The Expenses of Buying and Owning a Home

Buying and maintaining a home is an expensive venture. From finding the perfect mortgage with the appropriate fees, to the year round upkeep and maintenance, this “investment” requires a lot of time and capital. That being said, if you do it right, owning a home can be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. Eventually you will presumably own the house debt free, and have made many lasting memories within those four walls.

Most people are going to need to take out a loan to buy a house, but not all companies and loans are the same. Often times too much emphasis is paid on the interest rate, and not enough on all the fees that are tacked on to obtaining a mortgage. For instance, NPBS mortgages online can come with lower fees than your typical brick and mortar lenders. A brick and mortar lender comes with a lot more overhead, and they build that into you loan origination fees.

Homeowners insurance is expensive and complicated. The more your house costs the more the insurance to cover the dwelling will cost. You need to make sure that you look online and shop insurance companies, bounce their rates and fees off each other and don’t just go with the first one you find. One caveat, make sure you purchase enough insurance to cover not only the cost of repairing the house, but to rebuild it from the ground up, this is a common mistake that many homeowners fail to recognize until it’s too late.

Keep an emergency fund on hand for general maintenance throughout the year. Things like your air conditioner, furnace, and water heater are going to go out eventually. I should know, I have had two of the three fail on me in the past couple years and they aren’t cheap replacements. Also, you want to make sure you have annual maintenance done on your appliances. This will insure that they last longer.

Lastly, don’t forget all the extras like lawn maintenance and utility bills! The bigger the piece of property the more lawn and garden there is to maintain. I don’t know about you, but I don’t exactly have a green thumb. I pay a lawn care company weekly to keep up my yard, and while it’s fully worth the price, it can be costly over an entire summer season. Utility bills vary by season and by size of the home. A nice big house can be a great thing, but it will also cost you more to heat and cool it. Keep that in mind when shopping around for a new home!

How Online Trading Platforms Work

If you’re taking your very first steps as an online trader then you’ve probably already come across trading platforms, but you may be wondering exactly what they are and how they work. A trading platform is basically a software program enabling users to place futures trades through their broker online. Once upon a time trades had to be done by traders calling their brokers who then called their people on the exchange floor. However online technology now makes it possible to do all of this from behind your laptop. This is how it works…

Starting Out

When you open your account with a commodity broker, you’ll start by downloading their trading platform. Then when you have it downloaded you can log in with your user name and password after which you can view your account and place trades provided you have the necessary funds. As soon as you get online you’ll see for yourself just how quickly and efficiently the platforms work. Most of them are easily navigable and usable, but they may differ in their presentation with variable quotes and charts available from one to the next.

Some platforms for instance offer simple daily charts with limited indicators, while others let you see all the info you could possibly wish for — though maybe too much for some users. You may be able to download some of them for a trial period to trade with play money, which will allow you to get used to the system and see which one is right for you.

Getting Trading

When you get stuck into trading you’ll start to work out what suits you best. You should be able to get real time account information whichever platform you opt for. This will give you current positions along with the profit or loss on them all, not to mention your account balance and how much you have available to use for futures margin when you trade. Some brokers like offer free real time quotes on futures and options markets, like Sucden Financial on their Smart platform, which may suit you more if you want all the info. Others only offer them for a fee. Some also let you back test trading strategies, while others have only limited capabilities.

So test drive them all and find out which works for you, so then you can get on with trading and earning a nice profit whichever platform you go with.

Sound Investment Strategy

Employing a sound investment strategy is mission critical in order to one day retire comfortably. Retirement is something near and dear to my heart, I put in a lot of hours at work and I’d like to reward myself with as many years of a work free life as possible. The sad truth is that many people nearing retirement age do not have adequate savings, which means they have to continue to work for several more years, if not the rest of their lives.  By saving and investment your money at an earlier age you can take advantage of dollar cost averaging and compounded interest to really build up your retirements. Just make sure you pay attention to a few simple rules along the way.

First and foremost, take advantage of employer sponsored retirement plans. These could be 401k’s, IRA’s, or some sort of defined pension plan. Regardless of what they offer it is vital that you are contributing (at a minimum) enough of your own money in order to take advantage of any match the employer offers. Even if they don’t offer a match chances are they are paying most of the plans fees, which can still add up. Too often I hear about people who don’t feel they have the ability to save any money, thus losing out on the employer match and the compounded earnings on all of that money.

Diversification is very important to any investing strategy. You know that old saying “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket”, well that applies to your nest egg as well. Make sure you have a blended strategy that takes advantage of cash savings, mutual funds, and blue chip stocks.

Dollar cost averaging can be an investors best friend. Timing the market is just too risky, and quite frankly nobody knows where it’s going to end up each day. A smart investor will continuously invest their money into similar stocks and funds over a period of years. In doing so, you are able to weather the highs and lows of the market since you keep buying more stock at different prices. Some people want to wait on pullbacks, or perhaps sell stock when it’s high. The truth is that nobody knows where a stock price will end up day to day, so your best bet is just investing money at the same time each month.

Regardless of your investing prowess it’s important that you have some sort of strategy employed. Pay attention to the tips above and it will be a huge help in getting you started.

4 Tips to Sell Your Home Fast

With the housing market looking troublesome and many people still tightening their budgets in the economic recession, finding the best buyers for your house can be tricky. Depending on the type of house you have and the area it’s situated in, it can either be tough to sell your house or it might be snapped up quickly depending on the demand for it and whether people can afford your asking price. Here are a couple of tips to bear in mind if you want your house to be gone before you know it at the best price possible.

1. Prepare Your House

The preparation and presentation of your house is absolutely key for its market value. This doesn’t mean you have to spend hundreds of pounds fitting it out with fabulous hi-tech features and expensive décor but it’s worth freshening it up a little so that it is clean and appealing. Be sure to de-clutter it of any unnecessary or extremely personal items so that viewers can imagine themselves living there and hopefully feel like they would really want to!

2. Viewing Strategy

Make the property available for viewing at very flexible times as you want to bring people in to see the place at a time that is convenient for them. It’s crucial to have a list of dos and don’ts for when you or your agent is showing people around. Don’t apologise for how the house looks or draw attention to less appealing features. Instead, be patient, give them plenty of time and space and highlight the positive features in a natural way. It’s also worth commenting on areas for potential conversions or extensions to get their imagination flowing and encouraging them to think of making the place their own.

3. Get a Good Agent

A good estate agent is well-practiced at sealing the right deal with potential buyers so the better agent you have, the more likely you are to sell your home quicker. Don’t just go for the agent that charges the lowest fees but choose one that has a great track record of selling homes and one that you feel you can trust. This will make it easier to take their recommendations on the best way to sell your house. A good agent will also have a wealth of knowledge about the competition that you’re up against and will be able to offer you sound advice on a reasonable sale price to set.

4. Consider Your Options

If you’re really struggling, you might have to lower your asking price or postpone selling your house until the market gets better. Other options are selling it to a trusted house buyer like House Buyer Bureau or even putting it on for rent. There are plenty of options that your estate agent would be able to advise to about to take steps in the right direction.

Tips on How to Save and Earn Extra Money from Junk Auto

Everyone dreams of being able to say they are completely financially independent. However, this isn’t always as easy as we would hope. Many people have trouble getting to this state due to poor financial management or inadequate knowledge on the subject. It’s important to be in control of your money, and there are loads of simple things you can do to save and make extra money.

Saving money

1. Purchase goods and services while on offer

It might seem obvious, but one of the easiest ways to save money is to always be on the lookout for stores with offers on the items you need. This will ensure you buy goods and services at a lower price. As well as this, it’s worth shopping around as often the first price you find for an item will not be the cheapest.

2. Shop in bulk

Similarly, shopping in huge quantities tends to attract discounts. For instance instead of buying groceries daily, do weekly shopping. Easy habits like this not only help in terms of saving time but will also be likely to get you a discount too.

3. Practice DIY

Instead of hiring the services of basic household technicians, learning to fix simple problems in the house by yourself will help you save on the money you would have otherwise paid out for the service. Do It Yourself tips are available online and in different publications and therefore you can easily access and make use of them.

4. Cut down on unnecessary expenses

To be a good saver, you need to tame yourself. Learn to say no when you have to and always stick to your budget. Minimize on your entertainment by reducing the time you spend in bars and clubs, the number of times you eat out and by renting instead of buying movies.

5. Start collecting shopping coupons

At a glance, shopping coupons may not seem to save you a lot of money but in the long run they actually do. Collecting coupons is tricky but once you learn the art and live by it, you can end up getting yourself up to 50% discounts while shopping.

Earning extra money

1. Get a part-time job

If you current job leaves you with a lot of free time, taking up a part time job will not only earn you extra money but it will also help you make good use of your time. Simple jobs such waiting tables, delivering pizza, letters and parcels, baby-sitting or watching a store come in handy.

2. Sell your old items

You must have realized that with time, some items you own, though they may be in perfect condition, are just not of use to you. Sorting out such items and putting them up for sale will prove more valuable than having those items stored in your basement. The sale of the items can simply be conducted online or in your backyard. Again, even the old spoilt items can be used to earn some extra money. A Junk car and any other equipment that does not run may sometimes contain some useful parts. Such equipments instead of being trashed away can be sold to junk buyers who later turn them to other useful products.

3. Make use of your talents and hobbies

Using your personal skills to create items or help others can also earn you money while at the same time you enjoy yourself and improve on those skills. You can make craft items, design logos or bake cookies and sell them to friends and neighbours. You can also provide services such as tutoring and coaching at a fee.

4. Take extra time at work

If your income is determined by how much time you put to your work, dedicate and sacrifice yourself to more time at work in order to earn more. This will earn you more and you may also be lucky to receive incentives or a promotion from your boss.

5. Rent out your used car or other properties

If you posses properties that you hardly use such as a garden and a used car. You can rent them out to others at a fee when they need them for short term purposes. Used cars can be hired by friends for certain occasions or even tourists visiting your area for a certain duration. Properties such as gardens and ranches can be hired for events and other special occasions.

These are just some of the useful tips in helping you having better control over your finances. Practicing the art of saving and making extra money will in the long run help you achieve your financial goals swiftly and sooner. Keep in mind that the economy keeps on changing and with a firm financial status, you can be able to go through these changes with less difficulty.