Housing

30 Year vs. 15 Year Mortgage Income Tax Deduction

Earlier this week, I compared the real cost of 15 and 30 year mortgages of $200,000 at the current market rates, assuming 4% inflation on average over those years. It turned into an interesting discussion that’s well worth reading. The high point: The fifteen year mortgage is still cheaper, but by much less than before. …

A Down Payment Dilemma: Buy A Car Or Keep Saving For A House?

Jerry wrote in recently with the following problem: I and my wife are both graduate students; we recently paid off all our debts and started on a savings plan for the next few years that I am hoping will be our big downpayment on our first home. With our current salaries, we have been saving …

Fixed Rate Mortgage: 15 year or 30 year Mortgage?

I recently read an article at Finance is Personal entitled Why You Shouldn’t Get A 30 Year Mortgage. It presents a great argument for why one should get a 15 year mortgage and not a 30 year mortgage – you pay fewer dollars in the long run because of the lower interest rate and fewer …

The Lowdown On Private Mortgage Insurance

Note: I was informed by several readers that PMI traditionally stands for private mortgage insurance, so I updated the article to reflect that. Many first time homebuyers are daunted with the prospect of saving up six figures to afford that 20% down payment, so they often take out home mortgages for less than a 20% …

Using Mozilla Sunbird To Schedule Infrequent Home Maintenance Tasks – And Other Irregular Tasks

A while back, I posted an extensive checklist of monthly home maintenance tasks. There were some items on the list that didn’t need to be done every single month, but most of them are really quite useful to do each month if you want to keep your house in tip-top shape. There’s one big problem, …

Reflections On Being A New Homeowner

I moved into my new home almost a month ago and the period has given me time to reflect on my new status as a homeowner. This is a collection of some of these thoughts, which might give insight to a homeowner considering the move. My home makes me proud. I have significantly more pride …

Categories: Housing

Another Look At Renting To Get Richer: The Inflation Factor

A couple days ago, I wrote about the philosophy that one could rent and become richer over time. In that piece, I used a very simple description comparing the two: Let’s say, hypothetically, that you have a home that is eating $1,200 a month in payments, $500 a year in insurance, $1,000 a year in …

Categories: Housing

Renting To Get Richer?

This MSN Money article argues quite vehemently that renting is cheaper than owning a home: I have something un-American to confess: I rent an apartment despite having enough money to buy a house. I plan to keep renting for as long as I can. I’m not just holding out for better prices. Renting will make …

Categories: Housing

Seven Tips For Your Next Big Move

Over the last week, my wife and I took on the challenge of moving from a small apartment to a nice family home. It turned out that we made some good moves and some bad ones during the move, and came up with some great ideas along the way that we weren’t necessarily able to …

Categories: Frugality, Housing

Building A Home Maintenance And Improvement Fund

Having lived in a house that needed constant upkeep when I was young, I know the value of having money on hand to take care of home maintenance. As a new homeowner, that means I’m going to christen a home maintenance and improvement fund so that when such issues appear, I can handle them. What’s …

Categories: Housing, Saving Money

Calculating The Cost Of A Moving Service Versus The Cost Of Doing It Ourselves

Since my financial armageddon, I’ve become very good at calculating the cost of various services, the time it would take me to do it myself, and using that data to determine if it is an efficient use of time. As we’re about to move, one of the big decisions for us was whether it was …

Categories: Housing, Saving Money

Making The Moving Transition Easier On Young Children

Right now, our tiny apartment has virtually everything boxed up and ready for the move and my twenty month old son has certainly noticed this. We haven’t yet taken apart the stuff in his bedroom (the crib literally has to be dismantled before it can be moved), but he’s quite aware of big changes going …

Categories: Family, Housing

Need a Home Equity Loan? Answer 3 Questions First.

One of my closest friends has been itching to turn half of his basement into a den of sorts, with a full bar, a big screen television, a few couches, and a few card tables. Basically, he wants to have a “hang-out” place for a lot of his male friends on the weekends to watch …

Defining Minimum Acceptable Housing – And How It Varies From Person To Person

My Friday post about how to afford an expensive housing market raised some interesting questions – the most intriguing of which is the idea of minimum acceptable housing. To me, this was epitomized by the following abrasive comment on the thread: Sorry for this nonproductive comment, but I’m really dissappointed in your arrogance. I live …

Categories: Housing

Rural Ideas For An Expensive Housing Market

I’ve touted the benefits of living in Iowa before, but one of the biggest benefits of all is the wonderful housing market. I was able to get a 2000+ square foot home, built less than ten years ago, for less than $200,000. This success makes me never even want to consider living in an expensive …

Categories: Housing

Three Fears I Have About Moving

There are a lot of small financial fears I have about the whole moving process – future costs, lifestyle changes, and such. This is my first go-round as a homeowner, so lots of questions float through my head. Here are three of the most prevalent ones – and my attempt to answer them. Increased energy …

Categories: Housing

Ten Things To Do When You Move Into A New Home

Since my wife and I are less than three weeks away from moving into our first home, we’ve been researching the things that we need to do as soon as we move. It wouldn’t be The Simple Dollar if I didn’t compile a list of the things we’ve found and posted it here! Here are …

Categories: Housing

Prepaying On Your Home Loan Is Just A Conservative Investment

One of the regular debates here on The Simple Dollar is the eternal question of whether someone should prepay on their home loan or not. Any time you discuss a particular home mortgage situation with real numbers, someone will always say that it makes more sense to invest it somewhere else, while another person will …

To Clean Or Not To Clean?

Typically, I’m a “do it myself and save money” type of person, but I think I may have just run into a situation where I may actually hire someone to complete a task that I could do myself instead. Here’s the deal: when we move out of our apartment, we’ll have about a week during …

Categories: Housing, Saving Money