Real Estate

Saving for a Down Payment

If you are financially ready to be a home owner, now the most critical piece of the puzzle is the down payment. Coming up with enough cash for it is the biggest challenge of home buying. So once your finances are in order, it’s time to focus on saving.

Ready to Buy First Home?

Owning your home is fantastic — if you are financially ready. Here’s a quick checklist to help you determine if you can afford to be a home owner.

The first home purchase is not only a major life milestone, but it’s also a big financial commitment, a decision you should not take lightly. There’s a lot more to buying a house than just the price of it. Other items to factor in include mortgage origination fees, closing costs, interest, homeowner’s insurance and property taxes, which can fluctuate depending on the yearly assessed value of your property.

Retiring Mortgage Free

How often do you think about paying off the mortgage? Retirement may be harder if you still have debt. Ideally, you should enter retirement as free from a mortgage as possible. Here’s why and how.

Not having a mortgage reduces your overhead. That is to say, you need less money to live. You lower your personal break-even point. With limited income in retirement, this is always a good thing. Say your mortgage is $1,500 per month. If you pay it off before you retire, you have $18,000 more per year in your pocket.

Ebola, Fear and Market Timing

The West African Ebola outbreak this summer generated fear and anxiety, particularly when two infected American aid volunteers were treated at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital. What does Ebola have to do with your personal investment policy and meeting your goals? Plenty: It provides a useful lesson in the psychology of fear.

Rent During Renovations?

Seen The Money Pit? Tom Hanks and Shelley Long buy a $1 million distressed sale fixer-upper mansion for $200,000. What happens next? Maybe the same catastrophes you envision if you renovate your house while living in it. Is residing somewhere else for a while a smarter move and how do you pull it off?

How to Increase Your Wealth

As the old adage says, “It takes money to make money.” You don’t have to be wealthy to invest, but you have to invest to be wealthier.

U.S. Housing Bulwark: Abroad

Foreign buyers are increasing their purchases of U.S. real estate. That may cause some unease, but it's a good development. While our housing markets are improving, the boost from elsewhere is vital.

Preparing for the Unexpected

You probably go through many days feeling invincible. Bad things – or even just the weird and unexpected – happen to other people, not you. Wrong. When life throws you curves, almost always when you least expect, you need ready cash.

One possible curve: You come home to a wild turkey in your living room. A few months ago, one of my clients took a weekend trip with her boyfriend. On Saturday, they got engaged. On Sunday, they received a call that the patio door on their apartment “blew out.”

Asset Caregiver Guides (Pt. 1)

We almost all seem to know someone who helps older family members with financial affairs. If legally appointed to help someone with their money, find out all you can about the potentially confusing role.

To help fledgling financial caregivers, the Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) publishes four guides for “Managing Someone Else’s Money.” Each guide addresses a specific role:

Assessing Real Estate Agents

Selling or buying a home can come with a lot of confusion. If you’re in the market for a real estate agent, ask these questions to find the best fit.

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