17
Feb 19

7 Money-Making Apps to Download Right Now

Coming up with a down payment for your first home is no easy task. In fact, according to a recent study from HotPads, renters spend about six and a half years saving up before they have enough. (I personally predict I’ll be eligible for AARP before I could build up a nest egg hefty enough to become a homeowner.)

Finding clever ways to cut back and save everywhere you can is helpful, but at a certain point, you may realize that you simply need to rake in more dough. Short of getting a surprise promotion, negotiating a raise, or planning a Met Ball heist with seven of your smartest friends (please don’t do that!), is there anything you can do to pad your bank account?

Yes! Enter the “side hustle.” Unfortunately when it comes to saving for a big goal like a down payment, nine to five alone might not cut it. But these days, getting a side gig can be as easy as downloading an app on your phone.

If you’re strategic about your side hustle, it can be a great way to stash away extra cash for a down payment to make your homeownership dream a reality.

Before you dive in, take stock of a few things, says Emily Boothroyd, a Certified Financial Planner and private wealth advisor at Price Financial Group in Wilton, Connecticut. First, make sure that your side gig will not interfere with your main job, the one that you’ll likely depend on for the bulk of your housing payments. She also advises you consider any potential risks associated costs with your side gig (i.e. upping your auto insurance to drive for a ridesharing app) so you don’t spend more than you save.

Another factor to keep in mind? Make sure your extra earnings can be documented on a mortgage application, since your total income can affect the amount of the loan you’re approved for.

“Lenders look to a borrower’s last two months’ bank statements and any inconsistent or large deposits would need to be explained,” says Richard Barenblatt, mortgage specialist at GuardHill Financial Corp. in New York City.

Once you’ve got all that covered, it’s time to start hustling. Here are seven app-based side gigs that will get you one step closer to securing a down payment:

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14
Feb 19

The Hot New Trend for Married Couples? Roommates

It’s not unusual to live with a roommate to cut down costs. Hey, life is expensive! But 2018 demonstrated that an unlikely population is taking on roommates in order to make ends meet: married people.

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11
Feb 19

This Is How Much My Actual Mortgage Costs Each Month

Any renter with an internet connection and a passion for painting the walls dark green (or black or maybe just wallpapering a bit) can attest to the bit of confusion you feel when first encountering a mortgage calculator or payment estimator online.

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03
Feb 19

The Salary You'd Need to Buy the "Brady Bunch" House

Everything on “The Brady Bunch” always seemed so perfect, down to the family’s sprawling Los Angeles-area home. Though the home wasn’t really designed by Mr. Brady, it is a real five-bedroom, three-bedroom home on Dilling Street in Studio City. While the interior scenes were filmed on a sound stage at Paramount Studios, the interior layout of this house is pretty similar to the one portrayed in the show.

If you grew up dreaming of starting your own family band in this sunny home, your time unfortunately has passed: The home was last purchased in 2018 for $3.5 million by HGTV. The network will show the overhaul of the iconic home’s interior by six of sitcom’s stars to look exactly like it did on the show—conversation pit and all—in its upcoming series “A Very Brady Renovation.”

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28
Jan 19

The Best Architectural Homes for Sale Right Now, Starting at $267K

Some people were born to fit in. Others were born to stand out. The same goes for homes. For every 100 cookie-cutter McMansions, you might find one home that breaks the mold–which makes such architecturally significant homes priceless in our book.

However, you don’t actually have to break the bank to purchase a house that stands out from the crowd. The following five homes are architecturally significant–whether they were designed by reputed architects or are just so radically different from the landscape that you can’t help but stare–and they start at just $267,000:

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21
Jan 19

6 Expert Tips for Using Mortgage Comparison Sites

You can shop for just about anything online these days, from your groceries to shipping containers-turned-houses. So, when it comes to home buying, it only feels natural for digital natives to crack open the laptop to start shopping for a mortgage.

Once you tell Google you’re in the market for a mortgage, oodles of comparison sites will pop up, eager to get to know you better with icebreakers like “what’s your credit score?“, “where are you looking to buy?”, and “what’s your price range?” Think of these as mortgage matchmaker sites, many of which are financially incentivized to link you with a lender.

Since purchasing a home is likely the biggest financial move you’ll make, how can you know which sites can be trusted? Also, how accurate are they?

First things first, before you feed the sites any information, scour their footers and legal terms to make sure they have permissions or licensing to act as a lead generator. Pass over the ones that want your contact information right off the bat before even asking if you want to be connected to a lender. (Rude, right?)

To help debunk more mysteries behind mortgage comparison sites, real estate experts share their best tips for navigating them:

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10
Jan 19

The Worst Credit Score Advice Experts Have Ever Heard

Some bad advice you receive is NBD, honestly. Those bangs your best friend swore would look great on you will eventually grow out after an awkward phase. And maybe one day Dad’s method of filling out a March Madness bracket based on team mascots will actually pay off.

But then there’s some bad advice that qualifies as a VBD—yes, a very big deal because it concerns your financial well-being.

Establishing and maintaining a solid credit score isn’t just key when it comes to qualifying for a good interest rate on a credit card. That almighty three-digit number attached to your identity can determine whether you need to put down a security deposit on utilities and if you can qualify for a mortgage (and do so at a low interest rate). So, when you get dealt some bad credit advice, yeah, it can sting.

Here, finance experts reveal some of the worse nuggets of credit advice they’ve heard—and share what to do instead:

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09
Jan 19

Your Debt May Not Be a Mortgage Dealbreaker After All

Hamilton and Burr. Kanye and Drake. Freshly brushed teeth and orange juice. These are pairs never to be mixed. And generally one would say that debt and homeownership are one of these mutually exclusive pairs—but that may be changing, says a new report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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06
Jan 19

What 54 Percent of City Homeowners Don't Want You to Know

Have you ever scrolled through social media and secretly wondered “How the heck are my peers affording that lifestyle?”

Yeah, we don’t know how they are funding those Bora Bora vacations, either. But a recent report from Zillow gave us some pretty good intel on how people are actually affording down payments for homes in big cities. We’ll give you a hint: It has nothing to do with skipping avocado toast or cutting Netflix from the budget.

Rather, 54 percent of urban buyers are using financial gifts from family members or friends to help cover the down payment. Ah-ha, right?

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17
Dec 18

How to Improve Your Credit Score in 30 Days or Less

When I first started house hunting at 25, I knew my credit score was too low for a mortgage. A year earlier, I’d barely been able to snag a loan for my car. Instead of giving up, I dug into my credit score using Credit Karma.

I discovered errors in my credit, like a bill in collections from a doctor whose services I hadn’t scheduled or received. Multiple accounts were missing from my report. Using a tool on the Credit Karma website, I reported the errors to TransUnion and Equifax. I paid down my balances as much as I could on my miniscule teacher’s salary.

By the time I found my dream home a month later, I’d managed to raise my credit score 30 points, and snagged a mortgage approval letter from my credit union.

While this credit makeover may sound too good to be true, these experts agree with me. And since then, I’ve even discovered even more hacks to raise my credit score. Follow our tips if you’re looking to improve your credit score in less than 30 days:

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