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The Do’s and Don’ts of Buying a New House While Working Full-Time

So you're tired of your little old lady landlord losing your rent check. And your frat boy neighbors were fun three years ago, but now their mid-week keg parties are keeping you awake. You've got the money saved to buy your first home, but there's … [Read more...]

Should You Buy a ‘Starter Home’ or Wait?

In many parts of the country, the real estate market seems to be rebounding. “As buyers seek to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates, the supply and demand imbalance threatens to further limit deals as the key spring selling season ap … [Read more...]

Money Mentors: Erin Cerat on Paying Cash, Babysitting on the Side, and Buying a Home

For this “Money Mentor” post, I wanted to bring attention to someone who’s doing the little things right. It’s really a chance to ask a thrifty friend — the one who seems like she always has it together — the secrets to her success. Meet Erin Cerat … [Read more...]

What Percentage of Income Can You Afford for Mortgage Payments?

This question often comes up among first-time home buyers: What percentage of my monthly income can I afford to spend on my mortgage payment? Does that percentage include property taxes? Private mortgage insurance (PMI) or homeowners … [Read more...]

Confessions of a New Homeowner: Expenses We Expected and Didn’t Expect

My husband and I closed on our first house on March 9, 2012.  Since then, it has been a whirlwind of new homeowner activities. Painting, fixing, landscaping, neighbor-meeting, decorating ... and spending. Lots of spending. We rented for several y … [Read more...]

What Your Mortgage Interest Rate Really Means

With mortgage rates so low right now, it seems everybody is talking about what a smoking hot mortgage rate they got on their new house. But mortgage rates are tricky. It's easy to look at a 3.75 percent APR mortgage rate and say "holy cow" when, 25 … [Read more...]

Your First Home: What Can You Get for $200k?

As if I don’t get enough real estate as a full-time broker, I spend what little time I take off from work watching the HDTV show “House Hunters.” Why watch something I see day in and out? For the same reason anyone does — to compare. I sit there, thin … [Read more...]

Q&A: Can We Get Approved For A Mortgage With $109k In Student Loan Debt?

Q. My wife (28) and I (27) just got married and we are hoping to buy a small starter house sometime in the next three years. We’ve discussed finances [a lot] so we feel ahead of the curve there. I make $65,000 a year as an engineer and she makes $ … [Read more...]

How Lease Options Work When You ‘Rent To Own’ A House

We spend a lot of time debating when you know it's a good time for you to buy a home and, sometimes, offering gentle reminders that it can be smart to rent. But there's another option: One that melds the pros and cons of both home ownership and … [Read more...]

How Do You Know When You’re Ready To Buy A Home?

Sibling rivalry doesn't end at childhood; just ask my sister. Amber bought her home at 25 years old, almost immediately after I purchased my house. She couldn't let her baby brother be the only homeowner in the family. After all, owning a home is … [Read more...]