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Apr 11, 2018 Update: The Trump tax plan impacts the mortgage interest deduction. It will limit the deduction to mortgages under $750,000. The plan is not retroactive and so only affects loans going forward. Unless you can afford to buy a home with cash, you'll be paying some interest on a mortgage if you decide to go from being a renter to being a homeowner. Paying interest to a bank is no one's idea of a good time. The good news, though, is that with the mortgage interest deduction the IRS lets you deduct that mortgage interest from your taxable income when you file your tax returns.

Dec 08, 2017 Raising a family in this country isn't cheap. According to the USDA, the average cost to raise a child is $233,610. That includes food, shelter and other necessities. It doesn't include the cost of college or private school. These costs can be even higher in a city like Los Angeles.

Apr 10, 2018 First-time homebuyer programs throughout the country help hopeful homeowners even if they are low- to moderate-income individuals. These programs also assist Americans in securing  mortgages when they don't have the best credit scores. Some even cater to specific professions like those in law enforcement, education and the military.

Feb 07, 2018 The  debt-to-income ratio is one of the most important factors mortgage lenders use to evaluate the creditworthiness of borrowers. It measures the size of your monthly debt burden relative to the size of your monthly pay. And in addition to your credit score and other financial information, it helps lenders decide whether you're capable of taking on another loan. Worried that you have too much debt to buy a house? Let's look at what lenders have to say about the ideal debt-to-income ratio for mortgages.

Feb 14, 2018 It’s no secret that living in New York City is darn expensive. Before the average NYC resident’s paycheck even reaches the bank, she’s shelling out some of the highest income taxes in the country, with total rates ranging from 7% to 12%. After that, she’s facing some of the least affordable housing in the country, along with prices for every-day products that are up to twice the national averages.

Dec 20, 2017 Big-city living comes with quite a few perks. Grocery stores and shopping centers are often in walking distance and there are usually plenty of restaurants, bars and activities close by. But when you live in a city with a high cost of living, you have less purchasing power. You might spend a lot more on housing, food and healthcare than you would if you lived somewhere else.

May 27, 2016 Though the U.S. doesn't rank as the happiest country in the world (that honor goes to Denmark) Americans report high levels of life satisfaction. The U.S. ranked 13th in a recent World Happiness Report that looked at 156 countries. But how do individual counties within the U.S. stack up in the happiness stakes? Let's take a look.

Nov 14, 2017 Feeling the lure of the Windy City? Ready to make your home in the Jewel of the Midwest? We don't blame you. Chicago combines the features of a major city with a small-town feel and Midwestern friendliness. Here are 13 tips for anyone considering moving to Chicago. 

Apr 12, 2018 Alaska, also known as the Great Land, is on many people's travel bucket list. If you visit Alaska on vacation and fall in love with it, you may decide you want to move to the country's 49th state. While Alaska famously offers an annual check to each of the state's residents, the high cost of living may offset this perk.  We've also identified the top financial advisor firms in Anchorage to help you manage your assets. Here's what you need to know about expenses in the state, as well as what you can expect to pay in each of the following major expense categories.

Apr 05, 2017 In the wake of the housing crisis last decade, homeownership rates declined markedly. In 2005, more than 69% of American households owned the home they lived in. Today that rate is just 64%. The decline has been especially steep among young homeowners. At the end of 2015, less than 35% of adults under the age of 35 owned their home.

Feb 03, 2017 After reaching historic lows, mortgage rates are once again on the rise. But homeowners who are looking to refinance can still get a great deal. A mortgage refinance can certainly help you keep more cash in your pocket but you need to weigh the pros and cons before you sign on the dotted line. If you're wondering whether now's the time to take out a new home loan, here are three reasons why it makes good financial sense.

Dec 22, 2016 Do you owe more on your mortgage loan than what your home is worth? You're not alone. In the third quarter of 2013 6.4 million homeowners were similarly underwater on their homes. That comes out to 13 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage.

Apr 23, 2018 Mortgage preapproval requires extensive documentation of your financial and credit history. Before house hunting, you should seek mortgage preapproval. Most real estate agents expect serious buyers to have one in hand. Read on as we explain what exactly mortgage preapproval is, what you need to secure it and what should be your next steps once you have it.

Apr 19, 2018 Over 80% of renters have a desire to own a home, according to a 2015 survey from the National Association of Realtors. One big hurdle for many renters who are hoping to buy a home and take on a mortgage is saving for a  down payment. In some cities, the average home is worth so much more than the average income it can take over a decade of saving to have enough for a down payment. Below we rank the cities where the average workers need to save the longest to afford a down payment.

Apr 18, 2018 Nearly 83% of renters have a desire to own their home, according to a National Association of Realtors poll. However with mortgage costs on the rise, it is difficult to switch from renting to buying. And buying a home can be even more difficult if you are single. However, there are some places where singles are bucking the renting trend and buying homes. Below we look data to find the cities with the highest single homeownership rate.

Apr 12, 2018 The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issues loans with low interest rates and zero down payments to thousands of low-income Americans, so they can finance homes in rural and suburban areas. Meeting the requirements for these loans is far more manageable than those for conventional mortgages. Read on as we explain everything you need to know about USDA loans, including how to qualify and apply.

Apr 12, 2018 In 1948, only 32% of women were in the official labor force, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. As of February 2018, that number had almost doubled to 57%. Today in some American cities, women are earning large salaries, running their own businesses and handling their mortgages with ease. With this in mind, SmartAsset decided to find the U.S. cities where women are succeeding the most.

Apr 11, 2018 If mortgage payments are eating away at your income, you may find some relief through refinancing your home loan. When you refinance a mortgage, you basically take out a new loan to pay off the old one. This time around, however, you aim for a lower interest rate and better terms.

Apr 11, 2018 The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 61% of two-parent households, both parents work outside the home. But not all cities are equally suited for this family structure. In some cities,  mortgage costs overwhelm earnings. In other cities, childcare costs are so high it makes getting by on even two incomes difficult. Below we look at these and other factors to rank the best cities for working parents.

Apr 09, 2018 A subprime mortgage helps people with low credit scores finance their homes. Today’s subprime mortgages function much differently than the ones before the Great Recession, but they still pose certain risks. However, they can serve as an advantage for the right borrower.

Apr 04, 2018 New York real estate has an estimated market value around $1.26 trillion as of 2018, according to the New York Department of Finance. Some New York neighborhoods are more popular than others, putting upward pressure on home values and  mortgage costs. Below we look into the phenomenon to find the New York City neighborhoods with the fastest-growing home values.

Apr 04, 2018 Nearly 17 million people competed in 30,400 U.S. road races in 2016, according to data from Running USA. But for Americans who are truly passionate about getting their daily steps in, not all cities are equal. Some cities are better for runners who prefer to run outdoors. While others are better for those who value access to competitive races. Below we look at these and other factors to rank the best cities for runners.

Mar 28, 2018 Americans sold 612,000 homes in 2017 and 44,000 in January 2018, according to data from the Census Bureau. For most home sellers, selling your home at a profit is likely one of your goals. Location is a big factor in this, as some housing markets favor sellers while others are more favorable to buyers. Below SmartAsset looks at the best cities to sell a house.

Mar 20, 2018 Around 4% of Americans name hockey is their favorite sport to watch, putting it in fifth place behind football, basketball, baseball and soccer. So while hockey may not be America’s favorite pastime, for those who love it, it’s a way of life.  But some places are better for fans of hockey than others. These towns combine a great on ice experience with other quality of life factors, like affordable housing costs. For the fourth consecutive year SmartAsset ranked the best hockey towns in America.

Mar 13, 2018 In some housing markets across the country it may feel like you need to be a millionaire just to buy a home. This is truer in some cities than in others, like San Francisco where Census Bureau data shows the median home is worth over $1 million and comes with sky-high monthly mortgage costs.. Below we look at data on the home-purchasing habits of $1-million-earning-households to see where millionaires are buying homes.

Mar 21, 2018 People buy second homes for a variety of reasons. Some people buy a beach home as a place to get away during the winter months, others buy a place next to their favorite mountain to enjoy the slopes. Homebuyers may choose to buy second homes as investments, taking advantage of rising home values. For some that move has paid off. The median home value in the U.S. increased from $194,500 in 2015 to $205,000 in 2016.

Feb 27, 2018 The cost of raising a family continues to rise. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that raising a child born in 2015 costs $233,610, from birth to age 17. After accounting for inflation, that's $31,000 more than it cost in 1960. The USDA does offer some reprieve in that same analysis, however. The data shows that raising a child in the urban Midwest costs about $40,000 less than raising a child in the urban Northeast.

Feb 22, 2018 Women are consistently paid less than men for the same work, according to data from a variety of sources, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau. Additionally, women are often underrepresented in the highest-paying occupations. In particular, women are underrepresented in STEM occupations, which in today’s economy tend to come with the best pay and strong long-term prospects. 

Feb 07, 2018 Does it feel like most of your paycheck goes to covering rent? You’re probably not alone. Data from the Census Bureau shows that over 46% of American renters are housing cost-burdened. But the scale of the problem changes depending on where you look. In California over 52% of renters are housing cost-burdened while in North Dakota that figure is just over 36%. The rent problem tends to be at its worst in the big cities. In order to highlight this problem, we looked the data to find the hours of work needed to pay rent in the 25 largest cities in the country.

Feb 05, 2018 In the past SmartAsset has analyzed gender income inequality through the lens of earnings. As of 2016, the Census Bureau estimates that the average full-time working female earns 80% of what the full-time working male earns. When women consistently earn less than men for the same work that has pernicious long-term effects on their ability to afford homes, save for retirement and balance budgets. This is especially true for single women. Our data shows that a man is 50% more likely to buy a home without a cosigner than a woman. 

Jan 30, 2018 Millennials, for the most part, are a generation of renters. Only 34.7% of Americans under the age of 35 owned their homes as of 2016, according to a Census Bureau survey. But that's not always by choice. According to a Pew survey, 72% of renters hope to become homeowners one day. One big hurdle, especially for millennials, is that they are unable to buy affordable homes.

Mar 28, 2018 Big cities can be challenging places to live. But if you are trying to leave a big city it can be difficult to find a smaller city worthy of moving to. Big cities tend to get the most attention when it comes to cost of living, quality of life and availability of economic opportunity. But there are plenty of smaller cities which are just as, if not more, livable than the big cities. Below we look at data to find the most livable small cities in the country.

Jan 18, 2018 As winter drags on you may catch yourself wondering if summer is ever coming back. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are plenty of towns across America where it’s possible to spend a few weeks or, if you’re retired, a few months soaking in some warm weather. But, as that year-round warm weather is in demand, affording a home in one of the places can be difficult. With this in mind we decided to find the best beach towns which won’t break your account. Below we rank the most affordable beach towns for 2018.

Feb 15, 2018 Around 64% of Americans drink a daily cup of coffee, while 11% drinks four cups or more. This makes coffee not only one of America’s favorite beverages but also the preferred fuel for getting the day started. For those Americans who are fanatical about their cups of joe,  where they live can have a big impact on the quality, quantity and cost of coffee they are consuming. For the third year in a row SmartAsset has crunched the numbers to find America’s coffee mecca or the best cities for coffee fanatics.

Jan 10, 2018 It can be tough to balance work and play. The highest-paying jobs often require the longest hours and the most exciting cities typically come with budget-busting rents. But, while every city has its pros and cons and you likely need to make some compromises, not every city is equal in what it offers its working residents. Below we look through data on employment, home affordability and lifestyle to find the cities with the best work-life balance.

Dec 29, 2017 Getting in shape is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions in America. Despite this, obesity rates in the U.S. continue to climb. While it's never easy to hit your fitness goals, some cities make it easier than others. These cities tend to be walkable, have healthy eating options and plenty of places to get a workout in. Below we look at the most fitness-friendly cities to see where residents are most well placed to accomplish their new year’s resolutions.

Dec 27, 2017 Beer is Americans' favorite alcoholic beverage, according to a Gallup poll of alcohol-consuming Americans. In fact, except for a short-lived period between 2005 and 2006 Americans, on average, have always preferred beer to wine by about 10 percentage points. But for some beer-drinkers, beer is more than just a beverage, it is a way of life. For these, beer lovers, scouting breweries and trying the newest brews is a true passion.

Dec 21, 2017 Veterans who want to take out a mortgage backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs must prove that they qualify for the home loan program. There are certain requirements to meet as well as paperwork to complete for qualification. If you meet the criteria, you'll receive a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) that shows a mortgage lender that you're eligible for a VA loan. In order to receive a COE, you need to submit VA Form 26-1880 through the mail or apply online through the eBenefits portal.

Dec 19, 2017 STEM jobs are some of the most desired in the country. These jobs tend to offer the best pay and the best benefits. However, as inequality remains a problem in American society, more people are starting to focus on who are employed in these fields. This issue recently came to the fore when Google let go of an employee who released an anti-diversity memo. Below we look through the data to find the best cities for diversity in STEM.

Mar 19, 2018 Starting new businesses is the key to growing any economy. But starting businesses can get expensive, and unless you are a trendy new startup, getting funding can be difficult. While many people may be dreaming of launching a new startup in Silicon Valley or the Big Apple, those places also come with the largest upfront costs. Below we look at data to find the cities with the lowest startup costs.

Feb 06, 2018 The economy is finally starting to heat up. In fact, the economy is moving so fast the Federal Reserve recently increased the interest rate in an attempt to thwart potential inflation. But this growth has not taken place everywhere. Some places are booming more than others. Below we take a look at the data to see where the economy, housing and the populations are growing the fastest to find the top 10 boomtowns.

Dec 12, 2017 Housing costs may be the most important factor people consider when choosing where to live. But safety is often a close second. When deciding where to raise a family, for example, many parents place a premium on safety. Living in a safe environment means more than just a place with little crime. Breathing in polluted air is dangerous and living in cities with reckless drivers is also a cause for concern. Below we delve into data on these and other factors to rank the safest cities in America for 2017.

Dec 11, 2017 Conferences bring together like-minded individuals for the chance to trade information, network and conduct business. Conferences are also an economic boon to the cities which welcome them, filling local hotels, exhibition halls and restaurants with paying customers. But not all cities are equally well set up to host conferences and receive this economic bounty. Below SmartAsset digs into the numbers to rank the best cities for conferences.

Mar 01, 2018 The Great Recession lasted from late 2007 to mid 2009. It was the longest recession since World War II and had huge impacts on the U.S. economy. Investors lost big as the S&P 500 Index fell 57%. The housing market crashed and home values fell about 30%. National unemployment rose to a peak of about 10% in late 2009. Almost a decade after the start of the Great Recession, conditions have improved in many places.

Dec 08, 2017 For long periods in this nation’s history manufacturing was the dominant industry, providing jobs and financial security for wide swaths of the population. Today manufacturing is not the force it once was with service jobs being the go-to occupation for many workers. This movement of manufacturing jobs out of America became a big political issue the 2016 presidential election. In some places across America however, manufacturing industries are still thriving.

Nov 15, 2017 Almost half of renters (46%) spend more than 30% of their income on rent, according to Census Bureau data. This means they are classified as housing cost-burdened based on guidelines from the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs. Rents across the nation continue to rise, especially in the biggest cities in the country. Below we compare rents and incomes to find the cities with the largest rent increases.

Nov 09, 2017 Many people decide to become teachers for idealistic reasons. They want the opportunity to teach and mold tomorrow's generation. However that doesn’t mean teachers cannot make strategic decisions about where to become teachers. Certain places in the country offer teachers higher pay, more affordable housing and greater job security. Below SmartAsset looks at these and other factors to find the best places to be a teacher.

Nov 09, 2017 Nursing is one of the fastest-growing occupations in the country, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But in some places that growth is higher than in others. Additionally a nurse's salary stretches further in some places than others. Below, SmartAsset analyzes data on earnings, housing affordability and job growth to find the best places to be a nurse.

Mar 16, 2018 What makes a city a great place to live? You'll probably get a different answer from every person you ask. But there are some factors that the majority of people would agree makes a city livable. For example you probably want your city to be affordable, to have access to jobs and to be safe. Below SmartAsset ranks the most livable cities in the United States based on  cost of living, economic indicators and more.

Jan 08, 2018 There are 2.6 million workers in the United States who are paid at or below the federal minimum wage, according to the BLS. About half of these workers are over the age of 25, including adults who support themselves and their families on the minimum wage. What happens when minimum wage workers want to buy a home? In some cities, high home values and low minimum wages may make this almost impossible.

Apr 04, 2018 North Carolina is the ninth-most populous state in the country. Millions of parents in the Tar Heel state have to decide where to raise families. Should they go to Charlotte, a bustling city with the third-largest banking sector in the country? Or head west to live near the Great Smoky Mountains? Below we look at factors like housing affordability and job opportunity to find the best places in North Carolina to raise a family.

Oct 19, 2017 As the effects from climate change become more and more apparent, many Americans are wondering what they can do. For some that means recycling more or using less water. For others, it might mean attaching a solar panel to their homes, making their homes more affordable and helping the environment. Yet, another group takes it to the next level. They dedicate their professional lives to protecting the environment.

Oct 18, 2017 Just under 10% of Americans chose Halloween as their favorite holiday, according to a 2015 Harris Poll. The chance to dress up and eat candy is always a treat, especially for the younger generation. But not all places have the same trick-or-treating experience. Some places are better for maxing out how much candy you can get your hands on while others offer a safer environment. Below we rank the best places to trick-or-treat.

Oct 18, 2017 Oregon is known for its geographic diversity. The dense forests and bodies of water which dot the Oregon countryside make it a haven for nature lovers. And there are big populous metro areas like Portland which is known as a counter-culture hub. Regardless of what you like to do, Oregon has something for everyone. Below we look at these and other factors to find the best places to live in Oregon.

Oct 12, 2017 Finding the right place to buy a family home can be difficult. Families with more than one child need enough space to live comfortably. But larger homes can be tough to find, especially large homes which are affordable. Below SmartAsset looks at these and other factors to find the best cities to buy a home big enough to raise a family.

Feb 14, 2018 Americans love to tout their hard-working natures. In fact, among countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the average American ranks around 13th for most hours worked per year. Of course, people work hard for multiple reasons like securing a stable retirement or buying a home. But within America there are large differences between hours spent working. Below we look through the data to find the hardest-working cities in America in 2017.

Oct 10, 2017 It's widely accepted that baseball is America’s pastime, but for many people baseball starts and ends with the major leagues. However, there are over 150 teams plying their trade in the minor leagues. In 2016 over 37 million spectators attended a minor league baseball game. But not all minor league towns are the same, some offer things like affordable homes, while others offer on-field excellence to wow the crowd. Below we rank the best minor league baseball towns in America on those and other metrics.

Oct 11, 2017 If you're in the process of buying a home, you may have heard the term "deed of trust." Depending on what state you live in, this may have come up more frequently than it would in other places. But what exactly is a deed of trust? And is it the same as a mortgage? (Spoiler: it's not.) Read on and allow us to explain.

Nov 20, 2017 Raising a family in a small city can be an enriching experience. Small cities come without much of the hustle and bustle of larger cities or the sky-high costs of living. Plus, many small cities still offer access to employment opportunities and can offer residents a sense of community. Below we rank the best small cities to raise a family.

Jan 16, 2018 How much home you can afford depends on your income. Many experts recommend that homebuyers should generally purchase homes worth 2.5 times their annual income. Yet, in many of the largest cities across the country the average homes have values which exceed seven times the average household's income. Below we rank the largest cities according to how many years' worth of median income is needed to buy the average home.

Sep 28, 2017 High rents are forcing more and more people to live with roommates. The Census estimates that 5.8 million Americans currently have a roommate. The benefits from living with another person vary from city to city. In some cities, it may not be worth the hassle. In other places however, especially where homes are unaffordable, living with a roommate can save you thousands of dollars. Below we rank the cities where living with a roommate can save you the most money.

Sep 27, 2017 The best places to live are often the most expensive. This is especially true in some of the biggest cities in the country. But there are still some fantastic places in the United States boast more  affordable homes, low unemployment rates and come without the hustle and bustle of big cities. Below we rank the most livable mid-sized cities in the country.

Sep 21, 2017 Data from the Census Bureau shows that the average full-time working woman earns about 80% of what the average full-time working man does. But this pay gap is different across every profession. Below SmartAsset looks at the occupations with the largest pay gap and the occupations with the smallest pay gap in America.

Oct 17, 2017 Capital cities can be the best places to live in their states. They tend to have low unemployment rates, are the focal point for political activity for the state and are sometimes even  affordable. But which state capital is the best? Below SmartAsset crunches the numbers on the relevant livability metrics to find the best capital cities to live in.

Sep 19, 2017 As any young professional knows, where you start your career is important. You want to be in a place that offers high pay and good opportunities. Unfortunately, some of the places that come to mind when thinking about careers, tend to be the places with the highest costs of living, like New York or San Francisco. Below we crunch the numbers to find the best cities for young professionals in America.

Nov 07, 2017 When you have a mortgage, at some point you may decide to try and pay it off early. One option to consider is a biweekly (every two week) payment plan. With biweekly mortgage payments, you make 26 half-payments a year, which equates to 13 total payments in a year. It can be a good option for those wanting to contribute more money toward a mortgage, without having to commit a large amount of money. However, there are some drawbacks to this method.

Oct 17, 2017 Stress can be hard to avoid. In fact trying to avoid stress can itself be stressful. Almost everyone is worried about how much sleep they are getting or how many workouts they are missing. For many Americans, wondering if they can afford their home is a stressful experience. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. Some cities offer a less stressful environment for their residents. Below we rank the least-stressed cities in America.

Sep 13, 2017 Americans don’t move as much as they used to. According to Census Bureau data, Americans in 1948 moved almost twice as often as Americans in 2016. In fact, the current rates at which Americans move around the country is at the lowest point in recorded history. Recent research from Yale University has shown declining mobility hurts the country’s ability to grow. In particular researchers point to the declining mobility out of areas with high unemployment rates and low incomes.

Mar 01, 2018 Deciding where to move for work can be a daunting challenge. Is moving to a less affordable area in order to take a higher income going to end up doing more damage to your budget than its worth? And what about the long term? Where is the best place to foster a great lifelong career? Below SmartAsset tackles these questions to find the best cities for career opportunities.

Sep 07, 2017 Colorado is an attractive state to raise a family. The unemployment rate is low and the state offers access to some of the best natural attractions in the country. Home prices are also on the rise in Colorado, so if you're planning a move to Colorado you may want to do so soon.  Below we rank the best places to raise a family in Colorado.

Sep 07, 2017 Young adults today are less likely to move than they were in previous generations. Data from the Census Bureau shows that the mobility rate for young adults is at the lowest rate it has been at in 50 years. But what about the millennials who do move? They offer an economic boon to the cities and states who receive them. Below we rank the cities and states where millennials are moving.

Feb 21, 2018 You probably know what your credit score is. At least we hope you do! But a credit score can feel a bit abstract and people may underestimate just how important it is. To highlight the importance of your credit score, we estimated how much homeowners in different parts of the country could save on their mortgages by raising their credit scores. Below we rank the metro areas where homeowners can save most by raising credit scores.

Aug 24, 2017 Most people think they're good drivers. But the law of averages and statistics on motor vehicle deaths suggest this isn’t the case. Some states have gained a reputation for having particularly bad drivers. We looked into the data to determine which states deserve this reputation and which don’t. Below we rank the 10 states with the worst drivers in the country.

Apr 09, 2018 Florida is a wonderful place to raise a family. The weather is almost always great and the cost of living is also relatively low, meaning parents won’t have to break the bank to live there. Plus, Florida has no state income tax. That means keeping more of every paycheck you earn. But what are the best places in Florida to raise a family? Read on as we rank the top 10 cities.

Aug 24, 2017 You probably picture San Jose or San Francisco when you picture tech cities. But with the cost of living in the Bay Area sky rocketing, the generous benefits tech workers receive may no longer feel like a lot. The good news is that tech jobs are booming in places across the country where costs of living are lower but the wages are still high. For the fourth year in a row, SmartAsset looked at these and other factors to find the best cities to work in tech.

Aug 24, 2017 Worried that homes in your area are becoming unaffordable? You may be right. Home prices across America are on the rise. But home prices alone aren't enough to determine affordability. It's also important to consider how much people in the area earn. In some places homes may have fairly low sticker prices but the average resident may not earn much. Buying a home will still be a challenge. Below we look at the places with the right balance of average home price and average income to find the cities where the median income buys the most home.

Aug 01, 2017 When it comes to raising children location is important. Parents want their children to have the opportunity to attend the best schools and also to enjoy their childhoods and make friends. But many places with the best schools and the best economic opportunities tend to be the least affordable. SmartAsset considered these and other metrics to find the best places for children in 2017.

Aug 03, 2017 New York City is famous for its closet-sized apartments. San Francisco residents have become accustomed to living in tight quarters. But New York and San Francisco are extreme examples of expensive housing markets in America. To see just how extreme they are, we analyzed value per square foot data to see how much home $100,000 could buy you in the largest cities in America.

Jul 26, 2017 The federal minimum wage has been $7.25 since 2009. In many states, it's the federal minimum wage that holds sway. However, some states, counties and cities have enacted their own laws establishing a higher minimum wage. Wherever you live, the minimum wage in your city may feel higher or lower than the number on the books, depending on the cost of living. SmartAsset crunched the numbers to find the cities with the highest and lowest real minimum wage.

Dec 08, 2017 The average woman earns 80% of what the average man earns, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. The real-world implications of the pay gap sometimes get lost in the discussion around the issue. Of course, being paid less is bad, but when it comes to things like housing, for example, women may be worse off than the pay gap suggests. What can appear to be a minor pay difference may be the difference between living in affordable housing or not. 

Oct 10, 2017 The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recommends spending no more than 30% of your income on housing. But in some cities across the country, people are forking more than half their income over to rent, or buying homes worth 10 times their annual salary. According to HUD's guidelines, these people are housing cost-burdened. Read on as SmartAsset takes a look at these and other affordability ratios to find the least affordable housing markets in America.

Jul 14, 2017 Military veterans with disabilities have access to special government grants. One such grant is the HISA grant, which veterans with disabilities can use to make their homes accessible. Read on to find out more about HISA grants and whether you or someone you know qualifies for a grant. 

Feb 20, 2018 Living in a big city can be fun. But almost everything in a big city tends to be more expensive, from meals out to groceries to morning coffee. And housing is often the most expensive part of living in a city. Below we look at data on rents in 15 major U.S. cities and estimate how much you would need to earn in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment.

Dec 14, 2017 The scenario: You’ve found your dream house and negotiated a price that's just barely within your budget. Then, you get a copy of the sales contract and to your surprise, the incidental costs associated with buying a house add thousands of dollars to the price. Legal fees, title insurance, inspection costs, transfer taxes, filing fees and myriad other fees all contributed to the cost bump.

Jul 07, 2017 SAH grants are flexible grants from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). VA offers SAH grants to veterans and servicemembers with certain service-related disabilities. Qualifying veterans can use the grants to adapt a home, buy land on which they'll build an adapted home or pay down the principal on an adapted home. Read on to find out more. 

Jul 20, 2017 Happiness in the United States is the lowest it's been in a decade, according to the 2017 World Happiness Report from the United Nations. Even so, the U.S. still ranked 14th on the list that considered 155 nations. But that's on a country level, what about within the country? Which counties across the U.S. rank as the happiest places in America in 2017? Read on to find out!

Dec 08, 2017 When SmartAsset analyzed the best places for working women in the United States, Minnesota stood out as one of the best states. Many places in Minnesota had a high percentage of women in the workforce and those women were earning high incomes. For that reason, we decided to dive deeper into Minnesota data to see which cities are great for working women in the North Star State.

Jul 03, 2017 SHA grants are grants available to servicemembers and veterans with certain kinds of service-connected disabilities. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers SHA grants to help veterans adapt their homes. Read on to learn more about SHA grants and who qualifies for SHA grant funds.

Jun 28, 2017 Interest rates in the U.S. are at historic lows. By refinancing, and taking advantage of these low interest rates, you could potentially save yourself quite a bit of cash. In many communities across the country homeowners did just that - refinanced to lower their monthly mortgage payments. We wanted to see where people were the most aggressive about taking advantage of low interest rates, and decided to investigate by examining the number of refinance loans across the country.

Jun 28, 2017 Whether you’re buying a house for yourself or as an investment, one factor to consider is the long-term value of the home. Housing market growth is a way to determine if you’ll get a return for your home. Many high growth areas took a turn for the worse after the housing bubble burst in 2007-2008. However, as time moves us further from the housing crisis, the market is heating up again. It’s good news for buyers as well as sellers, as long as it's stable growth rather than another rapid rise. SmartAsset analyzed historical price data and ranked the best housing markets for growth and stability for 2017.

Apr 04, 2018 Many of us have dreamed of moving to California and enjoying what the Golden State has to offer. But not all California destinations are equally desirable. SmartAsset crunched the numbers to find the best places to live in California. Let's take a closer look.

Jun 21, 2017 For many, a huge part of growing up and being successful includes owning a home of your own. Of course this is no easy feat since it often requires years and years of dedicated saving to make a down payment and continue paying for the home. But sometimes you don't have to save quite as much, depending on where you're looking. For the third year, SmartAsset ran the numbers to find the best states for homeowners.

Jul 20, 2017 Many American cities are facing a housing supply crunch. Housing costs, especially in urban centers, are on the rise, and in cities like New York and Los Angeles large swaths of the population find themselves severely housing cost-burdened. People often want to live in places which offer the best value but when it comes to comparing different cities, it can be hard to determine which cities offer the most bang for your buck. Below SmartAsset compares quality of life factors and home prices to find the most undervalued cities.

Jun 19, 2017 When looking at mortgages, you usually have to choose between a 15-year and a 30-year loan. But did you know you may have the option of paying off your loan over 40 years? The 40-year mortgage is not as popular as its shorter term peers. Not all lenders even offer a 40-year mortgage. While these long-term loans do come with their benefits, they aren’t for everyone. Read on to learn all about a 40-year mortgage and decide if it's right for you.

Oct 13, 2017 So you’ve decided to buy a house after spending years renting. Buying a home is a huge and exciting prospect in anyone’s life. You might think you’ve got it covered. Owning a home often includes monthly mortgage payments, not so different from renting, right? The reality is a little trickier than that, since home buying includes costs like insurance and inspections. Before rushing into the process, make sure you have enough savings to buy the house.

Jul 20, 2017 Summer memories wouldn’t be complete for many Americans without tractor pulls, fried dough and live music with friends and family. Each year millions of attendees celebrate the end of summer and the start of fall with a trip to a state fair. Agriculture displays, horsemanship and classic car shows are just a few of the events you’ll find at many of these family-friendly celebrations. Affordable ticket prices and two weeks of festivities are a few more incentives for why you should check one out yourself. 

Jun 13, 2017 For many, going away to college provides the chance to live a life without parental restrictions like curfews and allowances. But after those four years are up, an even bigger change lies ahead for new college grads. Unless you move back in with your parents, a life of buying your own groceries and paying rent and utility bills awaits you. For the third consecutive year, SmartAsset took a look at the best cities for new college grads.

Jun 09, 2017 If you’re looking to buy a home, you will most likely need a mortgage to pay for the home. Most people don't have enough cash on hand to pay for a house upfront. A mortgage loan provides you with a way to pay for the home over a set period of time. A lot goes into applying for a mortgage. For one, you need to find out if you even qualify for one. Read on to learn more about the process of applying for a mortgage.

Apr 02, 2018 Texas is a large state with diverse regions. Whether you appreciate the beaches on the Gulf Coast, the rolling plains in the Panhandle or vibrant cities like Austin or Dallas, Texas has something for everyone. But what are the best places in Texas for those looking to settle down and raise a family? Below, SmartAsset combs through the data to find the best places in Texas to raise a family.

Jun 07, 2017 It's easy to feel overwhelmed when buying a home.  Finding a home that fits your needs is a challenge all of its own. And when you total all of the factors that you need to consider to make sure it’s a smart purchase - it’s a lot. It’s natural for you to rely on your real estate agent to help you navigate the process. After all, that’s part of the role of an agent. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. If your real estate agent is acting as a dual agent, it’s not only your interests that he or she has to keep in mind.

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