Everyone wants to cool down during the hot, 90-degree days of summer, but air conditioning can be costly and consume a lot of energy. Fortunately, there are many ways to get around the high expense of keeping your air conditioning running all summer long. If you start prepping now, you can shave hundreds of dollars off your bill and help protect the environment by lowering your energy usage.Read More
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You got your loan pre-approval and you can’t believe how much you can borrow! You are already dreaming of the perfect house that you are going to buy – you have it all pictured now. Before you do, you may want to consider buying less home than you can afford. We know that sounds like we are crushing your dreams, but there are some valid reasons you should use this strategy.Read More
When temperatures drop, your electric bill is bound to be higher. You can try bundling up in extra layers, swaddling yourself in blankets, and building a fire, but if you want to be cozy and warm, cranking up the thermostat is sometimes the easiest option. But imagine opening up your winter or early spring electric bill when temperatures haven't been freezing and finding that you owe much more than you were anticipating. What gives?! Chances are, one of the following causes below can explain your sky-high electric bill.Read More
While you can't suddenly make your internet service great, you can certainly learn some strategies for trimming that internet bill. Here are five things you can do to lower your internet bill.Read More
Buying a home means more than making sure you can pay the mortgage payment. There are many costs you must consider before you purchase a home. Talking with the current owners can help give you an idea of the average cost of a particular home, but we will discuss in general the factors you should consider.
Real Estate Taxes
First, let’s get the largest one out of the way. The real estate taxes are going to eat up a large portion of your budget. Of course, the exact cost depends on where you live. You can find out the cost of the property taxes at an existing address by searching the property address online on the county treasurer’s website. If you are building a new home, the builder should have a good estimate of the cost of the taxes in that area.
Many lenders make you set up an escrow account for your real estate taxes. This helps them know that you can pay them on time. With an escrow account, you must pay 1/12th of the real estate tax annual bill per month.
If you have a mortgage on your home, you must have homeowners insurance. Even if you don’t have a mortgage, though, you’ll want this protection. The right coverage will protect you financially should you experience a fire, theft, vandalism, or storm damage. It can also cover your liabilities should you do damage to someone else’s property.
You can set up an escrow account for your homeowner’s insurance as well. The lender will charge you 1/12th of the annual amount each month so that you keep up with this bill as well. If you have a mortgage and you don’t have homeowners insurance, the lender will force place the insurance on you. This is usually a much more expensive option, so try to avoid it at all costs.
Before you buy a home, ask the seller about the average cost of the utilities for the home. Utilities include your electric, gas, water, trash, cable, and internet. Of course, you can shop many of these services so that you can get the lowest rates, but knowing an average ahead of time can help you decide if the home is right for you.
While there’s no exact number we can give you, a good rule of thumb is to estimate 1% of your property’s value per year for maintenance. If your home is worth $200,000, estimate at least $2,000 to maintain it. This is separate from repairs. Maintenance includes things like having the furnace and AC cleaned, resealing the driveway, cleaning the carpets, paying for pest inspections, and re-caulking your tubs and showers.
Each home will have different maintenance needs and many of the tasks you can do yourself, but they still cost money. Purchasing the proper tools or paying someone to come out and conduct an inspection are fees you should account for each year.
Even if you buy a new home, things are going to break. There’s no way to predict just how much you need to save for repairs. We recommend that you keep an emergency fund handy so that should something break, you have the money to fix it.
Think of things like the water heater, furnace, and AC. Garage doors, fireplaces, faucets, and pipes also frequently have issues. While you can have an inspection done before you buy the home, no one can guarantee that the home is in perfect condition and that nothing will break in the near future. It’s best if you are prepared.
Fixing Up the Home
Again, even if you buy a new home, chances are you are going to want to change things. Whether it’s a fresh coat of paint, new flooring, or new décor, it all costs money. Think of the visions you have for the home and the timetable you plan to make these changes.
While fixing up the home isn’t an emergency per se, it is an expense that you will want to pay, especially if there’s something about the home that you don’t like. It’s best if you choose a home that you know you can live with its looks for at least a little while so that you can get acclimated to all of the new bills and costs that home ownership creates.
These costs are the basic costs of what you’ll pay when you own a home. Of course, each homeowner has different expenses and/or needs. Always stay prepared by having an emergency fund because you never know what may happen once you become a homeowner.
If you’re asking “What’s the first step to buying a home?” — you’ve probably already made a decision that it’s time to get serious about becoming a homeowner. You’re done with renting and want to set down roots. You want to start building equity and financial stability for the future. But now you’re wondering how to start.Read More
Once autumn's chill is in the air, we don't think twice about swapping our tank tops for sweaters and stocking our pantry with pumpkin-spice everything. So why wouldn't we prepare our houses for the chill, too?Read More
In the life of a grown-up, there are few feelings as anxiety-inducing as the moment when you get your credit report back, only to find that it’s not nearly as high as you anticipated. But fear not: there are a variety of perfectly good reasons why your credit score has taken a hit, and in this case, knowledge is power. The more you know about how your credit score operates and what can affect in, the easier it will be to get it back up to scratch.Read More
Your home may be the biggest investment you will ever make. Taking good care of it with regular maintenance is necessary to maintain its value and ensure it will provide a comfortable, safe shelter for you and your family for a long time.Read More
If you’re starting to miss spring already, fear not. Here are some quick projects to make your home and garden more comfortable and cost-effective this summer.Read More
If saving for a down payment seems like a daunting task, you are not alone. We’ve come up with the top creative ways you can save money to put down on a home.Read More
What happens if you miss a credit card payment? How do late payments affect your credit scores? Of course, as with so many things related to credit scores, the answer is, “It depends.”Read More
Getting ready to sell your house? Then it's time to roll up your sleeves and get to work! Selling a home, after all, entails a whole lot more than just planting a "For Sale" sign on your front lawn or uploading a few random photos of your place—especially if you’re angling for the most cash.Read More
Temperatures are dropping, the days are growing shorter, and the pumpkin spice latte is, in a word, inescapable. But before you go hog wild with the Halloween decorations and settle in for that horror movie binge session, take some time to prep your home for winter's onslaught.Read More
Ready to revamp your kitchen or finally add on that deck you've been dreaming about since last winter? Unless you’re going the do-it-yourself route, you’ll need a contractor—one with whom you can have a solid working relationship. You'll need someone you can rely on, a good communicator who can keep your project on track. You'll be hashing out specific details and having to make tough decisions together, so hiring someone you feel comfortable with is key. But if you really want to make sure things go smoothly, don't blurt out everything that comes to mind, and certainly not one of these eight phrases.Read More
Some home maintenance tasks are best tackled in August, before temperatures start dipping. With our handy checklist of home maintenance tasks, you can knock 'em out and be back to your barbecues and beach days in no time.Read More
Summer’s here, and with it will come rising electric bills as you fight to keep your home cool and take refuge from the sweltering heat. Luckily, there are many ways to fight astronomical air conditioning costs — here are 11.Read More
Saving money feels good. And shopping around when you’re looking for insurance coverage is a great way to do it. However, simply reducing your coverage or dropping important coverages altogether is like diet without exercise—focused only on numbers, not on results. Don’t risk ending up dangerously underinsured and on the hook for much bigger bills in the event of a disaster.Read More
If you feel like you’re being soaked by utility bills, you may be looking for ways to cut your monthly costs. While utilities like internet and cable TV may seem like obvious targets, your water bill can also run much higher than necessary.Read More
It’s spring— time to pull on the rubber gloves and get to scrubbing, dusting, washing, and polishing so your home looks sparkling clean for the upcoming warmer months.Read More