Financial Wellness @ Work

Rent vs. Buy: Seven Factors to Consider Before Buying a Home

Owning your own home has long been considered part of the American dream but as the housing market starts to heat up in certain areas of the country, home ownership may not be the most economical solution to housing.  A recent article in The New York Times draws attention to several factors that must be considered when evaluating the financial benefits of home ownership and provides a link to a Rent v. Buy Calculator* that potential homeowners can use to quantify the tradeoff. Here are some guidelines you can use when considering each factor: Read more

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Why I Rent

One of the things that probably most surprises people about me as a financial planner is that I rent. After all, we’ve always been taught that renting is “throwing money away” while home ownership is a good long term investment and the hallmark of adulthood and the middle class. In my case, the fact that I’m a renter may be particularly surprising given that I’m also a real estate investor. So here are some of the reasons I’ve chosen to rent: Read more

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How Much Should You Put Down On a Home?

You know spring is in the air when people start thinking about home buying. I recently got questions from several people asking about buying  a home. One of the most common is how much to put down. Let’s look at a few things to consider:  Read more

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What to Look For In an Investment Property

Over the last couple of weeks, I wrote about the opportunities and challenges involved with investing in residential rental properties. If you feel ready to take the plunge, you may be wondering what to look for in an investment  property. After all, it’s not the same as buying your home, which is as much if not more of an emotional decision than a financial one. Like all investments,  the less emotion involved with real estate, the better. Here are some things I looked for in purchasing my first rental property:  Read more

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Is There Hope or Doom on the Horizon?

For a long time now, I’ve talked to people who have found it relatively difficult to come up with a 20% down payment and banks have not been very flexible with the 20% down payment requirement. Things may be changing though.  This article talks about what may be an encouraging sign for borrowers. It looks like there is some relaxing of the 20% rule now, with the return of the mortgage with a 10% down payment being seen more widely.  Is this a sign of hope that banks are having money flow back into the economy?   Read more

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To Buy or Not to Buy

I was reflecting on my “best investment decision” from my post last week and realized that the same caution that led me to not buy a home at the top of the real estate bubble also made me miss buying  a home near the bottom of the real estate market last year. I looked at several properties that I liked and they were priced low enough that I could have easily more than covered the monthly costs by renting them out if I had to. However, there were so many good options that I suffered from “analysis paralysis” and ended up not buying any of them.  Read more

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8 Home Buying Mistakes to Avoid

Exactly one year ago, our family completed a crosstown move in Charleston, South Carolina to get closer to family, my wife’s business, and our children’s schools, and thankfully, within a short little drive to Folly Beach. Any planned major purchase can add significant joy (and stress) as well as some expected and unexpected financial challenges and this was one was no different. Our new home was purchased through a short sale and although it was left structurally sound when we moved in there, there was a long to-do list related to cosmetic repairs, appliances in need of replacement, and an exterior in need of pretty significant landscaping and TLC.  Read more

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Why a Home is Still a Good Investment

Today is the first day of spring and among other things, that means many people will begin the process of buying a home. Despite the crash in the real estate market a few years ago, real estate remains a great investment. In fact, it can often make the difference of whether someone is able to retire. Here are some reasons why: Read more

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Helpful Tips for Househunters

Thursday is the first day of spring, which means daffodils in bloom, Easter egg hunts, and new homebuyers coming out of hibernation.  For employees considering a home purchase this spring househunting season, their decision could be the best or worst thing for their financial future.  Your workforce may have opportunities to learn about the housing market by working with a local real estate agent or mortgage lender, but these professionals have an ultimate agenda to seal the deal. Employees can benefit from an unbiased workshop on the ABCs of real estate to help them make one of their biggest buying decisions. Helping your employees find their dream home can also benefit the company by encouraging a more stable, less transient workforce.  Here are some of the topics that should be covered: Read more

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