Housing

Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage Early?

If you have a mortgage on your home, you’ve probably wondered at least once whether it would be worthwhile to pay it down ahead of schedule. And if so, you’re not alone. The debate over whether to prepay your mortgage has persisted in the personal finance world for some time now, and it’s not going away any time …

Best Home Equity Loan Rates for 2015

If you’re looking for the best home equity loan rates, you’re in good company. Home equity loans hold undeniable appeal for many homeowners. They’re a convenient way to unlock some cash by tapping the value built up in your home — money you otherwise won’t see unless you sell your home for a profit. Though …

Buying a House? How to Save for a Down Payment

By Peter Miller Saving for a new home has just become easier. Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac say they will now buy mortgages with as little as 3% down, a big drop from the old 5% minimum. Even though conforming loans are now easier to get because down payment requirements have been reduced, there’s …

Categories: Housing, Loans, Saving Money

Why the Fed’s New ‘Rate Checker’ Doesn’t Check Out

By Peter Miller The government is out with a new mortgage rate site, a resource that’s been greeted with cries of outrage from many within the mortgage industry. So what is this site, does it help borrowers save money, and why has there been so much controversy? The government routinely posts information regarding just about …

Why You Should Buy Less House Than You Can Afford

When it comes to real estate, the more you spend, the more money everyone makes. And it happens on every level of your home purchase. The costs start adding up once you find the perfect place. According to the National Association of Realtors, real estate agents get paid by taking a percentage of the purchase price of your …

Categories: Housing, Loans, Real Estate

Should You Live at Home to Save Money During College?

What would you say to shaving off about $10,000 a year from your college expenses? The average college graduate leaves school with more than $29,000 in student loan debt, but one common option to reduce that figure by thousands of dollars is to live at home instead of on campus. The average annual cost of room and …

Categories: Education, Family, Housing

25 Simple Ways to Cut the Cost of Moving

Let’s face it: Moving can be a pain in the rear end. My first few moving experiences were horrific. But after that, I was much more prepared, made arrangements well in advance,  and things went smoothly. Planning to relocate in the near future? Whether near or far, here are some hacks to streamline the process: …

Categories: Home and Life, Housing

Five Inexpensive Home Improvements for Winter

With the holidays behind us, many people are dreading winter and looking forward to the first signs of spring. Since spring is generally best spent tidying up and working on the outside of your property, winter offers a good chance to get the interior of your home in tip-top shape. There are plenty of upgrades you can do yourself with a limited budget, …

The Very New Deal: How FHA Mortgages Are Changing for 2015

By Peter Miller The federal government established the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage program in the 1930s under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, and it’s been a big hit ever since. In fact, more than 40 million FHA loans have been originated under the program, with large numbers going to first-time buyers. What makes the FHA …

Categories: Housing, Loans

How to Get Organized in 2015 Without Pulling Your Hair Out

A new year means resolutions may be weighing heavily on your mind. But instead of getting fit, eating healthier, returning to school, or taking more vacations, maybe you’ve resolved to get organized so you can take control of your life. Sounds like a phenomenal idea, but you’ll first need to clear the haze and organize your …

Insuring the Sharing Economy

Any doubt about the depth of wisdom of a mother’s time-honored aphorism to “share and share alike” has been laid to rest by the meteoric rise of the sharing economy. From Airbnb to Zipcar and an ever-growing list of collaborative enterprises, the opportunities for consumers and entrepreneurs abound almost equally. No matter whether you attribute …

College Financial Guide: Housing

A huge part of the college experience — and college costs — is housing. Before you sign that lease, choose your roommate, or start packing for the dorm, here is what you need to know to make the right choice for you and how to save: Living in the Dorms One of the most iconic …

Categories: Education, Housing

How to Make Money as an Airbnb Host

Anyone who has stayed at a nice hotel in the past decade knows it’s not cheap. When was the last time you stayed in a major city for under $100 a night? Or under $200 for that matter? There is money to be made in the lodging industry. And it’s never been easier for average …

Does It Make Sense to Never Own a Home?

Recently, I had a long email discussion with an old friend of mine who writes a popular gaming blog (I’m not going to name him because his opinions expressed here may be a bit controversial and it has no reason to spill over into his other work). Basically, his core idea is this: you should …

Categories: Housing

The Accidental Landlord

When I say real estate tycoon, your thoughts probably jump straight to Donald Trump or somebody on a reality show. Then you probably smile a little bit and think to yourself, “If only I had an investment property, I could be on my way to a mega-fortune in no time at all.” Well, if you …

What I Wish I Knew Before Buying Rental Property

In early 2006, my husband and I decided to purchase our first home in my hometown of Greenfield, Indiana. With 1,300 square feet, a few nice-sized bedrooms, and an open kitchen and living room, our first “starter home” was practically perfect for us. And since we had moved there from a one-bedroom apartment with only …

20 Money-Saving Tactics for Winter

A few days ago, we received our first measurable snowfall of the year, bringing us a two-inch blanket of snow that covered the world in white. It was a stark reminder that, although the calendar doesn’t quite say so (yet), winter has arrived. As anyone who has ever had to pay an energy bill north …

How to Find Cheap Home Insurance in 2015

Finding cheap home insurance should be easy. Just call up some insurance providers, compare prices and choose the lowest one. However, with the importance of proper homeowners insurance price isn’t always the best comparison point. After all, home insurance doesn’t just protect the structure of your house. It also protects your belongings and covers you …

Don’t Let That 1,000-Page Mortgage Application Scare You

By Peter Miller The 1,000-page mortgage application is here, but don’t be alarmed: It’s a paper tiger, a low barrier to financing, and no more frightening than a marshmallow. At first it may seem amazing that a loan application could be larger than a Tom Clancy novel, but it’s true. In fact, in today’s marketplace, …

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