Monthly Archives: May 2013

5 Best Housing Markets for the Current Boom

577 Shady Ridge  - 49

The housing market has definitely rebounded in 2013, with levels of optimism not seen since before the recession took hold in 2008. A study by Rasmussen says that nearly 40 percent of Americans believe their home will increase in value in the next year, and nearly 60 percent believe their home is worth more than when they bought it. This positive feeling among homeowners could be a response to rising home prices, up 24 percent overall in the past year. While the market is starting to boom all over the country, there are some cities where home buying is creating more of a frenzy. These housing markets have their own advantages that make owning property there a smart investment for the future.

1. Sacramento, CA

Housing markets are thriving all over California, which was harder-hit by the collapse of the housing bubble than almost anywhere. But while some cities are benefiting from attracting exclusively high-income buyers, Sacramento is benefiting from the fact that there hasn’t been enough home construction to keep up with the demand for such a popular area. Sacramento lead the nation in housing market growth at the start of 2013, proving that places which fell the farthest can rebound the strongest.

2. Denver, CO

Denver Mansion

The amount of homes for sale in Denver is the lowest it’s been in nearly 3 decades, creating a hugely competitive market and a 20 percent rise in home prices since 2012. Nearly any home listed in the city is guaranteed to inspire a bidding war, which is why previously reluctant sellers are becoming more willing to list their houses. Even seriously indebted homeowners can turn a profit, or at least come out less scathed than they expected. Of course, some sellers are still sitting on their properties simply out of fear that the shortage will make it tough to find a replacement.

3. Orlando, FL

The market in Florida rivals the market in California for the most noticeable statewide rebound. Florida has an increase in building, a decrease in foreclosures, and a rise in actual land prices that has surpassed peak levels in some areas. But Orlando is leading the pack, in part because it’s a very popular city for foreign buyers. Their cash down payments are helping to spark competition in the local market, while the city still rates as very affordable to buyers. It also helps that Florida is a judicial foreclosure state, so it takes the banks much longer to snatch up houses.

4. Phoenix, AZ

Desert Hills Home Tour - 03/14/2008

With a 23 percent increase in home values and one of the lowest foreclosure rates in the country, the housing market in Phoenix has had a stellar year so far. In fact, the market there is so hot that some analysts fear it could turn into a bubble. But others insist that the replacement of credit-based buyers with cash buyers has served to stabilize growth in new ways, and the weather, age of homes, and lack of foreclosed homes is driving Phoenix’s new reputation as a great place for property investors.

5. Las Vegas, NV

Similar to Phoenix, Las Vegas has seen a drop in foreclosures and a rise in prices, including the price of land. But with interest rates still low, the housing market is recovering at a more affordable pace. The city still has a high percentage of renters, which is good news for investors. And the good news for home buyers is there’s a much smaller difference between income levels and average home prices than in much of the nation, signaling an overall improvement in the local economy.

There are many patterns emerging in the hot markets across the United States. Fewer foreclosures, cash investors, and a lower supply of houses on the market are causing a real rebound in housing. Many still fear another housing bubble, but it looks like the market may actually improve at a stable rate after all. In that case, every city wins.



Yakezie Carnival at Financial Conflict Coach
Carnival of MoneyPros at Making Sense of Cents
Carnival of Retirement at Dividend Growth Investor

5 Things You should Do when Interest Rates are Low

Low interest rates sound exciting and attractive. Consumers can take advantage of those by getting cheaper loans. But what if you are an investor? It could be a challenging time especially when you aim to keep your money growing. Bank deposits may get worse at this time because those already assume much lower interest rates before prevailing rates dropped. Here are some ideas that could serve as your guidance if you intend to take advantage of the current low rates.

  1. Invest in short-term bonds.

If you are interested in investing in bonds, obtain short-term options when interest rates are low. Prices of those may remain low. It may not be enticing to invest in this instrument in this condition as your returns will depend on the interest rates. But if you want a secured and liquid investment, it can be a good choice. You may constantly monitor rates if you anticipate interest rate hikes in the coming weeks or months.

  1. Look at mutual funds.

Interest rates may not be attractive. But mutual funds can still be ideal if you want your money to grow. The fund would be handled by qualified and reliable fund managers, who could find many other ways to make money grow despite the dismal interest rate movements. While you are at it, you should also consider investing in a more diversified portfolio.

  1. Consider overseas investments.

It is ideal to consider allocating a portion of your current portfolio into foreign assets. When interest rates in your local market decline, you may invest in available overseas debts while waiting for your home market to rise. Foreign bonds can be good options as those respond to rates quickly and those are based on credit worthiness of issuing countries. Again, it is wiser to diversify your investment portfolio.

  1. Invest in stocks.

The stock market can be an ideal place to put your investments at this time. Some stocks can be really attractive despite lower rates. As always, the bourse market facilitates more opportunities for making your money grow exponentially even in a short while. Just be sure you are more careful when choosing the particular stocks you would buy. Don’t hesitate to ask for guidance from the experts. You may rely on a credible broker to do transactions on your behalf.

  1. Buy a car or a house.

Of course, while the interest rates are low, it may be the best time to buy a car or a house especially if you are thinking about getting financing. Any available loan can take lower interest rates at this time. Many investors and buyers are always waiting for this opportunity because low interest rates easily translate to lower transaction costs. Just be sure you are picking the right finance product. Stick to those that are fixed and that would not quickly rise if prevailing rates do so. Seize the opportunity. Now could be the best time to finally buy your dream car or house using a bank loan.

Andrew is a personal finance enthusiast, who enjoys blogging. Over the last 4 years, Andrew has contributed numerous articles and posts about finance. You can find more articles from Andrew on or on his Google + profile.


Carnival of Financial Planning at Money Soldiers
Yakezie Carnival at See Debt Run
Carnival of MoneyPros at This That and the MBA

Financial Management Tips for First Time Home Buyers

Purchasing any sort of real estate can be a stressful time, especially if you’ve never done it before. Thanks to the high pressure and large amounts of money involved, it is important to manage your finances in the right manner, ensuring that you don’t end up wasting your cash and inconveniencing yourself in the future. Here are a few of the most effective ways for first time home buyers to deal with this complex area in a smarter, more affordable way.

Check Local Selling Prices

The first thing you’ll need to do is check how much you can get when selling your home, an amount wholly distinguishable from how much your property is worth. After all, regardless of the intrinsic value of your house, the buyer will still want a better price. Fortunately, you can easily estimate how much the selling price of your home is by looking on price comparison websites which specialise in recently sold real estate in your local neighbourhood.

Work Out What You Can Afford

Since you’ll most likely need to borrow some money before buying a new home, you’ll also need to work out how much you can afford to pay back each month. Talk to your chosen lender or find an online calculator to work out how much a particular home loan will require you to pay. Sites such as boast a range of these handy online apps, taking a lot of the headache out of these complex yet necessary financial calculations.

Determine Monthly Fees

You’ll also need to think about other financial aspects that come with purchasing a house. This includes:

  • Property taxes
  • Homeowners insurance

Both of these can inflate your monthly costs quite significantly so it is important to make sure you can afford everything in a comfortable manner. Depending on where you are and the companies you deal with, your regular expenses will vary so it pays to talk with the right experts for more information and advice about how to proceed.

Research Closing Costs

When you sell your home, you’ll also have to deal with the various closing costs involved. These expenses are many, but some of the most common are found below:

  • Home loan origination costs
  • Title and settlement fees
  • Homeowners association rates

Again, since these costs vary from place to place, it will be necessary to seek out further information from local financial advisors or regional websites. With this sort of expert support, you can then get a good idea of your overall expenditures.

Budget for the Future

With all of the above information, you can then sit down and work out how a new home purchase will actually fit in with the amount you currently earn. After all, you’ll have to cover everything while still leaving enough for your daily living expenses. Financial experts typically recommend mortgages that take at most 28% of your income. This will let you pay everything back while still giving you enough to support yourself comfortably now and in the future.

About the Author:

MoneyVista is a site dedicated to helping clients plan their financial future using tools like the saving calculator. Find out more about the services provided by visiting


Carnival of Financial Planning B – Belated Edition
Finance Carn. for Young Adults at The Happy Homeowner
Yakezie Carnival at Growing Money Smart

Saving Money on Your Mortgage

canstockphoto7068900There are many ways to save money on a mortgage. Below are a few tips to help you save that money.

An Offset or Current Account Mortgage has become increasingly popular over the years. Basically it is combining your mortgage balance with your current account. This is a great way to get the spare cash you need to pay off your mortgage early. Be sure to thoroughly research the banks and other financial institutions in your local area for the best rate as well as the guidelines to apply.

Because of the current economy there is currently a credit crunch which has created a lull in the housing market. This has created a drop in interest rates for first and second mortgages as well as reverse mortgages. Experts have indicated that the housing market will remain stagnate until 2017 when it is expected to rise slightly. However, for current homeowners this is a great opportunity to take advantage of low interest rates and refinance their homes.

Another tip is to build up the equity in your home and use it for a reverse mortgage. Reverse mortgages use the equity in your home. You can continue to use the equity in your home for an indefinite period of time. The are some limitations to reverse mortgages in that if the homeowner dies or the home is up for sale the mortgage must be paid in full before the home can be sold.

Refinancing your mortgage is another option to consider. Check out the current mortgage rates and wait for the lowest rate to apply for refinancing. When you refinance your home at a lower rate you save money which can be used towards paying off the refinanced mortgage early.

It is highly advised that once you find a low interest rate for a reverse mortgage or when refinancing your home that you take advantage of the low rate immediately. This is due to the fact that interest rates can sometimes change on a daily basis and it’s best to take advantage of low rates while they are low.

One of the best ways to pay off our mortgage early is to pay a little extra on your mortgage payment each month. If you are having a hard time finding the extra cash try looking over your budget to see where you can cut back on expenses to get the extra cash. By paying a little extra towards the interest on your mortgage you reduce the amount you pay every month and you will eventually pay your mortgage off early.

These are just a few tips to consider paying off your mortgage ahead of time. You can find many other tips just by searching online or contacting the bank or financial institution where you have your mortgage. If you prefer to search online just search under “home mortgage” to find listings of useful information to pay off your mortgage and save money. Once you have your home paid off you can use the extra cash to improve it.

How Can A First Time Home Buyer Get The Best Deal

Owning a dream house and the feeling associated with it is perhaps one of the best in the world. The presence of a roof above the head which solely belongs to you is infact a great achievement. House-owning is a vital aspect in any person’s life. Your financial, mental and physical wellbeing depends a great deal on a home. Hence the home buying procedure should be executed with great care and introspection. Behind the house a lot of time, energy and money is invested, therefore one should be sure that his/her investment is set in the right direction.

To err is human but while finalizing a property one should make sure that he/she is leaving no room for mistakes. To avoid such a situation one should pre-plan things and make a check list of the necessary things. To begin with one should work out on their budget as this will give them a realistic view of their affordability. It isn’t a smart choice to first check around the properties and then realize that most of them are beyond one’s reach. Having a budget helps in figuring what type of house will fit in it and it becomes easier for the buyer to make the agent understand his/her need.

Once the buyer is clear as to what type of property he/she is looking for, then a good agent must be contacted. A good agent is the guiding light at the end of a dark tunnel. The agent will then become the responsible person behind every move and decision. A good agent will always work for the benefit of the buyer giving him/her the best of choices and also to a certain degree improvise the original plan. It is advisable to find an agent who is a full time realtor, knows the local market and are experts in their field.

Also it is essential to get Pre-Approved before even beginning to look at properties. Getting a pre-approval helps to:

  • Get a real picture of the purchasing power
  • Give time to fix credit report issues
  • Consult various lenders

Doing this saves all from unwanted troubles and makes the process smooth sailing. The buyer should look out for the various types of loans available and mark the one which suits him/her the best. Exploring and researching always comes handy in making the best of deals. Therefore one shouldn’t settle for just what is available instead lookout for what more they can get.

Having a list of priority is essential as it clearly defines the needs and makes it easier to search. To get a better idea of how things work, first time buyers can attend seminars. They are great learning experience as they provide with various tips. First times can be scary but help is always round the corner. It is important that one spots them and utilizes it for their benefit.

About the blogger: Tom Budniak is the owner of – Puerto Vallarta’s #1 real estate agency. He is based in Puerto   Vallarta.


Carnival of Retirement at Money Q
Yakezie Carnival at Money Reasons
Carnival of MoneyPros at Freeat33
Finance Carn. for Young Adults at Faithful With a Few

Aqua advance credit card: a boon for those with a bad credit score

Many people face financial setbacks during the course of their lives. For some, the effects of the financial setback can stay with them for a considerable time, with poor credit scores owing to defaults or County Court judgments counting against them.

Even without defaults or adverse County Court Judgments, it may be difficult to get a credit card or loan. Someone starting out in life, for example students or those new to the country, may have no credit history. Even people who have recently moved to a new area, and who are not yet registered on the electoral roll at the current address, may find their credit card application rejected. Financial institutions do not lend to people on whom they have no information, or whom they have no reasons to trust. Even household tasks, such as not paying utility bills on time, can have an adverse impact on credit scores, especially if the utility provider has entrusted the bill to a collection agency.

For those looking to improve their credit history, simply using a credit card correctly and in a thoroughly capable manner is a good way to build up a positive credit rating. When punctual repayments are reported to the major credit reference agencies, such as Experian and Equifax, the credit score will gradually improve.

Some cards offers an opportunity to set the score straight, and rebuild or establish a positive credit score. This credit card is available to students, part-time workers, unemployed, homemakers, new immigrants, and almost anyone who has bad or no credit ratings.

The primary benefit of acquiring an aqua advance credit card is to improve credit ratings. Aqua report to the major credit reference agencies and as such, those who make prompt payments on their purchases, would get better credit scores. Aqua advance credit card encourages borrowers to make repayments in time, by offering reduced APRs for timely payments.

Building a positive credit rating does not have to be done by making timely repayments alone. As the amount of debt to be repaid also impacts the credit rating, not drawing the full amount of available credit will also act positively on your credit score. Aqua advance credit card offers credit limits up to £1600, allowing the cardholder to draw only a portion of the available credit, and thereby keep the percentage of debt capacity low.

Cancelling a credit card may be counterproductive to the credit score. A cancelled card would reduce the overall available credit, and increase the percentage of debt capacity being availed. It would also nullify the efforts of maintaining a long credit history, one of the factors contributing to a high credit score.

Tulum Real Estate: Is It The Next Big Thing In the Mexican Market?

By Mariordo (Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (

Tulum has been for so long under the shadows of Cancun and Playa del Carmen when it came to real estate. Cancun is famous world over for its white sandy beaches, mega all-inclusive resorts and hordes of spring breakers. Cancun is also a travel and convention hub. It is very well connected to major U.S. and Canadian cities through its international airport. For these reasons Cancun’s property market is much sought after. But with increasing popularity the real estate is now out of reach for many potential buyers. Due to this reason gaze has turned towards neighboring areas such as Tulum. Tulum is close to Cancun and located in the tourist corridor of the Riviera Maya region. It is a microcosm of Mexico with relics of ancient civilization, a world famous reef, world class gourmet options and inexhaustible fun activities.

Tulum has many things going for it. Lush tropical forests teeming with wildlife surrounds it. It’s truly a marvel of nature because it is also blessed with oh-so-breathtaking beaches and turquoise crystal-clear water.

One of the USP of Tulum is ancient architecture especially El Castillo. This oceanfront Mayan temple is perhaps the most important landmark of Tulum. After diving in to the history of Mexico one can also dive and snorkel to imbue the wonders of the second largest reef in the world. Watching the aquatic wildlife and colorful reefs is an out-of-the-world experience which has to be seen to be believed. For much mysterious experience one can also dive and snorkel in the underground caves, cenotesand rivers around Tulum.

If you are not a water creature and like much sedate pursuits then you can tee off at any one of the many world class golf courses designed by legends such as Jack Nicklaus, Robert Trent Jones IIand P.B. Dye.

Tulum still retains its Mexican charm but is fast evolving as a modern town with amenities such as banks, supermarkets, restaurants, spas and hotels. Many world class residential projects are been also developed. Tulum is very conveniently located just 30 minutes away from Playa del Carmen. Playa del Carmen was a small fishing village just fifteen years back. With rapid development it has not become a tourist and real estate hotspot. The beach lifestyle offered by Playa del Carmen is unique. It has a bohemian and an international feel to it because of its 5th avenue. It has got fancy restaurants and heady nightlife also.

According to many industry experts Playa del Carmen property is no longer cheaper because of limited space available.  Due to laws which limit the number of floors there is not much scope for new development in Playa del Carmen. As a result, only few properties are available in the market which has led to a scramble among buyers. No doubt the condos in Playa del Carmen have an excellent ROI and rental incomes but many buyers won’t be able to afford them.

In such a situation, Tulum real estate is poised to be the next Playa del Carmen or even Cancun. The prices are very affordable in Tulum as of now.  With an International airport in offing, Tulum is the place to be for value real estate buyers.

About the Author: David Selva is the owner of Playa Real Estate Mall. His motto is to represent buyers to find the best real estate opportunities in Tulum, Cancun and Playa del Carmen region.

What You Should Know About Home Repossession

Currently homeowners in the United Kingdom are facing desperate times. The difficulty is that if they do not continue to pay their mortgages their homes will be repossessed. Unfortunately this is difficult for most as the mortgage rates continue to rise. Before the big crunch several years ago UK homeowners felt the credit crunch and soon their homes were repossessed. Many people know that eviction looms over their heads every day. Many people that face repossession and eviction are left with nowhere else to go but on the streets.

Most are not aware that many of these people have families and they are left homeless as well. There are many ways that these families are affected and not just by losing their homes. Some of the ways include:

  • The repossession appears on credit reports permanently affecting their credit history
  • Repossession often disqualifies homeowners from future mortgage loans

However, many times after repossession occurs many people may eventually qualify for loans that will help them regain financial stability. However, most often because of the repossession their credit history is permanently altered and can never purchase a home again.

  • Repossession cause many people to lose thousands of pounds every year.

Homes gain value over time. This builds equity in a home that can be used towards refinancing the mortgage. However, homeowners that have their homes repossessed lose the equity in addition to losing their homes instead of putting their homes up for sale.

  • Repossession also destroys families.

Even if other living arrangements are made and the family regains their lives after their home is repossessed it still is a traumatic event that can permanently alter the emotional stability of the family unit. For example, children have to relocate to another school losing their friends or couples relocate and lose their jobs they have been at for many years.

  • Sometimes having a home repossessed can effect finding employment.

There are times when having a home repossessed can greatly affect finding a job or even keeping a current job. Some employers expect their employees to have and maintain a good credit rating. When looking for a job many people who have had homes repossessed have a difficult time convincing a potential employer that they are a good candidate once the repossession is discovered.

  • Having a home repossessed can leave psychological scars.

Having a home repossessed can severely affect the entire family leaving deep psychological scars. After repossession many people suffer from depression, low self-esteem, and difficulty relating to colleagues, friends and family members. Repossession can leave a family devastated for years to the point where it can cause a breakdown in the family unit often resulting in social anxiety disorders, divorce and even children lashing out with odd social behavior such as isolation and criminal behavior. Recent studies have revealed that having a home repossessed can exhibit the same symptoms in a family as the loss of a family member or close friend. Children often have difficulty reestablishing their lives in a new school as well.