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  • 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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    September 3, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: “Barcode” House

    Photo from Arch Daily


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    September 1, 2014
    Happy Labor Day!

     

    Have a beautiful day off, everyone!

    Photo Credit: Fieldstone Hill Design


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    August 28, 2014
    Paying Your Mortgage Off Early: Some Simple Tips

    My ultimate goal in life is to buy my own house, and pay off my mortgage before I’m thirty-five. I know it’s a little ambitious, but even if I’m not making a ton of money, it is possible with some planning and know-how. Plus, paying off your mortgage as soon as possible will save you thousands in interest in the long run. If that’s a goal of yours as well, read this post by Joe at Christian Personal Finance for some tips :

    -Add principal payments monthly

    -Make yearly principal payments

    -Move to bi-weekly payments

    -Make lump sum payments when you can

    Photo Credit: Philo Nordlund


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    August 26, 2014
    Beating Student Loan Depression

    Almost every person who goes through college ends up with some amount of student loans. I know this isn’t the time or place to criticize the system, even though you start off as a young adult with massive amounts of debt in a nearly impossible job market. But, the fact still stands that most people have it. Student loan debt can cause you to feel extreme amounts of stress, ruin your credit score, and even cause you to question the value of college at all. I know– I’ve been there. But, the important thing to remember is that education is an investment in yourself. Read this post by Sienna Kossman at the Credit Card blog for more tips on beating the blues:

    -Keep working towards your goal:  Your debt might temporarily slow you down, but don’t lose sight of what you went to school for in the first place.

    -Maintain supportive relationships: I’ve found that it helps to talk about student loan debt with friends who can relate

    -Make a plan to reduce stress and increase security: A structured plan will give you a way to measure your debt-elimination progress and budget accordingly.

    Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography 


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    August 25, 2014
    Watch Out For Mortgage Scammers!

    It’s a seller’s market. Home inventories are low, and buyer demands are high. Bidding wars spring up on almost every property, and mortgage rates are lower than they’ve ever been. The housing market is certainly growing, but with the rise in customers comes a rise in people trying to rip the customers off. It pays to be aware of what these scams look like. General rule: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. And always read the fine print. Read this post by Claudia Buck at RIS Media for more info:

    Consumers facing mortgage troubles should always start by contacting their mortgage lender, not outside consultants who could potentially be scammers. If you can’t get satisfaction in modifying your mortgage terms or payments, seek out FREE help from HUD certified housing. Never give anyone money up front.

    Photo Credit: Jonny Goldstein 


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    August 21, 2014
    Financial Cleanup

    Just like your home needs constant cleanup and upkeep, so do your finances. It’s important to go through every once in a while and do a sweep of old documents and records. But what do you keep? What do you get rid of? For more info on financial cleanup, read this post by April Dykman at the Get Rich Slowly Blog:

    Shred: Get rid of things you no longer need, including old documents. Also, for tax documents, check with IRS.gov to find out how long you need to hold on to recordsbefore shredding.

    Change your passwords: change passwords with the change of every season. Choose strong passwords, include upper and lower case letters, as well as numerals and special characters

    Clean out your wallet. Most of us know that you shouldn’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet. If you didn’t know that, get that thing out of your wallet! Ditto for passports, birth certificates, and anything with your Social Security number printed on it.

    Photo Credit: David Morris 


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    August 20, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: Details

    Photo from Pinterest


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    August 18, 2014
    Ludicrous Reasons Your Mortgage Application Can Be Rejected

    If you’re looking to buy a home, you probably already know the basics of getting a mortgage: pay off other debt, hold a steady job, don’t make large, sudden deposits or withdrawals to your accounts, get your credit score in order, etc. But what if you (seemingly) follow the rules, and still get denied? Can that even happen? Well, according to this article by Danielle Blundell at Yahoo Homes, the answer is yes. Check out these surprising reasons why some people were denied, and make sure you don’t repeat their mistakes (no matter how harmless they seem):

    -$5 Late Credit Card Payment: it can actually lower your credit score and effect your mortgage application

    -Giving Your Sister a Check for $100 on her Birthday: think twice about gifting or lending anyone money – no matter how small the amount. Why? Because if you need that money to be accounted in your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, this seemingly minor transaction could stall the application process.

    -Getting a New Job: Employment stability is a key component in qualifying for a mortgage.

    Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee 


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    August 14, 2014
    Mortgage Interest Rate News: Small Rise

    According to this post by Alexa Fiander at the Zillow blog, mortgage rates have crept up just a bit from last week. They’ve risen slightly from 4.03 percent to 4.08 percent. Of course, that’s for 30-year fixed rate mortages. 15 year mortgages are currently at 3.12 percent. As always, try to time applying for a mortgage right; it can be tricky, but if you follow the patterns, you should be fine. Another friendly reminder: mortgage rates are still lower now than they’ve been in years. Additionally, you should avoid picking a lender based solely on the interest rate. Do your research, and always be a smart home shopper!

    Photo Credit: DFB Photos 


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    August 13, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: Insane Aquarium

    Photo from Buzzfeed


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