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By Kenan Jue | Real Estate Pro in San Francisco, CA
  • 5 Luxuries to Ditch to Help You Save Up for a Down Payment

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Chicago, Home Buying in Chicago, Home Selling in Chicago  |  June 6, 2014 9:32 AM  |  254 views  |  No comments

    Hey, you! The one who’s thinking about buying a home. Put the latte down for a second. I have some information that you might find useful.

    We’ve made a simple list of five luxuries that you might consider forgoing to help you save more money without drastically changing your quality of life. After all, the more you save, the faster you can get into your next house.

    Luxury #1: Cable TV

    With the average American paying roughly $80 a month for cable, cutting it from your budget until you’ve bought your home can make for big savings. Dropping the monthly $80 cable bill translates to $960 in annual savings and $1440 in savings for a $120 monthly bill. Can’t quit TV cold turkey? Try these affordable alternatives: Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Netflix, or Hulu.

    Luxury #2: Your Smartphone

    Here are a few ways to save on your monthly bill:

    • Ditch the wireless hotspot: This costs an additional $20 per month on most carriers for iPhone users. That’s $240 per year.
    • Get a shared plan: If you’re buying your home with a spouse or spouse-to-be, you might consider using the same carrier and share an account. Shared minutes and data plans can offer substantial savings over individual plans.
    • Get frugal: The Frugal Girl has some great tips for drastically lowering your cell bill. And remember — after you buy your home, you can always flip back to your old ways.

    Luxury #3: Eating Out/Takeout

    I get it — you’re busy. If you don’t have time to shop, try a service like Plated orBlue Apron. They’ll ship ready-to-cook ingredients and recipes for meals direct to your door, saving you the high margin on restaurant meals.

    Luxury #4: Designer Coffee

    And that latte you’re drinking. It’s ruining your down payment. Save the $1.80 to $5 per stop each morning and switch to brewing your own at home — a preferred method by coffee snobs everywhere. For way less than you’re paying now, you can brew a great cup at home. Try this piece from Slate on being an in-home coffee snob or this article from Lifehacker on great coffee at home on a dime.

    Luxury #5: Clothes Shopping

    Shopping is awesome, but it’s also expensive. If you want to dramatically cut your shopping costs check out Twice. This clothing upcycler lets you score your favorite designers at pennies on the dollar. And the best part? You can sell your clothes to them as well. Imagine cleaning out your closet, earning store credit, and shopping for free on your account credits. And guys, we haven’t forgotten about you. Check out: Rue La La, Bluefly, or Gilt.

    As someone who recently bought a home, I discovered most of the above savings methods in the process of saving for my own down payment. I have cable and my fancy smartphone back. I still shop at Twice, though. Happy savings!

    Erika Napoletano
    Erika Napoletano
    Erika Napoletano is a snarky author, columnist, speaker, and branding strategist, hailed by Forbes as a “spinless spin doctor” for her BS-free perspectives on business, marketing, branding, and life in general. She's a twice-published author, including The Power of Unpopular (Wiley 2012), a columnist for both Entrepreneur Magazine and American Express OPEN Forum, an acclaimed speaker from TEDx Boulder 2012, and speaks at conferences across the U.S. on the inherent power of truth in business… or as she refers to it, the power of unpopularity.
  • 5 Luxuries to Ditch to Help You Save Up for a Down Payment

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Minneapolis, Home Selling in Minneapolis, Rentals in Minneapolis  |  June 6, 2014 9:31 AM  |  230 views  |  No comments

    Hey, you! The one who’s thinking about buying a home. Put the latte down for a second. I have some information that you might find useful.

    We’ve made a simple list of five luxuries that you might consider forgoing to help you save more money without drastically changing your quality of life. After all, the more you save, the faster you can get into your next house.

    Luxury #1: Cable TV

    With the average American paying roughly $80 a month for cable, cutting it from your budget until you’ve bought your home can make for big savings. Dropping the monthly $80 cable bill translates to $960 in annual savings and $1440 in savings for a $120 monthly bill. Can’t quit TV cold turkey? Try these affordable alternatives: Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Netflix, or Hulu.

    Luxury #2: Your Smartphone

    Here are a few ways to save on your monthly bill:

    • Ditch the wireless hotspot: This costs an additional $20 per month on most carriers for iPhone users. That’s $240 per year.
    • Get a shared plan: If you’re buying your home with a spouse or spouse-to-be, you might consider using the same carrier and share an account. Shared minutes and data plans can offer substantial savings over individual plans.
    • Get frugal: The Frugal Girl has some great tips for drastically lowering your cell bill. And remember — after you buy your home, you can always flip back to your old ways.

    Luxury #3: Eating Out/Takeout

    I get it — you’re busy. If you don’t have time to shop, try a service like Plated orBlue Apron. They’ll ship ready-to-cook ingredients and recipes for meals direct to your door, saving you the high margin on restaurant meals.

    Luxury #4: Designer Coffee

    And that latte you’re drinking. It’s ruining your down payment. Save the $1.80 to $5 per stop each morning and switch to brewing your own at home — a preferred method by coffee snobs everywhere. For way less than you’re paying now, you can brew a great cup at home. Try this piece from Slate on being an in-home coffee snob or this article from Lifehacker on great coffee at home on a dime.

    Luxury #5: Clothes Shopping

    Shopping is awesome, but it’s also expensive. If you want to dramatically cut your shopping costs check out Twice. This clothing upcycler lets you score your favorite designers at pennies on the dollar. And the best part? You can sell your clothes to them as well. Imagine cleaning out your closet, earning store credit, and shopping for free on your account credits. And guys, we haven’t forgotten about you. Check out: Rue La La, Bluefly, or Gilt.

    As someone who recently bought a home, I discovered most of the above savings methods in the process of saving for my own down payment. I have cable and my fancy smartphone back. I still shop at Twice, though. Happy savings!

    Erika Napoletano
    Erika Napoletano
    Erika Napoletano is a snarky author, columnist, speaker, and branding strategist, hailed by Forbes as a “spinless spin doctor” for her BS-free perspectives on business, marketing, branding, and life in general. She's a twice-published author, including The Power of Unpopular (Wiley 2012), a columnist for both Entrepreneur Magazine and American Express OPEN Forum, an acclaimed speaker from TEDx Boulder 2012, and speaks at conferences across the U.S. on the inherent power of truth in business… or as she refers to it, the power of unpopularity.
  • 5 Luxuries to Ditch to Help You Save Up for a Down Payment

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Detroit, Home Selling in Detroit, Rentals in Detroit  |  June 6, 2014 9:30 AM  |  271 views  |  No comments

    Hey, you! The one who’s thinking about buying a home. Put the latte down for a second. I have some information that you might find useful.

    We’ve made a simple list of five luxuries that you might consider forgoing to help you save more money without drastically changing your quality of life. After all, the more you save, the faster you can get into your next house.

    Luxury #1: Cable TV

    With the average American paying roughly $80 a month for cable, cutting it from your budget until you’ve bought your home can make for big savings. Dropping the monthly $80 cable bill translates to $960 in annual savings and $1440 in savings for a $120 monthly bill. Can’t quit TV cold turkey? Try these affordable alternatives: Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Netflix, or Hulu.

    Luxury #2: Your Smartphone

    Here are a few ways to save on your monthly bill:

    • Ditch the wireless hotspot: This costs an additional $20 per month on most carriers for iPhone users. That’s $240 per year.
    • Get a shared plan: If you’re buying your home with a spouse or spouse-to-be, you might consider using the same carrier and share an account. Shared minutes and data plans can offer substantial savings over individual plans.
    • Get frugal: The Frugal Girl has some great tips for drastically lowering your cell bill. And remember — after you buy your home, you can always flip back to your old ways.

    Luxury #3: Eating Out/Takeout

    I get it — you’re busy. If you don’t have time to shop, try a service like Plated orBlue Apron. They’ll ship ready-to-cook ingredients and recipes for meals direct to your door, saving you the high margin on restaurant meals.

    Luxury #4: Designer Coffee

    And that latte you’re drinking. It’s ruining your down payment. Save the $1.80 to $5 per stop each morning and switch to brewing your own at home — a preferred method by coffee snobs everywhere. For way less than you’re paying now, you can brew a great cup at home. Try this piece from Slate on being an in-home coffee snob or this article from Lifehacker on great coffee at home on a dime.

    Luxury #5: Clothes Shopping

    Shopping is awesome, but it’s also expensive. If you want to dramatically cut your shopping costs check out Twice. This clothing upcycler lets you score your favorite designers at pennies on the dollar. And the best part? You can sell your clothes to them as well. Imagine cleaning out your closet, earning store credit, and shopping for free on your account credits. And guys, we haven’t forgotten about you. Check out: Rue La La, Bluefly, or Gilt.

    As someone who recently bought a home, I discovered most of the above savings methods in the process of saving for my own down payment. I have cable and my fancy smartphone back. I still shop at Twice, though. Happy savings!

    Erika Napoletano
    Erika Napoletano
    Erika Napoletano is a snarky author, columnist, speaker, and branding strategist, hailed by Forbes as a “spinless spin doctor” for her BS-free perspectives on business, marketing, branding, and life in general. She's a twice-published author, including The Power of Unpopular (Wiley 2012), a columnist for both Entrepreneur Magazine and American Express OPEN Forum, an acclaimed speaker from TEDx Boulder 2012, and speaks at conferences across the U.S. on the inherent power of truth in business… or as she refers to it, the power of unpopularity.
  • 5 Luxuries to Ditch to Help You Save Up for a Down Payment

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Columbus, Home Selling in Columbus, Rentals in Columbus  |  June 6, 2014 9:27 AM  |  234 views  |  No comments

    Hey, you! The one who’s thinking about buying a home. Put the latte down for a second. I have some information that you might find useful.

    We’ve made a simple list of five luxuries that you might consider forgoing to help you save more money without drastically changing your quality of life. After all, the more you save, the faster you can get into your next house.

    Luxury #1: Cable TV

    With the average American paying roughly $80 a month for cable, cutting it from your budget until you’ve bought your home can make for big savings. Dropping the monthly $80 cable bill translates to $960 in annual savings and $1440 in savings for a $120 monthly bill. Can’t quit TV cold turkey? Try these affordable alternatives: Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Netflix, or Hulu.

    Luxury #2: Your Smartphone

    Here are a few ways to save on your monthly bill:

    • Ditch the wireless hotspot: This costs an additional $20 per month on most carriers for iPhone users. That’s $240 per year.
    • Get a shared plan: If you’re buying your home with a spouse or spouse-to-be, you might consider using the same carrier and share an account. Shared minutes and data plans can offer substantial savings over individual plans.
    • Get frugal: The Frugal Girl has some great tips for drastically lowering your cell bill. And remember — after you buy your home, you can always flip back to your old ways.

    Luxury #3: Eating Out/Takeout

    I get it — you’re busy. If you don’t have time to shop, try a service like Plated orBlue Apron. They’ll ship ready-to-cook ingredients and recipes for meals direct to your door, saving you the high margin on restaurant meals.

    Luxury #4: Designer Coffee

    And that latte you’re drinking. It’s ruining your down payment. Save the $1.80 to $5 per stop each morning and switch to brewing your own at home — a preferred method by coffee snobs everywhere. For way less than you’re paying now, you can brew a great cup at home. Try this piece from Slate on being an in-home coffee snob or this article from Lifehacker on great coffee at home on a dime.

    Luxury #5: Clothes Shopping

    Shopping is awesome, but it’s also expensive. If you want to dramatically cut your shopping costs check out Twice. This clothing upcycler lets you score your favorite designers at pennies on the dollar. And the best part? You can sell your clothes to them as well. Imagine cleaning out your closet, earning store credit, and shopping for free on your account credits. And guys, we haven’t forgotten about you. Check out: Rue La La, Bluefly, or Gilt.

    As someone who recently bought a home, I discovered most of the above savings methods in the process of saving for my own down payment. I have cable and my fancy smartphone back. I still shop at Twice, though. Happy savings!

    Erika Napoletano
    Erika Napoletano
    Erika Napoletano is a snarky author, columnist, speaker, and branding strategist, hailed by Forbes as a “spinless spin doctor” for her BS-free perspectives on business, marketing, branding, and life in general. She's a twice-published author, including The Power of Unpopular (Wiley 2012), a columnist for both Entrepreneur Magazine and American Express OPEN Forum, an acclaimed speaker from TEDx Boulder 2012, and speaks at conferences across the U.S. on the inherent power of truth in business… or as she refers to it, the power of unpopularity.
  • Home Price Gains Finally More Balanced, Sustainable, and Widespread

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Indianapolis, Home Selling in Indianapolis, Rentals in Indianapolis  |  June 5, 2014 11:50 AM  |  263 views  |  No comments

    The Trulia Price Monitor and the Trulia Rent Monitor are the earliest leading indicators of how asking prices and rents are trending nationally and locally. They adjust for the changing mix of listed homes and therefore show what’s really happening to asking prices and rents. Because asking prices lead sales prices by approximately two or more months, the Monitors reveal trends before other price indexes do. With that, here’s the scoop on where prices and rents are headed.

    National Year-Over-Year Price Gain Slips to 8.0%
    Asking home prices rose at their slowest rate in 13 months, rising just 8.0% year-over-year (7.2% excluding foreclosures). Although this year-over-year increase is slower than in previous months, an 8.0% increase is still far above the long-term historical norm for home-price appreciation. Furthermore, prices continue to climb in the most recent quarter: the 2.4% quarter-over-quarter increase in May 2014 is equivalent to 9.9% on an annualized basis. Finally, price gains continue to be widespread, with 93 of the 100 largest metros clocking quarter-over-quarter price increases, seasonally adjusted.

    May 2014 Trulia Price Monitor Summary

    % change in asking prices

    # of 100 largest metros with asking-price increases

    % change in asking prices,excluding foreclosures

    Month-over-month,
    seasonally adjusted

    0.7%

    Not reported

    0.5%

    Quarter-over-quarter,
    seasonally adjusted

    2.4%

    93

    2.2%

    Year-over-year

    8.0%

    96

    7.2%

    *Data from previous months are revised each month, so data being reported now for previous months might differ from previously reported data.

    No More 20% Year-Over-Year Price Gains – Not Even in the West
    Nationally, asking home prices are rising slower than in previous months, but the real change has been the price slowdown in the hyper-rebounding markets of the West. In May 2014, none of the 100 largest metros had a year-over-year price gain of more than 20%; the steepest increase was 18.8%, in Riverside-San Bernardino. Among the markets with the biggest price gains today, three – Las Vegas, Sacramento, and Oakland – have had significant slowdowns in year-over-year gains, from around 30% in May 2013 to around 15% in May 2014. In contrast, price gains accelerated dramatically in Chicago, up 13.5% year-over-year in May 2014 versus just 3.6% in May 2013. Overall, half of the top 10 markets with the largest price gains are outside the West, another big change from last year when almost all of the biggest price increases were in the West.

    (continued) http://www.trulia.com/trends/2014/06/trulia-price-rent-monitors-may-2014/

  • What Would You Never Give Up to Save for a Down Payment?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Saint Louis, Home Selling in Saint Louis, Rentals in Saint Louis  |  June 3, 2014 8:37 AM  |  280 views  |  No comments

    Aspiring home owners often need to cough up tens of thousands of dollars for a down payment — all while paying for rent, utilities, car insurance, and what seems like a thousand other bills. Some people look for ways to increase their income by finding a higher paying job or even taking a second job. Others delay replacing an older car or foregoing their annual cruise in favor of a much more modest camping trip. But what sacrifices are just too big?

    Trulia, with AYTM, surveyed 500 Americans in May, 2014 to answer such questions. The responses were both insightful and eye-opening.

    downpayment-infographic (2)

    Giving up on a car just to save money for a down payment is a hugely unpopular choice, understandably so. A whopping 42.2% of the respondents felt that giving up their smartphones is also not worth saving money for a house. The survey also reveals differences in the way sacrifices are perceived in the short-term versus the long-term. 13% percent of the respondents would rather not save for a down payment than give up their vacations; 19.6% do not want to give up cable; and 6.4% hold a morning latte closer to their hearts than the chance to solidify a home purchase.

    So, how do people save for a down payment? Utilizing existing savings, taking up a second job, and relying on state or federal programs emerge as the three most popular means.

    A down payment (and saving for it) is an essential piece of the home-buying puzzle. If you are an aspiring home buyer and are looking for ways to reduce your spending, it’s important not to cut things down to the bone. Surviving on a draconian budget is never realistic. However, it would behoove you to make reasonable cuts that allow you to enjoy life while still steadily building your down payment fund — even if it means choosing between that morning latte and eating out for lunch.

    It’s also important not to eliminate things that keep you healthy and help you manage stress. If you do cut your gym membership, look into buying some inexpensive workout equipment you can keep at home, or take up a hobby like running that does not require an expensive gym.

    Look closely at the big-ticket items. Skipping vacations for a couple years might yield more savings than eliminating an occasional restaurant meal. But don’t forget to do the math for the little stuff, too.

    Virginia C. Mcguire
    Virginia C. Mcguire
    I write about gardening, real estate, architecture, and cities.
  • What Would You Never Give Up to Save for a Down Payment?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Chicago, Home Selling in Chicago, Rent vs Buy in Chicago  |  June 3, 2014 8:22 AM  |  267 views  |  No comments

    Aspiring home owners often need to cough up tens of thousands of dollars for a down payment — all while paying for rent, utilities, car insurance, and what seems like a thousand other bills. Some people look for ways to increase their income by finding a higher paying job or even taking a second job. Others delay replacing an older car or foregoing their annual cruise in favor of a much more modest camping trip. But what sacrifices are just too big?

    Trulia, with AYTM, surveyed 500 Americans in May, 2014 to answer such questions. The responses were both insightful and eye-opening.

    downpayment-infographic (2)

    Giving up on a car just to save money for a down payment is a hugely unpopular choice, understandably so. A whopping 42.2% of the respondents felt that giving up their smartphones is also not worth saving money for a house. The survey also reveals differences in the way sacrifices are perceived in the short-term versus the long-term. 13% percent of the respondents would rather not save for a down payment than give up their vacations; 19.6% do not want to give up cable; and 6.4% hold a morning latte closer to their hearts than the chance to solidify a home purchase.

    So, how do people save for a down payment? Utilizing existing savings, taking up a second job, and relying on state or federal programs emerge as the three most popular means.

    A down payment (and saving for it) is an essential piece of the home-buying puzzle. If you are an aspiring home buyer and are looking for ways to reduce your spending, it’s important not to cut things down to the bone. Surviving on a draconian budget is never realistic. However, it would behoove you to make reasonable cuts that allow you to enjoy life while still steadily building your down payment fund — even if it means choosing between that morning latte and eating out for lunch.

    It’s also important not to eliminate things that keep you healthy and help you manage stress. If you do cut your gym membership, look into buying some inexpensive workout equipment you can keep at home, or take up a hobby like running that does not require an expensive gym.

    Look closely at the big-ticket items. Skipping vacations for a couple years might yield more savings than eliminating an occasional restaurant meal. But don’t forget to do the math for the little stuff, too.

    Virginia C. Mcguire
    Virginia C. Mcguire
    I write about gardening, real estate, architecture, and cities.
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