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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 11, 2014
    Understanding Your DTI Ratio

    One thing that lenders check when you apply for a mortgage, besides your credit score, is your DTI, or, Debt To Income ratio. It’s a number that signifies how much of your income will be spent on your mortgage. If you’re earning $2,000 a month, you simply can’t afford to have a monthly mortgage payment of $1,800. It’s helpful in determining how much house you can afford. Check out this post by JD Roth at Get Rich Slowly for some more info:

    This ratio is computed by comparing your expenses to your gross (pre-tax) income. The lower the number, the better. If you make $3,000 a month before taxes, and you pay $300 toward debt, your debt-to-income ratio is 10%.

    When a prospective borrower submits her paperwork, the computer evaluates it, applying statistical models to be sure the proposed debt load falls within accepted ranges.

    Photo Credit: Simon Cunningham 

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    September 10, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: I Have A Thing For Staircases

    Photo from Indulgy

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    September 9, 2014
    Mortgage Application Dealbreakers

    So, you think you’re ready to buy a house. You’ve determined how much of a monthly payment you can make, have held a steady job for a few years, and have saved up for a down payment. Your credit score is great, so you think there’s no way you’ll be denied. However, it always pays to play it as safe as possible. Read this article by Paul Sisolak at Go Banking Rates for blunders that will cause you major headaches, and how to avoid them:

    -Failing to get pre-approval

    -Changing your credit behavior

    -Blanking out the “blank” pages: When those empty pages of your mortgage application say “These pages left intentionally blank,” they’re blank for a reason. That doesn’t mean you can skip over them when scanning, faxing or mailing them to a lender, bank or credit union.

    -Forgetting to read the fine print

    -Lying- Don’t put yourself at risk of committing mortgage fraud. 

    Photo Credit: Michael 

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    September 8, 2014
    “Fall” Into More Cash

    Summer has plenty of great opportunities to make extra money: lawn care businesses, selling old items at garage sales, in home child care….the list goes on and on. If you work at home, or have lots of free time, it pays to be creative with ways to bring in more income. But, it’s September now! Lawns don’t need mowing as often, it’s getting too chilly for yard sales, and kids are back in school. So, what can you do to make some extra cash now? Read this post by Carrie Smith at Go Girl Finance for some fun ideas:

    -Sell crafts on Etsy

    -Flip yard sale finds, sell on Ebay or Craigslist

    -Set up an after school programs for kids.

    -Start a virtual part time business

    Photo Credit: Micky** 

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    September 4, 2014
    Budgeting With Inconsistent Paychecks

    Throughout highs school and most of college, I had part time jobs. I would get anywhere from ten to thirty hours week-it completely depended on how busy we were going to be. I would try to budget, but it was almost impossible. I couldn’t always afford to save a percentage: sometimes, my entire paycheck would just go to buying gas and food. If you have a part time job with random hours, or if you work in a creative field with inconsistent paychecks, budgeting and saving for the future can be a problem. But, it is possible, as long as you’re strict with yourself. Read this post by Christina at First Home Life for a detailed guide on how she makes it work! I won’t post any of it here, because it’s a complicated (read: mathy) process, but it’s worth the read.

    Photo Credit: John Lambert Pearson 

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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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