Tag Archives: rent

Money Monday: How to know if you’re living beyond your means

“It’s a frightening statistic that 47% of Americans would struggle to come up with $400 to cover an unplanned expense. Yet nearly half of today’s workers are living paycheck-to-paycheck, with no financial cushion whatsoever, and a big part of the reason boils down to living beyond our means.”

(“3 signs you’re living beyond your means.” CNN Money. 19 Sept 2017.  http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/19/pf/living-beyond-your-means/index.html?iid=SF_LN)

Some indicators that you’re not spending within your budget:

  1. You have a low credit score
  2. Your rent or mortgage payment is more than 30% of your income
  3. You’re not saving at all

Read why these are signs that you’re living too high on the hog here.

Money Monday: Challenges Hamper the Housing Recovery

As the Housing Recovery Strengthens, Affordability and Other
Challenges Remain: Harvard Study

Source: Harvard

The national housing market has now regained enough momentum to provide an engine of growth for the US economy, according to The State of the Nation’s Housing report released this week by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. However, several obstacles continue to hamper the housing recovery—in particular, the lingering pressures on homeownership, the eroding affordability of rental housing, and the growing concentration of poverty.for rent

Making sense of the story

  • On the renter side, the number of cost-burdened households rose by 3.6 million from 2008 to 2014, to 21.3 million. Even more troubling, the number with severe burdens (paying more than 50 percent of income for housing) jumped by 2.1 million to a record 11.4 million.
  • The national homeownership rate has been on an unprecedented 10-year downtrend, sliding to just 63.7 percent in 2015. Tight mortgage credit, the decade-long falloff in incomes that is only now ending, and a limited supply of homes for sale are all keeping households—especially first-time buyers—on the sidelines.
  • The report finds that income inequality increased over the past decade, with households earning under $25,000 accounting for nearly 45 percent of the net growth in US households in 2005–2015.
  • The report finds that rent burdens are increasingly common among moderate-income households, especially in the nation’s 10 highest-cost housing markets, where three-quarters of renters earning $30,000–45,000 and half of those earning $45,000–75,000 paid at least 30 percent of their incomes for housing in 2014.
  • Federal assistance reaches only a quarter of those who qualify, leaving nearly 14 million
    households to find housing in the private market where low-cost units are increasingly scarce.
  • Low-income households with cost burdens face higher rates of housing instability, more often settle for poor-quality housing, and have to sacrifice other needs—including basic nutrition, health, and safety—to pay for their housing.
  • The report notes that a lack of a strong federal response to the affordability crisis has left state and local governments struggling to expand rental assistance and promote construction of affordable housing in areas with access to better educational and employment opportunities.

Read the full story here. This concise intro to Harvard’s article is from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS.

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: Rent instead of buying these things

Real estate and cars aren’t the only things you can either rent or buy; there are plenty of other rent-able things that you might not have thought about:

  • Tools – Perfect for when you have a DIY home improvement project, but probably won’t need that specific tool for anything else. Rent a chop saw for the crown molding in the bedroom, a chainsaw for the dead tree in the backyard, or a seeder to reseed your front lawn. Rent from local stores around you or Home Depot or Lowe’s, or see if a neighbor or friend has the necessary tool that you might be able to borrow. diy home improvement
  • Chickens and coops – Self-sufficiency can be a fun project or a lifetime endeavor; either way, with multiple companies with coops and chickens for rent, you can try out “home grown” eggs! Check out sites like rent-a-chicken.netrentthechicken.com, or rentacoop.com.
  • Art – Does looking at the same painting on your living room wall get boring after awhile? TurningArt.com allows you to continually rotate artwork for a monthly fee.
  • Clothes – Most cater to women, but there are several different websites now that do clothing rentals. Check out sites like renttherunaway.com, letote.com, or swapdom.com.
  • MSN.com’s article has several other practical things that you can rent: “10 Oddly Practical Things You Can Rent.”

Money Monday: Half of all renters can’t afford the rent

 

Nearly half of renters in the U.S. are struggling to afford their monthly payments.

IMG_5374.JPG“Experts generally recommend keeping your housing costs around 30% of your monthly income. But the number of “cost-burdened” tenants — those who spend more than 30% of their income on rent — rose to 21.3 million people last year, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

“Of those, more than 26% are “severely cost burdened” and spend more than half of their income to cover rent.

“Here’s the problem: rents are increasing much faster than wages. Inflation-adjusted rents increased 7% from 2001-2014 while household incomes dropped 9%, the report showed. At the same time, rising demand for rental units has pushed the national vacancy rate to a 30-year low, driving prices even higher…”

This article is from CNN Money. Read more at CNN Money here.

 

Americans More Optimistic About Housing, Economy

Americans’ concerns over housing and the economy are subsiding, according to Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey from February.

An improving job market is a big part of what’s behind Americans feeling more confident about the housing market and the direction of the economy, according to the survey.

“The pickup in the pace of hiring over the past few months has helped soothe consumer concerns, lifting their moods regarding their personal finances, the direction of the economy, and their views on the housing market,” says Doug Duncan, chief economist of Fannie Mae. “As a result, we’ve seen more potential for economic upside, creating a more balanced near-term outlook.”

The survey found that 28 percent of Americans expect home prices to increase over the next 12 months while 53 percent say prices will likely stay the same. Fifteen percent say they expect home prices to decline.

Meanwhile, the majority of those surveyed see rental prices continuing to increase over the next year.

Sixty-five percent of those surveyed say that if they were going to move they’d buy their next home; 29 percent say they would rent.

With low mortgage rates and falling home prices, 70 percent of those surveyed say now is a good time to purchase a home. Also, more Americans surveyed say now is a good time to sell, rising to 13 percent in February, which is the highest level in more than a year but still low by historic standards.

Overall, Americans expressed more confidence about their personal financial situation, with only 12 percent saying they expected their personal financial situation to worsen in the next 12 months — which is the lowest number in more than a year.

Source: Fannie Mae 

This article is by RealtorMag.org

Guest Post: Managing your finances before homeownership to save your home from a foreclosure

Managing your finances before homeownership to save your home from a foreclosure

Are you planning to purchase a new home? If yes, you have to buck up your finances so that you don’t fall in trouble in the near future and then risk losing your home to a forced foreclosure. Managing your finances is the most important job that you have to do when you plan to take out a home mortgage loan from a bank. The mortgage loan entails your home as collateral so that when the borrower defaults to make the payments on time, the lender can foreclose the house and recuperate the money. How much house can I afford is the most important question a borrower should ask himself before taking the plunge. Here are some important steps that you should take in order to manage your finances once you plan to take out a home loan.

  • Stop all the unnecessary expenses: Whenever you contemplate buying a new house and forget paying further rent, you should stop making all the unnecessary expenses that you can do without. If you don’t read magazines, stop the monthly subscriptions to magazines. If you can cook well, stop dining out every weekend as this will save your dollars in the long run. You can even do without the cable connection at home. If you can build an emergency fund, you can easily take out a mortgage loan at an affordable rate.
  • Stop using your credit cards: Are you aware of the fact that the mortgage lender will check your DTI ratio or the debt-to-income ratio that is the ratio between the total monthly debt obligations with your monthly income. If you keep on purchasing things with your credit cards, you’ll drown in unsecured debt and thereby be forced to take out a home mortgage loan at an unaffordable interest rate. Therefore, stuff your wallet with cash so that you may stop buying things when you’re exhausted.
  • Save enough money: Yes, this is the ultimate secret that will take you to the path of a smooth mortgage loan approval. The mortgage loan underwriter will check the amount you’re paying down while taking out the loan amount. The more you pay down, the lower will be the rate offered to you. You should save enough money so that you can at least pay down 20% of the loan amount and avoid paying PMIs later on.
  • Keep track on your credit score: Don’t take any wrong step that can hit your credit score. Pull out a copy of your credit score time to time so that you know where you stand financially. Repair your credit as much as possible so as to grab the best mortgage loan at the most covetable cost.

When you’re dreaming of homeownership, make sure you follow the money tips mentioned above. By taking all the tips mentioned above, you can get the most appropriate loan in accordance with your affordability. Don’t forget to ask yourself “how much house can I afford” before taking out the loan.

San Diego timeshare owners beware!

Are you in the timeshare business?  There’s been an increased awareness by the San Diego division of the FBI, which sent out a warning to San Diego timeshare owners. 

bbbApparently, timeshare scammers are becoming somewhat of a problem in San Diego county, with some unsuspecting timeshare owners being conned “out of millions of dollars by unscrupulous companies” (Union Tribune San Diego).  According to the county assessor’s office, there are more than 72,000 timeshare properties–making San Diego a huge lure to these scammers.

Be aware of potential scammers–these con artists will typically approach you without solicitation, and offer to sell or rent your properties quickly.  But to do so, they require an upfront fee for services–a huge red flag.  Once they have your money in hand, they tend to disappear without providing the offered services. 

Some tips to avoid being scammed:

  • Be cautious if you’re asked for an up-front fee before they do any work
  • Read the fine print on their sales contracts and rental agreements
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if the business is reputable

This information is from the Union Tribune San Diego; read the original article here: “Scammers prey on San Diego timeshare owners.”