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Mortgage

Jul 23, 2019 If you’re young and you're looking to purchase a new home to live in, maybe you should consider turning your first home 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 could start much sooner than you think. We'll explain why jumping into the real estate investing game might be a good idea. Read More...

Mar 24, 2020 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. Wondering how paying off your mortgage early can affect your overall financial plan? Talk to a local financial advisor. 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...

Jul 20, 2020 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? Read on for more about what lenders consider the ideal debt-to-income ratio for mortgages. 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...

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...

Jul 23, 2020 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...

Jun 03, 2020 If you have lost your job due to the coronavirus pandemic, you may be able to suspend your mortgage payments for up to 180 days without penalty. You may also qualify for foreclosure and eviction protection during this time. Certain renters are also protected from eviction if they cannot pay their rent because of the pandemic. Relief comes in the form of federal, state and private sector programs designed to help those suffering the economic fallout of COVID-19. 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...

Mar 05, 2020 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...

Dec 04, 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...

Jul 24, 2019 When buying a home, there are a lot of considerations to weigh. One of them is how the value of your home is likely to change in the years you own it. This involves two major factors - growth and stability. Growth is a measure of how much the value of your home is likely to go up over the years. A home that grows in value can present a tidy payday for you in the event you decide to move. The other is stability, which measures how likely it is that your home will take a major dip in value. A fall in the value of your home can leave you underwater on your mortgage, which is a position no one wants to be in. You can predict a lot of these factors based on the location of your home. Read More...

Jul 18, 2019 Some places are more family friendly than others. When deciding where to take out a mortgage and raise your children, it is important to consider not only an area’s cost of living, but also the benefits an area can provide in terms of education, health and entertainment. Read More...

Jul 17, 2019 The millennial generation has come of age. This cohort is working in a variety of jobs and relocating to different cities. Some cities and states, though, are more popular spots for millennials to move to than others. They could be moving for a variety of reasons. Job opportunities, affordable housing (whether it involves renting or making mortgage payments) and quality of life could all be factors determining where millennials are moving. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Real estate agents are paid on commission. The median gross income earned by real estate agents and brokers was $39,800 in 2017, according to the National Association of Realtors. The main source of that income is commissions on real estate sales. If you're buying a home, it's important to understand how any agents you work with earn their commission. If you want more holistic insight into how commissions could reduce your real estate earnings and what that means for your overall financial picture, consider consulting a financial advisor. Read More...

Jul 10, 2019 An open-end mortgage allows you to borrow additional money on the same loan at a later date. An open-end mortgage blends some qualities of a traditional mortgage with some features of a home equity line of credit, or HELOC. It lets you turn the value of the equity in your home into cash by later increasing the original balance of your loan. If you need hands-on guidance figuring out how an open-end mortgage could play into your overall financial life, consider finding a financial advisor tailored to your particular needs. Read More...

Nov 20, 2019 A home equity loan is a type of secured loan. Your home and the equity you've built up in it (by making a down payment and  mortgage payments) is used as collateral. Borrowing against the equity in your home can be a great way to get a low-cost loan. There are two types of home equity loans: home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and fixed-rate loans. Each of these have their pros and cons, so be sure to pick the one that's best aligned with your needs. And if you need some hands-on guidance, consider enlisting the help of a trusted financial advisor. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Besides the responsibilities of securing and maintaining a functioning property, homeowners need to be aware of another tremendous burden of homeownership: costs. Whether it’s tackling mortgage payments and property taxes or handling interest and insurance, the weight of these housing expenses never really lessens. That’s why it’s important to understand how much you might be spending on housing relative to other locations around the country, and then use that information as a starting point to maximize your budget. Read More...

Jul 09, 2019 A subordinated loan is debt that's only paid off after all primary loans are paid off, if there's any money left. It's also known as subordinated debt, junior debt or a junior security, while primary loans are also known as senior or unsubordinated debt. Primary loans are the first loans to get paid back if a company faces bankruptcy. They're more likely to be paid back because they're often secured. On the other hand, subordinated loans are not secured and more of a risk. A subordinated loan can also refer to a second mortgage. Here's everything you need to know about subordinated loans and what they mean for lenders, businesses and homeowners. Read More...

Jun 25, 2019 Sometimes it feels like a good deal is hard to find, whether you’re buying a car or going out to dinner. That doesn’t change when you are considering where to live. Some towns just give you more bang for your buck, from the quality of life you’ll experience to the living costs you’ll incur. And especially if you’re taking out a mortgage on a house, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the best value you can. But getting good value from your city doesn’t always have to be difficult to attain. With some patience and information, a smart investment in an undervalued property now could mean that your home becomes worth significantly more and nets you a tidy sum if you decide to sell it. For those who aren’t experts in real estate, it can be difficult to figure out which parts of the country offer the best value. To that end, SmartAsset has once again assembled a list of the most undervalued cities in the country. Read More...

Jun 18, 2019 If you’re still saving up for a mortgage on your first home, it’s likely that you’re paying rent. But what if you could optimize your situation as a renter in order to build up those funds for a down payment more quickly? As you’ve probably guessed, there are some cities where renting is easier than in others. That’s why SmartAsset considered factors such as rental costs, commute times, the possibility of eviction and other information to figure out the best cities in America to find a place to rent. Read More...

Jun 12, 2019 Tech jobs are in high demand across the country. The positions pay well, the companies often offer great benefits and your work helps to create products and services that run the world. While you might think that you have to live in New York or the Bay Area to work in tech, there are actually a lot of cities with great career opportunities for tech workers without the high cost of living that comes with being a resident of those major coastal cities. Snagging a job in a place with a more affordable mortgage can be a strategic way to help your tech salary go further. So for the sixth year in a row, SmartAsset takes a look at the best American cities to work in tech. Read More...

Jun 12, 2019 House auctions generally involve the sale of foreclosed homes at possibly below market value. They can serve as a low-cost gateway to homeownership. But home auctions also involve plenty of risk. Many times, you won’t actually get to step inside the home before bidding on it. You also may be hit with hidden auction fees. But this guide will help you navigate these auctions like a pro. We’ll cover how real estate auctions work, where to find them and what you need to know before putting in a bid. When you're ready to buy, a  financial advisor can help you determine how much house you can afford as well as help you plan for other big financial goals. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 For a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan to be approved, the home must pass an FHA inspection and appraisal. That means it must be worth the purchase price and have such basics as electricity, drinkable water, adequate heat, a stable roof, fire exits and more. This guide will provide an FHA inspection checklist and walk you through the whole process, so you know what to expect. If you are preparing for the other major financial decisions in your life, a financial advisor can be really helpful. Read More...

Jun 12, 2019 Renting out your house can open up a new stream of income and tax breaks. But it also adds another layer of responsibility. You’ll need to stay on top of repairs, maintenance and rent collection. But don’t fret. We’ll cover the top tips for renting out your house through this beginner’s guide. Because of complex tax laws facing landlords, it would also behoove you to work with a financial advisor to boost your chances of enjoying tax cuts and making a profit out of this business venture. Read More...

Feb 12, 2020 Flipping houses is popular, and not just on reality shows. Last year, the average gross profit for house flipping was $65,000, according to property research firm ATTOM Data Solutions. This translates to an average 44.8% return on investment (ROI), which has been falling since the all-time average high of 51% in 2016. To net out a maximum profit, you can do such things as buy in the right neighborhood and choose only cost-effective renovations. This beginner’s guide on house flipping will walk you through all of this. A financial advisor can also help you explore and identify other investments with good ROI. Read More...

Oct 09, 2019 Owning a home is a big milestone for many. Despite the costs and maintenance associated with homeownership, it can represent security, achievement and success. There are some states, though, where it is better to own a home than in others. Things like value-to-income ratios, foreclosure rates and the average cost of owning a home all play into how good a state is for homeowners. Those factors and others are important to review with a trusted financial advisor before you make any final decisions. Read More...

Jun 24, 2019 Deciding where the best place is for you to live involves balancing a number of factors, including the ease of your commute. Not only does getting to and from work take up a lot of time, but it can also heavily affect your budget. Proximity to the city center, where many people work, is often a major consideration. Sometimes you’ll want to live extremely close to the downtown area so that you don’t have a long commute. Other times, though, it will make sense to commute a farther distance and live in a more affordable suburban or exurban area where it is possible to save more money to pay off your mortgage. You’ll need to compare things like cost of living, commuting cost and the difficulty of the commute. That’s why SmartAsset has assembled a list of the best places in America for those who want to live outside the city proper and commute in for work. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 A number of factors can influence your decision to move to a new place, including where your peers are headed. While some older generations like rich retirees and rich Gen Xers are moving to Florida, wealthy millennials are still seeking out sunny locales, but in other states. Moving and taking out a mortgage in a new state are big decisions often best discussed with a trusted financial advisor, but in recent years, California, home of Silicon Valley, has been a relatively popular destination for people who are younger than 35. By contrast, data shows that this demographic is exiting New York in droves - the state had a net outflow of 4,867 wealthy people under the age of 35 from 2015 to 2016.  However, its neighbor across the Hudson River, New Jersey, made it into the top 10 cities in our study of where rich millennials are moving. Read More...

Mar 12, 2020 The best active retirement communities for adults age 55 years or older offer world-class amenities like luxury golf courses and indoor pools, along with plenty of opportunities to socialize with your neighbors. We examined the best adult communities America has to offer by taking a close look at features and home prices. Our list covers some of the best retirement communities for those who love nature, athletic activities, continuing education and more. Depending on what you've saved, a retirement-focused financial advisor can help you make the most out of it so you can retire in comfort like you deserve. Read More...

Aug 01, 2019 Mortgage insurance premiums (MIPs) pay for insurance to protect mortgage lenders against the risk that borrowers won’t pay them back. MIPs add to a borrower's costs, but they allow you buy a house with a lower down payment than the usual 20%. There are different kinds of mortgage insurance premiums, which differ in amount, timing and other rules. Read More...

May 16, 2019 Living the American Dream can mean different things to different people when it comes to their material situation. For some, it might mean a white picket fence. For others, it might mean a gilded penthouse high above a big city. Generally, though, most people agree that the American Dream is about living a full and fulfilling life, surrounded by a community of people doing the same. It means having economic opportunity, having the ability to save enough to own the place where you lay your head at night and living someplace where people from all walks of life can live comfortably. SmartAsset combed through data to find the cities where the American Dream is most achievable. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Mortgage fraud occurs when a potential homebuyer or mortgage lender provides false information or omits certain details in order to complete a mortgage transaction. As a homebuyer, you may encounter predatory lenders who want to scam you. And if you’re in a tight spot, you may be tempted to do whatever it takes to secure a loan. But know that the penalties for mortgage fraud are severe. We can show you how to avoid these schemes. And if you’re financial situation needs improvement, we can help you find a financial advisor who will work with you to improve your credit report so you can land a decent mortgage with favorable rates and terms. Read More...

Mar 19, 2020 A commercial real estate loan, also known as a business mortgage, is a loan for property used for commercial purposes. The collateral for the mortgage can partially be the building itself, whether that's an office, retail space, apartment building, warehouse or other development. As you take a closer look at what commercial real estate loans are, how they work and what types you can get, you might also consider finding a financial advisor who can provide you with hands-on guidance throughout the process. Read More...

Jul 17, 2020 A quitclaim deed, sometimes referred to as a non-warranty deed, is a document used to transfer interest in a property. Common terms utilized alongside quitclaim deeds are "grantor" and "grantee." In this context, the grantor is the one transferring the ownership interest and the grantee is the one receiving it. For the most part, family members use quitclaim deeds to initiate fast real estate transfers. Do you need help drafting a quitclaim deed or managing other matters that involve the transfer of assets? Speak with a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Jul 17, 2020 Mortgage points are fees that you pay your mortgage lender upfront in order to reduce the interest rate on your loan and, in turn, your monthly payments. A single mortgage point equals 1% of your mortgage amount. So if you take out a $200,000 mortgage, a point is equal to $2,000. By doing this, you'll pay more now, but you'll be reducing your long-term costs. Like any financial decision, this isn't necessarily a good move for everyone, though. As you decide if paying for mortgage points makes sense for you, speak with a local financial advisor about how a home loan can affect your long-term financial plan. Read More...

Apr 29, 2019 A short sale occurs when you sell your home for less than what you still owe on your mortgage. It can prevent you from seeing your home foreclosed and undergoing bankruptcy. However, your mortgage lender must approve the short sale. The process can also be complex and risky. As you consider whether or not a short sale is for you, you might do well to  work with a financial advisor who can help guide you through the process. Read More...

Apr 26, 2019 When you finance a home with a mortgage loan, you and your lender do business on the primary mortgage market. But there is a secondary market by which the lender recoups the entirety of the funds it lent you by going through outside investors. These investors drive interest rates and underwriting standards to an even greater degree than the initial lender does. A basic understanding of secondary markets can help anyone considering a mortgage. And if you're looking for a trusted guide to help you through the process, use SmartAsset's financial advisor matching tool to get paired with a fiduciary financial advisor. Read More...

Apr 25, 2019 A VA loan could be a great financing option for a veteran looking to become a homeowner. These loans often give active and former service members the opportunity to buy homes without making a down payment or paying for mortgage insurance. The VA limits how much veterans can contribute to closing costs. But one cost most VA borrowers can’t avoid is the VA funding fee. This is a one-time fee for VA loan borrowers that must be paid before a veteran can close on a home. Read More...

Jun 23, 2020 A jumbo loan is a type of mortgage designed to finance high-value homes that require loans above the standard conforming loan limit. These limits are regulated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). They vary by location, but for most of the U.S., the 2020 limit currently stands at $510,400 for one-unit homes. Jumbo loans are not backed by government-sponsored entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Otherwise, jumbo loans are just like conforming loans, as they come in fixed-rate and adjustable-rate variations with multiple term lengths. Do you have questions about how the purchase of a home could affect your long-term financial plan? Talk to a financial advisor today. Read More...

Apr 24, 2019 Low- and middle-income families who want to buy homes may be able to get a bond loan. State and local authorities issue bond loans to subsidize the cost of becoming a homeowner for those who meet certain income requirements, either by lowering interest rates or offering cash assistance. Curious about how bond loans work? We've got you covered. We can also help you find a financial advisor to work with if you want to improve your finances to secure a conventional mortgage with favorable terms and rates.  Read More...

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