Real Estate and Housing http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4810/all en-US How to Respond to House-Shaming http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-respond-to-house-shaming <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-respond-to-house-shaming" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/two_female_friends_sitting_on_sofa_and_arguing.jpg" alt="Two female friends sitting on sofa and arguing" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've heard it at the dinner table when visiting Mom and Dad. You've heard it from your cousin Phil. You've heard it from friends out at Happy Hour. &quot;Why are you renting a home when you should be buying? Don't you know you're just throwing your money away?&quot;</p> <p>There's a lot of pressure to buy a home instead of paying rent. And, yes, there are some very valid financial arguments for homeownership. But buying a home isn't the best choice for everyone, and there are many reasons why it may not make sense for you. Unfortunately, shaming people into feeling bad about renting has become a real thing.</p> <p>How can you respond to these people? Here are some retorts for those house-shamers in your life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-even-if-you-dont-plan-to-buy-a-house?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Money Moves to Make Even If You Don't Plan to Buy a House</a>)</p> <h2>1. Renting is cheaper</h2> <p>This is not always the case, but is often true, especially when you factor in things like property taxes, association fees, and maintenance. NerdWallet last year reported that the median monthly cost of homeownership was 54 percent higher than renting nationwide &mdash; and higher than 90 percent in some states.</p> <p>Many families choose to stretch their budgets when they buy a home, and that's not always the wisest choice. If you are able to live within your means while renting, but aren't sure if you could make ends meet if you bought a home, don't feel pressured into buying.</p> <h2>2. There are multiple ways to build net worth</h2> <p>Owning a home can be a great way to build your overall net worth, but it's not a requirement. As long as you are saving more than you are spending, you're increasing your net worth. And you can give that a boost through a variety of other means, including investing in stocks, bonds, or collecting rare baseball cards. You have the right to choose your own methods for building your net worth. There is no magic formula. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-increase-your-net-worth-this-year?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Ways to Increase Your Net Worth</a>)</p> <h2>3. A mortgage is still debt</h2> <p>Unless you are swimming in cash, you're likely going to have to borrow money to purchase a home. In fact, most homeowners are dealing with mortgage loans of tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars that will take decades to pay off.</p> <p>Taking on a mortgage loan is nothing to take lightly, especially if you already have debt from student loans, credit cards, or automobiles. You have a right to decide what debt load you are comfortable with. Some people choose to live 100 percent debt-free, and that's perfectly fine. You should resist any pressure to go beyond the debt load you're comfortable with.</p> <h2>4. You need to get your financial house in order first</h2> <p>It doesn't make sense to try and buy a house if your financial situation is a mess. Perhaps you have a low credit score or big loans to pay off. Maybe you've been dealing with inconsistent income due to a job loss or struggles with your business. Or maybe you are just learning to get your own personal spending under control in order to save money.</p> <p>If your finances aren't in good shape, it may be hard to buy a home in the first place and any home you do buy may just place additional stress on your money situation. If you feel the need to respond to a would-be house shamer, a simple reply of, &quot;We need to get our financial act together first&quot; is a reasonable response.</p> <h2>5. You simply may not want a house</h2> <p>The bottom line is that you may not want to own a home in the same way you have no interest in owning a dog, a fur coat, or a herd of alpacas. People can make all kinds of financial arguments in favor of homeownership, but they are meaningless if you don't actually want a house. A house comes with work and responsibilities that you may not have interest in. You may not be drawn to the idea of settling into a single place. Homeownership just may not be your thing, and that's fine! If you don't want a house, don't buy one. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-worst-reasons-to-buy-a-house?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Worst Reasons to Buy a House</a>)</p> <h2>6. You have other priorities</h2> <p>You may one day like to own a house, but choose to use your time, energy, and money on other pursuits at this point in time. Perhaps you'd like to finish graduate school or pay off student loans first. Maybe you want to focus on building your business or your career. Perhaps you want to focus on your health after recovering from a long illness. Maybe you'd like to spend a few years with your new spouse before taking on the responsibilities of homeownership. There are a million things you can do to better your life at any given time, and buying a home is just one option.</p> <h2>7. It takes time to save for a down payment</h2> <p>One of the easiest ways to get into financial trouble is to purchase a home with little or no down payment. The less money you put down, the more money you have to borrow, and the larger your monthly mortgage payments will be. Putting less than 20 percent down on a home might mean you'll be required to buy private mortgage insurance, and that adds cost to your loan. The sensible way to buy a home is to save as much as you can and put down a healthy down payment, thus keeping your monthly payments low and putting you on the fastest path to building equity and wealth. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-start-saving-for-a-down-payment-on-a-home?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Easy Ways to Start Saving for a Down Payment on a Home</a>)</p> <h2>8. You're not settled on where you want to live</h2> <p>It takes time to get a strong sense of whether you want to settle down in a specific community. Maybe you aren't quite settled in your career. Maybe you or your spouse are in the military and know you may have to relocate within a year or two. If you buy a home and decide to move within a few years, you could be faced with the pressure and work of selling the home. If you have not had time to build equity in the home, you may not make much profit on the sale and may even lose money. This also comes down to comfort level. If you simply don't feel right buying a home in a community you don't plan to settle into, renting is perfectly fine.</p> <h2>9. It's nobody's business</h2> <p>Look, you're going to get all kinds of advice on how to best manage your money. A lot of that advice is great. Some of it is not. But ultimately, the decisions you make with your money are yours and yours alone. The choices you make with your money should be based on your own personal situation and values. The next time someone questions why you haven't purchased a home, it may simply be best to say, &quot;None of your business.&quot;</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/how-to-respond-to-house-shaming">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-home-buying-habits-we-can-learn-from-millennials">4 Home-Buying Habits We Can Learn From Millennials</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-equity-in-your-home">How to Build Equity in Your 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/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide">Rent Your Home or Buy? Here&#039;s How to Decide</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/heres-whats-included-in-a-homes-closing-costs">Here&#039;s What&#039;s Included in a Home&#039;s Closing Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-benefits-of-carrying-a-mortgage-into-retirement">5 Benefits of Carrying a Mortgage Into Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing apartments down payments homeownership loans mortgages renting saving money shaming Fri, 25 May 2018 09:00:16 +0000 Tim Lemke 2142938 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Red Flags to Look Out for When Renting Your First Apartment http://www.wisebread.com/10-red-flags-to-look-out-for-when-renting-your-first-apartment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-red-flags-to-look-out-for-when-renting-your-first-apartment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/houses_and_magnifying_glass_on_green_grass.jpg" alt="Houses and magnifying glass on green grass" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you ready to fly the nest? If it's time to find a new apartment, there are some things to look out for before signing a rental agreement. If you don't know what to be wary of, your first place could put you in financial jeopardy and even physical danger. These are the biggest red flags. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-signing-a-lease?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Questions to Ask Before Signing a Lease</a>)</p> <h2>1. A limited selection of photos</h2> <p>If the ad for the apartment features just one or two photographs of the place, don't even bother making a call to see it. Landlords know that great photos help sell a place. It's the first thing any potential renter will look at, and they will scour them before looking at features and price. If there are just a couple of photos, perhaps blurry or only showing one room or the outside of the building, the landlord is hiding something. Either the unit is in awful condition, it's small and dark, or it's got other issues that he or she would rather not talk to you about until you get there; and that's when the hard sell begins. Don't see any place that doesn't show you all the interiors and exteriors in advance.</p> <h2>2. Bars on the windows</h2> <p>You may think it's good to have an extra layer of security, but let's be honest; bars mean trouble. Clearly the apartment is in an area rife with crime, and if the landlord has taken to adding bars to the windows, it's bad. The only reason bars are up is because it's a last resort to prevent break-ins, vandalism, and other crimes. If you see bars, don't even enter the building.</p> <h2>3. The rent is too good to be true</h2> <p>Landlords are in the business of making money. Whether it's just one person renting out one property, or a whole agency renting out hundreds of homes, the end goal is profit. So if you come across an apartment that is priced way under the going rate for that area, be afraid. Be very afraid. It could be a bait and switch, which is illegal &mdash; when you call, suddenly that apartment at that low price is no longer available, but there's a similar one that's way more expensive. Or, there's one that's the same price but has fewer rooms and is in an awful neighborhood.</p> <p>Another reason could be that there is a major problem with the rental unit. For example, it's directly above a loud bar or restaurant, or it's near a high-traffic area that ensures you'll never get any sleep. The price may also be compensating for unusually high utility bills, pest infestation, or significant problems with the structure. The chances are, a super-low price is simply a worm on a hook, and you're the fish being reeled in. Don't bite.</p> <h2>4. Emails coming from different people</h2> <p>When you reply to an ad for an apartment listing, it's fairly common to get a few different reply addresses at first. One could be an auto-responder saying someone will be in touch, or it could come from a third party domain like Craigslist. However, if the email addresses keep changing, and the name of the person you're dealing with is also going through an identity crisis, you have a potential scammer on your hands. Take a look at the domain names, see if the person has a presence on LinkedIn, or if there is a legitimate website linked to that landlord or agent. If they're a ghost, you should steer clear of this property. And if the emails are filled with typos and other errors, that can also be a bad sign. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways to Apartment Hunt on Craigslist Without Getting Scammed</a>)</p> <h2>5. The landlord or agent isn't available</h2> <p>If you're having trouble getting in touch with the landlord now, at a time when he or she should be extremely keen to talk to you, imagine how tough it will be when you're a tenant. At this stage in the process, you represent money. They want the apartment rented out, and to be making a profit ASAP. If your emails go unanswered for days, your calls go to voicemail, and you are having to play detective to get any kind of answers, this is not the place for you. It could be a scammer, it could be disorganization, or it could be laziness and apathy. None of these are qualities you want in someone who you'll be relying upon for repairs to the apartment and other issues.</p> <h2>6. Too many things are in need of repair</h2> <p>If you're walking around and everything looks good, but the door on the microwave is dinged up or loose, it's probably just an oversight or something the landlord intends to fix before you move in. Any good landlord will bring it up and assure you the repair will be made. If not, ask for it to be taken care of before signing the lease. However, if you see signs of neglect, and many items that look broken or in a state of disrepair, move on. If the landlord is showing you this, imagine what he or she is hiding from you? It also doesn't bode well for any repairs you may need once you're a tenant. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-you-must-inspect-before-signing-a-rental-agreement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">13 Things You Must Inspect Before Signing a Rental Agreement</a>)</p> <h2>7. Some doors remain closed on the viewings</h2> <p>Yikes. If there are doors that are locked and the landlord won't show you that area, you have every right to be very suspicious. You're about to live here, and deserve to see every room. That means the closets, the attic or basement, the garage or storage unit, and even the crawl space if you desire. Some landlords will say that some rooms are off limits because they use it for storing maintenance supplies and other personal items. That needs to be considered in the lease, and should be accounted for in the price of the rent. But any landlord serious about his or her business will rent their own separate storage unit.</p> <h2>8. There are funky odors or stains</h2> <p>There's no excuse for this. An apartment should be made &quot;view ready&quot; by the landlord, and if it's not looking or smelling good, you're going to have issues. The biggest concerns are mold and mildew. If you're smelling that damp, musty odor it means the apartment could have some major issues with mold. This can cause structural damage and health issues. You should not be smelling any kind of cigarette smoke unless the listing says &quot;smoking OK,&quot; which is rare these days. And look for stains on the walls or ceiling. If you see a fresh coat of paint on one small section of the apartment, ask about it. They may be trying to hide a problem.</p> <h2>9. The tour is rushed and given at an odd time</h2> <p>If you have a landlord or real estate agent rushing you through the tour, or only letting you see the apartment at certain times of the day, you are being deceived about something. Maybe the neighborhood is noisy and dangerous after dark. It could become an all-night party zone. Or, you could get stuck next to horrendous traffic and transportation noises during rush hour. And if you're close to an airport, make sure the apartment is insulated from that noise or you'll regret moving in for the entire term of the lease.</p> <h2>10. You're asked to sign an incomplete agreement</h2> <p>Don't just walk away, sprint! A lease is a contract between you and the landlord, and your signature means you agree to whatever is on it. If the landlord or agent says certain items will be filled in later, you cannot trust what's coming. Maybe they tell you you're getting a discounted rate, but then change their mind. They may say they'll take care of all the utilities, but afterward change that. They may even add in that the security deposit is nonrefundable. When you sign a lease, everything should be completed, and there should be two identical copies &mdash; one for you and one for the landlord, each signed and dated by both parties. And if they say you'll miss out if you don't sign right now, it's a pressure tactic that can only lead to trouble. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-landlords-cant-ask?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Questions Landlords Can't Ask</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-red-flags-to-look-out-for-when-renting-your-first-apartment">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-moves-to-make-if-you-need-to-break-your-lease">8 Moves to Make If You Need to Break Your Lease</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-sublet-your-apartment">The Easy Way to Sublet Your Apartment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-landlords-cant-ask">10 Questions Landlords Can&#039;t Ask</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed">6 Ways to Apartment Hunt on Craigslist Without Getting Scammed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-websites-for-renting-your-extra-space">The 11 Best Websites for Renting Your Extra Space</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing agreements apartments landlords lease maintenance red flags renting repairs safety scams warnings signs Fri, 25 May 2018 08:30:31 +0000 Paul Michael 2141991 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Things to Consider Before Retiring to a Tiny Home or RV http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-to-consider-before-retiring-to-a-tiny-home-or-rv <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-things-to-consider-before-retiring-to-a-tiny-home-or-rv" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/senior_couple_on_road_trip.jpg" alt="Senior Couple on Road Trip" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Magazines and design blogs are full of stories of retirees downsizing to tiny homes to cut their expenses and responsibilities. With costs around $30,000 and monthly utilities as low as $15, some enthusiasts even say that trading a traditional home for a tiny house or RV allowed them to retire early. While the tiny house trend is pretty new, retiring to a life on the road in a recreational vehicle is an established tradition among retirees.</p> <p>Should an RV or tiny house show be your first stop once your final day on the job is over? Not so fast. Committing to a major purchase immediately after retirement is rarely a good idea, and there are plenty of important things to consider first.</p> <h2>1. Will your tiny home be legal?</h2> <p>Federal codes as of 2018 state that a house must be at least 88 square feet, but many states have additional regulations. In areas of North Carolina, for example, you need at least 150 square feet, plus 100 square feet more for each additional resident.</p> <h2>2. What will you do with your stuff?</h2> <p>The average retiree has a lifetime's accumulation of possessions in their home: Gifts from children and grandchildren, collections, holiday decorations, kids' left-behind sports trophies. A tiny house or RV won't have room for any of that. You'll have to dramatically downsize, whether that means putting things in storage, giving them away, or having an estate sale.</p> <h2>3. What will the furnishings cost?</h2> <p>While you may be saving money on mortgage, utility, and property taxes with a tiny house or RV, don't forget that you probably won't be able to reuse any of the furniture from your previous home. You'll have to pay for built-in or custom-built furniture and appliances. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-unexpected-costs-of-living-in-a-tiny-house?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Unexpected Costs of Living in a Tiny House</a>)</p> <h2>4. Will you be able to age in the home?</h2> <p>RVs and tiny houses are often perched on wheels or raised above ground. You may need to climb a ladder to reach your bed every night. What will happen if you end up using a cane or wheelchair? Will you be able to retrofit your tiny home or RV to make it accessible? I came across one retiree who had a rock-climbing harness modified to lift her into her loft every night; I can't help wondering how much she likes that setup if she has to use the bathroom at 2 a.m.</p> <h2>5. How will this affect family traditions?</h2> <p>If you hold a big Thanksgiving dinner every year in your regular home, don't imagine you'll continue the tradition in your tiny home or RV &mdash; at least not in the same way. These pocket-size residences have no entertaining space, and their kitchens don't facilitate cooking for a crowd. What will happen to the events you used to host? Will you invite loved ones to camp near you and eat turkey at a picnic table? Or will an adult child take over hosting?</p> <h2>6. Where will you park?</h2> <p>My husband and I sometimes daydream about spending our retirement parking an RV in the driveways of our grown children, visiting one after the other throughout the year. If this is your plan, what do your children think of it? Do they have an off-street place for you to park? What about water and sewage hookups? If you want a more permanent place for your tiny home, you'll need to find out if your state has tiny house co-ops, or what the rent would be in a trailer park. You can find out more about zoning through the <a href="http://americantinyhouseassociation.org/" target="_blank">American Tiny House Association</a>.</p> <h2>7. Will your relationship withstand the change?</h2> <p>If you and your spouse have both been working for decades, retirement itself will be a big change involving a lot more togetherness than before. Are you really ready to give up private spaces in your home to spend your days within a few feet of one another? If your spouse leaves his shoes on the floor, will it irritate you to no end that you can't even walk around them? Tiny homes and RVs typically have just one bathroom; are you ready to share?</p> <h2>8. Can you get a loan?</h2> <p>Some retirees are able to buy an RV or tiny home outright after selling their traditional home. But if you need a loan, you won't be able to take out a standard mortgage on a recreational vehicle. You'll need an RV loan, and since RVs are considered a luxury item, you'll need excellent credit to qualify. With a tiny house, you'll need either an RV loan or a personal loan. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-finance-a-tiny-house?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 Ways to Finance a Tiny House</a>)</p> <h2>9. Which should you get, a tiny house or an RV?</h2> <p>Some people wonder why tiny houses cost more than RVs. Is it just because they're cute and trendy? Actually, there is a substantial reason: A good tiny house should be durable enough for everyday use, while RVs are built for vacation use, and tend to fall apart faster.</p> <h2>A word of advice: Try before you buy</h2> <p>Whether you think a tiny house or an RV is your ideal future home, you should rent at least one before you jump in and buy. Weekending in various styles of tiny homes and/or RVs is a good start, but remember that vacation life is always easier and more fun than everyday life. If you are serious about making the lifestyle leap, consider packing up and moving to a rented tiny home or RV for a substantial amount of time, like six months or a year, before you start shopping in earnest.</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/9-things-to-consider-before-retiring-to-a-tiny-home-or-rv">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-benefits-of-carrying-a-mortgage-into-retirement">5 Benefits of Carrying a Mortgage Into 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/12-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-retire">12 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-places-to-try-the-airstream-lifestyle-before-you-buy-one">10 Places to Try the Airstream Lifestyle Before You Buy One</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-buying-a-second-home-in-retirement">5 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Second Home in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-find-income-while-waiting-for-full-retirement-age">4 Ways to Find Income While Waiting for Full Retirement Age</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing Retirement aging downsizing family loans recreational vehicle rv state laws tiny house travel zoning Mon, 21 May 2018 08:00:26 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2139752 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Modern Home Improvements That Add Thousands to Your Listing http://www.wisebread.com/9-modern-home-improvements-that-add-thousands-to-your-listing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-modern-home-improvements-that-add-thousands-to-your-listing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/repairing_rotten_windows.jpg" alt="Repairing rotten windows" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When we first moved into our home, we nicknamed it &quot;The House of Many Louvers,&quot; as there were dated louver doors on every closet, in some of the doorways, and oddly, blocking half of the hall. Combined with forest-green carpeting and builder-grade brass light fixtures, the place was in desperate need of a modern overhaul.</p> <p>Some of these dated features were quick and easy fixes, while others, like an entire bathroom gut job, took longer to update. But the end result is a home that not only feels modern and comfortable, but also has increased in value and looks ready to sell.</p> <p>If you're ready to update some of the dated features of your home, check out some of these modernization projects that provide the best return on your investment. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/recoup-more-of-your-investment-8-home-improvements-that-add-the-most-value?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Recoup More of Your Investment: 8 Home Improvements That Add the Most Value</a>)</p> <h2>1. Kitchen renovation</h2> <p>A renovated kitchen is one of the first things potential buyers look for in a home, and a minor kitchen remodel offers one of the best returns on investment for your home. A minor kitchen remodel involves updating finishes and fixtures, but not necessarily changing the layout of the kitchen.</p> <p>Replacing dated laminate countertops with solid surface countertops is a top priority. Marble has come back into vogue, but this material is famously finicky and difficult to care for, so a marble-like granite or quartz is a great alternative. For a backsplash, you might consider a sleek subway tile or marble tile for a classic but modern look.</p> <p>For cabinetry, look for simple, clean lines for long-lasting appeal, and avoid anything too ornate. If your cabinets are in good condition, you could consider replacing the fronts, or getting them professionally repainted in a contemporary white or gray.</p> <p>Modern kitchen sinks tend to imitate commercial and farmhouse sinks with their large rectangular design and deep basins, as do tall arched kitchen faucets that marry functionality with style. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-cheap-and-easy-diy-kitchen-improvements?ref=seealso" target="_blank">20 Cheap and Easy DIY Kitchen Improvements</a>)</p> <h2>2. Update dated light fixtures</h2> <p>This easy update will instantly make your home look more up-to-date. Replace any dated light fixtures, such as those brass builder-grade flush mount fixtures (also known as the dreaded &quot;nipple lights&quot;) with sleeker, more modern fixtures. A nice alternative to flush mount lights are recessed lights, but you can also find stylish options for flush mount fixtures at your local home improvement store, home decor store, and online.</p> <p>Almost any finish can look good, but try to keep lighting fixtures consistent in style or finish throughout your home to avoid a haphazard, untidy look. Installing dimmer switches is another inexpensive update that can help create moody lighting that looks customized and expensive (but isn't).</p> <h2>3. Replace the front door</h2> <p>Replacing a worn or dated-looking front door can greatly improve your home's curb appeal, and is one of best investments you can make in your home. Although replacing your old door with a new steel door is considered the best bang for your buck, you may also want to consider sturdy wood doors for more style options. Tests performed by Consumer Reports with a battering ram indicated that it was not the door itself (unless it was a cheap hollow door), but the lock quality and strike-plate that was the point of weakness for potential break-ins. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal for Next to Nothing</a>)</p> <h2>4. Update window treatments</h2> <p>Modernizing dated window treatments is an easy way to make your home look more appealing. Remove old blinds and draperies and replace them with simple curtains hung from a rod. You can use inexpensive ready-made curtain panels, but be sure to get them long enough to hang just above, or brushing the floor, and wide enough for a luxurious drape. If you love the functionality of blinds, or have small windows where using curtains isn't convenient, consider Roman shades, wood blinds, or honeycomb blinds that look contemporary while being easy to use. You can combine blinds and curtains for extra layering and texture.</p> <h2>5. Install new hardware</h2> <p>Hardware is like jewelry for your home, and makes a statement about your style. If you're not planning to do a full renovation, simply replacing the hardware on your kitchen and bathroom cabinets can effectively modernize your space. Even worn wood cabinets can suddenly look stylish again with a new knob or drawer pull.</p> <h2>6. Refresh the bathroom</h2> <p>Just like in the kitchen, an updated bathroom can add value to your home. Replace old flooring with ceramic tile, and modernize the shower surround with some sleek tile as well. If the bathtub is worse for wear, replace it with a higher quality bathtub. A solid surface vanity countertop is chic and durable, and opt for an undermount sink instead of a drop-in one for a higher-end look. For all ceramic finishes (bathtub, sink, and toilet), go for a bright white instead of an ivory color. If you're adding a glass shower door, look for one that is minimalistic; otherwise simply use a shower curtain.</p> <h2>7. Install wood floors</h2> <p>Hardwood floors tend to be fantastic for resale, so if your carpets are worn and you're looking to replace them, choosing a good quality wood floor is a great choice. The same goes if you have grungy linoleum or old tile in your home &mdash; wood floors can instantly make the entire house look modernized. Have the wood flow throughout your home with as few interruptions as possible for the most cohesive look, though be careful in bathrooms and kitchens if water leaks are a potential problem (tile may be a better choice there). If hardwood floors aren't in the cards, engineered wood can look just as good, with a lower price tag.</p> <h2>8. Paint everything</h2> <p>A fresh coat of paint can make your home look and feel new. If there's any dated wallpaper still hanging around (see what I did there?), remove it and paint the walls a fresh color. For a guide to what colors are au courant, check out Pantone's seasonal <a href="https://www.pantone.com/fashion-color-trend-report-new-york-fall-winter-2018" target="_blank">Color Trend Report</a>. If trendy colors are a bit too bold for your taste, or if you plan to list your home for sale soon, consider a neutral gray or white that never goes out of style. Don't forget the exterior of your home too for added curb appeal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-paint-colors-that-can-boost-your-homes-value?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Paint Colors That Can Boost Your Home's Value</a>)</p> <h2>9. Replace your windows</h2> <p>Replacing old single-pane windows with new double-panes will not only make your home look better, but will add comfort and energy savings to your home as well. Insulated, double-pane vinyl windows also deliver a good return on investment, and since they are now the standard in new homes, they make an older home more appealing to a potential buyer.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-modern-home-improvements-that-add-thousands-to-your-listing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-make-your-home-into-an-investment">6 Ways to Make Your Home Into an Investment</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-home-renovations-that-will-attract-pet-owners">5 Home Renovations That Will Attract Pet Owners</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/sell-your-house-faster-with-these-6-house-flipping-tricks">Sell Your House Faster With These 6 House Flipping Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-ask-contractors-before-hiring-one">8 Questions to Ask Contractors Before Hiring One</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing">6 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal for Next to Nothing</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing bathroom kitchen painting remodeling renovations resale return on investment updates upgrades value Fri, 18 May 2018 09:00:20 +0000 Camilla Cheung 2138243 at http://www.wisebread.com Why You Should Call Your Mortgage Lender Every Year http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-call-your-mortgage-lender-every-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-you-should-call-your-mortgage-lender-every-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/she_is_devoted_to_her_career.jpg" alt="She is devoted to her career" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most of us don't think too much about our mortgage lender once we've moved into our new home. We might complain about how much interest we're paying on our mortgage each month, but that's about as deep as it gets. This attitude, though, could be costing you money.</p> <p>Your mortgage payment probably ranks as your biggest monthly expense. So why wouldn't you reach out to your lender, at least occasionally, to see if you can somehow reduce it?</p> <p>It makes sense to contact your mortgage lender at least once a year to ask about lowering your interest rate, adjusting the term of your loan, or maybe even refinancing into a different loan type. Doing so could save you a significant amount of money each year.</p> <p>Here are five questions you should call and ask your mortgage lender each year.</p> <h2>1. Is there a way to lower your monthly payment?</h2> <p>Mortgage interest rates have been rising since the middle of 2017. But this doesn't mean that the rate you have with your mortgage loan now is as low as it can ever be.</p> <p>If you applied for your mortgage five or more years ago, was it at a time when you were saddled with thousands of dollars of credit card debt? Did you have late or missed payments on your credit reports? If your financial situation has improved since then, you might now qualify for a lower interest rate. And that lower rate will save you money on your monthly payment.</p> <p>Consider this math: Say you are paying off a $200,000 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage with an interest rate of 5.25 percent. Your monthly payment, not including taxes and homeowners' insurance, will be about $1,104. If you now owe $180,000 on that same loan, moving to an interest rate of 4.25 percent would knock your monthly payment &mdash; again, not including taxes and insurance &mdash; down to about $885 a month. That's a savings of about $219 a month.</p> <p>To get to that savings, you will have to refinance, replacing your existing loan with a new one with a lower interest rate. That will cost you some money upfront &mdash; often as much as $3,000 or more. But it's worth it to call your mortgage lender. First, ask if you might now qualify for a lower interest rate. Then ask yourself if the monthly savings from the new rate will be high enough to justify the cost of paying for a refinance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-does-it-take-break-even-with-a-home-refi?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Long Does it Take Break Even With a Home ReFi?</a>)</p> <h2>2. Can you refinance to a shorter loan?</h2> <p>Refinancing isn't just a way to lower your monthly mortgage payment. You can also reduce the amount of interest you will pay over the life of your loan.</p> <p>It's no secret that a good chunk of your monthly mortgage payment goes toward interest. If you are paying off a $200,000 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage with an interest rate of 4.25 percent, you'll pay more than $154,000 in interest if you take the full three decades to pay off that loan.</p> <p>But if you refinance to a shorter-term loan, you can dramatically reduce the interest you pay over the life of your loan. Say you owe $185,000 on that same loan. If you refinance to a 15-year, fixed-rate loan with an interest rate of 3.8 percent, you'll now pay just more than $57,000 if you take the full 15 years to pay off the loan. Just be aware that because your loan term is shorter, your monthly payment will be higher.</p> <p>Again, it's worth a call to your lender to determine how much you could save in interest by refinancing to a shorter-term loan. If your budget can handle the higher monthly payment, this move can save you plenty of money in the long run. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-a-15-year-mortgage-a-good-idea?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is a 15-Year Mortgage a Good Idea?</a>)</p> <h2>3. Can you pay more toward the principal?</h2> <p>Refinancing does come with financial rewards. But it's also costly and time-consuming. If you can't drop your interest rate by enough, you won't reap enough monthly savings anyway.</p> <p>But there is a way to reduce the amount of interest you'll pay over the life of your loan and shorten the number of years it will take you to pay it off: You can pay a bit extra with each mortgage payment.</p> <p>Say you have 25 years remaining on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loan of $200,000 with an interest rate of 4.5 percent. If you pay an extra $100 toward your loan's principal balance each month, you can reduce the time it takes you to pay off that loan by three years and nine months. You can also save nearly $21,000 in interest payments over the life of the mortgage.</p> <p>If your budget can handle the extra $100 a month, this could be a smart financial move. Ask your lender how paying a bit extra each month can shorten the term of your loan and lower the amount of interest you pay. You might be surprised at the difference these small payments can make. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-pay-your-mortgage-off-early?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Should You Pay Your Mortgage Off Early?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Is it time to move to a steadier mortgage type?</h2> <p>You might be paying off an adjustable-rate mortgage. As the name suggests, the interest rate with such mortgages doesn't remain fixed, but instead adjusts according to whatever economic index your loan is tied to on a regular schedule.</p> <p>Most adjustable-rate mortgages, better known as ARMs, start with a fixed period of five to seven years during which your rate won't change. After that fixed period ends, your rate will adjust on a regular schedule, usually once every year or once every two or five years, depending on the type of ARM you are paying off.</p> <p>The attraction of ARMs is that you often start with an interest rate that is lower than what you'd get with a more traditional fixed-rate mortgage. The risk is that when that rate adjusts, it could rise far higher, bumping your monthly mortgage payments up with it.</p> <p>A way to avoid the adjustment is to refinance to a fixed-rate mortgage with a rate that stays in place throughout the life of your new loan. If you are nearing the end of your ARM's fixed period, give your lender a call. You might qualify for a refinance to a fixed-rate loan that comes with an interest rate that while higher than your current rate, will be lower than the new rate you'd soon face with your current ARM. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fixed-or-adjustable-choosing-the-right-mortgage-loan?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Fixed or Adjustable? Choosing the Right Mortgage Loan</a>)</p> <h2>5. Can you make your monthly loan payments less of a burden?</h2> <p>Are you struggling to make your monthly mortgage payments on time? Are you worried that you won't be able to make your payment next month? Then it's definitely time to call your lender.</p> <p>Your lender, for instance, might be willing to reduce your interest rate temporarily or lengthen the term of your loan so that your monthly payment is lower. Be prepared to prove to your lender that you can no longer afford your monthly mortgage payments. If you've lost your job, show the paperwork proving it. If you've taken a pay cut, send your new paystubs.</p> <p>There's no guarantee that your lender will help you. But you'll never know if you don't call. And ignoring the problem won't help. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youre-paying-too-much-for-your-mortgage?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Signs You're Paying Too Much for Your Mortgage</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhy-you-should-call-your-mortgage-lender-every-year&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhy%2520You%2520Should%2520Call%2520Your%2520Mortgage%2520Lender%2520Every%2520Year.jpg&amp;description=Why%20You%20Should%20Call%20Your%20Mortgage%20Lender%20Every%20Year"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Why%20You%20Should%20Call%20Your%20Mortgage%20Lender%20Every%20Year.jpg" alt="Why You Should Call Your Mortgage Lender Every Year" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-call-your-mortgage-lender-every-year">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-valuable-rights-you-might-lose-when-you-refinance-student-loans">8 Valuable Rights You Might Lose When You Refinance Student Loans</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/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-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/should-you-pay-your-mortgage-off-early">Should You Pay Your Mortgage Off Early?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-vet-your-mortgage-lender">7 Ways to Vet Your Mortgage Lender</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing adjustable rate mortgage interest rates lower monthly payments mortgage lenders mortgages refinancing Mon, 30 Apr 2018 08:30:17 +0000 Dan Rafter 2131786 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways to Spot a Motivated Seller http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-spot-a-motivated-seller <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-spot-a-motivated-seller" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_standing_in_front_of_a_new_home.jpg" alt="Couple standing in front of a new home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I love a bargain, especially when it comes to the biggest purchase most of us ever make: a house. But bargains are hard to come by in this seller's market, with low inventory driving competition for houses. Nationwide, prices are up 6 percent compared to this time last year, and in some markets, they're up even more.</p> <p>In conditions like these, your best bet is to find a motivated seller who wants to close the deal and get what they can, fast. Here are some signs that you may have found one.</p> <h2>1. The listing says so</h2> <p>Some listings come right out and say it: &quot;Motivated seller.&quot; Others may imply as much, by stating &quot;Bring all offers&quot; or something similar. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sell-your-house-faster-with-these-6-house-flipping-tricks?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Sell Your House Faster With These 6 House Flipping Tricks</a>)</p> <h2>2. The owner is moving far away</h2> <p>At open houses or during showings, find out as much as you can about the seller. Ask the listing agent why they are selling the house. If the answer is that they got a job transfer to Europe or they are crossing the country to move in with an ailing parent, they're probably not going to have a lot of time for protracted negotiations. Even if the agent doesn't come out and tell you, if it takes them a while to reach the seller for questions, it's a clue that the seller might be far afield.</p> <h2>3. The owner has a change in life status</h2> <p>The same nosy questions might reveal that the seller is getting married or divorced. Same deal: They're not going to want to leave their house on the market for months, waiting for the best offer. If the agent doesn't tell you, look for clues of impending divorce (a subdivided house, half-empty closets) or marriage (seating arrangement charts, wedding veil in the closet).</p> <h2>4. The house is empty</h2> <p>A house that's sitting empty means that the owner has already moved, and is probably now paying mortgage and utilities on two separate properties. If they have been in this situation for a few months, they may be desperate to sell. And they probably have less of an emotional attachment to a home than a seller who is still living there.</p> <h2>5. The house is overcrowded</h2> <p>The inverse of the empty house is the house bursting with furniture and belongings. Two sets of bunk beds in the bedroom? A crib in the master bedroom or on the landing? These people need to get into a bigger house, stat!</p> <h2>6. The house is underused</h2> <p>There are five bedrooms, but only two have beds in them. The family pictures on the wall all include 1980s hairdos or graduation gowns. You have stumbled upon the too-big home of a pair of empty nesters, and if they're anxious to get to their Florida condo, you may be able to strike a deal.</p> <h2>7. The sellers are elderly</h2> <p>Hospital bed in the living room? Bathrooms retrofitted with shower stools and grab bars? Decor made entirely of lacy doilies? All signs that the seller may be on the way to assisted living or a nursing home. The family may need to sell the house as quickly as possible to pay the steep cost of living in such facilities. While buyers willing to pay full price might ask them for repairs they don't want to deal with, a bargain hunter willing to take the place as-is might be welcome.</p> <p>I bought my current home from a family in this situation, and we were able to get it for asking price instead of bidding above asking, which is the norm in the San Francisco Bay Area market. This strategy is not without its pain, however; due to deferred maintenance over the last few decades that our elderly seller lived here. Six years after the purchase we are still finding water and dry rot damage to repair, and we're saving up for much-needed updates. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-hidden-costs-of-buying-an-old-house?ref=seealso" target="_blank">23 Hidden Costs of Buying an Old House</a>)</p> <h2>8. The property is listed by an estate</h2> <p>If you find out that the home's owner has died, you may be able to negotiate a deal. The heirs are probably anxious to wrap up the estate and divide the proceeds. They won't have the same emotional attachment to the home as the owner would have, and they probably don't want to let it sit on the market.</p> <h2>9. The seller is candid</h2> <p>If the seller announces that the basement floods, or the roof leaks and they have no intention of fixing it before the sale, they probably don't have cash to put into the house, and they don't want to waste time waiting for you to find these things out during an inspection. Consider it an invitation to make a deal.</p> <h2>10. There's no curb appeal</h2> <p>Similar to the point above, a yard full of weeds, peeling paint, or any other sign of cosmetic neglect shows that the owner lacks time, money, or both to take care of this property. They're likely quite anxious to get this responsibility off their hands.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F10-ways-to-spot-a-motivated-seller&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%2520Ways%2520to%2520Spot%2520a%2520Motivated%2520Seller.jpg&amp;description=10%20Ways%20to%20Spot%20a%20Motivated%20Seller"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/10%20Ways%20to%20Spot%20a%20Motivated%20Seller.jpg" alt="10 Ways to Spot a Motivated Seller" 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/10-ways-to-spot-a-motivated-seller">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/20-questions-to-ask-during-an-open-house">20+ Questions to Ask During an Open House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-worst-reasons-to-buy-a-house">4 Worst Reasons to Buy a House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-homeowners-associations">What You Need to Know About Homeowners&#039; Associations</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-be-saving-big-with-bi-weekly-mortgage-payments">Why You Should Be Saving Big With Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payments</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fallacy-of-homeownership-as-a-sound-investment">The Fallacy of Homeownership as a Sound Investment</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing buying a house deals desperate sellers homeownership motivated sellers open houses signs strategy Fri, 27 Apr 2018 08:30:16 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2130619 at http://www.wisebread.com What Makes a Home's Location "Good" http://www.wisebread.com/what-makes-a-homes-location-good <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-makes-a-homes-location-good" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/searching_for_real_estate_property.jpg" alt="Searching for real estate property" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've probably heard that only three things matter when it comes to real estate: location, location, location. But what does that mean? When you're looking for a home, what makes a location a truly good one?</p> <p>Here are the factors that matter the most when searching for that perfect location. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-research-a-homes-location-before-you-buy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Research a Home's Location Before You Buy</a>)</p> <h2>How much are other homes selling for?</h2> <p>Ideally, you want to buy a home in a neighborhood where home values are rising. This is an indication of demand &mdash; people want to live in the neighborhood you are considering.</p> <p>Your real estate agent can give you a history of home prices in the communities you are targeting, whether prices are on the rise, and what the average home in the area sells for.</p> <h2>How long is it taking homes to sell?</h2> <p>Your real estate agent can also show you recent home sales in the neighborhoods you are considering. Look at the prices homes have fetched, of course. But also consider how long it takes homes to sell. This is another good indicator of the demand within a certain location. If homes are selling quickly &mdash; a month or less &mdash; you're looking at an up-and-coming neighborhood.</p> <h2>How good are the schools?</h2> <p>Quality schools are one of the most important features for homebuyers. This isn't surprising: Think of how many people buy homes as they are starting families, or how many people move into bigger homes as their family grows.</p> <p>When you are ready to buy, pay close attention to the schools in the area, even if you don't have school-age children. Being near a good school will add value to your home, making it more attractive to buyers if you should later decide to sell.</p> <p>You can look up the local school rating on Zillow, or get information on a school's overall performance on <a href="https://www.greatschools.org/" target="_blank">GreatSchools</a>, which offers data on test scores, student progress, equity, and reviews. You can also check the school report cards for the public schools in the area. These report cards, maintained by your state's board of education, will give you a snapshot of how students are performing on national tests. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-evaluate-a-neighborhood-before-you-buy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Evaluate a Neighborhood Before You Buy</a>)</p> <h2>Is there much crime?</h2> <p>It's no surprise that locations with lower crime rates are considered more desirable than those with higher ones. But, there is a caveat here: If you're looking for a home in a bustling neighborhood filled with restaurants, shops, and entertainment, these areas often have higher crime rates due to the added foot traffic and activity. This can lead to an increase in thefts, car break-ins, and shoplifting.</p> <p>That doesn't mean, though, that a busy, popular neighborhood isn't a good location. The positives of a bustling urban area can outweigh the increase in crime that comes with them.</p> <h2>Is it a walkable location?</h2> <p>There's still a market for suburban homes, but a growing number of buyers are looking to live in a neighborhood where they can walk to public transportation, restaurants, grocery stores, bars, and shops. You can check out how walkable a neighborhood is by visiting <a href="https://www.walkscore.com/" target="_blank">WalkScore</a> and entering an address. The higher the walk score &mdash; on a scale of 0 to 100 &mdash; the more errands and activities you can complete on foot.</p> <h2>Are there unfixable problems nearby?</h2> <p>There are plenty of problems with homes that you can fix; you can update that 1970s-era kitchen or add that missing bathroom. But there are also plenty of issues you can't fix, especially if they're part of the greater location.</p> <p>For instance, most buyers consider a busy main street to be a negative, which is something you can't fix. Another example? Train tracks running behind the backyard. There's nothing you do can do to muffle the roar of passing trains or get those tracks moved.</p> <p>When looking for a home, turn your attention to more than just what you don't like about the interior. Make sure that there aren't any unfixable negatives nearby that might chase future buyers away. A home that sits on a busy street might cost less than it would in a quieter part of town, but this means that it will sell for less, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-youll-hate-about-your-next-house?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Things You'll Hate About Your Next House</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhat-makes-a-homes-location-good&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhat%2520Makes%2520a%2520Home%2527s%2520Location%2520_Good_.jpg&amp;description=What%20Makes%20a%20Home's%20Location%20%22Good%22"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/What%20Makes%20a%20Home%27s%20Location%20_Good_.jpg" alt="What Makes a Home's Location &quot;Good&quot;" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-makes-a-homes-location-good">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-research-a-homes-location-before-you-buy">How to Research a Home&#039;s Location Before You Buy</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-best-neighborhood-features-for-new-families">5 Best Neighborhood Features for New Families</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/14-things-youll-hate-about-your-next-house">14 Things You&#039;ll Hate About Your Next House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-questions-to-ask-during-an-open-house">20+ Questions to Ask During an Open 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/5-money-moves-that-will-ruin-your-mortgage-application">5 Money Moves That Will Ruin Your Mortgage Application</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing crime rates home buying homeownership location markets neighborhoods school districts value Mon, 23 Apr 2018 08:30:05 +0000 Dan Rafter 2132409 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Vet Your Mortgage Lender http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-vet-your-mortgage-lender <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-vet-your-mortgage-lender" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/applying_for_morgage.jpg" alt="Applying for mortgage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases most consumers ever make. And yet many of us put little to no thought into getting a mortgage loan or the lender we'll work with during the process.</p> <p>This attitude can cost you. In 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that 47 percent of mortgage borrowers didn't shop around for lenders. The CFPB also found that those applying for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage could qualify for interest rates that varied by more than half a percent. This may not sound like much, but the CFPB noted that the difference between 4 percent and 4.5 percent could result in savings of $60 per month, or $720 per year.</p> <p>So how do you make sure that the mortgage lender you choose will offer you the best deal and the best service? You need to vet these financing professionals.</p> <h2>1. Ask your real estate agent, but also shop around</h2> <p>Real estate agents work with plenty of lenders and should be able to recommend a mortgage loan officer. Because they want their clients to refer them to other buyers and sellers, they tend to recommend loan officers and lenders who provide good service and prices.</p> <p>But don't automatically take your real estate agent's recommendation. Talk to friends and family members who recently took out mortgage loans. Did their lender do a good job for them? Do they wish they'd worked with a different one?</p> <p>Search mortgage comparison sites such as LendingTree, too. LendingTree lets you put in your basic financial information and receive preliminary offers from lenders seeking your business. Just be aware that there is no guarantee that these preliminary offers will match the final offers lenders make should you formally apply.</p> <p>Once you have a list of lenders and loan officers, contact them. It's now that you can ask them questions to help determine if they are worth working with.</p> <h2>2. Do some rate and fee comparisons</h2> <p>When interviewing lenders, ask them how much their borrowers typically pay in closing costs. These are the fees that lenders and other third-party providers, such as real estate attorneys and title insurance companies, charge to originate your mortgage loan. These fees can quickly add up, often totaling 3 percent or more of your loan amount. Ask the lenders you are interviewing, too, what interest rate someone with your finances can expect to be charged.</p> <p>Be careful, though: Some lenders might quote you a lower interest rate, but charge you a higher closing fee at the same time. Make sure to consider both the rate and fees. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-whats-included-in-a-homes-closing-costs?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's What's Included in a Home's Closing Costs</a>)</p> <h2>3. Ask about closing times</h2> <p>Originating a mortgage loan takes time. You can expect to wait 30 days or more between the moment you apply for a loan and the day you sign the papers. But some lenders are faster than others. Ask your lender how long it takes borrowers on average to get to the closing table. If most lenders say 30 days, but one says 60? You might want to skip working with the outlier. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-does-it-really-take-to-close-on-a-house?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Long Does It Really Take to Close on a House?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Ask your lender to explain the entire lending process</h2> <p>Most of us aren't familiar with how the mortgage-lending system works, so it's important to work with lenders who can explain this often-complicated process clearly. If the lenders you are interviewing can't or won't do this, find a new one to vet. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-homebuying-questions-youre-embarrassed-to-ask?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Homebuying Questions You're Embarrassed to Ask</a>)</p> <h2>5. Ask to speak to past clients</h2> <p>Ask your lender to provide you the names and contact information of at least three past clients. When you get a hold of these referrals, pick their brains. Ask if the lender responded quickly to phone calls, if the closing costs they charged were higher than expected, and if they fixed any problems that popped up during the lending process. If lenders balk at providing referrals, don't work with them.</p> <h2>6. Do your online research</h2> <p>Once you've found a lender you like, do some online research. Check out sites such as Yelp or Zillow to find online reviews of the lenders you are considering. If a lender has an overwhelming number of negative reviews, you might want to steer clear.</p> <h2>7. Get preapproved</h2> <p>During the preapproval process, a lender will run your credit and verify your income. You help the process along by sending copies of financial documents such as your recent paycheck stubs, bank account statements, and income tax returns. Your lender will use this information to determine how much loan money they are comfortable giving you, and will send you a letter stating the results.</p> <p>The best thing about preapprovals is that they are free. If you find three lenders you like, get preapproved with all three. You aren't obligated to work with any lender that preapproves you. But you might discover that one lender approves you for $200,000 while two others approve you for loans as high as $250,000. This could influence which lender you finally choose.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-ways-to-vet-your-mortgage-lender&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Ways%2520to%2520Vet%2520Your%2520Mortgage%2520Lender.jpg&amp;description=7%20Ways%20to%20Vet%20Your%20Mortgage%20Lender"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Ways%20to%20Vet%20Your%20Mortgage%20Lender.jpg" alt="7 Ways to Vet Your Mortgage Lender" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-vet-your-mortgage-lender">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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-mortgage-details-you-should-know-before-you-sign">5 Mortgage Details You Should Know Before You Sign</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/heres-whats-included-in-a-homes-closing-costs">Here&#039;s What&#039;s Included in a Home&#039;s Closing Costs</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/stop-believing-these-5-home-refinance-myths">Stop Believing These 5 Home Refinance Myths</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-rules-of-home-buying-you-need-to-know">The Only 5 Rules of Home Buying You Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing closing costs fees home buying interest rates lenders mortgages realtors reviews screening vetting Fri, 20 Apr 2018 08:30:09 +0000 Dan Rafter 2131426 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Fight Back Against Mortgage Discrimination http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-fight-back-against-mortgage-discrimination <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-fight-back-against-mortgage-discrimination" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_couple_signing_renting_contract.jpg" alt="Young couple signing renting contract" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In late February, the city of Sacramento filed a lawsuit in federal court against Wells Fargo, claiming that the lending giant has been discriminating against black and Latino mortgage borrowers since 2004. The suit says that Wells Fargo steered these clients into loans that had higher interest rates and were more expensive than the mortgages the company made available to white borrowers.</p> <p>Wells Fargo isn't the only big lender to face charges of mortgage discrimination. Last year, JPMorgan Chase &amp; Co. agreed to pay $55 million to the U.S. Department of Justice after being accused of pushing more expensive mortgage loans on minority borrowers. JPMorgan, in a statement released after reaching the settlement, denied that it had done anything wrong.</p> <p>And in February of this year, Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting released a report saying that African-American and Latino homebuyers are denied conventional mortgage loans at rates far higher than white borrowers. According to the study, black borrowers were denied mortgages at higher rates than white borrowers in 48 cities, while Latinos were denied at higher rates in 25.</p> <p>It's clear that mortgage discrimination exists and is a problem. If you're ready to apply for a mortgage loan, you might be worried that you, too, will face this discrimination, especially if you're black or Latino.</p> <p>How can you recognize mortgage discrimination? And, just as importantly, how can you fight against it?</p> <h2>Recognizing discrimination</h2> <p>The first step toward fighting back against mortgage discrimination is to recognize when it happens to you. Unfortunately, recognizing discrimination isn't always easy.</p> <p>You're not necessarily a victim of mortgage discrimination simply because you're denied a mortgage loan. But you are a victim if the reason you are denied is based on your race, religion, gender, age, or sexual orientation. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act forbids lenders from denying borrowers based on those factors. Lenders must have a financial reason for denying a loan application.</p> <p>For instance, if a lender denies your application for a mortgage because your credit score is just 500, that's not discrimination. A low FICO score means that you have a history of struggling to pay your bills and manage your credit. That's a legitimate reason to be denied a loan. But what if your score is 700? If you're denied a loan then, or if your lender recommends a loan with higher-than-market interest rates, you might be the victim of mortgage discrimination.</p> <p>There are, of course, other financial factors besides your credit score than can affect your loan application. Maybe your credit scores are solid, but you have tens of thousands of dollars of credit card debt. Or maybe your monthly income is low. Both of these are also valid reasons for being denied a loan. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/denied-a-mortgage-heres-how-to-fix-it-fast?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Denied a Mortgage? Here's How to Fix It Fast</a>)</p> <p>The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says that there are certain signs that might indicate you are being discriminated against. If a lender quickly discourages you from applying for a loan, or if a lender who was friendly over the phone suddenly treats you with less respect when seeing you in person, that's a red flag. The bureau also warns that if lenders pressure you to sign a loan application even if you aren't happy with the fees or interest rates, you might be facing discrimination.</p> <p>If a lender eventually declines your loan request, it must give you reasons for the rejection, according to the Federal Trade Commission.</p> <h2>Fighting back</h2> <p>Fighting back against mortgage discrimination starts before you even apply for a home loan. Before you speak with lenders, check your credit reports and your credit score. You are entitled to one free copy of each of your three credit reports &ndash; from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion &ndash; every year. You can request them at <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/" target="_blank">AnnualCreditReport.com</a>.</p> <p>Once you receive your reports, study them carefully. They will list any loans or credit card accounts you have, and how much you owe on them. They'll also list any late or missed payments that are seven years old or younger. If you see any mistakes, report them to the offending credit bureau by email or phone.</p> <p>Also, order your credit score. This isn't free, but you can order at least one version of your FICO score from either of the credit bureaus or from <a href="https://www.myfico.com/" target="_blank">myFICO.com</a>. Expect to pay about $19 per score.</p> <p>Lenders consider FICO scores of 740 or higher to be very strong. Those under 620 are generally considered weak enough to result in a higher chance of rejection when applying for a loan. Lower scores will also leave you with higher interest rates on loans you do get. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-improve-your-credit-score-fast?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score Fast</a>)</p> <p>Once you have this background information, you'll have a better idea whether or not you are an attractive borrower. If your credit score is good and you don't have negative financial marks on your credit reports, you should be able to qualify for mortgages at lower interest rates. If your credit score is low and your credit reports are filled with past financial mistakes, those loan rejections and higher interest rates might be justified.</p> <p>If you do feel you have been discriminated against by a lender, the Federal Trade Commission recommends that you file a complaint against your lender. That might persuade your lender to look into your application again. If that doesn't work, you can file a complaint with the <a href="https://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/" target="_blank">Consumer Financial Protection Bureau</a> and the <a href="https://www.hud.gov/" target="_blank">U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development</a>. You can even file a lawsuit against your lender in federal court.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-fight-back-against-mortgage-discrimination&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Fight%2520Back%2520Against%2520Mortgage%2520Discrimination.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Fight%20Back%20Against%20Mortgage%20Discrimination"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Fight%20Back%20Against%20Mortgage%20Discrimination.jpg" alt="How to Fight Back Against Mortgage Discrimination" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-fight-back-against-mortgage-discrimination">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/weak-credit-you-can-still-get-a-mortgage-despite-tough-lending-standards">Weak Credit? You Can Still Get a Mortgage Despite Tough Lending Standards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-call-your-mortgage-lender-every-year">Why You Should Call Your Mortgage Lender Every Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt">7 Easy First Steps to Paying Off Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-get-financially-fit-for-homebuying-season">6 Ways to Get Financially Fit for Homebuying Season</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing credit score equal credit opportunity act fair housing federal trade commission interest rates mortgage discrimination racism Thu, 19 Apr 2018 08:00:07 +0000 Dan Rafter 2128557 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: These Cities and States Will Pay You to Move There http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-these-cities-and-states-will-pay-you-to-move-there <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-these-cities-and-states-will-pay-you-to-move-there" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/alaska_coast_170616172.jpg" alt="Getting paid to move to Alaska" 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 cities and states that will pay you to move there, expensive things that are not worth the extra cost, and things that a neuroscientist says will make you happier.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="https://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/american-states-cities-will-pay-you-to-move">7 American Cities and States That Will Actually Pay You to Move There</a> &mdash; These cities and states offer the best housing incentives, business investments, and loan reimbursements to convince you to move there. [Thrillist]</p> <p><a href="https://www.frugalrules.com/expensive-things-not-worth-the-money/">5 Expensive Things That Are Not Worth the Money</a> &mdash; Why pay more for something when you there are less expensive alternatives the give you the same (or better) quality? [Frugal Rules]</p> <p><a href="https://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Neuroscience-Studies-About-Happiness-43851115">A Neuroscientist Says These 4 Things Will Make You Happier</a> &mdash; Something as simple as labeling your emotions &mdash; consciously recognizing them &mdash; can reduce the impact of those emotions in your brain. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="https://organisemyhouse.com/every-home-should-have-home-management-binder/">6 Key Reasons Every Home Should Have a Home Management Binder</a> &mdash; A home management binder is the place where you put all the information you need for your family and home. It becomes the hub where you can access important information easily when you need it. [Organise My House]</p> <p><a href="https://apersonalorganizer.com/laundry-room-reveal-before-and-after/">From Complete Disaster To Awesome Laundry Room</a> &mdash; Doing laundry is not everyone's favorite chore, especially when the area where the action happens is often tight and unpleasant. Learn what you can do to make your laundry area more functional and comfortable to work in! [Helena Alkhas]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="https://www.csmonitor.com/EqualEd/2018/0413/Tulsa-experiment-Can-investing-in-children-early-reverse-poverty-cycle">Tulsa experiment: Can investing in children early reverse poverty cycle?</a> &mdash; Over the next decade, billionaire George Kaiser's foundation aims to match tens of thousands of low-income families with the social services they need. [The Christian Science Monitor]</p> <p><a href="https://www.breakthetwitch.com/more-than-good-habits/">This Matters More Than Good Habits</a> &mdash; Good habits, consistency, and hard work are all important factors to success, but picking yourself up and continuing on when you stumble is just as critical. [Break The Twitch]</p> <p><a href="https://www.dumblittleman.com/why-cycling-is-important/">Can Cycling Actually Change Your Health And Life?</a> &mdash; Bicycling is great for your wallet, health, and mood. [Dumb Little Man]</p> <p><a href="https://orgjunkie.com/2018/04/cosmetics-spring-cleaning.html">Cosmetics Spring Cleaning: Makeup Purging &amp; Brush Cleaning Tips</a> &mdash; While you're tackling your spring cleaning tasks, don't forget to clean your makeup brushes and purge old, expired cosmetics. [Organizing Junkie]</p> <p><a href="https://www.cleanandscentsible.com/make-cut-flowers-last-longer/">How to Make Cut Flowers Last Longer</a> &mdash; Keep flowers away from fruits that produce ethylene, like bananas, avocados, apples, and kiwis. This gas can reduce the life span of any flowers that are kept nearby! [Clean &amp; Scentsible]</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-these-cities-and-states-will-pay-you-to-move-there">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-cities-for-starting-over">The 5 Best Cities for Starting Over</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-you-should-do-when-you-move-to-a-new-town">14 Things You Should Do When You Move to a New Town</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-hidden-housing-costs-new-homeowners-dont-expect">10 Hidden Housing Costs New Homeowners Don&#039;t Expect</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-need-to-downsize">7 Reasons You Need to Downsize</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing best money tips moving Tue, 17 Apr 2018 00:29:12 +0000 Amy Lu 2131854 at http://www.wisebread.com How Long Does It Really Take to Close on a House? http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-does-it-really-take-to-close-on-a-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-long-does-it-really-take-to-close-on-a-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/business_financial_Planning_financial_analysis.jpg" alt="Business Financial Planning Financial Analysis" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Buying a new home is an exciting process, but there are also a lot of challenges and frustrations that came along with closing on a mortgage. Even when you and seller can agree on a closing date, this date is not set in stone and can change for many reasons.</p> <p>Closing on a home purchase can take anywhere from four to eight weeks. The answer to how long your particular home will take depends on many things &mdash; you, the seller, the house, and the professionals behind the closing process. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-whats-included-in-a-homes-closing-costs?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's What's Included in a Home's Closing Costs</a>)</p> <h2>Possible delays to the home closing process</h2> <p>There are several things that can delay the closing of a new home purchase. While most can be resolved quickly, here are the more common causes to be aware of.</p> <h3>Questionable items on your credit report</h3> <p>Your credit report is checked a couple of times during the home buying process. If your report shows new debts, mistakes, a sudden drop in your credit score, or even a recently reported late payment, you might have to fix things in the underwriting stage of the loan before you can close.</p> <p>Other life major life changes with financial impact, such as a job loss or change of marital status, can also cause a delay right before closing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-a-home-sale-could-fall-through?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Reasons a Home Sale Could Fall Through</a>)</p> <h3>Low appraisal</h3> <p>If you need to finance your home, the lender will request an appraisal of the property. If the appraisal comes back lower than the seller's asking price, the lender will refuse your loan. In order to remedy this, you will need to renegotiate terms with the seller or pay the difference with cash before the loan can go through.</p> <h3>Home inspection problems</h3> <p>A negative finding during the home inspection, such as a leaky roof or faulty wiring, will need to be repaired before you can close on the house. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thinking-of-skipping-the-home-inspection-heres-what-it-will-cost-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Thinking of Skipping the Home Inspection? Here's What It Will Cost You</a>)</p> <h3>Additional documents needed</h3> <p>Once your home buying process begins moving forward, your finances and financial history will be looked over closely. This can result in the need for several documents and letters of explanation for certain aspects of your finances. For example, if your bank account has your maiden name on it, you'll need to explain the discrepancy.</p> <h3>Title problems</h3> <p>An issue with the title, such as a lien, will delay the home sale.</p> <h3>Slow professionals</h3> <p>Sometimes a closing delay has nothing to do with the buyer or seller, but instead with the professionals who are handling your loan. You'll work with many different people throughout the homebuying process, so if any one of them delays turning in their portion of the documents for the next step, that delay will be felt by you and the seller. The delays can come from your own real estate agent or the buyer's, as well as the lender, the bank, and even the underwriter.</p> <h3>Problems with the final walk-through</h3> <p>There is always the possibility of something going amiss during the final walk-through. The home you looked at and had inspected could suddenly have plumbing or electrical issues the day of the final walk-through. Any issues will need to be resolved before the home closes.</p> <h2>How to close on a home quickly</h2> <p>You can't control everything in the closing process as the buyer, but you can manage your responsibilities in a way that speeds up the process. Here are a few things that you as the buyer can do for a quicker home closing.</p> <h2>Keep a clean financial record</h2> <p>Even though you are excited to purchase a home, don't celebrate by spending a lot of money or opening a new line of credit. Wait until your mortgage clears before you buy furniture or a new car.</p> <h2>Be quick to communicate</h2> <p>During the home buying process, you will be asked to answer a lot of questions, provide a lot of documents, and attend several meetings. Being readily available and getting documents to the agent and lender quickly will speed up the process. Schedule the home inspection as soon as possible to ensure there is enough time for quick repairs.</p> <p>A delayed home closing can be frustrating, but many of the possible delays that happen are actually to protect the buyer. Buying a house is a large investment, so it is crucial that all of the paperwork is done correctly so that you don't endure problems later.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-long-does-it-really-take-to-close-on-a-house&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520Long%2520Does%2520It%2520Really%2520Take%2520to%2520Close%2520on%2520a%2520House.jpg&amp;description=How%20Long%20Does%20It%20Really%20Take%20to%20Close%20on%20a%20House%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20Long%20Does%20It%20Really%20Take%20to%20Close%20on%20a%20House.jpg" alt="How Long Does It Really Take to Close on a House?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-does-it-really-take-to-close-on-a-house">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/the-only-5-rules-of-home-buying-you-need-to-know">The Only 5 Rules of Home Buying You Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/6-questions-to-ask-before-selling-your-house">6 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-vet-your-mortgage-lender">7 Ways to Vet Your Mortgage Lender</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-qualify-for-a-mortgage-with-a-small-downpayment">5 Ways to Qualify for a Mortgage With a Small Downpayment</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing closing credit history delays home selling homebuying inspections lenders mortgages real estate agents Mon, 09 Apr 2018 09:00:07 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 2119034 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Surprises When Downsizing to a Condo http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprises-when-downsizing-to-a-condo <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-surprises-when-downsizing-to-a-condo" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_spending_a_day_on_a_penthouse_terrace.jpg" alt="Woman spending a day on a penthouse terrace" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Yard work fills you with dread. The thought of shoveling your way through another winter is already causing your back to ache. And ever since your children moved on to college, half the rooms in your home sit unused.</p> <p>You're ready to downsize from a single-family home to a condo. It's a move that makes sense: You don't need the space of a house, you're ready for a smaller monthly mortgage payment, and you're eager to chuck the chores and maintenance that come with a larger home.</p> <p>But before you make the move into a condo, know that condo living does come with surprises. And many of them aren't pleasant. They don't have to scare you away, but you do need to be prepared for them.</p> <p>Here are a few surprises that might await you when you become a condo owner.</p> <h2>1. Special assessments</h2> <p>When you become a condo owner, you'll have to pay either a condo fee or a homeowners' association fee to live in the building. That monthly fee goes toward the maintenance of the building's common areas and to pay for services such as landscaping and snow removal.</p> <p>But what if your condo's roof needs to be replaced or the entire building needs tuckpointing? To pay for a large expense, your condo's board of directors might have to levy a special assessment; an extra monthly fee that unit owners pay until the building has raised enough money to pay for a large-scale project.</p> <p>If your board decides your building needs a new garage, you might be paying an extra $200, $300, or more a month for as long as it takes to help pay for the construction. This extra money, if you're not prepared for it, could burst your household budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-hoas?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What You Need to Know About HOAs</a>)</p> <h2>2. You may end up on the board of directors</h2> <p>If you move into a large condo complex, you probably won't have to serve on the building's board of directors if you don't want to. But if you move into a smaller condo building with few residents, you may find yourself needing to take a turn serving as the board's director, treasurer, or secretary. An association can't function properly without a board, and if other residents are unwilling or unable to serve, ultimately, someone has to do it.</p> <p>Serving on the board doesn't have to take up a lot of your time. But you will have to make decisions regarding the upkeep of your building. You might have to vote for an unpopular special assessment, or spearhead the ordering of new guard rails, hallway carpeting, or other items. If you have no desire to make any of these decisions, you should move into a larger condo building with more residents and more active boards of directors.</p> <h2>3. It may not be ideal for a pet</h2> <p>Some condo buildings don't allow pets, or only allow pets of a certain size. If your condo does allow dogs, and you happen to have one, you might find taking care of Fido requires a bit more work.</p> <p>First, there are the stairs. If you live on the second floor or higher, you'll have to drag your pooch down the stairs &mdash; or into an elevator &mdash; every time your dog needs a bathroom break. Depending on the age of your dog, and yourself, this can quickly turn into a hassle.</p> <p>Then there are the other dogs in your building. You might be unfortunate enough to live directly underneath the dog that barks all day long while its owners are at work. Or maybe you constantly bump into a dog that doesn't get along with your own. Those regular run-ins could be stressful.</p> <p>Before moving into a condo, be aware that having a dog won't be quite as simple as having one in a single-family home.</p> <h2>4. The grocery haul</h2> <p>Bringing groceries into a single-family home is easy: You park in your garage or the driveway, and lug them in. Bringing large bags of groceries into a condo can be more work. It's no fun to lug them up three flights of stairs to get to your unit. Even if your building has an elevator, you'll still have to make multiple trips to bring in all your bags.</p> <p>If you buy heavier items such as soda, beer, and water, that trip back and forth from your car to your condo can develop into a real pain. It's why so many condo owners take several smaller trips to the grocery store instead of one large one. Be careful here, though: Running to the grocery store every two or three days is an easy way to blow your monthly spending budget.</p> <h2>5. Plumbing problems can be a pain</h2> <p>Scheduling a visit from a plumber? Does that plumber need to shut off your water for an hour or more to repair a leaky bathtub faucet? This can be tricky if you live in a condo building with a shared plumbing system.</p> <p>When you shut off the water in your unit, you might also be shutting down the water in your neighbors' units. Because of this, you'll have to schedule plumbing repairs with the building's board of directors. This could take a few days or a few weeks depending on your association and how many other units will be affected. You might not be able to schedule your plumbing repairs on the exact day of your choice.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-surprises-when-downsizing-to-a-condo&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Surprises%2520When%2520Downsizing%2520to%2520a%2520Condo.jpg&amp;description=5%20Surprises%20When%20Downsizing%20to%20a%20Condo"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Surprises%20When%20Downsizing%20to%20a%20Condo.jpg" alt="5 Surprises When Downsizing to a Condo" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprises-when-downsizing-to-a-condo">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-hoas">What You Need to Know About HOAs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-signing-a-lease">10 Questions to Ask Before Signing a Lease</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-you-should-never-hide-from-your-landlord">8 Things You Should Never Hide From Your Landlord</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-ways-to-find-income-while-waiting-for-full-retirement-age">4 Ways to Find Income While Waiting for Full Retirement Age</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing board of directors condo fees condos downsizing HOA homeowners associations pets rental units renting surprises Mon, 09 Apr 2018 08:30:13 +0000 Dan Rafter 2125054 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Turning Your Home Into an Investment http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-turning-your-home-into-an-investment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-turning-your-home-into-an-investment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_outside_house_905899112.jpg" alt="Couple turning their home into an investment" 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 how to turn your home into an investment, how to choose the right accountability partner to help you reach your goals, and a guide to finding land for your tiny house.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="https://everythingfinanceblog.com/24226/turn-your-home-into-an-investment.html">How to Turn Your Home Into an Investment</a> &mdash; Even if you're not looking to make some extra income with your home, you can still do a few things to build equity in case you decide to sell one day or have to take out a second mortgage. [Everything Finance]</p> <p><a href="https://adebtfreestressfreelife.com/accountability-partner/">How To Choose The Right Accountability Partner</a> &mdash; When you're trying to adopt new habits or change an aspect of your life, it helps to have an accountability partner who will help you stay on track. [A Mess Free Life]</p> <p><a href="https://thetinylife.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-finding-land/">The Ultimate Guide To Finding Land for Your Tiny House or Homestead</a> &mdash; Finding and buying land suitable for your tiny house or homestead can be tricky. To figure out how much land you actually need, make a list of everything you want to do on that land and how much space it requires. [The Tiny Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.newminimalism.com/blog/how-to-be-a-minimalist-with-a-newborn">6 Ways to Stay Simple and Sane With a Newborn</a> &mdash; Don't try to buy all your baby supplies ahead of time. Your child may surprise you with their preferences, and your own preferences and needs will evolve, too. [New Minimalism]</p> <p><a href="https://www.becomingminimalist.com/20-places-to-donate-used-books/">20 Places to Donate Used Books</a> &mdash; Here are places you can donate your books where they will continue to enrich and improve other people's lives &mdash; just remember to call ahead to make sure your books are actually needed. [Becoming Minimalist]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="https://www.getrichslowly.org/quick-wins/">Quick money wins to help you feel more in control of your finances</a> &mdash; These quick wins will give you the financial confidence you need to make better money decisions in the long run. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="https://www.dumblittleman.com/improve-it-skills/">6 Ways to Constantly Improve IT Skills</a> &mdash; Technology is always developing&hellip;and so should your IT skills. [Dumb Little Man]</p> <p><a href="https://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/9-tips-on-how-to-overcome-fear-of-public-speaking-for-introverts/">9 Tips on How to Overcome Fear of Public Speaking for Introverts</a> &mdash; Remember to smile! It's a good way to connect with your audience and can help you feel less stressed. [Pick The Brain]</p> <p><a href="http://nourishingminimalism.com/blog/minimalist-playroom-better-kids/">Why a Minimalist Playroom is Better for Kids</a> &mdash; When it comes to toys, less is often more beneficial for your kids. [Rachel Jones]</p> <p><a href="https://www.morewithlesstoday.com/recycle-donate-or-sell-old-gadgets/">Places to Recycle, Donate or Sell Old Gadgets &ndash; Cash in on Spring Cleaning</a> &mdash; Some places allow you to trade in or cash out your old electronics like computers, cellphones, digital cameras, video games, and printers. [More With Less Today]</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-turning-your-home-into-an-investment">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-basics-of-asset-allocation">The Basics of Asset Allocation</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/investment-gains-taxes-increase-the-worst-tax-policy-ever">Investment Gains Taxes Increase - The Worst Tax Policy Ever?</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-does-the-fannie-mae-and-freddie-mac-bailout-affect-you">How does the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout affect you?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-easy-ways-to-invest-in-real-estate-without-buying-real-estate">3 Easy Ways to Invest in Real Estate (Without Buying Real Estate)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-the-most-of-your-401K">How to Make the Most of Your 401K</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Real Estate and Housing best money tips investment Fri, 06 Apr 2018 08:30:09 +0000 Amy Lu 2129031 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Signs You're Ready to Sell Your House http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-youre-ready-to-sell-your-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-signs-youre-ready-to-sell-your-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_holding_sold_sign_for_their_new_house.jpg" alt="Couple holding sold sign for their new house" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>This is a good time to sell a home. The National Association of Realtors reported that the median price for existing homes stood at $240,500 in January 2018, up 5.8 percent from one year earlier. At the same time, homes are selling quickly, too &mdash; the NAR reported that the average amount of time it's taking homes to sell is just 42 days.</p> <p>If you've been thinking of selling your home, this would appear to be the right time to do it. But how do you know if you are truly ready to sell? What financial and emotional steps do you need to take to get yourself and your home ready for buyers?</p> <p>Fortunately, determining if you're ready to sell isn't overly complicated. In fact, there are clear signs that you are ready to pound those &quot;For Sale&quot; signs into your front lawn. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-home-in-a-sellers-market?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Sell Your Home in a Seller's Market</a>)</p> <h2>1. You have equity</h2> <p>The most important sign is that you have enough equity in your home. With sufficient equity, the odds are better that you'll leave the closing table with profits in your pocket.</p> <p>Equity is the difference between what you owe on your mortgage and what your home is worth. The more equity you have, the better. If you owe $150,000 on your loan and your home is worth $250,000, you have $100,000 equity in your home.</p> <p>Determining your equity can take a bit of work. First, look at your most recent mortgage statement to see how much you owe. Next, figure out how much your home is worth today. Don't rely solely on sites such as Zillow &mdash; their estimates are often inflated. Instead, call a real estate agent and ask them to perform a market analysis. The agent will compare your home to similar ones that have sold in your area and come up with a market value. Agents shouldn't charge you for this service. They hope, after all, that you'll call them if you do decide to list your home.</p> <p>You can also hire a professional appraiser to appraise your home. This isn't free, though: You can expect to spend about $300 to $400.</p> <p>Whatever approach you take, you should get some idea of what your home is worth in today's market. If you have a significant amount of equity &mdash; enough to cover a down payment and closing costs on whatever new home you plan to buy &mdash; now might be a good time to list your property. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-equity-in-your-home?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Build Equity in Your Home</a>)</p> <h2>2. You have savings</h2> <p>Selling a house isn't cheap. If you want your home to look its best, you might have to hire a stager to clear out rooms and rearrange furniture. You might need to board your pets so that potential buyers won't hear Fido barking or smell Princess' kitty litter box.</p> <p>There's also the cost of applying for a new mortgage and buying a new home after selling your current residence. You'll need to pay for movers, come up with a down payment for your new home, and pay for home inspections and an appraisal. It all adds up.</p> <p>And, yes, you might be counting on the profits from your home sale to pay for most of the expenses of moving to a new house. But some bills you might have to pay before you receive your check from your home sale. So, make sure you've built up enough savings to handle the many expenses that pop up when selling.</p> <h2>3. Your credit scores are strong</h2> <p>After you sell, you'll need a solid credit history to qualify for a mortgage for your next home. A strong score also nets you lower interest rates and a lower monthly payment.</p> <p>Before you list your home, order copies of your three credit reports &mdash; one each from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion &mdash; from AnnualCreditReport.com. You are entitled to a free copy of each of your reports once a year.</p> <p>Study these reports for errors. If a report lists that you missed a car payment that you know you paid on time, contact the offending credit bureau to fix the error. Fixing mistakes can cause an immediate bump in your score.</p> <p>Next, order at least one version of your credit score from one of the three credit bureaus. You will have to pay for this &mdash; about $10 to $15 &mdash; but you should know your score before you decide to sell. Lenders consider scores of 740 or higher to be particularly strong. If you have such a score, you won't struggle to qualify for a loan and you'll usually qualify for lower rates. If your credit score is low, you need to improve it before you think about selling. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Ways to Increase Your Credit Score Quickly</a>)</p> <h2>4. Your home is shrinking</h2> <p>Are you growing your family? Are you running out of space for bedrooms? Does it feel like you're living in a clown car? It might be time to sell. One of the main reasons that owners sell is that they simply outgrow their current living space. If your house no longer fits the need &mdash; or size &mdash; of your family, it might be a good time to put it on the market.</p> <h2>5. You're ready to break those emotional ties</h2> <p>Selling a home is different from living in one. Your real estate agent might recommend that you remove most of your family photos. A stager might suggest that you put a favorite sofa in storage. You might get negative feedback from buyers on the paint in the kitchen and have to make changes.</p> <p>Can you handle this? Can you take criticism of your home and your style choices and make the changes necessary to sell your home quickly?</p> <p>If not, you might need to wait before selling. When you've lived a part of &mdash; or all of &mdash; your life in a certain residence, it's normal to have emotional attachments you aren't ready to part with. But if you are ready to cut those emotional ties to your home, you're ready to make the transition from living in a home to selling it.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-signs-youre-ready-to-sell-your-house&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Signs%2520You%2527re%2520Ready%2520to%2520Sell%2520Your%2520House.jpg&amp;description=5%20Signs%20You're%20Ready%20to%20Sell%20Your%20House"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Signs%20You%27re%20Ready%20to%20Sell%20Your%20House.jpg" alt="5 Signs You're Ready to Sell Your House" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-youre-ready-to-sell-your-house">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/6-ways-to-get-financially-fit-for-homebuying-season">6 Ways to Get Financially Fit for Homebuying Season</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-sell-your-home-to-pay-down-debt">Should You Sell Your Home to Pay Down Debt?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-youre-too-old-or-too-young-for-a-mortgage-loan">4 Reasons Why You&#039;re Too Old — Or Too Young — For a Mortgage Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-real-estate-agents-hear-most-often">8 Questions Real Estate Agents Hear Most Often</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing credit history credit score emotional ties equity housing market profit savings selling a home Fri, 06 Apr 2018 08:00:07 +0000 Dan Rafter 2118489 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Negotiate Your Rent http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-negotiate-your-rent <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-negotiate-your-rent" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/lease_agreement_concept.jpg" alt="Lease agreement concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I moved from Pennsylvania to Florida, my husband and I looked everywhere for an affordable apartment. We finally found the perfect place that was within budget, and for that first year, it was wonderful.</p> <p>Then we got our renewal notice and found out our rent would go up by over $250. That would have broken our budget. I thought about moving, but the high cost of relocating scared me away. Instead, I decided to negotiate with my landlord. It worked; we agreed on a $100 increase instead of $250. By just taking 10 minutes to discuss our lease, I saved us $1,800 over the course of the year.</p> <p>When you're renewing, you have certain benefits over prospective tenants. Negotiating rent might sound impossible, but it can be done.</p> <h2>Look at comps</h2> <p>Research comparable rental units in the area that offer similar features and perks of your current apartment. This way, you'll get an idea of what the fair market value is where you live. You might find that your rent is the same, or even much higher, than it would be with a newer unit. That finding can give you significant bargaining power. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-best-tools-for-finding-an-apartment-on-the-cheap?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Best Tools for Finding an Apartment on the Cheap</a>)</p> <h2>Review your rental track record</h2> <p>You might think your landlord would be unwilling to negotiate, but you'd be surprised. Good tenants are hard to find, and keeping a reliable tenant is much better than having an empty unit sit on the market. If you've been a good tenant &mdash; always paying rent on time and never causing trouble for the property manager &mdash; you will have more negotiating power.</p> <h2>See how many units are available</h2> <p>If you live in an apartment complex or if your landlord has several rental properties, see how many units are currently available. If your landlord has several openings, they're more likely to do what they can to get you to stay. Otherwise, they risk letting another unit sit unused, which means losing even more money.</p> <h2>Talk to your landlord</h2> <p>Once you've done your research, talk to your landlord. You can talk in person, but if you'd prefer, you can also send an email (that's what I did!). Below is a template you can use:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"><em>&quot;Dear [landlord],</em></p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"><em>I received the lease renewal for my unit, and I'm concerned about the price increase. </em></p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"><em>The new rate would cost me an extra [$X] per year. I looked at other rentals in the area, and several complexes offer more features and larger units at [$X] price, which is much cheaper than the increased rate for my unit.</em></p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"><em>I believe I've been a good tenant; I've never missed a payment, and there's never been a single noise complaint or any other problem. If there's any way we could make it work, I'd like to stay here, but the price increase is more than I can reasonably afford.</em></p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"><em>Could you compromise on the rate? I could afford [$X]; that's the top of my budget, but it would be worth it to stay in my home.&quot;</em></p> <p>Whether you rent a home from a private individual or lease an apartment from a big company, you can negotiate your rent. By doing your research, you may be able to get a lower rate.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-negotiate-your-rent&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Negotiate%2520Your%2520Rent.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Negotiate%20Your%20Rent"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Negotiate%20Your%20Rent.jpg" alt="How to Negotiate Your Rent" 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/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-negotiate-your-rent">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-moves-to-make-if-you-need-to-break-your-lease">8 Moves to Make If You Need to Break Your Lease</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-websites-for-renting-your-extra-space">The 11 Best Websites for Renting Your Extra Space</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-sublet-your-apartment">The Easy Way to Sublet Your Apartment</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-happens-to-your-apartment-when-your-landlord-gets-the-boot">What Happens to Your Apartment When Your Landlord Gets the Boot</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing apartments comps landlords letters negotiating rent raise rent renewal renting templates Wed, 04 Apr 2018 08:00:07 +0000 Kat Tretina 2122417 at http://www.wisebread.com