Home Financing
Page 3
Why Experts Say 43 Is the Magic Number Potential Homeowners Should Know
Ever hear of debt-to-income ratio?
Jan 6, 2020
Living Near a Trader Joe's Can Up Your Home's Value—But It Could Also Suck
Because, of course, nothing is perfect!
Nov 8, 2019
PSA: You Don't Need a Perfect Credit to Buy a House
Don't let a good market pass you by!
Oct 30, 2019
You May Never Feel "Ready" To Buy a Home—Here’s Why That Shouldn’t Stop You
“Millennials may perceive home buying as more risky than previous generations because we were raised on infinite choice, frequent change, and came to age with a lot of financial volatility.”
Oct 30, 2019
FYI: You Don't Actually Need 20 Percent Down to Buy a Home
Plus, how to know if this myth is keeping you from buying a home.
Oct 30, 2019
I've Reached the Limit of Renovations Making Financial Sense—But I Can't Stop
I know perfectly well that there's a point when enough is enough and a home becomes functionally obsolete... but I just can't help myself.
Oct 24, 2019
5 Easy-to-Overlook Things That Can Increase the Value of Your Home
The more appealing a home is on the market to the majority of buyers, the higher price it may fetch.
Oct 23, 2019
10 Surprising Ways Working from Home Affects Your Budget
Yes, you'll save on commuting—but probably not as much as you think you will.
Oct 2, 2019
4 Countries Where Homeownership Is Way Different Than America
Turns out, the 30-year mortgage is so not the norm.
Sep 28, 2019
5 Reasons Your Credit Score May Actually Be Lower Than You Think
That three-digit number isn't always as stable as you'd like it to be.
Sep 16, 2019
5 Easy Ways Anyone Can Get Closer to a Perfect Credit Score
There are no “hacks”, per se, when it comes to reaching a perfect credit score, but there are habits you can start now that will pay off over time.
Sep 4, 2019
Why You Should Totally Start Designing Your Retirement Home in Your 30s
What started as seemingly random talk has literally revolutionized the way I think about expenses.
Aug 15, 2019
The Trader Joe's Effect: Why It Pays to Live Near TJ's
While you may think your proximity to cauliflower gnocchi and Candy Cane Joe Joe’s is draining your bank account, a new analysis says it may actually be making you money if you own a house.
Aug 8, 2019
This Week on Liz$plaining: The Unexpected Costs of Buying a Home
If there's one thing I feel passionately about (besides existential theater, cheesecake, and hot dads), it's that many people could probably buy a home if they realized it's possible.
Jul 30, 2019
What Most People Get Wrong About Adjustable-Rate Mortgages
Though adjustable-rate mortgages have gotten a bad rap post housing crisis, experts say they can actually make financial sense in certain situations.
Jul 13, 2019
23 of the Greatest (Expert-Approved!) Credit Score Tips of All Time
We went through all the credit score-focused articles we've published in the past year and rounded up the best tips experts have shared with us. Here, the best of the best credit score tips and tricks.
Jul 12, 2019
3 Ways to Raise Your Credit Score Fast
If you understand what's keeping your score down, you might be able to bounce it back up quickly.
Jul 2, 2019
Our Newest Series “Liz$plaining” Is Personal Finance for Real People
Finance is boring, but our Real Estate Editor, Liz, sure isn't! In our new series called Liz$plaining, Liz will guide you through all your toughest financial questions.
Jul 2, 2019
The 6 Budget Choices That Actually Helped Me Buy a House
To keep on track with my savings goals, here are six budgeting strategies I enacted (with insight from a personal finance expert)
Jun 23, 2019
The Best Investment Advice I Got From My Grandfather, a Landlord of 25+ Years
Though I know my grandparents came up in a different time, I've learned a lot about real estate investing from them.
Jun 22, 2019
3 Things The Savviest Homebuyers All Know About Mortgage Fraud
Real Talk: The chances that you could commit mortgage fraud unknowingly are minimal. The industry has become much more highly regulated in recent years to prevent issues like this. “If you’re working with a reputable lender or a bank and you’re a fairly savvy consumer, it’s probably not something you’ll come across,” say Ed Deveau, a realtor with Century 21 Mario Real Estate in Boston.
Apr 25, 2019
4 Reasons Why You Should Still Go to Open Houses, Even If You’re Not Looking to Move
These are super useful, real estate agent-approved reasons all happy homeowners should spend time at open houses in their neighborhoods.
Apr 24, 2019
The 1 Thing Most People Get Wrong About Their Credit Score
"You only have one credit score." True or false?
Apr 24, 2019
How Do You Keep from Going Too Far with Your Fixer Upper?
While stuck in the middle may not sound too appealing, it's exactly where you want to be when it comes to real estate.
Apr 23, 2019
The Frustration-Free Guide to Getting (And Understanding) Your Free Annual Credit Report
Every year, you’re entitled to a free credit report. You can consider it a financial wellness exam of sorts as the comprehensive report details your credit activity, getting into the nitty-gritty details of on-time payments and credit limits. But, this all-encompassing report won’t just automatically arrive in your mailbox. You’ve got to ask for it. Here’s what you need to know about requesting your Annual Credit Report, and what it all includes.
Apr 16, 2019
5 Money Lessons You Can Learn From People Who Bought Their Own Homes in Their 20s
If you’re under 30, buying a home might sound like a far-fetched dream: Fewer people between ages 25 to 34 are buying homes now compared to older generations at that age, according to a July 2018 report from the Urban Institute.
Apr 15, 2019
The Most Googled Credit Score Questions, Answered by Finance Experts
No doubt, credit can be confusing. Not only are there various factors that make up the anatomy of your credit score, there are also different credit scoring companies. Making things even more convoluted, achievements like paying off your student loans can actually cause a drop in your scores, plus there’s plenty of myths circulating about credit. Suffice to say, people have a lot of questions about credit.
Apr 14, 2019
Money Mistakes That Will Make it Really Hard to Buy a Home One Day
The real estate process begins well before you make your short list of dream homes and start attending open houses—and it can end there, too, if you’re not prepared. Many people worry about saving enough money for the down payment, but there’s more to learn about the process of buying a home, requirements for loan approvals and how to overcome obstacles to home ownership. Weigh your financial history carefully, because with the right knowledge comes home-buying power.
Apr 7, 2019
One Thing That Agents Wish They Could Tell Their Buyers
Have you ever wondered what your real estate agent is thinking — like really thinking? Well, now’s your chance to find out. Agents have to stay pretty neutral with their buyers—there are legal protections governing some of what agents can and cannot say in order to ensure buyers are making their own decisions. But we reached out to a few real-life agents to learn the truth: What’s the one thing you wish you could tell your clients?
Apr 6, 2019
Here’s the Real Difference Between a Foreclosure and a Short Sale
If you’re in the market for purchasing a home, looking into foreclosures and short sales might seem like a more affordable way into homeownership. The properties can be quite inexpensive in comparison to the traditional housing market, and if you’re a seasoned buyer, the idea of a fixer-upper might sound appealing.
Apr 2, 2019
The Most Common Money Mistakes When Building (or Renovating) a Home
In this modern era of home improvement TV, where homes go from beast to beauty in the amount of time it takes to do a quick scroll through Instagram (what? It’s called multitasking), what often gets lost is the immense amount of work and money that goes into an actual home renovation, let alone building a home. Beyond that, many of the everyday issues that DIYers, developers, and owners run into are edited out of the final cut—making things seem a lot rosier than in reality.
Apr 2, 2019
Don’t Fall For These 7 Common Credit Score Myths
Understanding what affects your credit score in order to rent an apartment or secure a mortgage shouldn’t be a mystery. After all, that three-digit number is what lenders use to determine your creditworthiness, so transparency should be the name of the game. Still, credit can be complex and there’s a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to how credit works and what drives your score up (and down). Here are seven common credit myths—busted.
Mar 26, 2019
This Is How Much The Average Millennial Spends in a Day
Turns out, millennials aren’t spending all their money on that infamous avocado toast. However, they are a lot more spendy than all other living generations. According to a new analysis from GOBankingRates, millennials spend $208.77 each day, on average—about $44 more than the average American, who spends about $164.55.
Mar 23, 2019
These Are The Top 3 Reasons You Might Not Get a Mortgage
You thought doing your taxes was a nightmare? Wait until you apply for a mortgage.
Mar 21, 2019
Here’s How to Freeze Your Credit for Free (And Why You Should)
My first foray into credit freezing came in 2015, when I found out my background investigation records were stolen in a massive government hack that affected 21.5 million people. In order to get security clearance for a government job, I had to fill out a standard form with personal information including financial records, mental health history, and international travel.
Mar 20, 2019
Here’s the Real Difference Between an IRA, 401(k), Roth IRA, and a Roth 401(k)
You’re set to start saving for your future. You already put money aside for retirement every month, but you’re probably already wondering how you should invest it. Which type of retirement savings account is best for you? Should you start a 401(k), an IRA, a Roth 401(k), or a Roth IRA? What even are the differences? What about if your first home is your savings priority right now?
Mar 16, 2019
The Best Online Mortgage Payment Calculators, According to Experts
Whether you’re a serious buyer or daydreaming to pass the time at work, a common part of buying a home is trying to predict your monthly mortgage payments. Is it going to end up being cheaper than your rent? Are you going to need to downsize a bit? You probably want a ballpark number before you call your mortgage lender and hire a real estate agent, so you plug the numbers into an online mortgage payment calculator.
Mar 14, 2019
How to Improve Your Credit When You Have None
Establishing credit poses a tricky Catch-22: You need credit to get credit. This can prove to be quite a conundrum if you’re trying to rent an apartment, buy a home, or, heck, simply need car insurance but don’t qualify because of a thin credit file.
Mar 14, 2019
Should You Just Buy Now or Save Up More for a Down Payment? Here’s How to Decide
You see homeownership in your future. But, after looking into your crystal ball—err, savings account—are you envisioning yourself at the closing table in the next month? Year? Five years? TBD depending on if you win the lotto? Fewer than four out of 10 millennials own homes, according to research from the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based social and economic policy group.
Mar 12, 2019
The Best Credit Score Advice Experts Have Ever Heard
As far as credit is concerned, there are no hacks that can cause your score to magically skyrocket overnight. (Ahem, we’re wagging our fingers at schemes promising you a “new credit identity.”) But, what does exist is good, sound credit advice that advocates for responsible borrowing and takes into account the anatomy of your credit score, like utilization and payment history.
Mar 8, 2019
4 Things a Financial Planner Thinks You Should Know
Think of the term “financial planner” and what comes to mind? Somebody in a suit talking about complicated money matters with somebody rolling in dough. Think again, according to Certified Financial Planner Professional Shannah Compton Game, host of the Millennial Money podcast. I got to chat with Game about all things financial, and ask her my embarrassing money questions—which actually didn’t feel at all embarrassing with her.
Mar 2, 2019
This Is How You Get a Perfect 850 Credit Score
In the world of credit, establishing a credit score of 850 is like being granted a lifetime achievement award. Both FICO and Vantage—widely used credit-scoring models—consider 850 to be the highest possible credit score. The score is perfect. Exceptional. Untarnished. But… is it possible? The short answer, according to experts: Well, yes. But an 850 credit score takes time and strategy.
Feb 27, 2019
Here’s Why Your Credit Score Is Dropping for “No Reason”
You consider yourself responsible with credit: You pay your bills on time and you don’t rack up any major credit card debt. And since you’re looking to apply for a mortgage sometime in the near future, you’ve been actively monitoring your credit. But since you’ve checked last month, your score has gone down. What gives? Why is your score acting so sensitive? Sheesh.
Feb 23, 2019
The Worst Savings Advice Experts Have Ever Heard
Even if you’ve just started to save for a big purchase like a home or for retirement, you’ve probably already run into plenty of bad advice. Everyone, especially your family, seems to have an opinion on where your hard-earned money should go. But not everyone knows what they’re talking about. (Sorry, Nana!) Luckily, five money experts weigh in on the worst savings advice they’ve ever heard.
Feb 21, 2019
This Is What Happens to Your Credit Score When You Only Use Your Debit Card
Maybe you’re afraid of racking up too much debt. Or, perhaps you fall into an “anti-credit card” category who loathes the potential of paying interest. It could just be that your debit card is at the front of your wallet and, by default, gets swiped far more than your credit card.
Feb 17, 2019
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.
Feb 16, 2019
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. Economists at Trulia determined that in 2018, over 280,000 married couples (or 0.46 percent of all married U.S. households) lived with a roommate or boarder. Now, you may think that number sounds minuscule. But it’s a serious jump compared to just over 20 years ago.
Feb 13, 2019
8 Surprising Reasons You Need a Good Credit Score
You know a strong credit score will help you get into your next home. To get specific, if you’re renting, landlords like to see a score of at least 650 before they start asking for extra deposits and guarantors. If you’re taking out a mortgage, a score that’s 760 or above is the magic number that will get you the best interest rate on a home loan. But establishing and maintaining a good credit score isn’t just necessary for keeping a roof over your head.
Feb 13, 2019
6 Free Apps That Will Help You Save Money
Before you know it, your down payment savings account will be a bit more full.
Feb 12, 2019
This Is How Often You Should Check Your Credit Score
There have been two points in my adulthood when I monitored my credit like a hawk: When I was preparing to buy my house, and when I was going through a background investigation for a government security clearance. Keeping my credit score stable, or even bumping it up, was the name of the game as low-interest rates and, potentially, a job were at stake. (I’m not giving away any government secrets!
Feb 12, 2019
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. You approach the thing with some very rough estimates researched in haste about what a modest little 2-bedroom in an up-and-coming neighborhood might cost.
Feb 10, 2019
My Credit Score Was Actually 70 Points Lower Than I Thought—And Yours May Be, Too
When my husband and I decided to take out a home equity line of credit for a renovation, we assumed we’d get a great interest rate based on our good credit scores. We’ve always paid our bills on time and don’t maintain any credit card debt. There’s just one demerit on my report; a medical bill in collections I’ve unsuccessfully disputed. But even with that blip, the credit monitoring service I use—CreditWise—said my score hovered in the high 700s!
Feb 8, 2019
The 5 Most Expensive U.S. Cities for Homeowners
It’s no secret that the dream of home ownership is increasingly a daunting prospect. From overwhelming student loan debt, to less-than-stellar credit scores, to steadily-climbing home prices, there’s no shortage of factors keeping a lot of us from achieving that hallmark of adulthood. However, some markets are tougher to pull off this particular aspect of “adulting” in than others.
Feb 5, 2019
This Super-Common Real Estate Tip is Actually Terrible Advice
We’ve all heard it. If you’re looking to buy, you should always go for the worst house in the best neighborhood. But have many of us ever stopped to question that conventional wisdom? I thought I was bucking convention when I bought one of the lowest priced houses in a neighborhood that many locals steer clear of (and to my eternal frustration that Uber drivers tell my Airbnb guests they should avoid) — but is it true?
Feb 3, 2019
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.
Feb 2, 2019
Is Buying a Home a Good Investment? Here’s How Experts Decide
You’ve saved a good chunk of money, or at least are on a path to do so. Now, you might be wondering what’s better: Invest in real estate or put your money in the stock market? It’s a question you can wrestle with to no end since several factors come into play. Helping to frame the debate and lend advice below are a host of real estate and finance experts. Here are six questions they suggest you ask yourself if you’re exploring your investment options.
Jan 30, 2019
Experts Say These 4 Financial Tips Are Totally Outdated
Sure, there’s plenty of parental advice that will never grow old: Learn to prioritize your time. Follow the Golden Rule. Wear sunscreen. But when it comes to financial tips, some of those age-old lessons fail to fit in with a millennial’s reality.
Jan 29, 2019
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.
Jan 27, 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 Free Credit Score Sites, According to Experts
Checking your credit score regularly is smart, especially if you’re planning to buy a home. You shouldn’t have to pay for a monitoring service to help you keep your credit on track, either. Fortunately, you can choose from a variety of free credit score sites and apps to keep tabs on your numbers. But with so many options, which is the best? By law, you’re entitled to view your credit report once a year on annualcreditreport.
Jan 17, 2019
The Smart Way My Real Estate Agent Quickly Calculates My Home’s Value
Imagine my surprise when my real estate agent gave me a simple appraisal number—and all additional information in a completely jargon-free way.
Jan 16, 2019
How to Help Your Credit Score Bounce Back from Holiday Purchases
Now that we’re settled in the New Year, you may have noticed that your credit score has taken a hit after some overly joyous holiday spending. You’re not the only one: A recent report from Marcus by Goldman Sachs says almost half of the U.S. (48 percent) carries a balance or goes into credit card debt over the holidays due to travel, entertaining, and gift costs. While this can make for an exciting holiday season, it usually leaves our wallets—and credit scores—hurting.
Jan 12, 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
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.
Jan 8, 2019
Almost Half of Millennial Renters Aren’t Saving for This Important Purchase
A new year is a great time to set resolutions (obviously), and if you’ve resolved to graduate from rental life to owner life, you’re going to want to set some savings goals ASAP. A new study from Apartment List found that many millennials want to buy a home, but don’t see that happening in the next five years. What’s more: A large portion of the generation isn’t even saving for a down payment yet.
Jan 6, 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
3 Cities Where Millennials Are Actually Buying Homes
Contrary to popular opinion, millennials are buying homes. According to a study conducted by the team at LendingTree, an online loan marketplace, nearly one-fourth of all mortgage purchase requests made on their website between January and November of 2018 came consumers under the age of 35. And three American cities managed to rake in millennial buyers—making up almost one half of total new purchase requests.
Jan 4, 2019
The $13 Amazon Buy That Solves Every Renter's Biggest Winter Problem
Keeping your rental warm throughout the season can be a challenge when you're at the whim of your building's management.
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
How to Improve Your Credit Score in 30 Days or Less
I'd managed to raise my credit score 30 points, and snagged a mortgage approval letter from my credit union. These experts agree with me.
Dec 16, 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