Valencia Higuera Valencia Higuera is a personal finance junkie who enjoys reading articles on budgeting, saving money, and credit cards. She has written personal finance articles and blogs for several online publications. She holds a B.A in English from Old Dominion University and currently lives in Chesapeake, Virginia.
If your current vehicle is on its last leg, or if you’re simply ready for something different, it might be time to bite the bullet and purchase a new car. That said, buying a new car isn’t some small, insignificant purchase.
There are many costs that inflate a car’s expense beyond the simple ticket price. You want to make sure the car you buy is one you can actually afford, so before you sign and drive, make sure you fully understand the costs of buying a car.
A house is likely to be the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make. And if you’ve waited a long time for this day to come, you’ve undoubtedly thought about the features you desire – maybe you’re craving a huge master bedroom with walk-in closets, or perhaps a gourmet kitchen.
While you don’t want to skimp on the amenities you love, adding too many can drive up the cost and destroy your budget. By thinking about your long-term financial goals and assessing your budget before you buy, you can score the home you want without experiencing buyer’s remorse.
It doesn’t matter whether your kids are school-aged or fully grown adults – if they’re in trouble, you’ve got their backs. However, if your children have made poor financial choices and need help paying off massive debts, you may question whether you should step in and help.
When it comes to consumer debt, everyone has an opinion. Some people avoid debt at all costs, even if it means never buying a house, while others view debt as a necessary evil – a way to enjoy a certain quality of life.
Most Americans fall into the latter category, and all too often, debt ends up getting out of hand. To avoid this pitfall, it’s important to maintain a sense of moderation, to know your limitations, and to manage purchases so you can pay them off within one to two months.
I worked throughout college, and firmly believe it’s important to hold down a job while in school. But over the years, I’ve met people who never worked a day in college, and I clearly recall one person telling me he didn’t plan to get his first job until after graduation. While this isn’t a strategy I recommend, it’s definitely a popular one.
Working while completing a degree isn’t easy. It’s a juggling act, and if you have student loans or scholarships that cover the cost of tuition – plus your parents footing the bill for your living expenses – you may reason that you don’t need a job. But aside from monetary need, there are lots of reasons to maintain employment while in school.
Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or have plenty of experience, purchasing a house is just plain stressful. It’s a complicated process involving both strong emotions – it’s a home, after all – and what may be the biggest financial investment of your life. Even if the process appears to be going smoothly, it only takes one mishap to kill the deal. Your financing could fall through at the last minute, another buyer could come in with a higher offer, a home inspection could reveal hidden problems, or the appraisal could come in below the sale price, affecting your mortgage terms. That’s a lot of “coulds.”
Once you’ve located the perfect house for you and your family, it is time to prepare an offer. The offer is the foundation of real estate transactions, and upon review, the seller will either accept or decline your bid. It includes basic information, such as the location and physical description of the property, the proposed price, down payment information, and stipulations. It goes without saying that preparing a real estate offer is anything but easy. For this matter, it’s best (though not required) to work with a professional real estate agent.
“Stressful” is the best word to describe buying a house. It involves, among other tasks, the process of improving your credit score, securing financing, choosing the right agent, and looking at different houses. But the frustrations don’t stop there – after you find the right house and submit an offer, there’s always a chance that the seller will reject your offer. And sometimes, rejections come without any explanation.
There are countless reasons why sellers reject purchase offers. If you lost a home to another bidder, one of the following reasons might apply.
If you’re trying to sell your home, a competitive housing market can be your worst nightmare. There may be similar homes for sale in your area, and if these homes are priced lower than yours, it can take months to find a buyer for your place. However, price isn’t the only thing you have to worry about.
Homebuyers can be extremely particular, and before they make an offer on any property, they’re likely to inspect every nook and cranny. Of course, no home is perfect. Minor scratches on your floor and chipped paint aren’t likely to cause a stir. However, there are certain things that can make homebuyers think twice about purchasing your home.
Renting a house or apartment with a friend is a great way to save money, and it allows you to enjoy the company of another person while doing it. While it’s common for friends to rent a place together after high school or college, it’s often a short-term arrangement until one marries or can afford his or her own place.
However, if you don’t foresee marriage in your near future and your present roommate situation works, you might consider buying a house with your friend. While some people would never enter into a mortgage agreement with someone other than a spouse, buying with a friend can be a smart investment – as long as you know the risks.
Even if it’s not your first time, buying a home can be frustrating and stressful, as it can take weeks or months to locate the right house. Plus, with each bid, there’s a chance that the property owner will reject your offer and go with another buyer. Good real estate agents understand this frustration, and often go above and beyond to keep you happy. However, as a stressed-out home buyer, you may need to be careful not to blame your agent for problems out of his or her control.
Are you eagerly counting down the days to your next vacation? After working hard throughout the year, you deserve a few days of relaxation and fun. But regardless of how excited you are to take your next trip, it’s always crucial that you plan wisely and always remember to take plenty of precautions. After all, nothing can ruin your trip faster than losing your bankroll. Pickpockets often target tourists, and if you’re careless with your wallet or purse, someone could swipe your money from under your nose.
Don’t be an easy target. Here are some simple ways to keep your money safe when traveling.
The Internet has completely changed the way we conduct business. A few clicks of your mouse, and you can schedule appointments, book a hotel reservation, reserve an airline ticket, and even start your journey to earn a college degree. Of course, one of the biggest perks of the Internet – and one of the most widely used – is online shopping.
Online shopping has taken the world by storm, with more and more people hopping online to purchase everything from clothes to books. Why deal with crowded shopping malls and long checkout lines? Using the Internet to compare prices and make purchases is easy, fast, and fun.
Moving out of your parents’ house just may be the most important step you take toward independence. You can finally live by your own rules, without curfews or restrictions, and take care of responsibilities on your own schedule and in your own way.
However, as appealing as this may sound, the freedom of living on your own comes with great responsibility, financial and otherwise. Before you take this bold step, make sure you’re fully prepared for what lies ahead.
If you haven’t applied for a mortgage in the past six years, you may be unfamiliar with the new lending standards. Back in the mid-2000s, people with credit scores as low as 580 could qualify for a mortgage – but things have since changed. If you want to qualify for a mortgage loan today, most lenders require at least a minimum credit score of 680. This is not a problem if you have a perfect credit report and a good credit score. If you also have sufficient income and adequate upfront cash, you’ve got your foot in the door.
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