repairs http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/6679/all/%22http%3A/www.amazon.com/gp/product/%22http%3A/www.amazon.com/Brushes-Travel-Compact-Purse-Pocket/dp/B005AJOB56/ref%3Dsr_1_10 en-US Your Car Was Recalled. Now What? http://www.wisebread.com/your-car-was-recalled-now-what <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/your-car-was-recalled-now-what" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/car_shaped_note_on_cork_notice_board.jpg" alt="Car shaped Note on cork notice board" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you feel like you hear about car recalls constantly, you're right. In 2016, there were almost 53 million recalls, according to Roadshow by CNET. And although we're only just into 2018, Cars.com reports some 50 million Takata air bag inflaters are currently under recall. With car parts constantly being tested and updated, you're bound to get a recall letter yourself at some point. But what should you do when you are on the recall list? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bookmark-this-save-money-with-an-easy-to-follow-car-maintenance-checklist?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Bookmark This: Save Money With an Easy to Follow Car Maintenance Checklist</a>)</p> <h2>First, there's no need to panic</h2> <p>You're driving along in your car, maybe getting groceries or picking the kids up from school, when you hear the news on the radio &mdash; XYZ automaker is recalling four million cars. You have that car, and it's only natural that it scares you a little. After all, your car is not only your primary means of transportation, but if something is wrong with it, could your life be in danger? Fortunately, probably not.</p> <p>Most recalls are minor, and have very little impact on the way the vehicle operates. If it's a voluntary recall from the manufacturer, it's likely not a big issue. If the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) gets involved, it could be more serious. And although a recall is only issued when it is a safety hazard, those risks can be very small.</p> <h2>Find out exactly what kind of recall has been issued</h2> <p>As soon as you get the chance, call your local dealership or check the internet and find out what kind of recall has been put in place. It could be something as simple as a software update. Maybe one particular part has broken on some models, and the manufacturer is replacing them all as a precaution (most err on the side of extreme caution rather than risk a lawsuit).</p> <p>You should have also received a letter or email from the manufacturer, and you can verify your issue by typing in your VIN (it's on the driver's side dashboard) to a site like <a href="https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls" target="_blank">NHTSA.gov</a>, <a href="https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchSafetyIssues" target="_blank">Safecar.gov</a>, or <a href="https://www.cars.com/recalls/" target="_blank">Cars.com</a>.</p> <h2>Read what's detailed in the recall notice</h2> <p>The chances are that you'll be notified about the recall in several ways, including local and national news reports, a call from the dealership, email, and a physical letter. The letter and email will highlight several factors about the recall, and will include:</p> <ul> <li> <p>a complete description of the defect or issue.</p> </li> <li> <p>what you should look for to see if your car is already experiencing issues.</p> </li> <li> <p>the dangers the defect presents.</p> </li> <li> <p>what the manufacturer will do to resolve the problem.</p> </li> <li> <p>how long you can expect the repair to take.</p> </li> <li> <p>the name and address of the nearest approved repair facility.</p> </li> <li> <p>contact information should you have additional questions.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>Find out if the recall is covered by the warranty or manufacturer</h2> <p>A lot of people assume that the recall is covered. After all, the manufacturer made the mistake, so shouldn't they pay for the repair or replacement? Timing is a big factor in the answer to that question. As DMV.org points out, there is a 10-year window for recalls. That means 10 years from the original purchase date of the new car, not 10 years from the day you bought it. So if you bought it used when it was 11 years old, you're not within the recall window.</p> <p>If you aren't covered, you have to weigh the time and expense of the repair against the seriousness of the issue. For example, if it's a faulty wiper blade motor and it hasn't failed you yet, maybe wait until it starts giving you issues. A recall doesn't mean the part is guaranteed to break.</p> <h2>Make an appointment with an approved garage</h2> <p>If the recall affects only a small percentage of cars, you likely won't have an issue finding an appointment time. In many instances, active recalls are checked when you bring your car in for an oil change or tire rotation, and can often be repaired during that appointment.</p> <p>However, if it's a large recall, or requires a specific part, call ahead and make an appointment for that specific issue to be repaired. This will give the service manager time to order the parts needed to complete the recall. While the majority of recalls can be dealt with quickly, some can have the local garages backed up for months. Hopefully, you can still drive the car safely until then.</p> <h2>If the car is unsafe to drive, make arrangements until it is repaired</h2> <p>Most of the time, the recall isn't going to make the car undrivable or unsafe. However, if the issue poses a serious risk to you and your family, are you really expected to drive it until the repair can happen? In some instances, the waiting list is long. What do you do for transportation?</p> <p>In some cases, the auto manufacturer may offer to pay for a rental vehicle to customers affected by the recall. However, this varies from case to case, and in some instances it's possible you will have to cover the cost of a substitute vehicle while your recalled car is waiting for repairs.</p> <h2>Stay vigilant</h2> <p>Drive the car and see if everything feels the same as it did before you took it in to be repaired. If you have issues, or something else has come up that wasn't there before the recall, contact the repair facility and voice your concerns.</p> <p>Even if everything turns out great, that does not mean you are free and clear forever. There may be other recalls issued during the time you own the car, and you should make a point to check in with the NHTSA periodically to ensure your car is not part of a different recall. Parts fail. Problems happen. Be vigilant.</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/your-car-was-recalled-now-what">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/4-hidden-costs-of-a-luxury-car">4 Hidden Costs of a Luxury Car</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big">8 Easy DIY Car Repairs to Save Big</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/11-smart-ways-to-boost-your-gas-mileage">11 Smart Ways to Boost Your Gas Mileage</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/buying-a-rental-car-heres-what-you-need-to-know">Buying a Rental Car? Here&#039;s What You Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-ask-when-buying-a-used-car">8 Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation auto manufacturers driving maintenance recalls rental cars repairs safety vehicles Thu, 22 Feb 2018 09:30:05 +0000 Paul Michael 2105358 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Things You Can Negotiate When Buying a Home http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-can-negotiate-when-buying-a-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-things-you-can-negotiate-when-buying-a-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_with_keys_standing_outside_new_home.jpg" alt="Couple With Keys Standing Outside New Home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've found the home of your dreams. Now comes the hard part: You need to make an offer that the sellers will accept. Of course, making a full-price offer will help you land almost any home. But what if you want to negotiate? Will this turn off the homeowners and scuttle your chances?</p> <p>Not necessarily. Yes, many parts of the country are in the middle of a seller's market, giving homeowners an advantage in negotiations. But this doesn't mean that buyers can't negotiate on everything from move-in dates to selling price to repairs.</p> <p>Don't be afraid to ask for concessions from sellers. Sellers might make a counteroffer, but if you're making reasonable requests, the odds are that they won't suddenly break off negotiations.</p> <p>Here are the things you should feel comfortable about negotiating when buying a home.</p> <h2>1. Price</h2> <p>The first thing buyers think of when it's time to negotiate? The sales price.</p> <p>Maybe you love the home you've just toured, but you think it's priced a bit too high. When it's time to submit your offer, ask for a lower sales price. Sellers can reject your offer, accept it, or make a counteroffer.</p> <p>If you get a counteroffer, you now have a choice to make: Do you accept the new price offered by the seller, or do you try to shave a few more dollars off the price?</p> <p>Don't be shy about asking for a lower asking price. But do your research first. Work with your real estate agent to determine what similar homes in the neighborhood are selling for and make an offer that fits within these comparable listings. Don't lowball the sellers with an unreasonable offer; that will get negotiations off to a bad start. Some sellers might simply end negotiations with you immediately. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-yourself-these-5-questions-before-buying-a-home?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Ask Yourself These 5 Questions Before Buying a Home</a>)</p> <h2>2. Closing date</h2> <p>Maybe you need to move into your new home quickly because your apartment lease is expiring. Or maybe you'd like a later move-in date, after your children finish the school year. You can negotiate the closing date of your home sale.</p> <p>Closing day is when you, your real estate agent, and officials from your title insurance company, along with everyone representing the home's sellers, meet to sign the papers and present the certified checks that make your purchase of your new home official. When negotiating your home sale, you can request a quicker or a later closing date.</p> <p>Don't be surprised, though, if the home's sellers push back. They, too, have their own preferred date when they want to move. You might need to negotiate some back-and-forth before settling on a closing date that works for everyone.</p> <h2>3. Closing costs</h2> <p>Buying a home isn't cheap. You'll have to pay plenty in closing costs, the fees that your mortgage lender and other third-party providers &mdash; such as title insurers &mdash; charge you at the closing table. Closing costs can vary, but you can expect to pay from 2 to 5 percent of your home's purchase price.</p> <p>You can, though, request that the home's sellers pay for these closing costs. This has become a more common factor to negotiate as the price of homes has steadily risen.</p> <p>Sellers have no duty to pay your closing costs, of course. But many will agree to pay these costs out of the profits from their home sale as a way of keeping a real estate transaction alive. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-whats-included-in-a-homes-closing-costs?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's What's Included in a Home's Closing Costs</a>)</p> <h2>4. Major appliances</h2> <p>Some sellers plan to take their refrigerators, washing machines, and dryers with them when they sell their house. But maybe you'd like them to leave these major appliances behind. After all, you might be cash-strapped after buying a home. Having these pricey appliances in place when you move in could be a boon to your bottom line.</p> <p>Many sellers won't object to leaving appliances because they weren't planning on taking them anyway. It's important to get in writing what stays with the home after the sale and what goes.</p> <h2>5. Repairs</h2> <p>After your offer is accepted, it's time to schedule your home inspection. An inspector will tour the home you are buying and point out any potential problems. If the problems are too severe, you might be able to walk away from the sale without losing your earnest money deposit.</p> <p>But often, inspectors find smaller problems with a home. Maybe a furnace is nearing the end of its expected life, or maybe the kitchen sink's faucet drips. After viewing your inspection report, you can request that the sellers repair these more minor problems before you close on the home. You can also request that the sellers provide you a financial credit at closing so that you can hire a contractor to fix the problems on your own.</p> <p>To keep the home closing on schedule, many sellers will agree to these requests. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thinking-of-skipping-the-home-inspection-heres-what-it-will-cost-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Thinking of Skipping the Home Inspection? Here's What It Will Cost You</a>)</p> <h2>6. Furniture and other large fixtures</h2> <p>Love that swing set in the backyard? Or maybe you think the oversized couch in the living room is perfect for your new home. You can always request that the sellers leave specific items behind.</p> <p>Some sellers will be happy to leave behind, for example, a swing set that's pounded into the earth of their backyard. Others might plan to purchase brand-new furniture after they move, so won't mind leaving behind a couch or love seat.</p> <p>You never know unless you ask, so don't be shy about negotiating over these items.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-can-negotiate-when-buying-a-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/weak-credit-you-can-still-get-a-mortgage-despite-tough-lending-standards">Weak Credit? You Can Still Get a Mortgage Despite Tough Lending Standards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-ever-consider-a-balloon-mortgage">Should You Ever Consider a Balloon Mortgage?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thinking-of-skipping-the-home-inspection-heres-what-it-will-cost-you">Thinking of Skipping the Home Inspection? Here&#039;s What It Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-the-most-out-of-a-home-warranty">10 Ways to Get the Most Out of a Home Warranty</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/watch-out-for-these-5-last-minute-home-buying-costs">Watch Out for These 5 Last Minute Home Buying Costs</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing appliances buying a home closing home inspections homeownership negotiating repairs selling price Tue, 20 Feb 2018 10:00:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 2097697 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-ask-when-buying-a-used-car <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-questions-to-ask-when-buying-a-used-car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/visiting_car_dealership.jpg" alt="Visiting car dealership" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Buying a used car can feel a little like a crap shoot. Is the car you have your eye on really worth the thousands you're going to spend on it? Or will you find it's held together with Band-Aids and twine after driving it off the dealer's lot?</p> <p>But buying a used car doesn't have to be nerve-wracking or expensive. You just need to know what you should be asking throughout the process. These eight questions can help you to find an affordable used car that will keep you on the road for years to come. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-you-put-away-a-million-dollars-by-driving-a-used-car?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Could You Put Away a Million Dollars by Driving a Used Car?</a>)</p> <h2>Questions to ask yourself</h2> <p>Before you even start debating the relative merits of a sedan versus an SUV, you need to ask yourself some important questions. These are going to be the basis of your used car purchasing decision, so don't think you can skip over them to get to the part where you're salivating over pictures of cars online.</p> <h3>1. How much work am I willing to do to get a deal?</h3> <p>When you buy a used car, you can spend money and save time by making a purchase from a reputable local dealer &mdash; or you can spend time and save money by buying direct from a local private seller. And whether you purchase from a dealer or a private seller, you can often find better deals if you broaden your search to include nearby cities.</p> <p>This is why it's a good idea for you to recognize whether you have more time or more money at your disposal. If you know that you are not willing or able to devote a great deal of time to your search, you might not find the best price possible. And if you don't have a great deal of money to spend, your search might take longer while you try to find the right price.</p> <h3>2. What is my budget?</h3> <p>Whether you plan to pay cash for your used car or you expect to take on an auto loan, you need to start with a good look at how much car you can afford. According to the 2017 Edmunds Used Vehicle Market Report, the average price of a used car was a whopping $19,189 in 2016.</p> <p>If you don't have the full cost of your new-to-you car saved up, make sure you have calculated the monthly cost of financing the vehicle. For instance, let's say you have $4,000 set aside to put down on a $19,000 car. A 48-month loan of $15,000 at 3.24 percent interest will cost you $334 per month.</p> <p>Of course, your monthly car payment is not the only cost associated with buying a car. You will also need to calculate your insurance costs, since different vehicle models can have different insurance premiums. In addition, different vehicles can require varying levels of maintenance and the cost of parts, labor, and repairs can be higher or lower depending on which car you choose.</p> <p>Taking the time to figure out your car shopping budget, as well as your insurance and maintenance budget, can help you zero in on the right make and model for your finances, even before you start looking for the specific car you want to buy.</p> <h3>3. How will I finance this purchase?</h3> <p>If you are planning to take on an auto loan, don't wait until after you've found the car you want to get your financing in place. Whether you are purchasing a car from a dealer or a private seller, having your financing secured ahead of time gives you an important bargaining chip. You will be empowered to negotiate with the seller in the same way that a cash buyer could. You will not be stuck with the terms offered by the dealer's financing options, and you will make it clear to a private seller that you are a motivated buyer.</p> <p>To find the right loan, you can shop around among banks and credit unions for the best rates and terms. Doing this ahead of time will also allow you to make rational decisions that aren't motivated by lust for a particular vehicle that is calling your name.</p> <h2>Question to ask the internet</h2> <p>Now we get to the fun part. You've figured out your budget, so you can start looking online at local (or not-so-local, if you're willing to travel for a deal) used cars for sale. But rather than just make a list of possibilities in your price range, don't forget to do a little research on the particular makes and models that you are planning to test drive.</p> <h3>4. What are common problems with this make and model?</h3> <p>Automotive engineers and manufacturers are not perfect, which means there can be common problems with certain models that are predictable if you know a little about the brand. For instance, Honda Accord V6s released between 1999 and 2004 have a widespread transmission problem that often requires an expensive transmission replacement. While not all common problems are as costly as this one, it is always a good idea to know as much as possible about the known complaints about your potential purchase before you even go for a test drive.</p> <p>If Google is not coming up with answers, consider finding a car enthusiast forum for the particular make and model you're looking to buy. Ask these friendly folks for some insight.</p> <h2>Questions to ask the seller over the phone</h2> <p>At this point, it's tempting to just go test drive the cars on your finalist list. But before you do this, you should pick up the phone and have a conversation with the dealer or seller. Here are some questions you can ask to help you narrow down your search before committing to a test drive:</p> <h3>5. Can you tell me about any recent maintenance or repair?</h3> <p>A used car has a history, which means there must have been some maintenance, and possibly some repair. You want to find a seller who is able to tell you what kinds of maintenance and repairs were recently done. If the seller claims that the 10-year-old vehicle you're interested in has needed nothing but oil changes, that could be a red flag, particularly if you know what common problems crop up on that make and model.</p> <p>You should also consider pulling the car's history report from Carfax or Autocheck. That way, you can double check that the maintenance and repairs the seller claims to have done match up with those documented on the vehicle history report. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-a-used-car-without-getting-ripped-off?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Buy a Used Car Without Getting Ripped Off</a>)</p> <h3>6. Can my mechanic look at the vehicle before I make my final decision?</h3> <p>If the answer is anything other than yes, hang up the phone and move on.</p> <h2>Questions to ask your mechanic</h2> <p>Once you've narrowed down the options, it's time to let your trusted mechanic give it a once-over. Since your mechanic may not feel comfortable just giving you a thumbs up or thumbs down, here are two questions to ask to help you decide if the car is right for you:</p> <h3>7. Did the owner do a good job of maintaining this vehicle?</h3> <p>A well-made car that was poorly maintained may be a worse bet than a mediocre car that was lovingly maintained. Your mechanic will be able to tell you if the previous owner stayed on top of necessary regular and irregular maintenance.</p> <h3>8. Did the previous owner use cheap parts or good parts?</h3> <p>Not all car parts are created equal. A previous owner who did repairs with low-quality, cheap parts may have done a disservice to the car (and the next owner). Other than taking the car completely apart, there will be no way to know if all replacement parts were high-quality &mdash; but asking if the easy-to-check parts are good quality can be a decent indicator that the previous owner took good care of the vehicle.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-questions-to-ask-when-buying-a-used-car&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Questions%2520to%2520Ask%2520When%2520Buying%2520a%2520Used%2520Car.jpg&amp;description=8%20Questions%20to%20Ask%20When%20Buying%20a%20Used%20Car"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Questions%20to%20Ask%20When%20Buying%20a%20Used%20Car.jpg" alt="8 Questions to Ask 8 Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car" 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/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-ask-when-buying-a-used-car">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/your-car-was-recalled-now-what">Your Car Was Recalled. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big">8 Easy DIY Car Repairs to Save Big</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-hidden-costs-of-a-luxury-car">4 Hidden Costs of a Luxury Car</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/to-change-the-bulb-just-remove-the-bumper-wait-what">To change the bulb, just remove the bumper. Wait, what? - UPDATED.</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-sites-every-car-owner-needs-to-bookmark-now">6 Sites Every Car Owner Needs to Bookmark Now</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation buying a car dealerships maintenance mechanics questions repairs test drive used car Thu, 01 Feb 2018 09:30:14 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2094521 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Hidden Costs of a Luxury Car http://www.wisebread.com/4-hidden-costs-of-a-luxury-car <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-hidden-costs-of-a-luxury-car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/model_in_sunglasses_sitting_in_luxury_retro_car.jpg" alt="Model in sunglasses sitting in luxury retro car" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've seen the commercials: an oversized, red bow atop a shiny new luxury car in the driveway. You can all but imagine the new car aroma wafting while an exuberant recipient jumps for joy in his or her jammies.</p> <p>Luxury cars make a statement. They say something about the owner's arrival into a land of accomplishment. They stand out in a sea of moderately priced alternatives. Heck, they just look better. But, they can also have you scrambling to stay on top of your finances.</p> <p>Even if you've absorbed the sticker shock and accepted that a new luxury car will cost you more than the comparable non-luxury model, there are other hidden costs that can transform that new car smell into a rotten stench of budget overrun. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-new-car-costs-the-dealer-is-hiding-from-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 New Car Costs the Dealer Is Hiding From You</a>)</p> <p>Everything costs more with a luxury car. Do your homework before signing on the dotted line.</p> <h2>Insurance</h2> <p>Insurance is one of the not-so-sexy must-haves that every buyer must reckon with after leaving the car lot. As you would expect, a fender bender with your shiny new luxury mobile will cost more to repair. The insurance company will pass the cost along in the form of higher premiums.</p> <p>Just how much your insurance costs rise depends on your new car. Let's compare a top-of-the-line Toyota Camry to an entry-level luxury model, the Mercedes C300. A fully loaded Camry in Chicago tops out at $33,000 according to TrueCar.com. Slide into an entry-level C-class Mercedes, standard frills only, starting with a $40,000 price tag.</p> <p>A quick search on InsuranceQuotes.com shows that as a married woman in her 40s, I would pay $1,500 annually for the typical Toyota Sedan insurance premium. By comparison, I would fork out a whopping $2,689 a year to ensure my new hot Mercedes. That's an additional $1,189 a year, an 80 percent increase, to ride in style.</p> <h2>Gasoline</h2> <p>Fuel costs are another ongoing expense to calculate when considering a luxury car. Luxury cars, with their massive engines, are built for performance, not fuel economy. That's why premium fuel is required to keep these marvels humming. The national average for regular gas prices is $2.48 per gallon, according to AAA. That average jumps to $3.01 for premium prices.</p> <p>In Illinois, we have the honor of paying even more for gas. Premium prices are currently an average $3.37 per gallon, while regular fuel costs around $2.62 per gallon. So my fuel costs on average per year will cost $1,800 annually for the Mercedes vs. $1,500 a year to drive a Camry, according to a calculator on FuelEcomony.gov.</p> <p>Maybe you're not bothered by an additional $300 in fuel costs. We're not done yet.</p> <h2>Maintenance and repairs</h2> <p>Repairs will also cost you more for luxury models. The parts are more expensive. Technicians have to be specially-trained to work with the complicated gadgets. Even if you opt for non-dealer mechanics, repairs will undoubtedly add to your cost of ownership as the car ages. Non-luxury cars need maintenance, too, but repairs and upkeep are cheaper.</p> <p>Toyotas are famous for their new car care programs. Toyota purchases include ToyotaCare, which covers factory-scheduled maintenance costs for the first two years or 25,000 miles. Your oil changes, tire rotations, and brake inspections are covered.</p> <p>Mercedes, on the other hand, offers a prepaid maintenance package starting at $769. According to MBUSA.com, the Mercedes-Benz website, the package will save you 30 percent on routine maintenance costs over three years compared to paying as you go. This one-time fee covers the car for three years or 30,000 miles.</p> <p>Once these new car protections expire, the difference between maintenance cost grows. YourMechanic.com ranks the cost to maintain all of the major car brands. Mercedes, not surprisingly, is one of the most expensive cars to maintain &mdash; right after BMWs &mdash; at nearly $13,000 over 10 years. A Toyota should cost only $5,500 to maintain over 10 years. In annual terms, the Mercedes costs $750 more than the Toyota to maintain. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cars-you-can-drive-almost-forever?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Cars You Can Drive (Almost) Forever</a>)</p> <h2>Depreciation and taxes</h2> <p>No one walks into a dealership and wonders how much depreciation will impact their cost of ownership. Maybe we should. This hidden cost impacts your car's resale value. Luxury car values continue to drop after standard car depreciation rates tend to level off. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-why-you-should-never-buy-a-new-car?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 Reasons Why You Should Never Buy a New Car</a>)</p> <p>The higher cost of maintenance and repairs has a lot to do with that. Think about it. Someone buying your used luxury car is taking on an expensive bill with their new-to-them car purchase. It will cost you more, in terms of lower resale value, to sell your car when you're ready to upgrade.</p> <p>Kelly Blue Book has a handy tool that will allow you to compare a car's depreciation as a portion of the total five-year cost of ownership. Our Mercedes in this example would lose $27,000 by year five, versus a $16,700 loss for the Camry.</p> <p>In the end, you may still decide you want the cush Mercedes over the practical Toyota. Either way, go into your decision with your eyes wide open about ongoing costs and total cost of ownership. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-you-put-away-a-million-dollars-by-driving-a-used-car?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Could You Put Away a Million Dollars by Driving a Used Car?</a>)</p> <p>Sales taxes are another consideration. State taxes vary based on your location, but given the higher purchase price of the Mercedes, you'll pay more taxes on it, too.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/4%20Hidden%20Costs%20of%20a%20Luxury%20Car.jpg" alt="4 Hidden Costs of a Luxury Car" 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/toni-husbands">Toni Husbands</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-hidden-costs-of-a-luxury-car">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/your-car-was-recalled-now-what">Your Car Was Recalled. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big">8 Easy DIY Car Repairs to Save Big</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-long-does-it-take-break-even-with-an-electric-car">How Long Does It Take to Break Even With an Electric Car</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-why-you-should-never-buy-a-new-car">3 Reasons Why You Should Never Buy a New Car</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-ask-when-buying-a-used-car">8 Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation automobiles car insurance depreciation gas prices hidden costs luxury cars maintenance repairs vehicles Tue, 23 Jan 2018 10:00:06 +0000 Toni Husbands 2086603 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Common Budget Mistakes You Can Fix Right Now http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-budget-mistakes-you-can-fix-right-now <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-common-budget-mistakes-you-can-fix-right-now" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/classic_white_piggy_bank.jpg" alt="Classic white Piggy Bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a volunteer &quot;budget coach,&quot; I've reviewed lots of people's budgets over the years. No two are exactly the same because people have different incomes, fixed expenses, priorities, and more. That's to be expected. When it comes to budgeting, there's no such thing as one-size-fits-all.</p> <p>However, there are also certain approaches to budgeting that make cash flow management easier and more effective no matter your unique circumstances. Unfortunately, the use of these approaches is all too rare. As a result, here are five of the most common mistakes I see in people's budgets. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-little-budgeting-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-today?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Dumb Little Budgeting Mistakes You Need to Stop Making Today</a>)</p> <h2>1. Not budgeting based on gross income</h2> <p>It's relatively common to find budget recommendations based on <em>net</em> income &mdash; what's left after all the withholding (for taxes) and transfers (for retirement plan contributions) are taken care of. The thinking is that net income is the money that's available to you so that's what you should base your budget on.</p> <p>However, <em>gross</em> income is the purest, most complete view of your income. I prefer to use it as the starting point because some of the withholding and transfer categories are manageable.</p> <p>Take taxes, for example. About 80 percent of taxpayers got a federal tax refund this year and the average amount was $2,851. That's a lot of money you might have preferred going home in your paycheck. If you typically get a big refund, estimate how much you really should have withheld by using the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-withholding-calculator" target="_blank">IRS withholding calculator</a>. You should also talk to your human resources department about having less withheld.</p> <p>Retirement plan contributions are also manageable. Listing how much you contribute each month can serve as a helpful reminder to think about whether you're contributing enough. Today, when so many workplace plans automatically set employee contribution levels &mdash; and with the default amount usually set at a low 3 percent of salary &mdash; it's especially important to consider whether that's enough.</p> <h2>2. Not putting first things first</h2> <p>Budgeting isn't just about putting all of your monthly income and expenses down on paper. It's about guiding your use of money in a way that enables you to live within your means and pursue the priorities that are most important to you.</p> <p>One reason so many people struggle to build an emergency fund or invest for the future is they haven't made those items priorities. It helps a lot to design your budget with saving, investing, and if this is important to you, giving, at the top of the outgo section.</p> <p>List them first on your budget and subtract them from your income before setting your allocations for housing, transportation, clothing, and all the rest. Trying to take care of these priorities with money that's left over after lifestyle spending usually leaves you with nothing to save, invest, or give. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0</a>)</p> <h2>3. Not budgeting for home and car maintenance</h2> <p>One of the best ways to keep your overall housing and transportation costs down is to keep your home and vehicle maintained and to make repairs on a timely basis. That will be a lot easier if you allocate money for those purposes in your monthly budget.</p> <p>When it comes to homeownership, it seems there's always something in need of attention &mdash; from a squeaky door to a leaky faucet to a furnace that doesn't light. Depending on the age and condition of your home, $200 per month is roughly the right amount to budget for maintenance and repairs. If you own a condo or townhome, you should be able to budget less. Make sure you know what you're responsible for and what your association is responsible for.</p> <p>With vehicles, $75 per car per month is about right, but again, it depends on the condition of your vehicle. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bookmark-this-save-money-with-an-easy-to-follow-car-maintenance-checklist?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Bookmark This: Save Money With an Easy to Follow Car Maintenance Checklist</a>)</p> <p>You won't spend these full amounts every month, but some months you'll spend far more. During months when you don't spend your full home or vehicle maintenance and repair budget, don't spend that money on something else. Let it build up, either in your checking account or in a savings account designated for periodic bills and expenses.</p> <h2>4. Not budgeting for periodic bills and expenses</h2> <p>When my family used to live in the Chicago area, I'll never forget the first property tax bill we received. I thought maybe one of our kids had been kidnapped and this was a demand for ransom. Property taxes in Chicago are extremely high.</p> <p>That's an example of a <em>periodic </em>bill or expense &mdash; a cost that doesn't occur <em>every</em> month, but that needs to be paid at <em>some</em> point each year. If you don't plan ahead for these big, irregular expenses, they can be real budget busters. Other examples include insurance premiums, end-of-year holiday gifts, and vacations.</p> <p>Here's what to do. Include one-twelfth of the annual cost of each such item on your monthly budget. Then transfer the total of all of these monthly amounts to a savings account dedicated to these expenses. That way, when the bill comes due, there will be money set aside for it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight</a>)</p> <h2>5. Not budgeting for miscellaneous expenses</h2> <p>Having a zero-based budget is a worthy goal. That means income minus expenses equals zero. However, <em>creating </em>a budget where every dollar of income is allocated to a specific outgo category is far easier than <em>following </em>such a budget. No matter how detailed your plan, there always seem to be <em>some </em>expenses that just don't fit into one of your preplanned categories.</p> <p>To cope, set a monthly budget for miscellaneous expenses. But not very much &mdash; $50 is a good limit. If miscellaneous items start running higher than that, see if some of those expenses are similar enough to warrant their own category.</p> <p>Especially if you're new to using a budget, there can be a number of frustrations that make it tempting to quit. Avoiding these five common budgeting mistakes will go a long way toward lessening the frustration factor, and that should help you stay with it.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-common-budget-mistakes-you-can-fix-right-now&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Common%2520Budget%2520Mistakes%2520You%2520Can%2520Fix%2520Right%2520Now.jpg&amp;description=5%20Common%20Budget%20Mistakes%20You%20Can%20Fix%20Right%20Now"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Common%20Budget%20Mistakes%20You%20Can%20Fix%20Right%20Now.jpg" alt="5 Common Budget Mistakes You Can Fix Right Now" 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/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-budget-mistakes-you-can-fix-right-now">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-budget-items-you-may-be-forgetting">7 Budget Items You May be Forgetting</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-get-richer-in-2018">4 Easy Ways to Get Richer In 2018</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/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0">7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0</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/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</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/to-change-the-bulb-just-remove-the-bumper-wait-what">To change the bulb, just remove the bumper. Wait, what? - UPDATED.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting bills expenses gross income maintenance money mistakes repairs saving money taxes withholding Fri, 10 Nov 2017 08:00:06 +0000 Matt Bell 2046509 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Tips to Sell Your Condo Fast http://www.wisebread.com/6-tips-to-sell-your-condo-fast <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-tips-to-sell-your-condo-fast" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/real_estate_agent_with_couple_in_luxury_home.jpg" alt="Real estate agent with couple in luxury home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>This year is turning out to be a great market for home and condo owners. Despite the consistent rise in home prices across the nation (prices saw a 5.8 percent increase in 2017), buyers are still rushing to take advantage of the lowest mortgage rates in history.</p> <p>If you have been thinking about selling your condo, now may be the one of the best times. Take it from me; I was able to get the right offer for my apartment in just 21 days. Here are the key strategies to keep in mind when selling your condo.</p> <h2>1. Review the DOM range for comparable condos</h2> <p>Short for &quot;days-on-market,&quot; DOM measure the days that a real estate property is on the market before a seller accepts an offer from a buyer, or the agreement between real estate broker and seller ends. Search online for real estate agents specializing in your building and look for a listing of the units that have been sold and are currently in escrow. That list will include the DOM for each unit.</p> <p>Look at comparable condos to yours (similar square footage, floor location, and type of unit) to determine a reasonable time frame for your condo to sell. The definition of<em> fast sale</em> varies from property to property, but this range will provide you a better benchmark.</p> <h2>2. Decide what improvements are worthwhile</h2> <p>It takes money to make money. Before officially listing your condo, you'll need to prep it. Depending on the condition of your unit, it may just need a fresh coat of paint, or it may need a total makeover. There are several ways that you can go about deciding how much money to put into renovations.</p> <p>First, attend open houses of comparable units, also known as &quot;comps,&quot; currently listed in your building and review the listing pictures of comps currently in escrow. This will give you a sense of what caught the eyes of buyers and what type of inventory you're competing against. Put yourself in the eyes of potential buyers and think of improvements that will make your unit stand out from the competition or compensate for less desirable features (perhaps there's no ocean view, but your unit is the only one with new cabinets).</p> <p>Second, review the <a href="http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2017/" target="_blank">2017 Remodeling Cost vs. Value report</a> from the National Association of Realtors to find out the average value that a renovation project adds to properties in your region. In 2017, a minor kitchen remodel recouped a national average of 80.2 percent of its cost while a bathroom addition only recouped 53.9 percent. Choose projects that don't break your budget and have a higher chance of boosting your asking price. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-are-pricey-home-upgrades-really-worth?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Much Are Pricey Home Upgrades Really Worth?</a>)</p> <h2>3. Gather documentation and review any HOA rules</h2> <p>The more you know about your condo, the more prepared you'll be to address questions from buyers. For example, the presence of asbestos in the popcorn ceilings in older buildings can be more common than you think. However, your building's homeowner association (HOA) may have already done a study to find out the percentage of actual asbestos in the ceiling. If the survey reveals that the actual percentage of asbestos in the ceiling falls within acceptable standards, you don't necessarily have to remove it and can include the survey in your disclosure statement to the buyer.</p> <p>Also, HOA rules can help you determine what improvements are worthwhile. Let's imagine that you have a wooden floor with partial water damage due to an open window during a storm. You're trying to decide whether to replace the floor entirely, lay down additional flooring on top, or leave the floor as is. Depending on the rules of your building, you may or may not be required to also soundproof your wood floor, which can add hundreds to thousands to your quote. Always check with your HOA before starting any work on your unit.</p> <h2>4. Look for ways to minimize listing costs</h2> <p>Skipping the standard real estate agent's commission of 5 to 6 percent sounds like an awesome idea in theory. While pocketing an extra $15,000 to $18,000 on a $300,000 condo is enticing, make sure to understand just how much easier a real estate agent can make the selling process. Even worse, you may dramatically reduce the number of potential buyers by going the &quot;for sale by owner&quot; (FSBO) route. Many buyer's agents won't show your property to their clients at all or strongly discourage those clients from making an offer, citing the risks of closing without a professional representing you.</p> <p>Still, there are plenty of ways that you can save on listing costs while working with a real estate agent.</p> <ul> <li> <p>Ask if the commission is negotiable. Don't assume that a 6 percent commission is the default. With the rise of low-fee real estate brokerages, such as Redfin charging only a 1 to 1.5 percent listing fee, some agents are more open to negotiation in some markets.</p> </li> <li> <p>Stage your home yourself. According to Realtor.com, a staged property sells an average 88 percent faster and for 20 percent more than one that hasn't been staged. But professional staging can be expensive: Realtor.com estimates an initial design consultation with a professional stager ranges from $300 to $600, and actual staging ranges from $500 to $600 per month per room. Staging is one area in which going DIY can help you keep costs down. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-stage-your-home-without-hiring-a-pro?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways to Stage Your Home Without Hiring a Pro</a>)</p> </li> <li> <p>Your real estate agent can be a useful resource to shop around for contractors for small fixes. In case a buyer were to ask for proper grounding of electrical outlets, replacement of broken faceplates, or other type of work, your agent may be able to hire a contractor at a much lower rate than one you'd find on your own.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>5. Screen the clauses in your buyer's initial offer</h2> <p>Receiving your first offer is very exciting! Still, take a step back and thoroughly review the clauses included in that buyer's offer. Here are some things to keep an eye on. (See also: 9 Things Sellers Should Watch Out During Escrow)</p> <ul> <li> <p>&quot;Acceptable to buyer&quot; prorations and closing adjustments. If you were to submit a counteroffer, request to delete such verbiage from the offer. &quot;Acceptable to buyer&quot; adjustments are subjective and can open the door for a buyer to include unnecessary items or requests.</p> </li> <li> <p>Tighten the time frames for any buyer's obligations. The longer that an escrow process takes, the higher the chance of the sale not going through. So, shorten review times, such as review of seller's disclosure and inspection after completing buyer's contingencies requests, whenever possible.</p> </li> <li> <p>Watch out for additional addendums. Here's where knowing your HOA rules comes in handy. Depending on when certain work was completed on your unit, some work may not have required a permit or certain additional requirements. Going back to the example of the wooden floor, if the floor was installed before the year in which the soundproofing requirement went into effect, you wouldn't have to remedy the situation. Pay close attention to addendums requesting to remedy unpermitted work or allowing the buyer to submit a repair or credit request for repairs.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>6. Understand your BATNA</h2> <p>Short for Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement, BATNA is a key concept in any negotiation. Here's why: This is the price point at which you can't do better than accepting your buyer's offer. When listing your home, you'll have to decide on the initial price. Most of the time, you want that first price to be above the lowest price that you'll accept for your condo. That way, you'll be more willing to lower the price to make a sale happen.</p> <p>Pricing your home too close or exactly at your BATNA will work against you because you won't have any wiggle room to work with a buyer. Unless you're in a red-hot seller's market, you can't take an all-or-nothing approach to your condo sale. Would you be willing to go down $1,000 in price to sell your condo today, or stick to your guns and wait an extra three months? Once your condo has been on the market for a few months, your agent may ask you to lower the price. Knowing your BATNA will help you negotiate your condo sale more efficiently and potentially lower the DOM of your unit.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-tips-to-sell-your-condo-fast&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Tips%2520to%2520Sell%2520Your%2520Condo%2520Fast.jpg&amp;description=6%20Tips%20to%20Sell%20Your%20Condo%20Fast"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Tips%20to%20Sell%20Your%20Condo%20Fast.jpg" alt="6 Tips to Sell Your Condo Fast" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tips-to-sell-your-condo-fast">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/9-things-sellers-should-watch-out-for-during-escrow">9 Things Sellers Should Watch Out for During Escrow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-real-estate-agents-hear-most-often">8 Questions Real Estate Agents Hear Most Often</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-unexpected-costs-of-selling-a-home">8 Unexpected Costs of Selling a Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sell-your-house-faster-with-these-6-house-flipping-tricks">Sell Your House Faster With These 6 House Flipping Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-homebuying-questions-youre-embarrassed-to-ask">5 Homebuying Questions You&#039;re Embarrassed to Ask</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing apartments clauses condos escrow homeowners association listing costs real estate agents renovations repairs selling a home Wed, 01 Nov 2017 08:30:09 +0000 Damian Davila 2045381 at http://www.wisebread.com How Long Does It Take to Break Even With an Electric Car http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-does-it-take-break-even-with-an-electric-car <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-long-does-it-take-break-even-with-an-electric-car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-508101460.jpg" alt="Learning how long it takes to break even with an electric car" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Electric cars come at a premium. You can still get a hefty tax rebate for buying an all-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle, but even after deducting that $3,700 &mdash;$7,500 rebate from the price, you're still going to pay more up front for electric than a gas-powered engine.</p> <p>You'll make up for it in gas savings, right? Maybe &mdash; but with low gas prices persisting, the payback may take a long time. Here's a look at the math behind the theory that an electric car will pay for itself.</p> <h2>Upfront cost</h2> <p>My husband and I recently test drove a Kia Soul EV. It was peppy and felt surprisingly roomy for a small car. It costs about $34,000, while the Soul without an electric motor costs only $20,000. So even after deducting the $7,500 tax credit, you'd still be paying $6,500 more to go electric. (Your state might offer additional credit, but I'll leave that out of this calculation.)</p> <p>Another upfront expense, which I didn't think about until I looked at EVs, is the cost of buying a home charging station and having it installed in the garage. That would be about $1,200. However, you might be able to apply for a local rebate or credit to defray that cost as well.</p> <p><strong>The difference in upfront cost</strong>: Buying and getting set up with the Kia Soul EV costs about $7,700 more than the nonelectric.</p> <h2>Fuel costs</h2> <p>Nationwide, at the time of writing, the average gallon of gasoline costs $2.41. If you live in California or in a big city like I do, you may be paying closer to $3. If I bought a traditional Kia Soul, I'd get about 28 miles per gallon &mdash; so driving a typical 15,000 miles a year, I'd be buying about 535 gallons of gas. In most parts of America, that would run about $1,300 for a year's worth of fuel.</p> <p>With the electric car, I could drive about <a href="https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&amp;id=35601" target="_blank">105 miles on 33.7 kilowatt-hours</a>, which at a cost of 12 cents per kWh, means I could drive 15,000 miles a year for $578 in electricity. You can save even more on charging if you work somewhere with a free charging station, or if you have access to free public chargers.</p> <p><strong>The difference in fuel costs</strong>: Electric costs $722 less per year at current gas prices.</p> <h2>Maintenance</h2> <p>Because they don't require oil changes, all-electric vehicles cost less than regular cars to maintain &mdash; about 35 percent less, according to one estimate I found. According to Repair Pal, the average cost to maintain and repair a regular Kia Soul is $446 a year, while the EV is $267.</p> <p><strong>The difference in maintenance cost</strong>: Electric costs $179 less per year.</p> <h2>Other expenses</h2> <p>You might wring a few more dollars out of your EV from insurance company discounts and free public parking. You may also save on tolls if your area allows you to drive your EV in the carpool lane.</p> <h2>Breaking even</h2> <p>So, you started out life with your new EV $7,700 in the hole after buying the car, installing a charging station, and pocketing the federal tax credit. You will save about $900 a year in fuel and maintenance costs. At this rate, it will take you eight to nine years to break even. That's a pretty long time to recoup an investment.</p> <h2>Other benefits of going electric</h2> <p>However, there are non-monetary benefits to owning an electric vehicle that make the purchase worthwhile for many people.</p> <p>First, there is the knowledge that you're contributing less to climate change and air pollution by using electricity instead of gasoline. While EVs produce no tailpipe emissions, the power plants that fuel them do produce emissions. Still, the Department of Energy estimates that EVs are responsible for less than half the emissions of gas vehicles. That's big.</p> <p>Second, your EV may entitle you to privileges such as driving in the carpool lane. In the high traffic Bay Area where I live, many EV owners made their purchase decision based on carpool lane access alone, because it can make the difference between a two-hour commute and a one-hour commute into Silicon Valley.</p> <p>If you're buying an EV for the perks, check all the details before you sign the contract to make sure you're really getting everything you want. Sometimes states have restrictions, such as quotas for carpool lane stickers and income caps for tax rebates.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-does-it-take-break-even-with-an-electric-car">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-hidden-costs-of-a-luxury-car">4 Hidden Costs of a Luxury Car</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-drive-a-hybrid-or-electric-car-on-the-cheap">6 Ways to Drive a Hybrid or Electric Car on the Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-still-smart-to-buy-an-electric-car-while-gas-prices-are-low">Is It Still Smart to Buy an Electric Car While Gas Prices Are Low?</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/your-car-was-recalled-now-what">Your Car Was Recalled. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-ask-when-buying-a-used-car">8 Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation break-even carpool comparisons electric cars fuel costs gas prices hybrids maintenance rebates repairs Mon, 22 May 2017 08:30:16 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1947501 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways to Get the Most Out of a Home Warranty http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-the-most-out-of-a-home-warranty <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-get-the-most-out-of-a-home-warranty" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-516251216.jpg" alt="make the most of your home warranty" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have ever bought a home with a real estate agent, chances are they told you they convinced the seller to include a home warranty in the deal.</p> <p>Unfortunately, those home warranties often turn out to be difficult to use. I have a friend in Florida whose central air system failed twice while the home was still under warranty, and the company found a different reason each time to deny the claim. I myself have had home warranty companies (initially) deny a claim for a clogged drain and a broken garbage disposal. Even when the warranty does cover a problem, many consumers are disappointed with the quality of the repair service.</p> <p>Is it impossible to get results from a home warranty? No, it's not. While I'm not a huge fan of the policies, I personally have had home warranties pay for themselves several times over. It wasn't easy, though. Here are some tactics for getting the most out of your home warranty.</p> <h2>Shop Around for Policies</h2> <p>Not all home warranties are created equal. If you're buying your own warranty, first check the company's reputation, and then look at the different levels of coverage it offers. If the warranty is being given to you with a home sale, you can ask your real estate agent the same questions.</p> <h2>When Something Breaks, Contact the Warranty Company First</h2> <p>You have no heat in the dead of winter! Shouldn't you call the furnace company first and worry about getting compensated for it later? Not so fast. The home warranty company may not cover a repair if you hire someone first, and later contact them.</p> <p>Some warranty companies offer 24/7 support, but if the warranty company puts you on hold forever or can't send a technician for a week, you may be in a tough spot. What you do then comes down to how much you want your claim covered, and how much damage &mdash; like frozen pipes &mdash; might occur while you wait.</p> <h2>Read Your Contract Before Calling</h2> <p>When filing your claim, explain exactly how your problem qualifies for warranty coverage. For instance, say your warranty covers appliances but not plumbing. Your dishwasher failed and caused water damage to your kitchen floor. Don't call and simply tell them you have flood damage in your kitchen. Call and report that your warranty-covered dishwasher malfunctioned and damaged your floor.</p> <h2>Be Persistent, Both With Phone Agents and Service Providers</h2> <p>Continuing with the above scenario, if the phone agent tells you your floor damage isn't covered, have the contract handy so you can cite the passages that support your claim. And if the agent isn't helping you, ask to be transferred to a manager. Follow up in writing or by email if denied.</p> <p>Once a service provider is dispatched, be present for the visit. Some providers will show up, charge the visit fee, and say that the repair isn't covered &mdash; without thoroughly investigating. If they try to say it's not covered, point out why it should be. Contact their supervisor if necessary before paying the fee.</p> <h2>Ask If You Have a Choice of Service Providers</h2> <p>Before agreeing to allow a service provider into your home, check their online reviews. In my experience, home warranty companies sometimes send low-rated providers. You can look up a provider on Angie's List or Yelp quickly while on the phone with the service company. If it's a terrible company, ask to have a better one dispatched.</p> <h2>Ask If You Have the Option of Taking a Cash Payment</h2> <p>Warranty companies do sometimes offer cash instead of replacing an appliance. On the downside, the cash they pay probably won't cover your true replacement cost. On the upside, if you get the cash, you can choose the model and installer you want.</p> <p>My home warranty company offered a $500 check when our water heater broke shortly after we bought our current home. Our new water heater cost twice that with installation, but we were glad to have the flexibility to upgrade the unit and work with a more reputable plumber than the warranty company initially sent.</p> <h2>Be Persistent Even If You're Not Sure Who's Right</h2> <p>The home warranty initially refused to cover my clogged drain because it was in the basement, leading to the outside of the house, and they only covered the inside the house. Was this argument valid? I wasn't sure, but because it required jackhammering and repairing my basement floor, it was going to be a very expensive repair &mdash; so I just kept at them. I emailed, I faxed, I called. It took weeks, but I finally got the company to pay for the repair &mdash; probably just to get me off their back.</p> <h2>Don't Schedule Service If You Know the Repair Isn't Covered</h2> <p>When the home warranty company dispatches a service provider to your house, they'll charge you a visit fee of $35 to $100 &mdash; whether they fix anything or not. So there's no sense calling them for a repair that falls outside the coverage, and there's certainly no sense misrepresenting your repair. You'll just lose the service fee.</p> <h2>Keep a Close Eye on Older Appliances and Systems During the Warranty Period</h2> <p>Is your furnace making a funny noise, but you can live with it? If your warranty expires soon, it may be worth paying the visit fee to have a technician check it out, just in case that noise indicates a major problem that will come to a head just after the warranty expires.</p> <h2>Keep Your Expectations in Check</h2> <p>Don't get surprised or angry when your home warranty provider tells you they won't cover a claim. Go in with a lot of patience and persistence on tap, and try your best to get something out of them. In the end, if you end up with a less-than-perfect repair or a smaller-than-desired check, acknowledge that at least you got something. Life's too short to waste time fuming at a company that angered you.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-the-most-out-of-a-home-warranty">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-can-negotiate-when-buying-a-home">6 Things You Can Negotiate When Buying a Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-warranties-that-arent-worth-it">4 Warranties That Aren&#039;t Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/citimortage-told-me-to-default-on-my-loan-if-i-want-their-help">CitiMortgage Told Me to Default on My Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-the-new-home-appraisal-rules-good-for-consumers">Are the new home appraisal rules good for consumers?</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-tips-to-sell-your-condo-fast">6 Tips to Sell Your Condo Fast</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Real Estate and Housing Angie's List appliances cash payouts filing claims home warranties phone agents repairs services Wed, 15 Feb 2017 10:30:29 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1889842 at http://www.wisebread.com Watch Out for These 5 Last Minute Home Buying Costs http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-5-last-minute-home-buying-costs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/watch-out-for-these-5-last-minute-home-buying-costs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_cash_grass_13020597_0.jpg" alt="Finding ways to watch out for last minute home buying costs" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In 2015, 5,250,000 existing homes and 510,000 newly constructed properties were <a href="http://www.realtor.org/field-guides/field-guide-to-quick-real-estate-statistics">sold in the U.S</a>. And as Wise Bread predicted back in December 2015, homes have been one of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-necessities-that-will-be-cheaper-in-2016">necessities that are cheaper in 2016</a>, boosting the percentage of first-time homebuyers entering the market.</p> <p>But unexpected costs toward the end of the buying process can leave prospective buyers scrambling at the last minute or, even worse, unable to land the home of their dreams. Let's take a look at five pesky home buying costs that could appear at the eleventh hour.</p> <h2>1. Lower Property Appraisal</h2> <p>The seller told you that the home is worth $350,000 and you earnestly believed that valuation. So, you went to the bank and applied for a mortgage based on the market value of $350,000. To meet compliance requirements and to do its due diligence, the bank includes an appraisal contingency in your mortgage application. This clause requires that a third-party appraiser verifies that the home is actually worth $350,000.</p> <p>If the appraisal requested by your bank were to come under the $350,000, then somebody would have to come up with the difference for the bank to approve the loan. Depending on several factors, including the number of days the house has been on the market and the skill level of your real estate agent, the seller, her agent, or your own agent may help you with the difference. In the worst case scenario, you'll have to come up with the difference or have to say goodbye to that home.</p> <p>In the event that you believe the third-party appraiser may have provided an inaccurate estimate, you could hire another appraiser, submit that new estimate to the bank, and let the bank re-evaluate the mortgage. However, you would be most likely responsible for the cost of that second appraisal.</p> <h2>2. Mortgage Insurance</h2> <p>Let's imagine that you are in the process of saving for a decent down payment for your first home. Two years before you reach your savings goal, a home is finally available in your dream neighborhood. Your broker is confident that a similar home won't be available for another five years, so he suggests that you buy. The catch: You can't come up with at least 20% of the home value for a down payment.</p> <p>When you pony up less than a 20% down payment to buy a home, you'll have to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI). The <a href="https://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/supmanual/cch/hpa.pdf">Homeowner's Protection Act</a> requires homebuyers who finance more than 80% of a new home's value to purchase PMI. Keep in mind that this is protection for the lender (not you!) in case you default on your mortgage.</p> <p>The average PMI payment ranges from 0.5% to 1% of the total value of the home loan. Still, this cost isn't small potatoes. In 2015, the average value of a mortgage in the U.S. was $172,341. Assuming a 1% PMI, the average PMI payment in 2015 was about $1,723. That would be one cost that you would have to pay year after year until your loan value reaches 78% of the original market value of the secured property.</p> <p>Still, your lender may have a strong case to continue requiring the PMI in the event of a dramatic price drop in the market value of your home, an existing home equity line of credit (HELOC) on your property, or a long string of late monthly payments within the last two years.</p> <h2>3. Dramatic Change in Financial Situation</h2> <p>When you're in the process of buying a home, you should keep a consistent financial picture, especially with your credit score. So, delay buying all those expensive new kitchen appliances, pieces of furniture for your living room, and blue period art pieces on credit until you have the keys in hand. A dramatic change to your credit score is a major red flag for the lender and the financial institution may decide to offer the mortgage at a higher interest rate than originally expected &mdash; or turn down the loan entirely.</p> <p>Here are other financial do's and don'ts until settlement day:</p> <ul> <li>Do keep a good paper trail of the source of your down payment;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Don't make large transfers between your accounts;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Do delay any other large purchases on credit, such as a car;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Don't miss any monthly payments on existing debt (they account for 35% of your credit score!);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Do provide all documentation requested by your lender and agent within the stipulated time frame;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Don't open new credit or store cards.</li> </ul> <h2>4. Repairs</h2> <p>When you receive the report from a licensed home inspector, you may find that your dream home is not so dreamy after all. Take the comments from the inspector seriously and determine whether it's worthwhile to ask the seller to incur some of those costs, or to provide a financial remedy. After all, you'll be the one covering all of them once the home is yours.</p> <p>However, choose your fights wisely. No home is 100% perfect. Having to replace all door handles because you find them out of style isn't nearly as bad as having to battle black mold in the basement of your soon-to-be home.</p> <h2>5. Special Case: Hike in Homeowner's Association Fees</h2> <p>Last but not least, make sure to review the minutes of the meetings of the homeowner's association (HOA) for your property for at least the last six months.</p> <p>Pay special attention to two items.</p> <p>First, look for a schedule of upcoming monthly dues. In some cases, you may be welcomed with a higher-than-expected bill right off the bat.</p> <p>Second, watch out for any large projects that are under current review by the board of the HOA. For example, installing a complex system of solar panels on the roof or replacing all the windows of the apartment building because existing windows no longer meet city codes could both mean an ever-growing monthly HOA due. In certain circumstances, the HOA board could be planning to present you the option to pay your entire pro rata amount for the project or to finance the cost through the HOA's loan. Either option would put a dent on your monthly budget.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-5-last-minute-home-buying-costs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-whats-included-in-a-homes-closing-costs">Here&#039;s What&#039;s Included in a Home&#039;s Closing Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-that-will-ruin-your-mortgage-application">5 Money Moves That Will Ruin Your Mortgage Application</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-mortgage-details-you-should-know-before-you-sign">5 Mortgage Details You Should Know Before You Sign</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-home-buying-habits-we-can-learn-from-millennials">4 Home-Buying Habits We Can Learn From Millennials</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-to-consider-before-buying-a-home-when-youre-single">5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Home When You&#039;re Single</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing appraisals hidden costs hoa fees home buying homeownership insurance last minute costs mortgages pmi repairs Fri, 18 Nov 2016 11:30:10 +0000 Damian Davila 1835252 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 House-Hunting Red Flags You Can't Ignore http://www.wisebread.com/12-house-hunting-red-flags-you-cant-ignore <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-house-hunting-red-flags-you-cant-ignore" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house_mortgage_trap_63718741.jpg" alt="Learning house hunting red flags you can&#039;t ignore" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've found the home of your dreams. The price is right, the time is right, and you have the down payment ready to go. But before you get your heart set on the property, you need to be aware of some red flags that could make you change your mind. Here are 12 potential issues that should give you cause for concern.</p> <h2>1. Some Part of the Property Is Off-Limits</h2> <p>When you go to an open house, you expect it to be, well, open. The homeowner wants to sell the property quickly, and creating any kind of hurdle, be it locked doors or bolted sheds, is a warning that something may be wrong. It could be that the person showing the home simply wants to keep some valuables locked away. If you're interested in the home, ask to come back later to see what's behind those closed doors, with an escort. If they still say no, you've got your red flag. And if it remains locked during the inspection, run away. There could be anything waiting for you, including bugs, water damage, faulty electrics, or any number of hazards.</p> <h2>2. The Neighborhood Is a Ghost Town</h2> <p>Depending on when you visit the home, and where the home is, you will see various things happening in the streets &mdash; kids playing, people out mowing the lawns, and a general feeling of regular activity. If the neighborhood is deathly quiet, take a closer look. Why is it so quiet? If you start seeing a lot of &quot;For Sale&quot; signs, and see that some properties are in a state of disrepair, you could well be moving into a place that most people are trying to escape from. Ask around, and talk to neighbors if you can. It may just be it's a very quiet neighborhood. But it could also be a place that is quickly becoming abandoned.</p> <h2>3. Popcorn Ceilings</h2> <p>Used in homes between the late 1950s, through to the late 1980s, popcorn ceilings were a trend that thankfully died out. Aside from being horrendously ugly, and difficult to paint, they could also pose a serious health hazard. Many popcorn ceilings contain white asbestos fibers, and that is nothing you want to mess around with. It takes a professional crew hours to remove it, and the charge can be up to $3 per square foot. Multiply that by all the rooms in the house that have the tacky popcorn ceilings, and you could be looking at thousands of dollars in labor. If you see it, ask the seller if they can have the popcorn texture removed on their dime. Or, ask for a reduction in the house price to deal with the costs of removing it.</p> <h2>4. Strange Smells and Unusual Stains</h2> <p>Where there is a funky smell, there is usually an underlying cause. It could just be some weird cooking that happened the night before, but chances are, it's something ingrained in the home. You may be smelling mildew, mold, or water damage in the floors and ceilings. Get your nose inside areas where smells can be hiding, like closets, cabinets, and the corners of basements and attics. And if you smell nothing but air fresheners in every room, the seller may be trying to cover up an offending odor.</p> <h2>5. Recent Painting and Decorating</h2> <p>To be fair, some homeowners want to freshen the place up before selling it, to get a better price and a quicker sale. But look at the type of redecorating that has happened. If it looks consistent throughout the home, or one room has been completely redone, then that's probably fine. But if you're seeing little patches of new paint and paper, they may be covering something the seller wants to hide. If you see some major construction work has just happened, you must get it inspected thoroughly. If the renovations were done in a hurry, and didn't have permits, they could be dangerous, or even deadly. It's not unusual for load-bearing walls to be removed, to open up a layout, causing serious structural problems.</p> <h2>6. Poor Upkeep and Maintenance</h2> <p>Unless you're buying a brand-new home, you will be living in a house that has been lived in before. We all hope the current owner has done his or her best to keep the property in tiptop condition, but it's not always the case. So, look for signs of a lazy homeowner. Are several doors really tough to open and close? Are some of the light switches and sockets cracked or broken? Do you see wallpaper peeling at the corners, or burned out bulbs that haven't been replaced? All of these can signal a homeowner who didn't maintain the property, and could signal bigger issues that you will only find after moving in.</p> <h2>7. Faulty Wiring</h2> <p>It's not as easy to spot as a couple of dangerous loose wires sticking out of the wall; faulty wiring can be lurking behind switches and faceplates. When going through the home, check all of the switches, even on the garbage disposal. If there are issues, like flickering lights, circuits that buzz and hum, excessive heat, or just switches that do not work, it could be a sign of larger electrical issues. Old wiring that has to be brought up to code can be costly, and should be a burden on the seller, not you.</p> <h2>8. Signs of Pests</h2> <p>As you walk through the property, look for telltale signs of bugs and rodents. Are there mouse traps hiding in the corners of the garage? Do you see shelves full of pest control products? What about droppings? Do you see a lot of dead bugs on the window ledges and in the basement and attic? Any of these signs, and many more, can be an indication of a pest problem that could be costly. If it's termites&hellip;very costly.</p> <h2>9. Old Heating and Cooling Systems</h2> <p>When the house was built should help you figure out if the heating and cooling systems should have been replaced by now. In some cases, they should have been replaced multiple times. The average life span of a furnace and air conditioner is 13&ndash;20 years, depending on the make and model. If you're looking at a home that was built in the 1980s, those systems should have been replaced twice. So, take a close look at the age of the units, or ask the seller to tell you how old those items are. To replace them both can cost many thousands of dollars. Also, ask for them to be turned on. If you notice strange sounds, they may be in need of repair or full on replacement.</p> <h2>10. Heaving Closets and Storage Spaces</h2> <p>One of the big complaints many homeowners have is storage space, or the lack of it. If the home doesn't have a basement or attic, you should definitely check out the state of the cupboards, and the garage. Can they even get a car into the garage? If it's full of their things, chances are, you are going to have storage issues, too. If the cupboards are threatening to pour the contents all over you when you open the door, that's another big red flag. Of course, they may be hoarders, but if you see that it's just regular items that are jammed into every available corner, you have a storage problem on your hands.</p> <h2>11. Rugs and Wall Coverings Everywhere</h2> <p>Homeowners can get pretty creative when it comes to hiding stains, holes, and damage. If you notice area rugs in every room, lift them up. It could be that the rugs are disguising unsightly carpet stains, or damaged floor coverings. If you see walls covered in posters, frames, hangings, and even drapes, look behind them, too. They may be hiding a whole host of problems, including wet rot or dry rot.</p> <h2>12. Cracks</h2> <p>Most homes develop a few hairline cracks over the years, as the house settles on the foundation. But cracks in the walls and floors that are greater than a third of an inch wide are a cause for concern. It's highly possible the house has serious structural problems, and you may have to foot the bill for some very costly repairs and foundation work.</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/12-house-hunting-red-flags-you-cant-ignore">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/how-to-evaluate-a-neighborhood-before-you-buy">How to Evaluate a Neighborhood Before You Buy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thinking-of-skipping-the-home-inspection-heres-what-it-will-cost-you">Thinking of Skipping the Home Inspection? Here&#039;s What It Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youre-ready-to-make-an-offer-on-a-house-now-what">You&#039;re Ready to Make an Offer on a House: Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-youll-hate-about-your-next-house">14 Things You&#039;ll Hate About Your Next House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-homeowners-associations">What You Need to Know About Homeowners&#039; Associations</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing buying a house damages decorating dishonesty house hunting maintenance neighborhoods red flags repairs warning signs Wed, 14 Sep 2016 09:30:27 +0000 Paul Michael 1792245 at http://www.wisebread.com Thinking of Skipping the Home Inspection? Here's What It Will Cost You http://www.wisebread.com/thinking-of-skipping-the-home-inspection-heres-what-it-will-cost-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/thinking-of-skipping-the-home-inspection-heres-what-it-will-cost-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/70578731.jpg" alt="Learning what a skipped home inspection will cost you" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Buying a home is a lengthy process, and most likely the biggest financial decision you'll ever make. Even if you score a great deal on the cost of your home, there are several other fees that sneak in, like closing costs, private mortgage insurance, broker fees, and more.</p> <p>It can be tempting to want to forego the home inspection, especially since it's one more cost to handle. But even if your prospective home looks immaculate, you should still get an inspection. Doing so can potentially save you thousands of dollars.</p> <h2>Don't Take the Seller's Word</h2> <p>A few months ago, we bought a new home. Our home buying situation was a little unique, considering we were buying from a relocation company. The relocation company had gotten a home inspection before listing the house, and they were slightly put off by the fact that we wanted our own home inspection.</p> <p>The home inspection ended up finding about $2,500 worth of repairs that were invisible to the naked eye. Shingles need to be replaced on the patio cover, the plumbing wasn't covered correctly in the attic, and the patio lighting wasn't done properly and posed a fire hazard. These were all things we would have never noticed without an inspection &mdash; but could have caused serious issues if left unfixed.</p> <p>The company made the costly repairs right away, which saved us quite a bit of money. If we had foregone the inspection, then a number of things could have happened with the shoddy electrical wiring or uncovered plumbing lines. It was easily worth the $450 we paid for the inspection.</p> <h2>Prepare for Future Costs</h2> <p>With a home we bought in 2012, the inspector pointed out that we should keep an eye on the water heater, but he didn't write it in his report. Because of that comment, we opted for home warranty insurance, which cost about $400, and called in an inspection of the water heater within a few months of moving in. The home warranty covered the costs, saving us $400&ndash;$500, overall.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-you-need-to-know-about-a-home-appraisal?ref=seealso">9 Things You Need to Know About a Home Appraisal</a></p> <h2>Forgo Bribes to Skip the Inspection</h2> <p>If a seller offers a discounted price or cash back for skipping the home inspection, walk away from the deal. This could be a huge red flag. A home inspection takes only a few hours and the cost is footed by the buyer. Therefore, the seller is not really inconvenienced when it comes to the home inspection, and there is no reason to persuade buyers against it, unless there are critical issues with the home.</p> <p>Chicago homeowner, Lisa Keefe, experienced this when she and her husband put an offer in on a rehabbed cottage. &quot;The sellers offered us a $5,000 break on the price if we would forgo the inspection,&quot; she said. They chose an inspection, instead.</p> <p>Their inspection turned up a wide variety of issues, because the home was redone by the owner's inexperienced brother-in-law. A load-bearing wall was removed in the kitchen, the support beam was rotting, there were zoning issues with the basement, the roof was unstable, and the foundation was sinking. All of these issues were very serious and would have cost the Keefe's a lot of money, but thankfully they walked away from the cottage purchase.</p> <h2>What to Look for in a Home Inspector</h2> <p>You want to hire a home inspector that has many years of experience and the proper certifications and licenses. You also want an inspector that is thorough and will go into the attic, through the basement, and on the roof.</p> <p>We had the same inspector for both of our home purchases, and he noted the big stuff, as well as the minor issues. Not only did he tell us about the faulty electrical on the patio, but he also mentioned minor things, like the fact that the shower grate needed to be screwed down and the hot and cold water for the kitchen sink were switched. When it comes to your new home purchase, it is better to have too much information than not enough.</p> <h2>Should You Be There for the Inspection?</h2> <p>Home inspections are not mandatory, but it is a good idea to be there. Some inspectors are happy with you following them around asking questions, while others want to do a thorough search first, and <em>then</em> a walk through with you. Make it a point to meet with the inspector and walk through all of his findings. Be sure to look thoroughly through his report afterward too. You are paying for his time, so don't hesitate to ask several questions.</p> <p>Even if your home inspection turns up clean, it is nice to have that peace of mind. It can seem like an unnecessary expense, especially when your new home purchase is already squeezing your budget. However, the cost of a home inspection is worth it. It is better to pay $400&ndash;$500 for a report you don't need, than to skip it and pay $3,000 for a new roof within a year of buying your new home.</p> <p><em>Ever have a home inspection? Do you think it was worth the extra cost?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thinking-of-skipping-the-home-inspection-heres-what-it-will-cost-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-can-negotiate-when-buying-a-home">6 Things You Can Negotiate When Buying a Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-private-mortgage-insurance-anyway">What Is Private Mortgage Insurance, Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-millenials-should-invest-in-a-home">4 Reasons Millenials Should Invest in a Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-house-hunting-red-flags-you-cant-ignore">12 House-Hunting Red Flags You Can&#039;t Ignore</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-worst-reasons-to-buy-a-house">4 Worst Reasons to Buy a House</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing bribes buying a house costs home inspections new homeowners repairs Wed, 13 Jul 2016 09:30:33 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1748330 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Easy DIY Car Repairs to Save Big http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/car_service_000017616649.jpg" alt="Car repairs you can easily do yourself" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the monthly expenses many of us forget to include in our budgets is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-slick-tools-to-save-money-on-car-repairs">car repair and maintenance</a>. Sure, we put down the price of gas, and maybe an oil change every two or three months, but we forget about most of the ongoing maintenance costs. Cars need regular maintenance over their useful lives, and most of us will pay through the nose to get it performed. But it doesn't have to be that way. With parts bought online, some simple tools, and a little basic knowledge, many car repairs can be done without visiting a mechanic.</p> <p>I talked to Richard Reina, the Training Director at <a href="http://www.carid.com/">CARiD</a>, about some of the easiest car repairs you can do at home. You can find most of the replacement parts at CARiD or similar sites, plus many instructional videos and fact sheets that will ensure you have the help you need every step of the way. I also talked to several mechanics, including a family member who has had over 20 years of experience fixing cars. He, like many other experts, was adamant that with preparation, you can save a lot of time and money on repairs.</p> <h2>1. Change Your Own Brake Pads</h2> <p>When I first heard that, my reaction was &quot;No way, I'm not messing with my brakes!&quot; But as Reina points out, it's a very simple and inexpensive procedure that mechanics and specialty brake shops will charge hundreds of dollars to do. The industry wants you to think it's hard, because they make a lot of profit from a very simple procedure, but pads are way easier to replace than old fashioned drum brake &quot;shoes.&quot;</p> <p>All you need is a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004SEXO3E/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004SEXO3E&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=HZG267264PF33LG4">wheel lug wrench</a>, some <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004QO9MAU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004QO9MAU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=NBJPGJ3TPWJWCZON">basic wrenches</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000NPXI0G/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000NPXI0G&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=4RW72BPDX4EJRYYP">pliers</a>, and of course a jack and set of jack stands (never get under a car unless it is on jack stands; you cannot rely on the jack as it may fail).</p> <p>A set of new brake pads will set you back just $20&ndash;$40, depending on the car and pad material. Compare that to the industry average of $250 per axle, and you can see how much this DIY job will save you. The procedure is basic. Take off the wheel, remove the hardware, pull out the worn pads, push in the caliper piston, install the new pads, and reinstall the hardware. You should be able to do all four wheels in under an hour, even if this is your first time doing the job. The new pads will last between 30,000&ndash;50,000 miles, and you should check them every 10,000 miles. When the pad thickness falls below 2mm&ndash;3mm, it's time for another replacement set.</p> <h2>2. Change the Battery</h2> <p>It amazes me how many people will get a shop to replace the battery, since this is by far the easiest of all DIY repairs. A battery will last 4&ndash;6 years, so you should be able to figure out when your current battery is ready to be changed. (Almost every battery will have a date stamped on it, so look for this if you want to be sure.) You <em>do not</em> want to wait until you start having problems. If you do, you could be stranded with a dead battery, and that's dangerous for many reasons.</p> <p>The average price of a new battery is around $80, although you can spend more or less depending on the make and model. A dealer will charge upwards of $200 to replace it.</p> <p>To do the swap, you just need a basic set of wrenches. The biggest warning here, Reina says, is the order in which you remove the replace the cables. Remove the NEGATIVE (black) cable FIRST, and when you have installed the new battery, replace the NEGATIVE cable LAST. If you don't do it this way, you could short circuit the positive (red) terminal to a grounded part of the car.</p> <h2>3. Do Your Own Oil Change</h2> <p>A typical quick lube place could charge anywhere from $30 to $70 for an oil change. Some can go as high as $90&ndash;$100, especially if you own an expensive import. But then you see signs like $15 oil change and think, &quot;Well I'd pay that for the oil and filter anyway, so why not let them do it for me?&quot;</p> <p>Here's why. First, there is always an asterisk on those oil changes. They come with conditions, and may not include the correct amount of oil required for your engine (this happens a lot when you bring in an SUV or truck). You will also be given a low-grade oil, rather than a full synthetic or even a synthetic blend. And most importantly, the cheap oil change is a loss leader.</p> <p>The loss-leader oil change is a great way to get you to hand over your car to the garage so that they can get under the hood and see if it has problems. A reputable place won't find any unless there are genuine problems. Others, well, let's just say they find problems that don't need attention.</p> <p>Suddenly, the $15 oil change has become thousands in major repairs. Poor establishments will use high-pressure tactics to get you to sign up for the work, and you may not even get the chance to get a second opinion.</p> <p>So, do it yourself. Buy a good quality oil filter and the best oil you can afford from your local supplier (it can be an auto specialist or a retail store). Other than jack stands and a jack, you'll need an <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000NPPB6U/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000NPPB6U&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=I2Q5NR76Q5CIAA3M">oil filter wrench</a> and a drain pan. These only have to be purchased once and will last you decades (my father-in-law has been using the same drain pan for 20 years). You can find videos online walking you through oil changes on a variety of different vehicles.</p> <p>And one final note. As Richard Reina points out, the days of the &quot;every 3,000 miles&quot; oil changes are long gone. Vehicles these days can often go 10,000 miles between oil changes. Check your manual.</p> <h2>4. Change Your Spark Plugs</h2> <p>There is an episode of the iconic TV series <em>Frasier</em> that shows Niles and Frasier Crane attending an automotive workshop. The very first lesson is how to change spark plugs. It's one of the easiest home repairs you can do, although these days it is very rare you'll even have to perform this service. On modern cars, extended-life spark plugs can maintain a precise gap for 100,000 miles. However, it is still wise to check them every 30,000-40,000 miles, just to make sure.</p> <p>When the time does come to replace your spark plugs, along with your regular set of tools you will need a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002KNZ8C/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0002KNZ8C&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=URY7DFKT6D5FA6ZL">spark plug wrench</a>. Again, this is a &quot;buy once, use for a lifetime&quot; kind of purchase, and it's not very expensive (under $10 in most cases). (WikiHow has a great <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Change-Spark-Plugs-in-a-Car">instructional piece here</a>.) And the savings&hellip;let's just say it's significant. You can pay over $300 for spark plugs to be changed, and spark plugs themselves are rarely more than $30 for a set.</p> <h2>5. Replace a Headlight or Taillight</h2> <p>If you are a good car owner, you will perform a regular walk around of your vehicle. It's important to do this for many reasons, but one of the biggest is to check that all the lights are working. Not only are lights essential for clear vision, and alerting drivers to your intentions, but you can also incur traffic tickets if they aren't working. So, try and do this at least once a month (you'll need someone to help you check the taillights).</p> <p>If one (or more) isn't working, it's time to buy a replacement and do it yourself. With the average hourly repair rate of a garage being $100, you could easily spend $25&ndash;$50 per bulb, especially if the shop has a minimum charge.</p> <p>One of the most important things to do is bring the old bulb with you to the store. You want to make sure you are getting like for like. And, when it comes time to change it out, never touch the bulb glass with your bare hands. The grease from your fingers can cause the bulb to burn out early.</p> <h2>6. Replace Your Windshield Wipers</h2> <p>Some people go to a garage or dealership to have their windshield wipers replaced. This is, without a doubt, a massive waste of your time and money. A set of wipers will run you between $20 and $40 on average, plus the dealer will charge you one hour of labor (that's about $100). Don't throw your money away. It takes minutes to replace the wipers on your vehicle yourself, and all of the instructions are provided in the replacement wipers you buy.</p> <p>When you go to a store &mdash; say Walmart or Target &mdash; they'll have a reference manual (these days it's often a small electronic terminal) which will tell you which wiper sizes you need to ensure a correct fit. In most cases, the old wipers slide out, and the new ones slide in. The last time I changed my wipers, it took two minutes for both&hellip;and most of that time was spent trying to hack open the vacuum-sealed plastic package!</p> <h2>7. Replace Your Air Filter</h2> <p>Richard Reina pointed out another simple fix that mechanics and dealerships will heavily mark up with labor costs and parts. And yet, it is a very quick fix (in most cases&hellip;if you happen to own a German import, you may have a few extra parts to remove to access the filter). On average, you'll pay over $100 in labor costs, and $50 for the filter.</p> <p>The typical cost of an air filter from a retail store is between $15&ndash;$20, but again, this can be higher depending on the make and model of your car. In most cases, you will simply have to open up the hood of the car, turn a few screws, open the air filter housing, swap out the old for the news, and replace the screws. It really is that simple, and you can save a ton of money doing it yourself.</p> <h2>8. Fix a Chipped Windshield</h2> <p>I recently had to do this one myself, and I can tell you&hellip;it's so simple. I had a small rock chip in the windshield. I was tempted to go by one of those &quot;fix it free&quot; places that hang out near malls, but they operate through your insurance company, and I wasn't keen on going through all that for a simple rock chip.</p> <p>On Amazon or eBay, you can find <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004GFS2C8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004GFS2C8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=TGVTUO2W4ELE2GOQ">windshield repair kits</a> for under $15. Some run as low as $8. When you get it, all you need to do is dig out any loose glass with the pin provided, and then thoroughly clean it, and the surrounding area. You will have to stick a small device to the windshield that forms a seal around the rock chip, and then a vacuum contraption will work to apply the resin into the crack. It's an operation that takes less than one hour, from opening the package to the finished result, and most of that is simply waiting time. Stop that crack from spreading, before you need to replace the entire windshield. That can be costly.</p> <p><em>Now, what services do you regularly perform on your own car that saves you time and money? Let us know 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/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big">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-hidden-costs-of-a-luxury-car">4 Hidden Costs of a Luxury Car</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-ask-when-buying-a-used-car">8 Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car</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-long-does-it-take-break-even-with-an-electric-car">How Long Does It Take to Break Even With an Electric Car</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/11-smart-ways-to-boost-your-gas-mileage">11 Smart Ways to Boost Your Gas Mileage</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/buying-a-rental-car-heres-what-you-need-to-know">Buying a Rental Car? Here&#039;s What You Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Cars and Transportation DIY fixing maintenance mechanic repairs vehicles Wed, 15 Jul 2015 17:00:10 +0000 Paul Michael 1484612 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Easy Home Maintenance To-Dos for Spring http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-home-maintenance-to-dos-for-spring <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-easy-home-maintenance-to-dos-for-spring" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_home_improvements_000018550842.jpg" alt="Family doing easy jobs on spring home maintenance checklist" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ah, spring. The weather is warm again. You're outside enjoying life. And there's a heck of a lot of stuff that needs to get done. This season is one of the best to check many of those pesky <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tips-for-spring-cleaning-on-a-budget">home maintenance chores</a> off your to-do list. So read through our suggestions to see if you're forgetting any of the basics.</p> <h2>1. Cool AC Units</h2> <p>Now's the time to get your AC unit in order before the hot weather hits. Change any filters that might be dirty. Examine all lines running into your unit for leaks and kinks. If you suspect anything might be wrong with your machine, call in a professional. They'll check for levels of refrigerant, duct leakage, airflow, belt wear, and more. A little money now will prevent you from uncomfortable nights later.</p> <h2>2. Secure Roof Shingles</h2> <p>I've noticed we have a few shingles loose on our roof after the brutal winter. I spotted them from down the street as I walked toward our house. If you don't have a clear vantage point, try hopping up on a ladder. A sound roof will protect your home from leaks and other more costly issues. Our roof is quite high, so we'll be hiring a handyman. <a href="http://home.costhelper.com/roof-repair.html">Roof repair costs</a> can range between $95 to $127 to fix a few shingles, to upwards of $350 to repair larger sections.</p> <h2>3. Stop Persistent Pests</h2> <p>While you're at it, walk around your property and look for evidence of pests and infestations. There are a number of critters that can wreck havoc, including carpenter bees, termites, ants, wasps, and more. You can buy sprays and other eradicators at home improvement stores, but bigger infestations are best left to the professionals. Call around to get a couple free quotes from local companies. I have found them to be considerably cheaper than the nationwide chains.</p> <h2>4. Scrub Moldy Siding</h2> <p>Improve your curb appeal! If your vinyl siding is looking dingy and dirty, try using a power washer for a weekend to clean it up. You can <a href="http://home.costhelper.com/pressure-washing.html">rent a power washer</a> for around $40 to $75 per day. Professionals could cost you $750 or more, depending on the size of your home. A friend of mine hand-washes his house using a 1:1 ratio of vinegar to water, a scrub brush, and a lot of elbow grease. Whatever way you choose to do it, you'll be cleaning off lots of nasty mold and mildew stains.</p> <h2>5. Redo Damaged Decks</h2> <p>How's your deck doing these days? Chances are you might need to reseal it or even stain for the first time. Before you start, clean your deck using a specially formulated cleanser or solution of vinegar and water. The jury is out on whether power washing is the best method, so we scrub ours by hand. After letting your deck dry for at least a day, apply a single coat of stain of your choosing. If your deck is in poor order, check to make sure it's still structurally sound and consider applying a product like <a href="http://www.homedepot.com/b/Paint-Deck-Patio-Restoration/BEHR-Premium-DeckOver/N-5yc1vZc7gvZc4x">BEHR DeckOver</a> or <a href="http://www.homedepot.com/b/Paint-Deck-Patio-Restoration/BEHR-Premium-DeckOver/N-5yc1vZc7gvZc4x">Rust-Oleum Restore</a>. These paints come in a variety of shades and can give even the most splintery old decks a new lease on life.</p> <h2>6. Close Caulk Gaps</h2> <p>Many of us focus on caulking windows before the cold weather hits, but spring and summer can present just as many challenges. Those of you who live in particularly hot climates could be losing tons of money (and efficiency) through the loss of your cool AC right out the window. Walk around your home &mdash; inside and out &mdash; taking note of any drafts or areas where you can see gaps. Concentrate your efforts particularly around door and window frames, air conditioners, where brick and wood siding meet, etc.</p> <h2>7. Clean Gutter Clogs</h2> <p>Surprisingly enough, your gutters might fill up with more debris <em>after </em>winter than they did in the fall. You'll want to examine the flow from gutters to downspouts during a rainstorm or check for any other damage (pulling away from the home, sagging, etc.). Cleaning is as easy as hopping on a ladder and scooping out the blockages using your hands or a wet/dry vacuum. You can even flush your gutters using your garden hose. As always, if your project seems too big or dangerous (ladders), you can get a professional to <a href="http://home.costhelper.com/gutter-cleaning.html">clean your gutters</a> for around $90 to $225 for a 2,000 square foot home.</p> <h2>8. Cover Driveway Cracks</h2> <p>Direct your attention to your walkways and driveway. Are there any areas that are cracked or even missing? If the damaged sidewalk is part of your city's responsibility, try requesting repairs through your local municipality. Otherwise, patch sidewalks by clearing the area of loose debris and spreading a layer of cement. It's a good temporary fix that should last several seasons before a total redo is necessary. You can refresh your driveway by filling cracks and then spreading driveway sealer to cover. Let dry for 24 to 48 hours before opening to your vehicles.</p> <p><em>What's on your home maintenance to-do list this spring?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-home-maintenance-to-dos-for-spring">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big">8 Easy DIY Car Repairs to Save Big</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/flashback-friday-the-82-best-spring-cleaning-hacks-we-ve-ever-shared">Flashback Friday: The 82 Best Spring Cleaning Hacks We’ve Ever Shared</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/your-car-was-recalled-now-what">Your Car Was Recalled. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-ask-when-buying-a-used-car">8 Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-hidden-costs-of-a-luxury-car">4 Hidden Costs of a Luxury Car</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Home maintenance repairs roofing spring cleaning Mon, 18 May 2015 15:00:08 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1421643 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Quick Clothing and Shoe Repair Fixes You Should Own http://www.wisebread.com/15-quick-clothing-and-shoe-repair-fixes-you-should-own <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-quick-clothing-and-shoe-repair-fixes-you-should-own" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_tights_heels_000043595558.jpg" alt="quick clothing and shoe repair fixes you should own" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Dress shoes losing heel caps, spills, a run in a pair of pantyhose&hellip; it's a jungle out there. My office desk drawers are a testament to 30+ years of dealing with &quot;work clothes&quot; emergencies. People come to me for repairs. I am the Office Mom of clothing emergencies.</p> <p>Over the years, I have learned how to make <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-fix-18-common-wardrobe-malfunctions">quick fixes</a> inexpensively. Here are some tried-and-true fixes.</p> <h2>1. Pantyhose/Nylons</h2> <p>My number one solution is to keep a spare pair in my desk. However, sometimes even that back-up pair fails &mdash; and always right before a meeting or a presentation. Naturally! A squirt of hairspray will stop that run. If you don't have hairspray, a little clear nail polish will also do the trick. Unfortunately, both are smelly, so try to fix quickly so they have time to dry.</p> <h2>2. Instant Seamstress</h2> <p>I wish I had a nickel for every time someone has borrowed my <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CQR6C3O/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00CQR6C3O&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=4VBRI7RDXWGXEE4F">sewing kit</a>. Aside from the needle and thread, the most often-requested item is the tape measure. This kit also contains some buttons, which are very handy, as well as small scissors.</p> <h2>3. Click, Clack, Busted Heel Cap</h2> <p>Every woman's nightmare: The doggone broken heel cap. They never break at home, do they? Always, every darn time, at work or on your way somewhere. Unless you like limping and clicking around all day (and explaining it a million times), you might want to make a very small investment in these <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007V63Y8Q/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B007V63Y8Q&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=TAUJEKDLWWY3E2FL">heel caps</a>.</p> <h2>4. Sole to Sole</h2> <p>Guys, if your <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008BIG4H6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B008BIG4H6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=XXVQ777SFGVH67N4">shoe soles</a> are worn out, you may save money by trying the repair yourself &mdash; and the rubber is made by Goodyear! They work on both dress shoes as well as boots.</p> <h2>5. Expensive Leather</h2> <p>It's upsetting to spend a lot of money on leather shoes only to scuff or scratch them. That is why you might try this <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000XJRYQ6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000XJRYQ6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=IYMJ7NIS2CSBUYEV">leather repair product</a>. You can even mix your own color. It also works on the couch, other furniture, car seats, coats, etc.</p> <h2>6. Sweater Saver</h2> <p>Ever <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWGtvznk11s">snag a favorite sweater</a>, and put a hole in it? Don't worry, you can fix it! What do you need? Just a simple sewing needle for a small hole, or a crochet needle for a larger one.</p> <h2>7. Stuck Zipper</h2> <p>This hint could not be cheaper. Where is that #2 pencil? First try rubbing the pencil on the zipper (the lead may lubricate it enough for it to work). If it is more complicated, check out this video for <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GdKGMBIl-o">un-sticking a zipper</a>.</p> <h2>8. Eyeglass Repairs</h2> <p>We even take our eyeglass repair kit with us on vacations &mdash; it is <em>that</em> handy. It can be really miserable to lose a screw in your glasses and be nowhere near an optometrist. This little <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000H3Q2FC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000H3Q2FC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=CYVDSZR5ZFQCAE7Y">eyeglass repair kit</a> is inexpensive and easy to pack.</p> <h2>9. Deodorant Smudges</h2> <p>I seem to pull this move most of the time when I am wearing black, which is just peachy because then it <em>really</em> stands out. Try dampening a washcloth or towel, wring it out really well, and gently brush off the smudge. Don't use a paper towel, which will just make matters worse.</p> <h2>10. Pilly Sweater</h2> <p>Sometimes I fail to notice that my sweaters have pills. You know what I mean &mdash; the little fuzzy balls under your arms or along side seams. It looks pretty crummy. I love this <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0034BV6KA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0034BV6KA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=BQOXTHGDOVBPO7CV">sweater shaver</a>, which gently removes those furry things and has never caused any harm to my favorite sweaters.</p> <h2>11. Lunch Disaster</h2> <p>I shouldn't be allowed to ever eat mustard, which usually ends up on me, not in me. My husband, who is a laundry wizard, bought me these nifty little <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EDW2JC8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00EDW2JC8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=RQBO5IU4VFWSDD7G">stain wipes</a>. They fit easily into my purse and will tide me over (pun intended) until the clothing can be properly washed.</p> <h2>12. Hem on the Loose</h2> <p>Raid the office supply cabinet. Got packing tape? That will hold that hem until you can get it fixed properly. Don't be tempted to get out your stapler, which will damage the fabric.</p> <h2>13. Lint No More</h2> <p>My dogs have white fur. I like to wear black. See the problem? I buy lint brushes by the three-pack, but for the office, I love these <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Brushes-Travel-Compact-Purse-Pocket/dp/B005AJOB56/ref=sr_1_10?s=hpc&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1430191289&amp;sr=1-10&amp;keywords=lint+brushes">mini lint rollers</a> that fit in my desk or tote bag.</p> <h2>14. Sneaker Separation</h2> <p>This hint isn't that quick, since your shoes will need to dry at least overnight, but it's a good one. I wear my sneakers until the bitter end, so I was disappointed when a fairly new pair started &quot;flapping&quot; in the soles. They were otherwise in good shape and I didn't want to part with them just yet. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002L9AL84/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002L9AL84&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=3EDZ5PO4QAUIL2EE">Shoe Goo </a>to the rescue! My handy husband squeezed out a layer between the flapping soles and the shoes, let dry overnight, and the shoes were almost as good as new. It is also waterproof and really inexpensive. It also works on broken high heels.</p> <h2>15. The Last Resort</h2> <p>Buy <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CCG97WW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00CCG97WW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=6WOICH2Q2YK45DMD">assorted safety pins</a>. Thank me later.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite, reliable, cheap sartorial save-the-dayers?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-quick-clothing-and-shoe-repair-fixes-you-should-own">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big">8 Easy DIY Car Repairs to Save Big</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/chill-out-with-these-6-simple-diy-freezer-treats">Chill Out With These 6 Simple DIY Freezer Treats</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-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-cheap-and-easy-formulas-for-homemade-windshield-de-icer-plus-bonus-tips">3 Cheap and Easy Formulas for Homemade Windshield De-Icer (Plus Bonus Tips)</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-diy-dog-toys-you-can-make-for-pennies">10 DIY Dog Toys You Can Make for Pennies</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks DIY clothes mending repairs shoes Tue, 12 May 2015 21:00:10 +0000 Marla Walters 1414198 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Budget Items You May be Forgetting http://www.wisebread.com/7-budget-items-you-may-be-forgetting <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-budget-items-you-may-be-forgetting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/car_trouble_000046605260.jpg" alt="Woman stressed about car trouble she didn&#039;t budget for" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>By now, we should all be sticking to a solid budget &mdash; one which definitely includes a savings category. But, even the most financially sophisticated of us make little mistakes, often forgetting to budget for minor, miscellaneous, or unexpected expenses.</p> <p>Making this mistake can throw you off course and undermine efforts to create financial stability, a setback that can lead to frustration with the budgeting process. Avoid the drama by reviewing your budget and ensuring you're planning for these common, but often overlooked expenses.</p> <h2>1. Insurance Deductibles, Co-Pays, and Medical Supplies</h2> <p>No one expects to get sick, but we almost all ultimately do. So, why is this common expense so often not planned for? The money that is being budgeted for medical expenditures should include everything from deductibles and co-pays, to cough medicine and bandages. It should take into account common illnesses for each member of your family, including the family pet. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-spend-your-last-minute-health-care-fsa-funds?ref=seealso">8 Ways to Spend Your Last Minute FSA Funds</a>)</p> <h2>2. Taxes</h2> <p>There are one of two ways in which unexpected taxes might slip up and throw off your budgeting goals: unexpected taxes on extra income, and failing to find good use for tax refunds. Regular Wise Bread readers know how important it is to create extra income. The extra money you earn can help to pay off debt and boost your savings. But, we often forget to set aside taxes on the income. Tax refunds will gradually help you build a nice nest egg and should always be put into some sort of savings or retirement account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cant-pay-your-taxes-heres-what-to-do?ref=seealso">Can't Pay Your Taxes? Here's What to Do</a>)</p> <h2>3. Miscellaneous Travel Expenses</h2> <p>Travel, planned or unplanned, occurs all the time &mdash; whether it's to attend a friend's destination wedding, tackle your bucket list, network for business, or a vacation. Though it's inevitable, it's one of the most mismanaged expenses in a typical budget. It's easy to forget to factor in additional costs like visas, tips, ground transportation, food and beverage, duty free buys, in-flight amenities, resort fees, and long-distance calling. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-travel-expenses-you-forgot-to-budget-for?ref=seealso">9 Travel Expenses You Forgot to Budget For</a>)</p> <h2>4. Home and Auto Repairs</h2> <p>Inevitably, machines will break down. And when they do, it disrupts our everyday lives. That's why we're willing to run out and replace them regardless of the expense. We will often finance the purchase because we failed to budget for it, and now it's an unexpected expense. So, factor in household and automobile maintenance and repairs into your budget and plan accordingly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for?ref=seealso">5 Household Fixes You Should Stop Paying Others For</a>)</p> <h2>5. Networking</h2> <p>Everyone's agenda should include networking opportunities, because it aids in creating a healthier financial life. Set aside money to attend fundraisers, workshops, networking events, and paying membership fees and dues. This should include any contributions made to support causes you believe in, membership organizations, and annual conferences.</p> <h2>6. Adult Learning</h2> <p>Maintaining a focus on career development will also have significant financial rewards. Continued education is required for most professionals, but whether it's a requirement or not, we should be thinking about developing a competitive edge &mdash; as many of us simply will not take out the necessary time to work on acquiring new skill-sets. Do this while you're young and do it often. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-continue-your-education-without-going-back-to-school?ref=seealso">8 Cheap Ways to Continue Your Education Without Going Back to School</a>)</p> <h2>7. Dressing for Success</h2> <p>Dressing for success is equally important as networking and adult learning. This, of course, pertains to budgeting for new clothes, but your budget should also include money for regular grooming, shoe and jewelry repairs, dry cleaners, staying fit, and any routine that is imperative to your personal and financial health. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-you-should-always-rent-clothes-instead-of-buy?ref=seealso">6 Times You Should Always Rent Clothes Instead of Buying</a>)</p> <p><em>How do you avoid budget mishaps?</em></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/7-budget-items-you-may-be-forgetting">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-budget-mistakes-you-can-fix-right-now">5 Common Budget Mistakes You Can Fix Right Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-get-richer-in-2018">4 Easy Ways to Get Richer In 2018</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/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</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-retirement-struggles-nobody-talks-about-and-how-to-beat-them">5 Retirement Struggles Nobody Talks About — And How to Beat Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-budget-consistently-without-a-steady-paycheck">How to Budget Consistently Without a Steady Paycheck</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting expenses hidden costs repairs saving money taxes Fri, 10 Apr 2015 09:00:07 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1381109 at http://www.wisebread.com