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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24
Sep 18

The Credit Score Raising Hack You Need to Know About

So your credit score is less than perfect and you’re doing everything in your power to improve it. The bills are paid on time and you’re only charging about $20 on your credit card every month (because the limit is only $500!). But, even with all of this, your credit doesn’t seem to budge more than a few points because your bills aren’t tied to your credit or you have just one measly credit card. This can be very annoying, especially because you want to rent your own apartment or get a good rate on a mortgage somewhere in the near future. Well, if you have a really, really good friend or family member with stellar credit and they’re willing to toss you a favor, there is one option to look into that can boost your credit score: Getting added as an authorized user on their account.

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13
Sep 18

3 Reasons Why Tiny Homes Are Now So Gosh Darn Expensive

Tiny homes have had a big rise in the popularity over the last two decades, with television shows, books, and Instagram pages dedicated specifically to the under-400-square-foot abodes. And the next trend in these kitschy, wanderlust-style homes? Having a huge price tag.

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09
Sep 18

5 Ways Tiny Homes Don't Actually Save Money in the Long Run

Sure, you already know a tiny home is likely to be a fraction of the cost (and size) of a traditional starter home. But you may be curious how the two home types compare when it comes down to day-to-day living costs—and which one shakes out to be a better investment in the long run.

While expenses (often unexpected ones) are a common denominator in ownership for both home types, the things that will siphon money from your savings account can differ dramatically between the two. Here, a breakdown of home ownership costs: Starter home versus tiny home edition.

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09
Sep 18

Here's How I Got a Mortgage (Even Though I Thought I Couldn't)

After my husband and I got married, we quickly started to think about the impending doom/joy (whichever way you want to call it) of “possibly” starting a family sometime in the future. To add to it, we both started to work from home: My project management position had recently gone mobile and my husband worked as a music producer in a home studio. Suddenly the two-bedroom apartment in Philadelphia we’d been renting for about four years (and paid roughly $1,000 per month for, including water and parking), felt oppressively small. We needed more space.

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03
Sep 18

What’s the Difference Between Pre-Qualified and Pre-Approved?

The terms pre-qualified and pre-approved almost sound like they could be synonyms. But when it comes to home financing, there’s actually quite a big difference between the two—and securing pre-approval for a loan is actually what brings you closer to the closing table.

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26
Aug 18

Is "Flat-Fee Realty" Right for You?

Getting ready to sell a house can be an intimidating prospect. As you prepare for your next move, you’re likely concerned about one question above all else: How much money will you make from selling your home?

The profit from your home will determine your budget for your next home (or maybe it will determine your budget for the business you’re starting or your year traveling around in an RV). No matter what, you probably already have a plan for that anticipated cash, and have estimated your profit against the title companies, banks, and real estate agents that also get a share.

We bought our home in 2009 with the help of a stellar real estate agent. I will be the first person to tell you that she was worth every single penny that we paid her with her insight, offer negotiation strategy, and guidance through the inspection process. She gave us a fabulous experience that I am still very grateful for nine years later, and we recommend her to our friends and family quite often.

However, as we prepared to sell our house this summer in a very hot market, we saw an opportunity to minimize those fees and commissions. For sale by owner (FSBO) is a major way to maximize your profit, but not everyone has the time, energy, or information to do so confidently. But in the last few years, an interesting alternative has entered the real estate market: flat-rate realty companies. Armed with services by Homie, we were able to get our home the publicity we wanted while still retaining as much of the profit from the sale as we could. Wondering if a flat-rate realty company might help you get the most bang for your buck? Here are some things to consider:

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24
Aug 18

This Is The Salary You Really Need to Buy in the Bay Area

It’s not news that increased capital flowing into the San Francisco Bay Area has made the area’s housing market absurdly competitive. But it’s still shocking to see the already high numbers get even higher—and so quickly. Case in point: Zillow recently released a study stating that, by June 2019, a whopping nine cities in the Bay Area will likely have median home values of more than $1 million. In fact, four of the five most expensive cities featured on the list are in the Bay Area: Burbank (a small town close to San Jose), Morgan Hill, East Palo Alto, and Broadmoor Village. Each of these cities already has a high median home value as of June 2018—ranging from $984,300 to $999,500—but are expected to hit at least $1.1 million, on average, next summer.

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02
Aug 18

I Was "Househacking" to Pay My Mortgage—Then Things Fell Apart

When my husband and I first saw the mammoth Victorian, we fell right in love. Like, we stepped into the foyer and were smitten. We were surprised to find out that the 4,000 square-foot beauty cost only $200,000. It was built in 1890 and came complete with a carriage house and a third floor with its own outside entrance. Now, $200k was a sizable chunk of change compared to the tiny shotgun-style fixers-uppers we’d initially been eyeing. But once we did the math, we found it came out to 50 bucks a square foot—a bargain compared to the $132/sq-ft median list price here in Louisville, Kentucky.

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