Could your credit score use a boost? There’s a lot at stake with those three digits. Your credit score can influence whether a landlord approves your rental application, how much you’ll pay in home and auto insurance rates, and the interest rate on your mortgage. And the higher your credit score, the more money you can save. To start improving your credit health, request a copy of your credit report from annualcreditreport.com. You’re entitled to one free copy from each of the three credit bureaus – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian – once per year. Once you have your reports, check for any errors. A 2013 Federal Trade Commission study found one in four consumers had errors on their credit reports that could affect their credit score. So it’s a smart idea to regularly review your report. Check for correct information about your identity (the spelling of your name, address, etc.) and that your proper credit limits are listed. Also make sure there are no fraudulent accounts you do not recognize. If everything looks right, it’s time to adjust your financial habits to boost your score. Here’s how. [Read this article]
With real estate prices rebounding strongly in many areas and interest rates still low, now could be a good time for a young person starting out to buy a first home – before prices get out of reach. But buying without some family assistance might be tough. The solution? For parents and grandparents to step up and loan the adult child enough money to make the purchase. Obviously, this idea isn’t for everyone, but if you can afford to consider it, here’s what you need to know to avoid unwanted tax complications. The current low-interest-rate environment makes the idea of loaning money to your child (or grandchild) to help with a first-time home purchase look really good from the borrower’s perspective. But time may be of the essence here, because there’s no guarantee that interest rates will stay this low for too much longer. [Read this article]
A record 57 million Americans, or 18.1% of the population of the United States, lived in multi-generational family households in 2012, double the number who lived in such households in 1980. After three decades of steady but measured growth, the arrangement of having multiple generations together under one roof spiked during the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and has kept on growing in the post-recession period, albeit at a slower pace, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. Young adults ages 25 to 34 have been a major component of the growth in the population living with multiple generations since 1980 – and especially since 2010. By 2012, roughly one-in-four of these young adults (23.6%) lived in multi-generational households, up from 18.7% in 2007 and 11% in 1980. Historically, the nation’s oldest Americans have been the age group most likely to live in multi-generational households. But in recent years, younger adults have surpassed older adults in this regard. [Read this article]
Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes rose four points to a reading of 53 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). Any reading over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor. The July reading marks the first time since January that the index has been above a level of 50. Better employment data and economic growth for the second quarter have buoyed builder confidence as the summer progresses. Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the HMI gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months. The index gauging current sales conditions increased four points to 57, while the index measuring expectations for future sales rose six points to 64. [Read this article]
When you buy a house, you aren’t just buying a house. In a way, you’re buying a neighborhood. After all, you’ll likely choose a home partly because it’s close to work, the schools are great or it’s walking distance to restaurants and stores – or maybe you love that it’s nowhere near retail establishments. In fact, you could argue that picking the right neighborhood is more important than picking the right house. The last thing you want is to buy property in a place everyone is trying to leave. So if you’re looking for a home for your house, here are some things to consider. For example, if exercise and a sense of community are important to you, find a house near the establishments you’ll be frequenting. [Read this article]
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released the findings of its June 2014 Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE), revealing a slight uptick in economic hopes among Americans. According to the New York Fed, the median earnings growth expectation among consumers polled in its June survey was 2.5 percent over the next year, up half a percentage point from May. Employment hopes also firmed up. The mean perceived probability of job loss fell to 14.7, matching a low first seen in June 2013. At the same time, consumers put their probability of finding a new job within three months (if they lost their current one) at an average 51.8 percent, a new high. On the housing front, the West topped all other census regions in expected price gains, as it has since February. Prices one year out are expected to rise a median 5.3 percent in the region compared to 3.8 percent in the South, 3.6 percent in the Northeast, and 3.3 percent in the Midwest. [Read this article]
By most estimates, mortgage rates were expected to climb this year, with rates on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage predicted to exceed 5%. Instead, rates are now lower than they were this time in 2013 – much to the advantage of mortgage shoppers. There are a few reasons why higher rates never came to pass. Rates on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.15% for the week ending July 10, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey of conforming mortgage rates. A year ago, rates averaged 4.51%. “In January, we were projecting at the end of the year that the 30-year would be 5.1%,” said Leonard Kiefer, deputy chief economist with Freddie Mac. “We most recently revised that down to 4.4%. Eventually mortgage rates will go higher – unless there’s some sort of slowdown in economic growth, a recession or some big shock to the economy, Kiefer said. “It’s likely to be gradual, but [rates are going] up, for sure,” he added. [Read this article]
Do you fold your T-shirts like you see them in a department store? Are they all neatly folded and stacked on top of each other? Even in a department store you might make a mess of the stack trying to find the right size and this is a stack of shirts that are all the same. For some reason a lot of us use this same method at home when all of our t-shirts are different! That can make finding a shirt you are looking for quite a messy task. You have to dig through the drawer to find the shirt and if you have to pull it from the bottom everything else gets messed up. Well, we saw a great solution for this and decided we needed to share this knowledge! Simply fold those shirts in half again and stack them vertically next to each other…you will be able to see every shirt in your drawer!
Watch this How To U video to see it in action.
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If that “for sale” sign has been on your front lawn a lot longer than you expected, you may be wondering: What do most homeowners do in this situation? Lowering the price is the most obvious suggestion, but price is often the problem. “Often sellers make the mistake of factoring in what price they need in order to sell the property,” says Rob Anzalone, co-founder of Fenwick Keats Real Estate, a New York City residential brokerage and property management firm. “Need is desire and isn’t a factor in establishing market value.” Another reason sellers price their home above the market value, Anzalone says, is because they’re afraid they’ll sell for too low of a price and then look like a sucker. But he adds: “It’s very difficult to underprice a property. If the price is too low, buyers will bid it up to market value with multiple offers.” [Read this article]
There are obvious economic reasons why people move some places and not others: Maybe they want a higher-paying job, or maybe a lower rent or mortgage. There might be personality factors involved, too, hence American stereotypes about friendly Midwesterners or irritable Northeasterners. But what role, if any, does basic intelligence play in determining where people choose to live? That’s the question at the heart of a new analysis from psychologist Markus Jokela of the University of Helsinki. Jokela reports that cognitive ability does explain some of America’s migration decisions, even after accounting for factors like income. But the findings are hard to boil down into any simple takeaway other than this: Smart people just don’t like to stay put. [Read this article]