*Must Read* 5 House Hunting “Deal Breakers” You Should Ignore

August 2013


House hunting is a little bit like going on a whole bunch of first dates.

In both situations, you’re on the lookout for deal breakers, like a creepy attitude (bad neighborhood), nasty breath (moldy basement) and no personality (“blah” décor).

But just like the dating game, first impressions can be a deceiving, and not every cliché “house problem” is dump-worthy.

Here are five flaws you may find during a house hunt that aren’t necessarily deal breakers:

Wall-to-Wall Carpet

You don’t often hear people say that they “love” wall-to-wall carpet, but people’s tolerance for the look varies.

If you really can’t stand the shag – but you’ve found a home that’s perfect otherwise – give it a chance! Beneath that carpet is probably a beautiful floor with endless possibilities.

The cost to tear up and replace carpet with an inexpensive alternative (like vinyl) is generally $15-$20 per square yard, so this foible can be fixed without breaking the bank.

Popcorn Ceiling

This rough acoustic surface (also called “cottage cheese” ceiling) is basically the polar opposite of modern chic. But that doesn’t mean your dreams of a sleek décor scheme can’t come true!

Removing popcorn ceiling yourself is labor intensive, but very doable. Or, you can hire someone to do it for you – it generally costs $1.30-$2.60 per square foot to remove.

Note: If the house you’re looking at was built before 1979, popcorn ceiling removal is more complicated (and expensive) due to the risk of asbestos.

An Old Roof

A house with a roof more than 10 years old tends to trigger alarm bells. After all, old roofs can quickly turn into leaking roofs.

But remember: old doesn’t mean broken, and the age of the roof should reduce the asking price of the house.

Important: If you purchase an old-roofed house, it is important to budget for an eventual replacement, which can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000.

Different roof surfaces have very different life expectancies, so do some research about your roof and plan accordingly.

A Slightly-Too-High Price Point

If you’ve found your dream home, but it costs about $5,000 more than you planned to pay, don’t walk away immediately.

Five grand is nothing to sneeze at, but when you compare it to the total value of your home, it’s less significant. Plus, there are two possible ways to earn back this amount of cash:

1. See if there are any homeowner tax incentives for which you’ll qualify.

2. Ask your real estate agent if they’d be willing to take a small cut in their commission given the higher price (it’s in their best interest to get a deal done, so they may be receptive to this).

No Central AC

If you’re house hunting in the middle of July, the idea of a sans-AC existence can seem like purchasing a lot on the seventh circle of hell.

But a few window units (or some well-placed fan action) can cool off a lot more effectively than you think.

Plus, installing a central AC unit can be done for as little as $2,000, which isn’t that bad if the lack of AC took a chunk out of the initial price.



*Must Read* 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be A Happier Parent

August 2013


Parenting can obviously be difficult, but it's also supposed to be joyful and happy! Check out here 15 things you should give up to be a happy parent! 

Do you agree with everything on this list? What would you change? What are some tricks that make parenting easier for you? Let us know!


*Must Read* 12 Things You Probably Own Too Many Of - How To Let Go And Get On With It!

July 2013


Don't worry...shoes aren't on the list!

Do we really need twenty t-shirts, a dozen towels, three teapots? We need multiples of certain things, yes, but at some point, a few turns into too many.

Check your multiplication on the following items that seem to accumulate.

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Who Has Access to Your Credit Reports? Do You Know?

July 2013


Each of the three major credit reporting agencies, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax, maintain well over 200 million credit files on individual consumers.

One of the ways they make money is by selling your credit report. But, Federal law strictly limits access to your credit reports.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (”FCRA”), which is over 40 years old, defines under what conditions the credit reporting agencies may disclose your credit reports.

These conditions are legally referred to as “Permissible Purposes.”

If a Permissible Purpose does not exist it would not be legal for a credit-reporting agency to disclose your credit report.

But, as you’ll see it’s not that hard for a legitimate purpose to exist.

The Permissible Purposes Are:

If You Want A Copy Of Your Own Credit Report

Do you know what your credit score is?  It’s a good thing to know. Credit Sesame is a FREE service where you can stay up to date on your credit score and credit reports.

Beside it being FREE you can get a monthly email letting you know if your credit score or credit usage has changed.

This is commonly referred to as a consumer disclosure.

You have the right to request a copy of your credit report as often as you like, for whatever reason.

You may have to pay for it, but you always have a right to see it.

Court Order

If a court orders the credit reporting agencies to disclose a credit report then that’s a permissible reason under Federal law.

To Facilitate a Credit Related Transaction

When you apply for credit the credit reporting agencies can disclose a copy of your credit report to the lender.

And, no, your signature is not required. That’s a myth.

For Employment Screening Purposes

Unlike a credit transaction, your signature is required if your current or prospective employer wants to pull your credit report.

This particular permissible purpose is the root of the most common credit related myth, which is that employers have access to your credit scores.

That isn’t true. They have access to your credit reports. Big difference.

There are some states that restrict access to credit reports to only certain types of job functions but at a Federal level it’s still 100% legal for any employee.

For Insurance Underwriting Purposes

Insurance companies are allowed to pull your credit reports to determine if they want to do business with you and at what premiums.

There are some minor differences in the credit reports they get versus those that a lender would get, but not much.

To Determine Capacity to Make Child Support Payments

Your credit report can be used to determine how much you can afford to pay in child support.

To Assist With Debt Collection

Collection agencies are allowed to pull credit reports, without your permission, to help them collect debts.

They can use the credit reports to get your address and to determine your ability to pay them.

It’s hard to argue that you can’t pay a collection agency $500 when you have a credit card on your credit report with $10,000 of available credit.

For Account Management Purposes

Your existing creditors can pull your credit reports from time to time to determine if they want to continue doing business with you and under what terms.

For Prospecting Purposes

The credit reporting agencies can sell mailing lists to credit card issuers and other companies that will give you a “firm offer of credit or insurance.”

These lists are pre-qualified based on your credit report data.

The lender isn’t actually taking possession of your credit reports but they do know, generally speaking, what is and what isn’t on them.

For Licensing Purposes

Some states are required by law to consider your financial responsibility before issuing you a license or some other government benefit. This is not referring to a driver’s license.




Sunday Coupon Preview! Week Of 07/28/13 Check it out!!!

July 2013


We will see FIVE inserts this weekend!!!

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