Mortgage Shopping Tips for the Biggest Purchase of Your Life

Springtime is here and that means house hunting season has begun, which means mortgage shopping has begun! Just like night follows day, when spring arrives, it’s real estate time in the good old US of A. If you’re in the market for a home, whether you’re looking to become a first time homeowner or if you’re planning to move from one place to another, you have to be on top of the mortgage market and the challenges that are involved.

It's house hunting season and if you're looking to buy, you could probably use some mortgage shopping tips. Save money on the biggest purchase of your life!

Interest rates on home mortgages have been at record low levels for several years now and that may be about to change. Knowing how to get the best deals when entering into what might well be the biggest single purchase you will ever make becomes a must! You simply don’t want any regrets when you buy and there are some real basics you must know before you commit. Continue reading

How Will You Pay Off Your Biggest Debt? Your Home Mortgage

If you are a homeowner, you probably know the feeling that you are under a tremendous weight and that you will probably be in debt for the next 20-30 years, or possibly even the rest of your life! It can be hugely depressing when you look at that and the likelihood that a mortgage will become a very close “friend” of yours—forever. It’s a huge decision to buy a home and more likely than not, it will be the biggest financial decision that you will ever make. Scary?

Most homeowners have a mortgage, but don't think about how to pay off the mortgage. Here's how to pay it off in your high-earning years before retirement.

In 2015, about 62% of all Americans owned their own homes, a number that’s been pretty consistent over the past 20 years (although there has been a decline since 2000). Here’s the scary part. Less than one third of all those homeowners actually own their homes free and clear, and that means that the majority of them have, wait for it…a mortgage! Continue reading

Home Renovations That (Almost) Pay for Themselves

Please welcome Sarah Landrum from Punched Clocks for today’s guest post on home renovations.

Pop quiz: Is your home perfect, or is there room for improvement? Answer: Room for improvement, right? Whether you want to repaint the dining room or swap out the drapes, there’s always something that could use some sprucing up. The real issue becomes whether your renovations are going to merely look good or add actual value to your home.

Before you make any plans for home renovations, check out this list of upgrades that practically pay for themselves in adding value to your home.

Hopefully, they can do both. Here are some home renovations that almost pay for themselves. Continue reading

Living Large and Saving Money in a Tiny House

It was just a couple of years ago when I first heard of a new trend growing in and around my area. In NYC, they were building tiny apartments in some of the most expensive and sought after locations in Manhattan. There were places where the rents were just astronomical and only the rich and famous could dwell. Tiny apartments? It was something that certainly peaked my curiosity quite a bit. After all, haven’t most of us always thought the concept of bigger is better as the way we should go?

Could you ever see yourself living in a tiny house? It can be a great way to save on expenses, but more than that, it's a lifestyle.

I became even more curious and puzzled when I found out some of the details. I thought, what is tiny anyway? Most of the people I knew where always looking for a nice big place to live. You know the kind I mean with multiple bedrooms, an office, and an eat-in kitchen, and yes a couple of bathrooms too. That is an apartment! Continue reading

Moving to Another City: Are You Ready?

Today’s guest post on moving to another city is sponsored by CO-OP Financial Services.

On average more than 40 million people move each year in the U.S. and it is estimated that 80% of those moves occur between April and September. If you’re considering moving to a major city, to pursue career opportunities, be closer to family, or just a change of scenery, you’ll want to be well prepared to make the big transition. Here are some questions to ask yourself to make sure it’s the right decision for you:

Moving to another city can be a big undertaking. There's lots to consider when making this decision so here are some tips to get you on the right track. Continue reading

Reverse Mortgage Pros and Cons: Is It Right for You?

If you are age 62 or older, I’m sure you’ve seen the countless commercials every day on TV about reverse mortgages. Whether it’s Henry Winkler (yes, the Fonz!) or Tom Selleck (yes, Magnum P.I.!) telling you about the wonderful advantages and the free information that you can get about them, you were probably a little curious if you own your own home and are looking for ways to help limit your mortgage costs and retirement expenses. Who wouldn’t want to do that?

Reverse Mortgage Pros and Cons: Is it right for you?

Truth be told, reverse mortgages are very complicated and are not the “be all end all” for everyone. There is danger in this process for some and as we all know when something sounds too good to be true, it probably is just that. So let’s cover some reverse mortgage pros and cons. Continue reading

Easy Tips to Save on an Apartment Rental

With the cost of home ownership so high, more and more people are choosing to rent these days.  Apartment living has its advantages, including having things like maintenance and repairs handled by the landlord. It’s also a good option if you don’t know how long you’ll want to live in a particular area. I’ve lived in a number of apartments over the years, some nicer than others, but all were affordable. When you’re ready to move, whether you’re changing locations or just changing buildings, there are a number of ways to save on an apartment.

Easy Tips to Save on an Apartment Rental

First, you want to make sure that you can find a rent within your budget. It’s recommended that you spend no more than 30% of your post-tax income on housing, but the numbers can vary depending on your situation. Get an idea of what you can spend, and then you can begin looking around for homes that meet your criteria. Continue reading

Keep Your Cool and Save As the Summer Heats Up

Hot enough for you? Unless you just got back from the North Pole you have probably noticed that we’re in the middle of one of the hottest stretches of the year, or any year for that matter. We’re suffering from the effects of what is known as the ‘Heat Dome” which currently stretches all across the country. So you don’t think weather patterns are changing and the extremes from one season to the next are dramatic and unpredictable? (Perhaps you’d like to read what science says about that.) But wait a second, what is the “Heat Dome” and what can you do about it?

Keep Your Cool and Save as the Summer Heats Up

The dome effect is, well, a dome effect which occurs when the heat that is present just can’t escape into the atmosphere because of several factors including the dew points, humidity and yes, the stagnant pollution. In addition, “corn sweat” (yes you heard that right) produced by the Midwest crops adds to that condition building up dangerous and potentially lethal conditions from the high temperatures. Continue reading

Home Ownership: The American Dream Revisited

From the earliest days in our country, owning your own home has been a goal of almost every American or at least it seems that way. From the time that the first settlers landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620, setting up and having your very own place to live was something that each family did and they focused all their attention on it. Of course, they had to build that shelter back then, unlike today when we can just look around the part of the country we want to live in and pick a house from the neighborhoods we like and can afford.  Many of us have done just that, more than once, myself included. It’s the biggest most expensive thing you can ever buy. But, is it still what everyone wants today? Has the American dream of home ownership started to slip away?

Home Ownership: The American Dream Revisited Continue reading

11 Ways to Save on Summer Barbecues

Despite the calendar, this morning as I write this post, we still haven’t seen the temperatures make us feel like summer is just around the corner. In fact, “Princess” (our beautiful hanging basket of purple petunias…yes, we name our plants) slept last night in the house to avoid us having to put a winter sweater on her to keep her warm!

11 Ways to Save on Summer Barbecues

But just as light follows darkness, summer is going to arrive soon and for us, Memorial Day weekend is the kickoff to those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer! And what says summer more than a good old fashioned barbecue? Continue reading