Friday, December 6, 2019 / by Ashley Yates
By: Amy Howell Hirt
How not to make money mistakes as a fledgling homeowner.
The negotiations are over. Your mortgage is settled. The keys to your first home are in hand.
Finally, you can install your dream patio.
You can paint the walls without losing your security deposit.
Heck, you could knock out a wall. You're soooo ready to be a homeowner.
So ready in fact, you're about to make some costly mistakes.
"You have to rein it in and be smart," says Daniel Kanter, a homeowner with five years under his belt. Especially in your first year, when your happiness, eagerness (and sometimes ignorance) might convince you to make one of these eight mistakes:
#1 Going With the Lowest Bid
The sounds your HVAC system is making clearly require the knowledge of a professional (or perhaps an exorcist?).
But you've been smart and gotten three contractor bids, so why not go with the lowest price?
You might want to check out this story from a Mich ...
Wednesday, November 13, 2019 / by Ashley Yates
By: Stacey Freed
Kitchen cleaning tips so you'll never be embarrassed by cooking odors.
You love, love, love cooking in your very own kitchen. It's the kitchen of your dreams, where you can crank up the tunes while trying out that teriyaki recipe you saw in a "Tasty" video.
And it's tons more fun if you've got guests coming over. You love to greet them with the aroma of something delicious.
But what if instead of smelling teriyaki, your guests smell something else? Some lingering, foul odor from meals long gone? It happens — especially if you cook often.
Don't let stale, icky cooking odors ruin your dinner party. Give these kitchen spots a good detox treatment, so stinky smells won't have a place to feed.
#1 Disposal Flaps: Scrub Those Suckers
Flip the flaps in your disposal and prepare to be as grossed out as a sixth-grader in health class. Yucky slime left over from food proteins line the flaps, treating you to a greasy and grimy stink.
"Use a sm ...
Wednesday, November 6, 2019 / by Ashley Yates
By: Leanne Potts
Published: July 12, 2018
Real estate negotiation tips so you can buy your dream home — and not overpay.
You've looked at enough houses to fill an entire season of House Hunters and finally picked one to buy. Now you're ready to make an offer.
Your agent can help guide you through this nail-biting phase of negotiating a house price, but ultimately, you call the shots. Here's how to negotiate like a boss.
Fail #1: Thinking House Price is All That Matters
That house with a price point $15k below your budget? It may seem like a deal — until you add on the costs of maintenance and replacing the aging appliances.
Planning on repainting, remodeling, or landscaping, too? Suddenly the price looks a whole lot higher.
When developing your offer, calculate in the costs that will go above and beyond a mortgage payment. Then you can negotiate with an eye on the total cost of owning the house, not just the sticker price. ...
Wednesday, October 16, 2019 / by Ashley Yates
By: Kelly Walters
They can slash your down payment, offer lower interest rates or help with low credit scores.
You know first-time home-buyer programs are out there.
But how do you find the right one?
Start by talking to a local mortgage broker. They’ll be familiar with the programs that are most likely to benefit you -- including local home-buyers programs that might not be as well publicized.
These programs have provided an average of $11,000 in assistance to individual home buyers, according to Down Payment Resource, a nationwide database of roughly 2,500 home ownership programs that helps match buyers and properties. That assistance can vary greatly between disparate cost-of-living markets like Southern California and Iowa, according to Down Payment Resource. Some 87% of properties are eligible for some kind of assistance.
Of the programs tracked by Down Payment Resource, for example, 69% offer down payment assistance.
“Paying 20% down is, quit ...
Wednesday, October 9, 2019 / by Ashley Yates
By: Amy Howell Hirt
There are a lot of steps to buying a house, and that takes time: It takes 50 days on average to just close on a home.
How long does it take to buy a house? A lot depends on how much time you spend shopping for one. But once you have a contract, it takes an average of 50 days to close on a house.
There are a lot of steps to buying a house, and any of them could drag out the timeline, especially if you're not prepared. Here's the home-buying timeline, broken down step-by-step, so you can be in control:
1. Do Your Homework
Time: 1-14 days
Dreaming about owning your own home is one thing; making it happen is another. To get beyond the dream stage, you need to do some critical research to help you figure out what you do and don't want — along with how much can you afford.
It's mighty disappointing to fall in love with a house only to find out you can't afford it. A quick chat with your bank can help ...