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Work Your Financial Muscles To Better Credit

Financial habits and credit go hand in hand. Since your debt accounts for 30% of your credit score, it is safe to assume when your finances are in order, your credit should be as well (there are a few exceptions). This does not happen overnight. Similar to working out, you cannot eat a salad and go to the gym for 1 day and expect to lose 50 pounds. True success and results come with routine, discipline and sacrifice. Feel the burn!!

Set a budget – This is your foundation. Setting a budget will provide a guide for what expenses you have and how much income you have available to work with.
Monitor your spending – Mint.com is a free service that when connected to your acounts, tracks your spending and helps you set goals. CreditKarma.com is also great to automate monitoring your credit. They send you a message when there is activity or your score is updated. Numbers and facts are hard to deny. We can say that we are good with money but if you track your spending and see that you don’t save and eat out regularly and you have poor credit… something has to change.  Additionally, this can help you capture any kind of fraudulent charges if your info is ever at risk. 

Manage your debt – Pay off higher interest debts – Paying off higher interest accounts first will pay off in the long run. This will get you out of the rat race faster when it comes to minimizing debts, especially in credit cards.
Be proactive, don’t procrastinate – Avoid additional expenses and unnecessary late fees! Take advantage of any auto pay options to ensure payments are made on time. I simplified the process which helped me get focused very quickly… Do I want to give away my hard earned money? Interest payments are simply you giving your money away with no benefit to you. I am not cheap but I do not like giving away money if it is not for a good cause, my money going to a bank is not a good cause.

Eliminate bad spending habits – A little can go a long way. Bad spending habits will only set you back from your bigger goals. The monthly shoe subscription, coffee, eating out can add up to thousands yearly that you could be saving towards your financial goals. Spending less than you earn and sticking to your budget will allow you to have extra funds. Start setting these savings aside for your major purchases or for a cushion to fall on in case of emergencies. I save in a separate account that I do not have a card for, so in order for me to access the money, I need to transfer between banks which takes 3 days. This kills the urge to drain my savings. 

Stop impulse expenses – Rely on the bare necessities. I’m not going to lie, it’s very hard to pas up sales that are thrown at you, especially in the coming months but if you don’t need it….walk away. 

Invest in your future – I will put the disclaimer that I am a real estate professional so my investment advice is a little biased, moreso because I know that it works. If you do not own a home, consider purchasing a multi-family as opposed to a single or condo. You will have assistance with the mortgage and hopefully be cashflowing (passive income) from the rents you collect. This allows you to invest in other things and also brings a little more peace of mind. 

Feel free to connect with us on FACEBOOK or visit Urban Money Matters for FREE financial literacy seminars to help work those financial muscles.

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Secrets to Paying Off Your Mortgage Ahead of Time

 While the American dream may be to own a home, my dream is to own a home FREE and CLEAR. Although a process and a long term goal, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages of paying off your mortgage early. Even if you are not making $100,000/yr, any additional money you put toward your principal helps you in the long run. You may not see it initially but trust me… it matters over the life of the loan. 

Did you know that less than 20 percent of U.S. homeowners have paid down 50 percent or more of their mortgage?   This does not have to be your statistic. By making a few simple changes you will soon be on the road to becoming mortgage-free!

Set Attainable Goals

Decide how fast you want to pay off your mortgage. How soon can you afford to pay it off? Knowing how soon you want to pay it off will allow you to figure out how much money to add to your monthly payment to accomplish that goal. Knowing the additional money needed helps you figure out what expenses you can cut from your life.

Create a Budget

We all  know that we need a goal, a plan and deadlines to succeed. I do not know of a successful person who just goes through life “doing.” There is usually always a goal and a list of items/plan to complete in order to accomplish the goal. Once you set the goal of paying off your mortgage in “x” years, we need need to create a budget to achieve the goal. Figure out your monthly income and your monthly expenses.  See where you can free up money by reallocating some things. Then, figure out how much more you can add to your monthly mortgage payment. Be sure to write that the extra goes toward your principle or else they will put it toward your interest which defeats the purpose. 

Cut the Fat

We all hate when we have to live on the bare necessities but in order to build wealth and pay down your mortgage, sacrifices need to be made. I would much rather make the sacrifice today in not having my daily coffee or show subscription in exchange for paying off my mortgage early. Let’s say I am able to pay off my mortgage in 15 years if I live “broke” on purpose. That means, in 15 years I could buy all the shoes I want with the extra money I’m saving by not having a mortgage. Sacrifice $200-$1000/mo now  to essentially earn an extra $2000 for life later?… I’ll take that ALL DAY!

Large Payments

Tax season comes every year without fail. Most of us anticipate a refund check. Most of us also have that money “spent” before we receive it for things such as vacation, new TV, Car down payment… Invest in your future and use that lump sum toward your principle. You will be happy you did sooner than you think. We are a society of immediate gratification, we need to think long term if we ever have a chance at building wealth. 

Refinance

Refinancing gives you the ability to obtain a better interest rate. Even if you have the same interest rate… you could potentially lower your monthly payments by virtue of the fact that you are now redistributing your loan repayment period to 30 years. For example, you purchased at at $200,000 and your mortgage was $1,500. Now you owe $150,000 with a refinance, your payment decreases to $1,100. All you did was refinance. Since you were able to afford $1,500 initially, now you should pay $1,100 with an additional $400 toward your principal. Couple that with any extra money you were able to save due to cutbacks…. your mortgage will be repaid in no time. 

Want more tips on how to pay off your mortgage? Send us a message to be connected to loan officers who can advise on your options. 

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Color Psychology for Home Staging

Do you like one color over another? Do you feel a different way depending on the color you see? There is a psychological response related to color choices. It is based on the mental and emotional effects it can have on a person. 

Warm colors: instantly grab people’s attention (red). Use this to draw buyer’s attention to a positive feature in your home. Use as an accent color. Yellow makes a home feel warm and inviting. A little 

Cool colors: It is relaxing and creates a spa like feeling depending on the shade. Green provides balance as it reminds people of nature. 

Neutral Colors: breaks up colors to let the eyes rest. 

Whites: Feeling of cleanliness,purity

Black: Authority and strength

Grey: Timeless, practical and provides perfect background for any color. 

For more resources and tips on how to prepare your home for sale, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Your Home’s Been on the Market For How Long?

This blog is for my sellers in this crazy market. I want you to think of yourself as a homebuyer for a second… Would you pay more for a house if all the comparable homes in the area that have sold and others that are on the market are cheaper? What would make you choose the overpriced house?

Honest question because there are some people who willingly pay more for a home due to time constraints or a love for some specific feature in the home that they can’t live without. 

If there’s anything almost guaranteed to make your home sale experience a good or bad one, it will be price!

Price it correctly from the start and you’ll get offers in no time!

However, go with the “let’s see if there are buyers willing to pay that price” and as a home seller, you’ll undoubtedly draw the short straw!

How does a home seller know his home is overpriced?

The home is priced well-above neighboring properties for sale

“Of course, my home should be selling for more than some of my neighbors’ houses!”

As long as the market hasn’t spoken (i.e. no able & willing buyer and home seller have agreed on a mutually acceptable price), prices of properties in your neighborhood are just ASKING prices, but not given yet! As agents we base value on SOLD homes with a few adjustments to account for present market. If homes are listed and sitting in a hot market… that means they are overpriced.

The home isn’t seeing a steady stream of buyer showings

You agree on a list price, put your home on the market and nothing! No calls, no showing requests, nothing!! Other homes are on the market and accepting offers…what’s wrong? Well.. if you re the highest priced home in your neighborhood but clearly not new construction or newly remodeled… I think you know why.

The home hasn’t seen a single offer, despite months of marketing

If a home is priced right, there should be a lot of buyers knocking at your door (well, contacting your agent) and several showings. It should not take long for you to receive offers (within 30 days). If this is not your story… you should consider having a serious discussion with your agent and consider re-interviewing agents to sell your property.

The home has only seen ‘low-ball’ offers

The longer your home sits on the market, the greater the chance of low ball offers. All agents review days on market with their clients before submitting offers. If you have been on the market for over 30-40 days, expect less than asking, beyond that timeframe… even lower.

The real estate agent’s contract expired and the home is still on the market

When you agree to work with an agent, there is usually a start date and an end date to the contract. If you have not received offers by the conclusion of your contract… DO NOT RENEW with that agent. They did not fulfill their duties.  You also did not do your homework to understand the market and lower the price to what the market will bear.

Here at The Mandrell Company, we are honest and upfront. We provide honest numbers for home values. Some sellers choose other companies because our value was lower but we see that same home on the market months later and sometimes it sells for the price we told the seller but 5 months later. Had they listened, they would have had a sale months sooner.

For a complimentary value analysis and the opportunity to assist you in the sale of your home, please contact us to schedule your consultation. CONTACT@MANDRELLCO.COM or 617-297-8641.

 

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