10
Dec 18

The Simple Truth About Student Loans and Homeownership

Once you graduate college, you’re handed a diploma and—most likely—a mountain of debt. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find a job where you make enough to pay off your student loans and then, maybe, move on to the next big investment of your life homeownership.

Unfortunately, according to a study by Credit Sesame, the state in which you live may affect your ability to pay your student loans. The study found that residents of West Virginia and Mississippi have the highest number of people unable to pay for their loans (as measured by student loan delinquency rates) at 18 percent, followed by Kentucky, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Arkansas at 16 percent.

On the other hand, places like North Dakota and Massachusetts were the easiest places to pay off loans: These two states had the lowest rate of student loan delinquency, at six percent; followed by Utah, Washington, New York, and Illinois, which had the next lowest rate at eight percent.

Since student loans are such a big obstacle for millennials achieving homeownership, is it easier to save up and buy a house in these states with low delinquency rates? I asked real estate agents in two of these states—Utah and Washington—how the economic environment in their state favors homeownership for millennials. Here’s what they said:

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05
Dec 18

These Kitchen Updates Will Increase Your Home's Value, No Matter Your Budget

In about six months, I’m putting the raised ranch home I have owned for 20+ years on the market. I know I must say goodbye to years of accumulated items—I really don’t think I need 12 colanders anymore—but I also know there are some repairs and upgrades I need to do to entice a buyer. I am thinking of starting with my kitchen—the most used room in my home—because, well, it needs some TLC.

According to experts, I’m onto something: The kitchen may be the best room in the house to upgrade, in terms of return on investment.

According to the 2017 Remodeling Impact Report, a joint report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), 54 percent of Realtors suggest sellers complete a kitchen upgrade before attempting to sell; and 23 percent said a kitchen project actually has helped close a sale in recent years.

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30
Nov 18

The Unexpected Things That Come with Higher Interest Rates

Will they or won’t they? Several times this year, the Federal Reserve System raised the benchmark interest rate and seemed gung-ho to do it again by the end of the year. If you’re about to get a new mortgage, these interest rate hikes will directly affect you, meaning you’ll pay more over time for that new house. And if you’re not in the market for a new mortgage, federal interest rate hikes will still hit you, albeit indirectly.

“High interest rates aren’t good for consumers,” says Josh Bivens, director of research at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) in Washington, D.C. “The idea is to slow consumer spending because the Fed thinks the economy is running too fast and will overheat. But not only does price inflation slow down, but so does wage inflation—the purchase power of your salary.”

Less money to spend isn’t fun—but are there any unexpected silver linings that come from higher interest rates? I asked economics experts for their takes. The bottom line? You might benefit if you’re a money saver (or want to be), have extra cash to purchase high ticket items, or interestingly, are an apartment developer.

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29
Nov 18

The 10 Most Expensive Cities in the World Are Even More Pricey Than SF and NYC

The last time you got a raise, did you potentially daydream of moving to some far-off amazing place? Well, your options may be limited, because that amazing locale might come with a super high price tag—especially if you want to live abroad. The Economist recently updated their list of most expensive cities in the world, and surprisingly, pricey American cities didn’t even crack the list this year.

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) puts out an annual cost of living survey which compares more than 400 individual prices across over 150 products and services. It also ranks major cities by most to least expensive.

For the fifth consecutive year, Singapore retains its title as the world’s most expensive city in a list split between Asia and Europe. While New York City made the list last year (tied with Copenhagen, Denmark), no American cities were on the list this year.

Check out the full list below:

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27
Nov 18

The Surprising Financial Milestone That Hurts Your Credit Score

Maxing out credit cards, falling behind on bills, going into foreclosure—these are all known villains that will slay your credit score. But did you know that buying a house will also most likely cause your credit score to drop? That’s right; after you’ve demonstrated utmost financial responsibility by establishing a solid credit score and saving for a down payment, taking out a mortgage will ding your score.

On average, credit scores dip by 15 points after purchasing a home, but they can drop by as much as 40 points, according to a new analysis from online loan marketplace LendingTree. The analysis looked at more than 5,000 consumers who took out a mortgage, examining how it affected their credit scores over the following months.

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06
Nov 18

The Best Metro Area for Millennials, According to Statistics

As the millennial job market becomes mobile, many twenty- and thirty-somethings are looking outside the big cities for places to settle down. If you haven’t been keeping score like I am, the Midwest is proving itself to be an increasingly attractive option with up-and-coming cities that offer millennials the lifestyle they’re searching for—and the price they want to pay. If you don’t believe me, listen to this: A new study from RealtyHop, claims that 16 of the top 20 metro areas for millennials are in the Midwest, with the Omaha-Council Bluffs region in Nebraska and Iowa not only taking the top spot but also earning the only solid A ranking.

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30
Oct 18

3 States Where a 20 Percent Down Payment Isn't Even Enough

If you’re on the hunt to buy a home, chances are you’ve been saving up for that down payment for quite some time—and while you may think you can get away with putting down 10 to 15 percent for your first home, in some states that might not be competitive enough. According to a new study performed by online loan marketplace LendingTree, prospective buyers in five American states can expect to plunk down more than the standard 20 percent. And while that’s certainly not the most inspiring news, there is some positive information coming out of the study (so wait for it!), which could mean you’ll get to keep a little more dough in your pocket.

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21
Oct 18

The Money-Saving Secret This Former Real Estate Agent Swears By

So—you’re searching for an apartment on Craigslist. You click on “housing” and enter your search criteria: min bedrooms, max price, X miles from your zip code of choice, only show ads with pictures—GO! Aaaaaand you’ve already made a huge mistake.

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20
Oct 18

How I Decided Between an FHA and Conventional Mortgage

When my husband and I decided to move from Denver to Indianapolis to buy a house, we knew the process would be humbling. The only things we knew about the home-buying process came from watching HGTV or talking to friends and family who had done it before. We decided to jump into it with an open mind and a cautious approach.

The first major decision we faced was deciding which type of mortgage was best for us: Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or conventional. We had a general idea of what made these loans different, but it took some deep digging to figure out which option best fit our needs right now and for the term of our loan. Here’s how we made our decision:

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12
Oct 18

50% of Homeowners Bought Their First Home by This Age

First, a disclaimer: You should, of course, live your life on your own timeline. But, if you were curious about the median age of homebuyers, a snapshot from the National Association of Realtors reveals that it’s 32. To get super specific… the average household income of the median homebuyer is $75,000, their homes were 1,640 square feet, and they spent $190,000 on their first property. (If that price tag seems low, note that only 17 percent of the first-time homebuyers purchased in urban areas).

Again, and we’re really driving this home, you should buy a home when it makes sense for you. (In fact, here are good reasons to not buy a house).

But if you do want to use age 32 as a rough target age for becoming a homeowner, you can start taking some financial steps to get there—no matter if that means planning to buy a house in six months or a decade.

We asked financial experts to lend their best advice for syncing up your finances with your home-buying timeline. Here are the money moves you should be making if you are aspiring to be a homeowner.

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