The Costs of Owning a Home Add Up

Posted: January 31st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
 

Those who have never bought a home have likely heard the suggestion that renting is like throwing money away.

Why rent when you could buy? Well, there are good cases to be made for renting, depending on your circumstances.

Renting an apartment in Charleston means never having to worry about being trapped in an underwater mortgage, or making expensive repairs, and you can relocate when and where you want without worrying about selling a home.
 
Owning a home means a yard, the freedom to paint the walls whatever color you choose, and a chance to build equity and hopefully gain an asset that will grow in value. It looks like a good time to buy a home.

But for those who aren't certain they're going to live in a home they buy for many years, buying can turn out to be the avenue where your throw money away. There can be greater risks than with renting, but with greater risk, more headaches, and unforeseen expenses.
 
Keep in mind too, that your first home most likely won't have a state-of-the-art fitness center, gorgeous pool and other apartment amenities.

With a 30-year mortgage, more than two-thirds of the money spent on mortgage payments during the first five years will go toward interest, building little equity.

First-time homebuyers may not be aware of all the costs associated with ownership. Let's go one put some hard numbers on it.

  • A homebuyer should assume the basic monthly expenses will add around 50% to 75% to the mortgage payment. Here's the math:
  • The median price of a home sold in 2011 in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties was $186,050. So if a person puts down 10% and borrows the rest, with interest rates at 4%, the monthly payment on a 30-year loan would be about $800.
  •  
  • Add about $75 for private mortgage insurance.

That's $875 a month. Sounds pretty good. That works out to $9,592 yearly, with about $3,000 going toward paying down the loan, and the rest to interest.

Now here's a rundown of additional annual costs:

  • Utilities: $2,700. That's electricity and water for an efficient, 1,800-square- foot house, with three occupants.
  • Homeowners insurance: $2,200. The cost depends on proximity to the coast. Flood insurance is extra.
  • Property taxes: About $750 to $1,300 on a house valued at the median price, depending on tax rates where it's located.
  •  
  • Homeowners association fees: $350. Some neighborhoods have HOAs, others don't, and fees can vary greatly.
  • Termite bond: $330. If you live in the Lowcountry, you'll want termite protection.
  • Stormwater/Solid Waste fees: $120 to $240 in most areas.

Add them up, and on a monthly basis, those expenses bring the monthly expenses plus mortgage up to $1,425.

Plus at least $100 a month to account for repairs and replacing stuff that breaks. The to-do list never goes away.

For information on Renting  an apartment in Charleston, SC, contact Abberly at West Ashley.

Original article – The Post and Courrier


Drive Your Online Business Offline with QR Codes

Posted: January 31st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Bindery, Mailing | No Comments »
 

Use direct mail in conjunction with social, search and mobile marketing spending for integrated campaigns.

BtoB reported that companies are spending more on marketing tactics to attract new consumers from a variety of media outlets. When you use direct mail along with social media and online marketing you get a much better response.

More interactive and user-generated content — like videos and customer reviews — can have a big influence a purchase. QR codes on direct mail pieces are a way to share this content. With a scan from their mobile phone, consumers can access more information about your product or service. Print QR (quick response) codes on catalogs and direct mail marketing.

QR codes have a certain curiosity factor. When you have a product whose benefits and features you want to share, a QR code is the perfect way to do this. Drive your online business with catalogs, direct mail and QR codes; contact Blue Hill Press.


7 Steps for a Successful Budget

Posted: January 31st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
 
…by Anthony Buono

You can't expect to reach your financial goals without developing a plan for spending and saving.

Indeed, budgets play a pivotal role in helping consumers pay off debt, feather their nest egg and make the most of their hard-earned dollars.

However, many Americans lack the money management skills necessary to get their bank accounts under control. Often, it's because they don't know where they stand.

People write out budgets all the time without knowing where their money is really going. What they've created is a wish list of how they'd like to spend their money, but it's not realistic.
 
7  steps for a successful budget:

1. Track spending for a month. Track your expenses for at least a month, using a checkbook ledger, a sticky note inside your wallet or a daily expense work sheet. Be sure to record every purchase no matter how small, including ATM fees.

2. Put savings on autopilot. Allocate at least 10% of your earnings toward savings, using direct deposit to pay yourself first.

3. Prioritize spending. 35% of your earnings should be earmarked for housing and utilities.

4. Use cash for daily spending. The growing popularity of credit and debit cards makes it all too easy to overspend. Consumers should implement a strict policy of paying with cash for groceries, clothes, vacations and nonessential items.

5. Tackle credit card debt. Implement a plan to pay down your debt. Interest payments made to credit cards cost you and don’t allow you to allocate that money to savings or entertainment. The secret to paying off debt is to determine how much you can afford to send each month and make those payments consistently.

6. Build emergency savings account. Begin saving for a rainy day. Financial planners recommend setting aside three- to six-months' worth of living expenses into an emergency fund, in case you or your spouse lose a job, fall ill or get hit with an unexpected bill.

7. Live within your means. Simply spend less than you make.

Original article - Bankrate.com


7 Steps for a Successful Budget

Posted: January 31st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
 
…by Anthony Buono

You can't expect to reach your financial goals without developing a plan for spending and saving.

Indeed, budgets play a pivotal role in helping consumers pay off debt, feather their nest egg and make the most of their hard-earned dollars.

However, many Americans lack the money management skills necessary to get their bank accounts under control. Often, it's because they don't know where they stand.

People write out budgets all the time without knowing where their money is really going. What they've created is a wish list of how they'd like to spend their money, but it's not realistic.
 
7  steps for a successful budget:

1. Track spending for a month. Track your expenses for at least a month, using a checkbook ledger, a sticky note inside your wallet or a daily expense work sheet. Be sure to record every purchase no matter how small, including ATM fees.

2. Put savings on autopilot. Allocate at least 10% of your earnings toward savings, using direct deposit to pay yourself first.

3. Prioritize spending. 35% of your earnings should be earmarked for housing and utilities.

4. Use cash for daily spending. The growing popularity of credit and debit cards makes it all too easy to overspend. Consumers should implement a strict policy of paying with cash for groceries, clothes, vacations and nonessential items.

5. Tackle credit card debt. Implement a plan to pay down your debt. Interest payments made to credit cards cost you and don’t allow you to allocate that money to savings or entertainment. The secret to paying off debt is to determine how much you can afford to send each month and make those payments consistently.

6. Build emergency savings account. Begin saving for a rainy day. Financial planners recommend setting aside three- to six-months' worth of living expenses into an emergency fund, in case you or your spouse lose a job, fall ill or get hit with an unexpected bill.

7. Live within your means. Simply spend less than you make.

Original article - Bankrate.com


Reduce Home Heat Loss

Posted: January 31st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
 

This winter may not have had a lot of snow so far, but the house still gets cold. A great way to increase your homes heating (can cooling) efficiency is to increase your home’s insulation. Adding additional insulation, especially in the attic, can make a huge difference in the temperature of your home all year round.

At the same time that you are checking your attic insulation, you should be sure that there is proper insulation around your pipes as well.
 
Typically, a home loses heat in the following areas: ceilings, walls, floors, windows and doors, and “infiltration (air loss).” Even though your home loses heat from all these areas, they don’t all lose the same amount of heat.
 
Here is how each area stacks up in terms of percent heat loss in a home:

  • Infiltration / Air Leakage: 35%
  • Windows and Doors: 18 – 20%
  • Floors and Below Grade Space: 15 – 18%
  • Walls: 12 – 14%
  • Ceilings: 10%

Contact Custom Insulation for your insulation needs.