Filed under: Real Estate
So what does it take to claim victory over your competitors if you find yourself in a bidding war? Here are some helpful tips:
By Morgan Housel
Mostly by accident, I have never owned a home, and consider it one of the best financial moves I've ever made.
Not because suffering through one of the worst real estate downturns in history would have slammed my finances, although that's likely true. But because in the last four years, my wife and I have lived in four different locations in three different states on each side of the country. Each move was driven by work and school opportunities that would have been out of reach had we been tied down to one home.
Our story is hardly unique. In one of the most telling studies looking at the benefits of home ownership, economists Andrew Oswald and David Blanchflower ask, "does high home-ownership impair the labor market?"
Their answer is "yes."
By Dan Caplinger
Real-estate developer Roman Blum wasn't famous during his lifetime. But when the 97-year-old died in 2012, he quickly became famous for something he didn't to do during his lifetime: write a will. Or, if he did write one, he neglected to leave it where someone could find it.
Blum, a Holocaust survivor with no living family members, passed away with an estate worth nearly $40 million. It is the largest unclaimed estate in the history of the state of New York, and unless the court-overseen administrator of his assets finds relatives through a genealogist search, every penny could end up going to the state government.
Legacies Left in Limbo
Millions of people don't have wills, never considering the consequences of their actions on the family members and friends who survive them.
Fortunately, getting a will in place doesn't have to be complicated; even a simple will is enough to express your intent for who should receive your assets after your death. Moreover, if you have minor children, wills allow you to name a guardian for them that will avoid any uncertainty about who you want to care for them if something happens to you. At the same time you get your will done, you should also consider some other valuable estate-planning documents. Living wills and health-care proxies can give doctors and family members more guidance on how you want your medical care handled if you're incapacitated, while a durable power of attorney allows a trusted person to handle your finances when you can't. Here's a rundown of the 10 important documents you should have.
You may not be as rich or famous as the celebrities below, but their lives -- and deaths -- offer a cautionary tale for what can happen when you die intestate. Making a will might seem like a chore, but getting it done will go a long way toward avoiding family feuds after your death and having your memory overshadowed by discord among your loved ones.
Here are some tips on affording a room renovation you'll actually finish:
The RRSP Home Buyer's Plan (HBP):
This program allows first-time home buyers to withdraw funds from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to pay for a home without incurring the usual tax penalty. An individual is allowed to withdraw up to $25,000 from their RRSP, but must pay it back over 15 years. If that person is purchasing with a spouse, both the individual and the spouse may withdraw up to $25,000 each.
Statistically speaking, corner houses are burglarized more often than houses that have neighbours on each side. But common sense would suggest that because they're more visible, would-be thieves should be more visible as well.
We thought we'd pull together the pros and cons of corner houses, so you can decide for yourself. Click on the image below to launch a gallery of reasons for and against buying a corner house.
As a general rule, the team at Kiplinger champions the art of getting rich slowly. "Don't go for the home run," Knight Kiplinger tells us in his classic column "8 Keys to Financial Security." "In investing, as in baseball, those who swing for the fences do hit the occasional home run. But they strike out a lot, too, and their lifetime batting average -- average annual total return -- suffers accordingly."
But maybe you're willing to take some calculated risks in pursuit of the freedom that money (and lots of it) can give you to make choices that can bring satisfaction, whether that means buying your dream home, giving generously to charity or escaping the 9-to-5 grind. In that spirit, we focus on nine faster roads to riches, with varying levels of risk. The people we interviewed who have made it big didn't always get there on the first or second try. But they all share essential qualities for success: passion, persistence and patience.
If you've tried to sell a home in the last few years, you know how hard it can be to get the price you're asking for. Even now as the housing market heats up and bidding wars are breaking out in parts of the country, it's still an uphill battle selling for the right price. But if your home has the right features, that can help score a higher bid from buyers -- maybe even more than you were asking for.
According to a recent National Association of Realtors survey looking at which home features are most desirable to buyers, there are 10 home improvements that homebuyers are willing to pay more for. Many of these features center around the kitchen, and some of these improvements could snag a seller thousands more from an interested buyer. Of course, these features aren't necessarily the most important deciding factor for homebuyers, Brendon DeSimone, a Zillow real estate expert, told 24/7 Wall St. The location -- proximity to good schools, neighborhood safety and commute -- will be the biggest factors weighing on buyers' minds, he said. But having some of these features inside the home can only help. Click through the gallery below to see the 10 most popular home improvements that buyers want.
Our friends at Tech Crunch kindly invite you into the "greenest home in America." In the hills of Silicon Valley lies the grand home known as Tah.Mah.Lah (which draws from the Native American Ohlone tribe's word for "mountain lion"). Dreamed up by Foundation Capital partner Paul Holland and his wife, Linda Yates, the home has the highest LEED certification in the country. It's been built to have minimal environmental impact. So how exactly does it do that? Check out the video above and see for yourself.
7 Ways to Green Your Home Slash Your Utility Bills
Here are eight tips to help you improve your home's exterior for a quick spring sale.