Tuesday, October 20, 2020 / by Ashley Yates
The ultimate timeline ensures the smoothest of transitions.
By JENNIFER NELSON
Image: Iriana Shiyan/Shutterstock
A real yard. Closets bigger than your average microwave. The freedom to decorate however you darn well please! Making the switch from renting to owning is exhilarating, but many rookie homebuyers find the process trickier to navigate than they expected.
This is why we created our First-Time HomeBuyer Checklist. The 12-month timeline will help you sidestep common mistakes, like paying too much interest or getting stuck with the wrong house. (Yep, it happens!)
12 Months Out
Check your credit score. Get a copy of your credit report at annualcreditreport.com. The three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) are each required to give you a free credit report once a year. A Federal Trade Commission study found one in four Americans identified errors on their credit report, and 5% had errors that could lead to higher rates ...
Friday, February 21, 2020 / by Ashley Yates
Here’s how to get creative. But understand the ins and outs to make the right decision for you.
By: MARY BETH STORJOHANN
You’ve done your research. Interest rates are low, and you know the exact area you want to buy your future home in and the details you desire down to the type of flooring in the kitchen. Now the only thing standing between you and a seat at the offer table is figuring out how you’re going to come up with a reasonable down payment.
Aside from going the traditional route of saving slowly and consistently over time to reach your savings goal, consider these other creative options for funding your down payment:
#1 Negotiate a Pay Raise
If you’re not comfortable asking for what you want, now’s the time to learn. Research comparable pay for your position, create a list of your accomplishments and the value you’ve added to your company, and schedule a sit down with your boss to discuss compensation.
Tack on an e ...
Thursday, January 16, 2020 / by Ashley Yates
By: Amy Howell Hirt
When to look for sales on mattresses, appliances, tools, furnishings, and materials.
Buying stuff can be stressful. Cheap out, and you could regret it. Overspend, and you'll cut into your budget. Knowing the best time of year to buy appliances and other household items can lessen the anxiety.
Here's a list of the best time of year for sales — or download the one-page calendar here.
Furniture: January and July
You could save 30% to 60% buying furniture in January and July, as stores try to clear out inventory and make way for new pieces, which manufacturers introduce in February and August.
Floor samples especially often sell for a song, so don't hesitate to ask.
Storage Essentials: January and August
In August, retailers slash prices and offer free shipping on shelving, organizing systems, baskets, and storage bins, baiting parents who are packing kids off to college or getting organized f ...
Thursday, January 2, 2020 / by Ashley Yates
By: Amy Howell Hirt
Like what to do when a tree falls.
You know what to do if someone is having a heart attack, or you hear an intruder — call 911!
But what about those other *emergencies* — the ones where you're not sure who to call?
Here are five home- (and sometimes life-) threatening emergencies that often baffle new homeowners. (Plus, if you fill out this worksheet and post it somewhere visible — as well in your phone contacts — you'll be super prepared).
#1 Skillet Grease Catches Fire
DON'T. THROW. WATER.
It'll only feed the fire. Instead, the National Fire Protection Association recommends smothering skillet flames by carefully sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave it covered until everything's cool; removing the lid too quickly can allow the fire to spark back up.
If you reach for a fire extinguisher, make sure it's Class B or ABC — using the wrong type could spread the flames. And if you have any doubt about s ...
Monday, December 16, 2019 / by Ashley Yates
By: Kelley Walters
The credit score to buy a house can be as low as 580.
A low credit score doesn't have to lock you out of home ownership. A mortgage will probably cost you more (both in dollars and angst) than someone with stellar credit, but many lenders are willing to work with you.
Here's what you need to know about low-credit score mortgages:
What Counts as "Low Credit" Anyway?
First, let's debunk the home-buying myth that you have to have a gold-plated credit score to buy a house. Lenders review your whole financial picture. If you have a steady income, a regular payment history, and some cash in hand, that will help balance your less-than-perfect credit.
Here's how FICO generally categorizes credit scores:
800+ = Excellent credit score
740-799 = Very good credit score
670-739 = Good credit score
580-669 = Fair credit score
Below 580 = Poor credit score
A credit score of 66 ...