4 Tips To Lower Homeowners Insurance For Your Home

4 Tips To Lower Homeowners Insurance For Your HomeWith the prices for everything skyrocketing these days, every penny counts. This includes your homeowner’s insurance costs. If you’re thinking of buying a home and need homeowner’s insurance, here are a few tips on getting quality insurance for a fair price:

Tip #1: Shop Around

Ask family and friends about their homeowner’s insurance. Check the Yellow Pages, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and the state insurance department. 

Other places to shop for insurance include consumer guides, insurance agents and online insurance quote services. Don’t just look for lower prices, however. You need a fair price for the services you need.

Tip #2: Raise Your Deductible

The deductible is how much you have to pay before the insurance company starts to pay a claim on your home. The higher the deductible, the lower the premiums. If you live in a disaster-prone area, your policy may have a separate deductible for specific types of damages. 

Make sure, when reading the policy, you carefully go over damage-specific information.

Tip #3: Use The Same Insurer

Some companies will take five to fifteen percent off your premium if you buy more than one policy from them. If the insurer offers homeowner’s, auto and liability coverage, you stand a chance of having a lower premium than if they only offer one or the other. 

The key is to make sure that the combined price is lower than if you bought them separately.

Tip #4: Improve Home Security

By installing a sophisticated fire sprinkler system and a fire/burglar alarm that rings the monitoring stations, some companies will cut your premium as much as fifteen or twenty percent. 

For a smoke detector, burglar alarm or deadbolt locks, you can usually get at least a five percent discount. Check with your insurer to make sure that the system you’re installing will lower your premiums, though; the systems aren’t cheap and not all of them qualify for a discount.

Read everything carefully before you sign, to make sure the policy covers your insurance needs without adding on hidden fees. Even a little money saved can go a long way toward making it easier to live within your budget. 

Ready to buy a home? Let me help you find the perfect home and get it at the best terms and price. Call or email your trusted real estate professional.

Invest In Real Estate Like A Pro With These Quick Tips

Invest In Real Estate Like A Pro With These Quick TipsReal estate investments are still going strong and will probably continue to be a popular method of financial gain into the future.

Real estate is solid. It is a tangible product that is attractive to both beginning investors and experienced pros. The most important part of getting started in real estate investing is knowing what you’re getting into and what to watch out for.

Here are 4 top tips from real estate investment professionals:

Understand The Realities

Real estate investment, like any form of investment, is risky. Do not use money you cannot afford to lose. Careful study, understanding the market, and practice help alleviate a lot of the risks but things happen in the best of situations so don’t play with what you can’t afford to lose.

Research Is A Constant

Research in real estate investment isn’t something you do once. Research is constant. It is a daily part of your efforts and should always be at the forefront of your mind. From changing banking methods to market changes, researching and learning must be ongoing to be a successful real estate investor.

Know The Property

Research isn’t limited to financing and the real estate market. You need to thoroughly investigate each property before you buy. Fill out an investment worksheet to see if all the costs associated with the purchase will allow a satisfying profit.

Learn About Personal Protection

Taking risks with the money you have set aside for investment is one thing. Taking risks with your family’s savings, property, and other assets is another. Consider starting an LLC. You can choose from a single LLC to cover all of your real estate holdings, or having a separate LLC for each property purchased.

3 Common Myths About Real Estate Short Sales

3 Common Short Sale MythsThere is a lot of misleading and incorrect information about real estate short sales.

Many people don’t have a clear understanding of the purpose of short sales or how they actually work.

Essentially, a short sale is when one sells their home for less than the balance remaining on the mortgage attached to the property.

The proceeds from the sale are used to repay a pre-negotiated portion of the balance to settle the debt.

A short sale can be a solution for homeowners who really need to sell their home but owe more on the mortgage than the home is worth.

Understanding the short sale process can help make the most out of a real estate sale.

Here are some common myths and why they are false:

A short sale damages one’s credit record as much as foreclosure

In many cases a short sale is less damaging to your credit record than a foreclosure. Some lenders may think that the short seller acted in a more responsible manner than simply walking away from the property.

Although the amount paid may have been less than the mortgage balance outstanding, the loan was settled with the lender. Opting for foreclosure is often seen as a lack of responsibility.

To qualify for a short sale one must be behind on payments

This might have been true in the past, but it’s not anymore.

You just need to be able to prove that you are in financial hardship, which could be due to death in the family, divorce, job loss, mortgage rate hike or even loss of property value.

After a short sale you can’t buy again for five to seven years

This may be true in some cases, but not all. In certain situations the waiting period can be reduced as low as two or three years before you are allowed to purchase another home.

It would be wise to speak with licensed real estate professional or home financing specialist to get the most current options in the marketplace.

Pass it on

These are just a few examples of commonly believed short sale myths. A clear understanding of the short sale and the benefits it  can provide is important for financially strapped homeowners.

Feel free to pass this important information on to someone that you feel would benefit from it.



Things You Just Do Not Need to Spend Money On

Dog ToysAre you spending your money on things which are completely unnecessary? If you are looking to save money and help your finances go further in these tough economic times, examine your spending habits and see if there are any needless expenses you can cut from your budget.

Here are some examples of things that you really don’t need to spend money on:

Shampoo and Blowout at a Salon

Today I phoned up two nearby haircutting places. One of them was a trendy salon which said that they would charge $40 for a shampoo, haircut, and blow dry. The other was a budget haircutting place would said that they would charge $15 for a wet down and a cut.

Think about it. The fancy salon wants to charge you $25 for washing your hair, something that you do every morning in the shower for free.

As long as you are getting a basic trim and not getting your hair done for a wedding or a special occasion, why pay over twice as much when you can wash your own hair before you get there?

Dog Toys

Your dog loves to have something to chew on, but he doesn’t know the difference if it is a cute little squeaky hamburger from that high end pet shop or a grimy old tennis ball from the garage.

In fact, the grimy old tennis ball probably has more flavors. Besides, he is going to destroy it within a few days anyway. Don’t waste your money on expensive dog toys that just don’t last, and make your own instead out of old socks, jeans, and rope. Look online for easy instructions.

Bottled Water

Do you buy a bottle of water at the store every time you are thirsty?

Not only is this excessive use of plastic not good for the environment, you are also needlessly wasting your money. Instead, buy a sturdy portable water bottle and bring it with you wherever you go in your bag or in your car.

Fill it up with fresh and cold water from your faucet or refrigerator every morning. Even if your tap water isn’t very good, you can buy a water filter for less than you will spend on bottled water in a week.

Stop spending money on these things you just don’t need, and you will have more left over for the things that you really do need.

Three Tips for Becoming More Aware of Your Spending Habits

It’s not how much money you earn that will make you rich; rather it is your spending habits. How aware are you of what you spend on a daily money saving tipsbasis? Do you ever think you have a certain amount of money in your account and then realize that you have a lot less?

Noticing how much you spend can be the first step to learning how to manage your money better.

Here are three useful tips for becoming more aware of what you are spending:

Use Cash

There is something about credit cards and debits cards that make it much easier to spend more than you intend to, because you cannot actually see the money leaving your hands. Also, when you use a credit card the money doesn’t come out of your account until much later which makes it hard to gauge how much you have spent.

If you are going out shopping, try taking out as much cash as you will need at the beginning of your shopping trip. Handing over paper bills every time you make a purchase will make you much more aware of how much you are spending. When you open your wallet at the end of the day, you will able to physically see how much change is left over.

Track Your Purchases

Over a month, try saving every receipt from anything that you buy and place it in a plastic bag or an envelope. At the end of the month, total up all of the amounts and sort them into categories such as eating out, clothes, entertainment, household expenses, groceries, etc. You can use a spread sheet on the computer to organize them. Chances are that you will be shocked by the results.

You might have thought you were spending one amount on groceries, eating out, or drinking and then realize that you are spending a lot more!

Check Your Bank Balance Often

With almost every bank offering online banking services these days, you can check the status of your bank account with the click of a button. It is important to keep tabs on how much money you have in your account every day or two. This will help you avoid going into overdraft or having checks bounce, and it will also let you see with your own eyes how much you spend on a daily basis.

If your bank account starts to rapidly shrink before your eyes, it’s time to rethink your spending habits!

Becoming more aware of what you are spending will put you on the right track towards managing your money better.


Got Student Loans? Tips for Graduating Debt Free

Going to a university or college can be a great opportunity to obtain the education and qualifications you need to pursue the career of your dreams. However, many students find themselves under huge mountains of student debt after graduating, which will take years to pay back.

Taking out student loans to go to college is not always necessary, and with a little foresight, hard student loan debtwork, and ingenuity you can get through your degree without having debt cast a shadow over your life. Here are some tips for graduating debt free:

  • Don’t go to school right away. If you spend a year or two working full time and saving first, you will have a nest egg to support you while you study rather than taking out a loan for it. You will also have more time to gain life experience, think about what you want to study and choose the best program for you.
  • Use the summer time when you are not studying to make as much money as possible. Work a full time job and take on extra hours if you can. In the school year, work part time alongside your schooling.
  • Apply for as many scholarships as possible. There are many to choose from and they can reward huge amounts of money to students. Not all scholarships are entirely based on academics, so even if your grades are not perfect you can still apply.
  • If it is possible to live at home with your parents during your degree, this will save you a lot of money and really help you get through your education debt free. If not, try finding the cheapest apartment or on campus accommodation you can and sharing it with a roommate. It’s not the ideal living situation, but you can have your own apartment in a few years when you are working and can actually afford it!
  • Anytime you get an unexpected windfall, such as birthday money, or prize winnings don’t think of the money as extra but use it to pay for your education instead.
  • Buy only what you need, and buy it as cheaply as possible. When you are decorating your university dorm room, you don’t need brand new furniture when a used desk you found on Craigslist for $15 will work just as well. Buy only the essentials, and try to find them used rather than new so that you will spend less money.
  • Many of your friends will be flashing their designer clothes and brand new laptops, and going out on the town every weekend. It can be difficult to resist wanting to fit in, but it’s important to remember that these students are either being funded completely by their parents, or spending student loans foolishly that they will need to pay back. You might feel like you are missing out as a student, but you will be much richer later as a result.
  • Find free or cheap ways to entertain yourself, so that you don’t spend a lot of money on expensive recreational activities. Go for walks, make dinner and watch a movie at home with friends, or go out on 2 for 1 drinks night at your local bar. The fun part is hanging out with friends, not spending a lot.

These are just a few things that you can do which will help you graduate without a huge student debt.

Ka-Ching! Simple Tips for Trimming Down Your Grocery Bill

Do you gulp with fear every time you approach the checkout at the supermarket? saving money on grocery shopping

Do you end up spending a huge amount on grocery shopping every week, yet only coming home with a few bags of items?

It is possible to cut down your grocery bill drastically; you just need to know how to outsmart the supermarket and get more for your dollar.

Here are some clever tips for getting the most food for the lowest price next time you go grocery shopping:

  • The most important rule is: never go grocery shopping when you are hungry! Make sure you go after you have eaten, or your growling stomach will talk you into throwing many indulgent treats and snacks into the shopping cart that you just don’t need!
  • Don’t be loyal to brand names, because you pay extra for their familiarity. For example, although Heinz ketchup is the most well known, it is also usually the most expensive. The generic brand will probably taste just the same on your hot dogs and hamburgers and if it costs $1.50 less, why not give it a try?
  • Think about where you are shopping. Is it a high end chain supermarket with fancy displays, nice lighting, and beautiful interior design? These types of gourmet grocery stores often overcharge for the same items that can be found at a budget grocery chain for much cheaper!
  • Use coupons on the items that you regularly buy. You can find coupons on fliers in the store, and also at several websites online.
  • Don’t pay extra for convenience. Packaged foods such as microwave meals, prepared snacks, and other easy and quick dishes are usually much more expensive. Buy the ingredients and cook it yourself to save money.
  • Stock up on “loss leaders.” These are items that the supermarket is advertising at a ridiculously low price. They are very cheap because they attract customers in, who will likely spend more money on other more expensive items once they are in the store. If you can stick to only stocking up on the sale items and avoid being tempted by anything else you can really save a lot of money.

These are just a few easy ways that you can trim down your grocery bill and save money at the supermarket!