Posts in Homeownership
FHA 203(K) Loan vs Fannie Mae HomeStyle Renovation Loan

Both the FHA 203(K) loan and the Fannie Mae HomeStyle Renovation loan are top contenders for being the best possible loans for getting work done on a home without having to take out a second mortgage.

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Don't Break the Bank: 10 Thrifty Holiday Decor Ideas for Fall, Christmas, and Beyond

If you’re like the team here at, you don’t want to spend a boatload of hard-earned money on decorations that you’ll only use once a year.

Don’t get us wrong -- we love the holidays. And decorating for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and beyond is a great way to get the kids away from their screens, enjoy a change of pace, and even alleviate the winter blues (science has shown us that putting up holiday decorations early has incredible mood-boosting powers).

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7 Creative Ways to Fund Your Next Big Home Improvement Project

A big home improvement project can have an equally big impact on your life and the value of your home. But there’s always the money hurdle: funding a renovation (especially a big one, like a new roof, a landscaping makeover, or a new kitchen) can feel close to impossible, especially if you’re a new homeowner.

Here are seven options you may not have considered for funding your next home improvement project, so you can get past your budgetary challenges and start getting your hands dirty.

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Surviving the Financial Storm After a Hurricane

By the time this blog publishes, Hurricane Florence will have already come and gone, but for the people who were in her wake, the real struggle has only just begun. Even a Category 1 hurricane can make a huge mess, dump buckets and buckets of water on soil that’s already saturated (a huge problem for a building's foundation) and destroy the morale of an entire state.
But it’s not really the hurricane that’s the worst part of it. It’s the after days. It’s figuring out how to move forward when your life is flipped completely upside down.

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Wildfires, Insurance and You

As I listen to the news on my Echo (hey, toys are fun and Alexa is a handy pal) each morning, I can’t help but feel incredible sorrow for the people who are being evacuated from their homes because of wildfires. Everyone says, “Oh, don’t worry, they had INSURANCE.”

This is the beauty of not having had to experience a house fire.

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Weekly Column #3: Is It A Good Time to Buy or Sell? Some Economic Indicators That Can Help

At least once a year, without fail, I’m asked to write a piece about whether or not it’s the right time to buy a home, get a mortgage or sell a home. This is life in the fast lane when you’re a writer with a lending and real estate background. Everybody wants an answer to THE burning question--it appears in search constantly. Site owners want to be able to give readers something that can help them figure out their current financial picture (while encouraging them to click on said site link)

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Thinking about Getting a Home Equity Line of Credit? Here Are the Most Important Factors to Consider.

A home equity line of credit, or HELOC, is a revolving line of credit that’s secured by the equity in your home. Think of it as a secured credit card, with your home acting as collateral.

Just like with a credit card, you’ll have a limit. This limit represents the equity in your home. You can tap it as frequently as you want, provided you have the available balance. When you pay down your balance, that amount of money is credited to your HELOC and you can spend it again later.

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Here’s What You Have to Consider Before Taking Out a Home Improvement Loan

Whether you’re looking at a Fannie Mae HomeStyle loan, an FHA 203k, or a good old home equity loan -- borrowing to make home improvements isn’t a decision to take lightly.

For any of these types of loans, the most important question any home buyer can ask is “What sort of house improvement can I buy with this loan?” The reason: it’s all too easy for a buyer to jump into a renovation loan in order to buy an extreme fixer-upper, without realizing that the house may be a total disaster.

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Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage or Invest Your Extra Money?

If you’ve recently gotten a windfall -- say, a big work bonus, or an inheritance from a long-lost uncle -- you might be wondering whether to pay off your mortgage, or invest the extra cash in order to make more money in the future.

When it comes to deciding the best way to spend your extra money, there are several factors to take into account. This includes the type of mortgage you currently have, your personal appetite for risk, and how much you expect to get from your potential investment. We’ll help you make the call.

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Is It Legal to Rent Your Home Out to Pay Your Mortgage?

Maybe you’re having trouble making your mortgage payments. Maybe you just want to downsize. Or maybe you simply want to escape your everyday routine and travel the world for a year. Regardless of your circumstance, renting out your home to pay your mortgage has never been a more popular option. But before you rush to list your house on Zillow and Trulia, know that renting your home could actually land you in trouble -- if you don’t take the right precautions first.

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5 DIY Home Improvement Hacks You'd Never Believe

DIY projects are all about becoming a more creative and inventive version of your regular desk mounted self. Oh, sure, during the week you’re Bob from Accounting, but on the weekend? That’s when you transform into Bob the Resourceful DIY Guy. This article is for all the Bobs (and Bobbies) out there.

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PMI vs MIP: What You Need to Know, and How Homebuyers Can Save Thousands

There’s an epic battle raging in the mortgage world between two fierce and unyielding opponents: PMI and MIP. Both do essentially the same thing, but they aren’t the same. Let’s take a walk through both camps to get a better understanding of these much-maligned mortgage insurances.

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The 8 Most Important Things to Know Before Building a Shipping Container Home

Right now, shipping container homes have never been hotter. With the average price of owning a home in the U.S. sitting around $257,000, and the price of buying a brand new home sitting at $407,000, it’s only natural that people are flocking to a more cost-friendly alternative. Shipping containers, by contrast, may cost as little as $1,400 each, and you might not even need that many to make a beautiful and spacious home.

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Wondering How Much Closing Costs Are? Look at the Loan Estimate Form

How much are closing costs, really? When it comes to nearly anything else in life that you buy, you know the price up front. You buy a bag of bananas, it’s 49 cents a pound. You order a new laser printer, it’s a couple hundred bucks. You know what it’s going to cost, to the penny, before you agree to buy the thing. 

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How Homeowners Can Save Thousands with an Energy-Efficient Mortgage

When you’re staring down yet another $400 utility bill in the dead of winter, the idea of an energy-efficient house might start to seem really appealing. An energy-efficient home loan is one approach to funding home improvements, however it can also lead to higher periodic mortgage payments. Energy-efficient mortgages are most of the times accompanied by potential challenges.

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How to Get a Home in Spite of Bad Credit

You may think you can't buy a home if your credit is poor, but we have some good news: even if your credit score is lurking somewhere in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, you can still own your dream home—and without a down payment of 20%.

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