Category: real estate

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Home Inspection Tips & Checklist – What’s Included?

So, are you selling your own home or in the market to buy a new home for yourself? Guess what — you’re going to need a home inspection done by a qualified professional prior to completing the sale or purchase. Because purchasing a home is (probably) the largest single purchase you will make in your life, it’s important to get your potential new asset inspected for any problems before you sign on the dotted line. After all, there is nothing worse than finding any huge problems after you have taken ownership that are then your responsibility to take care of! While home inspections do vary in quality and requirements, there are some aspects that will usually be the same no matter where you live or whom you decide to work with, and this is because there are guidelines put forth by the National Association of Home Inspectors which good home inspectors take care to follow when doing their job. Let’s take a look at some of the items and standards included in a house inspection so you’ll know what to expect when it’s your turn to get one!

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Cost of Living Comparison and Difference Between Cities

In the last three years I have lived in three different states and one of them twice. I lived in Southern California from 1996 – 2008, then in New Mexico from 2008 – 2009, then Colorado from 2009 – 2010, and then I arrived back in California again late last year to set up shop. The story behind all those moves is long-winded so I will spare you from the details, but that’s not really the point of why I am writing this post– I really wanted to discuss the cost of living in different communities and what effect that can have on your financial well-being and stability.

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How I Saved Money on My Rental Apartment Application & Credit Score Check

As I have mentioned lately, I am moving back to California in a few weeks. And in California, almost every single apartment/house/rental you apply for, you have to pay an application fee and a credit check fee to the landlord. Because I have been looking for (and finally found) a cool place to rent, I have been putting in applications for various houses, all of which initially required both the application the credit check fee. I don’t know if there is a standard charge for these fees, but the people I talked to wanted a $25 app fee and a $35 credit fee. Realizing this was going to get expensive, I decided to do something about it; I ran my own credit report and got a copy of my own credit score. I now had copies of information that landlords were going to charge me $35 for each time I applied for a place, and it only cost me a one time fee of about $7. Sweet!

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Best US Cities and Places to Live in 2010

It’s that time again – time for Money Magazine’s 100 Best Places To Live In America. Every year I cover their findings, as I think it’s really interesting to read about where people are living “the good life” in this country. Their findings are based on data about job opportunities, education, crime rates, health care, extracurricular activities, and a bunch of other factors that can make or break a town’s livability. They start with towns and cities with populations between 50,000 and 300,000, then they exclude places where median income is more than 200% of the state median, then they screen out retirement communities, towns with high unemployment, etc., then they factor in additional data on the economy, followed by visits to the towns and interviews with local residents. It’s quite an exhaustive process!

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What Neighborhood Should You Live In?

Choosing where to “settle down” can be a daunting task. How are the schools? What’s the crime rate? How high are the taxes? Lucky for me, I suppose, is that I am not too interested in settling down anywhere – I kinda like moving every couple of years. But for many people, the idea of buying a home and getting settled for the long term is definitely a big goal on the To-Do list. If you haven’t already found your perfect place, you may want to check out the website NeighborhoodScout.com which lets you search neighborhoods across the U.S., using criteria like housing appreciate rates, crime scores, and school ratings. For example, I searched for my favorite place I have ever lived, Santa Monica, CA, and here is some of what the report came back with:

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