Posts tagged: interest rates

Don’t Let Your Home Be The Cause Of Financial Problems

home money issueWhile home ownership is the goal that many people share in life, very few homeowners actually consider the negatives of home ownership. That is until they are a problem for them. Although for the most part, home ownership is a fantastic financial choice, there are also times when owning a home can have a detrimental impact on your financial health. However, this is usually when you don’t take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your home from financial issues. To learn more about protecting yourself from financial problems that could be caused by your home, read on.

Protect your property from the unexpected

There are times in life when we choose to skip paying certain bills because we see them as being necessary. Whatever you do, don’t make property insurance ones of them. The fact is that anything could happen at any time, which is why taking out homeowners insurance from a reputable company like Trusted Choice is so important. Whether a storm hits and destroys your home, a house fire ruins your property, or a break-in leaves your home in tatters, it is vital that you have adequate protection in place. Every home needs insurance, because the fact is, you never know what might happen, and it is always best to be protected.

Make maintenance a priority

A common mistake that far too many homeowners make, which turns their properties into money pits, is not taking maintenance seriously. If you take the time look after your home and deal with any issues that occur as and when they do, your home should remain in better shape. However, if you leave these issues to worsen over time and don’t deal with them, then you may end up with a home that is falling apart and will cost a lot of money to put back together again. If you aren’t big on household DIY, don’t let that put you off of keeping up with your home’s maintenance, call out a contractor instead. Never put off with household problems as they will only end up costing you more to fix.

Invest for the future

If you want to ensure that should you want to sell your home in the future, you are able to do so easily, and for a good price, it is important to keep your property up to date. This means being willing to invest in new technologies as and when they are available, such as solar power, for instance. These kinds of investments will come at a cost, but the fact is that by choosing to invest in them, you can give yourself and your future the financial security needed. The more up to date a property is, the more easily it should sell.

There you have it, a guide to everything that you should know about ensuring that your home is not the cause of financial problems. Take note of the tips above, and you can make sure that home ownership does not leave you in a financial hole.

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Could Property Investment Work For You?

property businessEveryone will choose to make their investments in different ways. Some will prefer to see their money in the bank; others will like to know that it’s working away in stocks and bonds. But sometimes, you don’t always want to put your money into financial plans at all. Because banking products aren’t the only things that can create a profit for you. Investing in property is just one way that you can put your money into something and often change your financial situation for the better. But how do you know that property investment is the right avenue for you? If you are interested in making your money work for you with a lot of potential in terms of the return, then here’s how to see the best successes.

Consider Your Budget

The first thing you’re always going to want to do when you try to work out if property is for you, is to consider your budget. Because to invest in property, you need a substantial budget. The down payment required to make a purchase in the first place can be extensive. If you already own your own home and you’re looking at this investment as being your second property purchase, you may even need a hefty chunk. So your first determining factor will be whether you have 20% of a property value to put down as a minimum.

Get To Know The Market

But you should also know a little bit about the property market too. You don’t have to be an industry expert, but don’t think you can just dive on in and buy blind either. If you want to ensure that your investment is going to pay off and be worthwhile, you need to know the market. Understand the market conditions and how well properties are doing; it will help you to determine if you feel comfortable buying at this time or not.

See What’s Available

If you are happy with the current market conditions, then you should take a look at what properties are currently on offer. Whether you find a realtor to discuss solid options or just browse from a far, you’ll want to see what you can get for your budget. Because you may decide to bide your time – especially if there’s nothing currently on the market that would be a viable investment for you.

Understand The Return

Whether you do find a property that you’re happy with or not, you’re going to want to ensure that you understand the return you’re likely to get. By this, you need to understand how inflation will affect your investment and consider the cost of maintenance over time to work out whether property is a viable option for you.

Start Off Small

If at this point you do decide that property is where you want to invest, then you need to start off small. Don’t dive in too deep and bite off more than you can chew. Because there are a lot of hidden costs with properties, and you need to make sure your money will work hard and not get zapped up with an expensive purchase.

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Freedom Debt Relief Shares Old-Fashioned Savings Tips That Still Work

debt storyIt’s true that financial habits change as time passes, but there are some money saving methods that are tried and true. Adopting some of these old-fashioned savings tips recommended by Freedom Debt Relief will help you build your savings account. The money you save can be used to boost your emergency fund, pay off debt, or take your annual vacation without going into debt. With that said, there are a few time-tested savings methods you can adopt.

Get rid of marketing messages.

Once you give your contact information to a company, you open up the door for them to send your marketing messages. Companies send millions of dollars and lots of time crafting messages that will convince people to buy. It’s hard to resist the temptation of marketing messages, so opt-out of them completely. If you’re receiving marketing messages, click the unsubscribe button at the bottom of the email to stop receiving those message. That way, you never get hit with an advertisement.

Cut back on eating out.

Eating out at restaurants is enjoyable, but the cost adds up quickly, especially if you’re eating out several times each week. Reducing the number of meals you eat in restaurants will let you save hundreds, possibly even thousands of dollars each year. When you do eat out, don’t let leftovers go to waste. Portion sizes in the United States are large enough that you can take half your meal home and enjoy it for the next day’s lunch or dinner.

Don’t pay for things you can do for yourself.

While it may be more convenient to pay someone to do small repairs or other odd jobs, you’ll save money by doing things yourself. Picking up some basic sewing skills, for example, will allow you to make your own clothing repairs and avoid having to pay a seamstress. Freedom Debt Relief recommends using the internet to learn how to solve some of your basic repairs and save the big jobs for professionals.

Save your change.

A few dimes and nickels here and there doesn’t seem like much, but over the course of weeks and months that little bit of pocket change adds up. Get a separate change jar or bucket where you can collect you change. You might be tempted to dip into it every down and then, but leave it alone. The longer you let you change accumulate, the more you’ll have, says Freedom Debt Relief.

Avoid disposable items.

Let’s face it, many of us like to eliminate as much housework as possible. To accomplish that, we turn to disposable items like paper plates, cups, and cutlery. Not only do these items lead to more environmental waste, they also cause you to spend more money than necessary. It only takes a few minutes each day to do the dishes. Freedom Debt Relief advises families to simply make the sacrifice and avoid throwing money away on disposable items.

Get rid of debt.

With debt, we can purchase things now and then conveniently pay for them over a period of time. But, there’s a catch. When a lender gives you the option of paying for something in installments, you’re going to pay interest. The more you borrow, the higher your interest rate, and the longer it takes you to pay off the debt, the more you’ll pay in interest. You can potentially save thousands of dollars in interest, says Freedom Debt Relief, just by paying off debt faster. Look for extra money in your budget or find ways to increase your income and use the additional money to reduce your debt faster.

Don’t discount these methods because they seem old-fashioned. You’d be surprised to see just how much impact these savings strategies can make on your savings account.

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What to do With Inherited Real Estate

real estate investmentsAs awful as it is to think about our loved ones passing away, unfortunately, death is the only thing guaranteed about life, aside from perhaps taxes as the saying goes. Most of us dream of having something to leave our children when we go, property, money or a family business being the ultimate goals. Some of us are even lucky enough to be able to pass things on before we die. Giving us the chance to see the people that we love benefit from our life’s work. Your parents and family are no different. Leaving you a property is something that will have pleased them, so it’s certainly nothing to feel guilty about.

When you inherit property, there can be a period of adjustment. Whether your loss has been expected or come as a complete surprise, it can be a lot to take in. In these situations, it’s best to let yourself grieve and take your time to adjust before rushing into a decision on what to do with your new property. An instinctive reaction can be to either move straight in or not want it at all and offer your inheritance to someone else. Both of these things could prove to be a mistake. So, take your time and give these options some consideration.

Rent it Out

Renting the house out is an interesting option, with both pros and cons. If you choose to rent your house to someone else, you get a steady monthly income from it. Sometimes, there’ll be very little you’ll need to do for this money. Then, other months absolutely everything will go wrong, and you’ll need to work ridiculously hard as a landlord. You will also be subject to landlord’s insurance and taxes as well as having to ensure that your property meets all health and safety standards and completely adheres to the law.

But, it does keep your options open. When your tenants move out, you can rethink, sell, move in or search for a new tenant.

Finding tenants is much easier than it used to be now so much business is done online, and properties rarely sit empty for long. Keeping your property in good condition and appealing to tenants is also easier than ever. You don’t even need to do any of the work. Learn more about these options before making your decision.

Live in it

Whether or not you chose to live in the house can depend on a variety of circumstances. You need to consider your current housing situation. If you already own your own home and feel happy and comfortable where you are, you may not want to move. It will also depend on your past experiences in the house and with its previous owners. If it’s the happy home of your childhood, you could either love going back or feel a bit odd, like you’ve been out and made your own life only to find yourself taking a step backwards.

If you don’t own a home, work locally and still have relationships with people in the area, moving into your new property could be the perfect answer. You won’t have to worry about selling, finding tenants or the pressures of being a landlord.

The value of the home should be another consideration. Is it worth selling? Or could you make more in the long term by renting it out? If you already own a house, could selling or renting that out instead be more cost-effective?

Of course, if you do decide to live in it, for now, you’ll still be able to sell at any point in the future should you change your mind. However, it is worth bearing capital gains tax in mind. If you inherit a house and choose to sell, you get a bit of a tax break. Say the house was bought for $150000 and is now worth $300000, only the difference will be subject to capital gains tax. Once you’ve lived in the house for two years, this tax break starts to decrease.

Sell it On

Selling the property on is a popular choice. If you need money quickly, because your current financial situation isn’t great, then this can be the best option. You save money on capital gains tax; you don’t have the constant responsibility of being a landlord or the hassle of moving to a new house yourself and you get a large cash injection. If you currently rent but have significant debts, selling to enable you to pay things off could be a good idea too, as it will allow you to improve your credit score before you get on the property ladder. You could even have plenty left for a good deposit.

However, selling has associated costs of its own. You’ll need to make sure the house is in sellable condition, pay to get it valued and pay estate agents fees. If it’s on the market for a long time, these fees increase, and you have to wait for your payout.

It’s also the only option on this list that’s final. Once the house is sold, that’s it. There’s no changing your mind once the sale has been made.

Use it as a Business Premises

Another option is to use the property in another way. If it’s in a great location, you could convert it into a business. Perhaps a shop or restaurant. If you work from home and need some more space, it could give you an ideal solution. These options very much depend on location and how much the conversion would cost.

Another alternative use is hiring it out as a holiday property. If it’s in a great location that would attract tourists or people on business trips, list in on Airbnb and make some money off it. Then, there’s nothing to stop you keeping it as a second home when you need a break yourself.

When deciding what to do with your inherited property, there is a lot to consider. Your own living situation, your income, cash flow and debt levels, your long-term plans and the home’s condition and location for a start. So, wait if you can, let yourself grieve and then take you time to reach the right decision.

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The Golden Rules of Taking Out a Loan

loan timeIf the world was perfect for everyone, no one would ever need to borrow any money. Unfortunately, things just don’t work like that yet – and as long as we have a banking system, it’s unlikely to change. The reality is that we have to borrow money to lead the lives we want. However, there are limits, and many people are guilty of stepping over the mark.

The truth is there are good debts and bad debts, as you probably already know. And even if you are in good enough shape to take out the former, after a few missed payments or a challenging life event, it can quickly turn into the latter.

When it comes to personal loans, the temptation is strong enough to turn heads of even people with the strongest financial constitutions. Advertising is everywhere, and almost all speak to your aspirations and the life you could have – if only you would borrow a few thousand dollars or more.

To make sure you don’t fall into a trap, there are a few things you need to consider when taking out a loan. These golden rules should be set in stone, as when you step outside of them, it’s often the first step down a slippery slope to unaffordable, bad debts. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know.

Always shop around

It doesn’t matter whether you are borrowing money to buy a car, a home, or just pay for something quickly with cash loans, always shop around and look for the best deal possible. You should compare percentage rates for interest, but also check the length of the loan. Sometimes, cheaper interest rates over a longer time period will result in a higher overall cost.

Always check your credit score.

Another thing to consider before applying for a loan is your credit rating. When you make an application and get turned down, your credit score takes a hit. Not only that, however, but when you are attracted by a fantastic looking deal that you see in an advertisement, you have to remember that these deals are only offered to consumers with the best credit scores. If your rating is anything less than perfect, you won’t be offered it, and instead, have to put up with a much more expensive deal than you applied for in the first place. A lot of people fall for this, so ensure your credit rating is up to scratch before you apply.

Always read the small print.

The terms and conditions on loans are notoriously detailed, and the vast majority of borrowers never pay them a blind bit of notice. It’s no surprise – who has time to read the reams of paper that often come with your application form? However, you should make time. Banks and lenders of all varieties depend on your ignorance and lack of time, and will often include some pretty dire conditions that you need to meet to qualify for any of the supposed advantages. Another thing to watch out for is early repayment charges – you should always include them in the overall cost of the loan when you do your initial sums. Ideally, all loans would be free to pay off whenever you want, but the reality is somewhat different.

Consider insurance

Loan insurance gets a bad rep, because of a lot of malpractice in the past. However, it’s a valuable protection if you can find the right deal. For a few dollars a month you can protect yourself in the event you suffer an injury at work or get ill and can’t earn any money to pay the loan back. Again, shop around – there are varying rates from all kinds of lenders and insurance companies, and you will often find it is more expensive to buy insurance from the company offering the loan.

Compare with a credit card.

Another major misconception is that personal loans always have better deals than credit cards. To be fair, this used to be the case, back in the day when credit cards were only for the very wealthy, but times have changed. When you consider the long 0% deals you get on credit cards – some of which go for around 18 months at the moment – they often compare very favorably to a personal loan at, say, 6%. And if you can pay off the card before those 18 months are complete, it won’t actually cost you a penny.

Pro tip: borrow more money

As a rule, you should never borrow more than you can pay back. However, when you consider that banks and lenders will offer lower interest rates for higher loans, wouldn’t it make sense to get the better deal? In short, of course, it would, but you have to have a lot of self-discipline. You could borrow a larger amount of money, only spend what you need, and then pay it back over time using a combination of your personal repayments and the surplus. Over the course of a 4-5 year loan, this could actually save you a four-figure sum, so it’s well worth investigating – if you have the discipline, of course.

Be careful with secured loans.

Secured loans will always give you a fantastic sounding deal. But there is a reason – it’s because you have capital at stake. When a loan is secured against your possessions, lenders tend to sleep easily, content in the knowledge that if you fail to pay, they get your house, car, or treasured objects. Yes, the deals can be tempting. But unless you are 100% sure that you will be able to pay them back. Unsecured loans may attract higher interest charges, but ultimately if you have a problem paying them, there is little a lender can actually do.

Always stake the shortest path.

Finally, whenever you take out a loan, the cheapest option will always be to pay it back as quick as possible. It’s down to your personal circumstances, of course, but if your idea of the perfect loan is that it ends up costing you less, it’s the only way to go.

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