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Mortgage

Oct 31, 2018 Tech jobs are some of the hottest in the country. And the increasingly available opportunities to work in tech deliver high salaries, to boot. But because some of the traditional tech hubs are clustered in the cities with the highest cost of living, like New York or San Francisco, that tech pay may not always go so far. There are, however, plenty of nontraditional tech cities where pay is still high and where workers don’t need to worry about whether or not they can afford their mortgage. Read More...

Mar 05, 2019 Between breathtaking natural beauty, a burgeoning craft beer scene and a plethora of job opportunities, there are plenty of reasons to move to Colorado . Unfortunately, home prices in the Centennial State have grown exponentially since Colorado rebounded from the 2008 recession. Prices don't show signs of slowing down,  but that doesn’t mean first-time home buyers should steer clear of securing a mortgage. The federal and Colorado state governments have created loan and mortgage programs to  help make the process a bit… Read More...

May 29, 2019 There are two kinds of Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance. You must buy both when getting an FHA loan. The first takes a one-time payment and costs 1.75% of the loan amount. The second you pay annually. It costs between 0.45% to 1.05% of the loan amount, depending on your down payment, the amount of your loan and its term length. With a mortgage insured by the FHA, a lender can recover its losses if the loan defaults. This is why FHA loans are generally easier to secure than conventional mortgages. A financial advisor can help you find FHA loans or other options with rates that work for you. Read More...

Mar 05, 2019 Both the Texas state government and the federal government offer special programs for first-time home buyers. These programs may allow you to get a loan with low down payment and credit score requirements. There are also programs designed for specific demographics, such as veterans or school teachers. If you want financial help during the homebuying process, we recommend using SmartAsset’s SmartAdvisor matching tool to find an advisor. Read More...

Mar 05, 2019 The process of purchasing your first home can be daunting and expensive, and it will likely include many financial situations you’ve never encountered. Luckily, the federal government and Florida state government have stepped in and created programs specifically for first-time home buyers. Even if you don’t have much to put toward a down payment, or you need a low interest rate, these loans and mortgage programs are great options that are worth looking into. If you want some help ensuring that you’ve made the right mortgage choice, the SmartAsset matching tool can… Read More...

Mar 05, 2019 While it may seem like an intimidating process, purchasing and owning your first home is an attainable goal. It's made even more attainable through mortgage programs specifically geared toward first-time homebuyers. There are programs offered by both the federal government and the California state government. If you find the process of buying your first home confusing, it may help to speak with a professional. The SmartAdvisor matching tool can connect you with as many as three fiduciary financial advisors in your area. Read More...

Oct 17, 2018 One of the most important decisions young families make is deciding where to raise their children. Families need to balance priorities like finding a city where they can get an affordable mortgage and living somewhere with access to first-class public schools. Below we look at these and other factors to rank the best cities for children. Read More...

Jul 30, 2018 With homeownership comes home equity. Both home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) use the equity you've built up to help you pay off big expenses. You can use these loans to tackle credit card debt, tuition payments or a kitchen renovation. In addition, you can use these loans essentially as another  mortgage to pay off debt you owe on your home. You just use your home as collateral and and pay monthly payments with different interest rates on the loan. So in the HELOC vs. home equity loan decision, which is best for you? We explain the nitty-gritty below and let you decide. Read More...

Jul 27, 2018 When you take on a mortgage loan, you may be so laser-focused on reducing your debt load that you get overeager and make payments ahead of schedule. But your exuberance and diligence can actually have a negative effect. If you pay off your mortgage too quickly, you'll contend with a prepayment penalty. Here's the lowdown. Read More...

Jul 26, 2018 Trying to find an affordable apartment is almost a full-time job for renters in America’s largest cities. But the housing crisis ranges in severity, depending on which city you consider. In Columbus, Ohio, for example, the average renter spends 28.1% of their income on rent. In New York City that figure is 32%, and in Detroit the average renter spends nearly 37% of income on rent. With such a high percentage of income needed to pay for rent, renters are often unable to save up for a down payment and are locked out of the mortgage market. Read More...

Jul 24, 2018 Just under 70% of U.S. households have a pet, according to the National Pet Owners Survey. It probably comes as no surprise that the survey also found that dogs were the most popular pet for American households. Of the 85 million pet-owning households, 60.2 million of them opt for a pooch. But as any dog-owning family knows, the quality of life for you and your dog can be heavily dependent on where you live. Dog-friendly cities contain walkable streets, runnable parks and access to affordable mortgages. Read More...

Jul 17, 2018 When it comes to owning a home, shouldering the burden of a hefty down payment and  paying off your mortgage over many years can be daunting. For that reason, it would be pretty hard to turn down a generous cash gift a few months prior to securing your mortgage. But how do you take this cash and use it specifically to cover your down payment or mortgage payments? You need to convince lenders this money is not a loan but a gift to use on your house. Gift letters solve that issue. Here's our guide to them. Read More...

Aug 09, 2018 Taking out a mortgage to buy a home can be a great investment (as long as you are buying a home you can afford, of course). Just take a look at the average American home. The median home in America increased in value by $10,500 between 2015 and 2016. That's only an increase of around 5% but for the average household in America, which took home $57,617 last year, an extra $10,500 would be worth 18% of their annual income. Read More...

Jul 16, 2018 If you're looking to build your dream house or tackle a renovation, you may want to secure a construction loan. This describes a sum of money you receive to help finance your building costs. But borrowing money in this way differs from getting a standard  mortgage. Read on to find out the requirements for a construction loan. Read More...

Sep 19, 2018 Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or a grizzled veteran of the home-buying experience, you want to make sure you are taking out a mortgage you can afford. Homes can be good investments and the best home purchasers are those who taken on mortgages they can afford while buying an undervalued home. If you’re not a real estate expert, trying to figure out the true value of a home can be difficult. Below we analyzed data to find the most undervalued cities in the U.S in 2018. Read More...

Jul 03, 2018 When you're securing a loan for a particularly expensive house, a regular mortgage may not suffice. If what you borrow exceeds a certain amount, you may need to get a jumbo loan. Jumbo loan limits describe the dollar thresholds that require you to explore a jumbo loan should you exceed them. So do you need to get a jumbo loan and should you take on the burden of buying a house that requires one? Read below to find out and gain a comprehensive understanding of jumbo loan limits.  Read More...

Apr 03, 2019 Typically when you buy a home and can't afford to pay the full price up front, you get a mortgage. You make a down payment first, and then you'll make loan payments every month over a number of years based on a particular mortgage rate until the balance reaches zero. But a balloon loan works in the inverse fashion. You start off making regular loan payments and then put down a lump-sum at the end to get fully square. Why would you opt for a balloon loan and how does it work? Read on to find out. Read More...

Sep 12, 2018 Sometimes renting can be just as difficult as homeownership. The most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the average renting household spends 29.9% of its income on rent. Over 10 million renting households spend at least 50% of their income on housing. But those are not the only struggles renters face. The threat of eviction looms for renters struggling to cover costs and many renters, especially in the most expensive cities, are forced into long commutes to find affordable accommodation. This leaves many renters unable to save for a mortgage or for retirement. Read More...

Sep 06, 2018 Buying a home is no small decision, but when it comes to building a home, the stakes are even higher. Between finding the right contracting company and figuring out your mortgage payments, building your home can quickly become a daunting task. But a construction loan, essentially a sum of money you get to finance your building costs, can help you manage this large financial undertaking. Whether you're putting up a house from scratch or renovating, construction loans have quirks that differentiate them from a traditional mortgage. So before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you're up to date on the basics of construction loans and how they work in practice. Read More...

Aug 10, 2018 Homeownership is a hallmark of American society. Data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis shows that 64.2% of homes in America are owner-occupied, and a Pew Research survey from 2016 found that 72% of renters would like to own a home at some time in the future. But the benefits to home ownership are different based on which state you live. Some states have seen fast-growing home values while others offer affordable mortgages, thanks to low property tax ratesRead More...

Sep 06, 2018 With summer starting to heat up it's time for families to start planning their summer vacations. This can be a stressful period, especially for families whose budgets are already stretched trying to afford their mortgage and saving for retirement. But while a dream trip to a distant country may be off the table, there are plenty of affordable U.S. destinations which families can enjoy without breaking their savings accounts. Below we rank the most affordable U.S. travel destinations. Read More...

Sep 06, 2018 Most people are faced with a trade-off when choosing where to live. You could move closer to the city center where most of the jobs are but face a more expensive mortgage and more cramped housing options or move outside of the city and enjoy more space but endure a longer commute. For every city and metro area, the math breaks down a little bit differently. In some city centers the cost of living is not much higher than the outlying metro area while some outlying metro areas have excellent commute options.  Read More...

Jun 12, 2018 According to Pew Research Center estimates there are around 71 million millennials in America and they are expected to surpass the number of baby boomers in 2019. That makes millennials a coveted generation for cities looking to bolster their workforce and tax base. But millennials are notorious for their quixotic preferences and figuring out where they will head to next can be difficult. It's a worthwhile undertaking though: where millennials decide to move has enormous impact on local markets, from the cost of a mortgage to whether or not you will be able to find a good avocado toast in your neighborhood. Read More...

Jul 02, 2018 The average home increased in value from $194,500 in 2015 to $205,000 in 2016, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. That is an impressive return of nearly $11,000, or about 5%, for American homeowners. Relative to income that extra $11,000 is equivalent to the average American household receiving a raise of 19% on their annual income. But when it comes to investing in the real estate market, location is everything. Some cities are better bets when it comes to buying an investment property, thanks to more affordable mortgages or lower property taxes. Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 Millions of American families struggle to pay mortgage payments. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, nearly 7 million American households were severely housing cost-burdened in 2016, meaning they spent over 50% of their income on housing costs. When households spend so much on housing not only are they less able to afford day-to-day expenses but they are also unable to hit financial milestones, like saving for retirement or investing with a financial advisorRead More...

Jun 12, 2018 The U.S. ranked as the 18th-happiest country in the world in 2018, according to the World Happiness Report, released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the U.N. That's down four spots from the 2017 ranking. But while the U.S. may not be the happiest country in the world, there are some parts of the country that are doing exceptionally well. Thanks to factors like affordable homes, low unemployment rates and high life expectancy, some counties are happier than others. Below we look at these and other factors to rank the happiest places in America. Read More...

May 15, 2018 From 2012 to 2016, the median home in the U.S. increased in value by roughly $33,000, from $172,000 to $205,000. That is great news for all the homeowners in the country. However those home investment returns have not been spread uniformly across the country. Some cities are experiencing faster than average home value growth due to the number of new residents moving to a city outpacing the number of new homes. This puts upward pressure on home values and mortgage costsRead More...

Jul 09, 2018 Many renters don't enjoy living with roommates, but in order to live alone you need to find an affordable home. This can be challenging, especially with rents on the rise across the country. However, there are some cities where living alone is within reach for a large number of workers. Below we look at these and other factors to rank the cities where you can afford to live alone. Read More...

Jun 25, 2018 It is difficult to come up with any one definition for the American Dream that every American will agree on. But certainly for many people, it includes homeownership, economic opportunity and diverse communities. For these people, they need to live in a city where homes, and mortgages, are affordable and where it’s possible to climb the economic ladder. Below we look at this special combination of traits to rank the best places for living the American Dream. Read More...

May 07, 2018 The largest purchase most Americans will make in their life is their home. With so much on the line buying a home can be a stressful and difficult process, especially for first-time homebuyers. However, thanks to local economic factors like a stable mortgage market and affordable homes, some cities are better for first-time homebuyers who are hoping to make the change from renting to buying. Read More...

Apr 25, 2018 These days having a college education is not enough to ensure a financially secure future. According to data from the Census Bureau, over 30% of Americans over the age of 25 have a bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree. That means college graduates looking to get a professional edge need to move to the right cities. Cities that have plenty of jobs, low mortgage costs and a variety of entertainment options are good fits for new college grads.  Read More...

Jul 03, 2019 In order to get preapproved for a mortgage, you need to provide your lender with extensive documentation proving your income, assets and debt obligations. If you qualify, you’d get a preapproval letter indicating how much you can borrow to purchase your new home. This article will explain mortgage preapproval step-by-step. We can also help you find a financial advisor who would guide you through the entire house hunting process and how taking out a mortgage would fit into your overall financial picture. Read More...

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

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

Aug 16, 2019 USDA loans are low-interest mortgages with zero down payments designed for low-income Americans, who don't have good enough credit to qualify for traditional mortgages. You must use a USDA loan to buy a home in a designated area that covers several rural and suburban locations. We'll explain everything you need to know about USDA loans and how to qualify for one.  Read More...

Sep 20, 2018 In 1948, only 32% of women were in the official labor force, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. As of February 2018, that number had almost doubled to 57%. Today in some American cities, women are earning large salaries, running their own businesses and handling their mortgages with ease. With this in mind, SmartAsset decided to find the U.S. cities where women are succeeding the most. Read More...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 21, 2018 The cost of raising a family continues to rise. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that raising a child born in 2015 costs $233,610, from birth to age 17. After accounting for inflation, that's $31,000 more than it cost in 1960. The USDA does offer some reprieve in that same analysis, however. The data shows that raising a child in the urban Midwest costs about $40,000 less than raising a child in the urban Northeast. Read More...

Sep 20, 2018 Women are consistently paid less than men for the same work, according to data from a variety of sources, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau. Additionally, women are often underrepresented in the highest-paying occupations. In particular, women are underrepresented in STEM occupations, which in today’s economy tend to come with the best pay and strong long-term prospects.  Read More...

Sep 20, 2018 Does it feel like most of your paycheck goes to covering rent? You’re probably not alone. Data from the Census Bureau shows that over 46% of American renters are housing cost-burdened. But the scale of the problem changes depending on where you look. In California over 52% of renters are housing cost-burdened while in North Dakota that figure is just over 36%. The rent problem tends to be at its worst in the big cities. In order to highlight this problem, we looked the data to find the hours of work needed to pay rent in the 25 largest cities in the country. Read More...

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

Sep 20, 2018 Millennials, for the most part, are a generation of renters. Only 34.7% of Americans under the age of 35 owned their homes as of 2016, according to a Census Bureau survey. But that's not always by choice. According to a Pew survey, 72% of renters hope to become homeowners one day. One big hurdle, especially for millennials, is that they are unable to buy affordable homes. Read More...

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

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

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

Dec 19, 2018 It can be tough to balance work and play. The highest-paying jobs often require the longest hours and the most exciting cities typically come with budget-busting rents. But, while every city has its pros and cons and you likely need to make some compromises, not every city is equal in what it offers its working residents. Below we look through data on employment, home affordability and lifestyle to find the cities with the best work-life balance. Read More...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jul 23, 2019 The Great Recession lasted from late 2007 to mid 2009. It was the longest recession since World War II and had huge impacts on the U.S. economy. Investors lost big as the S&P 500 Index fell 57%. The housing market crashed and home values fell about 30%. National unemployment rose to a peak of about 10% in late 2009. Almost a decade after the start of the Great Recession, conditions have improved in many places. Read More...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jun 25, 2018 If you're in the process of buying a home, you may have heard the term "deed of trust." Depending on what state you live in, this may have come up more frequently than it would in other places. But what exactly is a deed of trust? And is it the same as a mortgage? (Spoiler: it's not.) Read on and allow us to explain. Read More...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jul 05, 2018 When you have a mortgage, at some point you may decide to try and pay it off early. One option to consider is a biweekly (every two week) payment plan. With biweekly mortgage payments, you make 26 half-payments a year, which equates to 13 total payments in a year. It can be a good option for those wanting to contribute more money toward a mortgage, without having to commit a large amount of money. However, there are some drawbacks to this method. Read More...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aug 08, 2018 The federal minimum wage has been $7.25 since 2009. In many states, it's the federal minimum wage that holds sway. However, some states, counties and cities have enacted their own laws establishing a higher minimum wage. Wherever you live, the minimum wage in your city may feel higher or lower than the number on the books, depending on the cost of living. SmartAsset crunched the numbers to find the cities with the highest and lowest real minimum wage. Read More...

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

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

Jul 09, 2018 Military veterans with disabilities have access to special government grants. One such grant is the HISA grant, which veterans with disabilities can use to make their homes accessible. Read on to find out more about HISA grants and whether you or someone you know qualifies for a grant.  Read More...

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

Jun 06, 2018 The scenario: You’ve found your dream house and negotiated a price that's just barely within your budget. Then, you get a copy of the sales contract and to your surprise, the incidental costs associated with buying a house add thousands of dollars to the price. Legal fees, title insurance, inspection costs, transfer taxes, filing fees and myriad other fees all contributed to the cost bump. Read More...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apr 26, 2018 Many of us have dreamed of moving to California and enjoying what the Golden State has to offer. But not all California destinations are equally desirable. SmartAsset crunched the numbers to find the best places to live in California. Let's take a closer look. Read More...

Aug 10, 2018 For many, a huge part of growing up and being successful includes owning a home of your own. Of course this is no easy feat since it often requires years and years of dedicated saving to make a down payment and continue paying for the home. But sometimes you don't have to save quite as much, depending on where you're looking. For the third year, SmartAsset ran the numbers to find the best states for homeowners. Read More...

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

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

May 03, 2018 So you’ve decided to buy a house after spending years renting. Buying a home is a huge and exciting prospect in anyone’s life. You might think you’ve got it covered. Owning a home often includes monthly mortgage payments, not so different from renting, right? The reality is a little trickier than that, since home buying includes costs like insurance and inspections. Before rushing into the process, make sure you have enough savings to buy the house. Read More...

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

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

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

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

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

Jun 25, 2018 Have you ever been told a piece of paper said one thing, only to realize after you signed that it actually said something else? It’s never a good situation, especially when money’s involved. Fortunately, the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), passed in 1968, provides several protections to borrowers. One protection under the TILA is the right of rescission. The right to rescind an agreement and receive all funds back, no questions asked, was developed to protect consumers entering certain contracts. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 Condominiums can provide a stable, amenity-induced living experience at an affordable cost. For a number of people and families, condos offer a better option than a traditional home. However, it’s important to understand what you’re getting into before you take the plunge. Condos are quite different from the single-family dwellings you may be used to. Read on to learn more about what goes into owning and buying a condo. Read More...

Jul 24, 2019 Buying a home is a huge financial step in anyone’s life. Luckily, you often won’t have to go through the process alone. Many people buy a home with a partner, whether a spouse, sibling or even business partner. When going through the mortgage process with another person, you have the option of choosing an individual or a joint mortgage. Not sure what a joint mortgage is or if it’s right for you? Read More...

May 30, 2017 Looking for a new home can be frustrating. It can be hard to find exactly what you want in a certain neighborhood or in any homes you've visited. At some point you might have even thought about building your own perfect home. You might assume that option is way out of your budget. But what is the true cost of building a house? Let’s take a look at what goes into building a house from scratch. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Amid the real estate crash of 2007, one term dominated the news cycle: “housing bubble.” Unlike a childhood plaything, this bubble was bad news. When a market gets too big, it’s bound to fail. So we know it's bad and we know we’ve lived through it, but what exactly is a housing bubble? What causes it and what effects does it have? Whether you have your own financial scars or not, it’s important to learn why the mortgage mess had such a detrimental impact on the U.S. economy. Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 In the long term, it's often smarter to buy a home than rent one. You could capitalize on both, though, through a real estate investment. You can buy a home for the eventual returns and rent it out to cover the mortgage payments. But if you're overwhelmed by idea of getting a property ready for inhabitants, a turn key property could be a great option. However, despite their obvious appeal and ease, there are some things to be wary about when it comes to buying turn key homes. Read More...

Jan 29, 2018 With summer fast approaching, it's time to break out the swimsuits and sunglasses. For many, the arrival of summer also means dusting off their Harley Davidson and taking it out for a spin. If you're a motorcycle enthusiast, you'll probably have a bike no matter where you live. But we figured some American cities are better than others when it comes to speeding down the highway. So for the second year in a row, SmartAsset set out to find the best cities for motorcycle owners. Read More...

May 23, 2017 The definition of the American Dream will vary depending on who you ask. For some, it means a white picket fence, a trimmed green lawn and 2.5 children. For others, it means achieving your own personal goals and dreams, regardless of your background. Certainly the American Dream includes success and living a fulfilling life, whatever your definition may be. For the second year in a row, SmartAsset sought to find the best cities for living the American Dream.  Read More...

May 07, 2018 In Ohio, there are more women between the ages of 20 and 64 participating in the workforce than there are men doing so. And recently, SmartAsset found that Ohio's capital, Columbus, is one of the best cities for women in tech. With those facts in mind, we delved into the data to find the best cities for working women in Ohio across all fields. Read More...

May 18, 2017 Florida has some of the most volatile housing markets in the country. The Sunshine State was one of the worst affected during the subprime mortgage loan crisis, with mortgage delinquency rates hitting 20% in 2009. But in recent times the state has seen explosive home value growth. Median home values in the state jumped 10% from 2014 to 2015. With home values growing so fast, there are rising Florida housing markets worth checking out.  Read More...

Dec 08, 2017 The average American household earned $55,775 in 2015. That figure is up $2,000 from 2014 and $5,000 from 2011. With that number in mind, SmartAsset set out to answer the question of where are the best cities to live on a $55,000 salary? We looked at data on cost, livability factors and more. Read on to learn what we discovered. Read More...

May 11, 2017 So you want to raise your kids in the Golden State. The question is where? Are you a NorCal person, with its plethora of tech jobs and high costs of living? Or would you rather settle down in sunny SoCal? SmartAsset considered several factors and crunched the numbers to find the best places to raise a family in California. Read More...

May 11, 2017 When deciding where to live, you're going to take into account a number of factors. And if you're one of the 43.3 million households in America who have at least one dog, there's no doubt you'll include your cuddly canine in the equation. Dog owners will want to make sure the place they call home is well-suited for their pup to live its best life. SmartAsset did the research for you to find the best places for dog owners and their four-legged friends. Read More...

Jul 10, 2017 Marching. Donating to your favorite causes. Calling your congressman. You may be wondering what else you can do to make a difference in the current political climate. What about moving? Some 2016 congressional races were so tight that just a few thousand votes decided to winner. SmartAsset crunched the numbers to find the places in the country with tight congressional races where your votes can most make the difference in the 2018 midterm elections. Read More...

May 08, 2017 You might think that VA loans are only available to veterans and current military members. But many surviving spouses may also apply for a VA loan. Are you an unmarried surviving spouse of someone in the service? If so, you'll need VA  Form 26-1817,  Request for Determination of Loan Guaranty Eligibility - Unmarried Surviving Spouses. Submitting this form is one of the first steps toward getting a VA loan. Read More...

Feb 14, 2018 When it comes to paid family leave, the United States is behind the curve. The U.S. is the only industrialized country in the world without a paid parental leave policy for new parents in place at the national level. And according to the U.S. Department of Labor, only 12% of private sector workers had access to paid family leave through their jobs in 2015. Since most parents in America are working parents, these are startling statistics. Read More...

May 08, 2017 Do you still need to pay for mortgage insurance if you get a VA loan? The short answer is no. There is no monthly mortgage insurance with VA loans. Unlike regular loans, which require mortgage insurance if you put less than 20% down, VA loans do not add this cost to your monthly mortgage bill. However, there is a VA funding fee that serves a similar purpose. Read More...

Aug 10, 2018 Foreclosed houses can offer homebuyers a chance to invest in the housing market for far less money than they would normally be able to. But those steep discounts often come with some risk. There are often legal holdups making the foreclosure market different than the rest of the housing market and there is no guarantee that a foreclosed home can later be sold for a profit. Read More...

Feb 16, 2018 When a veteran dies, his or her immediate family members can receive financial support from the Department of Veterans Affairs through Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). In order to receive monthly VA benefits, surviving spouses and children must submit VA Form 21-534. Here's everything you need to know about the form. Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 Veterans and service members who want access to VA benefits must provide certain documentation. For example, members of the National Guard who want to qualify for the VA home loan program must submit a Certificate of Eligibility and  NGB Form 22 . Not sure why you need NGB Form 22? Read on to find out the purpose of the form and the information you'll find on it. Read More...

Jan 12, 2018 VA loans aren’t for everyone. They’re designed to make it easier for active and retired military personnel to buy homes. While you may qualify for a VA loan, lenders can't just take your word for it. If you know you’re eligible for a VA loan, you’ll need to provide documentation. This is where the Certificate of Eligibility comes in. This document will certify that you are in fact eligible for a VA loan. Read More...

Apr 20, 2017 DD Form 214 is your report of separation from the Armed Services. DD Form 214 isn't just a formal document - it's a document you'll need to access a range of services for veterans, services like VA loans. Without the form, you won't be able to get some of the benefits you've earned through your service. Read on to learn more about DD Form 214.  Read More...

May 18, 2018 Looking for an affordable home? If so, you may be wondering whether buying a pre-foreclosure home could help you land a bargain on your home purchase. Browsing real estate listings will show you that there are plenty of pre-foreclosure listings. But is buying a pre-foreclosure home doable? Let's take a closer look.  Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 The home buying process can seem exciting and daunting at the same time. There are many hoops that you'll have to jump through and many homes that you'll have to consider. If you're trying to save money, purchasing a mobile home might make sense. But if you're planning to use a VA loan, you'll need to make sure the house you want is eligible for the program. Here's the lowdown on how veterans can use VA loans for mobile homes. Read More...

Dec 13, 2017 If you're a veteran who wants to take out a loan backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, you must be able to prove that you qualify for the VA loan program. In order to be eligible for a VA home loan, you must meet certain requirements. You'll also be expected to present a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). In order to request one, you'll need to submit VA Form 26-1880. Read More...

Jun 25, 2018 Repossessed houses are houses that have fallen into default. If a homeowner can't keep up with his or her mortgage payments, the bank may repossess the home. This process is also known as foreclosure. But what happens to repossessed houses once the bank takes them back? The answer depends on what the bank decides to do.  Read More...

Apr 12, 2017 States across the country are going green amid growing concerns about climate change. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than 40 states (and Washington, D.C.) have implemented energy codes for residential and commercial buildings. And around 15% of the energy-efficient bills considered by legislatures in 2015 were enacted, up from around 12.5% in 2014. Read More...

Apr 11, 2017 Finding the house of your dreams  can take some time. And if you're a veteran who's looking to buy a home, you may not find anything that meets your needs. If that happens, your next best option is to buy a plot of land and build your own house from the ground up. Wondering whether you can use a VA loan to purchase a piece of land? Read on to find out more about VA land loans. Read More...

Jun 19, 2018 It's a loan officer's job to decide which would-be borrowers are eligible to proceed to loan underwriting. The loans in question could be mortgages, small business loans or personal loans. Loan officers meet with applicants and are responsible for determining applicants' creditworthiness. Want to learn more about what loan officers do? You're in the right place.  Read More...

Apr 14, 2017 Refinancing can give homeowners the opportunity to adjust their mortgage loan terms and lower their monthly payments. Veterans who need extra money may want to consider applying for a cash-out refinance. Those who qualify can either replace an existing VA loan with a new mortgage or turn a non-VA home loan into a VA loan. Here's everything you need to know about the VA cash-out refinance program. Read More...

May 18, 2018 So you’ve found a home that you’re ready to buy. You’ve had the house inspected and appraised. But before you can move in, you’ll need to get to the closing table and make some final payments. Closing costs usually include a number of fees. But for homebuyers with VA home loans, some of those costs don't apply. Let’s look at the VA loan closing costs that borrowers are responsible for paying. Read More...

Sep 20, 2018 Today's young adults are waiting to buy homes. A recent survey from the National Association of Realtors revealed that the average first-time homebuyer is in her early 30s. Most of the people surveyed agreed that a home is a worthwhile investment. But the percentage of primary homes purchased by first-time buyers was down to 32%. That's 8 percentage points lower than the historical average. Read More...

May 11, 2017 "No-doc loan" is mortgage-speak for a home loan that requires only limited income documentation from applicants. Normally, applicants for mortgages disclose their income, assets and employment status to convince lenders that they're capable of keeping up with mortgage payments. No-doc loans waive this requirement. Let's take a closer look at what that means.  Read More...

Dec 08, 2017 Running is more than a way to stay in shape. Sure, it's great exercise, but runners also run as a way to explore new places, to test their limits and even participate in races to raise money for charity. Although running is one of the more accessible sports, not all cities are equal when it comes to what they offer to runners. Some cities give runners the choice to run through parks, on trails or at the gym. Others give runners more chance to push themselves with year-round races.  Read More...

Apr 03, 2017 Before you buy a house with a VA home loan, don't forget to get a home inspection. VA home inspections aren't mandatory. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn't get one. After all, home appraisals can overlook a number of issues. If your mortgage is backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, here's everything you need to know about getting a VA home inspection. Read More...

Sep 09, 2019 Many seniors try to pay off their mortgages before they leave their full-time jobs. But this isn't possible for everyone. If your mortgage payments are eating up a large chunk of your retirement income, you may be desperate for a solution. Fortunately, there may be some financial relief available in the form of a reverse mortgage. Here's a breakdown of how reverse mortgages work. Read More...

Mar 31, 2017 In a shared appreciation mortgage, the homeowner shares some of the profit earned as the home's value increases over time. Generally, lenders or organizations offer shared appreciation mortgages in exchange for lower mortgage rates. These mortgages are rare but they can put homeownership in reach for those with lower incomes.  Read More...

Mar 31, 2017 VA loans help servicemembers, veterans and qualified spouses take out government-backed home loans with benefits and support. In general, VA loans have low delinquency rates. In rare cases, however, a borrower with a VA loan falls behind in payments. Let us explain the VA foreclosure process.  Read More...

Mar 30, 2017 Cities like San Francisco and New York tend to dominate the headlines when it comes to exploding housing markets. But there are plenty of smaller housing markets with tons of potential that don't get the recognition they deserve. These cities contain many of the right ingredients to become a valuable place to own a home. Read on as we look at data on smaller cities across the U.S. that are home to rising housing markets. Read More...

Apr 14, 2017 If you're thinking of applying for a VA loan, it's important to understand the VA home appraisal process. Appraisals and inspections are different. Inspections are more detailed investigations into the state of a home, but they're not required for VA loans. VA appraisals are required, however. Upon request, VA deploys independent appraisers to assess properties that an applicant wants to buy with a VA loan. Read More...

May 17, 2019 UPDATE: As of Dec. 31, 2018, the HARP program is no longer accepting applications. If you are facing an underwater mortgage, where your mortgage balance is higher than the free market value of your home, you have a few options. If the difference is small, you can try to convince your lender to agree to a short sale. You could also consider renting out a room or moving to an apartment and renting the house. For your credit's sake, try everything you can to avoid foreclosure. Read More...

Sep 20, 2018 The fight for equal rights for working women remains an uphill battle. That's one reason why about 3 million people around the world recently participated in women's marches and thousands took part in demonstrations on International Women's Day. An analysis from the Center of American Progress estimated that A Day Without a Woman could have cost the U.S. GDP $21 billion if every woman who worked outside the house went on strike. Read More...

Jun 25, 2018 Wondering whether to apply for a conventional loan or an FHA loan? It's important to understand the difference between the two loan types. The loan type you ultimately choose will depend on the type of home you want to buy, your financial resources and the trade-offs you're willing to make between the benefits that FHA and conventional loans offer.  Read More...

Jun 06, 2018 Anyone buying a house for the first time has to become familiar with various real estate terms. For example, you'll need to understand the difference between being pre-qualified and preapproved for a mortgage. You'll also need to understand how house deeds work. Read on as we explain what a house deed is and why you'll need one in order to close on a house. Read More...

Jun 25, 2018 Time and time again, financial advisors discuss the importance of having an emergency fund. No one wants to be surprised by an unexpected trip to the hospital or the car repair shop. If you’re not good at saving money, you may be wondering whether you can use a HELOC as an emergency fund. Turns out, you can. Whether that's a good idea, however, remains debatable. Read More...

Sep 09, 2019 Few of us know how to make the most of our home equity. For example, seniors may not realize that they can borrow against the equity they've built in their homes and use that extra cash to supplement their retirement income. If you don't understand how reverse mortgages work, read on. We'll describe the types of reverse mortgages that are available to homeowners and discuss the upfront costs that borrowers should be prepared to cover. Read More...

Jan 03, 2018 What better place to raise a family than in the place with the nickname of "the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection"? If you're thinking of moving to Philadelphia and raising a family there, you may be wondering about basics like childcare, school quality and crime rates. Let's take a closer look.  Read More...

Feb 11, 2019 Planning to build your own home or hire someone to build it for you? You may be wondering whether a construction loan is appropriate for your needs. Construction loans can be hard to get, but they're one way to secure financing so you can build your dream home. Read More...

Mar 09, 2017 Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing expenditures in the country. Nationwide healthcare costs reached over $10,000 per person in 2016 and that figure's expected to grow at a 5.8% clip until 2025, according to a report in the Health Affairs journal. One way to keep those costs down is to take care of your health. Of course many illnesses and health issues are unavoidable, but behaviors like regular physical activity and abstaining from tobacco use are good ways to avoid unwanted trips to the doctor’s office.  Read More...

Mar 31, 2017 Houston, Texas is a fast-growing city. In fact, it may soon eclipse Chicago as the third-largest city in the country. But is Houston a good place to raise a family? Here's a look at some factors parents might be interested in when deciding whether to raise a family in Houston.  Read More...

Mar 07, 2017 When looking to sell their house, most owners probably want to make a profit and sell the home for more than they paid for it. But the selling price isn't the only factor to consider, there are hidden costs when it comes to selling a home. And if it takes a long time to sell a house or if the closing costs are exorbitant, the math may change on how much money the seller gets to pocket. We considered these factors and others when determining the best cities to sell a house. Read More...

Jun 25, 2018 If you want to buy a new home you may be wondering how you'll juggle selling your current home with taking out a mortgage on your new home. One option for homebuyers in this situation is to take out a bridge loan. A bridge loan can give you the money for a down payment on a new home before the sale of your old home goes through. Let us explain. Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 Have you heard the term "redlining"? It's a term that refers to the practice of cutting certain neighborhoods - and aspiring homebuyers - off from mortgage lending opportunities. Let's take a closer look at the historical roots of the term and its legacy today.  Read More...

Sep 09, 2019 Retirees on a tight budget may want to consider taking out a reverse mortgage. By applying for a reverse mortgage loan, seniors can avoid downsizing and going through the hassle of purchasing a new home. Plus, they can use their loan as a source of income.  Is a reverse mortgage right for you? Let's look at some of the advantages of taking on this type of loan. Read More...

Mar 02, 2017 Ready to sell your house? Before you get too excited about moving on, it’s important to consider the financial implications of putting your home on the market. Sellers are often responsible for covering the cost of various expenses. And these fees can add up, reducing the size of your earnings. If you'd rather avoid a nasty surprise, here are some costs you should plan to cover when selling your house. Read More...

Apr 20, 2017 People take many factors into account when deciding where to buy a home. For some homebuyers access to good public schools is crucial, while for others safety is the top priority. Homebuyers may also want take into account whether their home value is expected to rise. But knowing where home values are expected to grow and how fast they are going to grow can be hard to predict. Below we rank 10 rising housing markets where, based on current data, home values can be expected to increase. Read More...

Feb 28, 2017 If you're thinking of moving to Chicago, you might be wondering whether it's a good place to raise a family. To help you answer that question, let's take a look at some of the features of family life in the Windy City, including child care costs and housing costs.  Read More...

Jun 06, 2018 Think you can't refinance your mortgage because you have bad credit? Think again. With less-than-perfect credit, you won't have access to the lowest interest rates or the best loan terms. But qualifying for a refinance may be possible even if you've had to file for bankruptcy. Here's a look at five ways to refinance a mortgage with bad credit if you want to lower your monthly mortgage payments. Read More...

Jun 25, 2018 If you've only compared mortgage rates published by banks and private lenders, you could be missing out on loans backed by the federal government. For example, there are mortgages that are issued and guaranteed by the Department of Agriculture. USDA home loans are available for low- and middle-income buyers and homeowners who want to renovate their homes. Before you apply, it's important to understand who qualifies for the programs. Read More...

Feb 23, 2017 Houston boasts a diverse population and a lower cost of living than many other large U.S. cities. People are flocking to the Texas city. The U.S. Census Bureau found that Greater Houston experienced faster population growth than any other metro area in 2016. Curious about the city's economy and what it's like to work there? You've come to the right place.  Read More...

Feb 23, 2017 You finally have enough savings for a down payment and you're ready to buy a house. How much will monthly house payments cost? Like with any big financial commitment, it’s important to know how much you'll need to budget per month. It can be hard to calculate exact payments as property taxes and homeowners insurance are also factors. We crunched the numbers to find how much median home payments cost in the 15 largest U.S. cities and the salary needed to pay them. Read More...

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

Feb 24, 2017 Employment growth among jobs in the STEM field varies widely. According to the Department for Professional Employees, the number of job opportunities for aerospace engineers increased by 53% between 2005 and 2015. Within the same period, the number of jobs for biologists and computer programmers fell by 28% and 17.4%, respectively. Pay within the STEM field also varies by occupation as well as location. For the third year in a row, SmartAsset ranked the top metro areas for pay among STEM professionals. Read More...

Aug 08, 2019 Low interest mortgage rates can't last forever, can they? If you've taken out a mortgage or refinanced a mortgage recently, you may have done so because you anticipated that rates would rise. Are rates rising, and are they expected to continue to rise? Let's take a closer look at mortgage rates trends.  Read More...

Sep 04, 2019 Loan-to-value (LTV) ratios of at most 80% tend to help homebuyers secure low mortgage interest rates and favorable terms. You can find your LTV by dividing the total mount of your mortgage into the total purchase price of the home and express the result as a percentage. You can take several steps to lower your LTV including working with a financial advisor to boost your savings and make a large down payment. Read More...

Dec 08, 2017 Chicago is the third-largest city in the U.S., with a diverse population and a diverse economy to match. Financial services, engineering and publishing are some of the biggest industries in the Windy City but manufacturing and food processing are key drivers, too. Here's what to know about working in Chicago.  Read More...

Mar 03, 2017 Homeownership rates still have not fully recovered from the 2007 housing crisis, data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows. For some age groups, foregoing homeownership is not a hard decision. It can offer more labor market flexibility and the chance to pursue other investments. For many retirees, however, homeownership may be an important facet of their  retirement plan, giving them stability as well as the chance to build equity. Below we look at where the homeownership rates for retirees are rising the fastest. Read More...

Dec 07, 2017 We've all grown accustomed to instant gratification. We can get instant coffee and instant access to our favorite movies and TV shows. So when we actually have to wait for something, being patient can be challenging. This issue often arises when it's time to buy a house. While many of us would like to purchase a house and move in immediately, buying and moving into a new home can take a few months, not weeks. Read More...

Feb 17, 2017 Television ratings reveal that hockey is far from being America's favorite pastime. In fact, the numbers seem to suggest that the sport's popularity is declining, especially in terms of viewership. Only 3.9 million viewers tuned in for the six-game Stanley Cup Finals in 2016, compared to the 5.6 million viewers who watched the series the previous year. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Whether you just bought a house or you're trying to renovate an old one, furniture shopping can be intense. And depending on what you're looking for, it can also be expensive. If you're on a budget, your best bet is to begin looking for a new couch or dresser when it's on sale. If you're not sure when to start shopping, we'll tell you the best time to buy furniture. Read More...

Feb 15, 2017 Ever feel like you're one step away from looking under sofa cushions to cobble together your next rent payment? You're probably not alone. In past studies we've highlighted cities where rent payments are gobbling up the majority of residents' incomes. Below, we look at data on the largest cities in the country to see how many hours the average person needs to work to pay rent. Read More...

May 18, 2018 How long does it take to sell a house? It depends on where you live and what's happening in your local housing market. If it's a seller's market, home sellers will have an advantage. There will be lots of buyers competing for a limited number of homes. The opposite is true in a buyer's market, when homebuyers have the upper hand. If you're not sure how long your house will sit on the market, looking at trends might help you prepare for the home-selling process. Read More...

Sep 09, 2019 Reverse mortgages are popular among seniors. Through the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) Program, retirees can turn their home equity into a monthly source of income without moving out of their houses. And with their extra cash, seniors can remodel their homes and pay for their living expenses. If you're interested in buying a new home in retirement, a reverse mortgage can cover the cost of that, too. That's where the  HECM for Purchase Program comes into play. Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 Thinking about moving to Los Angeles for the beautiful weather, diverse population and access to California's natural beauty? Well, unless you're retired, a student or independently wealthy you'll also need to work in LA. Check out our list of 10 things to know about working in Los Angeles.  Read More...

Mar 23, 2017 Home is where the heart is, so the saying goes. For homeowners, their home is also where they probably invested a large chunk of their money. In some places homeownership has proved to be a worthwhile investment, as the home values skyrocket. But in other places, depressed home values and high property taxes may have made owning a home less worth it.  Read More...

Feb 08, 2017 Just before the end of the Obama administration, outgoing Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Julian Castro announced that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), would be lowering mortgage premium insurance rates on FHA loans. On his first day in office, President Trump reversed that decision, keeping FHA insurance rates where they are. Let's take a look at what this decision means. Read More...

Feb 13, 2017 The marriage rate has declined over the past several decades and the median age of first marriages for women and men has climbed steadily in the past 50 years. While many people are postponing marriage or avoiding it altogether, walking down the aisle is still part of the American Dream. What's more, being single by the time you reach a certain age is usually considered less than ideal. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Do homeowners sell their houses before paying off their mortgages? Turns out, it happens more often than you may think. After all, most mortgage loan terms last for 30 years and few homeowners stay in their houses for that long. While you can sell your home before ditching your mortgage debt, there are some things you should know before putting your house on the market. Read More...

Feb 06, 2017 Putting 20% down on a house may not be feasible for everyone. That's why many homebuyers get stuck paying private mortgage insurance (PMI). Having to pay mortgage insurance can make owning a home more expensive. But you may not be responsible for making those payments over the entire life of your loan. Depending on your circumstances, your PMI can either be canceled automatically or upon request. Read on to find out how to get rid of PMI. Read More...

May 18, 2018 Paying property taxes is inevitable for homeowners. The amount each homeowner pays per year varies depending on local tax rates and a property's assessed value (or a yearly estimate of a property's market value).  If you’re unsure of how and when you must pay real estate taxes, know that you might be paying them along with your monthly mortgage payments. Read More...

Feb 02, 2017 Raising a family can be tough. First of all, it's expensive. The USDA estimates that raising a child born in 2015 would cost a family $233,000 over 18 years. It's common nowadays for both parents to work outside of the home, meaning they need to pay for full-time child care, which can be very costly. Parents also want to give their children the best chance to succeed so school quality is on many parents' minds when deciding where to live. Read More...

Feb 01, 2017 Wedding costs are climbing. Between 2014 and 2015, the average cost of a wedding rose by 4.6%, according to The Knot Real Weddings Study. Nuptials now cost $32,641, on average, and one in eight couples spend more than $40,000 when tying the knot. Interestingly enough, research suggests that brides and grooms who spend more money on their weddings have a greater chance of getting divorced. Read on for our ranking of the best U.S. cities for an affordable wedding. Read More...

Jan 31, 2017 Buying a home takes a lot of planning. Neighborhoods need to be researched, open houses attended and, if you have children, schools need to be investigated. But first and foremost, before you can even take the first step in buying a home, you need to make sure you have enough saved up for a down payment. Depending on where you live, saving for a down payment can be a multi-year process requiring careful financial planning. Below, we investigate how long it takes to save for a down payment in some of the largest cities in the country. Read More...

Jun 19, 2018 Going from renting to buying is a high priority for many Americans. We've all been taught that homeownership is a key piece of the American dream. But if you're between jobs, is homeownership out of reach? Let's take a closer look at the question of whether you can buy a home while unemployed. Read More...

Jan 27, 2017 By consistently paying your mortgage bill on time, you're showing your lender that you're a responsible borrower. That may be obvious, but what's often overlooked is the art of making extra mortgage payments. Paying more than you're required to can benefit you in several different ways, including reducing the amount of interest you pay over time. If you're interested in making extra mortgage payments, here's how to do it. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 Thinking of moving to Pittsburgh? You're part of a rare breed. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported in March 2016 that, per U.S. Census Bureau data, "among the nation’s 30 largest metropolitan areas, Pittsburgh is the only one deemed to have fewer people on July 1, 2015, than were counted during the official 2010 census." Translation? Pittsburgh isn't growing, despite being a great place to live. Check out our list of the 15 things to know before moving to Pittsburgh. Read More...

Jan 23, 2017 If buying a home is one of your resolutions for the new year, you'll need to make sure that your credit is in good shape. Since the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates more than once in 2017, mortgage rates may climb. Having an excellent credit score can work in your favor. But having a bad credit score could keep you from buying a house. As you navigate the home-buying process, here are some common credit mistakes you should avoid at all costs. Read More...

Jan 20, 2017 Home sales tend to rise when the weather warms up. That's good news for anyone who wants to sell a home. But before you put your house on the market, you may need to add some tasks to your to-do list. Giving your house a facelift may be necessary if you want an edge over the competition. Here are six ways to prepare your home for the spring buying season. Read More...

Jan 19, 2017 Some people eat just to live. For others, colloquially known as foodies, eating is the reason to live. Foodies' lives are enriched by the act of eating great food. Some love to cook gourmet meals, while others like to go to sit-down restaurants and have gourmet meals prepared for them. For others still it's the ingredients that are the most important, with questions like, "is the food sourced locally?" and "is this produce high quality?" looming large. We looked at data on these and other factors to determine the best cities for foodies. Read More...

Jul 05, 2017 Vacation home prices have skyrocketed in recent years, causing home sales to fall. According to a report from the National Association of Realtors, vacation home sales declined by 18.5% between 2014 and 2015. Buying a second home by the beach has become impossible for many Americans, including millennials and others who can barely afford to buy their first homes. Read More...

Jun 28, 2017 One of the most challenging aspects of the home-buying process is getting access to financing. Securing a loan can be even more difficult when you're planning to build a house from the ground up instead of getting a mortgage to purchase an existing property. If you're building instead of buying the home of your dreams, here are some things that you'll need to keep in mind. Read More...

Jan 16, 2017 You've spent months scouring real estate listings and you've finally found your dream home. You put in an offer and everything seems to be smooth sailing until you get that dreaded call from your real estate agent: There are other buyers interested in the property. Even worse, they're offering the seller more money. Before you know it, you find yourself in the middle of a heated bidding war. Read More...

Jul 10, 2019 The Steel City is known for its industrial history and its scrappy charm. Pittsburgh has also become popular due to its affordability for young creatives priced out of other cities. Pennsylvania has fairly low state income taxes, as it uses a flat rate for all residents. There are some solid homebuying opportunities in Pittsburgh as well. If you're thinking of moving there, here are the details on the cost of living in Pittsburgh. Read More...

Jun 06, 2018 Thinking of moving to Michigan? With a population of just under 10 million, the Great Lakes State has a lot to offer, from affordable housing to stunning landscapes. The state's economy has had its ups and downs, sure, but the Wolverine State is still drawing new residents. Check out our list of 15 things to know before moving to Michigan.  Read More...

Jan 17, 2017 Coffee is the lifeblood for many Americans. It is not uncommon to hear people say they can’t start the day without that first cup of joe. However much like beer, a unique culture around coffee is growing across America. Take Starbucks for example, there's one on every corner, but today's coffee snobs spurn the global icon in favor of flat whites and Costa Rican pourover coffee. But not all cities are as coffee-obsessed as others. We looked through the data to see which American cities are the best for coffee fanatics. Read More...

Sep 20, 2018 Homeownership rates are on the decline for all age groups across the country, data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows. This trend is particularly pronounced for millennials, whose homeownership rates dropped from 42% in 2006 to 35% in 2015. With house prices back on the rise, sky-high rents and student loan debt, it's not surprising that young adults today are struggling to buy their own homes. However in some American cities, millennials are bucking the trend and buying rather than renting. Below we comb through the data to find out where are millennials buying homes. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 New Mexico has attracted residents drawn to its beautiful landscape and weather. If you're thinking of moving to New Mexico, there are some tips that can help you prepare for the transition. Check out our list of 15 things to know before moving to New Mexico. Read More...

Jan 03, 2017 When you buy an older home instead of a newly constructed home, you have the opportunity to choose a property that has its own unique personality. But it could turn out to be a money pit if you have to spend thousands of dollars restoring different parts of the home. Before making an offer on an older house, here are five important questions you'll need to consider. Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 Getting an inspection is one of the most important steps of the home-buying process. The inspection is designed to assure homebuyers that a property has no major defects or issues that could delay a home sale. Problems can arise, however, when an inspection doesn't reveal something that a homebuyer would have liked to know about before closing on their home. If that happens, a buyer may wonder whether they can sue their home inspector. Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 With a population of around 5.5 million, Minnesota is famous for the high quality of life it offers. Thinking of moving to Minnesota? You don't have to settle in the Twin Cities or the surrounding suburbs. You can opt for a rural residence on a farm, by a lake or in the mountains. Wherever you decide to live, here are 15 things to know before moving to Minnesota.  Read More...

Dec 28, 2016 The real estate market is constantly evolving and 2017 is shaping up to be another year of change. If you're planning to buy a home in the new year (or you want to sell your existing home), it doesn't hurt to know a thing or two about what's trending in the markets. As we look ahead to the new year, here's what should be on your radar with regard to the housing markets. Read More...

Dec 28, 2016 SmartAsset looked at America through a number of personal finance lenses over the past year. We crunched data to find the best cities to get out of debt and the cities where homeowners save the most on taxes. We did analyses where finance was only part of the equation, like the most affordable beach towns in America or the best cities for millennials. We also analyzed the job market to see where workers are succeeding, for studies like the best cities for women in tech and the best cities for pay in STEM jobs.  Read More...

Sep 20, 2018 Beer brewing is experiencing something of a renaissance at the moment. Since 2000 the number of breweries in America has tripled, data from the Brewers Association shows. This growth in breweries is great news for beer drinkers across the country no matter where they live. But whether it comes to prices, variety or availability, some cities are better than others for quenching a beer lover's thirst for the carbonated beverage. Below we investigate which cities every beer drinker needs to check out. Read More...

Dec 26, 2016 Buying a home isn't something you should do on a whim. After all, homebuyers have to make a lot of decisions. Besides choosing a location and deciding how much you're willing to pay, you'll need to think about when you want to seal the deal on a new home. Is the spring the best time to buy a house? Or would you have better luck waiting until the fall? Let's look at what industry experts have to say about the best time to buy a house. Read More...

Jan 02, 2019 Thinking of moving to Wyoming? There are plenty of reasons a person might be drawn to visit or move to (and potentially buy a home in) the Equality State. For many, the state's natural beauty is the main attraction. Some of the country's most beloved national parks are located in Wyoming, and the state's residents are big on the outdoors. Here are 15 things to know before moving to Wyoming.  Read More...

May 21, 2018 After an extended period of record-low interest rates, the Federal Reserve decided to raise rates by a quarter of a percentage point. If you have your sights set on becoming a homeowner, you may have your work cut out for you. Looking at the long-term interest rate outlook - and how that may affect home prices - can give you a better idea of whether the new year is the right time to tread the homeownership path. Read More...

Dec 21, 2016 There's no getting around the fact that Americans as a whole could be in better shape. More than two in three American adults are considered overweight or obese, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. But getting in shape is not easy. Fast food tempts the would-be dieter, gyms are often crowded and unappealing and after a long day at work it's hard to muster up the energy to work out.  Read More...

Dec 29, 2016 Since the Federal Reserve decided to raise interest rates during its December meeting, mortgage rates may rise in 2017. Even if rates don't increase substantially, taking on a home loan could become more expensive. If you're interested in buying a home in the new year, here's what you can do now to improve your chances of getting approved for a mortgage loan. Read More...

Dec 05, 2018 Idaho's state nickname is the Gem State, and once you've seen Idaho you'll realize how apt the name really is. Yes, there are gemstones and other natural resources, but a lot of Idahoans would say that the real gem in Idaho is the landscape. Not a nature lover? You might still be drawn to the state's economic opportunities. Read More...

Dec 15, 2016 Ahead of the presidential election, publications like the New York Times, the Huffington Post and 538 gave Hillary Clinton somewhere between a 65%-99% chance of winning the election. You know what happened next. As November 8 ticked into November 9 and it became less and less likely that Clinton would win, people began wondering how forecasters got it so wrong.  Read More...

Dec 20, 2016 The U.S. economy isn't exactly booming. While the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since 2007, the economy is still growing at a relatively slow pace. Some places, however, are better off than others. For the third year in a row, SmartAsset took a look at the places experiencing rapid population and economic growth. Read on to find out which cities rank at the top of our list. Read More...

Dec 13, 2016 Of all American values, entrepreneurship is one of the most revered. Many Americans dream of the day they can take out a loan, build their own business and make it on their own. Big metro areas like San Francisco and New York get most of the attention when it comes to entrepreneurship but there are plenty of smaller metros where people are also living the American dream. We were curious about them. Read on for SmartAsset's look at which small and mid-size metro areas in America are the most entrepreneurial. Read More...

May 29, 2019 So many roommate finders, so little time! How do you even choose? First, know that the best roommate finder sites and apps combine apartment listings with potential roommate profiles that detail their lifestyles and personalities. Below, we cover the top roommate finders for NYC as well as other sources for finding roommates in niche communities or with specific interests. As you hunt for the perfect person with whom to split the rent, start strategizing how to save and invest so you can afford an apartment without a roommate someday. A financial advisor can help with that. Read More...

Dec 05, 2018 Thinking of moving to Utah? We don't blame you. The state is known for its high quality of life, low crime and beautiful landscape. Utah is more affordable than neighboring state Colorado but offers similar climate and access to stunning mountains. Here are 15 things to know before moving to Utah.  Read More...

Dec 08, 2016 Millennials are now the largest generation in the country, having passed Baby Boomers sometime in the past year. There are no shortage of stereotypes used to describe millennials (defined as those ages 18-34 in 2015). Millennials have been called lazy, entitled and narcissistic. But in reality, many millennials don't have it easy. The generation faces an incredibly competitive globalized labor market and are often saddled with mortgage-sized student loan payments, tacked onto sky-high rent costs. This means that it's important for millennials to be smart about where they choose to live. With that in mind, we ranked the best cities for millennials. Read More...

May 15, 2019 Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina and has a population that's growing quickly. Between 2010 and 2015, Census Bureau records indicate that Charlotte's population grew by 12.4%. Of course, any time there's population growth, the associated area's cost of living tends to rise as well. Despite these increases, the housing market in Charlotte appears to have some opportunities for buyers. Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 If you can't afford to pay your monthly mortgage bill, you have a couple of options. For one, you can choose to refinance. You can also apply for a loan modification. The former would force you to start over with a brand new loan. But the latter would allow you to make adjustments to your original loan terms so that your mortgage payments are less burdensome. If you're interested in getting a loan modification, here are three steps you'll need to take. Read More...

Dec 06, 2018 Intrigued by the Green Mountain State? Thinking of moving to Vermont? Vermont has experienced slow population growth in recent years, but that doesn't mean it's not worth putting on your list of potential destinations (or even potential places to settle down and buy a home). To help you make your decision, here are 15 things to know before moving to Vermont.  Read More...

Jul 09, 2019 Say you own an investment property that you rent out to tenants. You probably want some form of insurance coverage for your property. Landlord insurance rolls multiple forms of coverage into one policy. It covers things like property damage, rent payment defaults and other liabilities. Many times, you can even pick from a few coverage riders, like flood insurance and emergency coverage. As you investigate whether landlord insurance is for you, make sure to consult with a financial advisor<… Read More...

Apr 09, 2018 If you're dying to move out west but you can't afford to live in Seattle or San Francisco, you might want to consider  moving to Denver. Located just east of the Rocky Mountains, the Mile-High City has many appealing features, including its strong economy and the almost constant presence of sunshine. But renting in Denver is not for the faint of heart. If you're interested in living there, here's what you need to know about the city's rental market. Read More...

Nov 29, 2016 Not all ski resorts shut down when the winter season ends. Quite a few stay open throughout the year, giving tourists something to do in the summer months and nearby communities a much-needed economic boost. In fact, in the state of Colorado alone, the ski industry brings in over $4 billion per year. If you'd like to ski and breathe fresh mountain air on a daily basis, you'll love our list of the best ski towns to live in. Read More...

Aug 06, 2019 A land loan is an option for potential homeowners who want to buy a piece of land and then build their own home on that land. Land loans aren’t as common as mortgages, so you may have to shop around a bit to find one. For help with land loans, consider finding a financial advisor with SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. Improved Land vs. Raw Land Before applying for a land loan, it’s a good idea to find out whether the property will require an improved land loan or a raw land loan. Improved land has already been… Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 Thinking of moving to Virginia? You're not alone. The state has a reputation for a well-educated population and a strong job market. Of course, there's more than one way of living a Virginia life. There are small towns and sizable cities, conservative communities and liberal ones. Check out our list of 15 things to know before moving to Virginia.  Read More...

Nov 24, 2016 In 2016, the U.S. homeownership rate fell to its lowest level since 1965. What's behind this trend and what are the implications for the country? Let's take a closer look at the homeownership rate and what it says about economic conditions in the U.S. and how Americans are forming households.  Read More...

Mar 03, 2017 Are you starting to think it might be time for a change? Moving to a new city can be a great way to shake up your professional and social life. It's good to feel comfortable in your surroundings, but it can be easy to fall into a rut if you stay in the same place for too long. Of course, moving isn't for everyone, but here five signs you should move to a new city.  Read More...

Dec 21, 2017 Dreaming of renting in Seattle? You'll be in good company. In this soggy seaport city on the West Coast, you'll be surrounded by people from all walks of life. And surprisingly, more than half of them are renters. Whether you're moving to the Emerald City to work at Microsoft or a local coffee shop, here's what you need to know about the rental market in Seattle. Read More...

Nov 21, 2016 Don’t have enough cash for a down payment? If you can't put at least 20% down on a house, you might have to pay for private mortgage insurance. Luckily, there are ways to get around that. One solution is to find out whether you qualify for lender-paid mortgage insurance. Depending on your arrangement, lender-paid mortgage insurance can lower your monthly mortgage payment. Read More...

Nov 17, 2016 People choose where to live based on a variety of factors. Although safety may not the number one concern for everyone, it is certainly a factor most people consider when deciding on a place to call home. People typically think of safety in terms of crime but other factors like bad air quality or the prevalence of reckless drivers also make for an unsafe environment. We looked at these and other factors to create a ranking of the safest cities in America for 2016. Read More...

Nov 16, 2016 Much has been written about rent increases in America’s largest cities. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that in cities like Boston, New York and San Francisco, rents have risen by 10-15% from 2012 to 2015. An interesting component of this discussion is the rise in incomes, as that often accompanies the rise in rent. We at SmartAsset were curious about the cities where incomes are rising faster than rents. Read More...

Nov 16, 2016 According to most research, a pay gap exists between men and women in the U.S. The numbers vary but for the working population over age 15 nationwide that gap is around 28%, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This means women make 72 cents on average for every dollar men do. And pay is not the only important metric to consider when it comes to workplace equality. Read More...

Nov 15, 2016 Miami is a popular spring break destination for college kids eager to get away from campus for a week. Those who live there get to enjoy sunshine and sandy beaches year round. But for some folks, living in Miami comes with certain costs. In fact, it's one of the least affordable cities for renters. If you can see yourself moving to the area, read on for a look at the ins and outs of renting in Miami. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 Between 2010 and 2015, the population of South Carolina increased by 5.9%. The state's population is expected to hit the 5 million mark by the 2020 census. Are you thinking of moving to South Carolina? You're not alone. Here are 15 things to know before moving to South Carolina.  Read More...

Nov 15, 2016 Hosting a successful conference starts with choosing the right venue. But in order to decide where to hold your event, you'll need to consider several factors. Will there be enough hotels available to accommodate your guests? Will the venue be close to local restaurants and bars? To answer these questions, SmartAsset ranked the best cities in America to host conferences. Read More...

Jun 06, 2018 Unlike most states, Maine has had a fairly flat population in recent years. New residents are barely offsetting the residents the state loses each year, though the southern half of the state is growing more quickly than the northern part. Are you thinking of moving to Maine? Here are 15 things to know before you go.  Read More...

Nov 02, 2016 Some folks don't like being stuck inside. They prefer to spend their free time participating in different outdoor activities, from cycling and backpacking to whitewater rafting. Finding a peaceful park or a quiet hiking trail can be a challenge, particularly when you live in a major metropolitan area. But in some cases you don't have to sacrifice your love of nature for a big-city lifestyle. We took a look at the best cities in the country for outdoor enthusiasts. Read More...

Aug 10, 2018 The process of readjusting to civilian life can be difficult for many veterans. One survey from Pew Research Center found that 27% of veterans said they had a difficult time reacclimating to civilian life. It can be difficult for veterans to find work, rebuild support structures and start a new life, especially for those experiencing PTSD. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Did you go to a school that required uniforms? Do your kids wear school uniforms now? If you answered "yes" to either question, you probably have strong feelings about uniform requirements in schools. Even if you don't have a personal connection to uniforms, you might be interested in the topic. If so, check out our guide to the pros and cons of school uniforms. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 Do you have Georgia on your mind? Ready to move to a state where the tea is sweet and the trees drip Spanish moss? With a population of over 10 million people and a growing political profile as a possible swing state, Georgia is a popular choice for Americans on the move. Here are 15 things to know before moving to Georgia.  Read More...

Oct 31, 2017 City dwellers can get pretty riled up when extolling the virtues of their chosen city. Just try talking to any New Yorker. But have you ever wondered how your city compares to others in practical factors like housing costs, crime and walkability? In other words, which cities in the United States are the most livable? We at SmartAsset were curious so we ran the numbers on 93 of the biggest cities in the country. Read on to see what we found out. Read More...

Oct 24, 2016 When you have pets, finding someone who's willing to buy your home can be challenging. You may love your animals, but buyers may not be able to see the true value of your property if they're distracted by a barking family dog or the antics of a curious cat. If you're preparing to put your home on the market, here's how to prevent your pets from scaring away potential buyers. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Some praise globalization while others protest the phenomenon and blame it for job loss and other ills. Even if you're investing in emerging market funds or buying items made abroad, you may not have given much thought to the arguments for and against globalization. Is one side correct or is globalization more of a mixed bag? Let's take a look at some of the pros and cons of globalization. Read More...

Dec 19, 2018 Montana is known for its natural beauty. You may have seen scenes shot in Montana if you saw the films "A River Runs Through It" or "The Horse Whisperer." Broad swathes of the Montana country is not just beautiful but empty. The state's population density is the third lowest in the country, behind Alaska and Wyoming. If that sounds like the perfect escape to you, here are 15 things to know before moving to Montana.  Read More...

Oct 18, 2016 Subletting  your apartment might make sense if you're planning to be away from home for months at a time. Finding someone to temporarily take over your space can be a good alternative to breaking a lease or having to move out completely. Whether you're planning to sublet to a friend, family member or a complete stranger, there are a few things you'll need to keep in mind. Read More...

Oct 18, 2016 Buying a home is a big deal and it's important to make sure that it's protected. Homeowners insurance can cover the cost of damages that result from a fire or a windstorm. But your insurance policy will only goes so far. Purchasing a home warranty can give you some peace of mind but warranties have their limitations as well. Let's take a look at what home warranties typically cover. Read More...

Oct 13, 2016 Research reveals that while women are statistically better than men at keeping up with their mortgage payments, they're also more likely to pay more for a loan. According to the Urban Institute, while women borrow less money from lenders than men, 4.9% of female homebuyers end up with a higher-priced mortgage loan compared to 4.6% of male homebuyers. Read More...

May 21, 2018 The population of the state of Arizona grew by 6.8% between 2010 and 2015. It's one of the 10 fastest-growing states in the country. Are you considering moving to Arizona? Maybe you're drawn by the beautiful mountains or the low cost of living. If so, here are 15 things you should know about the state before you go.  Read More...

Oct 27, 2016 Ever wondered how trick-or-treating conditions in your neighborhood stack up against those in other cities? Should your neighbors give out more candy to your kids? Is your area as safe on Halloween night as it is across town? It's hard to know for sure. That's why we created a list of the best places to trick-or-treat. We ranked 252 of the largest U.S. cities using seven metrics, including local crime rates, weather and home affordability. Read on to learn what we discovered. Read More...

Oct 11, 2016 In most cases, when you own a piece of property you have both "surface rights" and "mineral rights." That means you have a right to build (or not) on the land, and rights to what lies beneath the surface of the land, too. If there's oil, coal or natural gas below the surface of the land on your property, you may be approached about selling your mineral rights.  Read More...

Oct 10, 2016 Many millennials who want to become homeowners simply can't afford to buy a house. In some cases, it takes young adults a decade to save up for a standard 20% down payment. If you don't want to defer your dream of owning a home for the next 10 years, you might need to create a savings strategy. Here are some of the fastest ways to come up with the cash you need for a down payment. Read More...

Oct 06, 2016 A survey published by Discover found that millennials are twice as likely as baby boomers to take out a home equity loan. While many of the participants used a home equity loan to consolidate debt or tackle remodeling projects, 27% said they relied on a loan as a source of emergency cash. While taking on a home equity loan may cheaper than racking up credit card debt, it's not a tool you should use on a whim. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 Over 10 million people live in North Carolina, a fast-growing state with highly productive pockets such as the Research Triangle. The Tar Heel State combines natural beauty with technological innovation and a high quality of life. There are even a herd of top financial advisor firms ready to help you get your finances on track. So if you're thinking of moving to North Carolina, you're not alone. But before you go, here are 15 things to know about the state.  Read More...

Oct 05, 2016 Fall is in the air and for some home sellers, it's the perfect time to try and find a buyer. Selling a home in October or November can work in your favor since there's less competition. But it's important to be diligent if you want to negotiate the best deal. With Halloween on the horizon, here's a look at some home-selling mistakes that can leave you feeling tricked rather than treated. Read More...

Nov 03, 2016 November is just around the corner, which means it's almost time for Americans to go out and vote. However, there is wide disparity in voter turnout across the 50 states. In 2014, some states had as little as 33% voter participation while others had as high as 61%. Voting is really a two-step process: first you register to vote and then you cast your ballot. Someone who registers to vote but doesn’t actually vote can still be considered more politically engaged than someone who never registered at all. And, of course, voting isn't the only way to be an engaged citizen, you can also donate to campaigns and volunteer. So states with high numbers of voter registration, voter turnout and campaign donations can be said to be politically engaged. With these factors in mind, we at SmartAsset crunched the numbers to find out which are the most politically engaged states. Read More...

Oct 04, 2016 Living with a roommate in college can be tough. And if you thought those days ended when you graduated, think again. As rental prices rise at an alarming rate, renters in some cities are forced into communal living situations. Depending on where you live, sharing an apartment with a roommate might make the most sense, particularly when thinking about your short-term financial circumstances. Read More...

Oct 03, 2016 If you're ready to shop around for a home, it's best to make sure you can qualify for a loan first. Getting preapproved for a mortgage can give you an idea of how much you'll be able to borrow. At the same time, it can show home sellers that you're ready to commit to a purchase. If you want to improve your chances of getting preapproved, here are some mistakes you can't afford to make. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 Oregon's population hit the 4.09 million mark in 2016. According to the Census Bureau, the state's population grew by 5.2% between 2010 and 2015 and continues to grow. If you're thinking about moving to Oregon, it might be worth knowing more about what it's like to live there. Here are 15 things that anyone moving to Oregon should know.  Read More...

Sep 27, 2016 Choosing to buy a home is a major decision that you probably shouldn't make impulsively. Sealing the deal on a home sale before you're ready - or buying a house that you aren't completely satisfied with - could turn your American dream into a nightmare. If you're on the path toward homeownership, here are some decisions that you don't want to regret making along the way. Read More...

Sep 27, 2016 Don't sleep on minor league baseball. Even some of the worst teams in the league manage to attract thousands of fans each season. Besides being able to find super-cheap tickets, the folks who attend minor league games get to root for teams with interesting names and wacky uniforms. To honor this sport's die-hard fans, SmartAsset ranked the best minor league baseball cities and towns in America. Read More...

Sep 26, 2016 Spring is traditionally the hottest time of year to buy a home. But there's a lot to be said for waiting until September or October to begin shopping around for a property. As nature's landscape begins to change, so does the home-buying landscape. If you planned to wait until March or April to become a homeowner, here's why you might want to buy a house in the fall. Read More...

Sep 22, 2016 Buying a traditional home can seem stressful, especially if you're doing it for the first time. But buying a historic home is an entirely different experience. Anyone who wants to own one will have to adhere to strict rules and guidelines. If you're interested in turning a historic property into the home of your dreams, here are a few things that you'll need to keep in mind. Read More...

Sep 22, 2016 There's no such thing as being too prepared to buy a home. The more time you have to get your finances in order, the better. Taking certain steps while you're still in the planning stage can make the home-buying process less stressful in the future. If homeownership is part of your five-year plan, here are several steps you'll need to begin taking now. Read More...

Sep 17, 2018 Texas boasts impressive job growth, diverse cities and energy boomtowns. Add the rich culture and the relatively affordable housing and it's no wonder people are flocking to the Lone Star State. The best financial firms in Texas will also have plenty of guidance to offer you. And if you're looking for an advisor specifically tailored to your needs, use SmartAsset's matching tool to get paired up with a financial professional. So you're thinking about moving to Texas? Here are 15 things to know before you go.  Read More...

Sep 29, 2016 Ever since Samuel Slater brought the secrets of the English textile industry to America, manufacturing has been a big part of the American economy. From the New England textile mills to Pittsburgh’s steel and Detroit’s automobiles, manufacturing has long been a source of employment for American workers. But for a variety of reasons America is not the epicenter of manufacturing that it once was and some communities have suffered badly from the loss of manufacturing jobs. But it is not all doom and gloom. Some places in America are bucking the trend and are in fact great places for someone who wants to work in manufacturing. Read More...

Dec 07, 2016 Entering the nursing field might not be a bad idea. The average growth rate for all jobs is 7%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But growth for nursing jobs is expected to be a lot faster than average. In the future the country will need more healthcare professionals to help treat aging Americans and the increasing number of people dealing with serious issues like hypertension and obesity. Read More...

May 21, 2018 The Sunshine State is a popular destination for those who want to move to warmer climes. Larger cities like Orlando even have some of the top financial advisor firms in the region, helping you to manage your money whether you're retired or not. It's famously popular with retirees, but Americans of all ages are feeling the lure of Florida. If you're thinking about moving to Florida, here are 15 things you should know before you go. Read More...

Sep 15, 2016 Modern subway book lovers are in many ways like tango dancers. If they can’t get a seat, they bravely stand together, limbs interlocked for balance, books tenderly placed against noses, swaying together with the stop and go of the train, all in the vain hope of reading one more page on their 20-minute journey. Not all book lovers are able to show off their passion for books like the New York and Boston subway riders can. Other things matter too, like access to book stores, libraries and book clubs. With this in mind we at SmartAsset wanted to take a more data-driven approach to measuring which cities were the best for book lovers. Read More...

Sep 13, 2016 Whether you're a new college grad or you're a homeowner who's ready to ditch your mortgage, hunting for an apartment can be nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time. You might be eager to settle into a new place, but there are a few things you'll need to consider first. Here are five pitfalls to avoid if you don't want your renting experience to feel like a nightmare. Read More...

Sep 13, 2016 A college town can be a fun place to live even as an older adult. There are often endless activities to participate in from football and hockey games to concerts and cultural events. And since the students in the area are probably on a tight budget, you'll likely have access to cheap bars and restaurants. What's more, college towns tend to have strong economies that surrounding neighborhoods can benefit from. Read More...

Aug 13, 2019 Timeshares are notoriously difficult to sell. If you bought a timeshare thinking you'd want to use it forever and now find yourself wanting to unload it, don't despair. Selling a timeshare isn't impossible, as long as you're prepared to put some work in to the process. Here are our tips on how to sell a timeshare. Read More...

Jul 11, 2017 If you're hoping to land a good deal on a home, you might want to consider buying a real-estate owned house (a foreclosed home that's owned by a bank or lender). Freddie Mac connects buyers and investors with REO properties through the HomeSteps program. If you're thinking about buying a foreclosed home, here's how to make the most of your HomeSteps experience. Read More...

Sep 07, 2016 Perhaps you've received a job offer in another city. Or maybe you're relocating to be closer to family or to enjoy a change in scenery. Either way, you're making a big move. The process can seem overwhelming if you don't know where to begin. But a little planning can go a long way. Let's get into some of the things you'll need to consider when preparing to make a long-distance move. Read More...

Sep 07, 2016 Political season is upon us and it seems nearly impossible to escape political discussions. While some people enjoy arguing with those who have opposing viewpoints, others like to speak mostly with like-minded citizens. Where you live can certainly impact the political views of your neighbors. With this in mind SmartAsset wanted to see which cities in America were the best for liberals and which cities were best for conservatives. Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 Colorado has attracted many new residents who are drawn to the high quality of life in the state. The combination of job opportunities, beautiful weather, scenic views and a culture of wellness has proved irresistible to the Americans who have flocked to the state. Some of the nation's top financial advisor firms are in the Centennial State. So are you thinking of moving to Colorado? Here are 15 things to know before you go. Read More...

Mar 25, 2017 While plenty of millennials are steering clear of homebuying these days, there are still a number of young adults who are in the market for a mortgage. According to a recent report, FHA loans are emerging as the loan of choice for 20- and 30-something buyers. About 38% of millennial mortgage loans closed in April 2016 were FHA loans. While there are advantages to having an FHA loan, there are also some drawbacks that young buyers need to consider. Read More...

Sep 05, 2016 Spring is typically considered to be the busiest season in the real estate market. But according to a recent report, homes listed for sale in the fall are more likely to sell within six months than those listed in the spring and in the summer. What's more, compared to homes listed in other seasons, the houses that are listed in the winter spend six to eight fewer days on the market. Read More...

Sep 14, 2018 Before you can apply for a home loan, you'll need to choose a mortgage product. Fixed-rate mortgage loans are popular among first-time homebuyers. But to some people, an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) might seem more attractive. If you're thinking about getting an ARM, there are some questions you'll need to answer in order to decide whether it's the right kind of loan for you. Read More...

May 18, 2018 NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, removed many tariffs and other barriers to trade between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Since then, trade between the three countries has increased several times over. But not everyone has celebrated this development. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of NAFTA.  Read More...

Feb 22, 2017 Getting a mortgage can be an exhausting process. Lenders might dig into just about every aspect of your financial life, from your credit score to the amount of money you've got in your bank account. The whole thing can leave you feeling a bit exposed but fortunately, certain information is off-limits. Federal law outlines what lenders can and can't ask. As you shop around for a mortgage, be aware that a lender who poses any of the following questions is crossing the line. Read More...

Nov 28, 2018 America's 49th state is famous for its natural beauty. It's on a lot of bucket lists as a travel destination, but what's it like to live there? If you're thinking about moving to Alaska, it's helpful to know what you're getting yourself into. Read on for our list of 15 things to know before moving to Alaska.  Read More...

Aug 31, 2016 Deciding where to teach isn't always easy. Besides considering school quality and culture, teachers looking for jobs in any given area have to think about whether they'll be able to afford to live there. The median annual pay for kindergarten and elementary school teachers was about 40.4% higher than the median income for all employees in May 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But teachers in some places with a high cost of living still struggle to make ends meet. Read More...

Aug 30, 2016 Almost all political discussion today is centered around the question, “how will this affect the economy?” The issues which the Trump and Clinton camps base their campaigns around like immigration, trade and tax policy are debated in terms of productivity and jobs.  Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 If the thought of enduring another snowy winter fills you with dread, you might be considering moving to California. Millennials taking tech jobs in high-cost-of-living San Francisco aren't the only ones heading for the Golden State. The state's population grew by over 5% between 2010 and 2015. Tempted? Read More...

Aug 24, 2016 Preparing to move to Chicago? Although it's known as the "Second City," Chicago is currently the third largest city in the United States. Renters make up a large percentage of the population and if you're planning to become one of them, it's best to know what's in store for you before you get there. Check out our guide to what people encounter while renting in Chicago. Read More...

Aug 24, 2016 The Summer Olympics. It's that event that comes every four years and enthralls Americans with dancing horses, synchronized swimmers and whatever that sport is which takes place in the velodrome. This version of the summer Olympics, Rio 2016, was certainly a successful one for American athletes. Katie Ledecky became a household name and Michael Phelps finished the final lap on his illustrious swimming career. Americans “won” the Rio 2016 Olympics with medals in 121 total events.  Read More...

Aug 23, 2016 You've probably heard the phrases "buyer's market" and "seller's market" but do you know the difference between the two? In a buyer's market, there is plenty of housing inventory on the market and low competition for each listing. That means prices are lower and buyers can get better deals. Here's what you should know about buyer's markets.  Read More...

Feb 14, 2018 Which state capitals have the highest standard of living? For many people, the answer to that question is a matter of opinion that depends on what's most important to them. If you can't decide whether you prefer Boston over Albany or Atlanta over Austin, we've got a solution to your dilemma. SmartAsset took an objective, data-focused approach to comparing the best state capitals in America. Read More...

Jun 25, 2018 If you're having trouble selling your house, the solution to your problem might literally be in the palm of your hand. Anyone with a smartphone has unlimited access to a treasure trove of apps. And believe it or not, some of them can even help you attract homebuyers. Here are six apps that you can download if you want to get rid of your house as quickly as possible. Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 There's more to New York state than the five boroughs that make up New York City. It's a large state with a rich history and plenty of natural wonders. Thinking of moving to New York state? Check out our list of the 15 things you should know before making your move.  Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 Working with a mortgage lender isn't always easy. Some of their decisions might even annoy you. For example, if your lender keeps pushing back your closing date or changing your loan terms, you may be wondering whether it's okay to jump ship. While you can change mortgage lenders at the last minute, here are three reasons why doing so could cause some problems. Read More...

Aug 30, 2016 Depending on where you are in the world Americans have different reputations. Some perceive us as lazy, while others think of Americans as hustlers, who believe in working hard to get ahead. Data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows that Americans work an average of 1,790 hours per year. That is the 15th highest number of hours in the world. While we can thank the OECD for crunching the numbers so we could compare countries, we at SmartAsset were curious to see how cities within the country fared. We wanted to find the hardest-working cities in America. Read More...

Aug 16, 2016 When you're selling a home, you want the transaction to be profitable. At the same time, you may be expected to negotiate if you want to lock in a buyer. Making concessions can help you sell your home faster. But if you give your homebuyer too much leeway, you could end up on the losing end of the bargain. If you're ready to sell your house, here's how to figure out whether you need to make concessions. Read More...

Aug 15, 2016 Once upon a time, couples and singles used to buy themselves a starter home before moving in to a bigger, better and more permanent house. Today, many first-time home buyers want to skip the starter home stage altogether and buy homes that they can live in for the long haul. That's according to a recent poll that surveyed more than 1,000 future homebuyers. Read More...

Aug 12, 2016 Whether you're trying to buy a home or sell a home, it helps to know whether you're facing a buyer's market or a seller's market. Armed with that knowledge, you can prepare for the negotiations that will take place during the buying or selling process.  Read More...

Dec 19, 2018 Are you ready to embrace the spirit of Aloha and move to Hawaii? It's a common ambition, especially among those who have been to the Aloha State and have seen how beautiful it is. But before you quit your job and buy your ticket, we invite you to take a look at our list of the 15 things you should know before moving to Hawaii.  Read More...

Aug 10, 2016 Buying a home is no easy feat. That hasn't deterred single women from flooding the market, however, and they represent a growing share of newly minted homeowners. If you're preparing to buy a home on your own, it's important to do your homework before diving in. Asking yourself these questions can help you decide whether you should buy a house or keep renting. Read More...

Aug 16, 2016 Almost 2 out of every 3 Americans are overweight or obese, according to data from the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. While the science behind dieting and obesity is not completely understood, one thing nearly everyone agrees on is that when it comes to vegetables, more is better. Americans on average seem to be heeding this message. Data shows that Americans have been eating less and less meat every year since 2004. Read More...

Dec 21, 2017 Moving to San Francisco might not be such a bad idea. From its world-class restaurants to its breathtaking views, the city has a lot to offer. At the same time, its known for being an unaffordable place to live. If you're dead set on making the Bay Area your next home (but you're not ready to become a homeowner), here's everything you need to know about renting in San Francisco. Read More...

Aug 10, 2016 Startups seem to be popping up everywhere. But recent reports show that startup creation is actually on the decline. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of new firms introduced relative to all firms fell from 16.5% in 1977 to about 8% in 2013. Many startups fail because they don't have enough funding to get off the ground. Luckily, there are U.S. cities where launching a startup doesn't have to cost a fortune. Read More...

Aug 08, 2016 When mortgage rates are low, that's a plus for aspiring homeowners because it means that they have more buying power. But it also means that they have to think about whether it makes sense to get a starter home or invest in a more permanent home. There are pros and cons on both sides of the equation. So before you make a decision, here's what you'll need to think about. Read More...

Aug 05, 2016 Pokémon Go has sparked a craze among gamers around the world and businesses are capitalizing on its popularity in a big way. It's become the ultimate free marketing tool for retailers and restaurant owners, but there's another way it's being put to use - selling homes. If you've got a house on the market that you're trying to unload, augmented reality may help you get rid of it. Read More...

Aug 04, 2016 A recent report from the National Association of Realtors shows that, instead of settling down in urban areas  young homebuyers are increasingly scooping up properties in the suburbs. For millennials who are plotting a future home purchase, it can be tough to decide whether to move to the suburbs or the city. If you're trying to decide where to buy a house, here's what to consider. Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 With a population of around 1.5 million, San Antonio is a livable city with a small-town feel. Rich in history and boasting a diverse population, the city is attracting new residents all the time. The Texas city has been getting more attention lately and if you're thinking of moving to San Antonio, here are 13 things you should know before packing up your belongings. Read More...

Sep 20, 2018 Parents often take multiple factors into account when thinking about where they want to raise their kids. Ideally, many would like to live somewhere safe where there's a good school district, clean drinking water and plenty of activities for their kids to participate in when they're not in the classroom. Cost of living matters as well. According to the USDA, the average cost of raising a single child is well over $304,000 when adjusting for inflation. Read More...

Aug 04, 2016 If you're trying to sell your home as quickly as possible, replacing old windows with more energy-efficient ones or transforming your cramped bathroom could raise the value of your property. There are some home upgrades, however, that might not give you quite as much bang for your buck. Here are five home renovation projects that probably aren't worth investing in. Read More...

Aug 02, 2016 Among all the beloved foods in America, pizza seems to be one of the most hotly debated. Due to its simplicity and loosely defined parameters (dough, cheese, sometimes sauce), just about everyone has a favorite kind of pizza. Pizza topics like depth (thin vs deep dish), shape (square vs triangle) and even frozen preparation methods (microwave vs oven) are all passionately debated. But the most famous debate seems to be geographic. People across America swear by New York slices or Chicago deep dishes. But are either of these really the best places for American pizza lovers? Read More...

Aug 03, 2016 Incorporating real estate into your portfolio could be a good idea if you want some insulation against market volatility. Thanks to the turmoil created by Brexit, UK real estate prices have fallen dramatically. That's bad news for property owners. But it creates a unique opportunity for investors. The question is, should you make the move to buy real estate overseas? Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 The population of Minneapolis increased by 7.4% in the five years between 2010 and 2015 - an impressive rate of growth that speaks to the city's many attractions. Thinking about moving to Minneapolis but not sure what you'll find when you get there? Here are 15 things to keep in mind before you go. Read More...

Jul 26, 2016 The U.S. added roughly 287,000 jobs in June 2016, exceeding most economists' expectations. This was the highest monthly growth in jobs since October 2015 and it eased many people's concerns that the labor market was slowing. Despite the boost in the number of employment opportunities, however, economic conditions in the country aren't exactly rosy. The Federal Reserve's new Labor Market Conditions Index - which it uses to measure fluctuations in the jobs market - remained negative for the month of June. Read More...

Aug 03, 2016 If you're ready to sell your home, you're going to have to do a bit more than put up a listing and recruit an agent. In order to attract buyers, you might need to give your house a face lift. Hiring a professional home stager could be a good idea, but their services might come with a high price tag. If you're on a tight budget, here's how to stage your home without draining your wallet in the process. Read More...

Aug 03, 2016 Buying a home is a big financial step for anyone and especially for 20-somethings who are still paying off student loans or trying to find their footing in the workforce. That doesn't mean, however, that buying a home in your 20s is a bad idea. Asking yourself these questions can help you decide whether you're ready to buy or if you're better off renting for the time being. Read More...

Feb 10, 2017 Britain's vote to leave the European Union led to some financial shock waves around the globe. In the U.S., it's had a positive impact on mortgage refinance rates, which have fallen to near-record lows. That means borrowers who took on over-sized loans have the potential to save some serious cash by refinancing. If you took on a jumbo loan, here's how to get the best deal on a refinance. Read More...

Jun 06, 2018 Closing is the final step in the home-buying process and once you've signed your name on all of the required documents, your dream property will finally be yours. If you've been searching for a home for months, you may be eager to wrap up the closing as quickly as possible. But the date that you choose to close on your mortgage can affect your cash flow in more ways than one. Read More...

Jul 21, 2016 The City of Angels is an expensive place to live. If you're thinking about moving to LA in the near future - and buying a home isn't an option - it helps to know a thing or two about the city's rental market. That way, you can plan ahead and prepare yourself for what's to come. If you've always wanted to know more about what renting in Los Angeles is like, here's your inside scoop. Read More...

Jul 21, 2016 Phoenix consistently ranks in the top ten fastest-growing cities in the country. It's a relatively affordable city, too, which makes it a great place to move to if you're tired of a more expensive city, you want to leave a rural area or you just want more sunshine in your life. Here are 15 things to know before moving to Phoenix. Read More...

Jul 21, 2016 According to the 2015 Time Use Survey, Americans spend almost three hours per day watching TV and movies. But how Americans watch is changing. Thanks in large part to streaming services like Hulu and Netflix, Americans have on demand access to more shows and movies than ever before. Indeed, the once ubiquitous movie rental company Blockbuster is suffering from this change in preferences. From its block-busting peak of 9,000 retail outlets nationwide, Blockbuster is now down to 51. Read More...

May 18, 2018 Making on-time mortgage payments is a must if you want to stay on your lender's good side. But many first-time buyers don't realize that you have a certain amount of wiggle room in which to pay. Mortgage contracts often come with a grace period of 10 to 15 days. Understanding how the grace period works can help you plan your payment strategy once you get settled in your new home. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 Flipping houses can be fun and profitable if you can earn back the money you've invested and them some. Any time you're trying to flip a property, there are bound to be some bumps along the way. One of your biggest concerns might relate to what happens if you can't find a buyer for the home. If you've sunk time and money into a flip house that's sitting on the market, here's how to make the best of your situation. Read More...

Dec 19, 2018 The U.S. capital, Washington, D.C., attracts more than just politicians and government staff. It's a vibrant city full of culture and history that appeals to Americans and international visitors alike. Although the city is known for tourism, many people call it home, and even more in recent years. Experts project that the city's population will increase by 47% between now and 2045. If you're among the many people thinking about moving to D.C. here are a few things you should know before settling in our nation's capital.  Read More...

Jul 13, 2016 When you're ready to sell your home, you'll need to decide whether you're going to hire a real estate agent or list the home yourself. Flying solo has its advantages because it means you'll get to pocket more money. But selling a house without an agent doesn't work for everyone. If you're planning to go the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) route, here's how you can sell your home like a pro. Read More...

Aug 10, 2018 Owning a home is usually considered part of  living the American Dream. But becoming a homeowner is neither easy nor affordable for everyone. Even if you manage to make the leap to homeownership, having a house of your own could seem burdensome if you're stuck with high property taxes and insurance costs. Moreover, as a homeowner, many factors that affect the real estate market - including interest rates and the economy - are entirely out of your control. Read More...

Jul 12, 2016 There's nothing like signing off on the sale of a home when you're ready to move on to another property. Your excitement may start to fade a little, however, when tax season rolls around and you have to report any gains you realized from the sale on your income tax return. If you're preparing to sell your home, here's what you can do to minimize your tax bite. Read More...

Jun 19, 2018 If you're ready to buy a home, you may be on the fence about whether to choose an existing property or build something from scratch. Going the new construction route has its perks - it's move-in ready, all the appliances, cabinetry and flooring are virtually untouched, you can tailor the floor plan to your needs - but there are also some downsides. One of them can be the cost. If you're not factoring the following five expenses in, you may end up with a bad case of sticker shock when it's time to sit down at the closing table. Read More...

Jul 08, 2016 If you think your rent is too high, you're not alone. According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, just over 21 million Americans are spending more than 30% of their salary on rent. That means they can be classified as cost-burdened renters. If you're stuck in a high-rent situation, here's what you can do to alleviate some of the strain on your wallet. Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 The housing market has made some significant strides over the last several years and home sales have been on a steady climb in most locations. That's encouraging if you're planning to sell but it doesn't guarantee that buyers will come flooding in once your home hits the market. If you've already listed your property and the months have been dragging by without the slightest nibble from buyers, it may be due to one of these five things. Read More...

Jul 07, 2016 Finding an apartment in the middle of the summer can be tough. There's bound to be a lot of competition for rental units, and you might have to go the extra mile to impress a potential landlord. If you don't want to lose the apartment you want to a recent college grad or a transplant, you'll need to be strategic. Here are seven tips to keep in mind if you want to sign a lease before the season ends. Read More...

Jul 07, 2016 The U.S. routinely ranks among the world's most charitable countries. In the 2015 Charities Aid Foundation World Giving Index, the U.S. came in second (to Myanmar). But which states do the most to uphold America's reputation for generosity? SmartAsset crunched the numbers to find the most charitable states. Read More...

Jul 06, 2016 Lenders consider many factors when trying to decide whether to approve a homebuyer for a mortgage, including their debt-to-income ratio (the amount of debt payments someone's making relative to their monthly gross income). If you're saddled with credit card debt and student loans, paying them down can make qualifying for a home loan easier. But which one should you wipe out first? Read More...

Jul 06, 2016 Want to work in tech but not sure Silicon Valley is the place for you? You're not alone. America's tech scene isn't just a California phenomenon. And in fact, when you factor in the cost of living, you might be surprised by the cities that turn out to be America's best places for tech workers.   Read More...

Jul 05, 2016 If you want to buy a home, there are a number of things you'll have to do before you can head over to the closing table. For example, one important item that you'll need to include on your to-do list is getting a home inspection. But you shouldn't rush to hire just anyone for the job. Before you hand over any cash to an inspector, here are six questions you'll need to ask. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 Thinking of moving to Dallas? If you only know the city from TV shows like Dallas, Most Eligible Dallas or Big Rich Texas you may not have the most accurate picture of the city. Here are 15 things to keep in mind before you moving to Dallas. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 Flipping houses isn't always as glamorous as it looks on TV. But it can be a great way to bring in a steady stream of investment income. To get started, you'll need some cash to finance your renovation project. Luckily, there's more than one way to get the money you need to flip a house. Check out the pros and cons of the different financing options that house flippers have. Read More...

Jun 18, 2018 Philadelphia - whether you know it by its government name or as the City of Brotherly Love, Philly, the City that Loves You Back or Quaker City - has a lot going for it. It's a major city with a small-town feel, a thriving cultural sector and a relatively affordable housing market. Thinking of moving to Philadelphia? Here are 15 things you should know. Read More...

Jun 29, 2016 Technology is constantly adding new dimensions to the way we do things and smart homes are poised to be the next big thing in real estate. Smart homes allow you to control lighting, electronics, door locks and more with the touch of a button from your mobile device. If you're thinking of buying a home that has these kinds of features, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind. Read More...

Jul 05, 2016 If the American economy was the Titanic and the iceberg that sank the Titanic was the financial crisis, then STEM jobs would be the few available life boats rescuing passengers. Similar to the dilemma of who had access to those life boats, who works in STEM fields has not been equally distributed. While it was mostly woman and children saved from the icy arctic waters, today it is mostly whites and men being spared the effects of a sluggish economy.  Read More...

Jun 28, 2016 If you've been thinking about buying a home, now may be the right time! In many places the conditions in 2016 are ripe for potential homebuyers. Employment rates have been climbing, the economy has been improving and you still may be able to be able to get a good deal on a house. If you are wondering whether now is the time to move out of your rental to buy your own house - here's a list of things to consider about the 2016 housing market. Read More...

Jun 19, 2017 Historically, the housing market isn't nearly as volatile as the stock market is. But housing bubbles eventually burst and as we've seen in recent years, recovering from a housing crisis can take time. Rising home values allow homeowners to build equity in their homes. But stable growth is generally considered to be better than a rapid rise in prices followed by a crash. SmartAsset took a look at historical price data and ranked the best housing markets for growth and stability. Read More...

Jun 27, 2016 Thanks to tighter lending restrictions, buying a home can be tough. But it becomes even more of a challenge when you're trying to sell a home at the same time. When the clock is ticking, you may feel a certain amount of pressure to accept an offer from a prospective buyer or settle for a property that's not exactly what you want. If you're ready to move to a new home while unloading the old one, here's how to maneuver both transactions gracefully. Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 Things have tightened up in the housing market since the housing crisis and lenders are looking at mortgage applications more closely. Lenders consider many factors before deciding whether to approve applicants. Once you know what they're looking for, you can boost your chances of getting approved. Check out five factors that mortgage lenders often consider. Read More...

Jun 19, 2018 Houston is the fourth-most populous city in the country and the most populous city in Texas. The diverse city is home to a thriving energy industry and five professional sports teams. Thinking of moving to Houston? Here are 15 things you should know before making the move.  Read More...

Jun 21, 2016 Your mortgage is likely to be the biggest monthly expense associated with buying a home but there are plenty of smaller costs that can add up. Private mortgage insurance (PMI) may be one of them if you don't have a sizable down payment. While private mortgage insurance can add to your homeownership costs, it can actually work to your advantage in more ways than one. Read More...

Dec 14, 2017 While there are county fairs and events that take place throughout the year, many folks look forward to attending their annual state fairs. Each one offers something unique, whether it's a contest that's been held for decades or a specific food that's become a permanent fixture on the menu. You might not make it to all of the state fairs, but some of the best ones might be worth visiting. Read More...

Jun 16, 2016 When you're buying a home for the first time, you may encounter certain terms and phrases that you've never heard before. Once you've made an offer and entered into a contract with a seller, "due diligence" is one you'll be introduced to. Due diligence is something every buyer needs to understand so before you start house-hunting, here's a quick guide to what you can expect. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 Want to live somewhere with a warm climate, diverse culture and laid-back lifestyle? You may want to consider moving to Miami. The vibrant Florida city is a popular vacation destination for tourists, but it's also home to around 400,000 people. If you're thinking of joining their ranks here are 13 things to know before moving to Miami. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 Mortgage rules have undergone numerous changes since the housing collapse to ensure that only qualified buyers have access to loans. Meeting certain lenders' requirements can be particularly difficult if you're self-employed. If you're one of the nearly 15 million self-employed Americans and you're hoping to buy a home this year, here's what you'll need to keep in mind. Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 Thinking of moving to Boston? You're in good company. Boston's population has grown at a healthy clip of about 4% since 2010. Before you move to Boston (no one really calls it Beantown) there are some facts about the city you should keep in mind. Here are our 15 tips for anyone moving to Boston. Read More...

Sep 04, 2019 Escrow accounts help homeowners set money aside each month to cover insurance premiums and property taxes. When the bills for these come in each year, the mortgage lender uses money in the escrow account to cover the payments. So you avoid making large payments in one shot each year. A financial advisor can also help you manage money the right way to cover all costs related to buying a home. Read More...

Jun 08, 2016 The number of multi-generational households in the U.S. is on the rise. Between 1980 and 2012 the number of Americans living in multi-generational households doubled, to 57 million. For reasons both cultural and economic, the trend of having three generations under one roof has continued in the years since. SmartAsset crunched the numbers to find the best cities for multi-generational households.  Read More...

Feb 14, 2018 We all know stress is bad for our health, but it can be tough to stop stressing over our busy lives. One way to chill out? Move to another city. SmartAsset crunched the numbers to find the least-stressed cities in America in 2016. We looked at factors that contribute to stress like divorce and bankruptcy and found the cities with the most chilled-out residents.  Read More...

Jun 06, 2016 The relationship you have with your real estate agent can set the tone for the entire home buying process. Your agent is supposed to help you find a property you can afford and work with the seller to negotiate the details of the purchase. But problems could arise if you're on different wavelengths. If you want everything to run smoothly, here are five bad habits to steer clear of. Read More...

Jul 18, 2019 If you've been struggling to pay a mortgage loan backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, relief may soon be on the way. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently announced that it would roll out its Principal Reduction Modification program for qualifying homeowners. This initiative is aimed at helping homeowners who ended up underwater following the housing crisis. Here's what you need to know about how this new program works. Read More...

Jun 03, 2016 If you're ready to sell your home, it's important to think carefully about how you're going to do it. Making certain missteps along the way can derail the sale and leave you stuck in a house that no longer fits your lifestyle. If you want to find someone who can afford to buy your house and seal the deal as quickly as possible, here are five home selling mistakes it's wise to try to avoid. Read More...

Jun 02, 2016 Homebuyers have to decide whether to get their mortgage through a broker or contact a lender directly. Buying a home through a broker has some advantages but it can potentially make your purchase more expensive. You might have to deal with something called the yield spread premium. Before you start working with a broker, here's what you'll need to know. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 The city of Las Vegas has been growing rapidly, and as it grows its image changes. Yes, Sin City is still a great place for a big birthday or bachelor party, but there's more to it than the Strip. If you're thinking of moving to Las Vegas here are 15 things you should know.  Read More...

Jul 18, 2019 In real estate it's all about location, which is why some cities are more profitable and have higher salaries for real estate agents than others. For the 2016 edition of our annual study we crunched the numbers to find the ten best cities to be a real estate agent. Read More...

May 31, 2016 Buying a house is hard enough without scammers attempting to steal your hard-earned cash. Unfortunately, there are a number of mortgage scams that routinely make the rounds and one of them involves thieves who try to steal closing cost funds from individuals who want to buy homes. Before you head to the settlement table, here's what you need to know about closing cost schemes. Read More...

Jun 01, 2016 Attracting a vibrant creative class has been a boon to many U.S. cities. While creatives are drawn to the cultural offerings of a city, they also tend to seek out affordable locales. For this year's study of the best cities for creatives, we ranked cities based on the concentration of creatives in the population and on cost of living to create our creative cities index.  Read More...

Jul 17, 2019 Buying or selling a home can be stressful. But an experienced real estate agent can guide you through the process and ensure that things run smoothly. In exchange for their hard work, real estate agents earn a commission. If you're wondering how agents get paid and you're not sure who's responsible for paying the fees they charge, here's what you need to know. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 Does it seem like everyone is moving to Portland? Well, a lot of people are - particularly young people. Thinking of joining the hordes moving to Portland? Here are 15 things you should know before you make the move.  Read More...

Jun 19, 2017 Anyone who has ever worked a minimum-wage job knows how tough it can be to stretch those dollars. In some cities and states, the minimum wage goes further than in others, though. The places with the highest statutory minimum wage aren't necessarily the places where the minimum wage goes furthest. We crunched the numbers to find the places with the highest and lowest real minimum wage.  Read More...

Feb 02, 2017 Besides high student loan debt and low wages, strict lending requirements are yet another barrier for many young adults who want to buy homes. Fortunately, there are programs like HomeReady that are designed to make getting a home loan more accessible for certain buyers, including those at the lower end of the income scale. If you're a millennial who dreams of owning a home, keep reading to find out how the program works. Read More...

Jun 25, 2018 Enlisting the help of a mortgage broker can make the home buying process run more smoothly. Brokers connect buyers with lenders so they can secure the most favorable mortgage loan terms possible. While they have a financial incentive to help you, it's important to make sure you're not paying too much. Here are some tips to keep in mind when working with mortgage brokers. Read More...

Jul 09, 2019 Mortgages can cause a lot of headaches, but for many people they are the only route to a new home. For a select few, though, buying a home outright with cash might be possible. Regardless, having cash on hand to close any deal is often a must. A down payment will be the most difficult to cover, as these are often around 20% of the home's value. So if you're gearing up to buy a house anytime soon, it's a good idea to find out what kinds of cash reserves are required and how you'll use them. Before you make any final decisions, be sure to discuss your financial situation with a trusted  financial advisor. Read More...

Sep 17, 2018 When you're buying a home, one of the things you have to factor into your budget are closing costs. Typically, homebuyers spend between 2% and 5% of the purchase price on these expenses. If you agree to finance your closing costs, you'll pay less money up front. Before making that move, however, it's best to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of taking that route. If you want additional expert guidance, use SmartAsset's financial advisor matching tool to pair up with a financial professional who can help you with your real estate needs.   Read More...

May 19, 2016 There's a long list of things that you'll have to complete before you can buy a house, including having the home appraised. That's important because your mortgage lender will need an accurate estimate of the home's value before finalizing your loan. If the appraisal comes back too low, that can throw a serious wrench in your plans. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be a deal-breaker and there are some things you can do to recover when the appraisal doesn't live up to expectations. Read More...

May 21, 2018 If you can't face another cold, snowy winter you might be tempted to move to San Diego. The city is famous for its livable climate and happy residents. Before you go embrace the Southern California lifestyle, here are 15 things you should know about moving to San Diego. Read More...

May 19, 2016 With rents rising steadily across the country, in many cases renting is no longer an affordable alternative to homebuying. Recent data from Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies reported that 21.3 million renters were cost burdened in 2014. In other words, 46% of U.S. renters spent more than 30% of their income on housing-related expenses that year. And some are spending even more. Read More...

May 17, 2016 Selling a home can be stressful and the closer you get to finishing the deal, the brighter the light at the end of the tunnel. If the buyer backs out suddenly, however, that'll put a major wrinkle in your plans to move or purchase another property. You'll have to act quickly if you want to protect yourself. Here's what you can do if your homebuyer backs out and your home sale falls through. Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 If you're currently living in an expensive city like San Francisco or New York, the cost of living might be getting to you. If you're ready to move to a more affordable city, you may want to consider putting Detroit on your list. Here are 13 things you should know about moving to Detroit.  Read More...

May 11, 2016 There are currently about 29.5 million teenagers in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau. That’s a lot of teenagers! In comparison, there are about 28.5 million U.S. residents over the age of 70. What do those teens do? Roughly one out of six of them work – about 4.6 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many more would like to work, but can’t find a job. (The teen unemployment rate is 16%.) Most are enrolled in school - middle school, high school or (for some) college. Read More...

Jul 18, 2019 If you're a homeowner and you've begun the process of paying off your mortgage, you're dealing with something called mortgage amortization. Amortization is the act of eliminating debt by making regular payments over time according to a set schedule. Having a clear sense of how it works is important if you're trying to pay off your mortgage. If you want more hands-on guidance as you go about the process, consider finding a financial advisor. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 Want to live in a fitness-friendly city in a beautiful setting? You might want to consider Colorado Springs. Colorado's second-largest city has a lot going for it and if you're a nature-lover you'll feel right at home. Residents also have access to some of the top financial advisor firms in the state. Before you go, check out these 15 things anyone moving to Colorado Springs should know, from the climate to the culture. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Homeowners who have enough equity in their homes can take on second mortgages. Getting a second mortgage can be beneficial to someone who might need to use the money to pay off outstanding debts or remodel their home. At the same time, it can also be a risky move. Before you start your application, we've got the lowdown on everything you need to know about second mortgages. Read More...

May 03, 2016 What does your dream house look like? For some, it must include a swimming pool. Others want a 10-car garage to fit their collection of Lamborghinis. Those who prefer the urban lifestyle might opt for a Manhattan penthouse with views of Central Park, while those who love the mountains might be more interested in a Montana ski chalet. In any event, there’s one thing almost all dream homes have in common: they're big. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 If you're crazy about barbecue, live music and hot weather you may be weighing the pros and cons of moving to Austin. It's an appealing city and the cost of living isn't as high as it is in places like San Francisco and New York. Here are 19 things you should know before moving to Austin. Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 The difference between the terms "lease" and "rent" depends partly on the context. For example, renting a car can be done for just a few days while you're on vacation, whereas leasing a car involves making monthly payments for a period of months or years. For the purposes of this article we'll focus on lease vs. rent in the context of real estate. Read More...

Oct 18, 2018 The middle class is shrinking. According to a 2015 analysis by Pew Research, for the first time in recent history less than half of American households are part of the middle class, with greater numbers of households moving into the upper and lower classes. Likewise, while middle-income Americans used to earn more than 60% of total U.S. income, today their combined paychecks add up to just 43% of the whole pie. Read More...

Apr 26, 2016 There are many reasons a home won't sell. There could be too many sellers in an area and too few people looking to buy houses. Or there could be an issue with the home that needs to be fixed. In some cases, the problem is simply that the asking price is too high. To avoid overpricing (or undervaluing) your house, check out some tips that'll help you choose the right listing price. Read More...

Sep 20, 2018 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for workers with a Bachelor’s degree averaged just 2.8% in 2015. That is much lower than the overall rate of 4.3% and it means that for most college grads finding a job should not be difficult. That’s not to say that college grads have it easy. Student loan debt is soaring (the average student now owes more than $35,000 at the time of graduation). Likewise, those low unemployment figures belie the reality of an economy in which college graduates too often have to settle for low-paying or part-time jobs. Read More...

Jul 31, 2019 Whether you can't afford to buy a house right now or you prefer renting to buying, you probably don't want to spend the majority of your paycheck on rent. Avoiding high rental rates can seem nearly impossible in cities where rent is rising faster than income. But if you live in a more affordable city where you have more options you could be wondering, how much should I spend on rent? Read on as we answer that question and list the factors you should consider before signing a lease. Read More...

Jul 13, 2018 Remodeling your kitchen can be a great way to increase the value of your house before you put it on the market. Even if you're not planning to sell your home any time soon, you may want to remodel your kitchen if doing so is in your budget. Updating the look of your kitchen is generally a pricey undertaking. Here's our breakdown of costs and tips.  Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 Denver has been one of the country’s fastest-growing big cities in recent years. It’s easy to see why. Located along the Rocky Mountain Front Range, the Mile High City is surrounded by beautiful scenery and has direct access to some of the best skiing and mountain climbing in the world. It is the engine of a booming regional economy, with strong job and income growth in recent years. Plus, it’s home to the 2016 Super Bowl champions. Here are a few things to consider if you’re thinking about moving to Denver. Read More...

Apr 20, 2016 Many New Yorkers spend the majority of their salaries on rent. So whether you're planning to move to the Big Apple or you've lived in the city for quite some time, having access to affordable housing is probably one of your top concerns. If you can't qualify for rental assistance and you're not going to inherit a rent-controlled apartment, a rent-stabilized apartment could be the next best thing. Our guide will tell you exactly what you need to know about them and how you can find one. Read More...

Apr 20, 2016 Many of America’s largest cities are facing an affordable housing crisis. In particular, some cities on the West Coast and in the Northeast have seen skyrocketing rental rates and home prices in recent years, as the growing demand for urban housing has not been equally matched by increases in supply. While the supply side of that equation is complex and unique to every city, the growing demand can basically be boiled down to the fact that (aside from their expensive housing) these cities are desirable places to live. Read More...

May 17, 2019 Ready to buy a house? You might not be comfortable purchasing a home unless certain conditions are met. Maybe you want to wait for the results of a home inspection, or perhaps you need to finalize the sale of your own home first. When the fate of an offer depends on whether a buyer or seller takes specific steps, that's known as a contingent offer. Read More...

Jan 13, 2017 In 2016 it’s hard to fall over in a U.S. city without hitting a coffee shop. Thanks in part to chains like Tully’s, Dunkin Donuts, Caribou Coffee and Starbucks, the amount of coffee shops across the U.S. seems to have grown exponentially in recent years. Starbucks, for example, increased from 165 stores in 1992 to more than 22,500 stores today – on average, that’s more than one new store a day for 23 years straight. Read More...

Sep 17, 2018 As a homebuyer, you don't want anything to jeopardize your chances of closing on the home you've selected. Many folks can't buy homes without applying for a mortgage, and if you need one, it's important to prepare so you're a good candidate to get a loan. Making any of the following mistakes could reduce the amount of financing you qualify for, result in a higher interest rate on your mortgage or cause a lender to reject your mortgage application. And if you want further expert financial guidance, head over to SmartAsset's financial advisor matching tool to get paired up with a… Read More...

Dec 20, 2016 Building home equity is important. It's your financial stake in your house and since it's considered an asset, you can use your home equity to finance your kid's college education, remodel your current house, buy another home or supplement your retirement savings. If you're wondering how you can go about building equity, check out seven easy ways to get started. Read More...

Apr 18, 2016 There are a lot of numbers that get thrown back and forth when buying a home and trying to keep track of all of them can be overwhelming. If you're a first-time homebuyer, the figures you're most likely to zero in on are the purchase price, the interest rate and your monthly mortgage payment. But there are other kinds of costs that you'll need to keep an eye on. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Choosing to sell a home can feel like a monumental decision, but millions of Americans do it every year. Because houses are so valuable, of course, it can be tough to go through the process on your own. That's why many people opt to work with a real estate agent. Just know that you don't necessarily have to work with an agent, as there are multiple financial benefits related to selling a home on your own. If you want more hands-on guidance, it's also possible to work with a financial advisor to see how the decision to sell your house fits into your holistic financial plan at large.  Read More...

May 21, 2018 Whether you just recently purchased your first home or you want to spruce up a house you've lived in for a while, a new paint job can be a great way to refresh your property. Concerned about what that might cost? Here's everything you need to know about the average cost to paint a house. We'll cover both interior and exterior paint jobs.  Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 Tiny houses are all the rage these days and shows like "Tiny House Nation" highlight the ups and downs of trading in a bigger home for a smaller lifestyle. Aside from allowing you to pare down the amount of stuff you own, living in a tiny home could also help you significantly trim your budget. Read on to find out how much you could save by moving into a tiny home. Read More...

Apr 14, 2016 When you're house hunting it can be tricky to know how to navigate the paperwork involved in becoming a homeowner. Say you find the perfect place. In some cases you'll submit an offer letter that will open negotiations between you and the seller. But sometimes you can submit a real estate purchase agreement that kicks off the homebuying process.  Read More...

Dec 28, 2016 Nashville is a fast-growing city with plenty of opportunities for work and play. The city's population has grown by more than 6% since 2010 as more and more people flock to Nashville for the abundant jobs, relatively affordable homes and the quality of life. If you're thinking of moving to Nashville, there are some things you should know before you go.  Read More...

Apr 13, 2017 Americans are more concerned about the environment than ever before. In a Gallup poll released earlier this year 64% of respondents said that they worry about global warming a “fair amount” or a “great deal.” Nearly 60% said that the effects of global warming have already begun, while another 31% believe that it will eventually. Read More...

Apr 30, 2019 The dream home you and your family envision moving into might not exist. In that case, you have the option of buying land and then  building a house. After you have an idea of what you want your new home to look like, you'll need to work on securing the land that you want your house to stand on. Here's what you need to know about buying land to build a house. Read More...

May 31, 2018 Are housing costs taking up a big chunk of your budget? You're not alone. Whether they rent or own their homes, housing affordability is a challenge for millions of households. But it's especially a problem for households that rent. Nationwide, renter households are more than twice as likely to be housing cost burdened as owner households. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Are you considering finishing your basement? It may be on your mind if you want to increase the value of your home or expand your family's living space. The cost to finish your basement will depend on how elaborate you want the renovations to be. In general, though, there are a few rules that can help you estimate the cost and craft a budget for the project. Read More...

Apr 08, 2016 Cash is a must-have if you're trying to buy a house. And while most Americans need to take out a mortgage loan, some folks can afford to pay for their houses outright. These all-cash buyers might seem intimidating. But with these five strategies, you might be able to beat them at their own game and convince a seller to give you the keys to their house instead. Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 If multiple buyers are interested in buying your home, you're probably feeling pretty good about yourself. All of the hard work you put into cleaning and renovating your house has finally paid off. Now, all you have to do is come up with a way to sift through the home offers you've received. Not sure how to get started? Here are some tips to help you choose the best buyer to take over your home. Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 Moving to San Francisco? Join the crowd. The City by the Bay has a growing population, a global tech reputation, public transportation, mild weather and so much more. Yes, it's expensive, but there's a reason so many people are flocking to the city. For anyone moving to San Francisco, there are some tips that will help with the transition and settling in. Here are 17 of them.  Read More...

Apr 06, 2016 To some people, rent-controlled housing is considered either an urban myth or a remnant of the past. While these gems can be hard to come by, they still exist in a handful of U.S. communities. Whether you're actively searching for a rent-stabilized place or you're interested in learning more about rent control laws, read on as we break down how rent control works. Read More...

Apr 10, 2017 Is the American Dream making a comeback? After the housing crisis last decade, many people questioned the legitimacy of homeownership as a means of building wealth and providing economic security. Today, however, with home prices in much of the U.S. at last passing their pre-crisis peak and mortgage rates hovering near their historic lows, for many homeownership seems attractive once again. Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 In certain states, you can't buy or sell a house unless a real estate lawyer is present. So unless you live in a place like Georgia, Vermont, Kentucky or Maine, for example, you might be wondering whether you need to spend the money on legal fees to have a real estate lawyer. Having an experienced attorney within reach can keep you from unintentionally breaking a law or doing something that could delay your real estate closing. If you're not sure what real estate lawyers do, we'll fill you in. Read More...

Apr 10, 2019 Think of how much you love your best friend. No, not that one - the other one. The one who slobbers, licks your face and begs for food. According to The Humane Society of the United States, nearly 43.3 million households own at least one dog and about 70% of those dog owners consider their dogs to be family members. Most owners want nothing but the best for their four-legged companions, which hopefully means including them on various family outings. So SmartAsset analyzed data on metrics ranging from dog parks to weather in order to find the most dog-friendly cities in America. Read More...

Apr 04, 2016 If you're trying to sell your house as quickly as possible, hosting an open house could be a great way to draw in crowds of qualified buyers. But even if you leave your home open to the public for weeks at a time, it might take months for someone to make you an offer. To avoid wasting your time and your money, check out some tips that'll help you attract homebuyers to your next open house. Read More...

Apr 01, 2016 The question of how to split rent can be a tricky one. Roommates may be reluctant to risk conflict by proposing an alternative to the standard 50-50 split. If you're wondering how to split your rent fairly, here are some ideas that can help you negotiate your rent share. Whether you split your rent based on the size of your rooms or the size of your incomes, you can find a way to please everyone.  Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 Renting out your house might be worth considering, especially if you're ready to relocate and you're opposed to selling. Picking up a tenant could help you pay off your mortgage more quickly. Then, you could put the money you've earned toward a financial goal, like perhaps into a retirement account. If you're not sure what to charge for rent, we've got some factors you'll need to take into account. Read More...

Apr 10, 2017 Being a parent is a full time job. Nonetheless, on top of the substantial energy required to raise a child, most parents in the United States are also employed. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, among U.S. families that have children, 88.7% have at least one working parent. In 60.2% of those families both parents worked. Read More...

Feb 14, 2017 Industry standards say that homebuyers should expect to make at least a 20% down payment. In reality, however, not everyone can afford to do that. Down payment assistance plans and mortgages with zero or low down payments can relieve some of the financial burden that's often felt by low- and moderate-income individuals. The Affordable Loan Solution plan is the newest loan program to enter the mortgage market with the goal of assisting financially strapped borrowers. Read More...

Dec 28, 2016 For many people, a home is the largest purchase they'll ever make. While lenders consider income and work history when approving mortgage applications, credit reports and credit scores also carry a lot of weight in determining the rates borrowers have to pay. Before you apply for a home loan, it's a good idea to cross these credit moves off your to-do list. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 Seattle is a city unlike any other. Nestled between the Cascade and Olympic Mountain ranges, along the shores of the Puget Sound and Lake Washington, its natural beauty causes many who visit to wish they could stay forever. And there are many other reasons you might want to call SeaTown home, including the coffee and the accepting attitudes of the citizenry. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Taking on a mortgage is a major financial responsibility. But oddly enough, nearly half of homebuyers don't take the time to shop around for the right lender, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In addition to traditional banks and mortgage brokers, homebuyers have a third option in the form of online mortgage lenders. If you're cautious about going online to track down a home loan, here's a quick rundown of the advantages and disadvantages of getting a mortgage online. Read More...

Mar 23, 2016 It's a common practice for U.S. cities to have sister cities in foreign countries. New York City's official sister cities include Beijing, Cairo and Budapest. But there are sister cities within the U.S., too. SmartAsset took a look at Census Bureau data on unemployment, income, education and housing costs to find pairs of sister cities here on America's fair shores. Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 Are you considering moving to Los Angeles? There's a lot you should know. No, not everyone is in the entertainment industry. Yes, the avocados really are that good. Moving to LA can be a little intimidating if you're not familiar with the neighborhoods and the culture. Here are 17 tips for anyone who's moving to Los Angeles.  Read More...

May 21, 2018 When you're buying a house, you'll have to make the seller an offer. In order to do that, you'll need to write a letter that explains why you're interested in buying the home and includes details regarding your mortgage financing and expected closing date. Often, the key to writing the best offer letter is finding a way to connect with the seller on a personal level. Check out seven tips that'll help you write the perfect real estate offer letter. Read More...

Mar 11, 2016 Whether someone  rents or buys, tough economic times or unexpected bills can leave a person scrambling to keep up with housing costs. If you have a mortgage, you may be eligible for assistance programs like the Home Affordable Modification Program. If you're a renter, you may be eligible for rental assistance. Here's what you should know about getting help with rent. Read More...

May 30, 2018 Buying a home is exciting, but there are hoops you'll have to jump through before you can call yourself a homeowner. Between organizing your financial documents, applying for a mortgage and scheduling an appraisal, the process can make your head spin. Asking some key questions along the way can make navigating the waters easier. There are some things that first-time buyers may be more likely to overlook. If you're on the hunt for your first home, here are the questions you should be (but probably aren't) asking. Read More...

Jul 10, 2019 Tennessee is packed with a country and blues culture that's centered around Nashville and Memphis. When it comes to the cost of living in the state, you'll find cheap rental prices compared to national rates. Homes follow a similar trend, though Tennessee has a wide range of markets depending on where you move. Residents also spend more than the national average on utilities. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 Any New Yorker will tell you that NYC is the greatest city in the world, with better food, better entertainment and, well, better everything than anyplace else on the planet. But it takes some getting used to, especially if you’ve never visited or if you’re coming from a smaller city or town. So, for anyone who’s moving to New York (or even thinking about it), we’ve compiled a list of some of the most important things you should know about life in the City That Never Sleeps. Read More...

Sep 25, 2017 Buying a home is a process that requires months of planning and preparation. Even if you've crossed your t's and dotted your i's, it's possible to hit a snag or two along the way. You might have trouble getting a home loan or you could lose the house you want to another buyer. One way to avoid these hiccups is to make yourself seem as attractive as possible to mortgage lenders and sellers. In order to do that, there are seven key qualities you'll need to prove you possess. Read More...

Mar 03, 2016 Buying a home is a big investment and most lenders want to know you can afford to make the purchase before signing off on a loan. While there are mortgage loans that don't require any money down, you'll likely have to bring 20% to the closing table. If the idea of saving thousands of dollars for a down payment seems daunting, here are four options worth exploring. Read More...

Jul 10, 2019 Perhaps you're drawn to the revitalized city of Detroit or the natural beauty of the Upper Peninsula. Regardless of where you want to move, the cost of living in Michigan can differ from city to city. So if  a move to Michigan is in the cards, make sure you plan for major costs, like food, housing, taxes, utilities and more. Read More...

Feb 21, 2018 The homeownership rate among young people has been declining steadily in recent years. In 2005, 43% of adults under the age of 35 owned a home. Today that rate is just 35%. There are a number of possible reasons for this shift, including the rising cost of housing in many cities. Yet, just as housing costs are not increasing at an equal pace in every part of the U.S., in many cities homeownership among young adults is not declining at all. Read More...

Jul 10, 2019 Maine is the eastern-most state in the U.S., and is known for the natural beauty of its forests and coastline. Along with these attractions, though, comes a cold climate. As far as Maine's cost of living goes, income taxes can get a bit pricey for high-earners, while the state's sales tax is rather low. Read More...

Sep 20, 2018 Women in the U.S. tech industry have long faced major disparities in both employment and pay. Last year, SmartAsset’s analysis of Census Bureau data found that women hold less than 26% of tech jobs in the U.S. and on average earn just 85% of what men in those positions earn. We further found that in many top tech cities, the numbers are worse. In San Francisco, for example, just 21% of tech workers were women. Read More...

Jun 17, 2019 According to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, the average auto commuter in the United States spends 42 hours per year in traffic. That same study puts the price tag of those delays at $960 per driver. In big cities, the numbers are even uglier. Drivers in the 15 largest U.S. metro areas spend an average of 63 hours per year stuck in congestion on the way to work, costing an average of $1,433 per person. Read More...

Jul 10, 2019 Maryland is an expensive state to live in. The Old Line State has a pricey home market, as well as above average rent prices. The statewide cost of utilities and groceries aren't any better either. Despite this, though, Maryland is charming and has some of the best seafood in the country. Don't be afraid to reach out to a financial advisor if you want some help managing Maryland's high cost of living. Read More...

Jul 10, 2019 Montana, the Treasure State, is home to some of America's most spectacular landscapes. It's a small state in terms of population, with a little over one million residents. In fact, Montana has just 6.8 people per square mile, compared to the U.S. average of 87.4 per square mile, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. So if you want room to spread your legs, Montana might be the place for you. Before you move, though, it's a good idea to have a sense for the cost of living in the state. Read More...

Dec 04, 2017 The median pay among STEM workers in 2014 was more than $72,000. That's more than double the median income among all occupations, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Few would argue, however, that STEM workers are generally overpaid. Experts in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math are key contributors to economic growth. Furthermore, STEM occupations generally require years of rigorous and difficult training. Read More...

May 29, 2019 New Jersey has some of the highest taxes in the U.S. It also has some very high home prices, driven in part by its proximity to New York City and its population density (the highest in the country). Despite this, the Garden State has a lot to offer: New Jersey's economy is consistently strong, and its schools are among the best in the Northeast. There are many other factors that go into its cost of living calculations, though. Read More...

Feb 13, 2017 In modern America, being single is too often conflated with being lonely. This is especially true on Valentine’s Day, when couples celebrate their love with gifts and flowers and expensive dinners while singles are expected to sit around at home feeling sorry for themselves. But what if being single isn’t all that bad? What if some people like being single? Read More...

Feb 17, 2017 Recent population trends suggest that Americans are tired of the cold. While states like Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York have experienced an outflux of residents in recent years, states like Texas and Arizona have benefitted from substantial interstate immigration. It’s easy to see why: not only do southern and western locales offer cheerier weather, they often combine it with living costs ( and taxes) that are lower than states in the north and particularly in the northeast. Read More...

May 29, 2019 If you're thinking about moving to the Palmetto State, it's important to know what the cost of living is there. The state has a high income tax and a high sales tax, though property taxes are very low. The state is also a solid spot for housing costs, with median home prices and rental costs coming in below the national median. Read More...

Feb 01, 2017 Your wedding is supposed to be one of the best days of your life – but it can also be one of the most expensive. In 2014, the average wedding in the U.S. cost $31,213, according to The Knot's Real Weddings Study. That’s a lot of mullah! The good news is that couples who don’t have that much money or would rather spend their cash elsewhere ( on a down payment, for example) have options. Read More...

Jan 25, 2016 The new year looks like it's shaping up to provide first-time buyers with the opportunity to enter into the housing market. Interest rates are still hovering around record lows, so there's some time left to snag a great deal. If you're planning on taking the plunge into homeownership in 2016, here are some key points to keep in the back of your mind before you begin the process. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 Composting for homeowners is a small but growing movement. At the industrial level, it's catching on, too. 24% of the waste that Americans throw away is food and yard waste. That waste could all be composted, keeping it out of landfills. While reducing food waste is its own challenge, composting what food waste there is has serious economic and environmental benefits. Let's explore.  Read More...

Jul 10, 2019 Georgia has quite a lot to offer its residents. For example, the state has reasonable home prices, as well as rents that come in below the national median. On the other hand, utility bills in Georgia fall within the top 10 most expensive in the U.S. Of course, your cost of living will depend in part on the city you choose to live in, but there are some significant statewide trends, too. Read More...

May 28, 2019 Virginia is for lovers, as the saying goes. Whether you're a history buff or a nature enthusiast, you should find lots to love in Virginia. The standard of living in Virginia is high, with a cost of living to match; however, taxes are fairly low here. If you're moving to the state and have questions about the impact on your financial plan, you may want to speak with a financial advisorRead More...

Aug 20, 2018 It’s no secret that buying a home  is out of reach for many young Americans today. Studies have shown that the number of renters are increasing. And for many of those who rent , living with a roommate is a financial necessity. But the possibility of a nightmare roommate situation is enough to give anyone chills. Dishes stacked up in the sink, unpaid rent and crazy weeknight parties are just a few of the possible symptoms of a roommate search gone awry. Finding a good roommate can certainly be a challenge. Read More...

May 18, 2018 Fact: Americans love beaches. From Miami Beach to Venice Beach to Coney Island, we love to sit in the sand next to the sea and soak up the sun. We love listening to the waves roll in and we love to watch the sun rise (or set) over the ocean. We have songs about the beach, movies about the beach and clothing designed specifically for the beach. Read More...

May 29, 2019 If you're considering a move to North Carolina, you're probably wondering about the cost of living in the Tar Heel State. North Carolina's state income taxes operate on a flat rate, meaning everyone pays an identical percentage. But cost of living isn't all about taxes: We'll also go over other major considerations, like median home values and rent, food prices and more. Read More...

May 29, 2019 Oregon has plenty to offer anyone that loves nature. The Beaver State is known as a great place to visit, but there are also many benefits to calling it home. Whether you're drawn to the artisanal offerings of Portland, the wine country of the Willamette Valley, the mountains of the Cascades or the Pacific coast, you'll find natural beauty and a laid-back lifestyle here. As far as cost of living goes, Oregon is fairly affordable, though its income taxes are on the higher side. Read More...

Feb 14, 2018 We may be living in the golden age of good beer. According to the Brewers Association, there are more breweries and brewpubs in the United States today than at any point in the past century. And the number is only increasing. In 2014 alone, 456 new microbreweries opened for business in the U.S. That’s more than the total number of U.S. microbreweries in operation as recently as 2008. Read More...

May 28, 2019 If you love hot, sunny weather and natural beauty, you'll love Arizona. The Grand Canyon State has a diverse population and plenty of natural attractions. When it comes to taxes, the state's sales tax is high, but property and income taxes are below average. The overall cost of living in Arizona is relatively low compared to the rest of the United States. Read More...

May 18, 2018 Filing for bankruptcy isn't exactly a pleasant experience and it can take months or even years for your finances to recover.  Buying a home after bankruptcy can be particularly challenging, but it's not impossible. Knowing what to expect after getting your bankruptcy petition approved can make getting approved for a mortgage less of a hassle for aspiring homeowners. Read More...

Dec 20, 2016 In the story of the great recession and the ensuing recovery, 2015 may be remembered as the year the economy finally returned to full strength. Unemployment is at its lowest rate in a decade. Housing prices are climbing steadily upwards. GDP growth is consistent if not robust. In some cities, however, the story of the past few years is not one of mere recovery but of substantial growth. Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 Rental housing prices are now sky high and rental payments easily take the biggest chunk out of workers' paychecks. And in certain areas, like Oakland and New York City, more than 70% of the median household income goes toward rent. Renters often get stuck with whatever prices they're offered. Sometimes, however, it's possible to talk landlords into lowering rental rates. Read More...

May 28, 2019 The Sunshine State: Whether you love Florida for Disney, Major League Baseball spring training, Art Basel or the Keys, you've probably thought about moving there, especially on a cold winter day somewhere else. There are many exciting activities you'll have access to in Florida, not to mention the low taxes. The state is a popular destination for retirees for a reason. Read More...

Sep 20, 2018 According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) are buying homes at a far lower rate than previous generations. The 2015 Q3 homeownership rate for adults under the age of 35 was 35.8%. In 1995 it was 39.1%. In 2005 it was even higher at 43%. While no one can say for sure why this is the case, there are a number of theories. Read More...

Nov 29, 2016 Shorter days, cold weather, lousy produce: there’s much to dislike about winter. Indeed, surveys of public opinion routinely find that winter is America’s least favorite season. (Spring and fall trade places as the favorites.) There’s even a medical term for winter-induced melancholy: seasonal affective disorder. In America's ski towns, however, this attitude is flipped on its head. Read More...

May 28, 2019 U.S. Census Bureau data shows Colorado's population grew by 1.4% from 2017 to 2018, which is the seventh highest rate in the nation. That growth probably isn't surprising to anyone who's visited or seen pictures of Colorado: It's a beautiful state that's perfect for nature-lovers. But is Colorado affordable? The answer depends on where in the state you live. It also depends on how sound your financial plan is; if you need help figuring out what's within your means, try speaking with a financial advisor. Read More...

Dec 09, 2015 Rent increases have become a fact of life in many of America’s largest cities. The question is no longer whether or not rent will increase, but by how much. There are numerous potential causes for this state of affairs, including population growth, housing shortages and increasing incomes. Yet none of it changes the fact that in many cities, families are being priced out of their homes. Read More...

Dec 08, 2015 There are big decisions you'll have to make in life, like whether to rent or buy a house. Then there are small decisions, like whether to make a gingerbread house. If you're determined to get festive this season, a gingerbread house could be the way to go. It's a cheap form of entertainment that doesn't involve sitting in front of a screen. How much will it cost you? Let's talk numbers.   Read More...

Apr 10, 2017 According to a survey by Nielson, the top two New Year’s resolutions in 2015 were both fitness-related. The number one resolution, claimed by 37% of survey respondents, was “stay fit and healthy,” followed by “lose weight” with 32%. Read More...

May 29, 2019 Texas is the second-largest state in the U.S. by area. It offers a varied landscape, both in terms of terrain and cost of living. To get a sense of the overall cost of living in The Lone Star State, you need to delve into not only state-wide metrics, but also those of individual municipalities. While Texas has plenty of large cities, there are also places where prices and wages are rather low. Read More...

Nov 02, 2016 Research has found that city-dwellers can benefit mentally and physically from as few as five minutes in a forest or a green space. Yet, in many urban parts of the United States, access to such areas is limited. Residents who want to escape the roar of traffic and the oppressive gray of concrete high-rises do not necessarily have the opportunity to do so. Experiencing the outdoors in some cities requires a long drive, an expensive proposition for families working to pay down their  mortgage or credit card bills. Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 Putting a house on the market can be just as stressful as going through the process of buying a home. You probably want to sell your home quickly, and at the highest possible price. Sellers often host open houses and list their homes on multiple websites. If you'd prefer to only show your house to a hand-picked group of buyers, however, you could always go for a pocket listing. Whether that's a good idea depends on your perspective. Read More...

May 28, 2019 California is a state of extremes. It's home to some of America's richest and poorest cities and counties. That means there's no single cost of living in California. Still, there are some things that apply to locations across the state, like a high income tax. To take you through the range of prices in California, we put together a guide of the cost of living in the Golden State. Read More...

Nov 18, 2015 What's your favorite Thanksgiving dish? If you suffer from a severe sweet tooth, pumpkin pie may be your poison. Cranberry sauce is a classic, though opinions are divided on whether the berries should be fresh or canned. If you're cooking on a budget, we suggest  sweet potato fries or butternut squash soup. And for many the best part of Thanksgiving is  the leftovers. Read More...

Sep 13, 2016 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of K-12 teachers in the U.S. grew by just half a percent between 2013 and 2014, a fraction of the overall rate of jobs growth across all occupations (1.9%). Likewise, income growth for teachers was below average. There are a number of reasons teachers have faced poor job market conditions in recent years, but a basic one is demographics. Read More...

Sep 20, 2018 Safety first, right? Whether you’re thinking about relocating for your career, looking for a good neighborhood in which to buy a home or trying to decide where you want to attend college, safety is always a top consideration. It's pretty safe to say that no one wants to live in a place where they feel threatened or afraid. Read More...

Jul 10, 2019 Who wouldn't want to live in the paradise that is Hawaii? People who don't like a high cost of living, for one. According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, Hawaii's cost of living is the highest of any of the 50 states. So while Hawaii offers beautiful surroundings and rich culture, it's not a cheap place to live. If you're intent on moving there, though, perhaps a financial advisor could help you manage these costs. Read More...

Nov 11, 2015 According to data from U.S. Census Bureau, poverty in the U.S. is more common today than it was 10 years ago. That national trend is also reflected in most major cities. In places like New York, San Francisco and  Chicago, both the number of people in poverty and the overall poverty rate have increased since 2005. Read More...

Jun 06, 2018 It's amazing how many things can go wrong when you're trying to buy a home. First, you might struggle to get preapproved for a mortgage or to pay for a down payment. And then when you're nearing the closing table, a final home inspection could reveal something that needs to be fixed. If money is the main issue standing between you and your dream home, you might be able to seal the deal with a seller concession. Read More...

Nov 10, 2015 Finding out your mortgage loan has been denied when you're close to crossing the home-buying finish line can send you into a panic. It's especially frustrating when you've spent months scouring the market for the perfect home only to be told that the deal is off. Getting your home purchase back on track after your mortgage financing goes up in smoke requires quick action and a clear head. Once you've had time to let the emotional dust settle, here's what to do next. Read More...

May 16, 2019 Considering a move to Phoenix? You're probably wondering whether you can afford to settle there. Our guide to the cost of living in Phoenix highlights low housing costs, low rent rates and low income taxes in the city. Additionally, Phoenix is growing quickly, but there are still bargains to be found. In the Valley of the Sun, you'll have the benefits of an urban setting, plus the beauty of the surrounding desert. Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 Closing is the last hurdle you'll have to jump before you officially become a homeowner. Signing off on the paperwork typically takes some time but just  getting to the closing table can take much longer. There are plenty of snags you can hit along the way that could push back your closing date. Here are some of the most common problems that can hold up the process. Read More...

Nov 09, 2016 Conferences play an important role in many fields and industries, with topics ranging from the general (World Business Forum) to the strange (Merfest) to the just plain fun ( FinCon). They are a great opportunity for professionals, academics or hobbyists to meet others in their field, learn about the latest developments and generally geek out. They are also the perfect excuse to explore a new city. Read More...

Jul 10, 2019 Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, offers both colonial charm and modern attractions. As far as cost of living goes, Philadelphia isn't as expensive as bigger cities like New York or San Francisco. There are also relative bargains to be had in the housing market for both renters and home buyers. You'll also enjoy the low  income taxes  of the state of Pennsylvania. Read More...

Oct 27, 2015 If you're a homeowner, it's important to make sure your house is ready for the winter season. The hot weather has come and gone, but you'll want to remain nice and warm as the chilly air sets in. Whether you'll be spending winter in your primary place of residence or in a second home you're  making mortgage payments for, you won't want a wintry mix of snow, ice and sleet to damage your property.  Check out seven moves you can make to protect it. Read More...

Sep 22, 2016 Since 2009, the number of nurses in the United States has grown by almost 7%. Thanks to an aging population, the job growth for nurses is expected to continue apace in the near future. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected total job growth for registered nurses would be 19.4% between 2012 and 2022. That places nursing jobs among the most rapidly growing in the U.S. Read More...

Aug 13, 2019 Investing in a timeshare can be a big commitment. On the plus side, you're guaranteed a place to stay when you go on vacation every year and you might save some money in the process. On the other hand, maintenance fees can be high and in the end you might have a hard time selling the place. Before you make a purchase, it might be a good idea to ask yourself these four questions. Read More...

Jun 25, 2018 Many Americans are wrestling with the decision of whether to rent or buy. But what do you do if your lack of savings puts buying out of reach? You continue renting, but you're vulnerable to rising average rents. That's right. The average rent in the US is high enough to make housing unaffordable for some. Here's what you should know about average rents. Read More...

Jul 10, 2019 When you think of Dallas, perhaps you think of Dallas Cowboys football, or maybe you're reminded of the soap opera that shares its name, which ran for 14 seasons. If you're thinking of moving to Dallas, you should know the details on its cost of living, which encompasses everything from housing prices to utility bills. As moving to a new city and buying a home can have a big impact on your finances, you might consider working with a financial advisor to guide you.  Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 If you've found your dream home, offering up a good faith deposit shows the seller that you're serious about buying. Usually, that money is applied to your closing costs and your down payment. Should the deal fall through, however, part of your deposit could go up in smoke. If you're in the market for a home, here are four reasons why you could lose your cash. Read More...

Oct 05, 2016 For renters, it’s a dilemma as old as time: should I spend more to live alone or should I save money by living with a roommate? Living alone has its perks. You never have to wait for the bathroom, dishes don’t mysteriously stack up in the sink and you can watch whatever you want on T.V. So, while some people don’t mind having a roommate (and some even enjoy it), most renters would prefer to have their own place. Read More...

Jul 10, 2019 From 2010 to 2017, the population of Miami grew by 15.6%, rising from 400,864 to 463,347. If you're moving to Miami, you should have a good idea of whether you can afford to relocate to the Sunshine State's most beguiling city. Housing costs in Miami are a bit high for both renters and homebuyers, but taxes are low. We also go over the costs of utilities, food and more. Read More...

Oct 14, 2015 When you're ready to seal the deal on a home purchase, you'll need to be prepared to bring some cash to the table. Closing costs are one expense that prospective homebuyers tend to forget about. These costs usually run between 2 and 5% of the home's purchase price, but you could end up paying more if you're not careful. Making any of these mistakes during the buying process can drive up the final total. Read More...

Oct 17, 2016 What’s the trick-or-treating like in your hometown? Do your neighbors hand out King Size Snickers – or carrot sticks? How are the costumes? Are the houses close together or do you have to walk a mile just to ring a doorbell? And what about the weather? What are the odds it will rain this year? Any chance of snow? Will you (or your kids) have to wear a jacket under your Superman costume? These are important questions, especially for kids who have their eye on the prize: maximum candy collection. Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 Crowdfunding has shaken up the way people borrow and lend money. The crowdfunding industry as a whole is expected to top $34 billion by the end of 2015. Aside from impacting the banking industry, the crowdfunding effect is also touching real estate. It's now possible to invest in real estate through crowdfunding platforms or even raise enough money to cover the purchase of a home. Read More...

Sep 13, 2016 There’s something magical about a college town. From the leafy green spaces of campus to the nearby strip of cafes, bookstores and bars, college towns at their best are charming yet vibrant places to live. They attract artists and philosophers, spurring creativity on and off campus. Read More...

Jul 10, 2019 A stroll through the streets of Boston is a stroll through American history, and you can enjoy walking on cobblestone streets where the Founding Fathers once stepped. You can also take advantage of Boston's world-class universities and hospitals, and watch its wildly successful professional sports teams. Before you  move to the City on a Hill, though, make sure you take into account the high housing costs associated with both buying and renting. If you're unsure of how Boston's cost of living could affect your long-term finances, consider working with a… Read More...

Aug 29, 2016 What’s your favorite state capital? Those who like sunshine might say Phoenix or Santa Fe. Mile High Denver might be the preferred choice of mountaineers and skiers, while sailors might love Annapolis. College football fans, meanwhile, could favor Madison or Austin (depending on their allegiances). And, of course, it’s hard for anyone to argue against a week (or two) in Honolulu. Read More...

May 09, 2019 If you're thinking about moving to the nation's capital, you're probably wondering whether you can afford to settle down there. Home prices in the District are notoriously high, but there's more to the story than that. In fact, rent prices are surprisingly more affordable than other major cities on the East Coast. Read More...

Sep 27, 2016 Minor League Baseball continues to grow in popularity. In 2014 a record 42.4 million fans attended Minor League Baseball games across the country, an increase of more than 850,000 over 2013. To put that in perspective, the total attendance for the NFL’s 2014 season was about 17.6 million. Read More...

May 14, 2019 Considering a move to Sin City? While it's common to blow a bit of money on a fun-filled weekend in Las Vegas, anyone settling there for the long haul will want to follow a more sustainable spending plan. Having a solid understanding of the overall cost of living in the city is a good way to evaluate whether it's a good choice for you or not. Read More...

Aug 10, 2016 Starting a business isn’t cheap. One of the biggest challenges for most entrepreneurs is raising capital to fund the early stages of their company, before it has the customers and revenue to support itself. For this reason, founders often take out a small business loan or seek seed investments from angel investors to get things under way. Read More...

Nov 12, 2017 Families move for a wide variety of reasons. In one U.S. Census Bureau survey of Americans who had recently relocated, roughly half of all respondents cited housing as the primary reason for their move, while 30% said they moved for family reasons and 20% moved for work-related reasons. Read More...

Jul 10, 2019 Houston is home to 2.1 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That makes it the most populous city in Texas and fourth in the nation. This sprawling metropolis is named after Sam Houston, president of the former Republic of Texas. But before you wholeheartedly consider  a move to Houston, it would be wise to have a general understanding of the city's overall cost of living. This can help immensely with your long-term financial planning. Read More...

Feb 28, 2018 As of July 2015, the unemployment rate in the United States had dipped below 5.3%, its lowest level since the spring of 2008. That’s great news for workers, who benefit from a tighter labor market in a number of ways. Naturally, it is easier for workers to find a job when unemployment is low. Low unemployment also encourages employers to raise wages, while giving employees extra leverage in salary negotiations. Likewise, a strong jobs market means workers who are unhappy with their job have more freedom to leave and look for something better. Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 Whether you opt for a condo, a  townhouse or a single family home, living in a planned community definitely has its perks. For starters, there are the amenities and the fact that your landscaping is almost guaranteed to look picture perfect. Still, living in a private neighborhood has its drawbacks and having to deal with a homeowners association is often at the top of the list. Read More...

Jul 10, 2019 Atlanta combines small-town charm with the hustle and bustle of a big city. The city itself is home to just under half a million people, but the Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is home to 5.8 million Americans, according to a 2018 report by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC). Atlanta's recent economic growth attracted 89,000 new residents in 2017, also according to the AJC. Read More...

Aug 10, 2018 Housing policies at the state level can have a significant impact on homeowners. State regulations regarding taxes, insurance and mortgage lending affect home prices and the costs of ownership. Likewise, the economic conditions in a given state can have a profound impact on local housing markets. Read More...

May 02, 2016   We all know buying a home is a big step and while homeownership offers serious benefits, renting can be just as sweet a deal. If you're struggling to commit to buying, remember that the decision is personal. You'll need to do what's right for you because there are pros and cons either way. Check out some indications that continuing to rent is probably the best choice for you for now. Read More...

May 29, 2019 Life in a sunny city by the Pacific Ocean sounds pretty appealing to most people. If you're considering moving to San Diego, you're probably wondering whether you can afford to live in what's officially nicknamed "America's Finest City." As far as housing costs go, the city is rather expensive. This is true regardless of whether you're looking to buy or rent. Read More...

Sep 20, 2018 It’s a good time to be a tech worker. Between 2013 and 2014, even as job and income growth in the rest of the economy was sluggish, overall employment in technology grew by 3.7% and average annual technology incomes increased by 2.4%. Today, there are 3.8 million tech jobs in the United States, paying an average of $83,970 annually. Read More...

Jan 12, 2016 When you're on the hunt for a rental, it can be tempting to jump on a unit designated as a “no-fee” apartment. Who wants to pay extra money for a broker's services? After all, you already have to worry about paying for your rent and security deposit. As it turns out, there are some reasons why it might make sense to pay a broker’s fee to lock down your next place. Read More...

Aug 16, 2019 HUD loans are part of a vast network of government programs designed to make homeownership a reality for low-income Americans with less than favorable credit. However, you have to meet certain requirements. We'll tell you all you need to know about HUD loans, how to qualify and where to look for other programs if this one isn't right for you. We can also help you find a financial advisor who can guide you through the entire home buying process. Read More...

Jul 18, 2019 If you're interested in the real estate business and you're passionate about helping others, you might want to think about becoming a professional agent. The job comes with quite a few perks. You'll be able to set your own schedule and you can potentially make significant money as more people look into home buying to take advantage of low interest rates. As long as you can meet all of the requirements, it's possible to become a licensed agent in a year or two. Read More...

Mar 16, 2016 The home-buying process can seem long-winded, especially if you've never gone through it before. By the time you near the closing stage, you may want to skirt over any steps that aren't required. Although it might not be mandatory, it's important to have your home inspected to avoid facing some potentially nasty surprises after you've been handed your new house keys. Read More...

Jul 10, 2019 Chicago: The Windy City. Famous for its architecture and its deep-dish pizza, it has a lot to offer visitors and residents alike. This top-five-largest city in the US is also known as the "Jewel of the Midwest." But if you're thinking of making a move to Chicago, you should understand the true cost of living there. Read More...

Apr 10, 2017 Although we are now several years beyond the housing crisis, the recovery in U.S. cities has been uneven. Low mortgage rates and strong economic fundamentals have spurred explosive growth in sales and construction in cities like Denver and Seattle. In other areas, however, the market is tepid and prices remain well below the highs they reached last decade. Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has a plan to make closing on a home a simpler and more transparent process. Beginning on October 3rd the CFPB's new Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule will take effect. As of that date, homebuyers' closing documents should be easier to understand. Loan estimates are here to stay.  Read More...

Jun 07, 2016 Feeling stressed out? You’re not the only one. A 2014 study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health found that half of all American adults dealt with a major stressful event over the prior year. And that doesn’t even consider the cumulative effect of the smaller daily stresses of modern life, such as credit card bills, children,  mortgage payments and (ugh) keeping up with social media. Read More...

Jul 10, 2019 Nestled in the Rocky mountains in the American Southwest, Denver has a lot to offer. For skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts, Denver is a dream destination. And if you enjoy physical training and sports, working out at Denver's mile-high elevation will give you an edge. Rent prices in Denver are also lower than most other major cities in the U.S. But is living in this wintry paradise an affordable venture? Read More...

May 25, 2016 Over the past several years cities such as Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles have opted to enact their own minimum wage laws in lieu of increases at the state or federal level. Part of the logic behind these increases is that living costs in cities are higher, making it harder to survive on a low income. An hourly wage that may be adequate to pay for basic expenses like housing and food in rural areas may fall short for people who live within city limits. Read More...

Feb 01, 2017 Imagine that you're applying for a mortgage and you have the option of choosing a payment plan. If you want to be debt-free, you might opt for a plan that covers the principal balance and any interest that you owe. On the other hand, if money is tight, you might decide to make the smallest possible payment toward your interest amount. Read More...

Jul 10, 2019 Portland, Oregon is more than just microbreweries and food trucks. The City of Roses boasts a lively arts and cultural scene. Employment options in Portland include established companies like Boeing, Nike and Intel, in addition to a wealth of start-ups and boutiques. If you're thinking of moving there, you should know the details on the cost of living, including housing costs, utility bills and taxes (hint: Oregon has no statewide sales tax!). Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 For many homebuyers, a conventional 30-year mortgage with a fixed rate makes the most sense. However, sometimes you want to buy a home and you won't have the right circumstances to qualify. In certain situations, such as not having enough down payment savings, the only way to finalize the purchase of a home is to split up the loan. Going for a piggyback mortgage can potentially get you the house you're trying to buy, but it does have some drawbacks that you'd need to be aware of before you sign on the dotted line. Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 Veterans sometimes struggle to readjust to their civilian lifestyles after serving in the military. Luckily, there are a number of programs designed to help them make this transition. The Department of Veterans Affairs can secure financing for veterans who want to buy homes or refinance their mortgages. There's also assistance available for veterans interested in entrepreneurship. Read More...

Nov 12, 2017 Most people, when buying a home, will look not just at the house itself but at the block, the street, the neighborhood and the city. Are there parks nearby? How safe is the neighborhood? What is the commute like? Is there access to public transportation? And what about the schools? These are typical questions to ask, but one thing many people may forget to consider is the availability of healthcare providers in the area. Read More...

Aug 13, 2018 If you can't find a house you want to buy you may be tempted to build your home yourself. In that case, you'll need to choose between a stick-built house and a prefab home. Stick-built means your home is built the old-fashioned way, with a crew of workers on site for months raising the home and fitting it with plumbing and electricity. A prefab home, on the other hand, comes in pre-built parts. Read More...

Jan 28, 2016 Closing is the final step before you officially become a homeowner. Also known as settlement, the house closing process generally brings together your seller, both of your agents, lawyers and a closing agent to sign papers and make payments. Before you get too excited, though, you'll want to make sure you're prepared so you can walk away with house keys instead of a shattered housing deal. Read More...

Feb 01, 2017 If you get approved for a mortgage to help pay for the cost of a new house, you'll often be expected to make some kind of down payment. For standard loans, you'll have to put 20% down or pay private mortgage insurance. But the Federal Housing Administration backs loans with 3.5% down. Read More...

Feb 01, 2017 Bad credit can haunt you. Even if you've been able to buy your own home, a low credit score could keep you from qualifying for the loan you need to finance some home repairs. Or if you're close to defaulting on your mortgage, your poor credit could be the one thing keeping you from getting approved for a refinance. In both of these scenarios, a hard money loan may be able to help you. Read More...

Feb 01, 2017 So you've found yourself a home you can afford to buy. Nice work! But if the home you've purchased is an older home there's probably plenty of work that needs to be done to turn it into a comfortable spot for you and your family. If you don't have enough money to pay for the renovations, there are loans out there that can help finance your projects. Read More...

Mar 08, 2016 Is buying a home in your plans for the future? If that's the case, you might already be thinking about all of the expenses you'll have to pay for. You might be tempted to cut corners and avoid paying for a home warranty plan. But then again, when you buy your dream home you probably won't want your excitement to be cut short by a broken heater. Read More...

Aug 18, 2015 A number of recent reports suggest that a millennial housing boom could be on the horizon. In the past, multiple factors - including stagnant wages and heavy student loan burdens - have kept many people between the ages of 18 and 34 out of the housing market. As the economy continues to improve, we might begin to see more millennial first-time homebuyers in the coming years. Read More...

Apr 30, 2019 When you were first introduced to mortgages, you might have learned that there are fixed- and adjustable-rate loans. Fixed-rate mortgages maintain the same mortgage rate throughout the loan period, while ARMs start off with lower interest rates that can change after a set period of time. In both cases, though, you're making monthly payments toward both the interest and the principal of the loan. But there's a third option where that's not the case: an interest-only mortgage. With an interest-only mortgage, you only pay the interest on your loan for a set period, typically between five and 10 years. This significantly reduces your monthly payment on the front end of your loan.… Read More...

Jan 12, 2016 Buying a home is a big investment. And since your new house will likely be your primary place of residence, you'll want to make sure you're protecting it from every possible threat you can think of. That's why having the right kind of insurance coverage is so important. Here's a look at a few policies that homeowners probably can't afford to do without. Read More...

Jul 16, 2019 Home equity is basically how much of your home you actually own. You can calculate by taking the appraised value of your home and subtracting the balance remaining on your mortgage. This is your home equity. It matters because you can borrow against this money to improve your home and raise the property value or pay off high-interest debt. A financial advisor can help you make the most of your home equity. Read More...

May 09, 2019 From the mansions of Beverly Hills to the hipster bars of Silver Lake, Los Angeles charms visitors to its palm tree-lined streets. But if you're pondering becoming a resident, you'll want to get a handle on the true cost of living in the City of Angels. First and foremost, LA's housing costs are fairly high. However, the prices here aren't quite as high as other California cities, namely San Diego and San Francisco. Read More...

Jul 24, 2015 What if the Denver Broncos became the Bridgeport Broncos? Or LeBron’s Cavaliers played their home games in Riverside, California? Denver and Cleveland fans: calm down – this isn’t going to happen. But, from at least one perspective, it wouldn’t be totally crazy if it did. Read More...

Dec 04, 2017 One of the most important steps in the home-buying process is choosing the right type of mortgage. While many homeowners opt for conventional loans, there are a handful of alternatives, including loans backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. There are some advantages to taking out a USDA loan, but it may not be right for everyone. Read More...

Aug 01, 2019 Unless you can afford to buy a home with cash, you’ll be paying some interest on a mortgage if you decide to go from being a renter to being a homeowner. Paying interest to a bank is no one’s idea of a good time. The good news, though, is that with the mortgage interest deduction the IRS lets you deduct that mortgage interest from your taxable income when you file your tax returns. Currently you can claim this deduction on mortgages worth up to $750,000. This number was set at $1 million until President Trump signed the new tax law in late 2017. Read More...

Sep 14, 2018 A reverse mortgage is a federally insured loan that provides homeowners with monthly cash payments based on the amount of equity they've built up in the property. While this can be a great tool for retirees who want an additional stream of income, it can spell trouble for whoever inherits the property after the death of the original owner. Read More...

Feb 01, 2017 Foreclosure is a term you've probably heard before. In 2008, foreclosure rates approached levels that hadn't been reached since the days of the Great Depression. If you've never experienced a home foreclosure (or come close), it might not be something you know too much about. Still, it doesn't hurt to know what to expect in case your own financial situation takes a turn for the worse. Read More...

Dec 28, 2016 Credit cards can sure come in handy. They give you the chance to make large payments for gifts, furniture, clothing and other items without having to touch your checking account. And if you have a rewards card, you can rack up points, miles or cash back. Depending on your lender's rules, you might even be allowed to use your credit card to make your monthly mortgage loan payments. But should you? Read More...

Feb 01, 2017 If the house you bought doesn't resemble the home of your dreams, don't fret. With a decent budget and a little extra attention, you might be able to whip it into shape. Securing the funds for home improvement, however, is no easy task. Fortunately, the federal government offers a loan called the FHA 203(k) that can help make your renovations more affordable. Read More...

Jun 29, 2016 Home appreciation is generally considered a good thing. It means more equity for homeowners, and a bigger payout when the time comes to sell. But as we learned during the financial crisis, when home values grow too quickly, a boom can quickly turn into a bust. That can lead to vanishing equity, underwater mortgages, foreclosures and a lot of unwanted stress for everyone who owns a home. Read More...

Sep 20, 2018 A thriving creative class is a key feature of nearly every successful modern city. A vibrant culture is not only valuable in its own right, it also often serves to attract and inspire talented workers in non-creative fields, creating a rising tide that benefits the entire city. However, that very same rising tide often lifts  housing costs and other living expenses, which consequently puts a strain on the budgets of those creative workers. Read More...

Jan 25, 2017 Buying a house is often an exciting milestone. With so many decisions to make, though, it can also be quite stressful. Figuring out whether to go with a fixed- or an adjustable-rate mortgage is a key element of the process. Before you settle on either option, it helps to know as much as possible about the fixed-rate mortgage loan. Read More...

Jan 12, 2016 When disaster strikes, knowing that your homeowners insurance policy will cover any repairs that need to be made can be a real stress reliever. If you've never filed a claim, you may think that it's simply a matter of calling your insurance company so they can cut you a check. But there's much more involved. Knowing what to expect can make the claims process less grueling. Read More...

Jul 24, 2019 If you happen to own your own home, it's important to have the right kind of insurance in place to secure your investment. Traditional policies usually come with a low deductible, but the trade-off is often higher premiums. If you want to save more money on your long-term homeowners insurance costs, a high deductible policy may be the better choice for you. Read More...

Aug 30, 2017 In the United States, homeownership is often seen as an important financial stepping stone. Owning a home can provide stability and a means to accumulate wealth as (and if) home values appreciate. For this reason, homeownership is often considered a key part of the American Dream and a defining attribute of the American middle class. In fact, homeownership is so important, it’s been given its own month. June is National Homeownership Month. Read More...

Dec 20, 2016 The fall is one of the better times to consider buying a home and this year, the start of the season coincides with the enforcement of new rules for mortgage lenders. The regulations, established by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, will integrate certain mortgage disclosures from the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. If you're on the path to homeownership, it's important to know how the rules will affect your mortgage application and closing processes. Read More...

May 15, 2018 When it comes to home buying, 20% is the standard amount that lenders prefer for down payments. But coming up with the cash isn't always easy. Having someone give you the money reduces your burden, although it can potentially complicate things. Before you accept a down payment gift, it's important to understand the guidelines you'll have to follow. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 There are some who rejoice in the eerie calm of a storm and there are others who rush for shelter. Regardless of one’s personal views, there is no doubt that extreme weather can have profound effects on local, state and national economies. Are these effects positive or negative? Well, it depends. In light of recent extreme weather events such as the drought in California, flooding in Texas and record snowfall in the northeast, read on to learn about some of the ways that extreme weather can affect the economy. Read More...

Feb 28, 2018 Residents of the United States enjoy a quality of life that is among the highest in the world. The U.S. consistently ranks in the top 10 of the OECD’s “Better Life Index,” which compares countries based on a wide variety of factors. In 2015 the red, white and blue ranked 6 th overall – just behind Canada. Read More...

Jan 20, 2017 If buying a home is on your to-do list, there are some changes ahead for the Federal Housing Administration ( FHA) loan program that you need to be aware of. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently overhauled its FHA Single Family Housing Policy Handbook. Here's the skinny on what prospective homebuyers can expect from the updated guidelines. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 When it comes to putting a down payment on a home, the general rule of thumb is to hand over a minimum of 20%. If you don't think you can afford that, however, don't despair. You may be able to get help through a down payment assistance program. These typically have strict guidelines regarding who qualifies. However, they're worth looking into if a lack of cash is an obstacle to buying a home. Read More...

Jan 14, 2016 With lending restrictions easing, more 20- and 30-somethings are making the leap to homeownership. While that's great for the economy, it's probably not so good for the two-thirds of millennials who are clueless when it comes to closing costs. If you're a millennial who's on the hunt for your first home, here are some of the most important things to know about finalizing a mortgage deal. Read More...

Mar 24, 2016 Many people choose the spring and summer to spruce up their yards and start a variety of outdoor projects. These quick fixes can not only make the outside of your home look more attractive, but they can actually boost your home's property value. And giving your home a makeover doesn't have to be expensive. Here are nine easy ways to add curb appeal for less than $100. Read More...

Jun 25, 2018 So, you're ready to apply for a mortgage. To make yourself a more attractive borrower to lenders, you've taken on a part-time job to boost the income from your full-time employment. But here's some bad news: That part-time income might not help you qualify for a larger mortgage. Most mortgage lenders will ignore this new income if you can't prove that it's here to stay. After all, your mortgage is likely for 30 years and you may have only had that part-time job for three weeks! Read More...

May 25, 2016 According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a household that spends over 30% of its income on housing is considered “cost-burdened” and could find themselves under financial stress, unable to purchase basics like clothing, medical care and even food. Yet, for too many families, that 30% — which includes rent (or mortgage payments), utilities and maintenance — would be an improvement over what they currently pay. Read More...

Sep 14, 2018 Taking out a reverse mortgage can generate another source of income in retirement. Unfortunately for many, it just became a lot more difficult to qualify. In April 2015, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) enforced new guidelines regarding who can get approved for a loan. If you're planning to apply, here's what you need to know about the changes. Read More...

Jul 10, 2019 Thinking about moving to Seattle? Seattle has been one of the fastest-growing big cities in the U.S. since 2010, and it’s expected to add nearly 200,000 more people over the next 20 years. This growth is a result of the city’s vibrant culture and booming tech scene. Unfortunately, this does mean that the Emerald City's cost of living is becoming increasingly expensive. Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 Newly constructed homes can have a lot of appeal. If you buy a house before it's actually built, you often have the chance to customize it based on your preferences. Or if the construction is already complete, you likely won't have to worry about making repairs or renovations for a while. Despite the perks that go along with buying a brand-new home, it's not a completely fool-proof process. There are a few potential obstacles you could come across that might make your move-in a little bumpy. Read More...

May 27, 2015 The healthcare industry is one of the fastest growing in the U.S., adding over 360,000 jobs between March 2014 and March 2015. That's about 30,000 per month. As demand for healthcare professionals continues to grow, more workers are pursuing degrees in fields such as nursing, radiology and anesthesiology. Jobs in these fields usually pay well and, depending on where you work, can include great benefits like an employer-matched 401(k) account and, yes, health insurance. So where are healthcare workers doing the best? Read More...

May 26, 2015 If you're buying a home, one of the things you may need to be ready to pay for is private mortgage insurance (PMI). This is a special kind of insurance that lenders charge to protect themselves in case you end up defaulting on your loan. When PMI is required it can inflate your monthly payments, so it's in your best interest to avoid it. Here are three ways to get out of paying the extra cost. Read More...

Nov 18, 2016 One of the most important steps in the home buying process is to make sure your home is immediately protected against theft, fire and other mishaps. Purchasing homeowners insurance is similar to buying any other type of insurance and it's important to do your homework before settling on a policy. If you're feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices, keeping these four tips in mind can make it easier to choose one. Read More...

Feb 03, 2017 Traveling on a budget can be tricky and all the more so if you have children. While most of us would love to fly to Paris for the holidays or spend a few weeks in Australia this summer, those destinations are often too expensive for the typical American family to visit but once in a blue moon. But that doesn't mean there aren't more affordable options closer to home. Read More...

Mar 17, 2017 The spring home-buying season is in full swing and first-time buyers are eagerly taking advantage of low interest rates as home prices continue to climb. Existing home sales are up since 2014 and the new construction business is booming once again. If you're preparing to venture into home ownership, one of the first decisions you'll have to make is whether to buy a home that's already on the market or build one from the ground up. Here's a look at how each option compares to the other. Read More...

Dec 28, 2016 With interest rates still relatively low and lenders easing their restrictions on borrowing, the spring and summer season could be a great time to buy a home of your very own. Getting your credit in tip-top shape before you start shopping around for a mortgage loan is definitely a must and doing that begins with identifying any potential problems or trouble spots. Read More...

Feb 20, 2018 Since it began operating in 2008, Airbnb has shaken up the hospitality industry, and reports are that it could soon be valued at over $20 billion. That's nearly as much as Marriot International. With that much capital behind the Airbnb platform, it stands to reason that Airbnb hosts are cashing in as well. On the other hand, many of the most popular Airbnb destinations are also among the least affordable cities in the U.S. So how much money is it possible to make by listing a room or full home on Airbnb? Read More...

Jun 19, 2018 Before you buy a home, it's important to make sure that it's structurally sound and there are no major defects with the property. A professional home inspection isn't always required unless it's specified in the loan contract, but it can be to your advantage to schedule one. If there's something seriously wrong with the property, it's better to know that before the mortgage deal is finalized. Here are answers to some of the most common questions about home inspections. Read More...

May 29, 2019 If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to have some money in your pocket. Thanks to skyrocketing home prices and an increasingly competitive rental market, the City by the Bay is extremely expensive. In addition to high housing costs, miscellaneous expenses like grocery shopping and healthcare are also very high. We'll break down the various costs so you can determine whether you can afford to live there. Read More...

Jun 19, 2018 When you're trying to get a mortgage to buy a home, it's important to make yourself as attractive and appealing to lenders as possible. If you've already found a property you like, getting preapproved for a mortgage loan may be just the thing you need to seal the deal. And it's one good way to avoid getting beat out by other buyers looking at the house you eventually want to call your own. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 The housing market has seen some significant gains over the last few years, but in some cities the effects of the collapse continue to linger. In places like Detroit and Buffalo, vacant homes lost to foreclosure sell at auction with bids starting as low as a dollar, thanks to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Dollar Homes initiative. Read More...

Apr 04, 2018 Between 2007 and 2011, 81 of America’s 100 largest urban housing markets saw prices decline at least 10%, with over half of those markets experiencing a decline of at least 20%. That, in short, is what one of the largest housing crises in U.S. history looks like: widespread, significant drops in home prices. While the overall housing market has (mostly) recovered, some places have fared better than others. Read More...

Apr 20, 2015 How far can the housing recovery take us? That’s the big question for 2015. Could prices once again reach the historic highs of early 2007, just before the housing crisis? In 2013, with the economic recovery underway, interest rates approaching zero and prices increasingly looking like a bargain, growth in the housing market was all but inevitable. Last year, however, growth was somewhat less robust, with fewer home sales and a slower rate of appreciation. So what does 2015 hold in store? Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 One of the most complicated decisions you will likely make concerning your home mortgage will be which lender to choose. Today there are hordes of mortgage lenders eager and ready to accept your loan application. But just because a lender accepts your application doesn't mean it's the right deal for you. Since you'll likely be saddled with this mortgage for years to come, it's important to make sure you shop around and choose the best mortgage lender for your needs. Here are five tips for picking the right mortgage lender. Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 Buying a home is often one of the most stressful things you can go through financially and there's always a certain amount of back and forth that goes on before the deal is sealed. When you're working on a tight budget, keeping your mortgage costs down is a must. Knowing what you can and can't negotiate can help determine how much you're able to save. If you're planning to buy a home any time soon, here are four things you should be willing to haggle over. Read More...

Apr 11, 2016 Spring is here and as the weather warms up, the housing market is expected to do the same. House-hunters tend to head out in force this time of year and if you're looking to buy a home, you've got to be ready for some fierce competition. If you want to avoid getting caught up in a bidding war or losing out on your dream property, following these three tips ensures that you're in the best position to buy. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Renting your first apartment is one of those rites of passage that just about everyone goes through. But if you've never had a credit card or you don't have much of a credit history, getting a landlord to give you a shot can be difficult. Landing an apartment may require a little more legwork on your part but it's not impossible. Before you start checking out properties, it's a good idea to to weigh your options for renting your first place so your credit (or lack thereof) isn't as much of an obstacle. Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 Your mortgage lender likes when you make your payments each month. But your lender often doesn't really make the big bucks from your loan until it sells it to Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae or some other financial institution. So don't be surprised if some time from now, you get a notice in the mail telling you that your lender has sold your loan to another financial institution. Read More...

Sep 20, 2018 If you’re tired of spending half your income on rent, or dropping $4.50 on a gallon of milk, it may be time to find a cheaper place to live. So where should you go? Your best bet is the Midwest or the South: 7 of the 20 cheapest cities in America are in a Midwestern state, and 8 are down south (11 if you include Texas). Places like Springfield, Missouri and Knoxville, Tennessee might be perfect for people looking to save money or get out of debt. On the other hand, if you’re seeking an affordable lifestyle, you’d be wise to avoid the West Coast, as 7 of the 10 most expensive cities in the country are in either California, Washington or Hawaii. The other three are on the east coast. Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 Considering a private arrangement to secure a home mortgage for yourself or a loved one? Following a few simple rules will help your financial arrangement go smoothly for both parties - the borrower and the creditor. We've got the five tips to make a private mortgage work. Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 Considering buying a house with a friend, brother or sister? What about your boyfriend, girlfriend or partner? You're not alone. A growing number of unmarried people are buying homes with their relatives or partners. Read More...

Apr 04, 2018 As we move into spring, many potential first-time homebuyers will be eyeing their local housing market and trying to decide if now is the time to make the leap to homeownership. For most, it is the financial decision of a lifetime—a home, after all, is not only a place to live, but a significant investment in the sometimes volatile housing market. New homeowners, who usually have shorter credit histories, smaller savings accounts and lower incomes, need to be especially sure that they are making a good decision. Read More...

Mar 04, 2019 The price-to-rent ratio measures the relative affordability of renting and buying in a given housing market. It's a good factor to consider if you're deciding whether to rent or buy. It's especially useful if you're considering a move, because it allows you to see what prices look like in your new city. As a general rule, a lower price-to-rent ratio indicates that a place is more favorable to homebuyers. A higher ratio indicates a better environment for renters. Read More...

Mar 12, 2015 You've finally found a buyer for your home. And that buyer is willing to pay your asking price. All seems well... until your buyer's home appraiser comes back with the bad news: Your home is worth less than what you're selling it for. And because of this, your buyer's lender isn't willing to lend enough mortgage money to close the deal. This means that your home sale is scuttled, right? Read More...

Jan 20, 2017 When we think about foreclosure, we tend to think about families falling behind on their mortgage payments. But falling behind on property taxes can also lead to lost homes. We've got the top 4 facts you should know about what's called "tax lien foreclosure." Read More...

Sep 20, 2018 If you have ever lived north of the 42 nd parallel, chances are you’ve heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder. S.A.D. isn’t just a fancy term for the winter blues; it’s a documented medical condition that afflicts certain people in the late fall and winter, with symptoms that include depression, a lack of energy, insomnia and feelings of hopelessness. While the exact causes remain unknown, sunlight plays a key role, probably by affecting serotonin, melatonin, vitamin D levels or some combination thereof. Read More...

Feb 06, 2015 Do you know what an amortizing loan is? Yes, it’s a scary-looking word (it does come from the French word “amortir,” meaning to deaden, after all), but the idea is entirely harmless. Let us explain. Read More...

Feb 17, 2017 It’s a good time to be a hockey fan in the United States. Last year saw the National Hockey League’s total attendance grow to over 22 million, an all-time high that included what was very nearly the largest crowd to ever watch a hockey game live. 1 Reports are that the NHL will be adding two cities to its roster in the near future—possibly Seattle and Las Vegas. College hockey is likewise expanding, with Arizona State University adding a team of its own, bringing the total of Division I teams to 60 for the 2016-17 season. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 There's lots of advice out there about how to save on your electricity bills. Turn off the lights when you leave a room, for starters. But what about making money from the electricity company instead of sending a monthly check? Yes, it's possible. Read More...

May 18, 2018 Whether you've moved across town or across the country, you know there are two sides to every move: the excitement that comes from going someplace new, and  the reality of planning, organizing and carrying out the move. So why put yourself through all the heartache of a DIY move when you can go pro and have a moving company do everything for you? Put simply, money! The difference between a DIY and professional move can be thousands of dollars. So listen up: the secret to making a DIY move as low-stress and low-cost as possible is learning from other people's mistakes. Read More...

Dec 21, 2017 Not all home improvements are created equal. Some are necessary, like a new furnace or roof, and some are purely for pleasure, like converting a basement into a home theater. Others can even be a combination of the two, like a remodeled kitchen or bathroom. The most important difference from one home improvement to another, though, is whether or not it adds value to your home. Read More...

Feb 21, 2018 At the beginning of 2014, a new set of rules was instituted for lenders that tightened the standards for approving a mortgage loan. Individuals seeking qualified mortgages became subject to much closer scrutiny in terms of their credit and debt, which presented a significant obstacle for some would-be buyers to overcome. While many Americans have been shut out of the housing market because of the stricter regulations, there is thankfully relief on the horizon. Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have introduced some changes of their own, which could make it easier for more people to become homeowners in 2015. Read More...

Mar 01, 2018 The tiny home craze is sweeping the nation. There are blogs, TV shows and magazines geared towards those who've made a decision to live tiny, and there are tons of people who have creatively crafted their homes from dumpsters, shipping containers and even tree houses. In the United States, the average new home built is 2,598 square feet, a stark difference from these micro-homes, which sometimes have less than 200 square feet. Although it seems crazy to some, many have found happiness in downsizing. So what's the secret to tiny home bliss? Read More...

Mar 01, 2018 Many Americans are giving up their studio apartments in expensive cities and making the move to more up-and-coming (read: affordable) locations. The pros? Lower living costs, a fresh start and a potential end to money worries. But before you book that moving van, read on to find out if heading to a less expensive city could be right for you. Read More...

Mar 10, 2016 Over the past three decades, skiing and snowboarding in the United States have grown from niche hobbies pursued by a relatively small collection of enthusiasts into major industries. During the 2013-2014 winter season alone, the National Ski Areas Association recorded over 56 million skier and snowboarder visits to U.S. ski areas. That’s 56 million separate times Americans spent a day at a U.S. ski resort, and it places downhill skiing and snowboarding among the largest economic engines in the outdoor recreation sector. Read More...

Dec 08, 2015 Year after year, the arrival of the New Year proves America is a country that places a premium on fitness. We like getting in shape. Or rather: we like being in shape. Getting there is a different story. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the average body mass index for adults in the US was statistically unchanged from 2003 to 2012. Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 I recently asked my sister, a successful realtor, what the one thing is that she has the most difficulty explaining to people when selling their homes. She said it's getting them to accept the fact that much of the money they spent on improvements over the years didn't do very much to increase their home's value. So on that note, here are eight home improvements that can add big value to your house while doing little damage to your wallet. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 Over the last few years, the housing market has seen steady improvement, and delinquency rates on mortgages have reached their lowest point since 2010. Despite the upswing, though, there are still nearly 10 million homeowners who are upside down on their loans, according to Zillow. When you reach the point where your monthly payments are just too much to handle or you feel like there's no hope of building back lost equity, foreclosure becomes a very real possibility. Defaulting on a mortgage is one way out of the situation, but it comes with significant risks you must consider. Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 One of the advantages of renting versus owning a home is that you're not burdened with the task of trying to sell the property if you decide to move on. That doesn't mean, however, that you can just walk away from a lease agreement before it's set to expire without facing some kind of penalty. While you may have a valid excuse for moving out early, such as a job offer or a roommate from hell, it won't change the fact that you signed a contract with your landlord. If you're thinking about breaking your lease, here are some tips for doing it the right way. Read More...

May 22, 2018 Buying a home is a major financial achievement. But for some would-be buyers, the path to the American Dream is littered with obstacles. Tighter lending restrictions have pushed a number of people out of the market altogether. This has lead some to look for alternatives to the traditional mortgage. In situations where your personal credit is barring you from getting a loan through a bank, a contract for deed may pave the way to home ownership. This kind of arrangement has benefits for both the buyer and the seller. However, there are a few downsides you may want to keep in mind. Read More...

May 29, 2019 If you've got questions about mortgages, you stand in good company. Mortgages are bewildering, whether you're a first-time homebuyer or not. This roundup will answer how you can negotiate the best mortgage rates, whether you should take out a short- or long-term loan, whether you’ll need private mortgage insurance and more. For questions specific to your finances and how your mortgage fits into your overall financial life, a financial advisor may be able to help. Read More...

May 11, 2017 Buying a home through a contract for deed arrangement is something to consider if you don't have the best credit or you're worried about qualifying for a mortgage. Buying on contract means you get to forgo making payments to a bank. Instead, you deal exclusively with the seller who effectively finances the home for you. Going this route can help if you've been shut out of the market by tighter lending restrictions. But it's important to look before you leap. Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 Buying a home is a big decision for several reasons. For one, you'll most likely have to live with the home for years to come. It's also a significant investment, and for most people, the biggest single purchase they will ever make. That's why most people spend a lot of time and energy searching for the perfect house to call home. Unfortunately, they often spend far less time and effort shopping for the right mortgage. And to compound that problem, there's a bunch of myths and misunderstandings surrounding mortgages. Here's what you need to know. Read More...

Mar 01, 2018 Buying a home can be a complicated process, especially if it's your first time. Today's housing market is different than it was even a decade ago. Some of the rules that used to apply simply don't anymore. If you're shopping around for your first home, you'll want to steer clear of the many misconceptions and inaccurate information out there. To help out, we've got a breakdown of some of the most common home buying myths you'll want to avoid. Read More...

Jul 24, 2018 When the clock is ticking down to your retirement date, your focus should be on getting your financial ducks in a row. And if cutting back on expenses is a priority, a refinance may be one of the moves you're considering. Refinancing may makes sense if you're trying to snag a lower interest rate or reduce your monthly payments, but like anything else, timing is everything. If you've only got a few years left until you hit your golden years, you'll want to weigh the pros and cons carefully before pulling the trigger. Read More...

Nov 03, 2014 Real estate has long been a sound investment that has delivered gains over the long haul despite periodic multi-year dips in values. If that were the only consideration, though, the question of whether to become a landlord would be a simple and resounding yes. But it's not. Read More...

Oct 30, 2014 In the United States, the responsibility of building and maintaining a police force rests largely with local governments. With the exception of national outfits like the FBI or the DEA, whose jurisdiction is limited to specific types of crime, as well as the state police departments, which are mostly restricted to crimes occurring on state highways, nearly all of the law enforcement officers in this country are part of a city or county department. For that reason, there are no national standards for the number of officers needed to police a given population. Read More...

Aug 15, 2019 Although it can be prone to fluctuation, the housing market has been a destination for investors to grow their earnings for decades. Buying and selling properties and becoming a landlord are two ways you can get in on the action. They're not, however, the only options for real estate investing. If you can't buy actual real estate, you can still invest in the real estate market by investing money in what's known as a real estate investment trust (REIT). Read More...

Dec 28, 2014 As the cradle of American independence, Philadelphia has secured a pretty iconic and stereotyped place in pop culture. But there's more to Philly than cheesesteaks, rowdy Eagles and Flyers fans, and the Liberty Bell. Philadelphia is an Ivy League college town with its own stock exchange, with four Fortune 500 company headquarters and home to a large part of the United States legal and telecom industries. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 The numbers are startling: a whopping 36 percent of young adults from the ages of 18 to 31 in the United States moved back home to live with their parents in 2012, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. That figure marked the highest percentage of young adults living with their parents in at least 40 years. It means that 21.6 million 18- to 31-year-olds were living in their parents' homes in 2012. That's an all-time record. Read More...

Oct 27, 2014 With Halloween landing on a Friday, 2014 promises to be a banner year for trick-or-treaters. According to the National Retail Federation, Halloween related spending is expected to reach $7.4 billion, of which $2.2 billion will be spent on candy alone. That means there will be more shock-tarts, snickers bars, 3-musketeers and peanut M&Ms out there for the taking. So who’s going to bring home the biggest haul? We took a look at America’s largest 200 cities to find the best places to trick or treat. Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 You've found your dream home. But the monthly mortgage payment that comes with it is out of your budget. What do you do? Most home buyers debate whether they should take out 30-year or 15-year fixed-rate mortgage loans. For some, the answer is an even longer-term mortgage loan: the 40-year fixed-rate mortgage. Read More...

Oct 10, 2014 Owning property is often seen as a landmark of adulthood, indicating prosperity and fiscal responsibility. Unfortunately, down payments, closing costs and loans are expensive and not everyone can afford the fees associated with home ownership. However, some properties can be affordable when acquired through rent-to-own agreements. Also referred to as lease-purchases, these agreements let renters gradually contribute toward down payments while occupying leased homes. Read More...

Oct 07, 2014 In August, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it had reached a settlement with Bank of America in connection with the sale of faulty mortgage securities leading up to the collapse of the housing market. The settlement, valued at $16.65 billion, follows on the heels of similar deals reached with JP Morgan Chase and Citibank. Part of the money will be used to repay investors who purchased the securities and a portion of the settlement is also earmarked to provide help for certain homeowners. While that may seem like good news, there may be a downside in the form of a higher tax bill. Read More...

Sep 29, 2015 Minor League Baseball may be America’s best kept secret. While most casual sports fans can quickly name several Major League teams (Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers), the same probably cannot be said about their Minor League counterparts. Yet, as anyone who has ever caught a game at a Minor League ballpark can attest, Minor League Baseball fans are among the best in the world. Indeed: in 2013, Minor League Baseball (MiLB) ranked second in total attendance among all professional American sports leagues with 40 million fans attending games over the course of their season, well ahead of more celebrated leagues like the NBA and NFL. Read More...

Dec 28, 2014 By turns gritty and refined in its long history, Baltimore has been one of the great American seaports since the 1700s. Founded by Cecil Calvert, an Irish aristocrat known as Lord Baltimore, the city hence resented the English yoke from the beginning. After its importance in the Revolution, Baltimore industrialized and endured decline. Today, though, the city has a growing economy and population thanks to its critical role in the healthcare industry. Read More...

Oct 07, 2015 The capitals of America’s 50 states form a highly diverse collection of cities. There are metropolises like Phoenix and Boston, and small towns like Topeka and Salem. Each has its own unique culture and political environment, with capitol buildings ranging from beautiful (Olympia, WA) to plain (Bismarck, ND). For legislative assistants, policy analysts and others in a political career, one of these state capitals may be preferable to the frenetic pace of Washington D.C. We collected data on all 50 state capitals to find the cities with the highest and lowest quality of life. Read More...

Jan 16, 2018 Cincinnati, alias Cinci and Porkopolis and one of the many "Cities of Seven Hills" in the world, has long been one of the most important metropolises in the Midwest. Cincinnati is important to America's baseball heritage, and, nowadays, to the national retail and personal care industries. Read More...

Mar 24, 2015 Some places stay with you long after you are gone. While they may not necessarily have the most pleasant weather or the best food, they’ve got something else, a certain indefinable quality that makes them hard to forget. They’re full of adventure waiting to happen, and secrets waiting to be discovered. They keep you guessing. They’re exciting and unpredictable. They are, in short, The  Most Interesting Cities in America. Read More...

Sep 23, 2014 A feeling of safety where we live and work is an essential part of quality of life. After all, it's hard to enjoy our situation when we're constantly worrying whether we'll come to harm. So where is safety hardest to find - which of America's major cities is most dangerous? SmartAsset wanted to find out. Read More...

Sep 18, 2014 When you're setting out to buy your first home, it's easy to be overwhelmed by the different loan options that are available. Many first-time buyers opt for FHA loans, which are insured by the Federal Housing Administration and require a smaller down payment than a traditional mortgage. There's a trade-off, however, since you're expected to pay two separate mortgage insurance premiums. In an effort to ease some of the burden for first-time homebuyers, the FHA is introducing some new guidelines, and a program called HAWK, that will take some of the bite out of buying. Read More...

Jun 19, 2018 If you're getting hounded by debt collectors or your monthly minimums are eating up a huge chunk of your budget, consolidating your bills can give you a little more breathing room. Transferring your high interest credit card debt to a card with a lower rate or taking out a personal consolidation loan are two options to consider but homeowners also have a third choice in the form of a home equity loan. Going this route can be cost-effective in the long run but it's not without its dangers. How does a home equity loan work? Here are some pros and cons to keep in mind if you're planning on using your equity to eliminate debt. Read More...

Feb 03, 2017 The United States has the highest percentage of its population in prison in the world, ahead even of countries like China and North Korea that are notorious for locking away political dissenters. All in all, close to 1.6 million people - that's 1 in 200 Americans - are currently serving time in a federal or local prison. Read More...

Feb 08, 2018 Situated on the James River between the Tidewater and the Blue Ridge Mountains, Richmond is Virginia's capital. The city bore witness to some of the most important events of the American Revolution and recovered quickly from the war. In the decades following the war, Richmond became an important industrial city, a hub of thriving businesses owned by freed ex-slaves and their descendants and finally a center for law, finance, and advertising with importance to the region and the country. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 Are your late mortgage payments piling up? Are you worried that your lender is ready to begin foreclosure proceedings? You do have an option to save your home, though it does come with its own challenges: You can file for bankruptcy protection. Read More...

Dec 28, 2014 When we think of the oldest cities in the United States, we tend to imagine places on the East Coast: New York, Boston, Charleston and the like. But although all of those cities are centuries old, Santa Fe, New Mexico has been around quite a long time too - it's actually both the oldest and the highest-elevation state capital in the country. Santa Fe is home to unique architectural styles owing to its Spanish and Native American heritage, a number of scientific institutes of international importance and a thriving community of artists. Read More...

Sep 04, 2014 Who hasn’t heard a horror story of a friend of someone they knew who rented their home online and it all ended disastrously? Or how about the Airbnb renter who wouldn't leave, and is now protected by California law as a legal renter? As renting your home, or even a room in your home, online becomes a more popular way for people to make a little extra money, key tips to keeping the crazies at bay and keeping you and your home safe is even more important. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 The things that make a city good to live in are pretty different if you're an adult or a kid. Children don't care much about property tax rates, for example, but if there isn't anything fun to do after school they probably won't be very happy. With that in mind, SmartAsset took a look at the hundred largest cities in the country to assess which were the best to spend a childhood in. Read More...

Sep 03, 2014 When you're in the market to buy a home or you're trying to sell a property you own, working with an experienced real estate agent can take a lot of the stress off your shoulders. A good agent should always work with your best interests in mind, whether it means negotiating the best price or simply returning phone calls in a timely manner. On the other hand, when the person you're working with is less than professional it can  cost you... money or even a home. If you're concerned about whether your agent is a good fit here are signs that it may be time to recruit someone else for the job. Read More...

Dec 28, 2016 Buying a home is a big financial commitment and getting approved for a mortgage can be difficult for some people. If you're ready to become a homeowner but you're having trouble finding a bank that's willing to work with you, leasing or renting to own a home may be an option. These types of agreements are designed to benefit both the buyer and the seller, but they are certain pitfalls you may encounter along the way. If you're considering a renting to own property, here's what you need to know before you close the deal. Read More...

Dec 28, 2014 Denver, the Mile High City and pride of the Rocky Mountains, is one of the biggest cities in the west. An ex-mining town, Denver benefited immensely when railroad companies built tracks through it during the gold boom. That transport infrastructure allowed Denver to become a major city for business and trade, although mining and energy are still important to its economy today. The climate is lovely and the people are welcoming - but visitors need to beware of how thin the air actually is at 5,280 feet above sea level! Read More...

Dec 28, 2016 Making the decision to move in together with your significant other is a big step and it usually involves navigating some tricky relationship issues. At the top of the list is how the two of you will share the expenses and manage your finances in general. Not addressing the matter could result in some pretty nasty fights down the road, so it's best to tackle the thorny topic of money before you start unpacking. While it's up to couples to set their own rules for living together, here are some basic financial guidelines to… Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 One of the nice things about renting is that when something breaks or you have an issue with the property, it's up to the landlord to deal with it. When your landlord's the one who's causing the problem, however, finding a solution often proves to be more difficult. If your requests to have that leaky faucet repaired are going unanswered or there's a conflict over something in the terms of your lease, you have to proceed carefully. When your landlord isn't holding up his or her end of the bargain, here are five things you can do to protect yourself. Read More...

May 11, 2017 Buying your first home is a major achievement, but it's not without its fair share of headaches. Finding the right property can take months, but that's just the first step in the long homebuying process. Trying to negotiate the terms of the purchase can be enough to make your head swim. If you're not careful, it could end up costing you money in the long run. Here are some tips to keep your mortgage costs in check to get the best deal possible. Read More...

Dec 04, 2017 Mortgage lenders are integral to the housing industry. Across the country, they help people become homeowners with various types of loans, which may have any number of different repayment periods with interest rates that may be variable or fixed-rate. One way to measure the lenders is by looking at loan volume, or how much money they loan to others. Read More...

Dec 28, 2014 Seated in the foothills of the Rockies, Boise is Idaho's capital and most populous city, as well as the third largest metropolitan area in the Northwest (behind Seattle and Portland). Boise's surrounding natural resources have all shaped its economy, as it still is an important provider and processor of lumber from the thick forests in the area, as well as other forms of energy for the region, and, yes, stereotypically enough, potato farms. Read More...

Dec 21, 2017 The tech industry is booming across the country. From big cities to small ones, successful startups are taking root, and job prospects for tech workers are rising precipitously and show no signs of stopping. Lots of people want to get in on the tech boom, and SmartAsset wanted to find out what cities are truly making the most of it. Read More...

Jan 15, 2016 The worst of the housing crisis appears to be over, but many homeowners are still struggling to meet their mortgage obligations. According to RealtyTrac's Year-End 2013 U.S. Residential & Foreclosure Sales Report, there were 256,000 short sales, a slight increase over 2012. The total number of short sales and foreclosures accounted for 16.2% of all residential home sales in 2013. Read More...

Dec 17, 2014 Des Moines, Iowa has three very different possible origins for its name, all of which speak to its historical heritage in different ways. Most commonly accepted is that it comes from the French for "the monks," due to an early presence of Trappist brothers, but it may also come from the Algonquian name of the Loon-Clan Sauk Indians, or from an insulting nickname those same people gave to explorers Marquet and Joliet to disparage them behind their backs. Regardless of the name, Des Moines is a major financial services center, with many insurance companies headquartered there, and is by some measures the wealthiest city in the country. Read More...

Jul 18, 2019 Across the country, real estate markets are much healthier than they were a few short years ago, when a housing bubble precipitated a much larger economic crisis. But some places have recovered better than others have, and continue to grow beyond even pre-recession levels. These local markets are creating a good climate for real estate agents. SmartAsset wanted to find out which cities are the best for real estate agents right now. Read More...

Feb 28, 2017 Making the transition from renter to homeowner is an important financial milestone for many adults but it's not always a smooth one. Buying a home involves a certain amount of research and planning, especially if it's your first time taking the plunge. If you're not careful, your dream house could end up becoming a financial nightmare. First-time homebuyers need to be wary of committing these common money blunders. Read More...

Aug 10, 2014 So you've got a new job paying you more money across town, across the state or maybe even across the country. You sort of feel like "The Jeffersons" of TV fame in that "you're moving on up." Well, pump your brakes before you make your final decision on salary and relocation. Read More...

Dec 17, 2014 If Nashville can be said to have a Southern twang, it's not just because of the accents - it's the food and the guitars too. Nashville has long been America's musical capital, and it's well-known as the center of the country music universe. But the other two emblematically American forms of music - blues and rock-and-roll - owe a lot to Nashville's influence as well. Besides its cultural importance, Nashville also is critical to the regional healthcare industry and has some notable institutes of higher education within its borders. Read More...

Jun 28, 2017 Buying a summer getaway may make sense if you always spend your vacation in the same spot and you're tired of shelling out money for hotel rooms. You even have the potential to make some money off your second home if you're able to rent it out during the times you aren't using it. Many of the same tax breaks that are associated with owning your primary residence also apply to vacation homes. Whether you've got your eye on a beachfront cottage or a cabin in the mountains, here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to your taxes on your vacation home. Read More...

Aug 06, 2014 What's the price of a sunny day? Well, if you're high-minded, you might say money can't buy the experience of the sun warming your skin. But in a more down-to-earth sense, residents of some places are paying less for housing and getting more sun in the forecasts than others are, and vice-versa. If climate is important to you, that may make a difference in where you may want to live. SmartAsset wanted to find out which US cities are getting the best weather deals for the price of a home. Read More...

Mar 01, 2018 Flexible hours, unlimited earning potential and no annoying boss? You must like the perks that come with self-employment. Taking your career into your own hands can be extremely rewarding, financially and emotionally. But it can also be a stumbling block when you trying to buy a home. Certain  mortgage regulations have made it more difficult to qualify for a home loan, especially if you work for yourself. Here's what you can do to make closing the deal easier. Read More...

Mar 10, 2017 By now, we are all aware of the impact the mortgage crisis of 2007-2008 had on the prices of homes. Many people across the country saw the value of their homes drop, and many are still struggling to get out from under a mortgage that is worth more than their actual home. These are what is known as an underwater mortgages. Since the financial crisis, a number of government programs have been set up to help homeowners who are struggling. These include the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). Read More...

Dec 17, 2014 The name of Indianapolis, Indiana's capital and largest city, is usually associated with one of the world's most notable auto races (alongside Le Mans and the Monegasque Grand Prix), the Indianapolis 500. But more people than just all-time heroes of racing like Mario Andretti and Helio Castroneves have found success in Indy - the city is also home to the headquarters of major pharmaceutical manufacturer Eli Lilly, favorite regional burger chain Steak 'n Shake, and numerous other large companies, as well as two nationally known universities. Read More...

Jan 15, 2016 In order to save money, it's important that the necessities of life are already covered. Therefore the best places to save money would likely be where the income is high and the cost of life's necessities are low. SmartAsset has come up with a list of the places that give renters the best and worst chance to save money. Read More...

May 03, 2018 Saving is an important part of any budget. The ability to put money away is indicative both of an ability to cover necessary expenses and of an ability to plan for the future. Stashing your cash can protect you from unexpected misfortune, increase your net worth through compound interest, and let you work towards financial goals like college, retirement, becoming a homeowner, or a killer vacation. Unfortunately, your ability to save can be a product of your environment as well as your financial wherewithal. Read More...

May 16, 2019 With land in desirable neighborhoods at a premium, townhouses represent a growing share in the real estate market. Townhouses can be an attractive option for many new homeowners--offering something of a “middle ground” between single family homes and condominiums.  A townhouse can give you what feels like a single family home in prime urban centers. However, there are some potential expenses, as well as limitations, that you should educate yourself about before deciding to buy a townhouse. Read More...

Dec 18, 2014 Roger Williams, the Puritan founder of Providence, Rhode Island, probably wouldn't appreciate the spooky reputation his city now has as a haven for writers of the supernatural like the legendary Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft, nor its overindulgence in caffeine (it has the most coffee shops per capita of any U.S. city). However, he likely would smile at the fact that his legacy of tolerance - Williams was a promoter of equality with Native Americans, religious freedom and the separation of church and state - was still being carried out in a city that ranks highly for the size and vibrancy of its immigrant and LGBTQ communities. Read More...

Mar 01, 2018 It's summertime and the weather is hot but the mercury isn't the only thing that's on the rise. If you're constantly running the AC to keep cool, you may see your utility bills climb to astronomical proportions. Making some energy efficient home improvements is a smart way to reduce your cooling costs and could potentially save you some big bucks at tax time. The Internal Revenue Service offers several tax credits for homeowners who invest in eco-friendly improvement. Read More...

Dec 22, 2016 Buying a new house is an awesome feeling. Having that same house devalue over time or all at once due to an economic crash is devastating. We take a look at what to do if you’re upside down on your mortgage. Read More...

Dec 18, 2014 Newark, New Jersey (pronounced with a short a, unlike the city with the same spelling in Delaware) has a bit of an unfair reputation. Part of this has to do with its proximity to New York City, to which any comparison is really not apt. Regardless Newark is seen as a commuter city or a lesser partner to the Big Apple, while it's actually quite the economic and cultural powerhouse on its own. Newark is home to financial giant Prudential and massive energy provider PSE&G, has one of the most major airports in the Eastern US (which is more convenient than JFK and LaGuardia Airports even for many Manhattanites), and is one of the best places to get Spanish and Portuguese cuisine in the country. Read More...

Aug 05, 2015 There are many reasons to choose a city to live in, but most of them revolve around our basic needs: employment, cultural stimulation and education. But sooner or later, we all need healthcare, whether it’s a routine doctor’s visit or a trip to the emergency room. Read More...

Dec 18, 2014 The debate over what a landlord should have to disclose when it comes to a house's history has resurfaced. It centers around a case in which a St. Louis-area woman who received a government housing subsidy rented a house only to learn that it was once the home of a man suspected of being a serial killer. Read More...

Jul 15, 2014 Summer is the time of the year for graduation parties, reduced working hours, backyard BBQs, fireworks and trips to the beach. A lot more of us are hanging out outside these days trying to get reacquainted with the warmer weather, especially after our long and grueling winter. However, in all of our enjoyment, we may find ourselves peeving off those who live around us if we're not careful. Loud parties, late nights, and cars parked in front of other’s yards can make for irritated and annoyed neighbors. So here are some ways to be a good neighbor during the summer. Read More...

Nov 21, 2018 A city will pay me to live there? How is that possible, you may ask. Well, it’s true. There are cities in the United States that will pay you to live there. Will they always be your first choice for where you would live? Maybe and maybe not. But getting paid to move and live in a community, if even for a short while, can be quite an adventure. It can save you money and might even surprise you with how much you enjoy living in that city. But before you make any final decisions, sync up with a financial expert through SmartAsset's matching tool to get paired up with a professional who can guide you through the ins and outs of such a big decision.  Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 Ah, Portland: Where the outdoors are great, men have beards and everyone is gluten-free. It may be unfair to characterize the City of Roses as purely a hipster haven, but what do you expect from the place with the most microbreweries in the world? Still, there are also factors like Portland's green energy advances, startup friendliness, and importance to industries like semiconductors and sporting goods to consider. But the hipster stuff is funnier. Read More...

Dec 18, 2014 Minneapolis is a "twin city," alongside St. Paul, and any resident will be all too happy to tell you which is the superior of the two. The one thing it's impossible not to notice about Minneapolis is that there's water, water everywhere - the city sits on twenty separate lake systems and the Mississippi River cuts right through it. So wet is Minneapolis that the very name of the city is just a Lakota Sioux word for "water" with the Greek suffix "-polis" stuck on it. All that lake and river transport made Minneapolis a trade hub back in the day, especially for flour milling, and it still does plenty of business, with the fifth-largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the country. Read More...

Jul 16, 2018 Where you plan to live in retirement can have a major impact on your finances, especially if a change of address is in the cards. When you're looking for a new place to put down roots one of the questions you'll have to ask yourself is whether to rent or buy. Buying may seem like a no-brainer when you're used to being a homeowner but there are plenty of good reasons to rent instead. If you're struggling with whether you should rent or buy a home in… Read More...

Jun 19, 2018 Thanks to tighter lending restrictions and rising home prices, more people than ever are choosing to rent rather than buy. According to the National Multifamily Housing Council, renters account for more than one third of all U.S. households. Renting can be less expensive than buying since you're not shelling out money for things like maintenance, repairs, property taxes or homeowner's insurance. The downside is that if something happens to your rental property, your landlord isn't responsible if your personal possessions are damaged or lost. Having renters insurance gives you the protection you need but there are a few things you to keep in mind when buying a… Read More...

May 11, 2017 Vacation homes are fast becoming one of the hottest tickets in the housing market. Buying a vacation home can be emotionally and financially rewarding, not to mention fun. However, it's not a decision you can afford to make lightly. If you're thinking of taking the second home plunge, here's what you need to consider before you commit. Read More...

Dec 21, 2017 The housing market has seen some major highs and devastating lows over the last decade. Fortunately, home values are once again on the rise and interest rates remain low, making for a rosy outlook in terms of selling your home in many parts of the country. Finding the right buyer is a crucial part of the home selling process but it's not the only thing you should be focused on. If you're planning to put your home on the market, here are a few things you need to do first. Read More...

Jun 21, 2014 Interest rates make up a huge part of our financial lives. Most potential homebuyers are worried about interest rates rising because that would increase the cost of borrowing money and in turn the monthly payment on their mortgage. We know there's a mathematical lower bound for interest rates at 0% (unless banks start paying you for the privilege of also loaning money to you), but is there an upper limit? Read More...

Dec 19, 2014 Most people know Salt Lake City for something that's right there in the name - the Great Salt Lake - as well as for being the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, thanks to  South Park and other Trey Parker/Matt Stone comedies. And while those things do make up a big part of the scenery and culture of Salt Lake City, there's a lot more to it than that - you can't learn all there is to know about the city just by seeing  The Book of Mormon on Broadway. Read More...

Jun 19, 2014 What was once the wild west is now the best. That's what they say. Or maybe it's just me. I’ve lived in the Western states for most of my life, and I’ve got to tell you that I love it. Not that I wouldn’t try someplace new, but the West Coast has so much to offer. Whether you’re just starting out in your career, or you’re ready to raise a family, in my humble opinion, it really is best to move west. Read More...

Jun 18, 2014 If you've ever moved, you are likely not surprised that experts say moving is among the top ten most stressful events in our lives. It requires us to completely uproot our entire lives, pack all or most of our belongings and relocate them to another home. The process of packing and unpacking can be time consuming in and of itself, let alone having to worry about getting your cable, internet, electricity, phone, etc. hooked up in a new place. So, if moving is so stressful, why do we do it?  Read More...

Dec 19, 2014 Once upon a time, Houston was the crown jewel of the independent Republic of Texas - and some of the residents may be convinced it still is. In many ways Houston was the first space-age city in the middle of the 20th century, as the staging grounds for NASA's mission control center and recipients of many an iconic broadcast from outer space, whether of triumph ("The Eagle has landed" and Neil Armstrong's "one small step" one-liner from Apollo 11) or disaster ("Houston, we have a problem" from the narrowly rescued Apollo 13). Houston also led the way in a more mundane form of technology - the Astrodome sports stadium, rather hyperbolically called the Eighth Wonder of the World, was the first indoor baseball field in the world. Read More...

Nov 19, 2014 The Atlantic hurricane season kicks off in June, reaching its peak between mid-August and late October before finally tapering off just after Thanksgiving. On the other side of the country, hurricane season starts even earlier, with storms dumping heavy rains along the southwest and Pacific coastline beginning in mid-May. To make matters worse, there's speculation that warmer than average water temperatures could result in El Nino conditions this year, similar to the one that wreaked havoc throughout southern California in 1997. Read More...

Oct 13, 2015 Whether you are a fresh college graduate or just someone looking for a fresh start, college towns can be great places to live. SmartAsset analyzed the data to find the best (and worst) college towns to live in. Read More...

Feb 09, 2015 The housing market continues its upward climb as the post-recession economy improves but that doesn't mean that everyone's buying. Rising home values and tighter lending restrictions have put the squeeze on many potential home buyers, sometimes making being a renter the more affordable choice. In fact, it's estimated that renters now account for roughly 35 percent of American households. Read More...

Jun 25, 2018 A Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) is a tax credit given by the IRS to low and moderate income homebuyers. Generally the program is only available to first time homebuyers. Terms differ by state. An MCC can be a great way to use your home to save money on your taxes, but there are some drawbacks as well as hidden costs, so use caution in deciding whether to use the program. Read More...

Dec 19, 2014 Atlanta - or "Hotlanta," as it's so commonly said - has long been an iconic bastion of Southern culture. It was built on commerce - quite literally, as its location was chosen because two train shipping lines intersected there - thrived throughout the 1830s, 40s, and 50s after its 1837 founding, and then... well, the South seceded, the Civil War happened, and William Tecumseh Sherman's Federal troops burned Atlanta to cinders on their march to the sea. But it didn't take long for Atlanta to recover, and thanks to that rail network, plus both Georgia Tech and a number of historically black colleges as leading higher education institutions, it swiftly became the South's biggest trade center. Read More...

Dec 08, 2014 More people want to live in the south and west. At least that's the news out of a recent government report on the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. Read More...

Feb 21, 2018 Unless you've got a huge chunk of change, you'll probably need to take out a mortgage to buy a home. The 30-year fixed mortgage has long been considered the traditional route for homeowners. However, that mortgage won't work for everyone. When it comes to choosing the right mortgage loan, it's important to pick one that works for your budget and is a good fit for your overall financial goals. If you're in the market for a new home, here's a rundown of your borrowing options. Read More...

Dec 19, 2014 Phoenix has to have something going for it: It's the most populous state capital in the US, and the sixth most-populous city overall, while being in the middle of a desert. Founded on the economic basis of the five Cs - cotton, cattle, citrus, climate, and copper - Phoenix found new purpose after the Second World War as a technology and tourism center alike. It's also currently in the middle of a massive drought, unfortunately, so hopefully none of that dust gets in the semiconductors. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 Thanks to tighter lending restrictions and rising home values, renting has taken on a new degree of popularity over the last few years. Many have determined that renting is better than buying for them. According to the National Multifamily Housing Council, approximately 35% of U.S. households are comprised of renters. As demand continues to grow, rent rates are skyrocketing in cities across the country leaving many renters feeling the pinch. Read More...

Dec 21, 2017 The largest city in the rainy Pacific Northwest is Seattle, that Emerald City on the Puget Sound. Seattle's name conjures up images of the Space Needle, depressing weather, flannel, and, as a consequence of those last two things, grunge music. In short, it's like a tiny piece of Canada right here in the US! Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 When you're in the market for a new home, finding the right house while staying in your target price range can be a challenge. It may even mean having to compromise some of the items on your must-have list in order to keep your new place affordable. One option for home buyers who are looking for a bargain is purchasing a distressed property. A short sale or foreclosure can certainly save you money but you may experience a few hiccups along the way. If you're planning on buying a distressed home, here's what you need to know. Read More...

Mar 28, 2016 Sharing your living space with a complete stranger may not sound like an ideal situation but it can be a lifesaver when finances are tight. Taking on a roommate is a smart move if you're looking to save money and you can't afford to buy a house. But there are certain pitfalls that go along with communal living. In addition to navigating the rules about chores, socializing and personal boundaries, you'll also have to figure out how to make it work financially. If you're worried about a money miscommunication with your new roomie, here are some things you can do to keep conflicts to a minimum. Read More...

Dec 22, 2014 Ah, San Diego - Birthplace of California itself. Europeans first hit the West Coast in what is now SD 450 years ago or so, and a lot of them were Spanish friars, hence the name of the current very fine MLB franchise, the Padres. Nowadays it’s known for the massive presence of the US Navy, a staggering variety of beautiful bird species that are resident to the area, and, unfortunately, devastating brushfires. See? It’s more than just San Fran with an inferiority complex. Read More...

Dec 21, 2017 SmartAsset wanted to know who in the country is getting the best deal for their property taxes. To find that out we answered 3 questions: how good are the schools, how safe is the area and how much are the property taxes.  Read More...

Jul 24, 2018 Leaving the workforce behind for good means making some important decisions that impact both your lifestyle and your finances. One of the biggest questions for many retirees is where they'll live once they reach the golden years. Buying a home for retirement is a major financial commitment and you can't afford to make the decision lightly. Whether you're looking to downsize in your current area or pick up stakes and head someplace new here are a few things you need to consider before taking the leap. Read More...

Sep 21, 2017 Buying a home is a long-term financial commitment that typically involves taking on a mortgage for 10, 20 or even 30 years. Knocking out your home loan a few years early may save you thousands of dollars in interest but it's often easier said than done. If you're trying to get the mortgage monkey off your back ahead of schedule you need a plan for paying down the debt. Here are a few strategies that can help make your early mortgage payoff dreams a reality. Read More...

Dec 22, 2014 It’s not just cowpunchers who hang their spurs in Dallas, the country’s ninth-largest city, anymore. From the place where America got its meat and textiles, Dallas has become one of the major places the country gets its tech, with both AT&T and Texas Instruments headquartered there - though that doesn’t mean you can’t get that meat there, obligatorily in the form of sauce-dripping barbecue, because it’s still Texas, after all. Read More...

Mar 29, 2016 Since 2007, the demand for rental properties has skyrocketed dramatically, largely thanks to the economic fallout stemming from the housing market collapse. Even though the housing market is on the mend, rising home prices and tighter lending restrictions have lead millions of Americans to choose renting over buying. The boost in rental rates has also resulted in an increase in the number of homeowners who are opting to jump into the investment property game. Read More...

Sep 14, 2018 You may find the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on a mortgage loan a confusing aspect of the home financing. You can find the loan APR listed on the Truth in Lending (TIL) disclosure. The disclosure lists the APR figure as a rate. However, be sure to note that is not the interest rate on the loan. Once you learn to understand the meaning of APR, it can be a useful tools when shopping for a loan. It will also help you to understand the true cost of a mortgage. Read More...

Jul 09, 2019 If you're ready to  buy your first home, perhaps home buying might feel overwhelming. The housing market is fiercely competitive, so you probably won't have much time to think about making your offer when the right house comes along. The more preparation you do in advance, the more you'll get a leg up on competing buyers. If you want hands-on guidance related to how a mortgage can fit into your great financial picture, consider enlisting the help of a financial advisor. Read More...

Dec 22, 2016 Refinancing your mortgage can be a great way to save on interest, shave years off your loan term or cash out your equity. But how do you know if the time is right? Mortgage rates have been slowly creeping upward but it doesn't mean you should rush into a refinance. If you've been on the fence about whether or not to try and score a better deal on your mortgage, here are three signs that it's time to call your lender. Read More...

Apr 24, 2014 Here's what often happens when someone retires and is ready to downsize: They sell the home, take the profits from the sale and buy a smaller home in an all-cash purchase (or as close as possible). The benefits of this approach are obvious: You no longer have a mortgage loan. Eliminating that monthly payment matters when you're living on a fixed income. But does it ever make sense to sell your home after retirement and then downsize into a rental unit? Read More...

Feb 16, 2017 In a competitive housing environment, buyers are educating themselves like never before. If you are thinking you might make an offer on a house or condominium, you have probably already done your research on the local market to figure out a fair offer price. You have probably already lined up financing through a mortgage bank, and feel prepared to make an offer quickly when the right house comes alone. Read More...

Nov 07, 2017 This year is shaping up to be another strong one for the housing market. The recovery has already been underway for two years, yet inventories and price appreciation suggests that the market still has room to run. But the winners in this third year of growth will be very different from the winners in years past. Here are four categories of people who stand to benefit from the housing market in 2014. Read More...

Mar 07, 2018 The months of April through July generally account for more than 40% of a year’s housing transactions. This is when people think about whether to keep renting or if it's time to buy a home. Read More...

Sep 09, 2019 , Reverse mortgages are a financial tool marketed toward seniors who are looking to cash in on the equity in their homes. Homeowners age 62 and older can borrow against their home's value and the loan doesn't have to repaid until you vacate the property. Reverse mortgages are touted as a low-cost way to create supplemental income streams in retirement but they're not for everyone. Before you take out this kind of loan, you need to weigh the pros and cons carefully.  Read More...

Apr 14, 2017 Before buying a home, you will need to choose your team. This starts with your real estate agent. But your mortgage loan officer can be almost as important to the project. They can advise you on refinancing or home equity loans if you already own a home. Once you have a loan expert you can trust and depend on, you will rely on that person for years. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 A provision of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill of 2010, aimed to curb risky mortgage lending, went into effect on January 10, 2014. The intention is to certify that mortgages being offered to consumers are loans which the consumers will legitimately be able to repay. Read More...

Sep 17, 2018 So you’ve found your dream home. You’re ready to make an offer. But what is a fair price? Will there be competing offers? You don’t want to lose this house, yet you also don't want to pay too much on monthly mortgage payments. Buying a home is one of the most exciting times in your life, but it can also be incredibly stressful. How do you know what price to put on that offer sheet? Read on below for answers, and if you want another ally in your corner in your home buying process, head to SmartAsset's matching tool to get paired with a financial professional. Read More...

Jul 09, 2019 If you recently bought a home, you may be considering title insurance. This protects you from taking a financial downfall triggered by property ownership issues. Believe it or not, someone may have a legal right to the home you're in. So let’s take a closer look at what title insurance is. Of course, you can always find a financial advisor to help you make the right decisions around homeownership. Read More...

Sep 25, 2017 A well-known real estate truism is that housing prices in America’s biggest cities are much higher than the national average. New Yorkers, for example, often complain that thousands of dollars a month in rent only gets them a tiny one-bedroom apartment, especially in Manhattan, and one might assume that’s the case for every major metropolitan area across the country. According to recent census data, it does hold true that it’s expensive to buy or rent a home in the city - but there isn’t one monolithic real estate climate across the country, and each city has a separate economy and demography, so there are some surprising differences in how much it costs to live from city to city. Read More...

Feb 10, 2017 Refinancing your mortgage to a lower rate is a smart move if you're looking to lower your monthly payments or to save on interest but the closing costs can be an obstacle for some homeowners. Closing costs typically run several thousand dollars which can put a serious pinch on your wallet. A refinance with no closing costs is an option if you're strapped for cash but it's not right for everyone. If you're thinking of taking the no closing cost refinance route, it pays to understand the pros and cons. Read More...

May 21, 2018 If you buy a house with less than a 20 percent down payment, and finance it with a conventional loan, you are going to have to pay private mortgage insurance. PMI protects the lender against the possibility of a default. It does not protect you, the buyer, but it does give you the benefit of buying a home you might not otherwise have been able to get. Read More...

Mar 27, 2017 We have examined the reasons why so many older homes are on the market. Conversely, we looked at why there are so few new homes available for purchase. If you are looking to buy a home, you may have to consider an older home for the first time. Not only are there so many more available, but they are typically priced at a significant discount compared to a new home. Older homes often have a lot of charm, but they also come with their set of challenges. Read More...

Jan 14, 2016 The most common way to finance a home purchase for first time buyers is with a loan through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The 3.5% down payment required by FHA is the lowest down payment option in the marketplace available to the population at large. (Zero down payment loans are only available to veterans and certain other specific groups.) Read More...

Mar 01, 2014 As an on and off apartment dweller myself, I know finding the right space for you and your family can be tough. I never realized how hard it was until we decided to move from our home in the Northeast to Raleigh, NC. We were looking for apartments and townhomes that were affordable and offered the best amenities until we could plant permanent roots. The truth is finding affordable apartment housing for families was tougher than we thought. Apartment communities we found either catered to college students  or the 55+ crowd. Read More...

Apr 13, 2018 It cannot be ignored: rates are going up! Even the Federal Reserve Board has admitted as much. Rates for 30 year fixed mortgage rates are already more than one percent higher than a year ago. The expectation of most economists is that they will continue to increase from here. The end of the Fed’s Quantitative Easing program will put further upward pressure on interest rates. Read More...

Dec 20, 2016 It doesn't matter whether you're buying or selling a property these days, house and mortgage closing costs are going to have a huge impact on any real estate transaction. There are a lot of parties involved with selling a house and unfortunately they all charge the homebuyer for their services.  Everyone from attorneys, notaries and even your HOA might charge you a fee for services rendered. Read More...

Dec 30, 2014 Over the past year, the housing market rebound has gained serious steam as home values and mortgage rates are once again on the rise. In an effort to prevent a repeat of the housing collapse, the government has developed a new set of standards and regulations. The goal is to protect homebuyers from abusive lending practices. The new mortgage rules, which took effect January 10th, are meant to ensure that homeowners don't get in over their heads. But these new mortgage rules could end up making it more difficult for buyers to land their dream home. Read More...

Mar 08, 2019 Most people have to borrow money in order to afford a house. No matter how big your mortgage is, though, you generally need to have at least some cash on hand for the down payment. Historically the rule was that homebuyers should make a down payment worth 20% of the home value. That's a great number to aim for, but if the home is expensive or your savings are thin, that might not be feasible. To help you as you calculate your down payment, we looked into the typical down payment on a home purchase. Read More...

Jul 08, 2019 If you’re looking for a way to lower your mortgage payments or get your home loan paid off faster, refinancing may be a good option. Refinancing involves swapping your existing mortgage for a new one with more favorable terms. There are a number of advantages to refinancing, but the process isn’t without certain drawbacks - especially when it comes to the fees involved. Depending on your situation, the costs of refinancing could outweigh the benefits, so you need to know what you can expect. Read More...

Dec 30, 2014 I have good news and bad news for twenty-somethings who are living at home. The good news is the recession is over, mostly. The bad news is you have to move out of your parent's house now. It's not that they don't love you, they do. It's not that they don't enjoy your company, they love having you around. It's just, well, the economy needs you to spread your wings and soar! Read More...

Dec 30, 2014 The mortgage lending landscape has changed dramatically since the bottom of the housing market in 2010. Driven by stiffening regulations and the implosion of the old sub-prime lenders, mortgage market-share was largely consolidated into big banks. In fact, by early 2010, the five largest national lenders (Wells Fargo, Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Ally Financial/GMAC) originated more than 60 percent of the nation’s mortgages! Read More...

Feb 03, 2017 The temperature's not the only thing that drops in winter. For many people, the shorter days and colder weather can bring about a serious dip in mood that stretches into spring. Escaping the cold for a tropical climate certainly sounds good but a beach getaway may not fit into your budget. The good news is, brightening your spirits doesn't have to cost a lot of money. Read More...

Dec 30, 2014 For centuries the American Dream has had a stronghold on the American public. The American Dream is built right into our Declaration of Independence, declaring our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. For many, happiness means buying a home in a safe neighborhood where you can raise your family, and eventually retire and be comfortable. Read More...

Mar 27, 2017 You may have heard from financial planners, bankers and the like that adjustable rate mortgages ( ARMs) are risky and dangerous. You may have heard that these types of mortgages drove many homeowners into foreclosure. Would you never even consider this type of mortgage for yourself? Well, everything you have heard is wrong! Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 Keeping warm in the winter can be costly, especially if you live in an area that's prone to colder weather. As the temperature drops, you're likely to see your utility bills get higher. But there are some things you can do to minimize the damage. Making a few simple and inexpensive adjustments in your home can cut down your energy usage (and energy costs) without having to sacrifice comfort. Read More...

Nov 07, 2017 If you are in the market to buy a home, chances are good that you have faced some level of frustration over the low inventory available for sale. This will be especially true if you are searching for a home built within the last ten or twenty years. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 Have you looked at your energy bill recently? Did you like what you saw? If not, you’re probably thinking of ways to save money. While making sure to unplug the coffeemaker while you're at work can help reduce energy usage, a more efficient way to cut costs is to look into an energy audit. Read More...

Dec 21, 2017 With mortgage rates still low, it makes sense to consider a refinance if you're trying to save on interest or lower your monthly payments. Refinancing your home can be time-consuming. Depending on your situation, you may find it difficult to get approved for a new loan. If you're planning to refinance, there are a few things you should do to make sure you're ready first. Read More...

Apr 10, 2017 We've all heard that owning a home is the American dream, but boy has that dream gotten expensive.  Real estate is making a furious comeback after the recent housing collapse and prices are up 20-50% in most major markets across the US.  Add that to a slowly recovering economy and not everyone can afford to buy a house anymore. Read More...

Jan 27, 2014 Buying a  home can be an exciting time. You start searching through online databases, you drive through potential neighborhoods and you get A LOT of unsolicited advice. Everyone will have an opinion on your big purchase, whether they are experts or not. One of the most things people will comment on is your timing. Read More...

Dec 30, 2014 You wouldn't buy a car without first taking it for a test drive. Now you may be able to do the same when you're shopping for a home. As the housing market continues to recover, a new trend has emerged that offers homebuyers a pressure-free way to explore the home they're considering before making an offer. It's the "try before you buy" trend. Read More...

Dec 29, 2014 With the housing market continuing its slow recovery, the debate over whether it's better to rent or buy is hotter than ever. After hitting all-time lows, home prices are headed back up, leaving many renters wondering whether now's the time to take the leap into home ownership. Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 Between the paperwork, fees and seemingly endless phone calls to your lender, refinancing your home can be a major headache. If your mortgage loan is insured by the Federal Housing Administration, you may be able to avoid some of the hassle by applying for an FHA Streamline Refinance. You have to meet certain requirements to qualify and it helps to understand what to expect before you get started. If you're interested in applying for a streamline refinance, here's a breakdown of how the program works. Read More...

May 18, 2018 Mortgage loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration, better known as FHA loans, have become increasingly popular tools for home buyers. Sellers? They're not always as thrilled with the product. Why do buyers love FHA loans while sellers often cringe at the thought of working with buyers relying on them? The disconnect might stem from the negative perception homeowners have of buyers who can't afford larger down payments. Read More...

Feb 10, 2017 Mortgage rates are once again on the rise and you may be feeling pressured to refinance before they go even higher. While you may be able to save some serious cash, that doesn't mean you should rush to get a loan. Refinancing can be a complicated process and a seemingly harmless error could end up costing you big. Before you try to get a better deal on your home loan, take a look at our list of refinancing mistakes you'll want to avoid. Read More...

Dec 22, 2016 How important are your neighbors when considering moving into a new house? When thinking of moving into a new community, we tend to take a number of things into consideration. Whether we are renting or buying a home we often will consider, not only the price, but also location and vicinity to work, school reputation, crime rate, and more. Of course, not until we move in and have lived in a community for a little while do we truly get a feel for the community. One of the most important factors in making a neighborhood feel like home is those we share this space with. Read More...

Jan 14, 2016 In today's ultra low interest rate environment, refinancing your mortgage is a topic that tends to come up a lot.  Lower monthly payments is something that is attractive to nearly all homeowners with a mortgage for a reason. But a refinance doesn't make sense for everyone.  There are some things you need to know about how the refinancing process works before you decide if it makes sense for your personal situation. Read More...

Sep 04, 2019 Even if you have a credit score as low as 580, you can qualify for plenty of first-time home buyer programs and government-backed mortgages designed for homeowners who have trouble securing a conventional mortgage. But there are also several ways you can get back on your feet in order to qualify for a traditional mortgage with a reasonable rate. Consider working with a financial advisor if you want to take this route. Read More...

Feb 20, 2018 The aftermath of the housing market collapse saw millions of Americans lose their homes to foreclosure. Meanwhile some potential buyers found themselves unable to get a mortgage due to tighter restrictions on lending. As a result, the number of people choosing to  rent rather than buy has surged to its highest point in over a decade. Read More...

Jul 18, 2019 If you have a mortgage loan, you are well aware of the tax deduction you get each year for the interest. Once per year, all that interest you pay to your bank gives you a benefit as well. By strategizing your monthly payment schedule, you can further benefit from the tax savings available from the mortgage interest deduction. Read More...

May 15, 2018 For a period of time, jumbo mortgage loans were almost impossible to get. That was because private and “portfolio” funding for mortgage loans effectively disappeared after the housing crisis of 2008. What financing was available for higher mortgage amounts had such high interest rates that they were unaffordable for most people. Thus, the higher end of the housing market became almost exclusively a cash business. Not only has that situation reversed, jumbo mortgages have become extremely competitive again, even when compared to conforming loans. Read More...

Dec 23, 2014 Americans who took out a home equity line of credit during the housing bubble may soon be in for an unpleasant surprise. As many of these loans approach their 10-year anniversary, borrowers will be expected to start paying back the principal as well as the interest which means they may see a significant hike in their monthly payments. This could potentially create a major problem for lenders if homeowners end up defaulting on their second mortgage loans. Read More...

Nov 07, 2017 In the wake of the housing market's collapse, lawmakers established the Mortgage Relief Act of 2007 to help out struggling homeowners who found themselves falling behind on their mortgages. Originally set to expire in 2012, the Mortgage Relief Act was extended through the end of 2013. Now the clock is quickly ticking down. Unless lawmakers take action to extend the Act for another year, troubled homeowners could see their tax bills skyrocket. Read More...

Mar 01, 2018 The housing market has been booming for a while now. Thus it may come as a surprise that homeownership levels in the United States have actually been falling. In fact, the national percentage for the last two quarters, steady at 65.1%, reflects the lowest level of homeownership since 1995! Read More...

Dec 29, 2014 For young professionals and families alike, it's the age old question: buy vs rent?  We all know that there are lots of hidden expenses that go into buying a home but you've probably also heard that paying rent is like throwing your money away. Read More...

Dec 29, 2014 Many of us have been taught to look at the purchase of a home as a good investment. When we purchase a home, we are investing in a neighborhood, a school system, and hopefully a safe community to raise our families and spend a large portion of our lives. Buying a home is also a major financial investment, and some of us may be banking on that financial investment when the time comes for retirement. Read More...

Aug 01, 2019 Despite sounding identical, a prequalified mortgage is not the same as a preapproved mortgage. Prequalification is generally a quick, free process where a bank takes your financial information and lets you know generally what your loan will look like. Preapproval is actually a followup process that is much more involved and often costs money. Preapproval requires a credit check, a mortgage application and an estimate of your own down payment. For help with a mortgage, consider finding a financial advisor. Prequalified Mortgages Getting a prequalification on your home mortgage is simply a basic step. It’s like a fact-finding mission and does not signal to sellers that you are a true buyer. A prequalification from a mortgage lender tells you the types of loans that are available, how much it may be… Read More...

Dec 29, 2014 Recent reports suggest that the job market is steadily improving. But many employees in the banking sector are finding themselves the target of layoffs. Normally, large-scale layoffs suggest a downward financial spiral but in this case, it could actually be an indication that the economic recovery is gaining traction. Read More...

Dec 29, 2014 The housing market is continuing its slow upward climb, with home values on the rise and the number of homeowners defaulting on their mortgages declining. While the signs are encouraging, the housing rebound has yet to translate into significant job growth in the construction industry. Read More...

Dec 21, 2017 Updating your kitchen or revamping your bathroom can add value to your home, which may mean a bigger profit if you're planning to sell later on. While there are plenty of home improvement projects that can make your property more appealing to potential buyers, there are some that may make it a tougher sell. Before you tackle a major renovation, you need to know which home upgrades may not be worth the money. Read More...

Dec 22, 2016 Ever since the crisis in the housing market, and subsequent tightening of lending standards and regulations, all you seem to hear is how hard it is to acquire a mortgage loan, and how banks are unwilling to lend. While it remains nearly impossible for somebody with poor credit to get a mortgage, for those with good or even moderate credit scores, lending standards are actually getting looser. Read More...

Feb 21, 2018 The days are long gone when you could buy a house without spending any money out of pocket. Lenders and regulators have determined that potential home buyers need to demonstrate some savings ability prior to taking on a mortgage for a home. Even the unexpected and regular maintenance that arises from owning a home can take a chunk out of your wallet. The ability to save is vital to being a successful home owner. Read More...

Feb 21, 2018 Despite the extreme ups and downs of the last decade, savvy investors know that real estate can be one of the best ways to put your money to work for you. Investors were the first buyers to return in force to the housing market after the big crash. Seeing the opportunity to make a profit, real estate investors were willing to jump into the market when others were still afraid. Even though home values have gone up substantially over the last two years, those same opportunities still exist. However, if you plan to invest in real estate now, you need to be savvy and do ample research prior to buying. Read More...

Nov 07, 2017 Over the past year and a half, the housing market has been on a tear. After four years of a depressed market, this recovery was long overdue. As prices surged upwards, all we seem to hear from real estate professionals, buyers and sellers is about multiple offers on every property, price escalation clauses, and financed buyers being beaten by all-cash buyers and investors. Yet very quickly, the market seems to have shifted. Read More...

Sep 17, 2018 With the worst of the foreclosure crisis seemingly behind us, we're seeing a new trend in the housing market. This is the re-entry of people who previously lost a home to foreclosure. These so-called “Boomerang Buyers” are former homeowners, so they are knowledgeable as to what home ownership entails. For this reason, real estate agents love working with these buyers. However, they face serious hurdles in financing a home if they have a recent foreclosure on their record.  Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 We’re grown-ups, right? We want our own space and our own place. But at what cost? We found some people willing to share in order to pay bills and make extra cash.  Meet people who are renting their way rich. By living in the basement, lending out their car or making room in their driveway, they are saving money and building wealth. Read More...

Nov 07, 2017 As the US economy was smarting from the housing crash of 2008, the anticipated “next shoe to drop” was supposed to be in commercial real estate. While foreclosures on individual homes measure in the hundred thousands of dollars, foreclosures in commercial properties such as hotels and shopping malls measure in the millions! Widespread commercial foreclosure would have been another disaster to the US economy. Read More...

Feb 14, 2017 In the days of the housing bubble, there seemed to be a new and exotic kind of mortgage loan being offered every day. It became difficult to keep track of all the loan types that were available! The risky nature of some of these products, along with loose credit standards, helped lead to the housing crisis that followed. Read More...

Dec 24, 2014 With shrinking savings, and retirement incomes failing to keep pace with inflation, older Americans are looking for alternative ways to save money and increase their cash flow. In many cases, they are also looking for ways to simplify their lives. One common strategy for older homeowners is to move into a smaller home. Read More...

Dec 22, 2016 It's been just over a year since Superstorm Sandy touched down in New York City but the effects are still being felt throughout the region.  Most of us were only able to experience the storm through photographs and news reports but it impacted the lives of millions of people.  Residents of NYC were left without power, gasoline, subway access and more for days to weeks to months and beyond.  Even schools and businesses were closed while the city tried to restore order in the days that followed the storm. Read More...

Mar 06, 2017 At some point in your life, you may look around you and feel like everyone is buying a home. While this is the goal for many Americans, it occurs at different times for all of us. There are many key factors you should have in place before buying a home. Read More...

Sep 14, 2016 Sometimes you may look around your home and wonder how it ever got this way. Meanwhile you see gorgeous decor images all around you. Looking through Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn magazines, and Pinterest boards can provide a lot of inspiration to spruce up your space, but sometimes they are too expensive to implement for your budget. Read More...

Aug 05, 2015 This is not a picture of Silicon Valley. But it is a picture of a start up hub. Read More...

Dec 21, 2017 First impressions leave a lasting impression. One of the easiest and most dramatic ways to enhance the first impression of your home is with paint. Read More...

Nov 06, 2017 Every few years in the past decade the U.S. government has come close to shutting down over budget and debt debates. The debt ceiling is an issue that carries a heavy load of contention on both party sides. We get close to exceeding our debt ceiling, only to have the current president raise it even higher. According to a 2015 Congressional research paper, the debt limit was modified 14 times between 2001 and 2015. Read More...

Dec 23, 2014 Owning a home has long been the benchmark of the American Dream but for some, it can turn out to be a nightmare. While owning a home can give you a sense of accomplishment and security, buying a house doesn't always make sense. If you're wondering whether home ownership is right for you, here are a few reasons why you may not want to take the leap. Read More...

Jan 29, 2015 Being environmentally friendly has grown into more than just a trend over the past several years. Beyond basic energy-saving steps, consumers are now demanding greener homes. Often they want entire communities with resource efficient, environmentally sound features. Since green properties have an increased value to customers, energy saving buildings are more attractive for buyers, sellers and businesses. If you still aren't convinced, check out some of the best aspects of green living. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 If you're planning to put your home on the market, it pays to make sure you're maximizing your equity. Taking on a large-scale remodeling project can boost your home's value and make it more appealing to buyers but it can also break the bank if you're not careful. Instead of spending thousands on major home improvements, consider tackling these inexpensive DIY projects. Read More...

Aug 12, 2015 Not everyone dreams of living on the coast or heading to NYC to make it big on Broadway. There are some young, broke and singles that prefer to stay in America’s heartland. So where is a good wholesome Midwestern kid to go when they want to find a place to lay their young, broke and single head down? Here are some of the best places to live if you are young, broke and single in the Midwest. Read More...

Oct 17, 2016 Just because you have a small space, doesn't mean you can’t think big when it comes to decorating for Halloween! There are so many fun and inexpensive ways that you can decorate your apartment. Whether you want to add some spooky-chic or turn your entire apartment into a haunted house, we have some great ideas to get you started! Read More...

Dec 23, 2014 Private pool, granite counter tops and flat screen TVs. Fire pits, roof deck and tanning salon. State of the art gym, putting green and stainless steel appliances. These may sound like the amenities of a 5-star resort, but these are the new features of college housing. Read More...

Jun 06, 2018 Filing bankruptcy is an extreme option for dealing with outstanding debt but in some cases, it's the only way to get the fresh financial start you need. Going bankrupt can relieve your debt burden but there are some long-term consequences. It can take years for your credit score to recover, which can be discouraging if you're looking to get a better a deal on your mortgage loan. While refinancing after bankruptcy may be challenging, it's not impossible and we've got a few tips that can help make the process easier. Read More...

Dec 28, 2014 The prospect of moving into New York City is as exciting as it is terrifying. Newcomers face exorbitantly high rent, minuscule apartments, sleazy landlords, bedbugs, cockroaches, and a litany of other housing-related nightmares. In this edition of How Much House Can You Buy, we are hoping to rise above these horrors by exploring New York City housing in the 550,000 dollar range. Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 All-cash transactions have been a lasting trend in the surge of home sales over the past two years. All-cash bought homes oppose those bought with mortgages. However, studies that measure cash sales vs. mortgages sales can vary depending on the source. RealtyTrac estimated that cash buyers made up 40 percent of the market. Data from Goldman Sachs put the numbers as high as 57 percent. Whatever the number may be, it is clear that cash sales have been a much bigger factor in the current housing recovery than in previous housing surges. Is this trend a good thing or a bad thing for housing long term? Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 They always have special names, although not usually in the formal sense, like The House, The Country, Upstate, The Shack, Grandma's. They are more than buildings sitting on pieces of land large and small. They are collective and individual memories that mean the same thing to every member of the family. Read More...

Apr 13, 2018 So maybe you don’t want to live in a dumpster or a tree house but you are thinking about moving into a smaller space. Whether it’s because of economic reasons or the desire to leave a lighter footprint, micro living isn't for the faint of heart. But with the right planning and creative storage you can enjoy your new scaled down life. Our own family downsized by over half of our original space and I have never felt better. There is a sense of freedom that you get from simplifying your life. Read More...

Dec 23, 2014 “Location, location, location!” It is the most important thing to consider when deciding where to live, either as a renter or as a prospective home buyer. A safe neighborhood and close proximity to services, stores and restaurants are obviously prime factors in choosing where to buy a home. But you should also consider buying a home that is close to public transit lines. Even if you do not plan to commute via train or bus, close proximity to public transit will have a significant positive impact on your home’s value over the years. Read More...

Apr 16, 2015 Everyone has been talking about how crazy expensive it is to live in cities like New York and London. Housing prices are such that many have considered the (actually cheaper!) option of castles or private islands. You know what’s better than lording it over in a castle or sunning on a private beach? Living on a yacht. Yachts allow you to roam as free as a pirate, live comfortably and, let’s face it, owning a yacht automatically makes you awesome. Here are five yachts that are cheaper than homes in San Francisco. Read More...

Dec 23, 2014 Single family home sales have been up every month so far in 2013, when compared year-over-year with 2012 numbers. The housing market is indeed improving at a rapid pace. But perhaps the most encouraging sign of housing’s recovery is the recent drop in foreclosure sales. Read More...

Dec 22, 2016 Buying a house is a major financial milestone but it's also a huge responsibility. If you're ready to make the transition from renting to home ownership, you need to be sure that you're financially prepared to take the leap. There are several red flags that could indicate that it's not the right time for you to buy. We've put together a list of warning signs you should look out for before you take on a mortgage. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 Wondering where to get the money to make a down payment on a new home? As home prices quickly increase, the amount to make an optimal 20 percent down payment also increases. Meanwhile, you may already have a substantial nest-egg built up in a 401(k) if you've been working for years.  Read More...

Apr 13, 2018 The housing recovery may be poised to take another hit. Mortgages look like they will become harder to get come 2014. In light of President Obama’s new focus on reducing the federal government’s role in the mortgage business, conforming loan limits are set to be lowered as of January 1. Read More...

Jun 25, 2018 Home mortgage rates are near historical lows and despite rising more than a full percentage point this summer, have started dropping again this week.  Refinancing while rates are low can potentially save you big bucks but it's not always the right move. Before you call up your mortgage lender, SmartAsset has a few reasons why you might want to put your refinance plans on hold. Read More...

Dec 23, 2014 For those of you who young, broke and single people who would rather stay north and enjoy the four seasons, we have some suggestions of cities that would be perfect for you. Although they may not boast the same warm weather as our list of Southern places to live, you can still heat up the night with bars, clubs and cultural events just the same.  Read More...

Dec 11, 2016 For months, economists have been talking about the possibility of the Federal Reserve finally tapering their asset purchase program as of the September meeting. This anticipation was widely seen as one of the causes for the rise in 30 year fixed mortgage rates, which have climbed steadily since May. All this was meant to be bad news for those looking to refinance their mortgage. On Wednesday, however, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke announced that there would be no “tapering” of the program (known as Quantitative Easing) just yet. The stock and bond markets rallied with the news. Read More...

Feb 03, 2017 As a homeowner, the one thing I dread the most each year is my property tax bill. Even though we currently rent our place now, we still have our old house as an income property. The tax bill still comes each year. Over time our taxes have crept up little by little even though our property value has fallen due to the terrible economy. It’s frustrating! I’m sure that we aren't the only family in this boat. The first few years that we owned our home, I just figured that there was nothing I could do about it. Wasn't it Ben Franklin that said, “The only things certain in life are death and taxes”? Read More...

Nov 10, 2016 Determining " how much house can I afford?" you can afford to buy and borrow on a new home is a personal decision. While lenders have guidelines for determining the maximum debt to income ratio they will approve, what they approve you for may be more than you are willing to spend. Knowing these guidelines is very helpful, but you should also look at your own comfort level when thinking about taking on a payment for that dream home. Read More...

Sep 14, 2018 With the exception of a first child, buying your first home will be the biggest thrill. It ranks as one of the hardest, most frightening, long-term commitment you will undertake. It especially becomes more daunting when you consider how little experience you have in these situations. On the up side, by the time you're ready to move on to having both kids and house, you'll wonder what all the fuss was about. Read More...

Dec 22, 2014 Since 2007 the housing market has been in major trouble and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, also known as Freddie Mac has been one of the main organizations at the center of the housing crisis. Freddie Mac is a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) that was created to function in and grow the secondary mortgage market. Contrary to what many believe, Freddie Mac does not provide mortgages to customers. Freddie Mac’s role is to pool mortgages purchased in the secondary mortgage market and resell them to investors. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Let's be honest, who doesn't like the smell of a new car? It's so popular that you can even buy it by the bottle to make your old car smell brand new. We're Americans and we live in a new country compared to the rest of the world, so we like new! The proof of that is everywhere. New age music, new wave, new Coke, new look, new scent, new flavors, New, NEW, NEW! Read More...

May 21, 2018 In the wake of tragedies large and small, they pop up like mushrooms after a rain. With tales of woe and heartbreaking images of children or helpless animals, they beg for assistance. They are the tragi-charities. One hit wonders seeking to cash in on the tragedy of the day from floods and fires to missing children and more. Read More...

Jan 11, 2018 Lets face it, San Francisco is amazing. It has some of the best food in the country, diverse culture, warm weather, laid back attitude–in fact, we want to move there right now. And why wouldn’t we? The answer: Price. Such incredible lifestyle, unfortunately, costs quite a bit and comes with a large mortgage. So, with limited housing options for $350,000, we  had no choice but increase the budget to $550,000. Read More...

Feb 13, 2017 Navigating the home-buying process can be confusing and frustrating, especially if you're going it alone. Having an experienced real estate agent on your side can make it easier to find a home you can afford. While you may think that all real estate agents are the same, there are some key differences that you need to be aware of. Knowing what type of real estate professional you need can eliminate some of the stress and headaches involved in buying a home. Read More...

Jun 25, 2018 When it comes to buying and selling real estate, there are certain situations where it helps to have a qualified legal professional on your side. If you're looking to get into real estate investing, attempting to purchase a short sale or foreclosure, or having unexpected complications with a simple transaction, it may be time to hire a real estate attorney. Before you sign on the dotted line, consider asking these five questions to make sure your prospective attorney has the skills and qualifications you need. Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 Property values are on the rebound and for many homeowners, the bump in home equity has made the possibility of refinancing a reality. Refinancing your mortgage at a lower rate can save you thousands of dollars in the long run and the increase in equity can also mean a big payoff if you ever decide to sell. Spending a few dollars on some basic home improvement projects can make your home more appealing to prospective buyers and maximize your value when it's time to refinance. Read More...

May 21, 2018 DJ Shadow stated in late 2012 that “we are living in a musical renaissance.” In that same year, the genre commonly known as electronic dance music was valued at an estimated $4 billion worldwide. 2012 also saw the establishment of The Association For Electronic Music, the first new lobbying group in over 50 years. The last was formed in 1958 for country music. One year later dance music legends Daft Punk, who rose to super stardom by reintroducing Chicago house music to the world, broke Spotify's streaming record with 27 million plays of their hit single "Get Lucky." Read More...

Aug 12, 2015 Over the last century people have been heading west  in search of opportunity and fortune. Whether it’s for gold or to see their name in lights, generations of the young, broke and single have flocked to Hollywood before bad Lifetime movies even existed. Not everyone has dreams of being a big star, so for those of you looking for a place to live west of the Mississippi and don’t have your sights on Tinsletown, we have some great alternatives for you! From crazy college towns to big cities, there is a place for every young, broke and single person. Read More...

Dec 22, 2014 People choose to rent their homes for a variety of reasons. Maybe they were temporarily relocated by their employer or their relocation was so fast, they didn’t have time to sell. When the housing market crashed, a new wave of landlords emerged. Many people found themselves upside down in their homes, but needed to move anyways. Instead of taking a loss, they rented their homes to wait for the market to rebound. Read More...

Feb 21, 2018 The Good Faith Estimate (GFE) has always been one of the key disclosures in the mortgage application process. It shows borrowers what costs the loan involves and the amount of their monthly payments. A few years ago, government regulators completely overhauled the GFE format and made it as confusing as it is informative. In fact, the GFE in its present form shows neither total monthly payment or what the borrower must pay at closing. That said, there is still plenty of valuable information on the GFE. Read More...

Dec 22, 2016 You could be wondering, what is an assumable mortgage loan? Essentially, it lets you take over an owner's loan on a property. All the terms of the original loan, including the rate, remain the same. So if you're buying a home and the seller has a favorable loan, it may be in your best interest to assume that loan instead of getting a brand new mortgage. Read More...

Sep 14, 2016 A bare bones apartment is the ultimate blank canvas for creativity. But unless you’re a skilled designer or interior decorator, putting together an attractive, comfortable home — and ensuring it all works together — can be daunting. SmartAsset has compiled some price-savvy design ideas to help you create the ideal living space. Read More...

Dec 04, 2017 Who really owns your mortgage? If you are like many homeowners, your mortgage servicing may have been transferred several times. You got your mortgage through your local broker, then it was transferred to a big bank. Then it was transferred to a bank you’ve never heard of. When that bank went out of business, it was transferred back to a big bank. Does this sound familiar? If you have had your mortgage loan for more than a few years, especially if you got it prior to the financial crisis of 2007-2008, this type of journey from one loan servicer to another is common. Read More...

Dec 22, 2014 After decades of decline and shrinking populations American cities are seeing a resurgence of popularity. People are moving into cities of all sizes at near record setting rates. Why? It appears we have collectively come to the conclusion that we like each other. We enjoy being around people, lots of different people, we're collectively tired of being alone. After decades of running away to ever more distant suburbs where we have room to spread out we've realized that the words of a woman from my hometown of Brooklyn sum it up perfectly; people who need people are the luckiest people in the world. Young and old are finding comfort in having neighbors and things to do and places to go. Read More...

Dec 22, 2014 To buy or not to buy that is the question. Whether it's nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of noisy upstairs neighbors or to take a mortgage and endure a sea of interest. To own, to be tied to a loan and by to own we mean to be bound by the heart-ache of termites and property taxes. Read More...

May 16, 2019 The home appraisal plays a key role in the home buying process, both for a purchase and for a refinance. That's why it's important to understand the ins and outs of the home appraisal process. In a purchase transaction, the appraisal is used to confirm whether the purchase price is a true market value. In a refinance, the appraiser assesses the value based on market conditions and comparable sales, with no consideration of the loan amount or value estimate of the borrower or the lender. The appraiser also looks for any defects in the home, and if necessary, recommends repairs to be completed prior to loan closing. Read More...

Apr 13, 2018 President Obama unveiled a plan to begin shifting the responsibility of mortgage financing away from the government and into the private sector. Effectively this would mean lessening the market share of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the financing of mortgage loans. Read More...

Feb 23, 2017 Home insurance reassures homeowners that they and their homes are protected from harsh weather and accidents. However, many don't fully understand the extent to which their policies can provide help in the event of any damage. In fact, insurers often tend to underpay since policyholder's don't always know the ins and outs of insurance language. Further, paying less for claims does not fall only to individual adjusters who visit homes. Their companies often determine how to avoid paying for damages fully, if at all. Read More...

May 13, 2015 Mortgage rate sheets can look intimidating and ominous, not only to consumers, but to mortgage professionals as well. In today’s market, mortgage rates not only change daily, but are based on many factors specific to the individual borrower and loan. Knowing how to read a mortgage rate sheet gives you a valuable tool as you shop for a loan by taking the surprise out of the rate game. Most lenders now have interactive rate sheets on their websites, giving you the opportunity to input the details of your loan, and see the available rates and pricing for that day. Read More...

Feb 16, 2017 If you are thinking about buying a home, one of the first steps you should take is to find out your credit score. Your credit score is one of the primary metrics used to determine whether you will qualify for a mortgage, as well as your loan pricing. There are three credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian and Transunion. When you apply for a mortgage, the lender will pull a merged report of all three bureaus. The middle credit score of the three is what they use to qualify you. Read More...

Dec 18, 2014 The Beatles sang about fixing a hole where the rain gets in and stops my mind from wandering and one of the places it wanders is to taxes. Sorry, it’s my mind it wanders where it wants. The song and my wandering mind do raise an interesting question about taxes homes and repairs and improvements. Which inevitably leads to the larger question of can spending money on my home help my tax situation? Read More...

Feb 03, 2017 Even if you have bad credit, restrained finances, or you've recently gone through a messy foreclosure process, it is still possible to turn homeownership into a reality with the assistance of a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage loan. Do not let your fears overrule you. You can still buy your own home even if your finances are less than perfect. Read More...

Sep 14, 2018 The short answer to the title question is neither no nor yes. It is the ever uncomfortable, it depends. That big "maybe" won’t even provide a universal response to all adjustable rate mortgages (ARM's) at any given time. Because not all ARM's are the same, what may be true of mine today may not be true for yours. I trust that you are sensing that I am hedging my advice at every opportunity and am being decidedly non-committal. There is a very good reason for it and it’s not that I am wishy washy by nature, I’m not. It’s just that the underlying structure of adjustable rate mortgages is not same for all. Read More...

Apr 10, 2017 It’s really hard to choose a place to raise your family. There are places you would love to live but can’t afford and other places that you can afford but may not be the best for your family. Believe it or not, even in this economy, there are still family friendly cities where you can enjoy high wages, low cost of living and a family friendly environment – you just need to know where to find them. We put together a list of a few family friendly cities to settle down in. Read More...

Apr 13, 2018 Thanks to rising rates your dream home could suddenly cost 10 percent more! That is the effect of 30 year fixed mortgage rates’ rise from the mid 3 percent range in early May to hovering around 4.5 percent today. A full percentage point increase in rates raises the payment on a $200,000 mortgage by about 10 percent. Housing prices have had an impressive run through the first half of 2013, rising by about 12 percent on a national average. After years of decline, housing has begun to surge. Now rising rates are causing economic analysts to fear that this great run will stall. Prospective buyers wonder whether they have missed their window to purchase a home with an affordable payment. Read More...

May 21, 2018 The Department of Veteran Affairs created the VA loan program to help veterans and their families buy homes. One of the advantages for the Veteran is that the VA limits the amount of fees the lender and title company is allowed to charge the buyer. Some of the non-allowable costs are considered “junk fees,” while others represent actual costs of business for the lender or title company. If you are selling your home to a veteran through a VA loan, you need to be aware of these fees because the lender and title company will usually pass them on to you. Read More...

Jun 25, 2018 The south has always been a point of migration for northerners. Whether it’s a snowbird who flies south in the winter, to families looking for a place to raise their families away from the hustle and bustle of the northeast, people come to the south for many reasons.  In the past few years, it has become a place that millenials have flocked to as well. Read More...

Dec 18, 2014 Hold onto your seat. The financial bailouts of 2008 looks ready to turn a profit! Who knew the US Government could be such a successful financial investor. The Federal Government recently received $66 billion in dividends from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These are the Government Sponsored Entities (GSEs) for mortgage financing that the government took into conservatorship in September, 2008. The terms of the take-over gave Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac each access to a maximum of $100 billion. Compared to that sum, the recent $66 billion returned to tax-payers sounds paltry. Yet most of the original $100 billion line of credit was never used. The sheer willingness of the federal government to backstop the GSEs was enough to stabilize their operations. So the $66 billion actually does represent a profit to tax-payers. Read More...

Dec 18, 2014 Several major hedge funds have recently begun buying shares of mortgage insurance companies in large quantities. This happened once before, in 2008, right after the first phase of the financial crisis, which is why investors are a bit skeptical this time around. Read More...

Dec 18, 2014 Have you dreamed of living in the heart of New York City – taking the subway to work, catching a Broadway show, getting Chinese takeout at two o’clock in the morning? Many people dream of big city life and all of the adventure that goes with it but there is also a huge price tag that comes with taking a bite of the big apple. Read More...

Dec 23, 2014 While mortgage rates have jumped recently, they are still very attractive. However. figuring out the intricate puzzle that is mortgage math can be a very daunting task though. There is so much that goes into the approval process and figuring out just how much you can afford when buying a home. Buying a home is, in most cases, the largest and most significant decision you will ever make in regards to your financial life. Yet, according to Chris George, president of mortgage lender CMG Financial, “it’s surprising to me that people tend to spend more time in pre-purchase research for a car than they do for a home mortgage.” Read More...

Aug 08, 2019 If you're in the market for a mortgage and you've opened up the business section of your newspaper recently, then you were likely attracted to headlines screaming bloody-murder over the dramatic rise (relative) in 30 year fixed rate mortgages. The increase on 30 year fixed rate mortgages has gone from a lender average of 3.375 percent in mid-April, to 4.50 percent currently. It peaked at 4.75 percent earlier this month before pulling back slightly. Rates are now the highest they have been in over two years. Read More...

Apr 13, 2018 Gregory Kloehn of Oakland, California doesn’t pay rent or a mortgage on his second home. His home is located in Brooklyn, one of the most expensive places to own a home in the country. He has a bathroom, kitchen, living room and even a sunroof. Sounds great right? What if I told you that Gregory lives in a dumpster? No he isn’t homeless. Gregory, an artist, lives in his renovated dumpster by choice. He has become one of the pioneers in micro living and lately he isn’t the only one choosing this lifestyle. Read More...

Feb 16, 2017 The housing market is becoming more and more difficult for first-time homebuyers. But if you are looking to buy your first home, there are steps you can take to ensure that the mortgage will be a smooth part of the process. With fierce competition for every home, you want to be certain that the financing will not add an additional challenge. Here are five mortgage tips for first time buyers, that will help you keep the ball rolling once you do find that perfect first home: Read More...

Feb 16, 2017 Life is full of milestones, from birthdays and anniversaries, to graduations and career advancement. Many of life’s major events happen as the result of hard work, and most are cause for celebration. There are some, however, that are fraught with anxiety. Buying a home, especially a first home, is number one on that list. Read More...

Dec 17, 2014 The housing recovery took a lot of people by surprise. After several depressed years, the rebound in new and existing home sales over the last year was quicker than most investors and analysts could have foreseen. Unfortunately, it seems to have taken many potential first-time homebuyers by surprise as well. Read More...

May 18, 2018 There are many factors to consider when deciding whether to buy a home or continue to rent. Many prospective buyers also wonder how the numbers of renters vs. buyers breaks down by age group. Although the market has changed over the last three years, the information from the 2010 census is the most accurate available breakdown of homeownership by age group. Note that every group shows an increase from the younger category, finally dropping off at over 75 years old. Read More...

Dec 17, 2014 Every month, the government releases data on the health of the housing market. These numbers, among others, act like a barometer for the overall economy. They are released the following month and it is compared to the previous month and year to see if there is any change and in what direction. Read More...

May 18, 2018 Your morning cup of coffee is no joke. It sets the tone for the rest of the day. A good cup can keep you energized, alert, and positive all morning, while a bad (expensive) cup can make you as grouchy as Garfield on a Monday. According to the National Coffee Association, 86% of Americans brew their own coffee at home. The average coffee drinker has about 3.3 cups a day, or 1,200 a year. That’s why it’s especially important to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to coffee.  Read More...

Feb 03, 2017 They’re vacant, boarded up, and in a state of disrepair. Long forgotten, zombie properties tend to reanimate themselves, sometimes years after the homeowner received a foreclosure notice and walked away. It may look like a scene from an undead apocalypse film, but the phenomenon is very real. These unruly properties have the tendency to cause trouble for the living...properties. We've got the scoop on this dangerous trend and why you should be trembling with fear. Read More...

Jun 06, 2018 Over the last month, mortgage interest rates have risen half of a percentage point for most lenders. Forecasters expect the trend to continue. It is highly possible that the record rates seen this spring (below 3.5% for 30 year fixed rate mortgages) are gone for good. This has obviously impacted the affordability of home ownership for many prospective buyers, and made it harder for sellers to stretch their asking prices. A 0.5% bump in rate increases one’s monthly payment by $28 per $100,000. While rising interest rates will play a large role in one’s determination of how much house they can afford, it should not markedly alter the basic decision to buy rather than rent. Read More...

May 21, 2018 The American prison system is massive. So massive that its estimated turnover of $74 billion eclipses the GDP of 133 nations. What is perhaps most unsettling about this fun fact is that it is the American taxpayer who foots the bill and is increasingly padding the pockets of publicly traded corporations like Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group. Combined both companies generated over $2.53 billion in revenue in 2012, and represent more than half of the private prison business. So what exactly makes the business of incarcerating Americans so lucrative? Read More...

Dec 17, 2014 A recent article in the NY Times pointed out the effect of large Wall Street investors, such as The Blackstone Group and Colony Capital, on the housing recovery. In depressed regions such as parts of Florida and Southern California, institutional investors saw an opportunity as prices bottomed, and have been buying foreclosed homes in large numbers. In some cases, they bought up entire neighborhoods. They are mostly retaining these homes as rentals, with the intention of selling when prices increase. Read More...

Dec 17, 2014 Apartment hunting in a major city is usually a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils. Just like choosing between buying and renting, you will likely have some tough decisions to make. Demand makes prices exorbitant— meaning you can choose the space you like and live in poverty, or a hole in someone’s basement and have financial stability. The numbers demonstrate this challenge, as 25 percent of renters drain their monthly income by half each month on utilities and rent, according to MSN. Read More...

Jul 24, 2019 Purchasing a home or other large asset can be the thrill of a lifetime. Sometimes in the flurry of activity, there are decisions made that could come back to haunt you. No, this isn’t buyer’s remorse. Well, not the kind you are thinking of. The remorse comes way down the road when you find that things aren’t quite the way you thought they were. One thing to make sure you get right is the type of ownership you choose when purchasing such an asset. Here are five types of property ownership, and how each works. Familiarize yourself with these. It may just keep a few extra dollars in your pocket. Read More...

Dec 17, 2014   As the real estate market heats up across the country, certain markets have really gone into over-drive. Looking at the most recent data from Realtor.com, some of the hottest regions are the ones you would anticipate to lead the housing recovery, but there are also some surprises. Highlighted are five real estate markets where inventory has dropped significantly, leading to a seller’s market and a very competitive environment for buyers. Read More...

Dec 17, 2014 Summer is less than a few weeks away and temperatures are already climbing. It will soon be time to run your air conditioning around the clock. While the AC is a necessary creature comfort, you’ll want to do everything you can to keep it affordable. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and cooling your home takes up more than 54% of your utility bill. However, there are ways to minimize costs. SmartAsset rounded up these tips to help you crank that AC with the least guilt possible. Read More...

Dec 17, 2014 If you are a homeowner, you are very familiar with the mortgage interest deduction you claim on your taxes each year. No doubt you are a big fan of it as well! But whether you have a mortgage now or are considering buying a home with a mortgage in the next few years, you should be aware of proposed changes in the tax code which may change or eliminate this benefit of home ownership. Read More...

Mar 24, 2016 The past few years have not been kind to the housing market in the United States. Real estate values tanked in markets all over the country, and many who were over-leveraged now drive by and see new people in what used to be their living room window. Slowly but surely, we have seen prices start to stabilize, but there is still a lot more progress that needs to be made. Read More...

Dec 16, 2014 More households than ever spend over half their income on housing. Rental housing costs increased by six percent from 2008 to 2011, while renters’ incomes dropped by over three percent during the same time. Financial experts recommend spending less than 30 percent of income on housing, including utilities. Mortgage lenders cap the combined cost of mortgage payments plus taxes and insurance at 28 percent. No significant change in monthly payments or incomes occurred for homeowners during that time. Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 The American Dream of owning a home is still very much alive. As we begin to put the housing bubble and Great Recession behind us, the turning real estate market is coaxing more first-time home buyers out of the woodworks. Record low mortgage interest rates and property prices are empowering millennials to invest in a property rather than rent. SmartAsset has put together this guide to help you traverse the numerous obstacles of buying your first home. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 The home-buying process can seem incredibly stressful, regardless of whether you're a first timer or a seasoned veteran. Fortunately, you can find a real estate agent who's willing to do a lot of the grunt work for you. SmartAsset took the time to create a list of some of the best real estate agencies in the industry. Read on to find out which 10 companies made the cut. Read More...

Jun 19, 2018 Just about everyone welcomes the first sign of spring with open arms. They can pack away the sweaters and coats, open the windows and plan outdoor activities. A definite change from cold, blistery temperatures, but the arrival of late spring and summer isn’t without headaches. This also marks the beginning of storm season, with Hurricane season beginning June 1. Read More...

Dec 22, 2014 On October 29, 2012, the totally unexpected happened when Hurricane Sandy descended on the east coast of the United States like a belligerent running back. The super-storm forged a path of destruction, ravaging areas such as Staten Island, Manhattan and large swaths of New Jersey. Power failures, flooded underground transport tunnels, fires, wind and waste water contamination each threatened to turn New York City and the tri-state area upside down. Read More...

Dec 15, 2014 The news around the real estate water cooler is that lenders are coming in from the cold and approving more loans for less money down.  The optimistic implication of these developments is that the real estate market may finally be turning a corner, but what exactly does “loosen up” mean?  Here’s our breakdown. Read More...

Dec 15, 2014 The Obama administration announced on April 10 th its projection that the Federal Housing Administration will require a $943-million bailout at the end of the year. The money will be used to cover estimated future losses on defaulting mortgage loans insured by the FHA during the Great Recession.  The FHA has never taken a taxpayer bailout in its 79-year history. Read More...

Feb 24, 2016 There is some debate on which factors determine what makes the best mass transit, and which cities deserve the title. So we picked the cities that offered the best walkability, towns where a car is about as necessary as a pager, and cities with the overall best mass transit systems. Quality is based on how expansive the transit system is, how many riders use it, and how convenient it is for customers. The answers may surprise you. Read More...

Dec 15, 2014 Jumping into the world of real estate can be quite a  shock. There are going to be times when industry jargon will be thrown at you like a 100 mph hot potato. Wikipedia and Investopedia can come in pretty handy, but they can also lead to an avalanche of links leaving someone even more confused. So SmartAsset put together 15 of the most common terms used in the industry. Read More...

Feb 21, 2018 For many young professionals and couples alike, purchasing a dream home is often a key milestone marker for financial success. However, without saving money for a down payment and a strong credit score, prospective young homeowners will find themselves renting or in a home below their initial expectations. However, choosing to buy young doesn’t mean you have to compromise the size or price of the home you wish to purchase. You can still buy your dream home by simply following some of the following tips. Read More...

Feb 15, 2017 Every year, there are more cars on the road.  While the mass transit departments of America’s metropolitan areas struggle to keep up with growing population and urban sprawl, long commutes are becoming an ever-present part of daily life.  Some have it worse than others, but every rush-hour commute has its own, unique mechanism to aggravate and enrage.  Here are America’s worst commutes, broken down by specific brand of hell. Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 2006 may have been a forgettable year for most Americans.Unless you were a homeowner riding high on your ballooning net worth as home prices shot through the roof nationwide. If you were a  first time home buyer, you were finally living the American dream of home ownership even if you didn't have a job. Read More...

Aug 18, 2015 If you’re considering moving to a major metro area in the U.S., chances are your mind is set on inhabiting a cozy residence in the most centralized location possible. What you'll soon find is that you're not alone, everybody else in the world has every intention of doing the same. When demand is up, property owners raise selling costs, out-pricing many potential buyers.  SmartAsset pounded the pavement in each of the Top 10 metro areas across the U.S. to uncover the following hidden gems — undervalued neighborhoods where you can still reap the benefits of the surrounding vicinity, but at prices that are steeply lower. Read More...

Feb 13, 2017 After moving in to your new home, you may find yourself asking… now what? You may feel lost about what steps to take now that the move-in process is complete. Here's some questions to ask yourself and some things to be prepared for as you start to settle in. Read More...

Dec 15, 2014 Buying a home is a rite of passage for most people, a phase of life that signifies a certain level of success and comfort. With so much information about how and what to buy when looking into the housing market, it is helpful to have a guide that boils down the basics of real estate shopping. SmartAsset can help you prep so you’re ready to dive right in. Read More...

Dec 22, 2016 If you’re in the market for a new home, you’ll need to take a few steps to make sure your credit is the best it can be. Doing so will make securing a mortgage that much easier. SmartAsset put together a step by step guide to preparing your credit so that you can get a great loan and pay the least amount of interest possible. Read More...

Dec 23, 2014   For generations past, home ownership was easily accessible to most young people with steady employment. However over the last past 30 years, the 20- and early 30-something demographic has lost a significant amount of its real estate buying power. Currently the majority of millennials face a variety of financial obstacles not limited to soaring college debt, and underemployment. Many have chosen to move back in with, or to rent for longer periods of time compared to previous generations. Read More...

Dec 15, 2014 Whether or not you are in the market to buy a new home, there are certain real estate trends you simply need to be aware of. Whether it is understanding where the interest rates will be tomorrow, determining whether it is a buyer or seller’s market or using technology to your advantage, it’s important to understand the real estate environment. Having an in depth understanding of these trends will only add to the likelihood of a successful real estate process. Read More...

Jun 19, 2018 Whenever you obtain a mortgage, state and local governments enforce a mortgage recording tax to document the loan transaction. This fee is separate from mortgage interest and other annual property taxes. Since it is state-imposed, the mortgage recording tax must be paid to the government when you register a mortgage. Read More...

Aug 14, 2017 Homeowners insurance (HOI) is a must-have for any homebuyer, and will likely be the most demanding portion of your budget. There are several different types of homeowners insurance and it is helpful to know a bit about each in order to decide which one suits your needs best. You’ll also want to know exactly what your policy covers, so make sure to shop around for the best price.  Read More...

Jul 07, 2016 By:  Ankita Dewan The thought of living in your new home creates anticipation and excitement. The thought of moving in? Not so much. While the process does require time and effort, it doesn't need to break the bank. Moving costs can be a source of stress, but there are many ways to reduce this expense. Read More...

Jul 24, 2019 Depending on the state in which you are buying or selling a home, you may be subject to a deed transfer tax. This fee is tacked onto the deed sale or transfer for a “real” property, defined as any structure attached directly to land. This sales tax not only applies to the transfer of ownership, but also the reassignment of any interest related to a property. Read More...

Dec 22, 2014 Earlier this week we reported on the White House’s intentions to mortgage- the ummm -White House. The whole thing was a bit of an April Fools joke, but all the numbers we used were very real, and very serious. In the process of researching our attempt at satire, we made some interesting discoveries about Washington DC's real estate market. Read More...

Apr 03, 2017 As a first-time homebuyer, you are taking on many new responsibilities. In the process you may grow a gray hair or two as you consider the seemingly endless stream of loans, properties, insurance options and additional costs. The initial shock can be a rough transition for some, but the financial benefits often outweigh the initial hassles and overhead.  The key to making the most of your first-home purchase is knowing what to buy and understanding what tools can help you. Read More...

Feb 08, 2017 When buying a home, many desire a neighborhood with the best schools and the lowest crime rates. As a result, potential home buyers usually depend on what they know about a neighborhood before making a selection. Though many neighborhoods appear to have great schools and low crime rates, the research may reveal a different reality. As a home buyer, it is essential to not only go with your gut but do the necessary research to get a full understanding of what your neighborhood has to offer. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 Plenty of situations arise where homeowners suddenly have an extra property to deal with on their hands. Whether he or she has purchased a new home prior to selling a previous one, married someone, or gained a career opportunity requiring relocation, an important decision must be made: Do I sell or hold on to my current residence? Well, there are a number of benefits to turning your home into a rental property. SmartAsset has rounded up some helpful information on how to rent your home that should help you make a more informed decision before your next move. Read More...

Feb 07, 2017 Real estate taxes, or property taxes, are levies on property that the government requires owners to pay. The value of property has much to do with where we decide to live, our quality of life in those places, and how our communities are shaped. These values also reflect the amount of tax money that goes into a region or community, and can be a measurement of an area’s overall appeal. Read More...

Feb 11, 2019 The process of securing a VA Loan is fairly straight forward, albeit it might take quite a while to finally procure one.  Remember since VA loans are government loans, the underwriting process can possibly take a long time. Read More...

Sep 09, 2019 Are you thinking of taking out an FHA loan for your new home?  Here’s what you should know about upcoming changes that might affect your decision. Read More...

Dec 15, 2014 Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned real estate owner, now is the best time to invest in a new property.  A perfect storm is brewing for individuals and families to make the most of their money through home ownership. Here are five key factors contributing to this trend. Read More...

Dec 15, 2014 Landlords often require a certain credit score as a pre-requisite to letting a tenant move in. According to experts, a credit score of 650 is usually acceptable when entering into a rental agreement. Getting around this rule isn’t easy, as many landlords and rental management companies base potential tenants’ reliability on their previous track record, aka their credit score. Read More...

May 05, 2017 Each and every neighborhood has its own different character and appeal. If you're in the market for a new home, finding the right neighborhood is a huge part of the process. It might even be the most important decision, besides choosing the actual home. Of course everyone's preferences are different. But there are ways you can narrow down which neighborhood will be best for you. Read More...

Feb 03, 2017 Chicago is known for many things. Gut busting deep dish pizzas, great steakhouses, a fantastic skyline, the Cubs, Kanye West. One thing Chicago is not known for is its real estate market, which if you’re in the market for a new home may be a very nice thing indeed. Read More...

Feb 11, 2019 There are a number of reasons why you might want to apply for a Veterans Affairs (VA) loan. Before applying for one, it is necessary to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to prove that you meet the requirements to get a VA loan. The requirements differ depending on whether you are a servicemember, National Guard/Reserve member, or the spouse of a servicemember. However, there are some requirements that are necessary that no matter the category that you may fall into. Read More...

Jan 13, 2016 Depending on where you live, flood insurance can be a thing you know everything about or something you've never even considered. Floods are among the natural disasters that occur so often in some areas that people in other areas think they are immune to them. If you’re a home owner it’s important to remember that nature does not discriminate. Read More...

Dec 12, 2014 Most home owners are looking for ways to reduce their expenses in an effort to balance their personal budgets. It is something that everyone, home owner or not, must go through to make their incomes work for them in an economy that is prone to increasing prices. Read More...

Feb 11, 2019 Veterans Affairs Loans (VA Loans) are made possible by the G.I. Bill. Its purpose is to help military personnel and their families finance their homes.  Then how might a loan that is designed to help veterans, servicemen, and their spouses possibly have any drawbacks?  After all the VA Loan is more of an issuance promise made by the Veterans Affairs to the private lender to secure a loan, and not an actual loan. Let’s take a look at the possible benefits and drawbacks of a VA loan. Read More...

Dec 12, 2014 Congratulations! You’re closing on a property! Well, what does that mean? The closing process is the series of steps leading up to and including the closing. The closing itself will bring together all the parties involved in the transaction up to that point. A successful closing will transfer ownership of the property to you, the buyer. Read More...

Apr 06, 2017 If you're in the market for a new home, you might be overwhelmed by all the available choices. There are tons of properties and different neighborhoods. You have to choose between an adjustable rate and a fixed rate mortgage. You're not alone in feeling overwhelmed. And there is hope! Choosing a good agent is the first step in navigating the processes of buying or selling a home. Let's look at the steps to take to find the best agent for you. Read More...

Aug 18, 2015 If you can't keep up with your mortgage payments, you might eventually lose your home to foreclosure. Some homeowners in this situation opt to short sale their property while others give up on the race and simply walk out of their homes. If you want to try to keep your home, there are ways to reduce your financial hardship and drive up your savings so that you can pay your bills. Read More...

Dec 12, 2014 Mortgage insurance, believe it or not, is designed to protect the lender. Which is contrary to what most people would think of the word “insurance.” Most consumers believe that the purchaser of the insurance is the one being insured. Let SmartAsset walk you through the somewhat confusing world of mortgage insurance. Read More...

Feb 11, 2019 The VA Loan is not your typical housing loan. It's a loan that's guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Active-duty service members, veterans, Reserve members and some surviving spouses of service members are all potentially eligible for a VA loan, which comes with perks like zero down payment requirement. Let's take a closer look at the VA loan, including benefits, fees and alternatives.  Read More...

Dec 20, 2016 Applying for an FHA mortgage is a time consuming process. You will need to provide a great deal of background information before your FHA loan application can be considered. On top of this, the FHA will want to perform their own investigations to determine if your application and the property are suitable. Read More...

Aug 18, 2015 An FHA mortgage is a tool used to help individuals with a difficult financial past start over. It is surprisingly easy to qualify for an FHA mortgage all things considered. If you have filed for bankruptcy or foreclosure in the past you will need to prove that you have resolved these issues.  Doing so will illustrate to potential lenders that you can easily manage the responsibility of a mortgage. Read More...

Dec 12, 2014 "How do I figure out where I want to live?" is the home ownership equivalent of "What do I want to do with my life?" It's a big question with countless answers that all depend on what your goals are, and what you're willing to give in order to get there. In short there is no clear answer. But SmartAsset can help you clarify your thinking, and help you make a smarter decision about your next home. Read More...

Dec 22, 2014 The saying  "you shouldn't throw stones in a glass house" is age old. In fact it originated in ancient Islam, and has been referenced by everyone from Benjamin Franklin to everyone's favorite chef -Raekwon, and even 50 Cent. Read More...

Jun 19, 2018 FHA loans have been around for decades, but many people are not familiar with how they work. These loans are specifically designed to help people with poor credit scores get back into a home.  But this assistance comes at a price. Understanding how and FHA loan works will answer the question: "Is an FHA loan right for me?" Ultimately this will help you make a smarter decision about your personal finances. Read More...

Dec 12, 2014 If you’re on the renting side of the buying vs renting debate, there are many things to take into consideration. The process of choosing a neighborhood, a property, and then ironing out the details can feel like pulling teeth. But even after you've found a a property, signed the lease and moved in, trouble may still lurk. Read More...

Jul 09, 2019 Regardless of where you want to move, there are tons of options for the types of homes you can buy. Your choices stretch from basic single-family and multi-family homes to condos and townhouses. Some jumping-off points for making a final decision on a home include the number of bedrooms and bathrooms it has and whether it has the space to fit your family comfortably. In a more practical sense, knowing what style of home you want beforehand will help you find a suitable mortgage. Read More...

Dec 12, 2014 An FHA loan is a loan administered by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to those that may not be able to get financing elsewhere. The loan is designed to reduce the risk of lending to individuals with less than stellar credit. Read More...

Dec 22, 2014 New York- the city where winter never ends. It's cold, windy, and wet here in the big apple as yet another major storm thrashes the New York City area. So for this week's edition of  " House Much House Can You Buy for 350,000" we're escaping to South Florida. Miami to be specific, where the current weather is a sunny, cloudless 73 degrees. Read More...

Apr 10, 2017 If you’re a fan of AMC’s smash hit The Walking Dead you may consider yourself  an expert on zombie behavior. You may have even started preparing yourself for the zombie apocalypse, and you're not alone. Here are just a few of the zombie proof survival homes SmartAsset found on the internet. Read More...

Dec 21, 2016 How much house can you afford? Policy makers in Washington  believe they have the answer. Why? Because the US government currently supports 90% of all new home mortgages. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Before moving on to the final step, the closing process, it helps to go through a pre-closing checklist. Going through a detailed checklist makes sure everything is in order for the actual closing. Think of it as a dress rehearsal before the big show. Your pre-closing checklists should include a number of things that must be sorted, from the terms of the loan, to the appraisal and various documents that will lead to a successful closing. Read More...

Mar 01, 2018 The question we most often hear at SmartAsset is: " how much house can I afford?" We're tackling  the question with a series of snapshot posts highlighting how far your hard earned cash can go in varying real estate markets across the United States. Read More...

Jul 17, 2019 In the five circles of the mortgage process, underwriting is where you (the borrower) come face to face with the bank's gatekeeper: the underwriter. The underwriter is the last major hurdle standing between you and closing the loan on your new home. Your lender’s underwriter decides if the mortgage application is a safe risk for the lender. Read More...

Dec 22, 2016 The mortgage application process is no different than applying to college or a new job. Similar to those application processes, purchasing a home requires a balance between qualifications and desires. Everyone's personal finances differ based on circumstances, assets, capabilities, savings, and income. As a mortgage applicant, you should strive to remain within your means. Read More...

May 26, 2017 You recently decided that you are ready to buy a home. Time to start doing some shopping, right? Not so fast. Applying for mortgage prequalification or mortgage preapproval can remove some of the guess work that goes into shopping for your dream piece of prime real estate. Read More...

Feb 15, 2017 Home mortgages made simple Buying your home will probably be the biggest and most important investment you’ll ever make.  Thankfully,  SmartAsset can help guide you step-by-step through the complexities of home mortgages with easy-to-understand language and comprehensive graphics. All the information you need is  here to help secure your family’s home and financial future before you sign on the dotted line. Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 Buying vs renting is the one question that most often plagues first time home buyers. It usually goes something like this: “should I continue shelling out money to a landlord, or dig a hole for myself and buy a home?" The answers can be complicated and dependent on several criteria. Read More...

Sep 14, 2018 Welcome to the SmartAsset Mortgage Dictionary. Below you will find a glossary of popular terms explained in plain English. No need to thank us, this is just what we do. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 Once you have decided that you would like to buy a home, the first thing you need to do is figure out how to 'finance' the purchase. This means deciding how much of your savings you are going to use as a down payment, how much money you want to borrow (the mortgage) and choosing the right type of mortgage. While there are several types of mortgages on the market, the two main types of loans are fixed-rate and variable-rate mortgages. Read More...

Feb 03, 2017 There are some bad feelings about mortgage brokers left over from the housing bubble and what seems to be at the root of the issue is a dearth of honest advice. Indeed, working with a broker isn't always easy and sometimes their interests don't correspond with your own. On the other hand, working with brokers can be beneficial to potential homeowners and understanding the role they play in the real estate market can help you decide if you need one. Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 You probably already know that the interest rate you pay is among the most important factors contributing to the cost of your mortgage.  The lower the interest rate you can get, the better for you and your finances.  You may also know that points have something to do with the interest rate you end up getting with your mortgage.  By buying points, you can lower your interest rate. So, when faced with the option to buy points, how do you know if it is a good idea? There is a little strategy involved in this decision. Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 Buying a home consumes a lot of time, energy and most of all – MONEY. It is a daunting task but once you are comfortable that owning your home is right for you there are some simple but important steps you should take to make sure you don’t spend more than you have to in the purchase process. Remember that transaction costs (the expenses related to buying a home that don’t actually go to paying for the home, like brokers, taxes and lawyers) can be as much as 5% of the home value and add up quickly. Follow the tips below to make sure that burden is as small as possible. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 When you have a mortgage, a hefty portion of each monthly loan payment goes toward interest. You might be tempted to make minimum payments toward your home loan so that you can use the rest of the money in your bank account to cover other costs. But paying off your mortgage early can save you quite a bit of money over the life of your loan. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Can I buy a house without a realtor? That’s one of the decisions you’ll have to make when you begin the home-buying process. A buyer’s agent can help you find the perfect property and negotiate with the seller for the best price. But millions of people have bought their homes without the help of an agent and thanks to the plethora of online real estate tools and information, more homebuyers are choosing to go the solo route. Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 Mortgage rates continue to plummet every month to record-breaking lows, making it an extremely tempting time to refinance. Qualifying for a refinance and snagging an incredibly low rate, however, may not be so simple. Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 Many homeowners wait to search for a new house until their current house sells. But these days, houses can spend months on the market. While putting a contingency offer on a new home is an option, there's no guarantee your offer will be accepted in the current market. Read More...

Feb 21, 2018 Are you struggling to pay your mortgage bills each month? Maybe you've lost a job and your income has plummeted. Or maybe you're going through a costly divorce, or receiving treatment for an injury or illness. There are many reasons those once-affordable monthly mortgage payments might turn into an overwhelming financial burden. Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 It might seem like your bank account will have a hole in it by the time you're done buying a house. After all, you're paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for your new home, and you'll be paying hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of interest over the life of your 30-year or 15-year fixed-rate mortgage loan. Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 Tired of showing up at that pricey hotel only to find that the sheets are dirty and your no-smoking room reeks of cigarette smoke? Why not purchase a second home, a vacation home that you can control? When you hit the road for family vacations, you won't have to worry about any unpleasant surprises. And with the price tags of houses across the country at affordable levels, buying a vacation home makes financial sense. Right? Read More...

Feb 03, 2017 Buying your first house can be exciting, nerve-wracking and confusing all at the same time. With so many factors to consider and details to take care of, it's no wonder that many first-time buyers make decisions they end up regretting down the road. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure that you aren't falling prey to these four common mistakes of first-time home buyers. Read More...

Jun 28, 2017   Mortgage interest rates are at record lows. Housing prices are still far below their 2006 peaks. And sellers are willing to negotiate on everything from repairs and final sales prices to closing dates. This remains a great time to buy a home. But if you're ready to take the plunge, now the question is: Should you buy a condominium or a single-family home? Not surprisingly, the answer depends on the needs of you and your family. Here are some factors to consider when you're debating whether a condo or house makes more sense for you. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 When you buy a home or other piece of real estate, you'll have to deal with a certain taxes and closing costs. Real estate transfer tax is one of these costs. Whenever there is an exchange of real estate, the state, county or municipality in which the real estate is located charges a transfer tax on the privilege of transferring real property within the jurisdiction.  What this basically means is that in exchange for making the process legal and official, a fee is paid to those providing the jurisdiction.  Another example of this type of tax is the fee for registering a motor vehicle. Read More...

Mar 30, 2016 Both buyers and sellers of properties can potentially become victims of real estate scams. While different thieves use different techniques, they usually have the same goal: to walk away with a pile of cash. Whether you’re trying to become a homeowner or you need help making your monthly mortgage payments, check out some common scams so you can protect yourself. Read More...

Apr 27, 2016 Going through a foreclosure can be stressful to say the least. What may be worse than losing your home, however, is moving out and discovering months or years later that the bank never took over the property. The foreclosure wasn't completed and you're technically still the owner of the home (yikes!). That's called a zombie foreclosure. If you're stuck in a financial rut, check out seven ways to avoid becoming the victim of a zombie foreclosure. Read More...

Apr 13, 2016 If you’re in the process of buying a house, you can’t afford not to request a title search. A title report will reveal whether there are any issues with the property’s title, or its ownership. Title issues can set you back and potentially delay your home closing. Check out 15 title problems that could keep you from moving into the house you’ve selected. Read More...

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