Millionaire to Millennials: Owning Your Home Can Help You Retire Sooner!

In a CNBC article, self-made millionaire David Bach explained that: “Buying a home is the escalator to wealth in America. Homeownership can also help you retire early, that is, if you pay your mortgage off.

Bach suggests that homebuyers should, “Take out a 30-year mortgage, but with the intention of paying it off in 25, 20 or ideally, 15 years.”

How does he suggest you do this? Here’s the secret:

“…If you were paying $1,000 a month, now you’re going to make $1,100 payments every month. Inform the bank that you are doing this and that you want the extra $100 a month to be applied to the principal (not the interest).”

What will happen to your mortgage?

Bach explains that, “If you keep this up, you’ll wind up paying off your 30-year mortgage in about 25 years. Increase your monthly payment by 20 percent, and you’ll have that mortgage retired in about 22 years.”

Bottom Line

Whenever a well-respected millionaire gives investment advice, people usually clamor to hear it. This millionaire gave simple advice – buy a home and pay off your mortgage early so that you can retire sooner with the money you will have saved!

Who is David Bach?

Bach is a self-made millionaire who has written nine consecutive New York Times bestsellers. His book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” spent 31 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He is one of the only business authors in history to have four books simultaneously on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and USA Today bestseller lists.

He has been a contributor to NBC’s Today Show, appearing more than 100 times, as well as a regular on ABC, CBS, Fox, CNBC, CNN, Yahoo, The View, and PBS. He has also been profiled in many major publications, including the New York Times, BusinessWeek, USA Today, People, Reader’s Digest, Time, Financial Times, Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Working Woman, Glamour, Family Circle, Redbook, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Investors’ Business Daily, and Forbes.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

Americans Rank Real Estate Best Investment for 5 Years Running! [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights:

  • Real estate has outranked stocks/mutual funds, gold, savings accounts/CDs, and bonds as the best long-term investment among Americans for the last 5 years!
  • The generations agree! Real estate is the best investment!
  • Generation X leads the way with 37% believing in real estate as the top investment.

Posted by The KCM Crew

How Do I Find a Home Sale Price in My Neighborhood?

 

If you’ve seen some “for sale” signs in your neighborhood slapped with “sold” banners, you may wonder just how much money your own house is worth. Perhaps you’ve been considering selling, or could be convinced to sell if the price was right. But how do you know at which price they were sold?

For starters, you can go to realtor.com®, select the “Just Sold” tab and plug in your ZIP code. A list of homes that recently sold will pop up, along with the prices for which they sold. That’s a start, but it doesn’t give you the big picture you need to know exactly what your home might be worth. That’s where your real estate agent comes in.

“Agents can discuss pricing of other sales or pending sales in our area with other agents to help you estimate home values,” says Michele Lerner, author of “HomebuyingTough Times, First Time, Any Time.” “A [real estate agent] can also provide you with a free comparable market analysis to help you decide if you want to sell your home. And while it’s a great idea to find out about recent home sales in your community, you also should recognize your home may not sell for a similar price.”

Lerner says there are a variety of factors that may make your home sell for a significantly different price than those surrounding it. For example, your home could be in better or worse condition than other homes recently sold, or there may be other factors that influence desirability, such as lot location or even the direction rooms in the house face.

In general, the real estate market changes rapidly, and timing is a large factor in a sale price. Many of the factors of the larger market are out of your hands—mortgage rates, the local economy, the national economy, consumer confidence and the availability of homes for sale all influence a final price.

Rick Snow, a Realtor® with Exit West Realty in El Paso, TX, says when determining comp prices, you have to compare apples to apples.

“I try to find properties within 150 square feet either side of the subject property with similar features,” Snow says. “The number of bedrooms doesn’t really matter because they are all figured into the square footage, but baths, 1/2, 3/4 or full give more value. For example a three-bedroom, two-bath home that is 1,800 square feet would come out the same as a four-bedroom, two-bath home that’s 1,800 square feet, but a three-bedroom, 2 1/2 bath would be worth more.”

Will home improvements help?

If you look through the listings and feel like your house isn’t up to snuff, you may think about remodeling. Before you do, though, you should determine if the cost of remodeling will be worth the amount a renovation will add to your property.  For example, if you remodel your bathroom, it will cost you anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000, and you’ll gain back an average of 66% of the money you spent. Beyond that, however, will the shiny new bathroom be the tipping point for a buyer to select your home over another? You can’t know for sure.

Snow says home improvements can be challenging.

“Homeowners often believe they can recapture money that is spent on improvements dollar for dollar, and that just isn’t the case. Many improvements add marketability but not additional value. Even projects that add value typically don’t bring back a dollar-for-dollar return on investment. The other ‘drawback’ to improvements is personal taste. The things you like and are willing to spend money on to make your home more pleasing to you, I might not like. Then when I am looking at the house, in my mind I’m thinking how much it will cost me to get rid of this or that. Many buyers then base their offer on value minus what it’s going to cost me to make it the way I want it.”

If you are going to make some improvements with the hopes of increasing your home’s value, just be careful not to do too much remodeling.

“Be sure to consider the potential negative consequences of ‘over-improving’ your home for the neighborhood,” Lerner says. “It could be harder to sell your home in the future if it’s much larger or more expensive than the surrounding homes.”

Bottom line: The price houses are going for in your neighborhood definitely provide some insight into how much you might be able to get for yours. Just remember, that there are a lot of factors that go into how much people will pay for a house, and digging deeper will help you get the best picture of what yours may be worth.

Posted by Julie Ryan Evans on realtor.com

Click HERE to find out how much your home is worth!

Lessons on Home Safety with Kids

Many people know how to detect a fire or even put out a fire with a fire extinguisher. Many people also understand how to carefully climb a ladder or turn on a stove. But kids need to be taught how to do these things and how to stay safe while around the home. 

What to do during a fire risk

Depending on your child’s age, they may be able to use a fire extinguisher to put out a small fire. If you have teenagers, you can teach them how to use a fire extinguisher to put out a kitchen fire. However, smaller children may not be tall enough or old enough to understand the severity of a fire. So for little kids, it is best to teach them how to dial 911 and then go outside to stay out of harms way.

If the fire is too big, obviously teaching all children to leave the house and dial 911 will make all the difference between safety and serious injury.

Stay off the ladders

Ladders are tricky household maintenance tools. Our recommendation is that all kids stay off ladders unless there is supervision. Even adults on tall ladders should have someone at the bottom holding the ladder still to make sure there is no danger of falling. This also goes for home step stools of a significant height. The item up high can wait until someone else is around.

Electricity and water do not mix

Teaching kids that electrical items need to stay far away from water is very important. Many of us are aware that mixing water and electricity can lead to electric shocks and cause serious injury. Children do not always understand that a radio or television does not belong on a bathtub ledge. Teach children of all ages to keep the electrical items away from water. This also goes for teenagers using hairdryers in the bathroom over a running water sink.

Stay away from power tools

Power tools are like ladders. They are great at fixing things but they are also seriously dangerous. Power tools are best used with adult supervision and with specific training from a skilled adult. Teach kids to stay away form the power tools. And if you have the ability to lock the motors from running, it is best to keep safety mechanisms in place.

Keep clear of roofs

For some reason, kids sometimes think they can fly … just like Superman. It is important to discuss the issues of climbing or sitting on a roof and the dangers that can come with it. Roofs like ladders can cause serious injury and even potentially death. It is important to discuss height issues with children. This also goes for climbing tall trees around your house. Last thing you need is a scare and broken arm for one of your children.

Lawn Mowers

Over time, kids are given the responsibility to cut the grass. Whether they use push mower or rider mowers, these machines have high powered, fast moving blades that are designed to cut grass quickly. If children are not taught the respect of the machine, they could end up hurting themselves due to major cuts that can lead to severe bleeding. It is important to teach children how a lawn mower works in addition to the chore assigned to moving the lawn.

Understanding cleaning supplies

Some cleaning supplies can be toxic. It is important to keep cleaning supplies out or reach of little children. And potentially to add a child safety lock to the cabinets where the cleaning supplies are located. Small children do not understand not to drink cleaning supplies and cleaning supplies can cause death in a child. It is also important to educate older children about the use of cleaning supplies and the need to keep them away from their younger siblings. Using natural cleaning supplies will also help to remove risk of children getting sick from these supplies.

Keeping children safe can be challenging, but by practicing these simple instructions, you can minimize the risk from home related accidents.

Posted on HomeZada

Homeowners: Do You Know Your Home’s Value?

Home Value

The latest edition of CoreLogic’s Home Price Index shows that nationally, home prices have appreciated 6.7% over the last year and 0.9% month-over-month. The release of the report included this headline,

“National Home Prices Now 50% Above March 2011 Bottom”

The real estate market has come a long way since 2011, which is great news for homeowners!

Nearly 79% of homeowners with a mortgage in the US now have significant equity in their homes (defined as over 20%), according to the latest Equity Report. The challenge is that not every homeowner knows how much their home’s value has appreciated.

Homeowners in Denver, CO lead the way with 8.7% appreciation over the last year, while owners in Washington and Utah have experienced a 3% increase in values since the start of this year!

Nationally, CoreLogic forecasts that home values will increase another 5.0% by this time next year.

Bill Banfield, VP of Capital Markets at Quicken Loans, recently explained the importance of knowing the conditions in your area,

“With home values constantly changing, and the rates of change varying across the country, this is one more way to show how important it is for homeowners to stay aware of their local housing market.”

Bottom Line

Do you know what your house is worth? Have you stayed put because you are nervous you won’t have enough equity to buy your dream home? Let’s get together to perform an equity analysis and give you the freedom to achieve your dreams.

 

Click HERE to find out how much your home is worth today!

9 Easy Ways to Cut Your Electric Bill by up to $750

With just a few simple adjustments, you can plug into big savings on your annual utility spending.

We all want to save energy and money, right? But it’s not always so easy — perhaps you don’t have the time for a home energy audit, or maybe there simply isn’t room in the budget for that energy-saving appliance you want.

No worries! Here are some quick and easy ways to reduce your home energy usage right now.

Reduce hot water usage

Don’t worry — you don’t have to take a low-flow shower! But heating up hot water does require energy, so take the simple and painless route:

  • Adjust the water heater’s temperature. Lower your water heater to 120 degrees F (49 degrees C). An added bonus — you’ll lower the risk of scalding accidents.

  • Don’t overuse the dishwasher. Try to run your dishwasher only once a day or when it’s completely full. See if your utility company offers savings for running appliances at off-peak times.
  • Wash clothes in cold water. Most modern detergents clean clothes very well with cold water. If you have items that you really need to wash in hot water, save them up and do one hot load every few weeks.

Projected savings: Up to $250 per year, depending on the number of people in your home.

Turn it off

Little things add up! An easy way to save money on your energy bill is turning off the lights, electronics, and other energy users when you’re not using them.

  • Leave a room, switch lights off. Make a habit of turning off everything in the room when you leave it — the TV, lights, your computer, etc.
  • Get the kids involved. Make a game out of turning off the lights instead of constantly reminding them to do it. Offer some sort of small, nonmonetary reward for remembering to turn off their bedroom lights for a week.
  • Install countdown timer light switches. For intermittently used rooms, such as the bathroom or laundry room, install a countdown timer light switch that will turn off the lights after a specified period, so you don’t ever have to worry about it.

Projected savings: Between $100-$300 per year, depending on the number of people and rooms in your home.

Heating and cooling bill savings

Generally speaking, the furnace and air-conditioner are the big energy hogs in your home. Here are some easy ways to reduce your dependence on them — and save money!

  • Use windows strategically. Install heavy drapes or blinds on windows located in sunny areas of your home. Open the blinds on cold days to take advantage of the sun’s warmth, and close them on warm days to block out the sun.
  • Install ceiling fans. This one takes a bit more effort than the others, but the payoff can be quite large. Run ceiling fans counterclockwise or downward during the summer to force cool air down into the room. Run them clockwise and upward in the winter to better distribute the warm air.

  • Adjust the thermostat. Yes, this sounds obvious, but one of the best ways to save on heating and cooling bills is simply lowering the thermostat in the winter and raising it in the summer! A programmable thermostat is ideal, but you can save money even with a traditional thermostat. In winter, lower your thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees for at least eight hours — when you leave for work, before you go to bed, or both — then raise it when you’re back.  If you have air-conditioning, do this in reverse come summer.

Projected savings: From 10-30 percent on your heating and cooling bills each year.

Saving energy doesn’t have to be a chore. With some very simple lifestyle changes, you can reduce your carbon footprint and save big!

 

Posted by Jane Drill on Zillow

4 Steps to Take After Your Home Has Been Burglarized

What would you do if you came home and found your house was broken into and your property stolen? For millions of Americans every year, this nightmare is a reality. In 2010, there were 2,159,878 burglaries in the United States, equivalent to nearly 700 break-ins per 100,000 people, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Most victims in this situation find themselves totally unprepared and at a loss for what to do. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to regain control of the situation, improve the odds of recovering your property, and prevent your home from being broken into again.

Call the Police

Call the police when you spot the first sign of a break-in. The intruder may still be on your property and pose a threat to your safety. Seven percent of all home burglaries involve violence against household members, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

You also need to call the police to get your case on file for insurance and legal purposes. A police report and investigation increases the strength of your insurance claim as well as your odds of retrieving your property. The police also need to record crime scene evidence which can help convict suspects if they are caught. Don’t touch anything before the police arrive so that you don’t accidentally destroy evidence such as fingerprints.

When the police arrive, they will want you to file a report. Take pictures to document what was stolen, and provide the police with a list of everything that was taken and its approximate value. As a preventive measure, it’s wise to take an inventory of valuable items ahead of time in case you are ever robbed.

Call Your Insurance Company

You should also copy your list of stolen items for your insurance provider. To maximize your odds of receiving reimbursement for stolen items, contact your insurance provider within 24 hours. They will need your police report to process your claim, so make sure you have already filed a police report before calling. Your insurance provider will probably send an adjuster to review the crime scene, so in order to avoid disrupting the evidence, you may wish to stay somewhere else until they arrive, if possible.

Review Your Security Camera Footage

If you have security cameras installed on your property, you should review them to see if there is any additional evidence. If you’re fortunate, you may have captured footage of the burglar breaking in, walking through rooms, or rummaging through items. You may also notice more clues, as well as additional information about which items were stolen. Provide copies of any relevant footage to the police and to your insurance provider.

Evaluate Your Home Security

After the police and your insurance adjuster have finished reviewing the crime scene, you can begin cleaning up. You should also conduct a review of your home’s security with an eye towards preventing future burglaries. Once burglars have successfully broken into a home, they often return in the future, so it’s important to make sure you secure any vulnerabilities that enabled the initial break-in. The National Crime Prevention Council provides a home security checklist you can use to review your home security and identify any vulnerabilities that need to be fixed.

Having your home broken into is a traumatic and disturbing experience, but taking these steps can help you recover and restore your life to order as quickly as possible. Filing a report with the police, calling your insurance company, and reviewing your security footage will maximize your chances of getting your property returned and bringing those responsible to justice. Reviewing your home security can help prevent future burglaries and restore your peace of mind.

 

Posted by Roy Rasmussen on RISMedia