Get a Personal Loan Using LendingTree – No Collateral Needed

You’ve heard of LendingTree, right? They are one of the biggest names in online financing serving over 35 million borrowers.

And now they are helping consumers who need personal loans. In fact, LendingTree will connect you with partners who can lend you anywhere from $1,000 and $35,000 with no collateral!

The best part is you can use the money for any reason you’d like: debt consolidation, home renovation, personal reasons – the choice is yours!

LendingTree’s online process is simple and quick, so you don’t have to sit in front of a bank officer filling out papers. And these are personal loans, meaning almost any reason is a valid reason. Many people use these loans to get out of credit card debt, buy a new car, add onto their home, or even pay for a wedding or much-needed vacation. The choice is totally yours.

If you need a personal loan and don’t want the hassle of collateral, then visit LendingTree and start their quick and easy process. It’ll take you just a few minutes, and you can do it in the comfort of your own home.

Trust the leader in online financing and get your “no collateral” personal loan using LendingTree today.

This article sponsored by LendingTree
LendingTree NMLS#1136. 11115 Rushmore Drive, Charlotte, NC 28277, 866-272-1533. Terms and Conditions Apply.

Your Dream Home Is One You Can Afford: How Much Is Too Much?

By Maggie Park

Your-Dream-Home-Is-One-You-Can-AffordStop thinking about the biggest mortgage you can get. Before you ever meet with a mortgage broker, figure out how much mortgage you can truly afford. There’s a fine line between “stretching” to buy the biggest house you can and being “house poor.”

The Case for Stretching

If you have kids, you may want to “stretch” to be in a coveted school district. Choose a district that has both great elementary and high schools. The quality of a high school can affect college acceptance later on.

In addition to choosing a great school district, many people suggest “stretching” because moving is expensive and unpleasant. Certainly, you want to avoid an unnecessary move because you outgrew your home.

The Case against “Stretching” Too Far

When you are “house poor,” you have trouble making ends meet. You live paycheck to paycheck and obsess over fuel costs and grocery money. Sometimes, you even wonder if you could qualify for government assistance since there is no money for basics. This frustrating situation is often caused by “stretching” too far and maxing out your mortgage payment.

Being “house poor” can affect marriages, kids, and even relationships with family and friends. Therefore, find out how much house you can really afford, not how much house your mortgage broker says can qualify for.

How to Find the Perfect Balance

According to CNN, most lenders use a liability-to-income ratio to approve mortgages. The usual number is 36 percent. In addition to this ratio, CNN suggests that you consider your payment-to-income ratio and keep this total between 28 and 33 percent.

Liabilities include any monthly payment, such as your car payment and your credit cards. For the purpose of calculation, lenders use the minimum payments listed on credit cards, but you may want to use a more aggressive number.

Other financial specialists have different opinions about the how much of your income should be spent on a mortgage payment. Dave Ramsey suggests 25 percent and is emphatic about having a rainy day fund in place before purchasing. Ramsey says that buyers who don’t have an “emergency fund” will face financial hardships when typical home-improvement issues arise.

Lowering Your Mortgage Payment

You can lower your mortgage payment before you even purchase your new home. Start with a large down payment. When you put down at least 20 percent, you can eliminate expensive private mortgage insurance (PMI).

You can also lower your payment by lowering your interest rate. The secret is great credit. If your credit score is lower than you’d like, you can systematically raise it. The Internet is full of credit-raising tips, such as paying down your credit card balance, and avoiding department store credit cards.

A great way to save tons of money is to choose a shorter-term loan, such as a 10- or 15-year mortgage. These loans have lower rates than 30-year mortgages. Of course, the payment may be slightly higher, but you will save big bucks over the life of the loan.

When you lower your mortgage payment and keep it in a realistic range, you can “stretch” as far as that number will allow. Soon, you’ll find your dream home and enjoy a mortgage that doesn’t keep you “house poor.”

The End of the American Dream of Owning a Home? (Why It May Be Better to Rent Than to Buy)

The-End-of-the-American-Dream-of-Owning-a-HomeHomeownership is a major goal in many people’s lives, but a lot of today’s young people are asking if owning a home and chasing the American dream is really the right way to go. Owning a home is an investment, sure, but it’s not the only type of investment available, and there may be some perks to renting that are just too good to overlook.

Deciding on whether you should own a home is a choice that is going to heavily depend on the housing market in your area. However, no matter where you live, here are 4 solid reasons for why you might want to consider renting instead:

1) You might save money

This is likely the number one reason why you might want to rent rather than to own a home. While conventional wisdom says that paying rent is a form of “throwing away” your money while paying your mortgage goes towards an investment, this conventional wisdom needs to be sorely re-examined.

The costs of homeownership start with what is often a hefty down payment, while moving into a rental property is initially much cheaper. Then there are the real estate taxes, the land transfer tax, the higher utility costs, and the much higher costs of homeowner’s insurance verses rental insurance. None of these costs constitute an investment.

Then, of course, there is the cost of your mortgage, which can be so burdensome that it deserves its very own section below.

2) You won’t have to deal with a mortgage 

Mortgages didn’t used to be such a burden on homeowners. The understanding was that the mortgage would be paid off over 20 to 25 years, just in time for you to enjoy your home during your retirement years. Now, however, many people sign up for mortgages with much longer periods, and with monthly payments that they can barely afford. This has resulted in people still paying off their houses well into their 70s. Does this sound like the kind of retirement you want to be looking forward to? This is especially likely to happen to young people who spend the better part of their adult years paying off student loans.

 3) Renting gives you more flexibility than home ownership

There is hardly a bigger commitment out there than the kind that comes with buying a home. It really only makes sense if you have a very steady and well-paying job that you don’t see yourself leaving for years to come. If your income takes a blow and you need to downsize, then doing so would be much easier if you are renting. The same is true if you need to take a job offer out of town.

4) You don’t have to deal with maintenance and repairs 

Finally, homeowners are responsible for maintaining and repairing their property, but renters are not. You’ll never have to deal with the unexpected costs of a roof leak, hail damage, pipes bursting, or appliances breaking. Homeowners have a lot more to worry about, and it looks like the benefits just don’t seem to outweigh the costs.

Interest Rates Vs. Rewards: Choosing the Better Credit Card

Interest-Rates-vs-Rewards-Choosing-the-Better-Credit-CardThere is no denying that credit cards are an extremely convenient way of making purchases, especially when shopping online. But if you’re thinking about getting a new credit card, then you might find yourself confused by the dizzying array of different types of cards that are now available for you to choose from.

Many people don’t take the time to consider their options, and so don’t end up with the right card for their lifestyle and spending habits. One of your first considerations should be whether you want something with low interest rates or something that comes with a reward program. In order to make the right choice, there are a few things you need to know first.

How Credit Cards Work

Most people have a general idea of how credit cards work, but it is a good idea to brush up on some basics before signing up for one.

When you use a credit card you are essentially borrowing money with the promise that you will pay it off come next payment cycle. If you cannot pay off the full amount of all the transactions listed on your bill, then you will begin to accumulate interest and risk going into debt. This is the main reason why many people choose to go with credit cards that charge low interest rates.

Low Rate Credit Cards

Low rate credit cards do exactly as the name suggests – they charge much lower interest rates on your outstanding balance than other cards. Sometimes this low initial interest rate will be fixed, but often it is only offered for a limited amount of time, possible only for six to nine months. Make sure that you read the fine print before choosing a low interest card.

Reward Cards

Credit cards that come with rewards program will offer you various incentives for spending. They usually give either cash back on purchases that you make, or points which can be traded in for airfare, hotel stays, gift certificates, car rentals, or a variety of other rewards.

Which One Should You Choose?

Low interest rate credit cards are a good choice if you need to make a very large purchase that will take several months for you to pay off. You will accumulate at least some interest, but, if you made good financial plans ahead of time, you should eventually be able to pay it off in full. Low rate cards are also best for people who may have a hard time paying off their full balance every month. Be warned, however, that your low rate may jump up to a higher rate after only one missed payment.

If, however, you have no problem paying off your full balance every month, then your card’s interest rate is largely unimportant and a rewards card is the better way to go. However, these cards also tend to come with high annual fees and a variety of restrictions, so make sure that you understand your offer before you go out and start spending.

Figuring Out If You Need Flood Insurance

Figuring-Out-If-You-Need-Flood-InsuranceThere are a very limited number of areas where flood insurance is not something that a homeowner should consider. In fact, unless it almost never rains where you live, then you should definitely give it some thought.

However, there are many misconceptions out there about flood insurance, and these misconceptions lead many people to make the wrong decisions when it comes to coverage for their homes and their possessions. If you could use some help figuring it all out, then you need to consider the four questions below.

Do You Live In a High-Risk Area?

If you live in an area that is deemed to be at a high risk for flooding, then your decision about whether to get flood insurance will be a simple one, in that you don’t actually have a choice. It is federally mandated for homes in high-risk flood areas to be covered by a flood insurance policy.

However, you should not assume that you are safe just because you live in a low- or moderate-risk zone. First of all, flood zones can and do change, and your area may be deemed high risk in the future. Second of all, a quarter of all National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) claims come from homes in areas that are not considered to be high-risk. Your risk designation is no guarantee against flooding and flood damage.

Does Your Regular Homeowners’ Insurance Policy Cover Flooding?

A great many homeowners are under the unfortunate misconception that regular homeowners’ insurance policies cover flooding, when in reality they typically do not. If you are unsure about your current coverage, then make sure to contact your provider to find out.

Flood insurance is in most places only available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). If your non-FEMA policy does include some flood coverage, then you should still know that FEMA is the only provider which will cover floods caused by hurricanes.

Does Your Mortgage Lender Require It?

Mortgage lenders may sometimes require you to have a flood insurance policy, even if your home is located in a low- to moderate- risk zone. Make sure that you take note of any such fine print before signing your mortgage contract.

Furthermore, as discussed above, flood maps can change, and your lender may require you to secure flood insurance if your area is reassessed and deemed to be at a high risk for flooding. Your lender will likely reserve the right to do this even after you have started mortgage payments.

Why Take the Chance?

In the end, you need to ask yourself if you are willing to deal with the damages and expenses that even a few inches of water can bring. Flooding from heavy rains and spring thaws can happen in very unexpected areas, so you’re almost never completely protected. Plus, if you’re not located in a high-risk area, then you will likely be able to find a very affordable policy. If you are not federally mandated to get flood insurance but you value peace of mind, then shopping around for a policy is probably the right choice for you.

10 DIY Projects That Boost Home Value

10-DIY-Projects-That-Boost-Home-ValueEveryone loves a good DIY project (well, maybe not everyone), but sometimes doing it yourself can take a toll on the value of your home. Before you start your next DIY project, you should ask yourself one question. Is what you are doing going to increase or decrease that value of your home?

You might think that anything you do to improve your home is an investment in its future sales value, but that isn’t necessarily true. Some activities, like serious electrical work, are better left to licensed professionals. Fortunately, there are many projects that you can do yourself that will add value to your house. Here is a list of ten DIY projects that will boost your home’s value.

 1. Create Space
If you can safely take down a wall to create more open space, then go for it. A good example of such a project is removing a wall to put in a breakfast bar. Structural work should be performed by a professional, but simple demolition and repair is something you can do yourself to add several thousand dollars to the value of your home.

 2. Clean Up Your Yard
A study of more than 2,000 real estate agents, conducted by HomeGain, found that investing in your yard is a smart move. By spending just $500 on improvements to landscaping, sidewalks, and other outdoor features, you can get a return of as much as $2000.

 3. Remove Clutter
If you are going to sell your house, then you have to remove things that make it look smaller or that prevent people from seeing it as their own. This means cleaning up personal items, getting rid of clutter stacked on counters, and polishing things like mirrors. Believe it or not, removing clutter can boost sale price by as much as $2,000.

4. Plumbing
Updating and repairing plumbing can increase the value of your home by more than $3,000. Focus on things like leaks, old pipes, and areas you know to be problems. Replacing outdated faucets and other plumbing fixtures is also smart.

5. Natural Light
People want natural light. Unfortunately, homeowners are often put off by the cost and difficulty of installing windows and skylights. Sun tubes, however, are easy to install. Take an afternoon to install a sun tube and watch your home’s value soar.

6. Light Fixtures
Lights switches and fixtures are a critical component in the look and feel of your home. Lighting projects, some as simple as installing a dimmer, can boost value by several hundred dollars each. Focus on bathroom and kitchen lighting.

7. Flooring
Almost every real estate professional you ask will tell you that flooring is critical to home value. If you have outdated or worn floors, invest a few hundred dollars in something like a hardwood laminate. You could see a increase in your home’s value of as much as $2,000 for every floor you upgrade.

8. Insulation
Everyone wants an energy efficient home. If your house is short on insulation, install it yourself. The attic is the easiest place to add insulation, but adventurous individuals may want to invest in blown-in insulation (you can rent the equipment) for the walls.

9. Paint
Fresh, neutral paint is a good way to boost the appeal of you home. Peeling paint is almost always a deal-breaker for a buyer, so repair it immediately. Focus on entryways, bathrooms, and kitchens to get the most bang for your buck.

10. Detail Work
Simple details like crown molding, chair rails, and wainscoting can really improve the character of your home. Look for simple projects that add interest to your home, but avoid things that are too quirky.

DIY Value
When it comes to adding value to your home, some projects are better left to professionals, but you can do most things yourself. The rule of thumb is that any structural project or activity that requires inspection should be left to a professional. You can do everything else yourself, which will keep costs down and boost the return on your investment.

6 Indicators That It’s Time to Refinance

6-Indicators-That-Its-Time-to-RefinanceUnless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that interest rates are incredibly low and have been so for some time. Since change is inevitable, you may be wondering if you should refinance now before they go back up.

At the same time, you know that refinancing may not be right for every situation. How can you tell if refinancing is right for you? Here are some indicators that you may be a perfect candidate.

 1. Your credit score rocks.

If your credit score is high, you can qualify for a lower interest rate than most people. That means that even if the average mortgage rate is near the rate you are currently paying, you may still qualify for a rate that makes the re-fi worth the effort.

 2. You currently have an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM).

Having an ARM is a pretty big gamble. After all, interest rates won’t stay at current low levels forever. You chose the ARM for its low rate, but today’s rates are still low. Locking in a fixed rate now could save you lots of heartache when your ARM is scheduled to adjust.

 3. Today’s rate is at least two points lower than your current rate.

Most experts advocate waiting to refinance until you can drop at least two percentage points, but that advice should be tempered with logic. For example, if you know you will move in a few years, then refinancing doesn’t make sense even if the rate is low. Conversely, if you have a “jumbo” loan, then even one percentage point can make a huge difference over the life of the loan. Use the two-point advice as a rule of thumb, and then crunch your own numbers.

 4. You have plenty of equity.

The more equity you have in your home, the better your chances of securing a low interest rate. Of course, a lower interest rate is the driving factor in deciding if now is the time for a re-fi.

5. You can afford a slightly higher payment.

If you can afford it, you can save some serious money by shortening the term of your loan. For example, if you originally financed $150,000 for 30 years at 5 percent, you’ll spend about $140,000 on interest over the life of the loan. If you refinance your remaining equity, perhaps about $145,000, for 15 years at 3 percent, you’ll spend about $35,000 on interest, saving around $105,000. However, your monthly payment will rise by about $200.

6. You could consolidate debt.

If you took out a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit early in your home ownership, then it may be time to refinance, especially if your home equity loan had a short “teaser rate” that has since risen. Home equity lines of credit have variable rates, so refinancing to consolidate this debt into a fixed rate is a great idea.

If your situation falls into one of these six categories, then now may be the right time to refinance your mortgage. Why not find out how much you could save?

5 Tips to Help You Get Approved for a Mortgage

5-Tips-to-Help-You-Get-Approved-for-a-MortgageGetting a mortgage can be tricky if you don’t have the best financial history. Lenders are cautious about handing out such large sums of money to just anyone, and many prospective homeowners often experience a rude awakening when their first loan application is denied. Thankfully, if you have been denied in the past or if you are about to apply for the very first time, then there are some things you can do to increase your chances of an approval.

1) Try to pay down as much debt as you can

You don’t need to enter the mortgage loan process with absolutely zero debt, but if you owe too much to your creditors, then your potential mortgage lender will see you as a much bigger risk, and will question your ability to pay back a large home loan. Furthermore, even if you do get approved, the amount of debt you have will determine the size of the loan you can get. Take some time to get your debt in order before jumping into homeownership.

2) Save money first

On top of paying some of your debt down, you don’t want to walk into your lender’s office with no cash to your name. Build up your savings first and you will have a much easier time getting approved.

Many mortgage lenders now require a down payment as well, so if you’re not able to pay a good chunk of cash up front, then you’re not going to be seeing a loan. Also, the larger the down payment you are able to make, the less you will have to pay off in the future.

3) Try a different lender

Maybe you have fairly small debt and pretty good savings, but your loan application gets rejected anyway. In this situation it is important to not panic or give up hope – simply try another lender! Every lender has a different set of criteria. However, if you get rejected by multiple lenders, then you need to take a second look at your financial situation, as the problem is likely with you and not with them.

 4) Get a co-signer

Finding a financially stable co-signer who is willing to co-sign on your loan can make a big difference in the loan application process. However, you only want to look for a co-signer if you know that you will be able to make your monthly payments but your lender needs some extra convincing. You don’t want to end up dragging your co-signer into a financial mess should your own income not be enough.

 5) Consider a less expensive property

Finally, sometimes you are just going to have to put your dream home on hold in order to make your first step onto the property ladder. If you simply can’t get approval for the mortgage you want, then consider looking for a home in a less-expensive area, or choosing a townhouse or condo instead. Aim for what you can feasibly afford, and you’ll have a much easier time getting a loan.

5 Reasons to Refinance Your Home

5-Reasons-to-Refinance-Your-HomeIf done correctly, refinancing can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage. Refinancing may even save you hundreds of dollars each month when you make your payment. If that scenario sounds like a win-win, then read on. Here are five reasons to consider refinancing your home.

1. Get rid of that adjustable rate mortgage (ARM).

You probably chose an ARM because the interest rate was really low. However, now time has passed, and your interest rate has risen along with your payment. Maybe your rate is still reasonable, but you know that at any moment, it could become untenable. If these situations sound familiar, it’s time to refinance. Interest rates are still low, so take advantage of them while you can.

2. Lower your monthly payment.

If you overestimated how much you could pay each month, then refinancing to lower your mortgage payment is a good idea. You can lower your payment by finding a lower interest rate. However, even if you can’t find a lower rate, you can still lower your monthly payment by changing your loan from a shorter-term loan to a longer-term loan. For example, refinance your 15-year mortgage to a 30-year mortgage, and your payments will be more manageable.

3. Lower your interest rate.

Lower interest rates are tempting because even a point of two can save many thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to consider a few factors before refinancing simply to score a lower rate. First, determine how much you will save each month. Next, figure out how many months it will take to break even from any closing costs. Finally, determine how long you will be in the home. If you come out ahead, then look into refinancing.

 4. Pay off your mortgage sooner.

If interest rates are low enough so that you can refinance to a shorter-term loan and keep your payments about the same, you should refinance. Consider this example. The Smiths have a $100,000 30-year mortgage at 6 percent. At this rate, they will pay about $116,000 in interest. If they refinance the $100,000, using a 15-year mortgage at 3 percent interest, they will pay only about $37,500 in interest. By refinancing, they can save about $78,500!

5. Free up some cash.

Some people refinance their mortgages with an entirely different goal in mind. Instead of saving money or shortening the life of their loan, they need some money right away. Maybe their home needs a new addition, or perhaps they found a rental property that could generate passive income. If you have equity in your home, you can refinance it, pull some equity out, and end up with cash in your hand. With today’s low interest rates, you may be able to liquidate some equity while keeping your payment very close to what you are used to.

Refinancing is a good idea for many homeowners, especially if they plan on staying in the home for a significant number of years. Why not crunch some numbers and find out if it is right for you?

The Secret to Saving $1000’s a Year

Let’s face it – we could all use more money.

But short of getting a big raise (fat chance), switching jobs, or winning the lottery, “more money” isn’t in the cards for most people. At least that’s the perception. Because truthfully, there are ways you can add more money – a lot more money – to your bottom line.

If you want to increase your spendable money by $1,000’s of dollars (yes, that’s thousands), there are a few really simple ways to do it, which we’ll go over in this article.

#1 – Little Known Way to Pay Off Mortgage

Here’s the deal with mortgage refinancing – right now, rates are at a historic low. Add in the government’s own Home Affordable Refinance Plan (HARP), and you have a situation where you can save on average $3,000 a year simply by refinancing at a lower rate.

And not only will you save money, if you wish, you can likely end up paying off your mortgage sooner. Plus, maybe even skip a payment or two at the onset of your new loan.

Lower payments every month, more money in your pocket right now and perhaps even a shorter term – that’s a win / win / win for you. That’s how powerful interest rates and the HARP program are. And the best news? Most Americans qualify.

To see if you qualify, simply take 5 minutes and fill out this fast online form.

#2 – Pay Less for Auto Insurance

No brainer here – you’re probably paying too much for automobile insurance. And guess what? Your insurance company wants to keep it that way.

But the truth is, most Americans pay far more than they should. Many insurance companies will give you a better rate based on your driving history, how many miles you drive to work, and more. If you didn’t compare companies when you got your current policy, you are almost certainly paying too much.

So how can you find out who will offer you better rates? Simple – you visit an independent, unbiased service that compares insurance company’s rates based on the criteria you enter. Insurance.Comparisons.org is such a site – it takes mere minutes to fill out their simple form, and you’ll likely be quite surprised at how much you can save.

There you have it – two different ways you can save (or earn more), which can amount to $1,000’s of dollars a year.

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This article sponsored by Lifestyle Journal