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Your money has been waiting patiently in state and federal treasuries, playing Angry Birds and reading the same issue of Men’s Health over and over again. But now it’s time to bring your money home!
Time is running out to file your income tax returns, so here are a few tips to ensure as many of your little green friends as possible make it home this spring.
According to reports, the majority of filers simply use the standard deduction rather than itemizing – which can leave many feeling short-changed. So keep in mind that if you just can’t be bothered with all of those numbers and decimal points, you can hire a professional do the legwork for you! Just remember: It's your money.
Note: This guest post was written by Jesse Campbell, counselor for Money Management International.
One of the best ways to encourage saving is to write yourself a monthly bill.
Last week, I was driving in a rural area and was only able to pick up one very staticy radio station. Thankfully, the station was airing an interesting show about credit cards. I was unable to find a transcript of the show, so bear with me as I try to remember what I thought was a very interesting little known fact.
Almost half of survey respondents admitted that they’d never be able to save enough money for a down-payment on a home. This is discouraging news for the housing market in general, lenders, potential buyers, as well as existing homeowners.
Have you thought about your taxes yet? If you’re like many Americans, you will procrastinate as long as you can—especially if you suspect that you might owe the IRS. But calculating your taxes before the deadline doesn’t mean you have to file early. What it does mean is that you’ll have more time to prepare for the results.
Are you buying a new home? If you are making the move from renter to homebuyer, you are likely to find that there are some hidden costs to ownership. Starting at your closing, additional housing expenses that you hadn’t considered might cost you money you were never expecting to spend. Following are a few expenses you’ll want to be prepared for.
Home insurance. At closing, you may be required to pre-purchase a year of homeowners insurance. Homeowner’s insurance often costs quite a bit more than renter’s insurance, because it covers the home, in addition to your personal property. Depending upon where you live, you may also need to purchase supplemental insurance for hurricanes, floors, tornados, earthquakes, and other natural disasters that are not covered under your standard policy. In addition, if you own any valuable items, such as sports memorabilia or jewelry, you may want to add coverage specifically for those items.
Maintenance and repairs. Owning a home also means that you are responsible for the home’s upkeep. These costs can add up quickly, especially in an older home with older systems. These expenses can include the cost to repair or replace appliances, heating and cooling systems, exteriors, and anything else that needs to be fixed. Every year, you should expect to spend some money on routine maintenance, and always keep an emergency fund with money available for emergency repairs. Keeping up with routine maintenance, although expensive in the short-term, will ultimately save you money.
Utilities. Prepare to spend some additional money on utilities, including water, garbage collection, heat, and electricity. With more space, it’s likely that even the bills you paid when you rented will be higher in your new home.
Homeowners' association fees. Find out if you will have to pay homeowners’ association fees. Many communities have a homeowners’ association, commonly called an HOA. An HOA is typically tasked with maintaining common areas and enforcing deed restrictions. Membership in a community HOA is often mandatory and members are charged a monthly or annual fee.
Home furnishings. You’ll probably need , or at least want, to purchase furniture and décor items for your new home. Most people, when purchasing a new home, decide to paint, upgrade the décor, purchase new furniture, and buy new linens.
When purchasing a new home, factor in these items to your total budget to make sure that you are completely financially prepared for homeownership. By doing this, you’ll rest assured knowing that you are purchasing a home that you can comfortably afford.
Title insurance – the fee that’s charged at closing that protects your investment in the event that the previous owner did not actually own the home that was sold to you. This fee is based on the value of the home.
Legal fees – is not required, but is often recommended because buying a home can be a complicated legal transaction. Home transactions typically use boilerplate forms for everything. If so, the legal review may not be required.
Private mortgage insurance – is charged when the house is being purchased with less than 20 percent down. If you have a loan that requires it, count on paying a couple month's premiums in advance.
Notary fee – is charged at closing and is required to swear that you are who you say you are. This could cost around $50.
Lender/broker fee – this fee is charged by lenders and brokers to prepare purchase documents. This fee could cost between $600 to $1000.
Appraisal fee – this fee is charged to determine fair market value and cost $250 on average.
Survey fee – is the fee that’s charged to determine the exact boundaries of the property. You won't need to pay for this fee if an existing survey can be used. On average this could cost $150 to $400.
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