies in the Theater for Free</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/financial-lessons-from-its-a-wonderful-life">Financial Lessons From &quot;It&#039;s A Wonderful Life&quot;</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-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers">10 Dumb Ways to Scare Off Potential Homebuyers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Real Estate and Housing boy meets world celebrities famous houses housing market mansions movies sixteen candles the godfather TV shows twilight Fri, 30 Dec 2016 11:00:11 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1864427 at http://www.wisebread.com Why a Mobile Home May Be Your Best Option for Affordable Housing http://www.wisebread.com/why-a-mobile-home-may-be-your-best-option-for-affordable-housing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-a-mobile-home-may-be-your-best-option-for-affordable-housing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mobile_homes_street_184625427.jpg" alt="Learning why a mobile home is the most affordable option" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Homeownership has long been part of the American dream. But if you want to become a homeowner, the average house in the U.S. these days <a href="http://www.zillow.com/home-values/">costs about $191,200</a>. If you have a lower salary or have student loan debt, finding a home you can afford, and convincing a lender to give you a mortgage, can be challenging. For many, homeownership is just not feasible &mdash; at least, homeownership as we traditionally think about it.</p> <p>But if you're willing to consider nontraditional approaches to housing, you can become a homeowner at a fraction of the cost.</p> <p>Manufactured homes, often derisively described as trailer homes, have come a long way from even 10 years ago. Today, modern manufactured homes are luxurious, well-made, and spacious. And, you can become a homeowner for less than you'd spend on a down payment on a traditional home.</p> <h2>Modern Manufactured Homes</h2> <p>Unlike traditional houses, manufactured homes are usually built off-site, then pieced together on their new owner's lot. They can be built into the foundation, but most are able to be moved, if the owner decides to relocate.</p> <p>Today's models are sturdy and are meant to be full-time residences. While you can find tiny one-bedrooms, they also come in three and four-bedroom deluxe versions that can accommodate larger families.</p> <p>If you're looking for upgrades, modern manufactured homes have them. New models typically have large, open floor plans, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, and giant soaking tubs. You can even get hardwood floors and screened-in porches. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-are-the-7-features-home-buyers-want-most?ref=seealso">These Are the 7 Features Home Buyers Want Most</a>)</p> <h2>The Cost of a Manufactured Home</h2> <p>Manufactured homes can vary widely in cost, but they are much cheaper than traditional houses. As of 2013, the average cost of a new manufactured home, not including land, <a href="http://www.grissimguides.com/grrep13.htm">was $63,000</a>. But if you're willing to buy used, you can get a home for as little as $10,000.</p> <p>Today's manufactured homes are extremely energy-efficient. They often use less energy and water than other homes. In fact, the combined cost of electricity, gas, and water can be less than <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2013/08/03/money-quick-tips-mobile-homes-hosuing/2610469/">$1,000 a year</a> &mdash; a significant savings over traditional homes.</p> <p>However, one thing to keep in mind when buying a manufactured home is that the cost of the unit is only part of the overall price, since you also have to pay to keep it somewhere. Some people opt to buy land for their manufactured home; others pay rent in a community.</p> <p>Communities often offer amenities like pools, fitness centers, group activities, and more. But they can range in price and quality. Rent is often between <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2013/08/03/money-quick-tips-mobile-homes-hosuing/2610469/">$200 and $300,</a> but even combined with your payments for your purchase price, that's likely less than you'd spend on a mortgage for a regular home or rent on an apartment.</p> <h2>Downsides to Consider</h2> <p>Manufactured homes are dependent on their communities; where your house is can change your experience. Before deciding on a home, do your research on the park. Drive around on the weekends, on weeknights, and walk around in the evening to get a feel for the neighborhood. Try to attend community events, if possible, and talk to your neighbors about their experiences.</p> <p>And unlike regular houses, which can build equity, manufactured homes are more like cars: They're depreciating assets. If you buy new and decide to sell in a few years, you are unlikely to get what you paid for it. But that's why you can get such a great deal on a gently used unit if you are willing to buy from a previous owner.</p> <h2>Give Manufactured Homes Another Look</h2> <p>If you want to stop the rent cycle and become a homeowner, but cannot come up with the funds to buy a $200,000 home, give manufactured homes a serious look. They may be able to give you everything you're looking for &mdash; number of bedrooms, open floor plan, modern kitchen &mdash; at a much smaller price. By opening your mind to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford">alternative housing ideas</a>, you can get what your family wants while saving money.</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/why-a-mobile-home-may-be-your-best-option-for-affordable-housing">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/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> <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/could-your-city-go-bankrupt">Could Your City Go Bankrupt?</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/yes-you-need-home-title-insurance-heres-why">Yes, You Need Home Title Insurance — Here&#039;s Why</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/avoid-these-7-things-when-living-with-roommates">Avoid These 7 Things When Living With Roommates</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Real Estate and Housing affordable homes alternative housing homeownership manufactured homes mobile homes trailer parks Tue, 27 Dec 2016 11:00:06 +0000 Kat Tretina 1860479 at http://www.wisebread.com Home Reverse Mortgaged? Here's How to Sell It http://www.wisebread.com/home-reverse-mortgaged-heres-how-to-sell-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/home-reverse-mortgaged-heres-how-to-sell-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_selling_house_185289787.jpg" alt="Couple learning how to sell a reverse-morgaged house" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Reverse mortgages are becoming more and more popular as the U.S. population ages. In a reverse mortgage, instead of having to make a monthly payment on a mortgage until it is paid off, a homeowner receives an amount from the equity in their house every month.</p> <p>Reverse mortgages are often a boon to senior citizens living on a fixed income. It essentially removes the need to pay a mortgage every month by converting existing equity in a home into income that covers the mortgage. Reverse mortgages are available only to people 62 years of age or older.</p> <p>The downside, of course, is that reverse mortgages have the opposite effect on equity in the house that conventional mortgages do: They draw from it rather than adding to it. At the end of a reverse mortgage, there may be little or no equity left in the home.</p> <h2>Steps to Sell the Home</h2> <p>Given that, how do you sell a house with a reverse mortgage? After all, at some point the senior citizen may want to move into an assisted living facility or in with children. They may also pass away, and their heir is left with the task of selling the property.</p> <p>It's actually easier than you might think to sell a house with a reverse mortgage. Here are 10 steps you'll need to consider.</p> <h3>1. Know How Much Is Owed</h3> <p>The most important first step is to find out how much is owed in the reverse mortgage. The amount will include moneys paid out by the bank, plus fees and other charges.</p> <h3>2. Check the Paperwork</h3> <p>Read over the paperwork from the bank that made the reverse mortgage. You need to know the interest rate, any fees if the loan is paid off in full, and any other charges.</p> <h3>3. Look for Liens</h3> <p>Double check to ensure there are no other liens on the house. This is important because it can make a huge difference in any equity remaining in the house.</p> <h3>4. Ask for a Payoff Quote From the Lender</h3> <p>A payoff is the amount required to, as the term implies, pay off the reverse mortgage in full. It differs from how much is owed because of fees and other charges. You need to ask for this figure in writing.</p> <h3>5. Estimate What the Home Is Currently Worth</h3> <p>There are two possible scenarios here. One is if the house is worth more than you owe. It may have appreciated in value, or the reverse mortgage was not in effect for a long period of time &mdash; or both. In that case, you can sell the home just as you would sell any other home and realize the net appreciation between what is owed and what it sells for.</p> <p>The other scenario? The house may not be worth what is owed on it, or the market value may be so close to what is owed that you will lose money on any sale. You are underwater on the loan.</p> <p>In the latter case, you have two options. One is to try to rent the house to receive income from it. The other is to see if the reverse mortgage can be converted into a regular mortgage. If it can, you begin making mortgage payments on it and build up equity in the house, just as you would with any house purchased.</p> <h3>6. Make the Sale</h3> <p>If a sale does make financial sense, you proceed just as you would with any home sale. You can arrange for a private sale, or work with an agent. Most agents will charge approximately 6% of the sale price to list and show your home. Remember that what is owed to the bank for the reverse mortgage has to be paid when the house is sold.</p> <h3>7. Make Repairs</h3> <p>Take care of any needed repairs or maintenance on the house to get it ready to show. If you are selling it privately, make a plan for where you will advertise and show it.</p> <h3>8. Hire a Lawyer</h3> <p>Because of the complexity of reverse mortgage sales, hiring a lawyer is likely a prudent move. A lawyer can ensure the terms of the sale are the most advantageous they can be for you. In some locations, a lawyer is required in a real estate transaction that involves any type of loan. Be sure to check any requirements in your area. Finally, the payoff of a reverse mortgage must be handled by an experienced person, and many lawyers are experienced in this area.</p> <h3>9. You &mdash; or the Buyer &mdash; Pay Off the Reverse Mortgage</h3> <p>Be aware that any buyer will need to have either cash to make the purchase or have financing in place if you do not have the money to pay off the reverse mortgage. They will essentially be providing you with the money to execute the payoff.</p> <h3>10. Close the Sale of the House</h3> <p>Issue the bank the payoff amount. You are finished selling the home with the reverse mortgage.</p> <p>As reverse mortgage become used more frequently by senior citizens, the need to sell homes with a reverse mortgage will become more common. These 10 steps will ensure you sell the house in the correct way.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/anum-yoon">Anum Yoon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-reverse-mortgaged-heres-how-to-sell-it">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/how-to-avoid-getting-scammed-with-a-reverse-mortgage">How to Avoid Getting Scammed With 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/this-one-mistake-could-delay-your-retirement-by-10-years">This One Mistake Could Delay Your Retirement by 10 Years</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/should-you-pay-your-mortgage-off-early">Should You Pay Your Mortgage Off Early?</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/home-equity-loan-or-heloc-which-is-right-for-you">Home Equity Loan or HELOC: Which Is Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-homebuying-questions-youre-embarrassed-to-ask">5 Homebuying Questions You&#039;re Embarrassed to Ask</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing equity fixed incomes mortgages retirement reverse mortgages selling a home senior citizens Fri, 23 Dec 2016 11:00:08 +0000 Anum Yoon 1860474 at http://www.wisebread.com Surprise! There's a Gender Gap in Mortgages, Too http://www.wisebread.com/surprise-theres-a-gender-gap-in-mortgages-too <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/surprise-theres-a-gender-gap-in-mortgages-too" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_chalk_house_29878474.jpg" alt="Woman facing gender gap in mortgage lending" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The gender gap in earnings is well known. According to a recent report by the Economic Policy Institute, the typical woman can expect to earn 83 cents for every dollar that the typical man earns.</p> <p>But studies show another gender gap that negatively impacts women: Research published by the Urban Institute in September said that women tend to pay more for their mortgages even though they are statistically more likely to pay their loans on time than men.</p> <h2>The Numbers</h2> <p>According to the Urban Institute, about 15.6% of female borrowers have what is known as a &quot;higher-priced mortgage.&quot; Borrowers with such mortgages are charged higher interest rates to borrow their home-loan dollars.</p> <p>How high these rates are at any given time varies. The Urban Institute uses the same definition of higher-priced mortgage used by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act: a mortgage loan with an annual percentage rate that is higher than the benchmark interest rate known as the Average Prime Offer Rate. That rate stood at 3.58% for a 30-year fixed-rate loan as of June 20 of this year.</p> <p>The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau considers a first mortgage loan to be a higher-priced mortgage if its annual percentage rate is 1.5% or more higher than the Average Prime Offer Rate.</p> <p>The Urban Institute found that while 15.6% of female-only borrowers are paying off higher-priced mortgages, just 15% of male-only borrowers are doing the same. The institute found that male-female borrowers who apply for loans together receive higher-priced mortgages only 7.6% of the time.</p> <h2>Why Are Women Paying More?</h2> <p>Why do single women pay more for their mortgages? It's difficult to tell. It might come down to income. The Urban Institute reported that single female borrowers tend to have lower annual incomes than single males. According to the institute, single female borrowers earned an average of $69,200 a year. Single male borrowers had an average income of $94,700. Male-female borrowers had an even higher annual income of $119,000.</p> <p>Income is one of the financial factors that lenders consider when deciding who qualifies for a mortgage and what interest rates they pay. Lenders often charge higher rates as a form of financial protection when they worry that borrowers' incomes are lower, because they fear that these borrowers will be less likely to pay their loans back on time.</p> <p>Borrowers with lower incomes also have less money for a down payment. When borrowers put down less for a house, they are typically charged a higher interest rate, again to make up for the extra risk that lenders take on when loaning them money. Lenders assume that borrowers who put less money down are more likely to stop paying their mortgage loan if they suffer a financial crisis.</p> <p>But what about FICO credit scores? These three-digit numbers tell lenders whether borrowers have a history of paying their bills on time or if they tend to miss payments and run up credit card debt. Lenders charge higher interest rates to borrowers with low credit scores.</p> <p>But from 2004 to 2014, the Urban Institute found, female-only borrowers had an average FICO credit score of 711, similar to the average 712 score of male-only borrowers. That score is significantly lower, though, than the 725 average score submitted by joint male-female borrowers.</p> <p>Credit bureau Experian reported in March of this year that the average FICO credit score for all women is 675, a bit higher than the average score of 670 for men. Women also had 3.7% less average debt than men, according to Experian.</p> <h2>Better Record</h2> <p>Despite paying more for their mortgages, female-only borrowers tend to do a slightly better job of paying them on time than do male-only borrowers. According to the Urban Institute, female-only borrowers had a default rate on their loans of 9.6% from 2008 through 2010. Male-only borrowers had a slightly higher default rate of 9.7% during this same time.</p> <h2>What to Do?</h2> <p>What does all this mean for women applying for mortgage loans? If they are applying for mortgages on their own and want the lowest interest rates possible, they need to make sure that their finances are strong.</p> <p>This means that their FICO credit score should be at least 740 if they want to qualify for the lowest interest rates. It also means that their monthly debts, including their estimated new mortgage payment, should be 43% or less than their gross monthly income.</p> <p>Single male borrowers need to focus on the same factors, of course. But the research from the Urban Institute indicates that strong FICO scores and debt-to-income ratios are especially important for single females who want to avoid the financial burden of a higher-priced mortgage.</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/surprise-theres-a-gender-gap-in-mortgages-too">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/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/why-you-should-consider-an-adjustable-rate-mortgage">Why You Should Consider an Adjustable-Rate Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-5-money-moves-before-applying-for-a-mortgage">Make These 5 Money Moves Before Applying for a Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-mortgage-secrets-only-your-broker-knows">4 Mortgage Secrets Only Your Broker Knows</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing gender home loans interest rates mortgage gap wage gap women Tue, 29 Nov 2016 11:00:09 +0000 Dan Rafter 1834563 at http://www.wisebread.com Rent Your Home or Buy? Here's How to Decide http://www.wisebread.com/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hands_small_house_71818037.jpg" alt="Deciding if you should rent or buy your home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are plenty of advantages to renting an apartment, and just as many to buying a home, instead. But what about financially? Is renting or buying the smarter money move?</p> <p>Not surprisingly, the answer is complicated, and depends on where you live, what kind of home you want to buy or apartment you want to rent, and how long you plan on staying in one place. Here's a look at the numbers that might help you solve the rent-vs.-buy puzzle.</p> <h2>Prices Are Rising for Buyers and Renters</h2> <p>Renting an apartment is more expensive today than it was even a year ago. But the same is true of buying a home.</p> <p>Consider the cost of buying a home. The National Association of Realtors reported that in September of this year, the median price of existing homes stood at $234,200.</p> <p>You won't necessarily have to pay $234,200 or more, depending on where you buy. But the median sales price continues to increase, meaning that home prices overall are on the rise. The median price in September was up 5.6% from the same month one year earlier, when it was $221,700. And don't expect median prices to fall anytime soon. The association says that September's price increase represents the 55th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.</p> <p>And what about renting? Apartment rents continue to rise, too. ApartmentList reported that in November of this year, the median national rent for one-bedroom apartments was $1,110 a month. For two-bedroom apartments that figure was $1,270. The good news is that median rents actually fell in 55 out of the country's 100 biggest cities from October to November, according to ApartmentList.</p> <p>The bad news? Rents are still higher today than they were one, two, or three years ago. According to ApartmentList, the median national rent was 2% higher in November of this year compared with the same month one year earlier.</p> <p>So no matter if you rent or buy, know that prices are generally rising.</p> <h2>Which Is More Affordable?</h2> <p>That leads to the big question: Given that both buying a home and renting an apartment are getting more expensive, which option is most affordable?</p> <p>The answer to this question includes plenty of variables. For instance, owning a home provides a tax benefit: You can deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage loan each year up to $1 million, resulting in a lower tax bill. But even this isn't a crystal-clear financial plus for all owners. You can only claim your mortgage interest deduction if you itemize your taxes. And if that interest deduction isn't higher than the IRS' standard deduction &mdash; which stood at $12,600 for married couples filing jointly and $6,300 for singles in 2016 &mdash; there is no real reason for you to itemize your taxes and claim the deduction.</p> <p>Then consider the variables of going the apartment route: You might be able to find an apartment with low rent. But that apartment might not be located where you actually want to live, especially if you want to live in the center of a large city. Apartments in urban areas tend to come with higher rents today.</p> <p>And if you do find a cheaper apartment, it will almost certainly not be a newer one. RENTCafe found that in 2015, 75% of all large new apartment properties built across the country were high-end luxury properties, buildings that charge far higher monthly rents. Most of these new apartments are being built in the center of big cities, too, according to RENTCafe.</p> <p>So if you want to rent an apartment in San Francisco? ApartmentList says that a two-bedroom apartment here had a median price of $4,700 a month in November, while a one-bedroom had a median monthly rent of $3,440. In Boston, two-bedrooms rented for a median price of $2,350 a month, while in Seattle it cost a median of $1,720 for a one-bedroom unit and $2,300 for two bedrooms.</p> <p>Given this jumble of numbers, is it cheaper to rent or buy? According to real estate website Trulia, buying a home is cheaper on a national basis. Though, not surprisingly, there are some caveats.</p> <h2>Nationally, Buying Is Cheaper</h2> <p>Trulia reported in October that buying a home was 37.7% cheaper than renting on a national basis. But that 37.7% figure only holds true for those who live in their homes for at least seven years and can afford to come up with a down payment of 20% on their homes.</p> <p>Given that standard, Trulia reports that buying is cheaper than renting in each of the 100 largest metropolitan areas of the country. According to Trulia, for example, it is 50% cheaper to buy in Miami and just under 20% cheaper to buy in San Francisco and Honolulu.</p> <p>Part of the reason that buying is more affordable comes down to mortgage interest rates. Rates are still at historically low levels, with the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey reporting that as of Nov. 10, the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loan stood at 3.57%. This makes borrowing money for a mortgage loan more affordable.</p> <p>Want to see what Trulia thinks of the rent-vs.-buy decision in your community? Visit the site&rsquo;s <a href="https://www.trulia.com/rent_vs_buy/">rent-vs.-buy calculator</a>, punch in your metropolitan area and wait for the results.</p> <h2>What Should You Do?</h2> <p>These numbers, and Trulia&rsquo;s rent-vs.-buy calculator, should serve as a general guide. But they alone can't tell you whether you should rent or buy. That's because everyone's situation is unique.</p> <p>Say you only plan to live in an area for three or four years before moving. Renting is almost always the better financial move. Say you hate the thought of mowing a lawn for 15 years. Again, renting might be the better choice, even if it is more expensive than owning a home. If you dream of gardening in your own backyard? Then buying might make you happier.</p> <p>Your best bet is to carefully analyze what you want out of a home, whether it's the stability of owning and building equity or the freedom that comes with renting. Then make your decision based on what type of home will best meet your needs.</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/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide">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/the-3-best-cities-with-rent-control">The 3 Best Cities With Rent Control</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/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-landlords-cant-ask">10 Questions Landlords Can&#039;t 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/10-questions-to-ask-before-signing-a-lease">10 Questions to Ask Before Signing a Lease</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing apartments cost of living homeownership mortgages rent vs buy renting Tue, 22 Nov 2016 11:00:15 +0000 Dan Rafter 1835351 at http://www.wisebread.com