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Home Ownership

How Proper Planning Can Help You Save Costs on Personal Projects

Outside of the normal confines of our homes, it is fairly expected that we implement the most sophisticated methods to ensure that our projects at work are completed in time and close to the desired budget. However, this may not be the case in many of our personal lives. Consider, how many times have you taken the time to sit down to plot the necessary activities on a personal project such as remodeling a home? 

You are not alone in that regard. As much as we are well-versed in project planning and organization at work, home projects belong to the less systematic “wing it” variety. We would never care to use tools like the Cordell estimator to see our personal projects to fruition. 

But then again, why not? The truth is that managing our personal finances especially those related to projects is just as important as managing the corporate budget. For this reason, it is actually very helpful to implement what we know from our corporate experience into the way we execute our own home DIY ventures. 

Take note of the following tips through which one can use proper planning methodologies to ensure the success of a personal venture: 

  • Write down your budget and break it down accordingly. It is easy to overspend on personal DIY projects once you get to the store because you want this or that even if it exceeds your initial estimation. By writing it down, you will be more compelled to stick to it because you personal see the consequence of going over budget.
  • Plot your timelines. Everything has to happen at precisely the right time. One of the biggest reasons why personal projects exceed the budget is due to the extra time needed to finish it. When you need to pay the contractor an extra two works worth of work, it should not be a surprise as to why you overspent on the project.
  • Source your materials properly. You can either entrust this to the contractor or do it yourself. At the end of the day, it is important to implement the rigor of checking all suppliers before choosing one with the right quality for the right price. 

Home projects are major killers of one’s personal budget. By implementing proper project planning techniques, you can take a hold of your spending to make sure that you see your project through without having to spend a single penny on it more than you need to. 

Home Ownership

Things to Consider When You Buy Your First Home

Buying your first home is an exciting experience and it is one that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Although memorable and, in some ways magical, moving home can also be an incredibly stressful time, and it is one that, if not planned correctly can take a strain on your health. One of life’s biggest decisions, the decision to move home should never be taken lightly. Here are three things you have to consider:

Creating an Extensive Pros and Cons List

Every single angle must be covered when you’re looking to move home. Most people make a pros and cons list about the house itself, but very few actually pause to make one about the financial ramifications of buying the house itself. Yes, it is undoubtedly important that you make one about the place you intend to live, but it is also important that you make one about the debt you accumulate, because you may have that debt for as long as you have the house.

Consider the Impact of Any Existing Debt

From student loans to credit cards, we all seem to have debt these days, with collective debt in Britain worth £1,430,000,000,000 (£1.43 trillion). If you have a large amount of debt then the decision to take on a mortgage as well should be carefully considered.  To simplify your outgoings, you could choose to consolidate your loans to one monthly payment.* Of course, this doesn’t solve the problem entirely and may increase the amount you repay overall, but depending on your level of debt, it could help you bring everything under control.

Consult Parents and a Financial Advisor

All financial decisions should be carefully thought out.  When making a decision of this magnitude, it can be helpful to consult with parents and a financial advisor.  Parents are always a good starting point, and they know everything about you as a person and whether a home is right for you. When it comes to financial intricacies, however, they may not be right and, if so, don’t hesitate to consult a financial planning expert, as these people can help you decide what’s affordable for you and what isn’t, helping to prevent you from struggling further down the line.

Moving house is an exciting process, but it can also be incredibly stressful. You have to consider every single stage of the process in turn before deciding to move and, if you fail to do so, your exciting experience could turn out to be a little stressful. The three things mentioned above are essential and, if you do this, you’ll be heading in the right direction.

*Consolidating your debt may increase the amount you pay back overall and extend the repayment period of your debts.

Home Ownership

Home Warranties- A Look at the Good and the Not So Good

Renters have a few advantages over homeowners. When you own your own home, you are solely responsible for repairs and maintenance, which can get really expensive. One thing that homeowners might consider is purchasing a home warranty- but are home warranties really worth it? Let’s look at the facts so that you can make an informed decision that is good for your home and for your wallet.

How Much Do Home Warranties Cost?

Home warranties aren’t cheap. If you are considering a policy you should plan on paying somewhere in the range of $300 to $600 each year. Of course, there are some policies that are less and a few that are quite a bit more expensive. In addition to your annual premium, you will also have to pay a deductible each time you need a repair. Once again, the amount of your deductible will vary based on the policy you choose. Generally you can expect to pay between $50 and $100 per service call.

What Do Home Warranties Cover?

While home warranties aren’t cheap, they do offer quite a bit of protection to homeowners. Generally policies cover all of your home’s major appliances including the fridge, the dishwasher and the heater. Most policies also cover your electrical and your plumbing. In case you run into electrical problems at night find a 24 hour emergency electrician near me. Some policies allow you to add in additional appliances like the washer or dryer. When it comes to policies, no two are alike, so make sure that you know what type of coverage you are considering. Every policy is different.

How Do Home Warranties Work?

If you have a home warranty in place and something breaks down, go online to now and see your options, you will contact your home warranty company first. They will then arrange for repair or replacement of your damaged item. All you pay is the deductible and the remainder of the repairs will be handled at no charge. This can make repairs very easy and stress-free. You won’t have to worry about finding  a great plumber, electrician and oven repairman, the warranty company will be your call when something goes wrong. Bear in mind that if you have multiple items break down, that you will have to pay your deductible twice even if you only have one service call.

What Don’t Warranties Cover?

Home warranties won’t cover everything in your house. Each policy varies, but generally they do not cover pre-existing problems. They also won’t cover items that are damaged due to inappropriate use. This means that if you throw a wild party at your house and break the dishwasher in the process, you won’t be covered. If you attempt a repair and do not succeed, you can also void your warranty. Each policy is different, but most contain various loopholes and restrictions that your home warranty provider can use to keep from paying for repairs.

Are Home Warranties Worth the Expense?

Home warranties can be a great way to protect your finances. Think about it, if your dishwasher breaks down and needs to be replaced, it will cost you at least $300. If your home warranty costs $400 per year and you have a $50 deductible, you have almost paid for your policy in just one repair, and the dishwasher is one of the least expensive major appliances in your home.

On the other hand if you have a newer home and newer appliances, you might not really get the value from your home warranty. If nothing breaks down, you are out the yearly premium and you receive nothing in return. Also since policies can have loopholes, you may find that your policy excludes your damage.

Another thing to keep in mind is that home warranty companies will always choose to repair if possible. They know that replacing items is expensive and if there is any way to keep your 20 year old heater working, they will patch it back together. Since you have to pay your deductible each time a repair is needed, there may come a time that it is cheaper to replace an item yourself rather than calling out the home warranty company again.

Tips for Shopping for Policies

If you are planning on purchasing a home warranty, here are a few tips that will help protect you and your finances.

  • Read Your Policy Carefully- Since home warranty policies can be filled with loopholes and exceptions, make sure that you read the entire policy carefully. Before committing to a plan you should know which appliances are covered, what you have to pay and what your responsibilities are in regards to maintenance of your appliances.
  • Shop Around-  Don’t turn to the first company that you find. Look at several top companies and compare. It is a good idea to look at several aspects of each company when comparing. If you only look at price or coverage you won’t get a clear picture of which company is the best for you.
  • Choose Reputable Companies- There have been cases of home warranty companies refusing to make repairs and ripping off their clients. Always make sure that you check out the companies that you are considering. The Better Business Bureau is a great place to check providers for complaints.
  • Use Your Policy- If you have a home warranty, make sure that you use it. Don’t attempt repairs on your own or replace equipment without first checking with your home warranty company. If you pay for the policy, you need to make sure that you use it.

A home warranty can be a great choice for protecting your home and your finances if you are a homeowner. When appliances fail, it can be very expensive to replace them. With a home warranty, you don’t have to worry about not being able to afford important repairs. However, they aren’t for everyone or every situation.


Home Ownership

What The Proposed New Mortgage Lending Rules Mean For Housing

When the housing market collapsed from the sub-prime mortgage crisis in 2008, the blame was laid squarely at the feet of banks and brokers who deliberately approved loans they knew were doomed to fail.  In the years since the initial collapse, lending has become much more restrictive as lenders, buyers, and the federal government fight to avoid another crisis.

In fact those restrictions are about to get much stricter beginning in January next year.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or CFPB, which informs mortgage applicants about the terms of their agreements with lenders, wants tougher mortgage lending rules to restrict the volume of new loans in 2014.

The CFPB argues the rules are necessary to protect American households.  Average household debts across the country are near record highs, with a large percentage of those debts tied up in household financing.

But critics believe that the new rules could go too far, and reverse the newfound strength in the housing market after years of stagnant growth.  Americans are feeling confident about their plans to buy homes, but the new CFPB rules could mean as many as 50 percent of current applicants will be rejected by the new year.

A proper middle ground is required.  The US – and the rest of the world by extension, cannot afford to go through another global meltdown similar to the crisis begun in 2008.  This means that restrictions must be in place to prevent the type of sub-prime mortgage lending that led to the housing collapse.

On the other hand, rules that are too restrictive will prevent a greater number of applicants from being approved for financing.  If there are fewer people qualified to buy homes, the housing recovery will stall, if not reverse entirely.  Americans across the country are nearly unanimous in the belief that the housing market is crucial to the economic recovery as a whole – stalled progress on housing could mean another slide in economic stability.

The important thing for policymakers to remember is what Americans have come to learn on their own – balance is essential.  People will continue yearning to own a home of their own, but recognize they must fulfill that dream through a mortgage that is affordable.  Comparing offers from multiple lenders prior to locking in an agreement can help people get the best possible deal without committing to terms that are doomed to fail.

Home Ownership

How Can You Use a Second Mortgage to Finance Your Home Improvements?

Do you have any plans of getting your house renovated?  Do you plan to remodel your home or want to work on your basement? Are you thinking of ways for arranging money for remodeling your kitchen? You have a number of home improvement options that can help you with your finance improvements.

The financing schemes for home improvement are generally preferred as it is one of the ways of increasing the property value. Whether you want to work on the master bedroom or living room or fix those leakages in the pipes of your bathroom the home improvement finance will do the needful for you.

What do you mean by a second mortgage?

Compared to a first mortgage which already exists, a second mortgage is considered junior. Replacing an existing mortgage with a higher one it will be more cost effective for a borrower if he considers a second mortgage. Take for an example, your house is worth about $200,000 and you have already taken $120,000 as your first mortgage amount. You will be only considered eligible by the bank to take a first mortgage if the credit scores that you have are good enough for financing 80% of the total of $200,000 or $160,000.

You can only borrow $40,000 for your second mortgage when you have subtracted the sum of $120,000 taken for your first mortgage. The amount taken for the second mortgage is taken in public records and it almost becomes a kind of lien against the house.

In case you opt for a second mortgage you have to make a monthly payment additionally. So before you choose a second mortgage option it’s better to analyze the monthly expenses as well as obligations so that you can be sure of handling a new payment. Along with this, the risk involved should also be kept in mind. You have risked your home, so if you think you would be able to repay the mortgage amount then only go for the loan.

Benefits of a second mortgage:

A second mortgage comes along with a few innate benefits. Since it is based on the home equity, it is quite beneficial for a home owner as the funds are readily available. It is also considered a more secured loan and one can obtain it more easily compared to other loans. The interest that you pay on any second mortgage is even tax deductible. It happens to be one of the biggest benefits that do not usually come with other loans. You can easily deduct interest payable on your second mortgage from the taxes.

So when it comes to home improvements a second mortgage is always the best option to finance it. Since the interest rate is  a bit low you can be very confident of repaying your loan. Moreover renovating your house may not call for a huge sum of money compared to what it goes in purchasing a new one. But it is not that less that you can pay it with the amount that you have in your savings account.

The option left to you is that of a second mortgage which is more secured and thus preferred. There are even many buy to let mortgages options that allows the investor to borrow a sum of money for purchasing private rented sector’s property that they further give it on rent to tenants. Since late 1990s this has been a very popular practice in UK.

Financing your home improvements have become easier with the second mortgage option. You can be rest assured of getting a secured loan and thus concentrate on giving your home a new look.

Author Bio:

Jonny Pean is a finance expert by profession. He finds immense pleasure in writing financial blogs with a special mention to buy to let mortgage option and  Mortgage calculator from