Americans use debit cards more often than credit cards, but they tend to use credit cards for higher-dollar transactions. The average value of a debit-card transaction in 2018 was just $36, while credit-card transactions averaged $89.1
This usage reflects fundamental differences between the two types of cards. A debit card acts like a plastic check and draws directly from your checking account, whereas a credit-card transaction is a loan that remains interest-free only if you pay your monthly bill on time. For this reason, people may use a debit card for regular expenses and a credit card for “extras.” However, when deciding which card to use, you should be aware of other differences. Continue reading “Debit or Credit? Pick a Card”
If you don’t really know what you’re looking for in a home, how do you find the right one? Careful planning and consideration of your options can help ensure that you will be happy with the one you select. You may decide that buying a traditional, single-family home is not your best bet. A condominium or a cooperative may better serve your needs. Or, you may decide that building a new home may be the only way to get what you want. Whatever type of home you end up looking for, your selection should be based on an educated decision. Continue reading “Finding the Right Home”
An old rule of thumb said that you could afford to buy a house that cost between one and a half and two and a half times your annual salary. In reality, there’s a lot more to take into consideration. You’ll want to know not only how much of a mortgage you qualify for, but also how much you can afford to spend on a home. In order to know how much you can truly afford, you need to take an honest look at your lifestyle and your standard of living, as well as your income and what you choose to spend it on. Continue reading “How Much House Can You Afford?”
What is it?
Finding the right home to buy can be a challenging prospect but knowing what to expect can make the process easier. You can (1) buy through agents representing the seller and/or use a buyer’s broker, (2) buy directly from an owner, or (3) shop the auctions and foreclosure sales. Once you find the house you want, you must make an offer, check for clear title to the property, and arrange for a home inspection. And after the closing, you can finally move into your new home. Continue reading “Buying a Home”
What is it?
If you’re like most consumers, homeownership involves the largest financial transaction you’ll participate in during your lifetime. As such, it’s no wonder that the process of buying or selling a home can be so stressful, frustrating, and, at times, totally confusing. If you want to ensure that you make sound financial decisions and survive the process with your sanity intact, you should first educate yourself about real estate transactions and then engage in careful planning. Your first step should be to ask yourself: “Do I really want to own a home? Continue reading “Homeownership”
Understanding Your Credit Report
Your credit report contains information about your past and present credit transactions. It’s used primarily by potential lenders to evaluate your creditworthiness. So if you’re about to apply for credit, especially for something significant like a mortgage, you’ll want to get and review a copy of your credit report. Continue reading “Understanding Your Credit Report”
Military families face plenty of financial challenges. If you’re saving for college or retirement, buying a home, or wondering how to help secure your family’s financial future, don’t overlook these five important benefits.
Continue reading “Five Key Benefits for Military Families, including VA Mortgages”
Vacation homes require a special type of insurance–one that protects your vacation home but doesn’t overlap with your already existing homeowners insurance coverage. Here are some things to consider when insuring your vacation home.
What is covered under your primary residence’s homeowners insurance?
Continue reading “Insuring Your Vacation Home”
Your credit report contains information about your past and present credit transactions. It’s used primarily by potential lenders to evaluate your creditworthiness. So if you’re about to apply for credit, especially for something significant like a mortgage, you’ll want to get and review a copy of your credit report. Continue reading “Your Credit Report”
When you refinance your mortgage, you take out a new home loan and use some or all of the proceeds to pay off the existing one.
Why refinance your mortgage?
There are a variety of reasons why you may want to consider refinancing your mortgage, such as:
- Lowering your monthly mortgage payment by reﬁnancing to a lower interest rate
- Shortening the length of your loan (e.g., from a 30-year mortgage to a 15-year mortgage) to potentially reduce interest charges over time
- Accessing extra cash through a cash-out reﬁnancing to pay for home improvements, pay for college, or consolidate debt
- Reﬁnancing your adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) to a ﬁxed rate mortgage or to a new ARM with better terms
Continue reading “Refinancing Your Mortgage”