MoneyUnder30.com

When Buying, Look for Features That Add Value to Your Home

When house hunting, look for features that create lasting value.

If you’re buying a home, you want it to appreciate. Even if you realize your own house may not be a great investment, you still want it to hold it’s value and — hopefully — to be able to sell it someday for more than you paid for it. But in real estate, the stuff […]

Does Somebody Really Live There? Crazy and Amazing Houses in America

Beer Can House

As I was driving from San Diego to Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago, I saw a massive house at the very top of a huge mountain. The house was overlooking the freeway and had no other houses nearby. I wondered who lives there and what it would be like to drive for 15 […]

Discount Real Estate Brokerages: Worthwhile or a Scam?

Flickr.Houseforsale.images_of_money

“What about the buyer’s side? Do they get no money for all their efforts? This can’t be the whole story.”

Why Owning a Home is a Bad Investment — But Often a Smart Decision

flickr.contractors

Experiential learning is always better than any lesson from a book. But when it comes to personal finance, too often the experience comes at the price of losing or spending way too much money. This past summer, my wife and I decided to finish our basement. We met with our contractor, who was honest and […]

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Buying A New House While Working Full-Time

movingday.flickr

Buying a house can be time consuming. Between all the paperwork of getting a mortgage, looking at houses, and submitting offers, who has the time? Here are some tips on what to expect and how to make things go a little smoother.

Should You Buy a ‘Starter Home’ Or Wait?

flickr.house.photo dean

Buying a house is a big decision and there is a lot to consider. Should you get a starter house right now just to get into the market, or should you wait until you can afford your “forever house”? We weigh the pros and cons of the starter house.

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

Erin Cerat and family

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, a 31-year-old special education teacher and new mom […]

What Percentage Of Income Can You Afford For Mortgage Payments?

What percentage of your income can you afford for mortgage payments?

Learn the rules of home affordability to figure out what percentage of your gross monthly income you can safely spend on housing. Caution: Your mortgage lender may very well approve you for a bigger mortgage that you can actually afford.

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

Flickr.landscaping.GeorgeOGoodman

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 years, and during that time we lived on a very tight budget. We saved 20 percent of […]

What Your Mortgage Interest Rate Really Means

A free Google Doc loan payoff spreadsheet from MoneyUnder30.com

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 years ago, the national average interest rate for a […]