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Like most Americans, you probably carry some debt. Reaching your dreams such as saving for a down payment or registering for a class takes longer when you're also paying on money you owe. Paying it off might seem daunting when the only way you know is to either make more money or reduce expenses. There are other ways, though, to tackle debt. Here are three.
When using the avalanche method to pay off debt, organize debt by the highest interest rate to the lowest. Any extra funds you can come up with go toward the debt with the highest interest rate until it is paid off. Then, move to the debt with the next highest interest rate. Take the whole payment amount of the first debt and add it to the payment of the second highest debt, paying it much more quickly. As each debt is paid, move to the next highest interest rate until all debt is paid. Proponents of this method believe your debt is paid off faster with the least amount of interest paid.
This popular method to pay off debt focuses on paying off the smallest debts first, then taking that payment and adding it to the payment for the next lowest debt. As you pay each debt, add that payment amount to the next smallest debt's payment. Each time you pay off one debt, the amount you can throw at the subsequent debt increases in the same way a snowball rolling down a hill gets bigger and bigger. Eventually, you can apply the final amount to your last debt and pay it off more quickly. Champions of this method believe paying off smaller debts first provides a psychological boost, encouraging you to stay on track.
Both the avalanche method and the snowball method rely on your coming up with some extra cash in your monthly budget to throw at the first debt. But what if your budget is so tight that you can't add a regular amount to your monthly outgo? The snowflake method is different. Always pay minimums on all your debts, but whenever you have random cash, apply the extra to the smallest bill. So, if you sell something online or if a friend pays you back for dinner from a month ago, apply that extra to your smallest debt. Use birthday money, the five dollars you found in a coat pocket, or your tax refund to pay toward debt. Even though you’re not adding a regular amount to your debt payment, you can still reduce the balance and pay off your debt more quickly than by just making payments.
Reach your dreams
Once you’ve paid off your debt, continue to pay the final payment amount into a savings account toward a down payment or some other goal.
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Are you a productive homebuyer? If not, you may miss out on an opportunity to acquire your dream residence.
A productive homebuyer understands the ins and outs of the real estate market. As such, this individual may be better equipped than others to purchase a top-notch residence at a budget-friendly price.
Ultimately, operating as a productive homebuyer may be easier than you think – here are three tips to ensure that you can become a productive homebuyer in no time at all.
1. Narrow Your Home Search
If you know what you want to find in a dream home, you can maximize the time and resources at your disposal.
For example, if you prefer a home in a big city, you can start searching for houses in the city of your choice. Or, if you enjoy the unparalleled serenity of small town life, you may want to focus exclusively on houses in various towns.
You also should consider your day-to-day activities as you kick off your home search. If you attend college classes every day, you may want to find a house close to school. Comparatively, if you regularly take the bus to work, you may want to consider homes that provide quick, easy access to public transportation.
2. Establish a Price Range
Although you know that you want to buy a home, you may have no idea what it will cost to obtain your dream home. However, if you enter the housing market with a home price range in hand, you can quickly and effortlessly navigate the homebuying process.
Meet with banks and credit unions in your area. That way, you can learn about myriad home financing options and choose a mortgage that complements your finances.
Don't forget to ask bank and credit union professionals for mortgage recommendations and suggestions as well. These mortgage specialists are happy to teach you about many mortgage options and ensure that you can make an informed home financing decision.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who will do everything possible to help you optimize your productivity. If you collaborate with a real estate agent throughout the homebuying process, you can increase the likelihood of getting the best possible results.
A real estate agent will set up home showings, negotiate with a home seller's agent on your behalf and help you get the best price on a home. By doing so, this housing market professional will ensure that you can enjoy a seamless homebuying experience.
Let's not forget about the advanced housing market knowledge that a real estate agent possesses, either. A real estate agent understands the challenges of buying a home and will help you identify and overcome these difficulties. He or she will even answer any homebuying questions, at any time.
Become a productive homebuyer today – use the aforementioned tips, and you can maximize your productivity as a homebuyer and reap the benefits of a quick, efficient homebuying journey.
The beauty of your home starts from your lawn. If you intend to keep a beautiful property, then you must take care of your yard. There are several means to care for your lawn, like regularly cutting it to keeping anyone from walking across it.
However, this piece will focus on ensuring that you fertilize your lawn correctly. Below is an easy guide to follow;
- Timing is everything. The best time to feed your grass is in the Spring. The soil temperature will have reached 55 degrees Fahrenheit, and the grass shoots will have begun to grow. So, ensure you don't apply fertilizer on your lawn before spring if you want success. That means the first feeding should around mid to late April.
- Take notice of the numbers. When you buy fertilizer, it comes with three numbers on the label. These numerals indicate the percentage of nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium, which are the primary nutrients that your lawn needs. For instance, a fertilizer with the numerals 20-5-10 is a good mix for spring. It contains 20 percent nitrogen, 5 percent phosphate and 10 percent potassium. The rest of the bag usually includes filler materials that help ensure an even application.
- Use a slow-release fertilizer. When buying any fertilizer, check that it is a slow-release fertilizer or ask the seller before you buy it. Slow-release fertilizers break down their nutrients over a long period. With slow-release fertilizers, your application can be every six to eight weeks. What you should target is getting your lawn as green as possible without growing it fast, so you don't have to mow the grass as often.
- Use granules. Applying the fertilizer uniformly to every part of the lawn is essential but difficult to achieve. But when you use pellets, which are simple to apply using a spreader, you can be sure you will have a uniformly spayed lawn.
- Don’t forget to water. Water your lawn. The only thing you should be careful to do is to find out if you should water the grass before or after applying the fertilizer. The information will be on the fertilizer bag.
- Don’t over apply. Applying fertilizer relative to your lawn is essential. You don't need much, ensure you use just enough fertilizer.
- Sweep up excess fertilizer. If there is excess fertilizer on the ground where you poured it into the spreader, don't leave it to be swept away by rain or wind. Sweep up the granules and keep it out of reach of children and pets.
Called “common-interest housing” condos, co-ops, flats, townhomes, and apartments have different meanings to different buyers and even have different colloquial meanings than the official real estate industry meanings. Below you'll find a breakdown of the differences between these housing types along with the advantages and disadvantages of each.
What is “Common Interest Housing”?
Before going too deep, it is essential to understand just what "common-interest housing" actually is. This type of real estate involves a combination of individually owned areas and shared areas in a single property. Shared areas often include pools, parking, and clubhouses, but it can also mean shared landscaping, exteriors, fences and roofs depending on the type of property. A property manager, homeowners association (HOA) or a combination of the two maintains common areas.
Condos and Co-Ops
Condominiums, more commonly called condos, are single home units in a shared property. A homeowner separately owns each unit. The shared property types range from high rise buildings, also called apartments or flats, to conjoined homes townhouse-style. A single family home in a planned community or a mobile home in a community or park can also be condos. Instead of a specific type of home style, "condominium" is a legal term in the United States that refers to the ownership status, so homes of any form, connected or not, can qualify if they are part of a shared property community.
A co-op, short for cooperative housing development, is another thing entirely. While similarly structured with private and shared areas, co-op owners purchase and own shares in the real estate development instead of their specific portion of the property. All the shareholders have a voice in the real estate corporation, and their investment includes the right to live in a unit. Usually, the monthly expenses of the real estate corporation split between shareholders, so this can be an extra expense you need to plan for. Similarly to condominium, "co-op" is a legal term that refers to the ownership style of the building or neighborhood instead of the building's structure. Depending on your area, you can find co-ops in apartment-style buildings, single family home neighborhoods and townhome style shared wall housing.
Flats, Townhomes, and Apartments
You’ve noticed the words flat, apartment and townhome in the descriptions of condos and co-ops above. This is because apartments, flats, and townhomes don't have such specific legal meanings. The term "apartment" most often refers to rental units, usually in a single building or set of structures. These are generally not owned, but instead leased or rented from the owner of the entire building or complex. However, since apartments are just a building style with several units that have shared walkways and entryways, apartments can be rentals, condos or co-ops depending on the situation.
Townhomes refer to a specific building style where the house connects to another house on at least one side. Just like apartments, townhomes could be rentals, co-ops, condos or single-family homes. The true townhome design requires both homes to have separate side-walls even though they touch. However, a lot of condo, co-op and apartment designs look like townhomes without actually meeting the construction requirements. Do this by styling the front or backs of each unit differently, even if constructed as part of a single building.
Are you thinking of buying a condominium or co-op? Talk to your real estate agent about what's available in your area!