Should You Sell Your Home to Knock Out Debt?

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Experiencing debt can be among the hardest things anyone has to deal with in their daily lives. It can contribute hugely to stress, depression and anxiety, especially for those with wider responsibilities such as a family who depend on them for their own survival. There is hope for dealing with debt though – and ideally, it’s best to do so before things get too out of control. A little bit of debt can easily snowball into something bigger if you’re not careful.

Consider your options

Before making any big decisions that could affect certain aspects of your life, take a step back for at least a few moments. Considering options is crucial in any decision-making process, but it’s even more important to remember when you’re under extra stress due to your situation. There are multiple ways to alleviate the effects of debt that may depend on different factors, and there’s no “one size fits all” solution.

Understanding different types of debt

Your decision-making will likely depend on the type of debt you’ve accrued. Not all types are inherently bad for your credit rating and though they can be as stressful to deal with as any other kind, there are clear paths out of them. Students, for example, are notoriously known to be in debt or constantly ‘poor’ both figuratively and literally in terms of the large student loan they may have taken out to enable their studies. But there is no immediate pressure to pay this off afterwards, and repayments are perfectly manageable once one finds themselves in a decent job.

Having a mortgage, meanwhile, is similarly a kind of manageable debt that one can pay off in sustainable fashion. It still presents an element of stress in daily life, but with a stable income is something easily paid off in the long run. Furthermore, the value of your property is very likely to increase exponentially over time, meaning from a certain point of view you’ll have made a profit on your initial debt.

All of which is to say, there’s no need to panic with certain kinds of debt. Many are paid off over longer periods of time and don’t require large scale selling of assets to solve. But other kinds of debt are more negative – specifically, those that decrease in value over time, such as payday loans and (the big one for many people) credit cards. The longer you take to pay them off, the worse it might be. This may be the type of situation in which you start to consider what sort of lifestyle changes are necessary to get yourself out of a negative spiral of debt, and it’s where selling your home may start to become a serious consideration.

Is selling your home a viable option?

This starts with a simple question: does your home’s value outweigh the amount you owe? Some may be fortunate enough to have a valuable home they acquired in better days before getting into serious debt and selling it may therefore be a straight answer for solving money troubles. Others might have a bit of math to do before deciding whether to go forward. If you’re currently paying a mortgage, you can work out the value of your home by subtracting your remaining balance from the property’s current market value. Consider other factors as well, such as whether your financial problems are long or short term, and how important it is for you to stay on the property market.

Should you decide this is the best option for you though, you’ll want to get the ball rolling quickly. No need to delay once you’re sure this is the right decision for your circumstance. Here’s how you can sell your home fast.

Different ways of selling

At first people tend to think they need to go through estate agents or online portals to start the home selling process; it can seem like it might be a long and arduous process, even perhaps an overwhelming one. It doesn’t have to be this way. Some companies have recognized these common obstacles for home sellers and instead specialize in helping them achieve fast sales.

Getting market value in a fraction of time

Typically going through the estate agent process can take at least six months, so that may not be a viable solution when you’re looking to sell specifically to knock out your debt. By going the alternate route of a company that guarantees to sell your home fast you’ll instead get a free quote within 24 hours and could find your house sold near market value within the following 7 days, with no extra agent or solicitor fees to pay.

As this presents such a quick turnaround, it’s even more reason to be sure this is the right option for you. But if it is, and you’re in desperate need of selling fast, then it’s time to get the ball rolling today.

You Can Still Get a Mortgage With a Poor Credit Score

Do you think if you have a poor to no credit score you cannot get approved for a mortgage? While with certain conventional loans this is true, other options will allow you to have a minimal credit score.

One of those options is a USDA loan.

When applying for a mortgage, there are many things the lender takes into consideration. What you make every month, what your debt total is, and if your payments are less than what your income is. Your credit score is only a part of the many factors that contribute to whether or not you get approved for your mortgage.

Your credit score for a USDA loan matters, but there is another way of getting this mortgage. Let’s take a look at what a USDA loan is and how you could get one even if you have no credit.

The Basics of a USDA Loan

A USDA loan is a rural housing loan backed by the United States Department of Agriculture. The government created this program to help boost the housing market, especially in rural and suburban parts of the country. Not only that, the loan helps make housing more affordable for low-to-middle income families.

The USDA loan has some of the lowest interest rates when it comes to mortgages across the country. That is one of the major appeals to this program. On top of that, there is a low mortgage insurance rate, and 100 percent financing (you are not required to make a down payment, another significant factor).

One of the hardest parts about getting approval for a USDA loan is the location of the property. Although there is a common misconception that you must live on a farm to qualify, rather, you can live in a rural or suburban community that is only miles away from a major city. The way the country defines rural and suburban, open up many opportunities to use this program to purchase a property.

Qualifications for the Loan

There are qualifications you must meet to get approval for this loan besides the location. There is an income limit of about $82,000 for a household with up to four family members, and just under $110,000 limit for families with five to eight members. The application takes into consideration the overall income of the household and not the individual applying for the mortgage.

Other qualifications include having an acceptable debt-to-income ratio, with the maximum being 41 percent. The property must also be in decent condition.

Credit Score Requirement

As mentioned earlier, you can apply and get approval for this loan with little to no credit score. However, most lenders do have a minimum of a 640 score. Your credit score shows how reliable you are with paying back loans and credit cards.

If your credit score is under 640, there is still a chance, although much more difficult. The lender must underwrite your loan.

If this is the case, you’ll need more information for the lender. He or she will want to see how long you’ve been at your current job, if you are a good homeowner, your on-time payment history over the last year, and what your bank accounts look like (including savings and retirement accounts).

Don’t let your credit score deter you away from the possibility of getting a mortgage. See if you qualify for a USDA loan.

Ways I Looked for the Cheapest Long-Distance Moving Options Near Me

So, about three months ago, I had to move across the state for my work. I landed that big promotion I had been chasing after for like a year, and they reassigned me to a different office. That was great because, you know, new possibilities, more money, all that fun stuff.

It was also lowkey hell because I suddenly had to move all my stuff in a really short time, and I had a lot of stuff. You wouldn’t believe the amount of loose paper I suddenly saw all around me. So, I had to find a good long-distance moving company, and I needed a cheap one, because the new paycheck figures were still some time away. So, what did I do? It was my first time moving so far, so I naturally panicked and searched everywhere. Here comes a brief recap of what I did and how that turned out for me.

First, I asked for recommendations

Naturally, the first place I turned to be my family and friends. Some of them had previously moved long distances, and my aunt and uncle even had some cross-country relocation adventures. Let me tell you, this strategy is a mess.

Everybody has a different recommendation to give, and everybody disagrees with someone else you asked, even if they don’t have any actual personal experience with that company. It was literally like one of those arguments on the internet, and I even found one at this link when, exasperated, I actually asked Google if asking for help from friends was the right idea.

So, this first round of scavenging for info netted me a list of about a dozen different moving companies and apparently none of them were good enough to warrant a universal agreement. My uncle who moved cross-country even told me to “chuck it all and just pick for yourself”.

Next, I googled things

Like any disgruntled young professional, I decided “These people have no idea about this!” and took my problem to the netizens. Boy, was that a storm! Suddenly there were strangers from different countries feverishly debating my situation, something I only ever saw on Twitter.

I got a bunch of advice for checking out Glassdoor, Yelp, the Better Business Bureau, tips on going places for free cardboard boxes (life hacks level up), and crash courses on trucks and gas pricing. I got stories about Great Guys Movers, Bad Guys Movers, Fake Guys Movers, and figuring out if my estimators were trying to scam me out of my money (thanks for the new phobia, internet).

At that point I figured I would just shut down my browser and go traditional.

So, I flipped through the Yellow Pages

That was by far the worst approach. Not to be unfair to printed media and paperback advertising strategies here, don’t get me wrong. I do actually find some handy leaflets in my mailbox every now and then.

But when you need to find a specific service within specific parameters, the Yellow Pages and all of their possible cousins will give you way too much information to filter through. I couldn’t believe the sheer number of people who were in the moving business in my area.

There are some arguments over whether phone book advertising is dead, like this one here: https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/yellow-pages-vs-digital-marketing-is-the-phone-book-really-dead/516574/

Don’t you believe them. It is alive and kicking, my friends.

There were widely known professionals, there were small-scale amateurs who had more or less of a renown in the community, and there were these individual gigs that all sounded potentially shady (even though I’m sure not all of them are in reality).

Instead of clearing up the confusion in my head and helping me fit my move into my budget, all this did was muddle it up even further.

Finally, I flipped out and did what my uncle told me

All of this searching around took me a little less than a week, and I was in a pinch with time, considering that I needed to move everything and settle in before starting at my new position. I’m one of those people who can’t function if half of my stuff is chilling in the hallway.

So, in the end, my uncle’s advice turned out to be the best. I put down on paper six or seven companies that sounded best to me, and then googled each of them and their reviews. That narrowed it down to four, so I got them to come to my place over four days and give me on-site estimates.

I asked a lot of questions and let me warn you: slam the door on anyone who doesn’t answer clearly and patiently. I settled on one, worked out the details, and packed in one day.

Moral of the story is, you are really on your own. Things like recommendations from your family and friends, or browsing the online reviews, or even going through the phone book, can give you some ideas, and some of hem of what can be really helpful. But the decision is yours. Come up with a budget that you can handle, figure out what additional services you need, and go from there. My best advice is to be friendly with whichever company you settle on and see if you can pay your tab in a few increments instead of all at once.

How to Increase the Value of Your Home

Even if you consider your humble abode to be your “home, sweet, home”, there’s almost always a possibility it won’t be your last. Many of us know we will ultimately have to move to retire, find a new job, or tackle any other curveball life throws at us, and we need to keep in mind the resale value of our property. There are plenty of things you can do to be proactive in making your house more valuable when it comes time to sell. Wondering how? Read on for tips on how to increase the value of your home. Bonus: They’re not all going to break the bank.

Go for the Big Remodel When Possible

Just had a windfall? Promotion at work? Year-end bonus? Whatever the reason you’re suddenly at least somewhat flush with cash, now is the time to consider making improvements to parts of your home. Remodeling your kitchen and/or bathroom are going to get you the most bang for your buck when it comes time to sell. Whether you are a DIY type or you plan on outsourcing the projects, there’s no denying these home remodels temporarily inconvenience you. Hold on for the finished product, though, as there is nothing like seeing a room in your house go from drab to fab under your own direction. Hopefully you’ll get to enjoy it for a while but, even if not, you can rest easy knowing you just increased the value of your home.

Make Small Improvements, Too

You might be feeling discouraged if you don’t have the money for the big remodels, but you can always seek the help of Tempe hard money lenders. Even if you don’t go for the loan, however, you can still make changes that will improve your resale value. Minor kitchen and bathroom remodels in which fixtures and floors are replaced can be crucial. Another inexpensive way to make a big impact on your home is a new coat of paint on each room inside. Painting the exterior is also a fantastic tactic to improve the look of your home, and this curb appeal will matter when it’s time to sell.

Tend to your Landscaping

This is another huge part of curb appeal. It doesn’t matter how amazing the inside of your home is; if it lacks curb appeal come selling time, the interior could be virtually worthless. Many busy real estate prospects won’t even go inside if the exterior of a home is a huge mess. Again, though, this doesn’t necessarily mean a million-dollar makeover complete with a water fountain. Some simple, well-manicured shrubs and plants along the walkway are wonderful, and a flower and/or rock garden will add additional value. Making sure your landscaping is well kempt when your house goes on the market will be crucial.

Consider Adding High Tech and Smart Touches

This is particularly true if you’re hoping that your house will eventually attract the eye of the Millennial crowd. As this CBS News article notes, “Where smart home features were once considered a fringe benefit, more buyers are demanding them, and agents are taking notice.” Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage sales associate Travis Gray tells CBS that the smart features of today are much like adding other features in the past:

“I equate it to stainless-steel appliances and granite countertops,” Gray told CBS. “Ten years ago it was great if you had them but it wasn’t expected. But now you have to have them — it’s expected. And if homeowners don’t have those features, they’re installing them to sell their homes at a better price.”

You can add an entire set of smart kitchen appliances and alarms or add smaller smart touches such as smart bulbs and learning thermostats. The latter is the type of thing that particularly appeals to Millennials, as these devices will turn off when they sense no one is home and thereby use less energy. Some companies claim that smart thermostats can lower an owner’s heating and cooling bill by up to 20 percent, which is no small feature when appealing to potential buyers.

Maintaining your home is simply smart practice, but if you add any or all of these suggestions, you can watch the resale value of your home skyrocket.

 

 

 

Buying Home Insurance

When buying a new home, there are so many decision to make and processes to go through. One of the main concerns when buying a new home is the amount of money being spent on the investment. Your family is spending so much, you want to do everything possible to save every penny you can. It can be stressful. Below are some helpful hints to help you save money during your home buying endeavor.

Realtor Fees

One thing people should know is that Realtor fees are often negotiable. Now when you are purchasing a home it is typically the seller who has to pay the realtor fees, but most likely you are selling a house to buy a home (not everyone is a first time home buyer). It is important to realize this because it could save you some cash.

You can also sell your house on your own. You can do this by doing a for sale by owner or by using services like Make Me Move by Zillow. This allows you to eliminate your realtor fees all together.

Home Insurance

A key element to buying a new home is finding homeowners insurance. This is an integral part to the home buying process. What you need to know to save money on your firs home insurance policy is that it is ok to ask questions and shop around. Know what you are looking to insure to make sure you have the proper coverage that your home and family need. Is there something specific that you need covered? Make sure to ask! There are also different factors that determine your cost of your insurance so it is important to go through each thing with your broker. A particular location of your home or materials/set up of your home can easily affect your plan.

Know the Market

You can save money when buying a home just by being educated on the market you are looking in. This will allow you to know if you are overpaying or underpaying on your investment. If you know your area well, as well as the schools and neighborhood factors you will make sure you are getting the best deal possible and won’t be taken advantage of.

Inspections

A lot of home buyers are frustrated by paying money for inspections and other testing on a home before going through the deal. This is very true but it is also important to know what you are getting into before making the big investment. Since you need to get inspections it is important to choose which houses to put offers on. You can also save money by asking to see the Sellers Disclosure that may disclose information on the home.

Hopefully these hints will help you make some good decisions while buying your home.

Avoiding Roommates is Hard for Millennials

Roommates, the necessary evil? Nowadays the alternatives aren’t great. You can live a prolonged childhood with Mom or Dad or shack up with someone to share the financial burden with.

In major metropolitan cities such as London and New York, young millennials don’t just have one roommate; some are reported to have upwards of 3 or 4. Miami apartments are no exception since the monthly average rent for a small studio is a hefty $1,191. It’s the high price of living in a city with unlimited options in dining and entertainment.

This infographic from the Real Estate Team at Liberty Village Toronto has some incredible stats on the housing behaviour of millenials.

Some aren’t even opting for roommates and deciding to spend some extra time at home with Mom and Dad.

Graphic Design by Miami Seo Company, Vol & Tier Digital

Darn you Girl Ninja

Moving time is right around the corner. At least for me it is. Tomorrow, July 1st, I will be moving in to the future home of Mr. and Mrs. Ninja. Well, it’s actually a one bedroom condo, but that still counts as a home right? I’ll be living there alone until after we return back from the honeymoon.

I’m use to living the bachelors lifestyle. Needless to say the majority of my furniture is run down. Girl Ninja really wanted to make our first place look like the inside of a magazine. As you all know, nice furniture and decorations cost money. I told GN she could have her way with the furnishings if she could manage to scrounge up $3,000 before the wedding. Honestly, I didn’t even think GN’s income would allow her to save that much, but somehow (aka extra babysitting jobs and tutoring) she managed to not only meet the $3,000 threshold, but broke it by an additional $1,000.

This means my living quarters will go from this…

To this…

…In a little less than 24 hours.

Even though I’m not the biggest fan of spending money, I’ve gotta be honest. IM FREAKIN’ EXCITED! It’s gonna be so nice to have furniture that actually matches, bedding that is actually comfortable, and decorations that aren’t just used for covering up holes in the wall or stains in the carpet. I can’t wait for a little lifestyle inflation.

The upside to a large wedding (250 guests) is we will probably get a lot of gifts… yeah I said it …does that make me shallow? If all goes according to plan, most of the vases, pots, frames, linens, towels, etc will be taken care of by our guests. This really only leaves me and GN with a few things we have to acquire. Here’s what’s on the list so far….

New bed frame ($150). Girl Ninja’s frame is way to girly for me. We need to get something a little more contemporary and a little less gay. Speaking of, here’s what she has…

New couch ($400). We’ll probably use Craiglist or a consignment store to pick up something like this. According to GN, couches should be a neutral tone, and decorative pillows should be used to “liven” it up. Oh and don’t even think about actually using those pillows for your head, they are simply there for form, not function …

Dining room table ($200). Girl Ninja and I both seem to like pub tables over traditional tables. We saw quite a few of them for around $150 at a consignment shop the other day….

Entertainment display ($350). Granted I haven’t discussed this much with GN, but I imagine she would want something similar to this. That is assuming it will hold the 46″+ flat screen TV I’m demanding we purchase…

And that is pretty much all I can think of for now. I’m sure GN will think of a billion more furnishings to spend that $3,000 on, but this should cover the major expenses. Based off my estimations we’re looking at spending about $1,000 on all that stuff, so even if my assumptions are WAY off, we have a lot of room for flexibility. I’ll be sure to take lots and lots of pictures as we move in to the place and it gets Girl Ninjafied. I’m excited to finally have a home!

How is your current place furnished?

College-esque?

Minimalist aka barren?

Thrift store?

Magazine cover?

Any crafty ideas to make our place look like a million bucks on a budget?

p.s. the messy room pictured above is not actually my room. mine’s worse 😉