Posts tagged with "property"

Money & Relationship illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Money Issues × Relationships

Are Money Issues Ruining Your Relationship?

Read on for 5 tips to resolve them.

The COVID-19 pandemic has played havoc with families’ finances through lost jobs, squeezed budgets, increased debt, and missed payments.

Money and the decisions spouses make with it are one of the main sources of stress among couples, and sometimes money issues end relationships or cause divorce. But differences can be solved or managed if couples learn to listen to each other and work as a team to formulate a sensible plan, says financial planner Aaron Leak, the founder of ECL Private Wealth Management. 

“No matter how long you have been together, financial issues can wreak havoc on a committed relationship,” Leak says. “When couples don’t agree about spending and saving habits, it causes arguments and resentment.

“But understanding what you’re fighting about and why helps you and your partner come up with solutions. By being transparent and honest with each other about your finances, you can not only prevent arguments that strain your relationship, but you will strengthen it.”

Leak offers these tips for couples to address and resolve financial issues:

  • Understand your money styles. Think of some extreme examples of money styles in your circle. Like your friend, the foodie, who won’t touch a bottle of wine that costs less than $75. Or your sister who constantly surfs Amazon. Or your mom who washes aluminum foil, then folds and reuses it. Everyone has a money style, and it’s helpful to talk about it without any name-calling or labeling involved. Understanding your partner’s spending habits often involves a deep dive into money fears, scarcity memories and childhood traumas. Come up with a spending plan that works for both of you.
  • Decide how to divvy up the bills and save for future goals. You can both put all your earnings in a joint account and pay everything out of that. Or you can split bills down the middle and keep the rest of your own earnings for yourselves. Once you have decided how the bills get paid, you need to devise a plan for saving for your long-term goals. Remember that you need to work closely together as life changes arise – such as one of you losing a job or cutting back on hours to care for a parent. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that contingency plans are always advisable.
  • Create personal spending allowances that stay personal. Having some personal money that’s designated just for you each month can really help how you feel about your relationship. It can also help avoid relationship-ruining behavior like “financial infidelity,” when one spouse hides money or purchases from the other. The personal spending allowance gives each partner the chance to spend their money however they wish, no questions asked.
  • Face and eliminate undesirable debt. Couples should employ a strategy to pay off debt, such as paying off the higher-interest debt first or paying off the smallest loans first (the snowball method). Payments on credit cards, car loans, and student loans can devour monthly budgets, so the sooner they are paid off, the better.
  • Set a budget you can live with. One of the best ways to keep in sync with your partner financially is to have a budget as part of your overall plan. The budget includes your household bills, your personal spending allowance, your debt-paying strategy, and your monthly budget for long-term goals like retirement.

“Relationships take consistent work in order to be happy and successful, and money management is a big part of it,” Leak says. “The best way to be sure you and your spouse are staying on the same page financially is to talk honestly and without judgment.”

About Aaron Leak

Aaron Leak has 16 years of experience in the financial industry and is the founder of ECL Private Wealth Management. He holds Series 7, 6, 63 and 66 licenses as well as life, health, and property and casualty insurance licenses.

Realestate image by Rita Azar for 360 magazine

Property Liens 101: What Are Your Options When Selling a Home?

Sometimes, getting from under debt can mean selling your home. However, how can you relieve yourself of mortgage debt if your property has a lien attached?

More than likely, a property sale will bring any related legal problems to light. A property lien is a serious issue that you must deal with before you can close the sale. Property liens give a creditor the right to possession of your property until you pay any debts.

To learn more about your options when selling a home with a lien, continue reading.

What Are Liens?

A credit error can prove problematic if you’re trying to buy a home. Likewise, a property lien will cause similar grief if you want to sell your property.

A property lien will most often show up when a bank or potential buyer does a title search. A title search is a legal check on the ownership of your property.

If there’s a problem with your title search, it will more often than not delay the closing. For this reason, you need to deal with the lien before you can sell your property.

A lien on a house is a legally binding claim that another party has on your property. It allows them to access your property if you do not pay your debts.

A creditor must file a property lien with the county clerk’s office or a state agency. Next, the appropriate office will approve or deny the claim.

The office that records the claim will then deliver notice to you with the terms of the lien. In short, the notice will explain that a creditor has taken action against your property.

A creditor can place liens against property for tangible items such as your car or boat. However, they can also file for a property lien against your home.

For instance, a bank would file for a property lien if you fall behind on your mortgage payments. Usually, a property lien is a last resort action to recover a debt.

Who Can File a Lien Claim?

The courts will award a property lien after a creditor has made numerous attempts to collect payment. For example, the creditor may have hired a collection agency to recover the debt.

A property lien is a very effective way for a creditor to recover a debt. However, it’s also particularly stressful for debtors.

With a bank loan, for instance, a lender can file for a first-order property lien. A bank may apply for this kind of lien after you’ve missed several mortgage payments.

A lender has specific rights regarding how they can use a property as collateral against a mortgage. For this reason, it’s quite easy for a bank to obtain a property lien for delinquent mortgage payments.

Can You Sell a House With a Lien?

In short, yes. You can sell your home if a creditor has placed a lien on it.

You could try to close a sale without help. However, the process is long and complex. It’s also stressful and financially draining.

Various types of creditors may place a lien on a house. For instance, you may have an outstanding debt with a bank, homeowner’s association, or the state or federal government. These parties all have the power to prevent you from selling your home if the courts have awarded a lien.

However, creditors don’t want your home. They want their agreed-on payment. To that end, a property lien gives them the right to sell your home to recover the delinquent debt.

Once you pay the debt, the creditor will issue a Letter of Satisfaction. However, creditors take advantage of the fact that most homeowners don’t know their rights when it comes to property liens. The typical homeowner doesn’t understand the options that they can use to resolve a lien.

If you’re trying to sell your home, this fact adds to the problem. If a creditor knows that you want to sell your home, they’ll use that fact as leverage to collect the debt. Often, a homeowner will end up with more problems from debtors that use circumstances to their advantage.

For these reasons, it’s beneficial to seek financial help when you’re trying to sell a property that’s under a lien. An experienced lawyer, for example, can help you to navigate the process. For more information regarding rental property management, visit Mynd Management’s website.

What Are My Options Regarding Property Liens?

If you decide to resolve the issue independently, you’ll need to start by evaluating the lien. In other words, you’ll need to figure out what kind of liens and judgments creditors have against your property.

The procedure for different liens varies. Some liens on a property are nonnegotiable. However, you can settle other kinds of liens with little or no money.

Next, you’ll need to find someone willing to purchase a house with a lien. Most often, buyers and realtors view a lien is a major problem.

No buyer or agent wants to deal with a stubborn creditor. For this reason, they won’t pursue a property purchase until you’ve paid all debts in full.

Instead of going it on your own, it makes sense to hire an experienced real estate attorney. An expert attorney can make a big difference in your ability to sell your home that’s under a lien.

A knowledgeable real estate attorney can make sure that you say the right things to creditors. For instance, it’s a good idea not to tell a creditor you’re trying to sell your home. As soon as you give them this information, they’ll use it to pressure you.

In other cases, the creditor will lie in wait for your settlement payment. Once you receive it, they’ll claim the funds. If they win, a judge might award them compensation directly out of the closing proceeds.

It can prove difficult knowing what to say when talking to creditors. An experienced attorney can help you navigate this kind of minefield. To learn more about working with a professional real estate attorney, take a look at this article by Fernald Law Group.

Mulling Over a Lien Sale

If you need to sell your home and there’s a lien on it, it’s in your best interest to work with a professional real estate lawyer. There are a lot of nuances when it comes to liens on property.

For example, each state has different rules about the statute of limitations for liens. Even if a lien expires, however, a creditor can refile a lien and extend it in most states.

For this reason, it’s important to have an experienced professional on your side. A professional understands how to overcome the challenges of selling a house with a lien. More importantly, a creditor is more likely to negotiate with an expert who understands lien laws.

Learn More, Know More, Do More

Now that you know more about property liens, you can hopefully make a more informed decision about what you’ll do next.

Life has its challenges. Navigating some of life’s challenges, such as liens against property, can prove downright perplexing. Fortunately, there’s help.

With the right information, you can make it through the toughest obstacles that come your way. Check out our blog for more insightful news and tips for help navigating business, pleasure, and life.

Three Important Things to Look for When on a Home Tour

One of the first things you do when you’re looking at purchasing a property is to go on a home tour. While looking at pictures may give you the general idea of what to expect, it’s essential to view homes in-person to identify if they are the right fit for you. You can see a lot on a home tour that you can’t see in pictures, but you need to know exactly what to look for.

By knowing the essential things to look for on a home tour, you can ensure that you won’t have any surprises when you’re moving into your new home.

1. Condition of the grass

When you’re walking up to the property, the first thing that you should look at is the grass. While a few dry patches aren’t a huge cause for concern, the grass’s condition can reveal more than you might think. A surplus of dry and discolored spots may indicate a fungal disease, which will cost you a lot of money and time to fix, plus means you may have an infestation on your hands. Additionally, extremely wet, and squishy grass areas may indicate areas prone to flooding or even broken sewer lines. 

However, if you are looking to relocate to another city or country, visiting in person may not be possible. By using a reputable online property search, such as Kenya Property Centre, you can find high-quality listings that reduce the potential of finding problems like this, in your new location. 

2. Smells

You can’t see smells in pictures, but they can indicate some big problems in a property. Pay special attention to any odors that you smell when touring a property. Mold and mildew are the main things to look out for, since not only can it be costly to get rid of, but also negatively impact your health. If you smell a damp, musty smell, it could signify that you have this problem.

Additionally, certain smells can stick inside of homes, like pet urine and cigarette smell. These odors are difficult, if not impossible, to get rid of without some significant investments. Notice if there are strong fragrances present when you tour the home because they could indicate that the owners are trying to hide bad smells.

3. Condition of floors and walls

In pictures, the floors and walls could look perfectly fine. The images can be edited to mask the discoloration, and you can’t feel the texture. Defects on the floors and walls, like cracks, warping, and water stains, could indict structural issues that could end up costing you a lot of money in repairs.

If you see cracks running either horizontally or diagonally on the walls, it could be a sign of water damage or problems with the foundation. Water damage can do some severe damage to a property, so it’s one of the most important things to look out for. Signs of water damage will include the walls bubbling out, water stains or walls, ceilings or floors, warped floorboards, and musty smells.

A warped floor can also signal other problems, such as rotting wood, poor construction, or even termites. Pay careful attention to how the floor feels when you step on it, and if you notice any springiness, that shouldn’t be there.

 

Illustration for 360 MAGAZINE about home improvements

Improve the Structure of Your Home With These Key Hacks

You have a lot to consider when you look to improve your home and make the most of it as an asset. Your home is something you should be looking to make the most of moving forward, and there are a lot of things that play a role in this. One of the major factors you need to keep in mind right now is that you are going to need to improve the structure of the home as much as possible.

Assess the Property

First things first, you need to make sure you assess the property and find out where there might be any issues that need to be addressed. Often with homes, you don’t actually realize there is an issue until it occurs, and once you go looking for one issue, others tend to appear. You also need to make sure that the structure of the home is as sound as possible. Try to come up with ideas that are going to help you assess the home!

Make Changes

No matter how much you love your home, there is a good bet you’re going to want to change parts of it to make you love it more. If there are structural issues, it is even more important to make these changes, as it is something that could make or break your home right now. Focus on taking it to next level. There are a lot of changes you can make that will help with this. 

Bring in Experts

There are plenty of experts you can bring in to help you deal with the structural issues you might face as a homeowner. This is something you need to do right now so that you can take things to the next level. Try to come up with ideas that will help with this, and make sure you are hiring a foundation problem expert to help look after the structural integrity of the home. 

If you can follow these hacks you will find yourself well-placed to make the right changes for your home right now. This is something that is going to improve the property and make it a much safer and more attractive place for you to live. There are a lot of things that play a role in this, and it is so important to try to make the most of this right now. 

Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE

3 things you should know before moving in your student flat

So, you’ve just completed your first year of university and are looking for a way out of student dorms. More than likely, you will have never rented a property before, so before you race ahead and agree to the first flat you see, you should take some time to research and assess the properties you look at before making a final decision.

To help you choose the right student flat, you should take a look at the following tips which will help you understand the renting process and allow you to exercise your tenant rights.

Property location

When looking for the property, the first thing to consider is the location, as you need to make sure that your journey to lectures isn’t too long. You could start by looking at properties surrounding your university, although these may not be within your budget or will most likely be too small to fit you and your flatmates.

If you’re a student at a central university, you may be best looking on the outskirts, which will mean you’re not paying city-centre prices but are still a short walk away from your place of study. Property companies like RW Invest offer affordable properties for students in Liverpool universities, which offer luxury accommodation in a prime location. This gives tenants convenient access to their university, as well as shops, bars, restaurants and more – which allows them to benefit from the full student experience. If you’re in San Diego then you can check out sandiegodowntown.com/search-san-diego-condos-for-sale/ for some upscale yet modern accommodation options.

Living costs

If you lived in halls in your first year, you will understand some of the costs associated with student living. However, there are some differences with a private student flat, for example, you may have to pay all your bills separately, in comparison to your student accommodation where you paid everything together. You need to consider costs such as your rent, utility bills, Wi-FI, TV license and more to establish whether the flat is a viable option for you.

If the landlord does not include utility bills within the tenancy, you will have to sort it yourself, which may seem daunting but can actually save you a significant amount. To make sure you’re making a saving, you should inspect the appliances and fixtures to ensure there are no issues such as leaks which may cause your energy bills to shoot up. A lot of modern properties now feature smart meters, which will help you monitor your usage and prevent you from overspending.

Your rights

Even if you find a property that you’re interested in and are eager to move in, you should hold fire before reading every single detail in the tenancy agreement. This will contain all of your rights, including deposit protection, which is what you pay at the beginning of your tenancy and you should receive this back if no damages occur. By law, your landlord must secure your deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme to protect them and you, if they do not, you can sue them for four times the cost of the deposit.

As a private tenant, there are several rights that should be stated in the tenancy agreement, including eviction periods, maintenance issues, and inventory. The latter should be checked before you move in, for example, make sure you check your washing machine to ensure it is working correctly, and if not you should report this to your landlord before you sign the agreement.

UK Households Spending More Than They Earn

  • UK cost of living for a four-person family is £60,000 per year – 103 per cent of average household income
  • UK housing and utility costs have risen by 13 per cent1
  • The global study found the most affordable expat country for families is Sweden

Today, new research by leading price comparison website MoneySuperMarket reveals that the UK is the most expensive location to raise a family. The running costs associated with a four-person family in the UK exceeded those of Spain, USA, Germany and Sweden due to the high costs of rent, utility bills and groceries2.

The data is based on the average monthly cost of property, utility bills and grocery shopping for a family with two children in 10 locations. These locations are some of the most popular destinations for the British public to emigrate to. MoneySuperMarket also ranked the costs against the countries’ average full time salary, to reveal the percentage of salary two working adults must put towards household expenses. In the UK, the average cost of a four-person family is more than twice the combined total of two adults’ salaries4.

Popular expat destinations with lower living costs

With lower utility bills (£94.41 per month), heavily subsidised pre-school costs (£230.34) and a standard average monthly rent of £1,149.40, Sweden is the only country analysed where a single parent can comfortably afford to have two children, working out as 87 per cent of the average working salary5. Based on two adults with two children it’s even more affordable, eating into less than half (43 per cent) of the combined salaries.

The full ranking of the affordable global cities to raise a family, including a breakdown of all metrics, can be seen below:

Global cost of raising a four-person family

Changing costs over time

On average, the weekly food shop has lowered in price for families over the last 16 years, from £236 to £232. However, spending on both housing and utilities, and household goods and services, has increased by 11 per cent overall. In 2001, the average monthly cost of housing and utilities per person in the UK was £277.77, but by 2017 this figure had risen by 13 per cent to £314.82. Due to these rises, the cost of raising a family in the UK has become more expensive.

For more information on the most affordable countries to move to, check out the MoneySuperMarket report around the changes in UK household spending over time.