Housing

The Art Of Filling An Empty House Without Losing Financial Balance

Early next month, my family and I will be moving into a house with more than three times the square footage of our current tiny apartment. This, of course, means that after we move, our home will be very spartan. For some, this might be an excuse to bust out the plastic and go on …

Categories: Housing

Save Time, Effort, And Money With A Monthly Home and Auto Maintenance Checklist

Should I Prepay On My Home Loan Or Put It Into Savings?

I had a lengthy and interesting discussion with my wife this morning about the interest rate on our home loan. We are locked in at 5.875%, and I told her that at that rate, we were better off not paying extra on the loan and instead putting it away in an HSBC Direct account at …

Categories: Debt, Housing, Taxes

I Just Doubled My Salary – What Do I Do With The Money?

A reader (let’s call him Ralph) wrote in with the following interesting situation (that has some parallels to my own): About a year ago my wife and I bought a new house with no money down and a 30 year fixed rate mortgage locked in at 5.5%. This meant of course that we would be …

Categories: Debt, Housing

A Reader Has Interesting Reasons For Upgrading A Home

A reader (let’s call him Martin) wrote to me with an interesting scenario about his decision to upgrade his home: I am in my late 40′s and bought a home 8 years ago in a modest neighborhood and will have it completely paid off in about 10 years. My mortgage payments are around $470/month. I …

Categories: Housing

Planning Ahead For The Big Move – And Hoping To Save Money

Our house closes in a little more than a month, so we’re already thinking about moving, and being the frugal types we are, we’re trying to move with minimal expense. Thankfully, we have one big advantage: we are moving locally, which basically means loading up a truck at one point, driving for an hour or …

Categories: Housing

20 Essential Tools For Getting Started With A Home, Garage, and Garden

From the day I left home shortly after my eighteenth birthday, I have never lived in any place that had a garage, had any reasonable storage space, or that didn’t have a landlord to fix problems. Thus, I never had much need for tools. I used to thoroughly enjoy doing small household tasks and working …

Categories: Housing

Navigating Origination Fees And Points

When you go to purchase a home using a mortgage, one of the major expenses that you’ll have to pay at the close is the origination fee. Here’s a guide for navigating them and figuring out what the best deal is for you. What’s an origination fee? The origination fee is an amount that you …

Categories: Housing

Five Little Lessons Learned After The House-Buying Agreement Is Reached

The last few days have been filled with lots of little lessons about the home-buying process. Here are five little anecdotes about things we learned: Home inspections typically aren’t part of the closing costs. I had just assumed that they were part of typical closing costs, but in our situation, a home inspection is done …

Categories: Housing

The Value of Networking and Friendship

Eight days ago, I wrote a lengthy review of Never Eat Alone, a book about how exactly to network and maintain a large circle of friends and acquaintances, a skill that I myself often feel that I’m not good at. After writing it, a few readers wrote to me and asked what the point of …

Marriage and Mortgage: A Reader Wants To Know

A reader wrote in recently asking whether or not wedding bells should be in his future. What do you think? My fiance and I are considering marriage. However, it seems like financially, marriage is a mistake. We both work full time and it seems like a greater proportion of our incomes would now go into …

Categories: Housing, Marriage

Why I Want A Home: Six Frugal Things That Just Aren’t Convenient In Our Apartment

As I’ve mentioned before, my family currently lives in a very small two bedroom apartment. We don’t have the room to do many of the things that I would love to do, frugal things that would save us a lot of money. Here are six things that having a home of our own will permit …

Categories: Frugality, Housing

The Stress of Buying a Home

As we progress through this home-buying experience (we’ve looked at tons of homes, found the right one, and are about to submit an offer), we’ve found out how truly stressful it is. Added into this is the fact that my wife is pregnant and we will be having our second child not long after moving …

Categories: Housing, Psychology

The Furniture Dilemma

My wife and son and I currently live in a tiny apartment. I mean tiny. It nominally has two bedrooms, but the second one (used as a nursery) is only slightly bigger than a closet, and our living room has a love seat in it – a love seat about to fall apart, no less. …

The Housing Panic Is Even Here In Iowa – An Update On The House Hunt

So many readers have been emailing me about our house hunt and have questions about the details of it that I thought I’d write a quick update about how it’s going, mostly because it’s interesting. Housing prices in Iowa are very nice compared to other regions of the country. You can get a four bedroom …

Categories: Housing

Setting Up A House Buying Worksheet

My wife and I are looking at about three houses per night this week (on average), and because of the sheer volume of houses, we’re concerned about recalling all of our reactions to the houses as well as their primary features. As a result, last night my wife designed a house buying worksheet in order …

Categories: Housing

Remembering The Flood of 1993 And What It Taught Me

I grew up on the muddy banks of the Mississippi River; it was literally within eyeshot of my parents’ land. My father was a small-scale commercial fisherman, so I spent a lot of time on the river in my youth – and I really understood its amazing grace and power. We lived on a hill …

Dealing With The Stress of Buying a Home

Right now, my wife and I are waist-deep in the house buying process and it is pretty stressful for both of us. Buying a house is a huge financial commitment and we’re both rather stressed out about the whole thing – it has been dominating our thoughts and our waking hours for the last several …

Finding Your Dream House – And Trying To Convince Yourself You Can’t Quite Afford It

My wife and I have been doing some house hunting in our area lately. We have been watching the real estate fliers carefully and have been driving through nearby towns looking at homes with “For Sale” signs in front. Last night, we drove by a house that somehow just called out to both of us. …

Categories: Housing, Planning