Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Investing Insight: Pros And Cons Of Condos Vs Homes

If you're thinking about purchasing a condominium unit or a home then there are a number of differences that you should be aware of before making your decision. 

You need to understand what a condominium actually is and how it differs from an apartment or home for starters. There are a number of personal and financial considerations that can tip the scale in favor (and against) condo ownership, so let's get started.

Condo Pros And Cons

The first upside that a lot of consumers appreciate about owning a condo is that their mortgage payments are far more manageable. 

Even with a 30-year home mortgage you could be talking about monthly mortgage payments in the thousands, which would seldom be the case with a condo in most areas.

With a condo you also don't have to worry about landscaping and trash collection as you normally would with a home. Those kinds of services are usually covered by the condo association and taken care of with your monthly condo assessments. 

With both condos and homes you may pay property taxes. A lot of people might also have a problem with all of the condo association's rules - like what you're allowed to renovate in your unit or the kinds of pets that you're allowed to have in your condo unit.

On the plus side condo ownership can mean an attractive urban unit in the heart of the city at relatively little monthly expense in terms of mortgage payments and biannual property taxes.

Pros Of Home Ownership

The first pro with a home is that there's usually much more space for you to entertain your guests and do what you like. 

You can have as many pets as you want without worrying about condo association rules, and you can have guests stay into the wee hours of the early morning. You'll have more indoor space too with most homes. Any upgrades you make will increase your curb appeal and likely home re-sale value as well.

Cons Of Home Ownership

The downside is that, although you'll have fewer rules to negotiate, you'll have to maintain your own lawn unless you go with a lawn service. 

You might also pay more on a monthly basis as far as mortgage payments or taxes go. It's possible your home could depreciate in value over the lifetime of your investment.

The amount that you're willing to pay towards your mortgage and property taxes, the amount of independence that you need, and the kinds of opportunities in your area will likely determine whether you become a condo or home owner. 

Checking in with real estate professionals, like those at RE/MAX Associates San Antonio, can make the decision easier. If you're still struggling, though, remember that a condo comes with rules and monthly assessments. 

Home ownership, on the other hand, likely means more maintenance but the chance to make a healthier profit at closing when you go to sell and independence until you go to do so.

7 Late-Stage Retirement Techniques That Allow you to Play Catch Up

If you’re fast approaching the retirement stage of your life with minimal savings, you may have cause for worry. But taking the necessary precautions now with the following 7 retirement techniques can help increase your nest egg and without a lot of sacrifice. 

Work Your 401(k)

Benefits such as an employer matching retirement program equate to a valuable perk when looking for a job. If your employer offers a 401(k) program through work, you need to fund it to the highest level you can afford. 

After paying your mortgage, utilities and other household expenses, place the remainder of your funds into this account. If you’re 40 years-of-age and put away close to $17,000 each year, you could accumulate over $1 million by the time you reach 65.

Know Your Healthcare Options

Healthcare coverage is integral at any age as it covers important health services such as doctor, emergency and hospital visits. With the right plan, you also won’t have to use your retirement savings to pay for medical expenses incurred as you age. 

 During your employment, your employer may pay the majority of the premium and leave the responsibility of the deductible to the employee. If you’re 65 and older or you receive social security disability insurance or end-stage renal disease, you’re eligible for Medicare.

Re-Tool Your Budget

Savings can add up quickly if you re-tool your household budget. Take a look at your spending for the previous month to determine the areas where you can tweak. If you normally enjoy a latte at your local cafe, skip the coffee run and make your own blend at home. 

Dining out can be another major household expense. Instead of going out to eat regularly, whittle it down to once each month or on special occasions.

Bank Additional Money

The rewards of working hard at your job are usually shown through a holiday bonus and raise. While you may want to spend the additional income on frivolous things such as a T.V., bank the additional money instead. You’ve never had this amount of money before, so you won’t miss it. 

The same advice can used if you get a tax refund from Uncle Sam. As long as you can live comfortably and pay your loans and bills on time, putting the money away for your future will help boost your retirement nest egg.

Eliminate Debt

Debt placed on credit cards quickly can add up. If you can’t afford the items that you’re placing on your charge cards, don’t make any new purchases. If you’re looking to pay down debt, begin by paying off cards with the highest interest rates. 

You may also be able to take advantage of transfer balance cards with zero interest. The sooner that you stop overspending and pay down the amounts on your credit cards, the sooner you’ll have more money to save for your retirement. 

If you feel like your debt is at the point where you will never be able to catch up, you can look at benefits of Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Although this type of bankruptcy discharges most debt, typically, there are income limitations. 

It’s imperative you look at all your options before you lean towards a bankruptcy. Some people even look into getting a 0% APR credit card to give them more time to pay off their credit card debts.


As parents age, their lives change. While you were once consumed with raising your family, you may now see yourself as empty nesters. As your children leave the home to go off to college or get married, you don’t need as big a dwelling as before. 

This is the ideal time to downsize your living arrangements. From a condo and townhome to a smaller house, the possibilities are endless. If your home is paid off, use the funds to pay for your new dwelling. Additional money left from the sale will all go toward your retirement account.

Convert Assets

Assets such as jewelry, antiques and other collectible items may be worth a lot of money. This type of collection could be converted into a proper retirement investment. 

Make a list of the items that you have such as a boat you no longer use, vacation home that’s too far or expensive hobby that’s collecting dust. Do your homework to determine fair market value for the items. Once sold, you can boost your retirement savings significantly.

Whether you were a procrastinator or you had other outlets for your money such as putting your kids through college, your retirement account may have taken a hit. The good news is that with the above techniques, it’s never too late to play catch up.

5 Priceless Personal Finance Tips for Millennials

Since 2008, with the economic crisis hitting hard worldwide, many people have been struggling to make ends meet. 

Nowadays, these battles await millennials who are faced with different and bigger challenges compared with the previous generation. One of them would definitely be dealing with their financial future, e.g. paying off college debt or becoming independent.

Here are some simple tips for all the brave millennials on how to handle their finances and get ready for their future:

Make Your Budget

First things first, make your budget and don’t ignore your bank account. In case you are receiving any payments from abroad, find out which banks are the most profitable for you. 

Some banks offer good deals for student bank accounts such as freebies or low fees for unexpected spending. Therefore, if you are a still a student, take advantage of these privileges. 

In case none of them is to your liking or fits your budget, turn to e-banking. Many companies offering digital online services have affordable fees like Payoneer. In addition, paying your bills online is less time-consuming, so you will be saving your time and money.

Get Around

Unlike the previous generations, millennials have had a great advantage throughout childhood i.e. an easy access to information by Internet. 

Don’t forget that it can also come in handy for your finance, not only for your posting tweets. So get around! Consider searching for stores that can offer you products for domestic use at a bargain price. 

They could be right around the corner. Discounts and vouchers will help you cut expenses. Not to mention that numerous free apps can help you sort out your budget.

A Plan B Just in Case

Regarding job opportunities, for most millennials the future remains uncertain. Whether you are ahead of your class or not is no longer the most important question. 

The requirements of getting a well-paid job have changed and it’s getting harder to get one. The question that you need to ask yourself is ‘’Do I have a plan B just in case?’’. 

Many people are turning to their B plan that sometimes becomes their main source of income. Getting a part-time job as an online language tutor or making a passive income by writing e-books, blogs or launching tutorials can also help your finances increase.

Stick Together

By working as a freelancer, you will definitely earn some money and get experience. However, working at your home can often be frustrating. 

Consider calling up fellow freelancers and renting a co-working space together to cut the expenses. Having an office will help your productivity and working with other freelancers will get you some valuable connections. 

Moreover, make the co-working space a real workplace. Getting notice boards or whiteboards can be useful for announcements. Promote your common workspace by getting brochures holders and displays from office suppliers, e.g. DisplayMe. Your professionalism will attract more co-workers and clients.

Turn Bad Habits Into Gold

If you have a bad habit of overspending, it’s high time you changed. Think about the extra expenses that you make and ask yourself whether it is worth your while. 

It is always good to invest in yourself, but do you really need pay so much money for brand new clothes? Instead, wouldn’t you rather save some money and get a new laptop? 

The public transport is cheaper if you get a season ticket, cycling can be a good alternative as well. In the end, by simply turning off and unplugging some electrical appliances, you will save money and won’t need to pay so much on your monthly bills.

Find a Balance

In the end, your future is in your hands. Whether you choose to take action concerning your financial future now or later, you will see that there are many options that you can profit from. 

Of course, you cannot control what is inevitable in the market, but you can take these few steps that can help you balance out your life and your bank account.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Looking to Buy a Home? How Hiring a Realtor Can Save You Time and Money

Real estate business is a big deal to many people. For most individuals, purchasing property is the most significant investment once in their life. Purchasing a home is a serious transaction with significant emotional and financial ramifications for the people who are involved. 

It requires excellent and proper representation by all parties that are involved. Today sellers and buyers conclude a realtor. Hiring a realtor is an essential factor during the process because of the following primary reasons.

Fiduciary Responsibility

When you work with an experienced person, fiduciary responsibility comes back to you. This implies that you have a realtor who takes care of your interests and who will always protect you in areas where you do not understand. 

For over ten decades, Realtors subscribe to a code of ethics as the first condition of membership; the best example is Re/Max Alliance-The Diane Stow Team who have been at the forefront of advising the Longmont residents in buying and selling homes for over 15 years.

Complex and Fluctuation Regulations

Selling and buying a property is a complicated process, it is not like the purchase of a plane ticket. The laws and regulations change annually, and it varies from one state to another. 

Buying a home for between 7 – 10 years usually the transaction changes in between the period. Realtors are people who are in the business daily and have all the current updates in the real estate. 

Once you hire the realtor, they will practice the knowledge in your business.

Time is Money

You have heard the saying “time is money.” When it comes to buying a new home it can take a lot of time. It may even take time that you don’t have to do it on your own without taking time off work. 

This usually means that you are not bringing in money for taking time off. Though you may not be losing money, that doesn’t mean it is not costing you money in some sort of way. This is where a realtor can come in handy in that they can find you the perfect home based upon the specifications you have provided them. 

They can also help get the proper paper work together for you when you put in an offer or the contract for closing. The realtor can also serve as the “middle man” so to speak when it comes to negotiating costs of the property as well as closing costs when you close on your new home. 

Negotiating on your own can take time and it can be extremely frustrating.

Assist People to Find the Correct Home

Nowadays, when people are looking for a home to purchase, they start by searching it online. 

But during the real transactions of buying a home, they want to know all the pros and cons of property. In this case, they need a genuine person for them to make the right decision. 

Realtors are always in the market for the real estate business, and they will give you the information you are not aware. Realtors will go beyond the basic knowledge about all the details of the property you are considering.

There are many other benefits of hiring a realtor like during the negotiation process; there are always updated to the prices of particular property in the market. A realtor operates professionally and practices perfect code of ethics. 

Also, a realtor will ensure that all the parties during the transaction act according to the existing laws and regulations. You will not regret hiring a realtor at any point of operation.

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