Brittany Anas's Recent Articles
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7 Things You Shouldn’t Do Before Renting an Apartment
If you’ve got your eye on a dream apartment—or any apartment, actually—you want to make sure you position yourself as a top-notch renter. Chances are, you’ll be competing with several other would-be tenants for a rental unit, which, of course, is stating the obvious for anyone who has apartment hunted (scavenged?) in places like New York City or Los Angeles.
Jan 22, 2019
I Was Able to Buy a Home Because: I Kept My Living Costs Low for Years
According to a 2015 Urban Institute report, delayed marriage and student loan debt are the biggest factors holding millennials back from buying homes. But though the path to homeownership is rocky, many millennials still want that “American Dream.” In fact, according to the Census Bureau, nearly 37 percent of them already own homes.
Jan 22, 2019
I Was Able to Buy a Home Because: I Borrowed from an Unexpected Source
Though some people may consider a dream home to come with a garage, hardwood floors, and the most quiet neighbors in history, truth be told, simply owning a home could be a millennial dream come true for some. According to a 2015 “Millennial Homeownership” report from the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C.
Jan 21, 2019
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?
Jan 20, 2019
The Best Real Estate Advice for Couples, According to Divorce Attorneys
First comes love. Then comes marriage… or a civil union or cohabitation. From there, we’re cheering for something along the lines of “and they lived happily ever after.” But because life is full of plot twists—and because divorce rates are around 40 to 50 percent in the United States—it can be important to take some precautions when you’re buying a house with a partner. Who better to offer that advice than divorce attorneys?
Jan 19, 2019
How I Learned How to Declutter (Without Marie Kondo’s Help)
My walk-in closet was clogged with items I purchased at the mall just because they were 40 percent off. But now that same closet is sparse. My home office is also orderly (for the first time in my adult life) with neatly organized folders containing the gazillions of tax documents that come with being a freelance writer. Yes, I’ve been binge watching Marie Kondo’s “Tidying up with Marie Kondo.” (It’s soothing!
Jan 11, 2019
Here’s How Paying Off Your Mortgage Can Affect Your Credit
If buying a home is living the dream, paying your mortgage off early could seem like a next-level fantasy. Just imagine what life would be like without forking over monthly mortgage payments. More money for investments! Retirement savings! Home upgrades! Silk bow ties for your dog! But is paying your mortgage off quicker than is required actually a smart financial move? While there’s no “one size fits all” answer, financial experts say it’s not always the wisest decision.
Jan 10, 2019
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.
Jan 9, 2019
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.
Jan 5, 2019
Homeowners Say These Are Their 5 Biggest Pet Peeves
Survey says… 61 percent of homeowners are not living in their dream homes. At least says a new survey of 500 homeowners between ages 26 and 64 by Open Listings, an online home-buying platform. Of course, the definition of “dream home” can be fairly subjective. For one person, the criteria could be a pool, basement movie theater, and five-car garage.
Jan 4, 2019
5 Great Places in the U.S. to Live in a Tiny House
These five places in the United States are especially noteworthy when it comes to being tiny home-friendly.
Dec 30, 2018
Is It Cheaper to Live in the City or the Suburbs?
Is it cheaper to be a city dweller or a suburbanite? When it comes to real estate, the obvious answer is that, yes, it’s probably much cheaper to buy a home or rent in the suburbs. (Thank you, next!) But, wait just a second! When you start factoring in other costs of living, or you hone in on some housing markets, you may be surprised to find that in some cases, living in the ‘burbs can be more expensive than city life.
Dec 28, 2018
Can You Ace This Mortgage Test Experts Came Up With?
You left school with a solid understanding of the Pythagorean theorem, and you could probably recite a row or two of the Periodic Table of Elements in your sleep. But one thing you likely didn’t pick up in class? A personal finance lesson centered on home buying and the importance of credit. Ready to go back to school and learn a few important home buying principles?
Dec 27, 2018
Here’s How Much It Would Realistically Cost You to Build a Home
When you’re house shopping, it’s easy to find faults with the homes you tour. Why is the master bedroom Cookie Monster blue? Whoever designed the kitchen didn’t know a thing about cooking. Did vampires live here; there’s hardly any natural light?! Sure, most design flaws could be remedied with renovations.
Dec 15, 2018
Why Paying Off This Common Debt Can Surprisingly Lower Your Credit Score
High-five, you did it! You paid off your student loans. While it takes a lot of financial discipline to get that balance to $0, your credit score unfortunately won’t be celebrating alongside you. In fact, after you pay off your student loans, you’ll probably see a slight drop in your credit score. Go ahead and file that in the “No fair, what gives?” category along with the fact that your credit will take a hit if you buy a house.
Dec 14, 2018
7 Things You Should Never Do When You’re Negotiating a House Price
Moral of the story: A trusted real estate agent knows the market best and is a good team captain to let lead the negotiating process.
Dec 13, 2018
The Credit Score Trick You Should Try When You’re Getting Serious About Buying a Home
A lot of credit-boosting tips we hear are, frankly, pretty darn obvious. Don’t go over your credit limit, don’t pay bills late, check your credit score—yeah, yeah we got it already! So, my ears perked up when Brentnie Daggett, a rental expert at Rentec Direct, a property management industry website, dished a credit-boosting tip that falls into the “Oooh! Interesting” category.
Dec 11, 2018
Look Inside: $370K Savannah Home Perfectly Mixes New and Old
This Southern belle of a home isn’t just a charmer on the outside; there are surprising features to delight in throughout. 1206 E Duffy St Located in Savannah, Georgia $369,900 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms From the outside, this Savannah home exudes Southern charm with its pretty pastel blue exterior, white trim, and a sprawling wraparound porch that’s eager to play the consummate host for lazy Sunday afternoons involving rocking chairs and lemonade sipping.
Dec 10, 2018
5 Vacation Cities That Are Actually Great to Live In Year-Round
Wish you were on vacay every day? Some tourist destinations across the United States also make terrific places to live. Weather aside, these cities have amenities that year-round residents love—whether that’s as an emerging wine region, outdoor recreation activities, an impressive arts and culture scene, or great sandy beaches. Here’s where you can live the dream all year long—even after the piña coladas melt. The good news: You can live on an island year-round.
Dec 9, 2018
Millennial Credit Scores Aren’t Great—Here’s Why
We know, everyone already harps on millennials. So, we hate to give bashers any more ammo, but… millennial credit scores aren’t great. They’re not good, either. They’re actually just “fair,” according to data from Experian, a consumer credit reporting agency. Experian’s credit system ranges from 300 (eek!) to 850 (wow!), and millennials, on average, are stuck in the “fair” category, which is a score between 580 and 669.
Dec 7, 2018
10 Things You Need to Know When Buying a ‘Hoarder House’
Boulder, Colorado, is, for the uninitiated, a land of spandex-clad athletes driving Subarus with Namaste bumper stickers into the driveways of their $1.2 million single family homes. So when one of my friends broke into the pricey Boulder real estate market when we were in our 20s, I was intrigued to know exactly how she was able to do it. Surprise, surprise, it was a somewhat unconventional and unglamorous route: “Did I tell you we bought a hoarder house?
Dec 6, 2018
Snap Up a Condo in an Iconic Seattle Architect’s Building for $649K
Opulent and modern mix well in this art-deco condominium in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood. 1017 Minor Ave. Apt. 802 Located in Seattle, Washington $649,000 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom A 1928 issue of Pacific Builder and Engineer referred to Seattle architect Earl W. Morrison as one of the area’s best known architects, complimenting him for going to great lengths to consistently produce artistic designs. Now, buyers have a chance to snap up a condo in one of his iconic buildings.
Dec 3, 2018
The Best Ice Skating Rink in Every Major City
Just picture it: You’re graciously gliding across the ice, hot cocoa in hand and wowing the crowd with your figuring skating spins. Okay, maybe it’s more like chopping across the ice while gripping the rink’s ledge. And, perhaps it was a fall—not exactly a flying sit spin—that’s being judged… But that’s neither here nor there! Ice skating is a quintessential wintertime activity, even more so when rinks are decked out in their best holiday finery.
Nov 30, 2018
6 Shipping Container Homes You Can Buy on eBay, Starting at $15K
1. eBay was originally named AuctionWeb. 2. A grilled cheese sandwich with what looked like an image of the Virgin Mary embedded in the crust once fetched $28,000 on the e-commerce site. 3. You can buy your next home (or an addition to your home) on Does this sound like a set up for the game “two truths and a lie”? Well, we’re here to tell you that these are all cold, hard facts about eBay.
Nov 28, 2018
The Surprising Financial Milestone That Hurts Your Credit Score
Maxing out credit cards, falling behind on bills, going into foreclosure—these are all known villains that will slay your credit score. But did you know that buying a house will also most likely cause your credit score to drop? That’s right; after you’ve demonstrated utmost financial responsibility by establishing a solid credit score and saving for a down payment, taking out a mortgage will ding your score.
Nov 26, 2018
Why You Shouldn’t Count Student Loan Forgiveness Into Your Finances
A debt forgiveness program for student borrowers sounded promising: Work in a public service sector for 10 years while making on-time loan repayments. Then—after a decade of working as, say, a nurse, police officer, teacher, social worker, first responder, or in some other public sector service job—have your remaining student loan balance erased.
Nov 21, 2018
The Worst Mortgage Advice Experts Have Ever Heard
Buying a home is a huge financial decision, and, if you’re about to do so, your life advisory panel (family, friends, that opinionated co-worker…) is probably eager to weigh in. While well-intentioned, not all mortgage advice is good.
Nov 15, 2018
Experts Say This Is the Best Credit Score You Really Ever Need
The 800-and-up credit score club is an elite one: 20.7 percent of Americans have reached this upper echelon of credit worthiness, according to the latest data from FICO, a widely-used credit score rating system. But, finance experts explain that you don’t actually need to have a score in the 800 range to qualify for the best mortgage rates. In fact, the score you should really aspire for is… drumroll, please: 760!
Nov 10, 2018
This Is the Average FICO Credit Score in the U.S.
Congrats, America, your credit score has gone up. At last count, the average credit score in the United States was 704, an all-time high, according to FICO, a credit scoring company. If you’re below that score, though, don’t freak out: The average credit score incrementally goes up with age, which makes sense as credit history is one of the big factors layered into your score. Suffice to say, there’s a difference of 88 points between young adults and those aged 60 and up.
Nov 6, 2018
5 Home Upgrades That Can End Up Paying for Themselves
When you think of home upgrades that can save you money over time, are you imagining hefty investments like solar-powered roofs and native landscaping? Those projects certainly are the green goddesses in eco-friendly renovations. But, when it comes to upgrades, there are several smaller features that, over time, can pay for themselves, too—and they’re a lot easier to incorporate into your home. What we’re getting at?
Nov 1, 2018
Your Friends Without Student Loans Are 75% Richer Than You
It’s no surprise college grads make more money than those with just a high school diploma. To get specific, a college degree can boost your lifetime earning potential by $1 million. But what often gets lost in this 101 discussion about college degrees and earning potential is the fact there’s a wealth gap—and it’s a huge one—between those who have student loans and those who don’t.
Oct 26, 2018
New UltraFICO Credit Score Factors in How You Manage Cash
You pay your rent on time every month, keep your savings account padded with at least a few hundred bucks, and don’t overdraw your checking account. While these are all responsible money management habits, they haven’t actually been helping you build your credit–but that could change soon.
Oct 24, 2018
Horror Show: You Could Buy a Haunted House Without Knowing It
Truth be told, those flickering lights in your home are more likely caused by an electrical problem than a ghost. But if you’re trying to sell your house, and you do suspect it’s haunted, are you legally obliged to put that in the listing? Also, could marketing your house as a haunted one help drum up interest—or will it just spook those potential buyers? And if you’re buying—is that Bates mansion-esque Victorian priced that low because of a pesky resident ghost?
Oct 22, 2018
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.
Oct 11, 2018
7 Things That Should Be In Every New Homeowner’s Manual
I had lived in my first home for almost one and a half years before I knew furnaces had filters that needed to be changed on the regular. Here’s how that discovery went down: My mom was at a hardware store, and she texted me about filters being on sale! Did I want her to pick me up some? I Googled: “How often do furnace filters need to be changed?” Google responded: “Check them once every month.
Oct 5, 2018
Where to Buy an Affordable Vacation Home, Based on Your Myers-Briggs Type
Once you’ve taken the Myers-Briggs test, you’ve got a four-letter passcode that reveals nuances of your personality and a deeper understanding of yourself. Just like you, cities around the United States have unique personalities, too—some secluded spots are natural fits for introverts while other museum-rich hubs will stimulate the busy minds of thinkers.
Sep 23, 2018
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.
Sep 8, 2018
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. Think of it this way: Getting pre-qualified is like taking baby steps towards getting approved for a mortgage. You call up a lender, self-report your credit score, and relay information about your income.
Sep 2, 2018
The Dollar Store Find to Arm Yourself with During Every Move
Come move-out time, getting every penny back of that rental deposit is the name of the game. Chores like replacing the stove top drip pans and spackling the walls where your TV once hung can certainly help. But the move-out cleaning ritual I’ve found to have the biggest impact, while requiring the least amount of effort, is done with a dollar store find: A melamine foam pad, or, if we’re talking in brands, Mr. Clean’s Magic Erasers or Scotch-Brite’s Easy Erasing Pad.
Aug 30, 2018
One Person You’re Forgetting to Talk to While House Hunting
Before I put an offer in on my house, I already knew all the neighborhood quirks I would encounter once I moved in. I knew I’d be able to faintly hear a train at 10:05 p.m. most nights, that I’d be living along the high school homecoming parade route, and that one of my elderly neighbors recently had a stroke and would love to have help walking his dog. Surprisingly, I didn’t get this intel from my real estate agent or even the current owners.
Aug 28, 2018
7 Things Experts Say Never to Put in Your Offer Letter
In a hot real estate market, where sellers are receiving multiple offers close in price, a well-written offer letter can be the ace in your pocket. “A letter can make you feel more like a person to the sellers rather than an offer and number,” says Lauren McKinney, broker and realtor with Gold Leaf Realty and Development and marketing director for Judd Builders. With that said, buyers’ letters should be short and heartfelt, says McKinney, whose based in North Carolina.
Aug 26, 2018
Do Your Leases Really Need to Overlap?
Here’s a riddle for renters: Say your lease expires on October 31. Do you need to move out on October 31 and keep your stuff in storage until November 1, or can you actually move out November 1, giving yourself a little wiggle room? The short answer: It varies depending on your management company or landlord, says agent Alex Lavrenov, of Warburg Realty in New York, New York.
Aug 23, 2018
This Is When You Should Call to Set Up Utilities When Moving
The scene: You move into a new apartment and discover it will take days before you can get your wifi up and running. Perhaps worse, you have to take a vacation day to wait around for the internet provider to show up during a liberal time window. It’s a true modern day horror story; go ahead and name your new network Silence of the LAN to commemorate it. Of course, this could be even worse if you forgot to get your electricity up and running before move-in day.
Aug 16, 2018
8 Steps to Getting a Great Subletter — Stat
Before you launch a frenetic search on Craigslist, though, here are some expert tips to help you easily find a reliable subletter.
Aug 11, 2018
How I Saved $40K in 5 Years for a Down Payment
I purchased a newly constructed three-bedroom, three-bathroom townhome for just under $200,000 in Westminster, Colorado.
Aug 10, 2018
5 Conversations to Have With Your Roommates Before You Move Out
If you have roommates, you probably know the standard move-in conversations that need to happen to ensure harmonious living. How will rent be collected and paid, whose television is going in the living room, and are peanut butter jars considered communal? But it’s important to make sure those A-plus communal living communication skills don’t fizzle come move-out time.
Jul 25, 2018
The Room You’re Most Likely to Unpack First, According to Your Zodiac Sign
The stars aligned perfectly and you signed a lease on a coveted apartment or emerged victorious in a bidding war for your dream home. Congrats! Now, it’s time to unpack and get settled in. Sure, you don’t need a full-on horoscope to tell you where to start; but your zodiac sign might inspire you to prioritize one room, or space, above all others. To help, we asked astrologists which room you should unpack first—based on your sign.
Jul 14, 2018
10 Creative Ways You Can Save Money While Moving
You just bought a new home or signed the lease for an apartment you’ve been coveting. Spending your discretionary dollars on a great piece of art or furniture sounds a lot more fun than blowing money on boring moving boxes and tape, right? If only it were that easy: Moving can be a pricey endeavor once you layer in all of the costs associated with professional movers, rented trucks, housing deposits, and miscellaneous fees.
Jul 3, 2018