Housing Costs After Retirement: Owning A Home Outright Benefits Retirees

September 16, 2014

in News,Tips

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A new report from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies reaffirms the common belief that retirees who own their homes outright are considerably better off than those carrying mortgages or paying rent. The report, called “Housing America’s Older Adults,” focuses on the changes needed to supply sufficient affordable housing for the country’s 50-and-over population, which is projected to increase about 20 percent by 2030. The report found that paying off a mortgage dramatically reduces housing costs and provides an equity cushion to help cover other major expenses. Homeowners nearing retirement who have a mortgage with a low fixed-interest rate shouldn’t necessarily pay it off, so long as they have accumulated enough assets in retirement accounts to comfortably cover the monthly expense, said Jacob H. Gold of Jacob Gold & Associates, a wealth management firm in Scottsdale, Arizona. [Read this article]

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How To Make Your Home A Perfect Nesting Place

September 12, 2014

in Tips

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Making a painless transition from summer to fall is all about planning. The better we prepare our homes for the coming months of rain and cold, the less we mind it. “A hub nest for autumn and winter is a place where you do not feel anxious, and where everything is fit for purpose,” says London-based designer Caz Knight, of Weller Interior Design.The maxim “There is no such thing as bad weather, there is only inappropriate clothing” applies just as much to the home. Textures, color, lighting and just the right amount of clutter can winter-proof any room. There’s little comfort in minimalism when the skies turn gray, and this season’s home design trends – large patterns, bold colors and layered carpets – work particularly well to ward off any hint of seasonal affective disorder. [Read this article]

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5 Credit Score Must-Knows For Millennials

September 10, 2014

in Tips

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According to a recent survey by the Consumer Federation of America and VantageScore Solutions, 18- to 34-year-olds know less than other demographic groups about who’s looking at their credit scores, who collects the information on which scores are based, and what factors drive credit score calculations. “Millennials are less knowledgeable about credit scores simply because they have had less experience in the financial services marketplace” than older consumers, says Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America. In order to help you avoid any pitfalls, Bankrate.com has put together a primer on credit scores and credit reports. Here’s what you absolutely must know. “The most important thing (millennials) can do to keep their scores high is to make all their credit card and other loan payments on time,” Brobeck says. [Read this article]

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6 Renting Costs That May Surprise You

September 10, 2014

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Summer and early fall is prime moving season, so renters throughout the country may face surprises as they settle into new homes. Experienced renters know they need to budget for a security deposit, moving costs and possibly a broker fee, but here’s a look at other recurring costs that are easily overlooked, along with ways to avoid or reduce them. For example: increased energy costs. If you move from a small studio to a larger space with vaulted ceilings or floor-to-ceiling windows, the cost to heat and cool your pad may be higher. Also, many people use their cellphone instead of a landline. But if your new apartment has spotty cellphone reception, that strategy may not work. And if you have a car, don’t assume your apartment comes with free parking, especially in an urban area. [Read this article]

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Use Houseplants To Create A Healthy Home

September 9, 2014

in Green Living,Tips

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Placing plants around your home does more than beautify your space – according to NASA, houseplants are actually good for your health. Here are a few tips to help you decide what plants are best for your house. For example, eucalyptus is great for congestion. It opens bronchial passages and clears mucus during colds, flu or bronchitis and is also a natural antiseptic. And if you have insomnia, plants can also help improve your night’s sleep. Gerbera daisies release oxygen at night. Place them by your bed for optimal oxygen intake while you sleep. Gerbera daisies are also great at removing benzene and trichloroethylene from the air. [Read this article]

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14 Steps To Selling Your Home Super Fast

September 6, 2014

in Tips

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The peak homebuying season is over, but you still want to sell your house before the first snow falls. Even in a slow season, there are steps you can take to sell your home quickly. “Curb appeal is everything,” says Michael Mahon, general manager of HER Realtors in Columbus, Ohio. “Driving into the driveway and walking into that front door sets the expectations.” Another factor that’s equally important for a speedy sale: setting the right price. Many sellers think they should start the price high and then lower it later if the house fails to sell. But some agents say that’s often a recipe for a slower sale – sometimes even at a lower price. “The first 30 days’ activity of your house being on the market is always the best activity you’re going to see,” Mahon says. If the asking price is too high, many buyers and their agents will stay away, assuming you’re not serious about selling or you’re unwilling to negotiate. [Read this article]

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Your Credit Report: 6 Tips For Homebuyers

September 6, 2014

in Tips

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Whether you plan to buy a home in six months or a year or two, you’ve probably been told to request your free credit report to check for errors and to see what a lender can learn about you from the report. As page after page of your report shows up on your computer screen with rows of numbers and unfamiliar phrases, you may wonder exactly how you should read your credit report before you buy a home. Here are six tips for understanding your credit report – and how to correct errors – when you’re preparing to buy a home. First, read your credit report like a lender. “When lenders read your credit report, they’ll be looking for issues such as a problem making your mortgage payments on time, a high level of debt and the maturity of your credit,” says Jeffrey Taylor, managing partner of Digital Risk. A pattern of late payments, especially recently, is one of the worst things to have on your credit report. Keeping in mind what lenders are looking for, you should work your way through your credit report to check for accuracy and negative information. [Read this article]

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Shopping For Energy Efficient Lighting? Don’t Forget These Considerations

September 6, 2014

in Green Living,Tips

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Lightning is one of the most critical elements in home installations and, not surprisingly, it has a significant impact on household’s energy consumption as well. A well-lit room can reap a bevy of advantages, affecting the mood, health, comfort, and productivity of its occupants. New lights offering a lifespan of 2 decades might save you hundreds of dollars in utility bills, but how do you shop for the right one? CFLs (compact fluorescent) lighting is now so affordable that this option can pay itself off the investment with savings in just months of using CFL lightning. However, they aren’t great for homeowners looking for an instant, cooler or dimming light. LED lightning is gradually overcoming these problems. When it comes to saving with energy efficient lighting, converting to LEDs is an excellent way to bring down your carbon footprint and show respect to Mother Nature. [Read this article]

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The One Thing You Need to Get Right for a Secure Retirement: The Home You Live In

September 3, 2014

in Tips

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The biggest threat to your retirement security may be the home you live in, according to a new study by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and AARP Foundation. Your home and its location has an enormous – but often overlooked – impact on your quality of life and financial security in retirement, a problem that will only grow worse as the population of people ages 50 and older surges, according to the report. “Recognizing the implications of this profound demographic shift and taking immediate steps to address these issues is vital to our national standard of living,” says Chris Herbert, acting managing director of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. Despite the costs, most people want to remain in their homes as they age. Yet most homes aren’t equipped with basic adaptions that would allow people to remain there as they grow older, such as no-step entry ways or lever-style handles on doors and faucets for easy opening. [Read this article]

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Selling Your Home: How To Prepare For Showings When You Have Young Kids

August 30, 2014

in Tips

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When you have young children, staging a home before each showing can be a challenge. “You don’t have to keep everything in perfect, pristine order,” said Lydia Sussek, a real estate saleswoman at Corcoran Group in Manhattan. “If you have kids, it’s hard.” But there are a few things you can do that will have a significant effect on the way your home is perceived. The most important, she said, is “declutter, declutter, declutter.” For homeowners with children, that means “putting half to two-thirds of the toys into storage outside the home,” she said, which should not only help it look more spacious but should also mean there is less tidying up before showings. With children in the house, messy hands can also take a toll on the walls, Ms. Sussek said, so she recommends repainting as well. “The least expensive and best thing you can do before selling is to paint your home,” she said. “A clean, fresh coat of paint goes a long way.” [Read this article]

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