NHS worker with no credit history used this trick to boost his score and buy a 2-bed house in York

THE dream of owning your own home is becoming harder and harder to make a reality for many potential first-time buyers. But for one NHS worker, boosting their credit score was just as important as scraping enough together for a deposit. Will Jolly and his girlfriend Sarah were so desperate to get on the property ladder they decided to up-sticks after spending nearly a decade renting in London. But the 31-year-old had a non-existent credit history, meaning the couple would have struggled to get a home-loan as lenders wouldn't know if he has a good record of paying back his debts. So he took steps to boost his report by chucking all his monthly spending on a credit card to show he could be responsible with his money - and now he's a proud homeowner of  a two-bed terrace in York. "I had no idea what my credit score was but as soon as we settled on a plan to save for a deposit, I checked it," he said. "I have very little credit history - about five years ago I was unemployed and actually got rejected when I applied for a credit card - when that happens you think "oh no". "I took out a Barclaycard - I'm now in work so was obviously less of a risk - and put most of my monthly spending on it, hundreds of pounds, and then made a point of clearing the balance every month so I wasn't charged interest." "I wanted to show I was a responsible borrower." There's lots of confusion about credit reports and how it impacts on what financial products you can get. There are three main Credit Reference Agencies in the UK - Experian, Equifax and Callcredit. All hold details about your financial history and it's this data which lenders - so mortgage firms and credit card and loan providers - use to decide whether  to lend you money or not. To see how he was doing, Will used Callcredit's online service, Noddle. And he quickly picked-up the bug for checking his score regularly to make sure he was on the right path. Top tips to boost your credit scoreHaving a decent credit history Continue Reading

4 Reasons to Buy Your First Home in Your 30s

If you’re interested in buying a home, check out these reasons for waiting until you’re in your 30s. Credit.com, provided by Published 3:45 pm, Thursday, December 7, 2017 Photo: Andresr/iStock Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 Photo: Andresr/iStock 4 Reasons to Buy Your First Home in Your 30s 1 / 1 Back to Gallery There was a time in my life when I thought I’d never own a home. As someone who had preferred life in big cities and prioritized travel above homeownership, the idea of settling somewhere permanently never really appealed to me. Then I got married, then I got pregnant, and suddenly the idea of living in an actual home to call my own (with a little more space, to boot) became very appealing. By the time my husband and I closed on our first-ever home, I was 32 years old, and I’m so glad I waited until then to buy. Here’s why. 1. I had saved enough for a 20% down payment My husband and I were married almost three years before we bought our first house, which gave us plenty of time to start putting cash aside in a separate savings account—specifically for a down payment. That meant that we were able to put down 20% of our home’s overall value (the recommended amount), putting us in a good position for a low-interest mortgage loan. You may not be able to sock away that much in cash by the time you’re ready to buy, but at least when you’re solidly in your 30s, you’re likely making much more than you were in your mid-20s. So you should be able to put down more than you could when you were younger. It should also be easier to refill your savings after spending that money. Home & Real Estate Channel Now Playing: Now Playing Perfect spot for a vaca home… Redfish Retreat! Continue Reading

Eight mistakes to avoid when buying your first home

Buying a home is overwhelming for most first-time buyers. It’s the biggest purchase most people will make in their lives, and the process is like no other financial transaction. Because of their unfamiliarity, first-time buyers often sabotage their home searches by making easily avoidable mistakes along the way. With the help of real estate agents, lenders and title insurers who have worked extensively with first-time buyers, we have collected a list of typical blunders. Avoid them and you will be well on your way to a smooth home-buying experience. Mandy Mills, a real estate agent with Compass, passed along some general advice, as well. “Find an agent who will educate you on the process before you get in the car, so that you understand the steps of the process,” she said. “A lot of people will put you in the car and start showing you things. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, that can make an overwhelming situation even more overwhelming.” (retrorocket/Getty Images/iStockphoto) Waiving the inspection “We never would recommend buying a house without doing a home inspection,” said Derrick Swaak, managing broker for the McLean office of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty. “But what we do see . . . is doing a pre-home inspection. With the seller’s [approval], going in and inspecting the house, making sure there’s nothing alarming. So you’ve done the home inspection, then you make the offer and you can exclude the home inspection contingency because you’ve already had a professional go through the property. That is done all the time, particularly in a really hot market.” (istockphoto) Failing to get preapproved for a mortgage “Going through a preapproval process with a reputable lender should be done very early in the process,” said Steve Wydler of Wydler Brothers Real Estate. “It can be a huge waste of your time looking at homes Continue Reading

When buying your kid a house is cheaper than paying for a dorm

Brian and Laurie Chubb have three sons, all of whom always wanted to attend Texas A&M University. So in 2015, when the Chubbs' oldest son, Garrett, was a junior and their middle child, Ben, was a freshman at the school, they decided it was time to cut their housing costs. "We realized it would be smarter to invest in a property instead of paying rent for all those years," said Brian Chubb, who works in pharmaceutical sales and lives in Spring Branch, Texas, with Laurie and their youngest son, Brady. The Chubbs purchased a four-bedroom house in College Station, Texas, in December 2015, and their two older sons moved in the following school year, along with renters. Brady, 18, has been accepted to Texas A&M for next year, and will move into the house after completing a freshman-year stint in a dorm room. Affordability favors buyers in the Texas A&M area, according to a study by Pro Teck Valuation Services, a real estate valuation firm. The study estimated that a mortgage on a 1,200-square-foot condo in College Station costs about $6,696 per year, comparing favorably with on-campus housing costs that Pro Teck estimated at $6,221 per year. If your child attends the University of Washington in Seattle, however, consider those dorm fees a bargain. A mortgage on a typical 1,200-square-foot Seattle condo costs about $27,828 per year — assuming a 20 percent down payment — compared with Pro Teck's estimate of on-campus housing costs of $9,144 per year. "It's not for everyone or for every market," said Tom O'Grady, chief executive officer of Pro Teck. "But it's worthwhile to look at the option of purchasing." Continue Reading

Meet The Women Living Through Manchester’s Hidden Housing Crisis

Buying a house was the last thing on Anna Lysick’s mind.Fresh out of university with a good job at a design agency, she moved into a private rented flat in Manchester with her boyfriend and two cats. They had friends, they went out a few times a month. Life was good. Buying a house? Sure, maybe one day.“I was fearless and happy. If I needed shoes I would buy them – it wasn’t in my head to save up for a deposit,” she says. “It was just the happiness of finishing university. Young people just don’t have the same thinking as our mums and dads and grandparents, that owning a house is the most important thing.”But now, three years on, reality is starting to bite.Like millions of other people in their twenties and thirties, Lysick, 33, has realised she is trapped in an expensive and uncertain cycle of renting and doesn’t know if she will ever get out. The national housing crisis in England is now so severe that homeownership has fallen 7% since 2003. About 63% of the population own their home, the same level as in 1986. Housesharing, people living with their parents, and homelessness are all on the rise.News coverage may centre on the chronic housing shortage in London and the South East, with their streets of £1 million-plus family homes and blocks of “luxury” flats bought and left empty by offshore investors, but the problem is not only being felt in up-and-coming London suburbs such as Hackney or Brixton.The place with the biggest drop in homeownership in the last 15 years, from 72% to 54%, is Lysick’s adopted home city of Manchester.Twenty per cent of people in the Greater Manchester region rent privately; in 2003 it was just 6%. Renters like Lysick are far more likely to be spending more of their income on housing than mortgaged owners – for those on low and middle incomes, a bad situation is being made worse. Manchester is often cited by newspapers as a top spot for buy-to-let Continue Reading

Can you afford it? The income you need to buy a median-priced house varies wildly across U.S.

Can you afford to buy a median-priced house on your salary?It might be a stretch in many elite coastal cities, but there's always the nation's heartland to consider.To calculate affordability, consumer-loan researcher HSH.com used the National Association of Realtors' second-quarter data for median home prices and HSH.com's second-quarter average interest rate for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Researchers calculated how much of a homeowner's salary it would take to afford the base cost of owning a home.Phoenix ranked in the top third of housing affordability.Here are the 27 metropolitan areas, ranked by the salary needed in those areas to afford a median-priced home. Pittsburgh is the most affordable; San Francisco, the least. Continue Reading

Ask Barbara: How to get a great deal on a house today

Q I’m considering buying a house on a nice block in Queens, but it has a spiral staircase to the master bedroom and popcorn ceilings. Neither my husband nor I are handy around the house and don’t want to navigate the tricky stairs. We also don’t want to live in a house with ugly ceilings. A The smartest house to buy is always a house with features nobody wants. Spiral staircases and popcorn ceilings are high on the list. But remember that a staircase is easy to take out and replace, and popcorn ceilings can be covered with a new dropped ceiling, making you forget the old one’s there. You should bring a good contractor with you for another look, so you know how much it will cost to make the changes. Then you should put in a very low bid that includes the expense of the change, the time you’ll lose while the Q I’ve heard horror stories about people buying into new construction and then the builder goes into bankruptcy. Is it safe to buy in a building or development that isn’t finished yet? A Buying in an unfinished development is riskier than ever, and if the builder is offering big concessions like wide-screen TVs, gym memberships or huge price discounts, at best you know he’s desperate to find buyers and at worst it means he has very little money left to finish his castle in the sky. With today’s credit squeeze, builders are having a harder time getting their permanent financing in place, which too often results in an unfinished building and angry Q I keep hearing that the mortgage market is loosening up but I’m not so sure. Is it possible to get a second mortgage now? A Sure it is, but you won’t be able to get as much as you once could and you’ll pay a higher rate. Banks today are typically financing no more than 75% of your home’s value when you add a second mortgage, and rates are now around 8% for a fixed rate home equity loan. You can save money if instead you get a home Continue Reading

Renovate your bathrooms and you’ll really clean up

Q: My wife and I have a 900-square-foot, two bedroom, one-and-a-half bath duplex condo that's in need of some renovations. We have a limited budget and want to spend our dollars wisely. There's a small half-bath in the entrance to our galley kitchen midway between the living/dining area. I want to remove the small half-bath and open up the kitchen to living space and include a center island. My wife says we'll reduce the value of our home by getting rid of the bathroom. What do you suggest? A: Your wife is right. You never want to decrease the bathroom count in a duplex where the full bath is probably upstairs. Get creative and brainstorm with a designer or contractor to come up with other solutions that preserve the half-bath and create the impression of a more open kitchen. Alternatively, consider renovating one or both bathrooms, instead of the kitchen, because, like kitchens, these are the spaces that can deliver the most bang for your buck. Q: My husband and I recently reached the end of the initial 4.5% fixed rate period on a seven-year adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), and our payment has adjusted up close to another $400 a month. My husband wants to switch to a 30-year fixed rate loan at 4.875% - which would increase our payment by an additional $500 a month. I have concerns about refinancing to a larger payment. We have about $200,000 equity in our home and we will probably stay here for another 10 years. What do you recommend? Q: My ex-boyfriend and I bought a house together 12 years ago. Long story short, it was a big mistake. He took out the mortgage with his name only, but both our names went on the deed and I put in all the money for the down payment and closing. He has never lived here and I've paid for all the improvements, fixups, even structural repairs. And now I make the monthly mortgage payments. I've raised my kids here and I've come to love this house. I've asked my ex to turn the mortgage over to me, but he refuses, even though he has Continue Reading

Find a nearby vacation house on the beach or in the mountains and save big

A summer retreat far from the city’s sweltering sidewalks is the fantasy of most New Yorkers, so much so that some are even willing to share a beach shack with a dozen strangers while paying a premium to do so. The summer share sounds bucolic, but is often a battle for space, privacy and value. With a little planning, your summer rental doesn’t have to be that way — especially if you avoid expensive, congested areas — and it can actually be a bargain for families. The economic turmoil has had a twofold effect on the summer rental market: Brokers report greater interest as New Yorkers avoid expensive, long-distance trips, but more of us are taking a wait-and-see approach, hoping to get the best possible price as the season nears. “One of the trends we’re seeing is that families are keeping their vacations closer to home, so renting a furnished resort condo or cabin can really be cost- effective,” says Ryan Bailey, president of ResortsandLodges.com, a Web site for vacation properties. Those savings start to add up if you’re not eating three times a day in a pricey resort restaurant, which can be a brutal budget buster. “You can buy your own groceries and use a fully equipped kitchen,” says Bailey, who also points out that home renters will enjoy a lot of extra space and convenience. At vacation resorts like Villa Roma in the Catskills or Split Rock Resort & Golf Club in the Poconos, adds Bailey, “all the activities you’d normally associate with a resort [like golf, tennis or a spa] are within walking distance.” The Catskills and Poconos haven’t had much cachet in recent years, but Bailey reports a huge increase in interest, with inquiries up about 350% in the past two years alone. Experts also report greater interest and availability on Long Island’s quieter North Fork and along the Jersey Shore. That’s music to the ears of New Yorkers who have Continue Reading

How to make a live/work space a reality in your house

Thomas Dolan thinks that it's smart to work in the same building that they live in. Paying twice as much as you need to in energy-related costs is just "silly and wasteful," argues Dolan, an architect who founded the nonprofit Live/Work Institute. Although commuting to work has become a part of the American cultural landscape, recent sharp increases in the price of gasoline and other energy fuels now has many people who would have never considered living and working in the same space thinking seriously about doing just that. As a result, the demand for live/work space has begun to outrun the supply of buildings that can be remodeled to fit the needs of those who want to take advantage of the idea. That could change soon, however, now that a growing number of developers are looking to create live-work spaces in suburban areas. Experts say those looking to combine their work and living spaces under one roof should carefully consider their needs now that more options are becoming available to them. While, on the surface, creating a live/work space seems like it shouldn't be much more difficult than setting up a home office it is more complex than simply moving a desk and a computer into an empty room. A true live/work space takes one of two forms. It can be designed to support a commercial venture -- an office or a studio, for example -- within a residential setting. It may also, Dolan says, be a place where the reverse is true: A space designed as a commercial area – such as a former store or factory – that has been modified so that it also is a comfortable living space. Unlike a home office, a true live/work space is not necessarily a quiet place with the kind of cozy privacy usually associated with a home. Depending upon the type of work you do, your live/work space could be noisy, filled with odors, have employees trooping through it or customers who wander through it when they show up to buy your products. "It's incredible the type of Continue Reading