moving http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/6185/all en-US Would You Move to One of These States to Avoid Taxes? http://www.wisebread.com/would-you-move-to-one-of-these-states-to-avoid-taxes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/would-you-move-to-one-of-these-states-to-avoid-taxes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tax_forms_505405952.jpg" alt="Woman moving to a new state to avoid taxes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some states have no state income tax &mdash; but at what expense?</p> <p>If you're thinking of moving to one of the seven states with no income tax, consider that you may not actually be saving much money in the end, due to higher sales taxes, higher property taxes, and other additional costs. After all, these states can't just forego taxes altogether as a source of revenue; they simply make up the money somewhere else.</p> <p>So how do you assess how much you're really saving, if anything at all?</p> <h2>The States With No Income Taxes</h2> <p>Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming have no state income tax. Residents of New Hampshire and Tennessee are also spared from state income tax, but have to pay taxes on dividends and income from investments. Other states (such as Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin) have considered forgoing state income tax, as well, because it tends to result in economic and population growth throughout the state.</p> <p>These states argue that cutting the state income tax can help to create jobs and prevent workers from leaving the state.</p> <h2>How Much Are You Really Saving?</h2> <p>For this example, let's compare living and working in California to Washington. Let's say your personal income is $60,000 per year. <a href="https://www.tax-brackets.org/californiataxtable" target="_blank">California's marginal income tax rate</a> at this income is 9.3%, while Washington&rsquo;s is 0%. The <a href="https://smartasset.com/taxes/california-tax-calculator#IuHiRFQfs9" target="_blank">effective rate</a> at this income is 4.47%, which will result in $2,680 in state taxes.</p> <p>California and Washington have similar costs of living, depending on where you live. For instance, Los Angeles and Seattle have very similar costs of living, while San Francisco&rsquo;s cost of living is 24% higher than Seattle&rsquo;s. On the other hand, <a href="http://www.taxrates.com/california-c/" target="_blank">California's sales tax rate</a> is 7.5%&ndash;10%, while <a href="http://www.sale-tax.com/Washington" target="_blank">Washington&rsquo;s sales tax</a>&nbsp;ranges from 7%&ndash;9.9%, depending on where you live.</p> <p>Consider how much you&rsquo;d be saving after you factor in your moving costs. According to the American Moving &amp; Storage Association, the average move costs $3,868&ndash;$5,415 for the average two or three bedroom home from California to Washington. However, this depends on your personal move and how much you are able to save. In fact, Worldwide ERC estimates the average moving cost from one state to another to be closer to $12,935.</p> <h2>No Income Tax Usually Means Higher Sales Taxes</h2> <p>By forgoing a state income tax, the state needs to make up for their budget in other ways. For instance, the sales tax on your clothing, food, gasoline, and other purchases may be higher in the new state. There are also other fees to consider, such as property taxes, tuition costs, and cost of living expenses, which should be factored into your state-by-state comparisons.</p> <p>For example, Tennessee has the highest average state and local sales tax rate in the country, which the Tax Foundation estimates at around 9.45%. Nevada also has above-average sales taxes. Texas and Florida also have above-average sales tax and effective property tax rates. Meanwhile, Washington has the highest gasoline prices due to a high gasoline tax of around $0.37 per gallon.</p> <h2>And Higher Property Taxes</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s also important to consider the property tax rate in the state-by-state comparison, which is <a href="http://www.evolve-ca.org/prop-13-facts/" target="_blank">1% of assessed property value</a> in California and <a href="https://smartasset.com/taxes/washington-property-tax-calculator" target="_blank">1.025% in Washington</a>, as well as the vehicle tax rate, which is <a href="https://www.salestaxhandbook.com/california/sales-tax-vehicles" target="_blank">7.5% in California </a>and 6.8% in Washington.</p> <p>Property tax can make a big difference, depending on where you live and how much your home is worth &mdash; and how long you've owned it. For instance, <a href="http://www.nber.org/digest/apr05/w11108.html" target="_blank">Warren Buffett pays</a> property taxes of $14,410 (at a 2.9% tax rate) on his $500,000 home in Nebraska and only $2,264 (at a 0.056% tax rate) on his $4M home in California. (California's Proposition 13 essentially &quot;locked in&quot; Buffett's property tax rate at 1970s levels.)</p> <h2>And a Bunch of Other Fees and Taxes</h2> <p>Along with potentially higher sales taxes and property taxes, each state can also employ its own unique fees and taxes. New Hampshire has some of the highest effective property taxes in the country, as well as the highest average in-state tuition. By contrast, Wyoming and Alaska derive high tax revenues from coal mining and oil drilling operations. In fact, nearly 70% of Alaska's income comes from nontax revenue. Nevada receives taxes and fees on gambling, which totals nearly $1B each year, as well as a modified business tax rate of 1.17%.</p> <p>While South Dakota has a below average sales tax rate, the state charges a range of other fees and taxes to make up for it, including a cigarette excise tax, bank franchise and alcoholic beverage taxes, high motor fuel tax, and licensing fees on coin-operated laundries. Texas charges <a href="https://www.comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/#TexasTaxes" target="_blank">more than 60 separate taxes</a>, fees, and assessmentsto make up for the lack of income taxes.</p> <h2>Before You Go, Compare All Expenses</h2> <p>According to the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness, Alaska, Florida, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and Washington all have above average cost of living. Each state is unique in its taxation systems, so it&rsquo;s important to research your <a href="http://tax.findlaw.com/tax-laws-forms/state-tax-codes.html" target="_blank">new state&rsquo;s tax code</a> and alternative revenue streams before factoring in what you would save in state income taxes. Make sure to also use a <a href="http://swz.salary.com/CostOfLivingWizard/LayoutScripts/Coll_Start.aspx" target="_blank">cost of living comparison tool</a> for a better idea of how much you will save overall (if anything at all) by making the big move.</p> <h2>How to Reduce Your Income Tax Without Moving</h2> <p>Before you decide to move to a state with no income taxes, consider the alternatives. You can contribute more to your 401K, donate more, and take advantage of tax deductions. There are various ways to save money on your taxes each year, so speak with your tax pro to ensure you are taking advantage of every possible deduction.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/would-you-move-to-one-of-these-states-to-avoid-taxes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-worst-states-for-retirees">The 10 Worst States for Retirees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-much-life-in-the-big-city-will-cost-you">Here&#039;s How Much Life in the Big City Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</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/35-bizarre-things-you-can-be-taxed-on">35 Bizarre Things You Can Be Taxed On</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-amazing-outrageous-and-just-plain-weird-tax-deductions">20 amazing, outrageous and just plain weird tax deductions</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes cost of living income taxes low tax rates moving relocating sales taxes states Fri, 06 Jan 2017 10:00:16 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1869198 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Questions Couples Must Ask Before Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-couples-must-ask-before-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-questions-couples-must-ask-before-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_sailboat_89092071.jpg" alt="Couple asking questions before retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What kind of retirement do you imagine? Do you picture taking a long cruise, traveling to international destinations, and racking up the frequent-flier miles? What if your partner is dreaming about a retirement of lazy days spent reading books, watching movies, and visiting the grandkids?</p> <p>Those retirements are two very different kinds. And if you and your partner can't agree on a version of your after-work years that satisfies both of you, your retirement might be a stormy one.</p> <p>Fortunately, you can boost the odds that you and your partner will enjoy your retirement years by asking five key questions before you leave the working world.</p> <h2>1. What Kind of Retirement Do You Want?</h2> <p>This is the most basic of questions, but it might be the most important. Couples need to hammer out exactly what kind of life they want to lead after their working years are over.</p> <p>When you're working, much of your life is planned out for you. You know when you have to be on the job, for instance. If you're raising kids, your weeks are often filled with band practices, soccer games, and gymnastics meets. You and your partner might not even spend much time together during an average week.</p> <p>But when you retire? That all changes. Those hours in the office are now hours spent at home. You and your partner need to determine what you want to fill those hours with. You might want to travel and take on new hobbies. Your partner might prefer quiet days with favorite books.</p> <p>The type of retirement you want also impacts how much money you'll need to save. You'll need more money if you plan to travel the globe and less if you picture quiet nights in your existing home.</p> <p>If you discuss this before retirement, you might be able to work out compromises. Maybe you agree to take two trips a year. Maybe you agree that you'll investigate a new hobby while your partner plows through <em>War and Peace</em>. But you won't be able to agree on anything if you don't first talk about what your ideal retirements look like.</p> <h2>2. Where Do You Want to Live?</h2> <p>Do you want to stay in your current home? Or perhaps you'd like to sell your home and move into an apartment in the middle of downtown? These are both good choices. But you and your partner need to discuss them before you retire. You don't want to be dreaming of a downtown apartment if your partner is making plans for a new sunroom in your current home.</p> <p>And what about your grandkids? Do you want to move closer to them? Or do you want to stay put? This, again, is another conversation that you must have before retirement.</p> <h2>3. When Do You Want to Retire?</h2> <p>You might plan on working late into your 70s. Your partner might be counting down the days to 67. Make sure you and your partner discuss when you both plan on retiring.</p> <p>Your partner might expect that you'll both retire at the same time. Don't make it a surprise that you want to retire earlier or later. The timing of your retirement plays an important role in how much you have to save each year to meet your retirement goals. So talk about this choice early and often.</p> <p>And if you change your mind? Don't keep it a secret from your partner.</p> <h2>4. How Much Money Do You Need?</h2> <p>This might be the most perplexing question of all to couples. It's also the one that couples need to talk about early in their relationship. Couples need to agree on how much money they'll need each year to live a comfortable retirement. If they don't? The odds are high that money issues will be a constant source of tension.</p> <p>How much money couples need in retirement varies depending on the lifestyles that they want. Couples who want to travel during their retirement will need more money. Those who want to spend their time visiting their grandkids will need less.</p> <p>Those couples who plan on living in a pricey seniors' center or an urban apartment building will probably need more money than those who plan to live for as long as possible in a home that they have already paid off.</p> <p>There are plenty of formulas for determining how much money couples should save during retirement. Your best bet, though, might be to meet with a financial adviser who can help you and your partner work through your retirement goals and determine the best way to save for them.</p> <h2>5. Who Will Do What Chores?</h2> <p>You might have been happy with being the home's main cook if your partner worked longer hours. But what about when you are both retired? Will you still want to handle the bulk of the cooking chores then? Maybe not.</p> <p>It pays to talk with your partner about who will handle the bills, cook the meals, clean the house, and mow the lawn once retirement arrives. The old ways of splitting these chores might no longer make sense after you both settle into retirement.</p> <p>Again, not talking about this issue could cause tension. You might not be thrilled to serve your partner dinner if that partner spent all day watching TV or reading a book. So don't be shy about the chores conversation. It might be time to work out a new household schedule.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-couples-must-ask-before-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/how-are-people-retiring-in-their-30s">How Are People Retiring in Their 30s?!</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-incredible-world-cities-you-can-afford">5 Incredible World Cities You Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-worst-states-for-retirees">The 10 Worst States for Retirees</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/these-5-expenses-will-probably-cost-you-a-lot-less-in-retirement">These 5 Expenses Will Probably Cost You a Lot Less 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/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement chores couples family grandchildren lifestyle marriage moving relocating retirement planning saving money traveling Thu, 10 Nov 2016 09:00:09 +0000 Dan Rafter 1830271 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How Much Life in the Big City Will Cost You http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-much-life-in-the-big-city-will-cost-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-much-life-in-the-big-city-will-cost-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_walking_city_77672035.jpg" alt="Woman finding out how much life in the big city will cost her" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So, you got a new higher-paying job in the big city. Now you have to decide whether it's worth making the big move. Fortunately, there's an easy cost analysis that can help you determine if the move is worthwhile.</p> <h2>Cost of Living Calculators</h2> <p>For a better estimate of how much you'll need to earn to maintain the same standard of living, use a cost of living calculator. Once you enter your current income, where you currently live, and where you would like to move, you can see a side-by-side comparison of what it will cost to live in both cities.</p> <p>Some <a href="http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost-of-living/">basic calculators</a> will show how far your salary will go in another city by comparing the price differences of major categories, like housing, utilities, and groceries. There are also more advanced cost of living calculators that will break down everything from what gas costs in the two areas, to how much you pay for coffee and ibuprofen.</p> <p>For example, say you're living somewhere like Bakersfield, California with an income of $50,000, and you're deciding whether to move to a big metro like San Francisco. So, how much will you need to earn in order to maintain your same standard of living? Using a cost of living calculator, you can see that you would need to be making $81,636. Otherwise, you'll have to get used to a lower standard of living and cut costs wherever possible.</p> <h2>Housing</h2> <p>Generally speaking, the closer you live to downtown, the more expensive the rent, food, and entertainment costs. When you live in a bigger city, it also generally means that you will have a smaller living space. Worst of all, rent just keeps getting more expensive over time. According to StreetEasy's annual New York City Rent Affordability Report, the median rent-to-income ratio in NYC rose from 59.7% in 2015 to <a href="http://cdn1.blog-media.zillowstatic.com/streeteasy/2/StreetEasy-2016-Rent-AffordabilityReport-7e91e8.pdf">65.2% in 2016</a>. This means that nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers' income is devoted to rent. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford?ref=seealso">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</a>)</p> <h2>Higher Income</h2> <p>In most cases, a higher cost of living also means that the area has a higher than average median household income. While you can usually get a more robust <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/protect-future-earnings-by-negotiating-the-right-starting-salary">starting salary</a> in a large city, you might not want to count on hefty raises. Income growth is lagging behind things like rent increases and cost of living growth, so your expenses may increase in the years to come, but your income might not keep up.</p> <h2>Transportation</h2> <p>In most cases, the closer you can live to work, the better. This will allow you to bike to work, take part in a carpool, use Uber, or even take public transportation.</p> <p>If you will be taking advantage of public transportation, consider storing or selling your car, so you don't have to worry about parking. Driving can also be a lot more overwhelming for someone moving from a smaller town to a big metro (think Los Angeles gridlock). Look into public transportation options in your new city to determine if you can reasonably live there without a car, and how much you would save by making the change to public transportation. Keep in mind that places that are more walkable, or have better transportation options, are typically more expensive to rent.</p> <h2>Parking</h2> <p>In cities like Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle (to name a few), free parking is basically a pipe dream. With parking meters and paid parking lots as far as the eye can see, it's very unlikely that you'll find free parking. Even if you did find street parking, the posted rules can be very confusing and, in large cities, parking tickets are very common.</p> <h2>Convenience</h2> <p>Living in a large city means most things will be at your fingertips. For instance, there isn't much that you won't have access to in New York City. However, getting what you want and need is a different story. Living in a small town means quicker trips to the grocery store and general merchandise stores like Target.</p> <p>In a big city, on the other hand, you have to worry about fighting traffic and finding parking before you even get to the store. Then, there are hordes of people to deal with and long lines at the checkout counter, so small day trips can become much longer and more stressful. Try completing your errands at odd times, like early in the morning or during your lunch break, to beat the crowds.</p> <h2>Entertainment</h2> <p>Living in a big city means there are generally boundless things to occupy your time, such as endless places to eat, shows to watch, people to meet, and free activities to take part in. In a city like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-visit-san-francisco-without-going-broke-0">San Francisco</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-visit-new-york-without-going-broke">New York</a>, you will be exposed to more culture more easily, and can find more fun, free events for the kids.</p> <p>To better deal with the culture shock, try seeking out social groups and other resources for newcomers to the area. Make a valiant effort after moving to make friends with locals and other transplants so you can quickly become acclimated with the city and what is available to you.</p> <h2>Is It Worth It?</h2> <p>Moving to a large city can be very expensive. The move itself can be a frustrating, expensive undertaking, and once you're there, things like rent, groceries, utilities, health care, and transportation can be much more expensive than what you're used to. Take this into account when you're deciding whether to make the move or not.</p> <p>The decision on whether it is worth it to make the big move is an entirely personal one. After living in New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, I can attest to the fact that there is nothing comparable to living in a big metro. What you can (and will) experience in a shorter amount of time there is well worth the higher cost of living. However, if you are trying to save more money or contribute more towards your debt, savings, or retirement accounts, you'll need to use a cost of living calculator (at minimum) to determine whether it's worth it for you.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-much-life-in-the-big-city-will-cost-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">Don&#039;t Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses</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/moving-dont-skimp-on-these-critical-expenses">Moving? Don&#039;t Skimp on These Critical Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-100s-on-your-next-move">How to Save $100s on Your Next Move</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-hidden-housing-costs-new-homeowners-dont-expect">10 Hidden Housing Costs New Homeowners Don&#039;t Expect</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Real Estate and Housing big cities cost of living expenses housing moving relocating renting transportation Tue, 01 Nov 2016 10:00:15 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1824619 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Best Tools for Finding an Apartment on the Cheap http://www.wisebread.com/10-best-tools-for-finding-an-apartment-on-the-cheap <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-best-tools-for-finding-an-apartment-on-the-cheap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_laptop_boxes_11897386.jpg" alt="Woman using best tools for finding an apartment on the cheap" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Depending on where you live, finding a new apartment can be tough &hellip; or downright overwhelming. Seinfeld once joked that in New York, the obituaries section should be coupled with the property section in a newspaper, because that's pretty much the only way to find a decent place.</p> <p>But wherever you live, you are going to need help, especially if it's a completely unknown area. What is the neighborhood like? How are the schools? Is the crime rate high? Is the rent too high? The following tools will help you get your foot in the door.</p> <h2>1. Craigslist</h2> <p>Do not underestimate the power of Craigslist. Started in 1996 by Craig Newmark, it was originally servicing only the San Francisco Bay Area. Now, it's global, and the &quot;Housing&quot; section still remains free for people to post and respond to listings. There are many subsections, including real estate for sale, vacation rentals, and even office/commercial storage. However, you will want to look into the following categories:</p> <ul> <li>Apt/housing</li> <li>Housing swap</li> <li>Rooms/shared</li> <li>Sublets/Temporary</li> </ul> <p>Once you get into any of those sections, you can narrow down your search with a great list of tools. From basic parameters like price, bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage, to more niche requirements like &quot;X miles from zip,&quot; wheelchair access, and animals, you can quickly find just the place you're looking for. It is by far the most convenient free tool out there.</p> <h2>2. Apartment Finder</h2> <p>Long before the Internet was the go-to place for, well, everything, &quot;<a href="http://www.apartmentfinder.com/">Apartment Finder</a>&quot; magazine was the essential tool for finding your next abode. Started in 1981, it has won numerous industry awards and is now available in several formats, including the traditional magazine, the website, and the app. It also part of a network that includes Apartments.com, ApartmentHomeLiving, Move, and Doorsteps.</p> <p>As it is a service focused on renting apartments, there are more slick tools here to help. You'll be able to explore the spaces using a 360-degree camera, and you'll get virtual walk-throughs, floor plans, a veritable smorgasbord of photos, and a lot of detailed information. The only downside is that you will not usually find properties from people just looking to rent out their homes. It costs money to advertise on this site, and that means it's populated by large apartment complexes. But if that's what you're looking for, and you need the extra security and benefits of a managed property with a pool and a gymnasium, this is just what you need.</p> <h2>3. Zillow</h2> <p>When <a href="http://www.zillow.com/homes/for_rent/">Zillow</a> first came onto the scene, it was primarily used as a tool to estimate your home's value (and real estate agents <em>hated </em>it because the information was always very hit or miss). Now, Zillow has become an excellent free resource for the apartment hunter. Not only does it have all the tools you'd expect to narrow down your search, but it offers advice on renting and house hunting, as well as important neighborhood information (essential if you know nothing about an area you're moving into), including school ratings. Again, it costs to list a rental property on this kind of site, so don't expect to find little hidden gems being offered by someone who has a second home.</p> <h2>4. Rentometer</h2> <p>Although it won't help you find the specific place you want to live in, it will help you research what you should (and should not) be paying for rent at any of the apartments you're checking out. If you find the home of your dreams, but aren't sure if the price is sky high, <a href="https://www.rentometer.com/">Rentometer</a> will give you a temperature check of the area. You'll see the average and median prices, and also which percentile the apartment you're looking at falls in. At the very least, you want &quot;reasonable&quot; rent. Low is great. If you're in the red zone, negotiate or move on.</p> <h2>5. The Library</h2> <p>So your local library is not an app or a website, obviously, but it is filled with resources that can help anyone find their perfect apartment. It's a shame that more people don't take full advantage of the library; after all, we all pay for libraries with our taxes. Libraries have computers to access the many online tools listed in this article. They also have copies of a plethora of local and national newspapers, which contain classified ads for apartments and homes. If you find yourself in need of a place that contains many tools under one roof, the library is hard to beat.</p> <h2>6. HotPads</h2> <p>If you're looking for a tool that combines the great functionality of sites like Apartment Finder and Zillow, but also has the variety of smaller rentals offered by Craigslist, the <a href="https://hotpads.com">HotPads</a> is definitely for you. It has listings for most major cities in the U.S., and gives you a great set of criteria to help you get a list of excellent matches. Features like the &quot;walk score&quot; and neighborhood information, coupled with &quot;hot listings&quot; that show you which apartments are getting the most attention make HotPads one of the best tools for anyone looking to rent in a well-populated location.</p> <h2>7. Rent.com</h2> <p>Just like HotPads, <a href="http://www.rent.com/">Rent.com</a> gives you great choice. You can find landlords who are renting out just one or two properties, or giant apartment complexes with hundreds of units in one place. You can sort by best match, price, rating, or alphabetically, and when you narrow it down to a few properties, you can check the availability and book a tour. Definitely sort by ratings, because some of apartments have quite a few skeletons in the closet.</p> <h2>8. PadMapper</h2> <p>If you want to imagine what an apartment hunting app crossed with a mapping tool would look like, check out <a href="https://www.padmapper.com">PadMapper</a>. From the get go, you are greeted with a map of the area you want to look at, which is immediately populated by all the available rentals. It's somewhat overwhelming at first, but by using the tools provided, you can quickly take pins off the map until you get it down to some manageable choices. Save your favorites, check out floor plans and photos, and indicate your interest in the property. One downside &mdash; it appears to only list apartments in large complexes.</p> <h2>9. Lovely</h2> <p>Great name. Great site. <a href="https://livelovely.com">Lovely</a> is known as being exceptionally easy to use, simple, and direct. And it really is a soup-to-nuts kind of setup. With Lovely, you cannot only find your ideal apartment from a vast array on the market, but also submit an application through the site. Plus, you can even pay your rent through the site itself! Of course, anything that sounds too good to be true often has a downside. With Lovely, it's scope. Right now, you're limited to the Midwest and the coasts, but as word spreads, so will the range of the site.</p> <h2>10. Zumper</h2> <p>What does the name mean? Who knows. But the site (and app) look great, are easy to use, and have a wealth of information. The first question you'll be asked is where you want to move. Type in the area, and you'll get an overview of the town or city, including any annual festivities or notable attractions. You can search on a map, or by the usual parameters (bedrooms, price, amenities, and so on). One excellent feature of <a href="https://www.zumper.com">Zumper</a> is the way it seamlessly integrates with Experian, allowing you to safely and securely submit your credit report along with your application. Highly recommended.</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-best-tools-for-finding-an-apartment-on-the-cheap">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">Don&#039;t Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-common-apartment-hunting-mistakes-to-avoid">9 Common Apartment Hunting Mistakes to Avoid</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing Technology apartment finder apartments apps craigslist moving renting websites Zillow Fri, 21 Oct 2016 09:30:30 +0000 Paul Michael 1816944 at http://www.wisebread.com Easy Budgeting for First Time Singles http://www.wisebread.com/easy-budgeting-for-first-time-singles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/easy-budgeting-for-first-time-singles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_kitchen_dancing_76246703.jpg" alt="Woman learning easy budgeting for first time singles" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As many as 28% of Americans live by themselves. Whether you are venturing out on your own after college, or life circumstances have forced you to live alone (i.e. divorce, kids leaving the nest, etc.), it can be hard to switch your saving and spending mentality to &quot;party of one.&quot;</p> <p>Keep these budgeting tips in mind as you navigate the financial waters by yourself:</p> <p>(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-live-alone-without-going-broke?ref=seealso">How to Live Alone Without Going Broke</a>)</p> <h2>1. Start With an Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Dave Ramsey likes to start with the emergency fund, and I wholeheartedly agree. In my own experience, it seemed as if costly instances were always popping up when I had zero emergency fund and was living paycheck to paycheck.</p> <p>I remember trying to reach that $1,000 saving mark for my emergency fund, thinking it was the most impossible thing ever (hey, I was only 21 making very little money). I remember when I finally reached that mark, the emergency fund stayed at $1,000 and life's little inconveniences seemed to be easier to handle.</p> <p>If you have no emergency fund, then your first financial goal should be a $1,000 fund. After that is established, you want to add a little bit of money to your account each month to save up one month of living expenses, then three months, then six months. This money will keep you protected against a job loss or unexpected medical emergency.</p> <h2>2. Budget for the Fun Stuff</h2> <p>When all of the financial responsibilities sit on your shoulders, it can become so easy to forget to treat yourself and to budget in the fun stuff. No matter how tight your budget is, you need to leave a little wiggle room for mental health. Living frugally and on a strict budget can be amazing, but it can also grow tiresome month after month. What is the point of cutting your grocery budget to less than $30 a week if you are just miserable?</p> <p>Dream big for a second. What would you do or where would you go this minute if you had the money? Perhaps you would buy yourself a fancy pair of shoes or take a weekend trip to Italy. Whatever it is, don't ignore this desire. Instead, research how much it will cost and create a financial road map to get there. Your dream vacation could only be a year or two away with a smart budgeting plan.</p> <h2>3. Evaluate What You Really Need to Buy</h2> <p>Before you get excited about being on your own and buy everything in Bed, Bath, and Beyond, think a moment. Most basic items, such as can openers, dishes, and other must-haves for the home can be found inexpensively. Many of your family members and friends have extra dishes or kitchen gear that they never use. Ask them to borrow it. You might be surprised how generous people are when it comes to getting rid of extra stuff.</p> <p>If you can't score any freebies, then check local thrift stores and yard sales. There is no reason to spend $50 on a plate set when you can score one at a thrift store or yard sale for $5 or less.</p> <p>Another tip is to buy as you realize the need. When I moved into my first place, I didn't realize how many items were needed to just make and eat a basic meal. However, I also realized that a lot of kitchen gadgets aren't necessities. For example, a pie server or salt and pepper shakers are nice to have, but you can easily make it work without them.</p> <h2>4. Budget Before You Move and After</h2> <p>Before you sign the lease on your apartment or rental, crunch the numbers. Is your budget going to be tight? You might have to rethink where you live to better fit your budget. After you move in, evaluate how you are doing with your budget. Are you struggling to stick with it a month or three after moving on your own? These are little red flags that signify a change is needed, either a decrease in expenses or an increase in income.</p> <h2>5. Control Groceries and Eating Out</h2> <p>One of the trickiest things to budget for when you are alone is food. This is especially true if you are used to shopping or cooking for more people. Start with a loose meal plan. This doesn't have to be anything fancy or time-consuming, just plan out what you are going to eat for the week. For example, on Monday, you will eat oatmeal and coffee for breakfast, a sandwich and chips for lunch, and pasta and meatballs for dinner.</p> <p>As you plan out each meal, coordinate your shopping list. As you cook for dinners, you can either cook enough to have lunch the next day, or you can freeze a portion of your meal for later use. This will save you time and prevent you from wasting food. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-and-eat-better-with-these-6-online-meal-planners?Ref=seealso">Save Money and Eat Better With These 6 Online Meal Planners</a>)</p> <h2>6. Automate Your Finances</h2> <p>Another way to make sure that you stay on top of your finances is to look for apps that will help you automate your finances. For example, <a href="https://www.acorns.com/">Acorns</a> helps you to invest automatically, and <a href="http://mint.com">Mint</a> and <a href="https://www.personalcapital.com/landing/registration/affiliate?utm_source=FlexOffers.com+LLC&amp;utm_medium=affiliate&amp;utm_campaign=Personal+Capital+%24100k+Aggregators&amp;utm_content=">Personal Capital</a> will help you budget with very little time and thinking. Schedule your bills to be paid after your payday to ensure your account does not go into overdraft.</p> <p>Some sites will even let you schedule monthly payments to landlords. Just be sure to still look over statements if you switch to automatic payments. You want to ensure that you are not overcharged for anything. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-automate-your-finances?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Automate Your Finances</a>)</p> <p>Like many things, living alone has a learning curve. Don't let a bad month have you running to credit cards or family for help.</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/easy-budgeting-for-first-time-singles">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/11-good-money-habits-that-will-keep-you-out-of-debt">11 Good Money Habits That Will Keep You Out of Debt</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/will-a-dental-discount-plan-save-you-money">Will A Dental Discount Plan Save You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-hacks-for-single-living">10 Frugal Hacks for Single Living</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-get-your-toiletries-for-cheap-or-even-free">6 Ways to Get your Toiletries for Cheap or Even Free!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-americans-spend-too-much-on">5 Things Americans Spend Too Much On</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting automated payments bills emergency fund food costs groceries living alone moving savings single Fri, 14 Oct 2016 10:31:03 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1812612 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Negotiation Tricks That’ll Win a Home Bidding War http://www.wisebread.com/5-negotiation-tricks-that-ll-win-a-home-bidding-war <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-negotiation-tricks-that-ll-win-a-home-bidding-war" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_new_house_94294569.jpg" alt="Couple learning negotiation tricks to win a home bidding war" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're in the market for a new home, you might have discovered a frustrating truth by now: There aren't as many homes available for sale these days.</p> <p>The National Association of Realtors reported at the end of July, there were 2.13 million existing homes available for sale across the country. That might seem like a big number, but that figure is actually 5.8% lower than during the same month one year ago. And the inventory of homes for sale has fallen for 14 straight months.</p> <p>This means that when you do find a home that you'd like to buy, you might be bidding against other potential buyers who want the same property.</p> <p>How do you increase your odds that you'll actually win such a bidding war? Here are five tips that can make a difference:</p> <h2>1. Get Pre-Approved</h2> <p>The single most important step in winning a bidding war is to make sure that you are preapproved for a mortgage loan.</p> <p>In a preapproval, a mortgage lender will run your credit and ask for you to prove your monthly income and debts. You'll have to send your lender such documents as your two most recent paycheck stubs, last two bank statements, and last two tax returns. Your lender can then determine how much money it is willing to loan you for a mortgage. To close the process, the lender will send you a preapproval letter stating that it is willing to loan you a certain amount of dollars.</p> <p>Having this preapproval letter makes you a stronger buyer. A seller knows that you can qualify for a mortgage loan, and that the home sale is less likely to fall through if the seller accepts your offer. If a seller has to choose between a preapproved buyer and one who's never met with a lender? The odds are high that the seller will choose the buyer who boasts that preapproval letter.</p> <h2>2. Make a Full-Price Offer</h2> <p>In the hottest housing markets across the country, a growing number of sellers aren't just juggling offers for their homes, they're juggling full-price offers.</p> <p>Traditionally, buyers and sellers have haggled over a home's final sales price, with sellers usually lopping at least $5,000 or so off their asking price. But in today's low-inventory markets, this isn't always the case. If you fall in love with a home, be prepared to pay full listing price for it. If you don't, the buyer behind you might be happy to do so.</p> <p>And you can bet that the seller will gladly accept that full-price offer while ignoring yours.</p> <h2>3. Go All In</h2> <p>For the best homes in the best neighborhoods, you might have to make an even bigger financial commitment to win a home: Instead of just making a full-price offer, you might have to make a bid even higher than the residence's list price.</p> <p>This sounds ridiculous. Why, after all, would you ever pay more for a home than what the seller has actually requested? But if you are competing against several other buyers for a home, the winning bid might actually rise over the home's original listing price.</p> <p>You'll have to determine if you want the residence badly enough to make the unusual move of paying more than the home's original sales price.</p> <h2>4. Offer More Earnest Money</h2> <p>Sellers often request that buyers put down what is known as earnest money when they make an offer on their home. This earnest money &mdash; often 1% of a home's purchase price &mdash; shows that buyers are serious about purchasing a residence. It is usually nonrefundable if buyers walk away from an offer.</p> <p>If you want to make a good impression on a seller, come up with a larger earnest money deposit. This will prove to the seller that you are especially eager to buy their home.</p> <h2>5. Be Flexible With Move-In Dates</h2> <p>Many sellers can't move out of their homes as quickly as buyers want. If you're willing, though, to be flexible with your move-in date, you might be able to win out over bidders who are not as willing to compromise.</p> <p>Make it clear to sellers that you are willing to move in whenever it's most convenient for them. Making life easier for the sellers could pay off big when you're battling other buyers for a property.</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-negotiation-tricks-that-ll-win-a-home-bidding-war">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/2-things-you-must-know-about-the-new-mortgage-rules">2 Things You Must Know About the New Mortgage Rules</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-finance-a-tiny-house">3 Ways to Finance a Tiny House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-you-shouldnt-refinance-your-mortgage">5 Times You Shouldn&#039;t Refinance Your Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> <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/ask-yourself-these-5-questions-before-buying-a-home">Ask Yourself These 5 Questions Before Buying a Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-shouldnt-buy-a-house-yet">5 Reasons You Shouldn&#039;t Buy a House (Yet)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing asking price bargaining bidding war home offer homebuyers mortgages moving new home preapproval Wed, 28 Sep 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Dan Rafter 1796739 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Times You Shouldn't Refinance Your Mortgage http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-you-shouldnt-refinance-your-mortgage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-times-you-shouldnt-refinance-your-mortgage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_stressed_bills_85513247.jpg" alt="Couple learning times they shouldn&#039;t refinance their mortgage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Refinancing your mortgage can drastically lower your monthly payments, especially since rates are still very low. The decision to refinance should be an easy one, right? Not so quick.</p> <p>Refinancing isn't for everyone or every financial situation. Here are five times you should hold off on refinancing your mortgage. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/refi-shy-how-to-determine-if-now-is-the-time-to-refinance?ref=seealso">ReFi Shy? How to Determine if Now Is the Time to Refinance</a>)</p> <h2>1. You Don't Plan on Staying in the House</h2> <p>If you plan on selling your home in the next five years, then hold off on refinancing it. The move will likely only waste your time and money. Selling too soon after refinancing means you won't live in your home long enough to capture the savings benefits of lower rates. Plus, you'll still owe any fees associated with the new loan.</p> <p>We made the mistake of refinancing our other home from a 30-year mortgage to a 15-year mortgage. Our broker had talked us into it, saying it was a smart option. It wasn't. At the time of the refinance, I was pregnant with my second child, and truly planned to live in our first home for many more years. However, two kids under three plus one room equals a lot of sleepless nights.</p> <p>The decision to refinance ended up costing us more initially and monthly, especially since we sold our home just nine months later.</p> <h2>2. The Savings Don't Add Up</h2> <p>The reason why many individuals choose to refinance their mortgage is because they want to get a lower interest rate. Before you jump on the refinance wagon, do a little bit of calculating. Find out how much the refinance will cost you compared to how much it will save.</p> <p>Also realize that a refinance can add years to your loan. Don't automatically believe that you are benefiting from lower monthly payments if your loan has been extended an additional five years.</p> <h2>3. You Are Trying to Pay Off Your Loan Sooner</h2> <p>As I mentioned before, we refinanced our home to a 15-year loan because we wanted to pay off our mortgage faster. On paper, the numbers made sense, and the change was only going to cost us an extra $300 a month, which seemed doable. However, it would have been better for us to keep the 30-year loan and make the extra payments on our own terms. This would have given us more wiggle room in our budget for unexpected costs.</p> <h2>4. You Are Switching to an adjustable-rate mortgage</h2> <p>Adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) rates are tempting to jump on, especially since they guarantee a low rate for a certain amount of time. However, interest rates eventually will go up. It's just the ebb and flow of the economy.</p> <p>With an ARM, you will pay more of the principal faster, which is nice, but you better be prepared to pay higher payments when the rates go up.</p> <h2>5. You Aren't in the Right Position to Finance</h2> <p>If for some reason your home has dropped in value, refinancing your home can tack on extra costs, such as private mortgage insurance. Borrowers with small down payments &mdash; or refinances with little equity &mdash; have to pay PMI until their equity reaches 20% of the home's value. For example, if you bought your house for $250,000, paid off $30,000 of it, but the value of your house dropped to $225,000, you would have very little equity in the home and in most cases have to pay for PMI.</p> <p>Another thing to consider before you refinance is your credit score and job history. If your score has dropped even just a little, you could miss out on qualifying for the lowest rates, which would make the whole refinance process not worth it. Also, if you recently switched career fields, i.e. going from a teacher to a computer system administrator, your pay might be higher, but your duration of employment might make you ineligible for a refinance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-safe-to-re-finance-your-home-close-to-retirement?ref=seealso">Is it Safe to Re-Finance Your Home Close to Retirement?</a>)</p> <p>Refinancing is a good choice if it means you can ditch annoying PMI fees and score a lower interest rate. However, a refinance is not for everyone, so be sure to crunch the numbers first.</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/5-times-you-shouldnt-refinance-your-mortgage">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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-smart-ways-to-lower-your-monthly-mortgage-payment">4 Smart Ways to Lower Your Monthly Mortgage Payment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-finance-a-tiny-house">3 Ways to Finance a Tiny 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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-you-shouldnt-rush-to-pay-off-your-mortgage">5 Times You Shouldn&#039;t Rush to Pay Off Your Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-safe-to-re-finance-your-home-close-to-retirement">Is it Safe to Re-Finance Your Home Close to Retirement?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing adjustable rate mortgages ARMS mortgages moving refinancing savings Tue, 27 Sep 2016 10:00:08 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1799077 at http://www.wisebread.com The 10 Worst States for Retirees http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-worst-states-for-retirees <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-10-worst-states-for-retirees" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/vermont_foliage_72139589.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you close to retirement? If so, you may want to take some time to see how your state of residence may impact your financial situation. After all, you need your money to last now that you're done working, and you don't want to find yourself strapped because of a high cost of living or taxes. Moreover, older residents should be cognizant of the quality of health care in their state.</p> <p>Here's some advice on where <em>not </em>to move once you retire.</p> <h2>1. Louisiana</h2> <p>Don't get sick as you get older if you live in Louisiana. This state ranks last in the nation in the quality of health care, according to the United Health Foundation. On the plus side, the cost of living is relatively low and taxes are better than many states.</p> <h2>2. Maryland</h2> <p>By most measures, Maryland's cost of living is among the highest in the nation. The state's economy is buoyed by a heavy Federal government presence and many highly paid workers, but it can be hard on retirees looking to save. Maryland has among the highest taxes in the nation, with home prices above the national average, as well.</p> <h2>3. Vermont</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/vermont_foliage_72139589.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>The crime rate is ultralow, the leaves are awesome in the fall, and there's the headquarters of Ben &amp; Jerry's. But it has an effective tax rate of 10.76%, which is above the national average. This is one contributing factor to Vermont ranking as one of the worst states when it comes to cost of living, according to several surveys.</p> <h2>4. Connecticut</h2> <p>The Nutmeg State can boast good proximity to jobs in New York City, and its residents are generally wealthier and more educated than most. But it's less than ideal as a place for retirees. Connecticut is one of the most expensive states in the nation, and its effective state and local tax rate of 13.48% &mdash; one of the country's highest &mdash; doesn't help anyone who's trying to get by on a fixed income.</p> <h2>5. New York</h2> <p>All you need to do is look at the cost of an apartment in New York City to know why retiring there isn't the best move, financially. The rest of the state isn't so bad, but the overall cost of living in New York is considered one of the highest in the country. State income tax of nearly 9% places it in the top tier, as well. It's worth noting that health care in the state is above average in quality, according to the United Health Foundation.</p> <h2>6. California</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/california_golden_gate_88208659.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>On one hand, California has a lot of beautiful places to live, with nice weather and a variety of options to keep retirees active and healthy. But financially, it's a tough place to be for those looking to make their retirement money last. Cost of living? In the top five, according to data compiled by CNBC. Its state income tax is 13.3%, the highest in the country, and most retirement income is taxed. Health care costs are also above average in California.</p> <h2>7. New Jersey</h2> <p>It's not cheap to live in New Jersey, and that's partly due to higher-than-average income taxes and taxes on real estate. While not all retirement income is taxed like some states, residents could be subjected to estate and inheritance taxes of up to 15%. Property is taxed at 2.29%, the highest rate in the nation, and that really stings when you consider that the state has the fourth-highest median home value. On the flip side, New Jersey does rate among the top third in most major health care quality rankings.</p> <h2>8. Nebraska</h2> <p>The Cornhusker State has a relatively low cost of living, until you consider that there are high taxes on retirees and real estate. Nebraska taxes most retirement income, such as pensions and retirement account withdrawals, and some residents pay Social Security taxes. And its effective property tax of 1.88% is one of the highest in the nation.</p> <h2>9. Montana</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/montana_nature_73035269.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>It might be beautiful to retire in Big Sky Country, but don't assume that it will be cheap. Montana has a higher-than-average property tax rate, and taxes all pension and retirement income, as well as most Social Security income, according to the Retirement Living Information Center. Montana is also in the bottom half when it comes to the health care offered to seniors.</p> <h2>10. Rhode Island</h2> <p>The good news about Rhode Island is that most clothing, food, and prescription drugs are exempt from state sales tax. But the state has the 10th highest property tax rate, with the added blow of median home prices being the 12th highest in the country. Retirement income is also taxed at the state level.</p> <p><em>If you're thinking about downsizing for retirement, where are you thinking of living?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-worst-states-for-retirees">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-states-with-the-lowest-taxes-for-retirees">7 States With the Lowest Taxes for Retirees</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/would-you-move-to-one-of-these-states-to-avoid-taxes">Would You Move to One of These States to Avoid Taxes?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</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-couples-must-ask-before-retirement">5 Questions Couples Must Ask Before 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/heres-how-much-life-in-the-big-city-will-cost-you">Here&#039;s How Much Life in the Big City Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement cost of living home values moving relocating states taxes worst places Tue, 23 Aug 2016 09:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1777830 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Dumb Ways to Scare Off Potential Homebuyers http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_pink_wallpaper_65405345.jpg" alt="Woman finding dumb ways to scare off homebuyers" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When the time comes to put your home on the market, you will go from being a homeowner to a home seller. Make no mistake, the two are very different, and if you don't want to scare away the buyers, you will need to make a few sacrifices. However, if you avoid the following dumb mistakes, and keep your eyes on the prize, your home will be sold before long. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-hidden-housing-costs-new-homeowners-dont-expect" target="_blank">10 Hidden Housing Costs New Homeowners Don't Expect</a>)</p> <h2>1. Family Photos and Kids' Drawings Everywhere</h2> <p>It may seem odd to think this is a way to scare people off, but look at it this way: When anyone comes to look around the home you're selling, they are trying to picture themselves, and their family, living there. It's very difficult to do that when the home is clearly one that belongs to another family, with personal evidence of that in every room. If you have framed photos covering every wall, drawings over the fridge and up the staircase, and other shrines to your beloved family and friends, you need to take most of them down. Don't worry; it's not forever. In fact, if you do it, it will take you less time to sell your house, and put them up in your new home.</p> <h2>2. Unusual Smells and Stains</h2> <p>No home can stay new-looking forever. Homebuyers expect the house to be lived in, but what they don't want are odd smells and ugly stains. You may not notice them as you have lived with them for years, but you need to look at your home through fresh eyes. Do a walk-through, and examine every wall, ceiling, and floor in every room. Stains can easily be covered with paint, or shampooed out of carpets. If it's very stubborn, you may have to replace the carpet or rug. Smells, well, the cause needs to be tracked down. If it's mold in the corner of the basement, get it treated. If it's something rotten in the garage, dump it. Your home should look clean and smell fresh. Don't try and mask smells with air fresheners, as they will only make it worse (the sweet smell of vanilla and mold is not a nice combination).</p> <h2>3. Your House Is Stuck in the Past</h2> <p>It's one thing to keep your home in great condition. It's quite another to keep it in the exact same condition that it was in when you first acquired it. If you bought the home 20 years ago, it should not look that way, inside or out. Ideally, you will have performed upgrades over the years to modernize the look and feel of the place. New paint, new carpet or flooring, new appliances, updated cabinets, perhaps even a few additions or a finished basement, can all help with the appeal. Very few people want to move into a home that looks and feels dated. It is a sign that they will have a lot of work to do, and money to spend, to bring the home roaring into the present.</p> <h2>4. It's Dirty and Messy</h2> <p>One of the simplest ways to make a used car sell for more money is to detail it, inside and out. It can literally add thousands to the value. The same is true of your home. If the kitchen is dirty, and the sink is full of dishes, you are sending the wrong message. You are also putting a barrier in front of that potential buyer, and it's your job to remove them. You don't want them to have to imagine how it would look when it's clean and tidy. Show them. Every room should be clean, organized, and free of clutter.</p> <h2>5. You Have&hellip; Wallpaper!</h2> <p>What's wrong with wallpaper? Well, the chances are, it took you a long time to find the wallpaper you really liked. You scoured the pattern books, you mulled it over for days, and when you finally took the plunge, it was no easy task to put up. In fact, most people opt for a professional to do it. So, what are the odds that your perfect wallpaper is also the perfect match for someone who wants to buy your house? Exactly. When they see wallpaper, they see a chore. They see hours of steaming, scouring, scraping, and sweating. Removing wallpaper is about as pleasant as scrubbing the bathroom floor, only it takes 10 times as long. So, get rid of it. Scrape it off now, and put neutral paint in its place. It will vastly improve your chances of getting a buyer.</p> <h2>6. You Follow the Buyer Around</h2> <p>The easiest way to make the buyer feel really awkward, uncomfortable, and pressured, is to be the tour guide for your home. You know the feeling yourself, especially if you've tried to look at a car on the lot and the salesperson is breathing down your neck. This is a huge purchase, and buyers want time and space to look at everything without a chaperon. So, if you can, make sure you're not at home when the buyers come. If you have to be there, confine yourself to just one room, and leave that room when the buyers enter. Go out into the garden or yard, or even the garage.</p> <h2>7. Anything Broken</h2> <p>A door that won't close properly. An appliance that doesn't work well. A piece of tile that has come away from the wall. A cracked window. The list is endless, but whatever it is that's broken in your home, fix it before you put it on the market. Big things, like the roof or siding, that's a no-brainer. But it's the little things that you may have simply gotten used to that can be really off-putting to potential buyers. If they have to jiggle the handle in just the right way to get into the garage, that's not good. If they have to step over the broken piece of concrete in the backyard, they're going to remember that in a negative way. Do a thorough check of the home, and get everything fixed. You do not want to send a signal that you did not do a good job of maintaining your house.</p> <h2>8. Setting the Asking Price Way Too High</h2> <p>It may be a seller's market, but don't take that beyond the limits. If you start at the maximum price you could hope to get, you're excluding a vast number of buyers from ever taking a tour. They may have a maximum amount they want to spend, and your high starting price means they cannot afford to get into a bidding war. Remember, the Internet has given buyers a wealth of information about homes for sale, or recently sold, in your neighborhood. They can do their own comps, and quickly come to the conclusion that you are asking way too much. Now of course, you also don't want to ask too little for the home, because it's possible only one buyer will bite, and you may be stuck with that asking price. So do your homework. See what homes of the same size, age, and condition have sold for in your area, and price accordingly.</p> <h2>9. Poor Landscaping</h2> <p>There is something called curb appeal, and it's literally judging a book by its cover. Your home may be something out of <em>Architectural Digest</em> on the inside, but if it looks like the Addams Family did the yard work, you are not going to inspire people to come and look around. This is the first impression, and it has to count. This also applies to the backyard, too. If it's a bunch of weeds, rocks, rusted cars, and an eyesore called an &quot;above ground pool,&quot; you have your work cut out. People want to see a well loved landscape, front and back, that has green grass, healthy trees, flowering plants, and clean rocks. If it's anything less than that, you may never get the buyer through the front door.</p> <h2>10. Bizarre or Eccentric Features</h2> <p>You may have thought that decorating an entire wall of the den with hubcaps was cool, but potential homebuyers probably won't like it. Anything that is exclusive to the point of being weird or strange is not going to help you sell the home. Maybe the kids wanted a room that was like a forest, complete with lots of fake trees and a dark green carpet. Or perhaps the gray Batcave was something that you just had to have. All well and good when it's your own place, but you cannot expect buyers to share your passions. If you have something that is truly original, it may be time to take it out and go neutral. And in the case of this guy, who <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoInb9JGamA">built a roller coaster</a> through his house to try and sell it, well&hellip;that's not recommended!</p> <p><em>What's the scariest thing you've ever seen at an open house?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-are-the-7-features-home-buyers-want-most">These Are the 7 Features Home Buyers Want Most</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-i-sold-my-house-in-48-hours">How I Sold My House in 48 Hours</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing">6 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal for Next to Nothing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tourist-towns-that-are-actually-great-to-live-in">6 &quot;Tourist Towns&quot; That Are Actually Great to Live In</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/big-lessons-from-the-tiny-house-movement">Big Lessons From the Tiny House Movement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Real Estate and Housing cleaning decorations dumb mistakes housing market landscaping moving pricing selling home Tue, 26 Jul 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Paul Michael 1757121 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 "Tourist Towns" That Are Actually Great to Live In http://www.wisebread.com/6-tourist-towns-that-are-actually-great-to-live-in <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-tourist-towns-that-are-actually-great-to-live-in" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_bike_beach_93011895.jpg" alt="Man living in tourist town that&#039;s actually fun to live in" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's not uncommon to vacation somewhere spectacular and instantly become overwhelmed by the feeling that you never, ever want to leave. But, unless you're rich, relocating to Hawaii, Southern California, or Martha's Vineyard is probably not a very viable option.</p> <p>Alas, not every tourist town is overrun with millionaires and glitz. In fact, some destination enclaves are well-equipped with not just superior scenery, but also job opportunity and housing priced within reach. Read on for our roundup of tourist towns that you just might be able to afford to call home.</p> <h2>1. Virginia Beach, Virginia</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/virginia_beach_4432781.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Best known for its vibrant boardwalks and sandy beaches, Virginia Beach is also flush with many of the qualifiers that make a community a great place to call home: Good schools, low crime, very low tax rates, and a slowly, but steadily improving post-recession economic climate, to name a few. And let's not forget those warm summers and mild winters.</p> <p>The area is also riding high on a ranking by U.S. News &amp; World Report as one of the <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/real-estate/articles/2009/08/19/americas-10-best-places-to-grow-up.html">best places to grow up</a>. In the wake of the Great Recession, Virginia Beach's housing market is slowly rebounding. Right now the median home sales price falls around $235,000. Yet as the city's population grows, employment opportunities remain plentiful. The agribusiness, military, and tourism sectors are thriving, while active industrial and office space development continue to lure in new industries.</p> <h2>2. Flagstaff, Arizona</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/flagstaff_arizona_scene_80790977.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Full of Old West flavor, Flagstaff is a friendly Arizona mountain town with 288 days of sunshine, a mild climate (by southwest USA standards, anyway), and easy access to top-of-the-line camping, rock climbing, hiking, and skiing. Bonus: Grand Canyon National Park is just 90 minutes away.</p> <p>What you may not know is that Flagstaff is also a <a href="http://www.chooseflagstaff.com/doing-business-here/city-profile/">quaint college </a>town with an affordable rental market, thanks to nearly 25,000 students who call Flagstaff home. Homeownership, on the other hand, can be a bit more pricey &mdash; but not altogether out of reach. The median price of a home in greater Flagstaff currently hovers around $319,000. Overall, the <a href="http://www.flagstaffchamber.com/economic-development/cost-of-living/">cost of living</a> in Flagstaff is slightly above the national average. With an average household income of $70,000, Flagstaff is also a hub for bioscience, tech, and manufacturing. Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff Medical Center, and the medical device manufacturer W.L. Gore &amp; Associates are the top employers here.</p> <h2>3. Palm Beach, Florida</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/palm_beach_florida_86138281.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Six million visitors descend on Palm Beach every year for its beaches, boating, world-class shopping, and more than 160 golf courses, including some of the most acclaimed greens in the U.S.</p> <p>But did you know that this Florida resort region also has a blossoming technology industry, with app developers and web innovators carving out a new innovation hub? Or that Palm Beach County school district has eighth-highest graduation rate in the nation? Or that wages here are higher than most other parts of Florida? And, in addition to some of the world's most tantalizingly beautiful multimillion dollar waterfront homes, Palm Beach has <a href="http://realtime.blog.palmbeachpost.com/2016/03/23/top-10-palm-beach-countys-busiest-new-home-developments-have-nothing-for-middle-class-families/">middle class housing options</a> &mdash; they are not plentiful, but they do exist. The median price of an existing house sold in Palm Beach County is currently about $295,000.</p> <h2>4. Coeur d'Alene, Idaho</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/brewster_massachusetts_23888034066_553f4fc369_z.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Situated on a gorgeous natural lake by the same name, this Idaho Panhandle city boasts more than 100 miles of shoreline as well as a renowned parkway that's perfect for cycling, jogging, or walking. An enviable vacation destination, affordable housing, and favorable corporate tax laws also make Coeur d'Alene a great place to live.</p> <p>The median home price in Coeur d'Alene hovers around $188,000 and the cost of living is nearly 7% below the national average. There's also ample opportunity for jobs. The mining, health care, tourism, and food service industries all have a notable presence here, which has helped earn the city slot number 14 on Forbes list of best places for business and careers.</p> <h2>5. Brewster, Massachusetts</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/brewster_massachusetts_windmill_50072494.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Great schools, low unemployment, moderate housing prices, and easy access to museums, state parks, and beaches make Brewster one of the most livable small towns in Cape Cod. Bustling during the summer season, Brewster and the rest of the Cape fall quiet in autumn through spring, offering residents peace, quiet, and beautiful natural landscapes without the crowds.</p> <p>This region full of artists, small business owners, mariners, and outdoorsmen has a median home price of about $396,000 &mdash; and climbing. Yet while there are cheaper Cape towns, Brewster is worth the extra chunk of change for families and those who prize access to educational institutions and low crime.</p> <h2>6. Tampa, Florida</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/tampa_florida_beach_69509291.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Prized for its favorable weather, shoreline beauty, lively night life, and casual lifestyle, Tampa is a modern paradise that's all-too-often overlooked as place to set a welcome mat outside the front door. Tampa real estate is tens of thousands of dollars below the national average, with a median home price of less than $170,000. What's more, Tampa is <a href="http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2016/04/15/tampa-bay-region-ranks-second-in-job-growth-first.html">experiencing rapid job growth</a>. Other considerations: Tampa has the <a href="http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2016/01/25/tampa-metro-cost-of-living-lowest-in-florida.html">lowest cost of living in Florida</a>, and there is no state income tax.</p> <p><em>Have you considered relocating to one of these &mdash; or other &mdash; &quot;tourist&quot; towns?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-tourist-towns-that-are-actually-great-to-live-in&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%20-Tourist%20Towns-%20That%20Are%20Actually%20Great%20to%20Live%20In.jpg&amp;description=6%20%26quot%3BTourist%20Towns%26quot%3B%20That%20Are%20Actually%20Great%20to%20Live%20In" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20-Tourist%20Towns-%20That%20Are%20Actually%20Great%20to%20Live%20In.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tourist-towns-that-are-actually-great-to-live-in">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/10-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers">10 Dumb Ways to Scare Off Potential Homebuyers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-you-should-always-hire-a-moving-company">6 Reasons You Should Always Hire a Moving Company</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-incredible-world-cities-you-can-afford">5 Incredible World Cities You Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-affordable-cities-to-start-a-family">The 7 Best Affordable Cities to Start a Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-much-life-in-the-big-city-will-cost-you">Here&#039;s How Much Life in the Big City Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing Travel housing market job market moving relocating tourism tourist towns us cities Wed, 06 Jul 2016 09:30:26 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1745833 at http://www.wisebread.com Moving? Don't Skimp on These Critical Expenses http://www.wisebread.com/moving-dont-skimp-on-these-critical-expenses <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/moving-dont-skimp-on-these-critical-expenses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_empty_box_87950015.jpg" alt="Woman learning not to skimp on moving expenses" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Moving can be an expensive, daunting experience. Worst of all, many people spend unnecessary money on moving supplies and items they simply don't need. On the other hand, you don't want to be dealing with the loss of property or issues after the move because you tried to save a few bucks.</p> <p>The trick is to keep the purchases light, while getting everything you need to safely transport your items to your new destination in one piece. That's why we're here to help you determine what you should, and what you definitely <em>shouldn't</em> skimp on.</p> <h2>Professional Movers</h2> <p>Hiring professional movers may be one of the best things you do for your move. While some people like to rely on themselves, friends, and family members to load and unload the moving truck, this can be a huge waste of time and energy that could be better spent settling into your new place. This can also be a very stressful event that causes friction with friends and family members, so just leave the dirty work to the professionals.</p> <p>Quality professional movers will carefully load your items into the truck, and should adequately protect them so that you can move with the peace of mind that your items are going to make it to your new destination in one piece. In fact, most movers will arrive with moving blankets and padding to further protect any fragile items.</p> <h3>Contact at Least Three Moving Companies</h3> <p>While you will need movers, you want to be careful about who you entrust with all of your possessions. Not all movers are created equal (which you hopefully won't find out the hard way). Carefully research movers to ensure that you're getting what you're expecting. Ask neighbors for recommendations, check Yelp and the Better Business Bureau for customer reviews and complaints, and do your due diligence to find the best movers at the best value in your area.</p> <p>It's usually a good idea to contact at least three reputable moving companies so that you can compare their services and costs. You can also ask them to do an in-home estimate. This will ensure that you get a more accurate quote and it will allow you to gauge whether it's really a company you want to be working with. Make sure to carefully read the estimate or contract to verify what is included with the moving services before signing anything.</p> <h3>Additional Services Offered by Moving Companies</h3> <p>Some moving companies will also help you pack, but this is one expense that you may want to skip. If you are hard-pressed for time, or your move is quickly approaching, then it may be worth the investment to have your moving company help with the packing. Otherwise, roll up your sleeves and get to work, because it can save you big money in the end.</p> <p>Some moving companies will also offer free storage for up to 30 days, which can be very valuable to you if your new place isn't ready yet. If you think you'll need storage, it may be wise to look for a moving company that offers it for free, rather than hiring a separate moving and storage company, which will likely cost you more money and a bigger headache in the end.</p> <h2>Moving Insurance</h2> <p>Accidents happen, which is why you should be prepared for them. Moving insurance is an absolute necessity. It will provide you with peace of mind, and in the event that the unthinkable happens, you can receive full or partial reimbursement for your damaged or lost items. Just as you wouldn't skimp on health or auto insurance, you shouldn't skimp on moving insurance.</p> <p>Most moving companies will offer some form of general insurance, but this generally tends to be about $0.60 per pound. This means that if you have a 48-inch television that only weighs 25 pounds, if the movers should drop it and you have not paid for additional moving insurance, you would only be entitled to a reimbursement of $15.</p> <p>As another example, the typical two-bedroom home usually weighs in somewhere around 4,500 pounds. Say the truck is completely destroyed (along with all of your property) &mdash; you would only be reimbursed $2,700. Your lifetime of saving and carefully choosing what to spend your money on is only worth $2,700 to the moving company. Unless you think you can refurnish an entire two-bedroom home for $2,700 (along with all of your clothing and personal possessions), you can clearly see the need for supplemental moving insurance.</p> <p>On the plus side, moving insurance is usually very affordable, particularly if you choose a higher deductible. The price will vary depending on how much insurance you need and the declared value of the items you want to insure. In most cases, you need to arrange moving insurance at least 48 hours before your move, so this isn't something you can procrastinate on.</p> <h2>Packing Supplies</h2> <p>More important than the quantity of packing supplies is the <em>quality</em>. The last thing you want to do is save a couple of bucks by buying cheap packing tape only to find that the heavy boxes split open on moving day. Don't skimp on tape or packing material for antiques and particularly valuable items.</p> <p>When it comes to glass, porcelain, or ceramic, packing paper or newspaper should work fine. You can also save some money by placing one foam dinner plate in between two glass plates. This will protect the plates during the move and make it easier for you to unpack.</p> <p>You'll also need things like a marking pen, cushioning material, scissors or a utility knife, and a tape gun, but you shouldn't have to spend a lot on these items. You also shouldn't need to spend much on boxes, if anything at all. You can typically find free boxes at your local grocery store or recycling center. Just make sure the boxes are in good condition and can safely transport your heavy items. The last thing you want is to pack your valuables in an old cardboard box that rips open on moving day or crumbles under the weight of other boxes. The cost to replace these items will likely be much higher than what you would've spent on quality boxes.</p> <h2>Don't Forget Your Tax Deductions</h2> <p>On the plus side, if your move is related to work, you can write off part of the move on your taxes. That means the movers, moving truck and supplies, and other must-have essentials might be deductible at the end of the year. Just make sure your move meets the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc455.html">IRS's time and distance test requirements</a> in order to safely deduct any reasonable moving expenses.</p> <p><em>Do you know of any other overlooked or unnecessary moving costs?</em> <em>Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/moving-dont-skimp-on-these-critical-expenses">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-100s-on-your-next-move">How to Save $100s on Your Next Move</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-you-should-always-hire-a-moving-company">6 Reasons You Should Always Hire a Moving Company</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-much-life-in-the-big-city-will-cost-you">Here&#039;s How Much Life in the Big City Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/everybodys-wrong-about-how-much-house-you-can-afford">Everybody&#039;s Wrong About How Much House You Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Real Estate and Housing expenses insurance movers moving new house packing relocation tax deductions Fri, 17 Jun 2016 09:30:28 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1732051 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Incredible World Cities You Can Afford http://www.wisebread.com/5-incredible-world-cities-you-can-afford <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-incredible-world-cities-you-can-afford" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mexico.jpg" alt="Guanajuato, Mexico" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Even if you love the city that you live in now, you may want to consider moving abroad. There are so many great international cities that are beautiful &mdash; and actually affordable.</p> <p>Here are five great cities based on a high quality of life for a very low-cost of living, taking into consideration good nightlife, great restaurants, a buzzing atmosphere, large grocery stores, and fast Wi-Fi.They're not rural, rustic, or lacking in amenities, either. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-international-destinations-you-can-visit-for-50-a-day?ref=seealso">5 International Destinations You Can Visit for $50 a Day</a>)</p> <p><strong>Note</strong>: Cost comparisons were found at Numbeo.com and Internet speeds are from <a href="http://www.internetsociety.org/">InternetSociety.org</a>.</p> <h2>1. Guanajuato, Mexico</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5170/mexico.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <ul> <li>Population: 174,000</li> <li>Language: Spanish</li> <li>Apartment Rent: $400+ per month</li> <li>Cost Comparison: $1,364 per month in Guanajuato would go as far as $7,200 per month in New York. (Guanajuato is 5x cheaper.)</li> <li>Average Internet Speed: Download = 11 mb/s, Upload = 5.5 mb/s</li> </ul> <p>Possibly the most romantic historical town on Earth, Guanajuato really has it all. Excellent cafes, beautiful parks and plazas, a buzzing and young nightlife, and a captivating history that can be seen and felt on countless cobblestone streets.</p> <p>Most people who plan to visit Guanajuato for a day end up staying a week, and those who plan to stay for a week, end up buying an apartment and staying for a lifetime. Such is the undeniable pull that this colonial town has on first-time visitors.</p> <p>You can find apartments here for under $400/month, a meal in a restaurant will cost you around $8 and you can eat delicious <em>gorditas</em> and <em>sopes</em> on the street for around $2.</p> <p>There is Wi-Fi in pretty much every restaurant and even in a few of the city parks, plus there are some good grocery stores, supermarkets, and pharmacies as well as a few quality hospitals nearby.</p> <p>If you get bored of the small old town of Guanajuato, you can venture into some nearby villages like San Miguel de Allende or the city of Guadalajara. A five- hour bus ride (or three-hour drive) will get you to Mexico City where you have excellent flight connections to pretty much anywhere in the world.</p> <h2>2. Plovdiv, Bulgaria</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5170/plovdiv_bulgaria.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <ul> <li>Population: 338,000</li> <li>Language: Bulgarian</li> <li>Apartment Rent: $200+ per month</li> <li>Cost Comparison: $1,496 per month in Plovdiv would go as far as $7,200 per month in New York. (Plovdiv is 5x cheaper.)</li> <li>Internet Speed: Download = 33 mb/s, Upload = 22 mb/s (18th fastest on Earth)</li> </ul> <p>Perhaps you've never heard of Plovdiv, and you've never considered living in Bulgaria. But once you step foot in the enchanting old town, or walk along the mile-long pedestrian street &mdash; the longest in Europe &mdash; you'll wonder why nobody has told you about this place.</p> <p>Plovdiv sits at the center of Bulgaria and it is surrounded by beautiful vineyards and a vast, green countryside. A scattering of villages can be found within a 50-mile radius and each one seems to have its own winery.</p> <p>The town itself is under renovation with many &quot;up-and-coming&quot; neighborhoods being revived in time for the city being named the 2019 European Capital of Culture.</p> <p>Kapana (aka &quot;The Trap&quot;) is one such neighborhood that has seen a boom in recent years with new shops, restaurants, craft bars, and nightclubs popping up almost every day.</p> <p>A nice apartment in Plovdiv can cost as little as $200 per month, while a meal in a nice restaurant will only set you back around $4. A bottle of wine in a restaurant will not likely cost you more than $6, and a beer will be under $2.</p> <p>The city has excellent and inexpensive shopping, a few good grocery stores, and a reputable hospital nearby.</p> <p>Living in Plovdiv is never dull, with shows and concerts playing in a 1,000-year-old Roman amphitheatre, live music played nightly at many bars, and numerous festivals and events going on throughout the summer.</p> <p>The city is a two-hour drive from the nation's capital of Sofia &mdash; where there are flight connections to the rest of Europe and onward to other parts of the world.</p> <h2>3. Ohrid, Macedonia (FYROM)</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5170/ohrid_macedonia.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <ul> <li>Population: 55,000</li> <li>Language: Macedonian</li> <li>Apartment Rent: $200+ a month</li> <li>Cost Comparison: $1,260 a month in Ohrid would go as far as $7,200 per month in New York. (Ohrid is 5x cheaper.)</li> <li>Internet Speed: Download = 13 mb/s, Upload = 6.6 mb/s</li> </ul> <p>Imagine renting an apartment with a lake view for less than $200 a month. Lake Ohrid is simply one of the most stunning places to live on Earth, and while summers can be busy with tourists (both local and foreign), somehow this place hasn't been fully discovered yet.</p> <p>The cost of living in Ohrid (and all of Macedonia) is extremely low when compared to western countries, and the entire country boasts dramatic landscapes, from snowcapped mountains to pristine waterfalls and beautiful forests. Plus there are countless old churches, monasteries, and villages.</p> <p>A meal in a restaurant will rarely cost you more than $8 ($3 at a cheap restaurant), beer will cost you less than $1.50, and a bottle of wine won't cost you more than $12 in a restaurant.</p> <p>Macedonia is such a small country that you can spend a weekend anywhere within it's borders. When the temperature drops below zero for a couple of months in the winter, consider driving two hours north to the stunning Mavrovo National Park and Ski Resort for some great skiing and spa treatments.</p> <p>The capital of Skopje is only a three-hour drive away and has flight connections to parts of Europe, from where you can travel onward to anywhere you wish to go.</p> <p>There are some great shops and restaurants in Skopje, as well as some excellent hospitals.</p> <h2>4. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5170/kuala_lumpur.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <ul> <li>Population: 1.6 Million</li> <li>Language: Bahasa Malaysian</li> <li>Apartment Rent: $400+ per month</li> <li>Cost Comparison: $2,322 per month in Kuala Lumpur would go as far as $7,200 per month in New York. (Kuala Lumpur is 3x cheaper.)</li> <li>Average Internet Speed: Download = 6.6 mb/s, Upload = 5.1 mb/s</li> </ul> <p>The cost of living in Kuala Lumpur isn't quite as low as the other cities listed above, the Internet isn't as fast, and the population is much higher, but this bustling Asian capital has everything you might need from a life abroad.</p> <p>World-class shopping, great hospitals, well-stocked grocery stores, and cheap flight connections to almost anywhere, KL is without a doubt one of the best places for city-loving expats to relocate to.</p> <p>If you tire from the buzz of the city, you can retreat to one of the region's luxurious and pristine beach destinations &mdash; which are all just a short (and extremely cheap) flight away.</p> <h2>5. Ubud, Bali</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5170/ubud_bali.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <ul> <li>Population: 30,000</li> <li>Language: Bahasa Indonesian</li> <li>Apartment Rent: $300+ per month</li> <li>Cost Comparison: $1,766 per month in Ubud would go as far as $7,200 per month in New York. (Ubud is 4x cheaper.)</li> <li>Average Internet Speed: Download = 5 mb/s, Upload = 3 mb/s</li> </ul> <p>You definitely wouldn't be the first person who decided to pack up their things and move to Ubud, but there's a reason this peaceful, green, yoga and meditation oasis has become so popular.</p> <p>The town is a quiet spiritual hot spot, and yet it has many amenities and comforts that one might look for in a larger city center.</p> <p>There are great restaurants, plenty of biking trails, and loads of accommodation options to choose from. One bedroom apartments usually start at $300 a month and there are a lot of street meals that you can have for under $2.</p> <p>You can drive to the main city of Kuta for any major shopping needs and for flights to elsewhere in Indonesia &mdash; from where you can find lots of international flights.</p> <h2>Do a Test Run First</h2> <p>If you're seriously considering packing up all of your things and moving to a new city, you should always consider doing a test run. I love these five places and I would (and have) live there in a second. But everyone's different.</p> <p>Book a holiday, and try each one out to decide which one is best for you. If you're looking to live a better life for a fraction of the price, these wonderful cities might just be your answer.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Did You Enjoy This Post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-incredible-world-cities-you-can-afford&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%20Affordable%20Cities%20To%20Visit.jpg&amp;description=Here%20Are%205%20Amazing%20Cities%20That%20You%20Can%20Afford%20To%20Travel%20To%20This%20Year!" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Affordable%20Cities%20To%20Visit.jpg" width="259" height="388" align="middle" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>Any other affordable international cities? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-incredible-world-cities-you-can-afford">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tourist-towns-that-are-actually-great-to-live-in">6 &quot;Tourist Towns&quot; That Are Actually Great to Live In</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-couples-must-ask-before-retirement">5 Questions Couples Must Ask Before 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/the-6-best-cities-for-single-millennials">The 6 Best Cities for Single Millennials</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-save-up-a-big-travel-budget">The Easy Way to Save Up a Big Travel Budget</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-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young">6 Ways Travel in Retirement Keeps You Young</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel best cities moving moving abroad relocating saving money travel abroad Fri, 06 May 2016 09:00:13 +0000 Nick Wharton 1704431 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Hidden Housing Costs New Homeowners Don't Expect http://www.wisebread.com/10-hidden-housing-costs-new-homeowners-dont-expect <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-hidden-housing-costs-new-homeowners-dont-expect" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_tired_painting_000067183647.jpg" alt="Man finding hidden housing costs he didn&#039;t expect" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're a new homeowner &mdash; congrats! The hardest part is over, for sure. Saying so long to most of your savings isn't easy, after all. But the money hemorrhage isn't finished just yet. There are several under-the-radar and often overlooked fees and expenses that accompany homeownership that a newbie like you might miss. Keep tabs on these expenses with this list of hidden housing costs to help soften the blow.</p> <h2>1. Moving Expenses</h2> <p>Your belongings have to get from A to B somehow, but have you considered the method? If you plan to enlist the help of your friends, you'll save a huge chunk of change, but if you have more than a few truckloads, it's probably best to hire movers &mdash; and movers aren't cheap. Depending on how much stuff you have, how many flights of stairs the movers are going up and down (my fourth-floor movers <em>haaaated </em>me), and the distance they need to travel to deliver it, the cost could reach upwards of $10,000. With so many other expenses coming down the pipeline, this isn't one you want to forget about. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses?ref=seealso">Don't Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses</a>)</p> <h2>2. Furnishing <em>All </em>the Rooms</h2> <p>Your eyes opened wide to the four-bed, three-bath colonial when you first saw it &mdash; all that space! But those rooms aren't going to furnish themselves. This is important to keep in mind if you're coming from a much smaller dwelling. You likely don't have enough furniture to outfit the entire new home, which means that you'll have to buy new items to make it livable. Beds, dining tables, couches, sofas &mdash; any or all of these may be required, and none of it is cheap. Otherwise you can take the easy way out and assign two of your empty, furniture-less rooms to &quot;storage,&quot; like I've seen some of my friends do. You'll just have to accept that somebody (like me) is totally judging you, lazy.</p> <h2>3. Window Treatments</h2> <p>When I moved into my first apartment in Manhattan, I assumed that the place would come with blinds. No such luck. What was worse was that my landlord wouldn't supply the blinds&hellip; and the ones I had to order if I didn't want nosy neighbors watching me do <em>everything</em> had to be custom made. The cost was an extra $500 or so that I didn't plan for, which is annoying when it's for something as silly as window treatments. Although, according to interior designer Tiffani Stutzman, I got off pretty easy.</p> <p>&quot;New homeowners are always shocked at the price of window treatments,&quot; she says. &quot;The average cost of a very basic blind or shade for a medium-sized window is normally around $500. Most homeowners should budget around $1,000 per window as a good rule of thumb. However, the cost can increase significantly for very large or tall windows or windows with non-standard shapes like arches. If you are interested in using custom fabrics or other features such as motorized shades, expect much higher costs per window.&quot;</p> <p>Yeah, I definitely got off easy, and I made half my money back by selling the window treatments to the renter who was coming in after me. Business is business. For your own reference, I used Blinds To Go, which was extremely affordable compared to Stutzman's estimates, and the process was a cinch.</p> <h2>4. Utilities and Other Day-to-Day Usage Expenses</h2> <p>If you previously lived in an apartment where your utilities were included in the rent, you're in for big sticker shock your first few months of energy usage. Gas and electricity isn't cheap, and if you've been taking advantage of the built-in amenities that your rent covered, you better brace yourself. To make the transition smoother, ask the seller if you can see a copy of a recent utility bill so that you can somewhat prepare. Knowing is half the battle. Tread lightly initially, too. Stay conscious of lights, heat, and A/C running only when necessary to help slow down the speed at which you're accruing new bills.</p> <h2>5. HVAC Inspections and Upkeep</h2> <p>Heaters and air conditioners are crucial to climate-controlled living (I'm so uppity I won't even spend the night someplace without an air conditioner; I get <em>hot</em>, bro), and they don't fix themselves. Unless you have these very specialized skills to handle their maintenance, you'll have to hire the work out. Of course, it's wise to ward off major catastrophes with annual inspections &mdash; which will still cost you &mdash; but not nearly as much as early replacement of a furnace or A/C unit that's been neglected.</p> <h2>6. Termite and Pest Treatments</h2> <p>Before you move into your new home, you should get the all clear that it's termite-free. Your inspection will reveal the pests, and it should fall on the owner to address the problem. If not, you have the right to walk away. That's not always the case, however. The owner is not <em>required</em> to rid the house of pests, but only to disclose the existence of the pests. If you choose to move forward with the sale knowing that there's an active pest problem, the problem is on you if it's not negotiated that it will be exterminated by the time you move in.</p> <p>And if you don't mind me saying so, it's an incredibly dumb move on your part to accept the pests, as they can be very costly to eliminate. You also want to check for roaches, ants, mice and rats, and bedbugs. None of these critters are signs of good fortune.</p> <h2>7. Landscaping and Other Outdoor Maintenance</h2> <p>I do a lot of things myself to cut costs on having to pay for someone else to do it, but I draw the line at mowing the lawn and other yard maintenance. I hate it. Thus, I bring in the big guns to do the dirty work, and it costs about $800 a year. Other hidden costs to new homeowners can include, but aren't limited to: snow removal, roof maintenance (which can be a <em>huge </em>expenses if there's a serious problem), gutter cleaning, and outdoor pest removal, like the hornet's nest that set up camp in my own backyard.</p> <p>&quot;Lawn mowing services can run roughly $25 a week or more, but that's just for cutting the grass; that doesn't include tree trimming, fertilization, and other landscaping services,&quot; says Ryan Farley, co-founder LawnStarter, a lawn-care concierge service. &quot;If you go the DIY route, lawn care involves an expenditure of both time and money; it's hard to put a price on your time. If you prefer to let someone else take care of your lawn, be sure to include that cost in your monthly housing budget. Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind that a well-landscaped lawn can easily boost the value of your home by 10%, and a lousy looking lawn can cause you to lose money when you're ready to sell.</p> <h2>8. An Eventual Increase in Property Taxes</h2> <p>There are only two certainties in life &mdash; death and taxes, and the latter will keep increasing until you wish the former would come faster. While you should be aware of your expected property taxes before you purchase the home, you may not expect the rate at which they will increase over the years.</p> <p>&ldquo;When you buy a home, most sales are reported to the taxing authority, which means your property taxes will be raised to the value &mdash; or the price you paid &mdash; for the house. For many buyers this can be a 20% to 30% increase in their property taxes,&quot; says Sissy Lapin, co-founder of ListingDoor.com, a DIY home-selling resource.</p> <h2>9. Homeowner's Association Dues</h2> <p>If you're moving to a fancy neighborhood, you can bet there's a homeowner's association, which, in my opinion, is just a congenial title for &quot;a sanctioned group of nosy neighbors who like to tell other people what to do&quot; &mdash; but I digress. Either way, you'll have to pay up to be part of the club, whether you like it or not. But, hey, at least you get an awkward holiday party out of it at the end of the year.</p> <p>&quot;While these fees are likely disclosed during the purchase, and may bring many benefits, they are an additional cost to owning a home in many parts of the country,&quot; Lapin says. &quot;Furthermore, there can also be periodic 'one-time' additional assessments to cover special projects or budget deficits by the association.&quot;</p> <h2>10. Special Assessments to Cover Special Projects</h2> <p>Special assessment fees generally don't apply to single-family homeownership, but they can be a surprise aspect of condo living if you're not prepared. Recently, we had to replace the roof on our building in Manhattan to the tune of more than $1 million. Uh huh. I needed a minute when I heard that, too. With only 12 units in the building, the cost was divvied up between the owners based on the shares we held in the building. Needless to say, it wasn't cheap for anyone, and special assessments like these can force you out of your home if you're not financially capable of paying your share.</p> <p>Furthermore, if you're forced to move because you can no longer afford the mortgage plus fees, it can be difficult finding a buyer given the financially-strapped circumstance of the unit and the building. There's no real way to prepare for things like this &mdash; it's more of a roll-with-the-punches situation &mdash; but it's certainly something to consider before buying a condo.</p> <p><em>Are you a new homeowner? What are some of the pop-up fees you weren't prepared for? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-hidden-housing-costs-new-homeowners-dont-expect">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/23-hidden-costs-of-buying-an-old-house">23 Hidden Costs of Buying an Old House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-much-life-in-the-big-city-will-cost-you">Here&#039;s How Much Life in the Big City Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/moving-dont-skimp-on-these-critical-expenses">Moving? Don&#039;t Skimp on These Critical Expenses</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/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">Don&#039;t Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses</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-save-100s-on-your-next-move">How to Save $100s on Your Next Move</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing expenses furniture hidden costs moving new homeowners utilities Windows Mon, 18 Apr 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Mikey Rox 1689028 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Cities for Starting Over http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-cities-for-starting-over <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-cities-for-starting-over" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000067096029_Large.jpg" alt="one of the best cities for starting over" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The number one reason people push for getting a <a href="http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/2010/10/Movers-and-Stayers.pdf">fresh start in a new city</a> is economic opportunity &mdash; with 44% of respondents citing a new job or business endeavor as their primary motivation, according to Pew Research report.</p> <p>Slightly fewer said they had moved to raise a family (36%) or to be near a loved one (35%). But, obviously, there are other good reasons for starting over. Perhaps you simply dislike the weather in your hometown or prefer to put some distance between you and your loved ones. Whatever your reason, here are five cities for starting over that all have thriving industries and offer good salaries relative to a low to moderate cost of living. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-mid-sized-cities-for-millennials?ref=seealso">The 5 Best Mid-Sized Cities for Millennials</a>)</p> <h2>1. Long Island City, Queens, New York</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5170/long_island.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>LIC, as New Yorkers like to call it, is just on the east side of Manhattan, connected by the Queensborough Bridge. It's a waterfront community with a hodgepodge of new high-rise, pre-war, and multi-family buildings. Its biggest advantage is a subway commute into the bustling city of Manhattan that takes anywhere from 5-20 minutes. Renting a studio apartment in LIC ranges from about $1900 (for a recently built luxury high-rise) to $900 for a walk-up. Though not the most luxurious, it's the alternative to renting a room and having roommates, if you want a new start and work in New York City.</p> <h2>2. Phoenix, Arizona</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5170/phoenix.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>If you're looking for some of the best year-round weather conditions this country has to offer, head southwest to Phoenix &mdash; where the average forecast is a mild 72 degrees and sunny. The major industries are technology, tourism, and hospitality. But that's not to say career opportunities aren't abundant elsewhere. Phoenix has a low unemployment rate of 5.4% and a median household income of $53,365 relative to a cost of living &mdash; that's only 2.5% above the national average. Average home prices in any one of the city's neighboring communities ranges from $150,000 to $250,000. However, a home in Scottsdale, one of the city's most prominent and sought after communities, will cost anywhere from $350,000 and up.</p> <h2>3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5170/philadelphia.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>From rooftops of hotel bars, to towering office buildings, you can overlook all of Philadelphia and still see remnants of the Industrial Revolution &mdash; a boisterous time of economic prosperity when only 3% of the population lived in cities. Actually, Philadelphia is one of the East Coast's best kept little economic secrets. The average rent for a top of the line studio rental in the affluent Rittenhouse Square costs around $1,600 per month. Philly is an epicenter of wealth management, real estate, academic, medical, advertising, hospitality, tourism, and manufacturing enterprises. And it's just a short train ride away from New York City and Washington, D.C. If career and business opportunities are what you seek, then Philadelphia just might be your calling.</p> <h2>4. Portland, Oregon</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5170/portland.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>The city of Portland's Development Corporation (PDC) has put together an <a href="http://pdxeconomicdevelopment.com/industries.html">economic development plan</a> to attract the young, ambitious, and business-minded. What's the strategy? To become the capital of the global green economy. And no, that doesn't mean marijuana, but it's a good place for that, too. Portland is one of three U.S. cities that has legalized both medical and recreational marijuana use. The PDC is on a mission to become the center of clean energy, green technology, and building practices. It hopes to do so by revitalizing its business districts and urban centers, which it expects will help boost the local economy and spur population growth.</p> <h2>5. Austin, Texas</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5170/austin.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>It's hard to believe that at one time, Austin was only thought of as a college town &mdash; home to the University of Texas (UT Austin). But in the last 15 years, it has emerged as the live music capital of the world. And unearthing talent and hosting music festivals isn't all the city is good for. The city has a strong job market with a low unemployment rate of only 2.6%. Forbes has even ranked Austin #1 for consecutive years as one of the fastest growing cities, and best places for jobs, &quot;attracting large numbers of college grads, immigrants, and families with young children.&quot;</p> <p><em>What other cities are great for starting over. Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthe-5-best-cities-for-starting-over&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThe%205%20Best%20Cities%20for%20Starting%20Over.jpg&amp;description=The%205%20Best%20Cities%20for%20Starting%20Over" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/The%205%20Best%20Cities%20for%20Starting%20Over.jpg" alt="The 5 Best Cities for Starting Over" 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/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-cities-for-starting-over">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-affordable-cities-to-start-a-family">The 7 Best Affordable Cities to Start a Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-into-a-good-school-district-for-less">How to Get Into a Good School District for Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers">10 Dumb Ways to Scare Off Potential Homebuyers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Real Estate and Housing cities fresh start life hacks moving new city starting over Wed, 24 Feb 2016 10:00:04 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1661806 at http://www.wisebread.com Avoid These 5 Pitfalls When Moving in Together http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-pitfalls-when-moving-in-together <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/avoid-these-5-pitfalls-when-moving-in-together" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_fighting_000051175734.jpg" alt="Couple trying to avoid relationship pitfalls when moving in together" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Moving in with the person you love is a huge step! In fact, it's so huge that we get too swept up in the excitement to really look at the gritty details. These are five things you should never do when moving in together.</p> <h2>1. Don't Avoid Organizing Your Stuff Before the Move</h2> <p>This is one of the most useful things you can do to avoid fights about belongings down the line. You must be willing to self-edit (and to help your partner self-edit) before schlepping all your stuff into a new place where it may not all fit. Clean house and decide which items of yours are most important to keep, so you can make room for the new items you'll acquire as a cohabiting couple.</p> <p>Remember these key categories: Keep, Sell, Donate, and Toss. Keep items such as any clothing you have actually worn in the past year, or big ticket furniture items you can't spare. Sell items of some value that are either redundant or no longer needed. Donate items like new clothing you haven't worn in the last year, shoes, books, and anything not worth taking time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-things-to-buy-or-sell-on-craigslist">sell on Craigslist</a> or a yard sale. Toss pretty much everything else! Let your partner have a veto option.</p> <h2>2. Don't Reject Your Significant Other's Red Flags</h2> <p>This can range from extremely small to extremely big issues. To some, a loud snore could potentially be a deal breaker; but harboring an addiction to pills could go undetected for years before finally moving in with someone. It comes down to how well you know each other. What are your partner's triggers and soft spots, and will you be able to work around them? </p> <p>For some, a series of talks is all you need to answer questions like, &quot;How will our work schedules mesh?&quot; Or, &quot;Can we share a bedroom or do we need separate spaces as well?&quot; Or, &quot;Who will be in charge of the bills?&quot;</p> <p>There are also elephants in the room that you must address. For example: If your significant other has a child, you will need to be a part of the child's life. Is that something you're ready to do?</p> <p>Another example: If your partner has a disability, how will it affect your responsibilities to them and the home?</p> <p>Maybe you're the one with a lot red flags. Don't react defensively &ndash; deeply consider your partner's needs and decide if they are workable for you. You can't just hope it will all fall into place.</p> <h2>3. Don't Assume Finances Will Work Themselves Out</h2> <p>Finances are the largest source of stress and arguments in every household. Yours will not be an exception. While you're not legally obligated to each other's money, you do need to share some pertinent information with your significant other before you set up your household system. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-life-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-by-30">Are you in massive debt</a>? Are you terrible at managing bills?</p> <p>If you're the organized one who has their bills set up on auto-pay, you're probably going to be the one to shepherd the other into a better system. Try setting up an automatic monthly transfer from your partner's bank account to yours to ensure you get their share of the rent and bills on time. Don't think of this as babysitting; think of this as an investment of your time and expertise into avoiding future fights when the lights suddenly get shut-off!</p> <h2>4. Don't Let One Person Do All the Housework</h2> <p>This is a tough one that inevitably happens to most new couples. Whoever gets sick of staring at the unending tower of dirty dishes first is ultimately the one who cleans them. That's not fair, but it's really easy to get stuck into imbalanced patterns like this when living together.</p> <p>Have a discussion, before moving in, about housekeeping equality. Who takes out the trash? Who does the dishes? (Hint: if you don't own a dishwasher, I suggest it's whoever didn't cook the meal.) Who fixes the bookcase when it starts to teeter? These are tasks that have nothing to do with gender or who earns more money. It's usually whoever can do it with the least amount of goading. If neither of you wants to clean, agree to split the cost of a monthly cleaning service and never fight about dusting again.</p> <h2>5. Don't Pretend You're Married</h2> <p>This is a hard one. Many people see shacking up as a stepping stone to marriage, and for many, it is. This is a great time to test each other's willingness to compromise, generosity with belongings, and emotional, sexual, and financial compatibility on an everyday level. This is all invaluable.</p> <p>But it doesn't mean that you're married. Avoid forming unhealthy, codependent habits with him or her. Your stuff doesn't belong to your partner, nor theirs to you. You have a choice in every decision that doesn't necessarily have to include your partner. You can hang in there and try to make a relationship work, but you can always leave if it isn't going well. That's the whole point, isn't it?</p> <p><em>Did you fall into any of these traps when you moved in with a significant other?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-pitfalls-when-moving-in-together">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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