Your 7 Most Annoying Grilling Problems—Solved

Grilling seems fairly straightforward, at least compared with other cooking methods. You've got fire and you've got food. What could go wrong?Plenty, it turns out. From running out of propane to overcooking your steak to accidentally charbroiling your hand, you're literally playing with fire—so you shouldn't be surprised when your dreams of hosting the perfect backyard barbecue go up in smoke.But there is a better way: Just get your hands on the right accessories that solve these Read more [...]

How to Find a Handyman: Where to Look to Find a Helping Hand

Have you ever wondered how to find a handyman? The trick is finding someone trustworthy with a proven track record of success. There are plenty of websites and apps that make it a snap to recruit this much-needed helping hand. But hiring the wrong person to get a job done can turn a seemingly straightforward task into an expensive headache. What can you do to make sure your home project is snafu-free?Here are the essential things to consider.Do you need a handyman or a licensed professional?A Read more [...]

The Worst Mistakes You Can Make Before Selling Your Home

If you've ever gotten ready to sell a home, you know that in order to fetch top dollar, you need to get your place in good shape. But that costs money—hiring contractors, painters, and other pros—so you might be wondering: Why not save some cash by tackling a few of these fix-its myself? That's fine and good if you know what you're doing. But unless your DIY skills are fairly advanced, experts agree that this is one of the biggest mistakes a home seller can make. If you bungle Read more [...]

7 Sneaky Low-Rate Mortgage Tricks

If you've never bought a home before, when you first start shopping for a mortgage it might seem like the obvious way to choose a lender is to pick the one that offers the lowest mortgage rate. After all, the interest rate on your mortgage will affect both your short-term and long-term financial well-being because it will determine your monthly mortgage payment and the total amount you'll pay for your home. Little Things Make a Big Difference Consider this example: Take out Read more [...]

Fixed or Variable Rate Mortgage: Which Is Better Right Now?

As of Mar. 28, 2018, Bankrate.com's lender survey reported that mortgage rates were 4.30% for a 30-year fixed, 3.72% for a 15-year fixed, and 4.05% for the first five years on a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM). These are national averages; mortgage rates vary by location and are highly dependent on your credit score. So the first step in deciding whether a fixed-rate mortgage or an ARM is the best choice in today's market is to talk to several lenders to find out what rate Read more [...]

How Renting Out Your Vacation Home Can Land You in Hot Water

When it comes to financing your vacation home, not all loans are created equal — so choose wisely. Ready to buy that ski cabin or lake house? Renting it out while you’re not using it is a great way to make it happen — but not so fast. Lender rules may not allow it, so here’s what you need to know. Loan types and their rules The first step to financing your vacation home is understanding what mortgages are available and their rules about renting: Primary residence loans. These loans are Read more [...]

Dodd-Frank Reform Could Make It Easier to Get a Mortgage

(TNS)—It should be easier for you to get a mortgage now that President Donald Trump has signed legislation that will lift lending restrictions on community banks. Congress on Tuesday voted in favor of rolling back Dodd-Frank banking rules, and Trump signed it Thursday. The reforms will ease some of the mortgage laws from the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, a massive financial law enacted in response to the financial crisis. Thanks to the new law, more homebuyers are likely to get approval for a mortgage Read more [...]

Are Mortgage Rates Going Up? 3 Indicators to Watch

When the Federal Reserve raised the federal funds rate by 0.25% in December 2015, with the promise of more rate hikes in 2016, it was widely expected that long-term rates would follow, ending a five-year trend of flat or declining mortgage rates. The rate increases were planned based on the expectation that the economy would strengthen and inflation would resume its climb. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate stood just below 4% before the December rate hike. And that is just Read more [...]

Will Your Home Remodeling Pay Off?

Remodeling certain areas of a single-family house is an excellent way for homeowners to add increased functionality and beauty to a property at someone else's expense. By choosing the right project to enhance your living space, a significant portion of the expense can be passed on to future owners in the form of increased property values. Read on to find out how you can do this. Think Before You Build The return on investment (ROI) of any given renovation project is a function of Read more [...]

Avoid an Audit: 6 "Red Flags" You Should Know

If history is any indicator, fewer than 1% of Americans will be audited by the Internal Revenue Service in the coming year. And while some of the audits are totally random and unrelated to any actions by the individual taxpayer, many are triggered by actions taxpayers themselves have taken. Below is a list of "red flags" that can cause your return to be targeted by the IRS for review. Pay particular attention, as knowing what these triggers are can save you a lot of trouble and anxiety. 1.) Read more [...]