Housing

Renting Versus Buying: Are There Situations Where Renting Clearly Wins?

Recently, several readers have contacted me arguing quite forcefully that renting gets a bad reputation and that in many cases renting is actually a better deal than buying a home. In order to break down this argument, I defined three distinct cases: rent exceeds total monthly mortgage payments, rent exceeds the interest portion of total …

Categories: Housing

An Introduction To Compound Interest With Spreadsheets, Part 3: A Simple Mortgage Calculator

Regular compound interest is (basically) the way most loans and savings accounts work, including home mortgages. Here, we’re going to use a spreadsheet to calculate a home mortgage payment estimator (and even a full payment schedule) using the principles of compound interest. Fire up your spreadsheet and enter the following information into cells: In A1, …

Borrowing Against A Retirement Plan To Make A 20% Down Payment

My wife and I are currently contemplating an interesting question: should we borrow against our retirement plans in order to make a 20% down payment and avoid PMI or an adjustable rate mortgage? We’ve arrived at an answer to this question, but it’s not an answer that works for everyone, so let’s work through the …

Categories: Housing, Retirement

Digging Through The Comments: Readers Of The Simple Dollar Speak Out

Occasionally, I like to highlight comments about various articles on The Simple Dollar for several reasons. One, it lets me highlight some of my best readers and let them know that I really value their comments. Two, it lets everyone else know how integral comments are to The Simple Dollar. And three, after sifting through …

How Bad Of A Deal Is A 50 Year Mortgage?

Yesterday, I received an email from a friend who is moving into a new home that he’s financing with a fifty year mortgage. He was bragging about how low his payments were and he’s putting equity into his house. For regular readers of this site, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I quickly loaded up …

Categories: Housing

31 Days To Fix Your Finances, Day 21: Evaluating Your Expenses – Housing

The Simple Dollar offers a month-long plan for fixing your finances. All you need is an open mind and an hour each day. Most people, once they’re locked into a home mortgage or have moved into an apartment, feel as though that is an amount that they are simply down each month, with no real …

Categories: Housing, Money

5 Big Questions For First Time Home Buyers #5: What Are All These Closing Costs?

As I begin the process of locating and buying my first home, my mind is loaded with questions. This week, I’m answering the five biggest ones (for me, at least) in detail. I’ve heard all sorts of horror stories about the ridiculous items that mortgage lenders and other such nefarious fellows like to slip into …

Categories: Housing

5 Big Questions For First Time Home Buyers #4: How Do I Find A Good Home Inspector?

As I begin the process of locating and buying my first home, my mind is loaded with questions. This week, I’m answering the five biggest ones (for me, at least) in detail. Other questions involve a home buying gameplan, true home ownership costs, hiring an agent, and closing costs. To me, the home inspection process …

Categories: Housing

5 Big Questions For First Time Home Buyers #3: How Do I Find A Good Agent?

As I begin the process of locating and buying my first home, my mind is loaded with questions. This week, I’m answering the five biggest ones (for me, at least) in detail. Other questions involve a home buying gameplan, true home ownership costs, hiring a home inspector, and closing costs. Up to this point, my …

Categories: Housing

5 Big Questions For First Time Home Buyers #2: What Does It Really Cost?

As I begin the process of locating and buying my first home, my mind is loaded with questions. This week, I’m answering the five biggest ones (for me, at least) in detail. Other questions involve a home buying gameplan, hiring an agent, hiring a home inspector, and closing costs. Whenever I’ve talked to people about …

Categories: Housing

5 Big Questions For First Time Home Buyers #1: How Do I Get Started?

As I begin the process of locating and buying my first home, my mind is loaded with questions. This week, I’m answering the five biggest ones (for me, at least) in detail. Other questions involve true home ownership costs, hiring an agent, hiring a home inspector, and closing costs. My wife and I have casually …

Categories: Housing

Should You Overpay On Your Mortgage?

Recently, I had an email exchange with a reader about whether or not they should overpay on their home mortgage or take that overpayment and invest it. I spent some time with Excel and Bankrate.com’s mortgage calculator and I made a few interesting discoveries. I don’t want to bury you in numbers, so I’m going …

Categories: Housing, Investing

Gift Yourself An Extra Mortgage Payment!

Most people find themselves swimming in debt after spending too much on the holidays. Next year, you should do something to make that debt seem a little less insurmountable: make an extra mortgage payment so that you’ll own your house much quicker. Sounds hard? It’s not really all that hard at all if you do …

Categories: Housing, Money

Extra Mortgage Payment vs. Investments

As my wife and I begin the process of finding and buying a home, we repeatedly find ourselves investigating various aspects of home ownership. Right now, we’re in a situation where we are able to save and invest far more each month than we will be spending on a home mortgage in the price range …

Categories: Housing, Investing

Facing My Financial Fears: Buying A Home

This week, The Simple Dollar is doing a five part series on financial topics that scare me just a bit. Researching and then writing about them will (hopefully) alleviate some of that fear Other fears include buying a car, estate planning, investment risk, and Roth IRAs. I saved my biggest fear for last. In the …

Categories: Housing, Money

#4: Paying for a Home

This is part of a series in which we re-evaluate Money Magazine’s “25 Rules To Grow Rich By”. One “rule” will be re-evaluated each weekday until the series concludes; you can keep tabs on the action at the 25 Rules index. How Much Should My House Payment Be? Rule #4: Your total housing payments should …

#3: Buying a Home

This is part of a series in which we re-evaluate Money Magazine’s “25 Rules To Grow Rich By”. One “rule” will be re-evaluated each weekday until the series concludes; you can keep tabs on the action at the 25 Rules index. How Much House Can I Afford? Rule #3: Spend no more than two and …

Categories: Housing, Money

#2: Home Refinancing

This is part of a series in which we re-evaluate Money Magazine’s “25 Rules To Grow Rich By”. One “rule” will be re-evaluated each weekday until the series concludes; you can keep tabs on the action at the 25 Rules index. When Should I Refinance My Home Rule #2: It’s worth refinancing your mortgage when …

Categories: Housing, Money

#1: Home Renovation

This post is part of a series in which we re-evaluate Money Magazine’s “25 Rules To Grow Rich By”. One “rule” will be re-evaluated each weekday until the series concludes; you can keep tabs on the action at the 25 Rules index. Rule #1: For return on investment, the best home renovation is to upgrade …

Categories: Housing, Money