Tag Archives: finances

Money Monday: Americans and Money

When it comes to money, Americans not only want more; they want to manage it better. A new NerdWallet survey conducted by Harris Poll reveals that most folks aren’t happy with the state of their finances and they’re taking steps to change the situation.

Personal finance and money

To see how Americans are dealing with this financial balancing act, NerdWallet commissioned a survey by Harris Poll of over 2,000 U.S. adults conducted online Sept. 12-14, 2017. The results show that most Americans have financial regrets and stressors, but they also have goals and are working to accomplish them.

Americans wish they had done some things differently, with 71% expressing regrets when it comes to money management. Millennials (those ages 18-34 in this survey) are more likely than the two other age groups to have such regrets (83%), according to the survey.

But they are looking ahead: 89% of Americans say they have financial goals that they hope to achieve within the next 10 years, and 88% are taking steps right now to manage their money.

Source: NerdWallet

Read the full story

Money Monday: Financial changes to build wealth

January is the perfect time of the year to plan ahead; especially when it comes to finances.

Forbes has a whole list of financial resolutions to make; here are some of the best suggestions:

  • Make a budget and stick to it
  • Review your credit card/financial statements and see what you can cut out
  • Refinance your mortgage
  • Get a will or living trust
  • Start investing

Read all 27 of their suggestions here: “27 Financial New Year’s Resolutions To Build Wealth“.

Money Monday: Renters have affordability challenges when buying a home

Renters value homeownership but face affordability challenges when it comes to buying a home, C.A.R. survey finds.

upside-downCurrent renters value homeownership and want to buy a home, but many are encountering affordability and financial obstacles that prevent them from buying, according to the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®’ (C.A.R.) “2016 Renter Survey. Making sense of the story:

  • Nearly half of renters (48 percent) plan to buy a home in the future, with 10 percent saying that they plan to buy within a year.
  • For those not planning to buy, an improvement in finances, lower housing prices, and saving enough for a down payment would motivate them to buy now.
  • Of the 28 percent of renters who don’t plan to buy in the future, 50 percent said they can’t afford to buy, 20 percent will not buy because they prefer to rent, 19 percent said they can’t qualify for a mortgage, and 15 percent lack a down payment.
  • Job uncertainty (9 percent), economic uncertainty (12 percent), and housing market uncertainty (6 percent) were among other reasons renters cited for not buying a home.
    Homeownership remains important to renters, with nearly half (45 percent) rating it 8 or higher in importance on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being extremely important. The average was 6.8.
  • Nearly all renters (95 percent) see advantages to homeownership; freedom to do what you want with your home, building equity, and having permanence and stability were the top benefits mentioned by renters.
  • One of the surprising findings of this survey is that more than one in four millennial renters said they plan to purchase a home that will accommodate their parents, and about one in five millennials indicated they plan to pool funds with family members to buy a home.

Read the full story from KPCC: www.scpr.org/news/2016/06/08/61459/homeownership-is-valued-but-remains-expensive-and/

Money Monday: Millennials under pressure

Millennials have multiple financial stresses

Why do millennials have more financial challenges than baby boomers? Several reasons:

  • Home prices have increased
  • It’s pricey raising a child
  • Median household incomes have decreased
  • More have student debt

CAR_Millennials_Under_Pressure

This infographic is from CAR.org.

Money Monday: Myths about credit score

Don’t fall for these myths about your credit score!

  1. Your credit score drops whenever you look at it
  2. You need to close credit cards that you don’t use
  3. Paying off that negative account takes it off your record
  4. Cosigning on a loan doesn’t mean you’re responsible to pay it
  5. Making payments on time show up on your credit score
  6. Your payment behavior shows up on your report

6 Myths about Credit Scores

This infographic is from CAR.org.

Money Monday: 5 money resolutions to make in 2016

With a new year comes a fresh opportunity to get your finances in order.

money“And thanks to Wall Street’s wild ride in 2015, more Americans plan to make financial resolutions, according to a recent Fidelity survey.

“While the top two resolutions of “save more” and “spend less” seem pretty straight forward, they’re easier said than done…

“Here are more money moves experts recommend adding to your resolution list:”

1. Pay off debt

2. Create an emergency fund

3. Increase your retirement savings

4. Assess your investment strategy

5. Review your insurance coverage

Read CNN Money’s article in full here: “5 money resolutions to make in 2016”.

Real estate tips to guard against losing your home

Real estate tips to guard against losing your home

Time and time again, home-buyer wannabes state that the reason they are still fence-sitting is that they don’t want to end up in the same trouble the last generation of homeowners did.

Well, there’s a very slim chance of that happening, given the changes in the market climate: Homes are at rock-bottom prices (not sky-high), and mortgage guidelines are so conservative it is nearly impossible to even find one of the zero-down, quick-to-adjust, stated-income mortgages of yesteryear.

With that said, though, there is a handful of rules today’s home buyers and homeowners can follow to dramatically minimize the chances they will ever face losing their homes:

1. Never a borrower or a lender be. OK, so maybe NEVER is strong, but you’d be surprised at how many foreclosed homeowners actually bought their homes with conservative loans and at low prices many years ago, but got into trouble taking new mortgages and pulling cash out at the top of the market (then not being able to refinance or make the adjusted payment at the bottom).

Today’s home buyers can avoid this fate by starting out their homeowning careers with some ground rules in place around borrowing against their homes.

A good (albeit conservative) place to start is this rule: Decide not to borrow against your home equity for anything but well-planned home improvements.

Here’s another one: Whatever you do, don’t borrow against your home to lend money to someone else. I’ve seen dozens of homeowners over the years borrow to make an “investment” in a friend’s business or to lend money to a child or a parent. Borrowing against your home’s equity to make an investment in a business you know nothing about is a complete gamble with your home. Don’t do it.

2. Stop financial codependency. Related to the rule of thumb about borrowing to lend is this change of the bad habit of financial codependency.

This comes up most often when homeowners borrow money against their home or tap into their emergency cash cushion (leaving themselves unable to make their mortgage payments if they lose their job, etc.) to help an adult child make their own mortgage payments or bail them out of another crisis situation.

It also comes up where one spouse supports another spouse’s habit of overspending, debting, underearning, gambling, or even substance abuse, and ends up going into a financial hole as a result. Over time, these cases can create the temptation or even desperation to further leverage your home, and can run through a savings account, leaving the homeowner exposed and vulnerable in the face of a temporary disability, job loss or recession.

There are a number of powerful books on the market about how to cease being codependent, but many people struggle to recognize they even have this issue until it’s too late. Here’s a hint: If you regularly use money to protect a loved one from the natural consequences of their behavior, you are engaging in codependent behavior.

3. Stay conscious. Going on money autopilot, without occasional check-ins, is the root of many financial woes. Many money experts recommend automating your monthly payments so that your recurring bills are paid on time, every time. And almost any homeowner will vouch that there are few bills that seem to come up as frequently as your mortgage!

The problem is that once you automate your payments, it’s very easy to fall into the habit of simply ignoring your actual statements — and they may contain information that flags issues before they snowball into serious problems.

One homeowner recently realized that through no fault of her own, and despite never having missed an auto-payment, her home was facing foreclosure — all because the bank had somehow erroneously started crediting her payments to someone else’s mortgage account!

Also, financial autopilot mode can support habits like overspending and overdebting; the minimum payments may always get made without much attention from you, but the overall balances will rear their ugly heads and possibly pose a threat to your ability to pay your mortgage, in the event you ever face a job loss, medical bills or other financial crisis.

4. Do your own math before you buy. Only you can know the full extent of your non-housing-related financial obligations and values. Things like catch-up retirement savings, tithing and charitable giving, private school tuition, medical costs and the like can take big chunks out of your monthly budget that your mortgage pro is not accounting for when he or she tells you how much of a mortgage you’re qualified to borrow.

So, before you ever speak with a mortgage broker, it’s up to you as a responsible buyer and adult to get a very clear understanding of your own personal income and expenses, assets and priorities, and to use that knowledge to decide how much you can afford to put down and to spend monthly for a home.

Fortunately, an increasing number of are buyers doing this, and actually choosing to buy a home that costs much less than they are technically qualified for.

5. Don’t buy a house to fix a family or psychological problem. Beware of “pulling a geographic” — moving to a new neighborhood or town to try to run from your problems and bad habits.

Experts caution against expecting the move to solve the problem on the grounds that, in the words of mindfulness guru Jon Kabat-Zinn, “wherever you go, there you are.” If you have bad habits in Chicago, moving to L.A. doesn’t purge the bad habits — only working on the actual dysfunction itself will do that.

There’s a real estate-specific version of pulling a geographic, which we’ll call “pulling a residential.” This is where people buy a home or buy a new home in an effort to cure a deeper family or psychological issue; sort of like that old (and equally bad) idea of having a baby to try to save your marriage.

If your children are fighting because they lack personal space, that’s one thing. But if there are deeper issues going on with your children, your family or your relationship (even your relationship with yourself), do not fantasize that owning a home or moving up is going to automatically solve them.

In fact, the opposite is often true: The larger the financial and maintenance obligations that come with a home, the more a mortgage and property taxes can add strain to already troubled relationships.

Tara-Nicholle Nelson is an author and the Consumer Ambassador and Educator for real estate listings search site Trulia.com.

Understanding Foreclosure

Understanding Foreclosure

It is an unfortunate commentary, but when economic activity declines and housing activity decreases, more real property enters the foreclosure process. High interest rates and creative financing arrangements also are contributing factors.

When prices are rapidly accelerating during a real estate “bonanza”, many people go to any lengths available to get into the market through investments in vacation homes, rental housing and “trading up” to more expensive properties. In some cases, this results in the taking on of high interest rate payments and second, third and even fourth deeds of trust. Many buyers anticipate that interest rates will drop and home prices will continue to escalate. Neither may occur, and borrowers may be faced with large “balloon” payments becoming due. When payments cannot be met, the foreclosure process looms on the horizon.

understanding foreclosuresIn the foreclosure process, one thing should be kept in mind: as a general rule, a lender would rather receive payments than receive a home due to a foreclosure. Lenders are not in the business of selling real estate and will often try to accommodate property owners who are having payment problems. The best plan is to contact the lender before payment problems arise. If monthly payments are too hefty, it may be that a lender will be able to make some alternative payment arrangements until the owner’s financial situation improves.

Let’s say, however, that a property owner has missed payments and has not made any alternate arrangements with the lender. In this case, the lender may decide to begin the foreclosure process. Under such circumstances, the lender, whether a bank, savings and loan or private party, will request that the trustee, often a title company, file a notice of default with the county recorder’s office. A copy of the notice is mailed to the property owner.

If the default is due to a balloon payment not being made when due, the lender can require full payment on the entire outstanding loan as the only way to cure the default. If the default is not cured, the lender may direct the trustee to sell the property at a public sale.

In cases of a public sale, a notice of sale must be published in a local newspaper and posted in a public place, usually the courthouse, for three consecutive weeks. Once the notice of sale has been recorded, the property owner has until 5 days prior to the published sale date to bring the loan current. If the owner cures the default by making up the payments, the deed of trust will be reinstated and regular monthly payments will continue as before. After this time, it may still be possible for the property owner to work out a postponement on the sale with the lender. However, if no postponement is reached, the property goes “on the block”. At the sale, buyers must pay the amount of their bid in cash, cashier’s check or other instrument acceptable to the trustee. A lender may “credit bid” up to the amount of the obligation being foreclosed upon.

With the recent attention given to foreclosure, there also has been corresponding interest in buying foreclosed properties. However, caveat emptor: buyer beware. Foreclosed properties are very likely to b e burdened with overdue taxes, liens and clouded titles. A buyer should do his homework and ask a local title company for information concerning these outstanding liens and encumbrances. Title insurance may or may not be available following a foreclosure sale and various exceptions may be included in any title insurance policy issued to a buyer of a foreclosed property.

This article is by California Title Company and Cam Hunter.

More questions? Need help with your property being foreclosed on?  Please, call me and let me help!

John A. Silva, Realtor

(619) 890-3648 | www.JohnASilva.com