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Mortgage

Oct 22, 2021 If you’re young and looking to purchase a new home to live in, you may want to consider turning into an investment property. While most people wait until after they've bought their first or second home to begin investing in real estate, you might be able to start much sooner than you think. However, taking on this kind of venture is no small task. Consider speaking with a financial advisor about what you're envisioning beforehand. Read More...

Oct 12, 2021 If you can afford to pay off your mortgage ahead of schedule, you'll save some money on your loan's interest. In fact, getting rid of your home loan just one or two years early could potentially save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. But if you're planning to take that approach, you'll need to consider if there's a prepayment penalty, among other possible issues. Below are five mistakes that you should avoid when paying your mortgage off early. A financial advisor can help you figure out your mortgage needs and goals. Read More...

Jun 23, 2020 First-time homebuyer loan programs generally enable people with low or moderate incomes or with less-than-stellar credit scores to live a part of the American Dream, which is to say, purchase a home. Often, it's their first home. But technically, it doesn't have to be. Many programs define "first-time" as just not having owned a home in the past three years. So if you sold your home or it was foreclosed on more than three years ago, you may still be eligible for one of the loan programs described below. Some of these programs cater to specific professions like those in law enforcement, education and the military. Read More...

Oct 25, 2021 Mortgage lenders use the  debt-to-income ratio to evaluate the creditworthiness of borrowers. It represents the percentage of your monthly gross income that goes to monthly debt payments, including your mortgage, student loans, car payments and minimum credit card payments. The debt-to-income ratio does not take into account such big expenses as income taxes, health insurance or car insurance. Generally, lenders are looking for a ratio of 36% or lower, though it is still possible to get a mortgage with a debt-to-income ratio as high as 43%. Worried that you have too much debt to buy a house? A financial advisor could help you put a financial plan together for your needs and goals. Read More...

May 29, 2019 It’s no secret that living in New York City is expensive. Before the average NYC resident’s paycheck even reaches the bank, they're shelling out some of the highest income taxes in the country, with high taxes on both the state and local level. Beyond that, prospective residents face some of the least affordable housing in the country. That's particularly true for NYC residents who want to be in the heart of it all and live in Manhattan. Read More...

Sep 20, 2018 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. Read More...

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. Read More...

Jun 19, 2018 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.  Read More...

Jul 10, 2019 Alaska, also known as the Last Frontier, is on many Americans' travel bucket list. If you visit Alaska and fall in love with it, you may decide you want to move to there. While Alaska famously offers an annual check to each of the state's residents, the somewhat high cost of living may offset this perk. Despite some of its more exorbitant costs, there are no state income or sales taxes. Read More...

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. Read More...

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. Read More...

Sep 08, 2020 When you owe more money on your mortgage than your home is worth, your mortgage is considered to be underwater. No homeowner wants to be underwater. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to earn a profit when trying to sell an underwater home. Few buyers will spend more than $200,000 on your home if that’s all it’s worth today. These buyers don’t care that you owe $250,000 on a mortgage loan that you took out six years ago. What can you do if you owe more on your mortgage loan than what your house is worth? You have several options, though not all of them are particularly pleasant. Read More...

Dec 02, 2021 The Federal Reserve says that Generation X currently holds 41.5% of home mortgages in the second quarter of 2021, followed by baby boomers with 27.3% and then millennials with 26.7%. However, a new study from  Realtor.com forecasts a generational shift with more than 45 million Millennials hitting "the prime first-time home buying ages of 26 to 35 in 2022." Buying a home can be complicated, especially for first-time homebuyers, and the study says 2022 will be even tougher as demand outstrips supply and home sales hit an expected 16-year high. But while Millennials have the numbers, can they take over a tough first-time homebuyers market in 2022? Let's take a look at the study. If you’re considering buying a home in 2022, a financial advisor could help you create a financial plan for your needs and goals. Read More...

Nov 19, 2021 Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans are a government-insurance mortgage product offered to qualified borrowers across the country. These loans, which are offered by private lenders and secured by the FHA, may make homeownership more accessible and affordable. This is especially true for borrowers with lower credit scores or a smaller down payment contribution. If you’re considering an FHA loan for your next home purchase, there are a few personal and property requirements to keep in mind first. Consider working with a financial advisor as you weigh your options for getting a mortgage. Read More...

Nov 16, 2021 There are many different types of mortgage loans to consider when buying a home. One option is an FHA loan; for those who qualify, these government-insured mortgages can offer competitive terms and rates that make homeownership possible for more buyers. Let’s take a look at what FHA loans are, how they differ from conventional mortgage loans and what to keep in mind if you’re considering an FHA loan for your next home. Meantime, consider working with a financial advisor as you prepare for a home purchse. Read More...

Nov 12, 2021 Whether you experience a sudden financial windfall or just find yourself with leftover cash in your budget each month, you might be wondering what to do with those extra funds. One option is to contribute more money toward the loan on your home, but should you pay off a mortgage early, or are there better places to focus your efforts? Here are some key factors to keep in mind. Consider working with a financial advisor as you weigh your options. Read More...

Apr 22, 2021 Average monthly housing costs across the 50 largest U.S. cities are $1,268, or about 14% higher than median monthly housing costs nationally ($1,112). Additionally, residents spend an average of 23.88% of their annual pre-tax income on housing costs in those cities, while the average American spends 20.31%. Though large cities are often more expensive when it comes to housing - not to mention other living costs such as transportation and food - some cities are more expensive than others.  Read More...

Apr 14, 2021 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that renewable energy can increase power grid reliability, improve air quality and create more jobs. Additionally, renewable energy can lower fuel and electricity costs, reducing the total cost of homeownership. As Congress prepares to debate President Joe Biden's  sweeping $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, which focuses on building greener and tech savvier infrastructure, SmartAsset looked at data to rank the states that have been leading the charge on renewable energy. Read More...

Apr 13, 2021 Many Americans see housing as a more preferable investment when compared to the stock market, according to recent survey data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Of respondents surveyed in 2020 and 2021, more than 90% would buy a house as a primary residence over investing in the stock market and more than 50% would invest in a rental property over the stock market. High housing demand throughout the coronavirus pandemic is also evidenced by Census Bureau and National Association of Realtors data. From February 2020 to February 2021, new homes sales increased by 8.2% and existing home sales rose 9.1%. Read More...

Apr 07, 2021 Safety is one of the top concerns for many families when picking a place to live. Besides the more recent public health concern of coronavirus infection rates, many Americans have usually looked for low crime and other low-risk factors in order to determine whether a new neighborhood is safe for them. While the definition of safety can change depending on personal experiences and preferences, SmartAsset analyzed a core set of common safety factors to identify and rank the safest cities in America in our 2021 edition of this study. Read More...

Mar 30, 2021 Young professionals have long looked to New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and other bustling cities as places of opportunity. But in the last few years, migration patterns have shifted to show that a smaller share of Americans are moving to these cities. And after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, another study also reveals that the majority of young professionals are living with their parents. Even so, millennials have been the largest generation in the workforce since 2016, and as they move throughout the country in search of new job opportunities, SmartAsset crunched the numbers to find the cities and states where their net migration is the highest. Read More...

Mar 18, 2021 The U.S. Census Bureau says that multigenerational households are more common among recent immigrants who live with relatives and families residing in areas that have housing shortages or high real estate costs. Other economic factors like mounting student debt and lack of employment can also drive people to move in with family in order to save money. Such households exist around the country and can work with a financial advisor to create a strategy that stretches their dollar further, but those living in these types of arrangements are not evenly distributed nationwide. With that in mind, SmartAsset has crunched the numbers to see which states have more multigenerational households. Read More...

Mar 10, 2021 A National Association of Realtors report shows that single females accounted for 18% of home purchases in 2019 (whereas single males made up only 9% of purchases in the same year). Within two age groups - 54-63 years old and 73-93 years old - single women represented a higher percentage of total home buyers (25%). Read More...

Mar 02, 2021 While the coronavirus pandemic has impacted millions of Americans with businesses shuttering and companies laying off employees, the secondary home market is seeing an unexpected surge. Remote workers are temporarily relocating from larger cities to less dense, more comfortable spaces. The real estate brokerage firm Redfin reported that the demand for second homes jumped 100% in October 2020 when compared to the previous year. This outpaces the demand for primary homes, which only saw a 50% increase during that same period in their study. Keeping in mind that many remote workers are still looking for second homes, SmartAsset crunched the numbers to find out which secondary home markets are the most popular. Read More...

Feb 24, 2021 Assembling enough money for a down payment is typically the largest hurdle to clear when securing a mortgage. The median home price in the U.S. is up 14% year-over-year, according to a November 2020 Redfin report, and as the housing market gets more expensive, so too will the deposit that you have to front for a home. Working with professional  financial advisors can help you strategize so that your money's doing the most for you, but in some places compared to others, scraping together that bundle of cash can be particularly daunting. Keeping all this in mind, SmartAsset investigated where it takes longest to save for a down payment. Read More...

Feb 04, 2021 Housing costs eat up more of the average American's salary each month than any other single expense, reaching about one third of average expenditures in 2019, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And while homeownership is coded into the DNA of the American Dream, buying a home isn’t easy for many. Car payments, student loans, credit card bills and other debts can make it difficult to qualify for a home loan and keep up with mortgage payments. That’s why SmartAsset analyzed data from the 15 biggest U.S. cities to estimate how much money you will need to make - and not exceed the recommended 36% debt-to-income ratio - to afford monthly home payments. Read More...

Jan 29, 2021 As 2020 mortgage rates in the U.S. reached historic lows, housing sales increased throughout the year. Freddie Mac data shows that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate, excluding fees and points, fell to less than 3% in July 2020 for the first time ever. Amid those plunging mortgage rates, in November 2020, new and existing home sales were 20.8% and 25.8% higher, respectively, than in the previous year, according to Census Bureau and National Association of Realtors data. Read More...

Jan 26, 2021 Deciding to leave the home you own might be difficult given the precious memories you've made within its walls. But the process of selling it can be downright taxing, especially when the real estate market is unpredictable. Your asking price, mortgage rates and other factors will determine how hard this process will be. Location, however, is arguably one of the most important factors. With that in mind, SmartAsset crunched the numbers and identified the best cities to sell a house. Read More...

Jan 20, 2021 Living by the beach can be expensive. Mortgage payments, property taxes and space can make your dream home unattainable. But if you know where to look, you can find a shore home without breaking the bank. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that the U.S. has over 95,000 miles of shoreline, which includes all the coastal states and Alaska, as well as the island state of Hawaii. SmartAsset took a look at popular oceanfront communities in America to rank the most affordable beach towns in 2021. Read More...

Jan 14, 2021 The homeownership rate in America peaked at a little more than 69% in 2004 before falling to 63.7% in 2016, according to U.S. Census data. Despite the fact that it has rebounded to a little more than 65% in 2019 overall, only 36.4% of Americans younger than 35 own their homes. It may be easier in some places, though, for this young cohort to buy homes. To that end, SmartAsset crunched the numbers to find the cities where people younger than the age of 35 are most likely to own their own home - and to see where this number has gone up in recent years. Read More...

Dec 11, 2020 Manufacturing has a special place in the American story, but for the past few decades, this sector has been largely on the decline, impacting many workers and affecting decisions around things like budgeting and where they call home. Since 1997, more than 91,000 manufacturing plants have closed and almost 5 million manufacturing jobs have been lost, according to a 2020 study from the Economic Policy Center. Still, there are jobs to be had and careers to be built in the world of manufacturing in the U.S., provided you are looking in the right places. To that end, SmartAsset analyzed various data to find the best places to work in manufacturing in 2020. Read More...

Dec 08, 2020 People choose where to live based on many factors - availability of jobs, location of family, and the weather all come into play for most folks. Something some Americans may not remember to take into consideration, though, is the livability of a city. While this can be hard to quantify, SmartAsset has tried to do just that, comparing cities across the country to find the most livable places to live in 2020. Read More...

Nov 19, 2020 Some 67% of consumers in the U.S. carried at least one type of non-mortgage debt as of June 2020, according to Experian. As Americans contend with those financial burdens on top of housing costs, it behooves them to find housing options that are affordable relative to their salary. With this in mind, SmartAsset crunched the numbers to uncover where the average household can afford the most home given their particular financial circumstances. Read More...

Nov 19, 2020 Over the past 30 years, employment in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs has grown by almost 80%, according to a recent figure from Pew Research Center. However, there is still significant disparity in representation across gender lines and particularly racial ones: though Blacks and Hispanics combined accounted for more than a quarter (27%) of the 2016 U.S. workforce, Pew reports they totaled only 16% of the STEM workforce. Where people live, though, can be a factor in their access to companies that value a more heterogeneous group of employees. That’s why SmartAsset decided to find which cities are doing better than others when it comes to diversifying STEM workforces. Read More...

Nov 13, 2020 Affordability issues generally affect renters more than homeowners. More than 40% of renters pay more than a third of their household income on rent compared to just 24% of homeowners on their mortgage, according to a February 2020 survey by Freddie Mac. But depending on where they live, renters can lower the burden of their housing costs. That's why SmartAsset crunched the numbers to identify cities in the U.S. where rent has decreased the most relative to income. Read More...

Nov 02, 2020 How easily veterans adjust to their lives after service depends on many factors, not the least of which is their ability to maintain adequate finances to cover their home payments and daily needs. There's good news for vets on that front, though: While about 37,000 veterans still experienced homelessness in January 2019, the homelessness rate among veterans declined more than 2% in 2019 and had decreased 50% since 2010, according to a 2019 report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Despite that marked improvement, not all places are equally suited to help veterans thrive. That's why SmartAsset crunched the numbers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to find the best places for veterans. Read More...

Oct 23, 2020 The middle class may be feeling the squeeze, but the upper-middle class certainly isn't. The former cohort has shrunk from 61% of households in 1971 to just 52% now, according to the Pew Research Center. The upper-middle class, by contrast, has seen an uptick to 12% of households compared to just 10% almost 40 years ago. This growing, high-earning demographic, which SmartAsset defined as those with incomes between $100,000 and $200,000, is also on the move, migrating across state lines potentially for job opportunities, attractive housing markets or lower tax liabilities. Read More...

Oct 22, 2020 Halloween typically scares up a major boost in U.S. consumer spending, to the tune of $8.78 billion in 2019, according to the National Retail Federation. Though this year’s celebration will be scaled down in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the trade group still projects that Americans will shell out $8.05 billion on things like candy, costumes, decorations and greeting cards. Despite the fact that many city governments are discouraging trick-or-treating and the CDC is recommending extensive safety guidelines, it’s still possible for families to get in the spirit of the holiday with the proper protocols in place. Whether you’re planning to don costumes and go house to house with your pod or attend a Zoom masquerade, not all locations are equally conducive to enjoying the festivities. That’s why SmartAsset crunched the numbers to find the best cities in the U.S. to celebrate Halloween in 2020. Read More...

Oct 14, 2020 Getting a low interest rate on mortgage can make buying a home or refinancing an existing loan affordable. You could wait for mortgage rates to drop before applying for a loan but buying mortgage points is another option. Also referred to as discount points, mortgage points allow you to reduce the interest rate on your home loan in exchange for a fee. This could reduce your mortgage payment and potentially save you money over the life of the loan. But getting discount points may not be right for every homebuyer. Read More...

Oct 14, 2020 Real estate investors often consider the after-repair value, or ARV, of a piece of real estate when deciding whether a deal is worth pursuing. The ARV is an estimate of what the property will be worth after all the needed repairs, renovations and upgrades have been done. It is the sum of the cost of the property and the value of the repairs. Knowing this key real estate metric is especially helpful to investors and lenders. Read More...

Oct 13, 2020 Though definitions vary, economists and researchers generally characterize the middle class as households that earn approximately two-thirds to two times the median national income. Slightly more than half (52%) of American households are middle-class, according to the Pew Research Center, a decline from 61% in 1971. But the middle-class squeeze -- featuring lowered living standards, a decline in real wages and the rising expense of consumer goods and housing -- has has hobbled the cohort's upward mobility. Still, some places in the U.S. are better suited than others to this socio-economic class. Read More...

Oct 06, 2020 Since March, mortgage rates have fallen steadily. According to Freddie Mac data, the 30-year fixed-rate average was at 2.90% and the 15-year fixed-rate average stood at 2.40% for the week ending September 24, 2020. These rates are 0.74 and 0.76 percentage points lower, respectively, than a year earlier. Over the same period, Americans have saved more: Bureau of Economic Analysis data shows that though the personal saving rate fell from its record 33.0% in April, the July 2020 personal saving rate of 17.8% is still 10.1 percentage points higher than last year. Read More...

Sep 24, 2020 Buying a house can be stressful. For many people, it turns out to be the most significant and expensive financial transaction of their lives. Scoring a deal, though, can help allay some anxiety. But even though you're able to haggle over home price, it pays to know where your negotiation skills may prove most effective. That’s why SmartAsset crunched the numbers to find the metro areas in America where it pays off to negotiate on your home. Read More...

Sep 28, 2020 Raising kids is a difficult task - one that has been made harder for many in recent months as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and the accompanying economic trouble. Finding the best place to grow a family is a process that involves many factors that often change depending on where you look. That’s why SmartAsset analyzed the data to find the best places to raise kids in America. Read More...

Sep 17, 2020 Whether due to societal changes or lack of savings, many Americans have delayed homeownership. According to a National Association of Realtors report, the median age of first-time homebuyers in 2019 was 33 years old, three years older than it was a decade prior. Moreover, a recent Zillow analysis shows that the typical first-time homebuyer now rents for six years before settling down in one place, more than double the amount of time needed in the early 1970s. Read More...

Sep 10, 2020 With mortgage rates falling and a renewed emphasis put on living space during COVID-19, U.S. home sales have boomed. Data from the National Association of Realtors shows that sales of previously owned homes increased by 20.7% over the month of June and rose an additional 24.7% during July. Meanwhile, based on the Census’ Survey of Construction, sales of new homes increased by 15.1% and 13.8% during June and July, respectively. Read More...

Aug 27, 2020 In light of the  COVID-19 crisis, many individuals are reconsidering where they live. According to a July 2020 Pew Research Center study, about a fifth of U.S. adults  moved due to coronavirus or know someone who did. For people who are looking for a change of pace without having to sacrifice the full experience of city living, certain state capitals might prove a good option. Sometimes they are not actually the most populous cities in the states they represent, and still tend to offer many of the employment and cultural opportunities of bigger cities. Read More...

Aug 25, 2020 According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent $95.7 billion on their pets in 2019, with almost $37 billion going toward pet food and treats alone. Given that dogs are among the most popular pets in the U.S., it’s probably no surprise for current or prospective pup parents that creating space in one’s home - as well as one’s wallet - is essential to helping these pooches maintain a healthy lifestyle. It’s not equally easy in every city, though. That’s why SmartAsset decided to find the ones that are the most dog-friendly. Read More...

Aug 14, 2020 A decision to move can arise from various factors, such as landing a new job, wanting to start or grow a family and desiring a favorable housing market. And as a result of their particular needs, different age or income groups might also be attracted to specific locales. With that in mind, SmartAsset crunched the numbers to uncover where rich Gen Xers are moving. Read More...

Aug 05, 2020 From lesson plans and student development to grading and proctoring, teaching is one of the most demanding jobs out there. And it can also be demanding financially - some teachers struggle to afford local housing costs comfortably, and some school districts receive support from municipal bodies. There are some places, though, where it is less difficult in this regard to be a teacher than in others. That’s why SmartAsset analyzed data from various sources to find the best U.S. metro areas to be a teacher. Read More...

Jul 28, 2020 Where Americans in the early stages of their careers choose to live can have an outsize influence on their professional development and trajectory. After all, not all places offer the same opportunities and quality of life. That’s why SmartAsset analyzed data from various sources to find the cities across America that are the best for young professionals. Read More...

Mar 17, 2021 In recent years, housing demand has increased by more than 10% in some cities while declining by almost 5% in others. And amid that disparity, it’s important to be strategic about where it would be best to take out a  mortgage or put a house up for sale, since not all markets are performing equally well. With that in mind, SmartAsset compiled data to find where housing markets in the U.S. are rising more than others, so that you can make more informed decisions as a buyer or seller. Read More...

Jul 22, 2020 Millennials are much more likely to move than their generational counterparts. IRS data shows than less than 30% of taxpayers are younger than age of 35, but from 2017 to 2018, more than half of tax returns marking a change of address across state lines belonged to filers under 35. In other words, less than 3% of all taxpayers moved to a different state between 2017 and 2018 while more than 5% of millennial taxpayers (i.e. those under the age of 35) did so. Read More...

Jul 14, 2020 Owning a home is a major goal for many people across the U.S. Securing a mortgage and buying that home, though, can be difficult to achieve. According to a June 2020 Home Values report from Zillow, the median home value in the U.S. is $248,857, an uptick of 4% over the past year. Though values are expected to fall about 1.5% in the year ahead, just how much you’ll be spending largely depends on where you’re living. That’s why SmartAsset crunched the numbers for the 2020 edition of our study on the cheapest states to buy a home. Read More...

Jul 08, 2020 Finding a home to fit a family can be a difficult task. Beyond looking for the right number of bedrooms and bathrooms, prospective owners must consider the full costs of homeownership. Though a mortgage is typically the largest expense for homeowners, other costs like property taxes and home insurance can add up. Additionally, families looking to settle down will want to have a good understanding of whether an area is safe and what school options are available there. Read More...

Jun 09, 2020 Young adults today move more than previous generations. A recent Zillow study found that in 2017, close to one in two millennials - more than 45% - had lived in their current home for fewer than two years. By contrast, in 1960, approximately 34% of young adults had lived in their current residences for less than two years. Read More...

Jun 09, 2020 Homeownership often represents a foundation to build on as well as long-term stability. This applies not only to the lifestyle a homeowner envisions when making a purchase, but also to the value of the property. Ideally, a home you purchase will steadily grow in value and not fluctuate too much in price. To that end, SmartAsset analyzed the data to uncover which metro areas in America are the best housing markets for growth and stability. Read More...

May 19, 2020 With the cost of living generally high in major U.S. cities, the ability to keep larger expenses like housing costs to a minimum can sometimes make all the difference. In some cities, though, residents must spend a much larger chunk of change on rent or mortgage payments. Housing costs have also become increasingly burdensome due to the  coronavirus crisis, which has impaired so many people’s ability to cover rent bills or mortgage payments, let alone sock away money into their  savings. Read More...

May 04, 2020 May 4, 2020 - Wells Fargo announced last Thursday that it will no longer be accepting applications for home equity lines of credit ( HELOCs) after April 30. The company joins another big bank, JPMorgan Chase, in taking this route “after carefully considering current market conditions and economic uncertainty due to COVID-19,” according to its website. Read More...

Apr 24, 2020 Almost one in every 25 households in America consists of three or more generations living under the same roof. Specifically, in 2018, of the roughly 122 million households in the U.S., about 4.61 million of them were multigenerational. Though this number has remained flat nationally over the past several years, states have seen wide variations in the prevalence of multigenerational households. Read More...

Apr 22, 2020 A central question for most Americans when choosing where to live is whether to rent or buy. Each comes with its pros and cons. Renting a place can offer more flexibility without the burden of mortgage payments, but means you are spending money each month without building any equity. Buying means you can build equity and have the pride of owning your home, but it can be risky if the market takes a tumble and your mortgage ends up underwater. With all of this in mind, SmartAsset decided to find the cities in America which most favor renters and those which most favor buyers. Read More...

Apr 09, 2020 While affording a down payment may be the largest challenge to buying a home, many other factors play into finding the right place to take out a mortgage and put down roots. Inventory and pricing vary widely by city and affect buyers’ options and ability to negotiate. The coronavirus pandemic has certainly complicated many people’s home buying prospects as they face greater unemployment and investment losses. Though mortgage rates initially ticked upward in March as the crisis intensified in the U.S., mortgage rates typically fall when an economy slows. As such, prospective buyers should have patience and do their research. Read More...

Dec 23, 2020 In response to the financial meltdown sparked by the coronavirus pandemic, Congress passed a historic $2 trillion stimulus package and President Trump signed it into law on March 27, 2020. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act included several provisions protecting homeowners and renters. That meant that if you lost your job due to the coronavirus pandemic, you might have been able to suspend your mortgage payments for up to 180 days without penalty. You might also have qualified for foreclosure and eviction protection during this time. In addition, certain renters were also protected from eviction if they could not pay their rent because of the pandemic. Relief came in the form of federal, state and private sector programs designed to help those suffering the economic fallout of COVID-19. But many of the CARES Act benefits were set to expire at the end of the year, unless Washington took action to extend those benefits. Here's an update on where things stand with Congress and the president and some of the ways the CARES Act helped homeowners and renters. If you have a mortgage, make sure you integrate its payments into your overall financial plan. Talk to a financial advisor today. Read More...

Mar 18, 2020 Owning a home is a dream for many Americans, but it can be difficult to attain. Monthly costs, which can include mortgage payments, taxes and insurance, total an average of $1,082 nationwide, according to the Census Bureau. And that's after paying for the upfront costs of a home, including a down payment. Most people who don't take out an FHA or conforming loan make a down payment of 20% the home value. In some cities, though, it can take much longer to afford a down payment than in others. Read More...

Jan 25, 2021 Selling a house can prove a challenging process if your property stays on the market longer than you'd like or sells at a loss. Having access to high-quality real estate professionals in your area can help improve your experience, but there are some cities where selling a house is just a bit easier than others. Read More...

Feb 13, 2020 Taking out a mortgage is a big decision, especially if it’s for a secondary property. You’ll have to take into account factors like property taxes, timely mortgage payments and other housing costs. However, if you’re ready for another investment, you might find yourself wondering where to look next. That’s why SmartAsset uncovered the most popular markets in the country for mortgages on secondary properties. Read More...

Jan 30, 2020 If you’re thinking about investing in a beach town property - whether to rent out or use as a vacation home for yourself - you might quickly realize that not every city by the ocean may be the right fit. With lots of factors to consider, such as mortgage payments, property taxes and amount of space, SmartAsset crunched the numbers to find the most affordable beach towns in the U.S. Read More...

Jan 27, 2020 About 1.25 million mortgages were approved for homebuyers without cosigners in 2018. Of those, roughly 500,000 were approved for women, and close to 750,000 were approved for men. Though nationally women’s approved mortgages made up only about two-thirds of men’s approved mortgages, women are buying more homes than men in some metro areas. Read More...

Mar 25, 2020 U.S.  home prices peaked in the years leading up to the Great Recession and fell dramatically when the housing bubble burst. In fact, national data from the House Price Index (HPI) shows that home prices dropped by 33% between April 2006 and March 2011. Though the economy has broadly recovered since then, home prices have not rebounded evenly nationwide. In this study, we determined which local housing markets have recovered the most and the least since the recession. Read More...

Jan 23, 2020 Census Bureau data from 2018 shows that millennials have a homeownership rate of 33.7%, well below the national average of almost 64%. Though the national rate of  millennial homeownership is low, some cities have much higher rates of millennial homeownership that come closer to the national average. Read More...

Dec 16, 2019 Finding steady income in a reliable sector is an important consideration for where Americans decide to put down roots and take out a mortgage. The manufacturing industry, one such robust sector, accounts for 8% of the U.S. workforce. Those 12.8 million employees are scattered nationwide, the percentage of the local workforce consisting of manufacturing workers is higher in some places than in others. That’s why SmartAsset uncovered the best places to work in manufacturing in the U.S. Read More...

Dec 06, 2019 Owning a home is an important goal for many people. But with mortgage, downpayment and credit requirements, many can't yet afford to buy as soon as they'd like. For some  in this situation, rent-to-own homes are an attractive option. It can give motivated people a means to assume ownership in stages, although like many loan arrangements it carries some risks. We'll explore the pros and cons of rent-to-own homes here, but consider a  consultation with a financial advisor to learn how home ownerships can benefit your long-term plans. Read More...

Dec 04, 2019 When choosing where in the U.S. to settle down and take out a mortgage, people consider a variety of factors like housing costs, cost of living, safety and dining and entertainment options. It is possible to measure livability by evaluating how cities rank on these fronts. Read More...

Oct 16, 2020 December 4, 2019 - As the 2020 presidential race heats up, it's important to remember there are significant political contests within the legislative branch, along with state and local elections, that can impact the political future of the U.S. For those who are most passionate about making an impact, voting in swing districts could be more appealing. And no matter where on the political spectrum they fall, voters who are considering moving to those places will be looking at livability as an important factor for where they decide to settle. At the federal level, all 435 seats of the House of Representatives and 35 of the total 100 seats in the Senate are up for election. State executive offices up for election in 2020 include 11 gubernatorial seats, nine lieutenant gubernatorial seats, 10 attorney general seats and seven secretary of state seats. With next November not far away, SmartAsset determined some of the most livable places where your votes may make the most difference in the 2020 elections. Read More...

Dec 05, 2019 Boomtowns, characterized by prosperity and robust development, are often desirable places to put down roots and take out a mortgage. Economic growth provides employment opportunities and draws new residents. Some places, however, are growing faster than others. That’s why SmartAsset decided to find the cities in America where populations and job opportunities are rising rapidly. Read More...

Dec 06, 2019 Raising children requires substantial financial preparedness. One’s ability to save enough to house and support a growing family can depend on a variety of factors. Residents in some locations, however, are having more kids than in others. That’s why SmartAsset analyzed the data to uncover the places across the 100 largest U.S. cities where families are having more children. Read More...

Nov 19, 2019 In 2018, the median household income in the U.S. was $61,937 while the median home value was $229,700. But because median household incomes and home values differ greatly by place, home affordability can vary drastically. With this in mind, SmartAsset decided to take a closer look at home affordability in the U.S. Read More...

Nov 14, 2019 Safety is often at the top of most people’s list when they're picking a place to live. Choosing the right city allows them the peace of mind to work and raise a family. Given those considerations, SmartAsset decided to find the safest cities in America. Read More...

Nov 18, 2019 The middle class is feeling the squeeze, as financial gains for this cohort have not kept pace with those of upper-income households. The median income of upper-income households in 1970 was 2.2 times the income of middle-income households, but by 2016, that ratio had increased to 2.4, according to Pew Research Center. Middle class families, who typically dream of taking out a  mortgage to buy a home and elevating their station in life, are the backbone of America. With this in mind, SmartAsset decided to look at some of the states in America where the middle class is the strongest. Read More...

Nov 14, 2019 According to a recent report from the National Council of Nonprofits, U.S. nonprofits employ more than 10% of the total private workforce in the U.S., a higher percentage than in many other industries, including construction, transportation and finance. All told, of the 122 million workers employed by private establishments in America in 2017, almost 12.5 million worked for 501(c)(3) nonprofit establishments, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The varying health of this sector in different areas may affect workers’ decisions on where to rent or take out a mortgage. Read More...

Jan 07, 2020 Lack of investment in infrastructure within a state can have tangible effects on its residents' finances. The American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2016 report “Failure to Act” quantifies these effects, stating that on a national level, American families lose $3,400 in disposable income every year - $9 a day - due to infrastructure deficiencies, which could be money they could otherwise be using toward  paying off their mortgages faster. In addition to increasing housing and utilities costs as well as the cost of personal transportation, deteriorating infrastructure increases costs incurred by businesses in terms of services and efficiency, which ultimately leads to higher prices for individuals. Some states have stepped in to address infrastructure shortfalls themselves. For instance, the report notes that 23 states increased state gas tax rates between 2010 and 2016 to fund infrastructure investments. In this study, SmartAsset examined the states in the U.S. with the best infrastructure, as the benefits of stronger state infrastructure may be particularly important for potential homebuyers. Read More...

Oct 15, 2019 As soon as the air turns crisp and the leaves start to change color, trick-or-treaters all over America start to count down to Halloween. They look forward to donning inventive costumes and hitting the streets, and the experience is all the more exciting when the houses they’re visiting are prepared to reward them with candy. Factors like safety and weather make some places more trick-or-treater friendly than others. That’s why SmartAsset crunched the numbers to find the best places in the U.S. to go trick-or-treating. Read More...

Oct 17, 2019 State energy efficiency and renewable energy programs may produce significant benefits for residents including lower fuel and electricity costs, increased grid reliability, better air quality and more job opportunities, according to a 2018 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report called “Quantifying the Multiple Benefits of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.” Some states have transitioned to clean energy more quickly than others. For instance, between 2013 and 2017, Utah increased its renewable energy production by 212.29% while West Virginia’s renewable energy production decreased by 22.14%. This can be an important consideration for people when deciding where to buy a home. Read More...

Oct 15, 2019 Jobs in STEM fields - related to science, technology, engineering and math - are among the fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs in America. But there remains tremendous inequality in the field along racial and gender lines, which can affect where potential employees can choose to relocate. Read More...

May 05, 2020 High-performing public schools and robust public education spending are often correlated with high home values. According to a 2002 report published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), “Using Market Valuation to Assess Public School Spending,” every dollar spent on public schools in a community increases home values by $20. While the three factors - school performance, school expenditures and home values - are generally intertwined, there is some variance. As a result of inefficient spending, for example, school expenditures may not necessarily imply better school performance and student outcomes. Similarly, the performance of public schools may not be reflected in the residential housing market, according to the NBER, creating an opportunity for people with school-aged children to buy an affordable home within a great school district. Read More...

Sep 29, 2019 The cost differential between renting and buying varies by the amount of time a person expects to stay in a home. Accounting for location, monthly rent and a target home price, SmartAsset's  rent vs. buy calculator determines the amount of time for which buying a home makes more sense than renting. Of course, the amount of time it takes for a renter to save up for the upfront costs of a home is another important consideration. Specifically for people who have their heart set on homeownership, we determined the cities in the U.S. where it takes the least amount of time for renters to become homeowners. Read More...

Sep 25, 2019 People working in the same profession can have vastly different incomes, often related to where they live. After all the cost of living in a place can have a significant impact on pay. Waiters and waitresses, for example, may be paid more in New York, New York than they are in Minneapolis, Minnesota simply because many expenses such as food, transportation and housing are higher in the Big Apple than they are in the Mini-Apple. Additionally, workers’ earnings are subject to supply and demand curves in each place, and as a result, the prevalence of certain industries in a place may skew earnings up or down. Read More...

Sep 04, 2019 A good deal can make a significant difference for any purchase you make, but especially when you’re investing your hard-earned money in property like a home. As a result, it’s important not to overlook the fact that the asking price is negotiable - it could save you hundreds or thousands down the line that you could use for home improvements or mortgage payments instead. That’s why SmartAsset crunched the numbers to find out where in the U.S. a little extra strategizing can pay off the most. Read More...

Aug 29, 2019 Family and general practitioners cover the primary care needs of many people in the U.S. and generally serve as the first point of contact for patients seeking medical help. While family and general practitioners focus on a wide range of preventative health measures such as healthy eating and regular exercise, they also diagnose and treat a multitude of sicknesses and injuries. Additionally, should patients require more intensive or extended care, family and general practitioners may refer them to specialists. Read More...

Aug 30, 2019 Putting money down for a mortgage on a home is a great investment for many Americans. Sometimes, of course, the daunting up-front costs might deter potential buyers from taking the leap altogether, and that can leave them wondering where it’s possible to purchase a home with less cash up front. SmartAsset ran the numbers to take a closer look. Read More...

Aug 27, 2019 Taxes and rent are unavoidable expenses for those who don’t own their home, and though there are other necessities like food, that category and others allow for more flexibility in how consumers budget. For renters, the yearly fixed cost of taxes and rent can greatly affect how much money they have left over to spend and save, especially for those looking to put money down on a mortgage. Read More...

Aug 20, 2019 Not to be confused with the appraised value of your home, the assessed value is what the government uses to calculate property taxes. Meant to be utilized regardless of market conditions, the assessed value is generally 20% to 40% lower than the fair market value. For that reason, prospective homebuyers won’t get far trying to bid an asking price down just on the basis of the lower assessed value. Instead, to afford the home of your dreams, consider working with a financial advisor who can help you grow your savings. Read More...

Aug 20, 2019 If you’re planning on having a wedding to celebrate your union, expenses can add up fast. And, depending on where you live, nuptials can be extremely stressful to plan, since they involve finding vendors for a seemingly endless number of needs. There are some cities, though, where it is better and cheaper to plan a wedding than others. SmartAsset collected and analyzed data to find the best cities in the U.S. to hold your affordable matrimonial festivities. Read More...

Aug 20, 2019 Lawyers work in a variety of capacities. While many work in private and corporate legal offices, others work for federal, state and local governments. The particular specialties lawyers have may determine the place best for them to live to suit their professional needs. However, other location-based factors may also play into decisions on where lawyers choose to look for a job and make a home for themselves. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Owning a pet is an investment, and choosing an affordable and pet-friendly city is an important consideration for renters or people looking to buy a home. Dogs are one of the more expensive pets to have since they often require more care than other animals. In order to discover where owners could best raise their pooches, SmartAsset looked more into the most dog-friendly cities in America. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 There comes a time in most people’s lives when they realize it is time to ditch the fifth-floor walkup studio apartment and move into a home big enough to raise a family in. You have to balance finding a home with enough room to accommodate your growing family, with living someplace close to employment and other opportunities. To that end, SmartAsset decided to find which cities are the best place in America to find a home big enough to raise a family in. Read More...

Aug 01, 2019 Teachers are some of the most important people in our society, educating young people and molding the leaders of tomorrow. While being a teacher is certainly rewarding, it isn’t always the most lucrative of professions. But various considerations such as housing costs, income and union support can make certain metro areas more attractive than others for teachers. Read More...

Jul 10, 2020 In 2016 at 56 million strong, millennials became the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, according to Pew Research. This means that millennials make up more than a third (35%) of labor force participants in the U.S. Their success as young professionals can have an outsize effect on their finances throughout their lives. Having a steady income is one way to be able to afford a home as well as begin saving for retirement. Read More...

Jul 25, 2019 Making a decision to move to a particular place involves taking into account many factors, including career opportunities and what mortgage payments might look like. But does the choice of a particular locale say anything about trends across a specific socioeconomic class and generation? While wealthy people of Generation X, for example, are headed down South in general, Florida is the most popular state for them in particular, with a net inflow of approximately 9,000 from 2015 to 2016. Meanwhile, New York saw almost as many wealthy Gen Xers leave within that same time span. Read More...

Jul 29, 2019 For those who don’t own a house, rent is one of the most important expenses to account for in a household budget. Keeping your rent-to-income ratio at a reasonable level allows you to use your money for other things, like saving for retirement and stockpiling enough cash to make a mortgage down payment. But because rent levels vary based on where in the country you live, the amount of income you need to afford rent varies as well. Read More...

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