Homeowner Tips: 10 Efficient Ways to Create a Greener Household

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/17/17 9:05 AM

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Today we’re seeing in shades of green; green homes, that is. Though green living seems expensive and time-consuming, you don’t have to install solar panels or starting growing your own produce to become an energy-conscious household. You can easily reduce your carbon footprint, while minimizing your utility bills with these ten cost-efficient and painless steps.

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Homeowners Have Missed Out on Billions in Refinance Savings – Is It Too Late for You?

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/8/17 9:45 AM

American homeowners could have saved a combined $5.5 billion by refinancing their mortgages in 2010 and 2012, according to a new study published in the Journal of Financial Economics. Despite historically low mortgage rates, homeowners didn’t make refinancing a top priority, which prompts the question: with mortgage rates rising in 2017, is it too late for you?

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Mortgage 101: How to Get $7,500 in Down Payment Assistance as a First-Time Homebuyer

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/20/17 10:06 AM

With mortgage rates and rent prices climbing on top of the availability of several down payment assistance programs, there’s no better reason to purchase your first home sooner rather than later. Here’s how the Illinois Housing Development Authority's loan program 1stHomeIllinois makes homeownership even more enticing for first-time buyers.

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Smart Ways to Put Your Tax Refund Into Your Home

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/15/17 10:00 AM

Getting a check back this year? According to the IRS, the average refund is just over $3,000. Before you start planning your refund-funded shopping spree, think of the many ways you could invest that return into one of your biggest tax deductions – your home. We’ve compiled some smart, value-adding and lower-cost ways to use that refund check toward your house.

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Don’t Miss Your Chance to Refinance: Take Advantage of the FHA Streamline

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/12/17 10:00 AM

If you’ve been keeping an eye on mortgage rates, you know that while they’re still low, they’re climbing. As refinance activity in the mortgage world has dropped to less than 50 percent, studies are showing that rising rates are removing millions of eligible borrowers from the refinance pool. Don’t miss your chance to lower your rate!

 

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Buying vs. Renting: Doing the Math on What's Best for You

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/30/17 12:11 PM

In 2014, 11 million renters were spending at least half of their income on housing, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Another 21.3 million (over 50 percent of renters) were spending 30 percent or more of their income on rent payments. So in an era where rent costs are going up, up, up, how do you decide whether buying a home or continuing to pay the landlord’s mortgage is the right financial choice for you? Here are several things you should factor in when considering the buying vs. renting scenario.

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7 Ways You Benefit as a Homeowner During Tax Season

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/25/17 9:55 AM

From personalizing your living space to creating a stable family living environment, there are several personal benefits of owning your own home. On the financial side, tax benefits are one of the biggest perks of homeownership. See how homeowners come out ahead during tax season.

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Should You Pay Additional Principal on Your Mortgage? 5 Things to Consider First

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/18/17 10:15 AM

You’ve likely dreamed of the day that you would own your home free and clear. If you want to see that day sooner rather than later, you know that making additional principal payments is your route to mortgage freedom. While there are several benefits of paying additional principal on your mortgage, there are several variables that determine whether it's the right choice for your financial situation right now.

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Mortgage 101: What Are Closing Costs and How Can You Minimize Them?

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/4/17 10:00 AM

When you get a mortgage, you will most likely be paying closing costs at the finalization of your purchase or refinance. These costs, which typically range from 2 to 5 percent of your home’s purchase price, are charged by your mortgage lender and third parties that have performed services related to your home purchase (a lot of behind-the-scenes players are involved in the home buying and financing process). See here what you can expect to pay within your closing costs and ways you can try to minimize what you need to bring to closing.

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10 Ways to Cut Costs on Common Household Expenses in 2017

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/31/16 9:00 AM

With 2016 in the rearview, it’s a good time to sit down and determine your financial goals for the new year. Whether you want to save for a large purchase, invest more aggressively in your retirement portfolio or just want to have a bigger safety net, you’ll need to cut costs to pave the way. Here are a few ways you can start budgeting and cut spending on everyday items around your home.

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