Category Archives: Real Estate Advice & Tips

Money Monday: How to retire debt-free

Retiring already can put a strain on your budget; don’t exacerbate it by being deep in debt on top of it!

Picture from www.ccPixs.com

Here are a few ways to get and stay debt-free:

  1. Start and keep building up your savings — having at least an emergency savings stash is especially crucial.
  2. Spend less than you bring in — live below your means.
  3. Work on paying off your student loans early.
  4. Don’t overpay when buying your home — you need to get an affordable mortgage.
  5. Keep that credit card debt very low.

Read more on all five of these ideas on Money.CNN.com’s article: “5 steps to retire debt-free.”

Money Monday: Financial realities of owning a home

Let’s consider some of the financial realities about owning a home.

homeIn an opinion piece in the Fresno Bee newspaper, the writer made the case for why Congress should keep a tax incentive to encourage Americans to be homeowners. Regardless of your opinion on the matter, the author’s points on the financial positives of homeownership were beneficial and worth a read.

  • “Owning a home is one of the best ways to build long-term wealth, providing both equity accumulation and tax benefits over time. In 2013, the median net worth of homeowner families was $195,400, while the median net worth of renters was $5,400, according to the Federal Reserve.”
  • “Homeownership strengthens communities, encourages higher civic participation, boosts children’s educational performance, lowers crime rates, and improves health-care outcomes. Moreover, homeowners bring more stability to neighborhoods because they tend to move less often.”
  • “Homeownership helps provide predictability. Individuals can enjoy steady and consistent housing costs thanks to the tax incentive that allows them to own a home. That’s because a fixed-rate mortgage payment might not change for 15 to 39 years, while rents typically increase 2 to 3 percent a year.”
  • Read more of this article here: “Want to create wealth? This is one way to do it.”

Money Monday: Reasons Not to Purchase a Home with All-Cash

Even if you have the financial means to put in an all-cash offer, you may not want to do so.

All-cash offers can be more appealing to home-sellers, but you also need to take into consideration the other aspects of paying so much cash upfront.

All-cash offers in today's real estate market

  1. Will you have enough liquidity left? At least a few thousand dollars left in your pocket is ideal. You may have repairs, upgrades you desire to make, and increased utility and maintenance costs for your new house — not to mention your typical costs and unexpected financial needs (such as medical bills or suddenly losing employment).
  2. What if you easily qualify for a mortgage? Interest rates are still on the low-side, and by obtaining a mortgage to purchase a house, you would be able to keep a large chunk of your finances.
  3. Paying all-cash means you miss out on a tax break. When you have a mortgage, you are able to receive a tax break on the interest paid to the mortgage lender.
  4. & 5. reasons are available to read at Finance.Yahoo.com: “5 Reasons Not to Purchase Your Home With Cash.”

Money Monday: Preparing to Buy a Home

Buying a home — it’s a big decision; one that you should prepare for in advance.

buyers and sellers real estate disclosures“One of the most important things a first-time homebuyer can do is prepare their budget for this big financial event.” (“How to Prepare Your Budget for Buying Your First Home”. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/prepare-budget-buying-first-home-123000854.html)

And there’s a few key ways that you can get your budget in order:

  1. Work on getting your credit score up
  2. Save for a down payment on a house
  3. Prepare for extra costs when buying

Read more on Yahoo’s financial advice on prepping your budget before buying here: “How to Prepare Your Budget for Buying Your First Home”.

Money Monday: Ask Yourself These Questions Before Renting or Buying

Whether to buy or rent doesn’t necessarily have a clear-cut answer. But hopefully these questions will provide some guidance:

  1. What’s your top financial priority?
  2. What do you have savings for: down payment or first and last months’ rent?
  3. How long do you plan on living in the area?

There’s five more questions to ask yourself before you rent or buy; find them here on Yahoo: “8 Questions to Ask Yourself When Deciding to Rent or Buy a House.”

Projects with the Best Returns in 2017

Resale ROI

House projects have varying degrees of return; here are the top five projects with the greatest ROI, and the top five with the least ROI:

This infographic is from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS.

Money Monday: What does FICO have to do with my Home Loan?

Your FICO score is the yardstick by which most lenders measure your credit worthiness.

debt calculationThe major credit bureaus keep track of loans that you have taken out in the past and how well you managed this debt. A high FICO score indicates that you have been responsible with the credit extended to you and will reflect positively on applications that you submit, while a lower score indicates that you have had credit issues in the past. Continue reading

How to Decide on Paint Colors

What’s in a color?

Paint isn’t just paint; it affects the mood and feeling of the home and room you’re painting. Deciding on the proper color is important, whether staging your home to sell or just giving it a refresher.

what's in a color car.org

This infographic is from CAR.org.