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    Did you know?

  • From 2001 to 2005, the average homeowner saw the value of his or her house jump by more than 50 percent.
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    November 18, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Gorgeous Open Plan

    Photo from Pinterest

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    November 17, 2015
    It’s Cheaper At The Dollar Store

    I am totally addicted to the dollar store. I mean, how can you not be? Everything is only a dollar! You can find so many good deals there that you’d be crazy not to shop there– especially when it comes to these basic supplies that Karen from 365 Days of Crockpot has pointed out. They are WAY cheaper at the dollar store than they are at the supermarket, so always buy them there:

    -Pregnancy tests- just as accurate as major brands, but MUCH cheaper

    -Off brand Magic Erasers- again, they work just as well.

    -Greeting cards- you can get them for $0.50, which is WAY better than supermarket prices. ($5 for a card?? Really??)

    -Cleaning supplies

    -Foil pans for cooking

    Photo Credit: Karen T 

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    November 16, 2015
    Essential Mortgage Paperwork Explained

    They say to always read through an entire contract before signing anything, including the fine print. But, when you are obtaining a mortgage, there are hundreds and hundred of pages of legal jargon to read through if you are going to sign it. This is why it’s so important to have a Realtor representing you: they will explain the whole document, which saves you a big headache. It’s extremely crucial to know what you’re agreeing to before you sign. For starters, check out this article by Zillow at Yahoo Homes. It’s a list of the most important things you will sign:

    -The Loan Estimate/Closing Disclosure- It details loan terms, projected payments over the life of your mortgage, and line item closing costs.

    -The Promissory Note- The note is your loan contract, and contains the terms of your loan.

    -The security instrument (aka “the mortgage” or “the deed of trust”)-Both a mortgage and a deed of trust pledge the property as security for the note.

    Photo Credit: Jessica Spengler 

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    November 13, 2015
    Friday Fun Video: Lower Auto Insurance Today

    Great tips to pay the lowest possible for your car insurance!


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    November 10, 2015
    Is Black Friday Worth It?

    Every year, millions of Americans flock to stores at the crack of dawn the day after Thanksgiving. They do it in the name of saving tons on expensive Christmas gifts- and let’s face it, there are some pretty good deals out there. However, there are other ways to scoop up those great savings…without cutting your Thanksgiving short or getting trampled. Check out this post by Amy Livingston at Money Crashers for Black Friday alternatives:

    -Shop online- many retailers offer discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

    -Shop locally on Small Business Saturday

    -Shop earlier or later- often, Black Friday sales are the same discounts that the stores routinely give

    -Always be sure to comparison shop and price check beforehand to make sure that you are actually getting bargains!

    Photo Credit: DJLicious 

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    November 9, 2015
    You’ve Probably Never Heard Of These Mortgage Terms

    ..Unless you’re a Realtor. Even complete laymen probably have an understanding of the most basic of real estate terms: equity, closing, and mortgage are all fairly common words. However, when you actually get elbow-deep into the world of home buying, words often pop up that you’ve probably never heard of before: amortization, escrow, principal/interest- not to mention the plethora of actual mortgage types out there. For a great guide, check out this post by Paul Sian at CinCinKy Real Estate:

    Amortization-Is the paying off a debt (principal plus interest) in fixed payments over a set period of time.

    Escrow-An account setup by the lender to hold money for payment of home insurance and property taxes.

    P&I – Principal and Interest- P&I will be your normal monthly mortgage payment excluding escrow account payments if any.

    Photo Credit: Christopher Michel 

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    November 4, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Bridge In A Home??

    Photo from Pinterest

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    November 3, 2015
    Getting The Cheapest Mortgage

    While it’s not the ONLY important factor, the interest rate is the main thing that people look at when shopping for a mortgage. You already have to pay for your home, so what is the point of paying the bank more than you have to? For how to get the lowest interest rate possible, check out this cool trick by Kate Dore at Magnifying Money:

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFBP) has a helpful tool to compare interest ratesfrom actual lenders who update their information daily. This enables you to often find lower rates compared to other, similar tools. Simply enter your credit score, state, home price, and down payment percentage to view a graph of lenders and the interest rates being offered in your region.

    Photo Credit: Lending Memo 

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    November 2, 2015
    How To Save Money And Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

    In our consumer based culture, saving money is extremely hard. It’s your money and you earned it, so why not go out and spend it on something you don’t need? I mean, lots of other people buy things that they can’t even afford, and wrack up massive amount of credit card debt, so why shouldn’t you be able to buy things you actually can afford? You can’t take it with you, am I right? However, it is important to prepare for when you maybe aren’t doing so well financially. You need to have an emergency fund saved up, at the very least. And what about buying a home? Saving for retirement? Paying off debt, even if it is “good” debt, like student loans or a mortgage?

    When you are making money, it’s extremely unwise to spend it as soon as you get it, and then be left in trouble when you do actually need it (I’m sure we all know at least one of these people). Also, I find it much more gratifying when my money is applied to actual financial goals, like building my savings account, paying off debt, or traveling, rather than frivolous impulse buying. Think about it. Would you rather have a week long, exotic vacation, or a hamper full of clothes that were trendy last year? Your dream home, or a closet full of clutter from unplanned Walmart/Good Will trips? Delaying gratification can be difficult, but the results are so much better in the end.

    For tips on saving more, and keeping control of you savings, check out this article by Becky at Your Modern Family. Any money you save can be applied to retirement, paying off your mortgage faster, or even a well deserved vacation later:

    -Pay your mortgage more often- paying every other week can take 8 years off your loan

    -Don’t buy what you don’t need- Every time that you want to spend money, just take that money and put it into a jar; add it up at the end of two weeks.

    -Have some of your paycheck automatically put into savings

    -Don’t use credit cards unless you have to. Need to pay medical bills? Go ahead. Flat screen TV? Not so much.

    -Create a budget and stick to it; don’t forget to budget “entertainment” money! Being smart with money doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.

    Photo Credit: Sheila Sund 

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    October 30, 2015
    Friday Fun Video: Make Your Food Last Longer

    Eggs last forever! Use the test that he does- drop it in a glass of water so it is fully submerged. If it sinks, you’re good! Of course, always use your best judgment. If something doesn’t smell right, or looks funny, throw it out!

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