3 Ways Pest Infestations Can Affect the Price of a Home

House pest infestation is a huge deal in terms of taking care of the family’s overall health and wellness. This is because having any type of pests that thrive in home can cause a number of diseases, especially to children who aren’t yet aware and protected from of the dangers these animals can cause them.

For instance, German cockroaches in the home are both repugnant and unhealthy.  Research has shown that children growing up in homes with German cockroaches are more likely to suffer from allergies and asthma.  In fact, their droppings and shed skin can carry certain pathogens and can cause certain allergies.

The threat to any family’s health is just the tip of the iceberg.

Aside from the harmful effects of having these pests live in and out the house, they also affect the house itself – the aesthetic value and livability of any human living space is diminished by the presence of these unwelcome guests. Thus, selling an infested house is extremely difficult.

Pests at home greatly influence the price of the property for sale. Find out what are the negative effects of these unhealthy and unwanted critters to the price of any house on the market.

Structural Damages are Inevitable

Pests at home can be a primary source of structural damages at home. The perfect example is the carpenter ants. This type of ants is one of the most destructive ant species known to man. Carpenter ants generally target already-weakened wood where they can do more damage. While they don’t eat wood, they can chew through almost any natural material (i.e. just like the wooden structures of your home) and create a series of tunnels. They use these tunnels to form a nest, which they can run from towards any part of the house, like the pantry, dining area and the kitchen.

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Rodents are also suspects for destruction of one’s home. These animals have been known to gnaw on the house’s electrical wiring and pipelines. When they reach a water line and have chewed a hole in it, water could leak out, damaging property and potentially leading to a flood. Moreover, depending upon the pipes they have damaged, one’s home could experience a gas leak, or the sewage system may break.

As rodents can chew on any material, no area of a home is safe. Along with wires and pipes, mice and rats may also go after furniture, sheetrock, wood, and foundation – high-priced items that could be permanently compromised.

Termites have proven to be yet a different type of pest. According to the National Pest Management Association, termites cause over $5 billion in property damage annually throughout the U.S. Extensive termite damage can make floors or walls sag due to loss of structural integrity.

Overall, this is a hard catch for any potential seller and buyer. A seller would have to repair the damages these pests did. This could eventually lead to having the price increased in order to even out the house repair investment. A potential buyer would obviously say no to a house that’s crawling with critters inside. This is why professional pest control services like those provided at smoothquotes.com can help a lot. They can ensure skilled contractors at reasonable prices.

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Its Aesthetically Challenging

Obviously, structural damages at one’s home can be a reason for a home to become less appealing to anyone who’s looking to buy a house. Adding salt to the wound, having dead bugs line window ledges, the attic, and the basement can surely fend away any potential buyer as it is classic evidence for an infested home.

Generally, small holes in the walls, on the floors, and all around the house are signs that a house is infested. Burrows in garbage areas and weedy spots near the property are also a bad sign. Rats love to gnaw on things, and finding little gnaw marks can be a sign of an infestation. It is important to remember that buyers would want to do a full inspection of the place, and each detail will definitely be noted.

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In addition, rats and mice tend to travel the same paths every day, and can leave trail marks along the way. Rats run along the walls, and can leave dark grease marks. Fecal droppings, urine trails, and footprints through dust paths may also be seen. Evidently, this picture is simply not too pleasing to the eyes.

As much as pets can be a problem aesthetically, pests also give off certain odors that are unpleasant. There are certain recognizable smells that pests give off. Experts claim that bed bugs have a distinct, musty odor, while mice tend to give off a stale, urine smell that’s similar to ammonia. As for roaches, they have been said to have an “oily” odor.

The bottom line is that the first thing a potential buyer looks at is how a home appeals to them. This first impression is very important in any probable deal. It is safe to say that when a house is not good in terms of aesthetics, and does not appeal to a potential buyer visually, it is be harder to sell. Thus, when it’s harder to sell, there is a tendency for sellers to lower the property’s price, making it harder to get back the money invested in the first place.

Home Insurance Does Not Cover Damages

The staggering thing about infestations is that they are not covered under homeowner’s insurance, and the responsibility for cleanup falls under normal house maintenance. In fact, most insurance policies exclude a number of pests that are common at home, listing the following animals and insects in the exclusion — “bats, rats, mice and other rodents, bees, termites and moths, vermin, birds, fish, reptiles, insects and spiders.” What these insurance companies are inferring is that pest control is an owner’s problem and responsibility.

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Why don’t the homeowners’ insurance companies cover infestations and in some unfortunate cases, deny claims for property damage done by pests? One issue is that it’s hard to determine how much damage an infestation can cause, and a great deal of it has to be related to the property owner’s lifestyle.

For the average homeowner who catches an infestation before it’s multiplied, such exclusions have never been a problem. However, many people don’t learn about the exclusion until it’s too late and when there’s a lot of money on the line. Homeowners who have just caught an infestation usually don’t immediately think of their homeowners insurance — it’s those who learn the costs of extermination who call insurers.

That’s under the deductible amount of most homeowners insurance policies. $10,000 for pest control and extermination? Time to call the insurer. However, most insurers would think the homeowner with the $10,000 claim likely missed an important step in trying to eradicate the pests, or just outright wasn’t performing preventable maintenance.

How does their bill get that large? Insurers know that most of the time, when somebody has a large “extermination claim,” it isn’t a pest problem that just popped up yesterday. It is assumed that there had been enough time for the growth of the infestation, thus enough time to work on the problem in the first place.

If a new owner has already moved in, and there’s an infestation, he or she has to spend money for extermination. Obviously, that’s a bad deal for any buyer, so the tendency is to up the original price range and include the price for extermination. All in all, that’s a hard deal to sign on in terms of the property’s price.

What you Need to Know about Individual Voluntary Agreement

Individual Voluntary Agreement or IVA can be of great help to businessmen, especially those with tricky debts and other financial challenges to face.

Technically, an IVA is an agreement that is made with your creditors to pay off your debts over a set period of time. It is definitely one option that you can use to pay off your debts. Basically, it is a formal, legal debt solution. This means that it is approved by the court, and as such, your creditors have to stick to it.

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If IVA is something that you want to consider for yourself, you need to know more what it is, who can avail of it, and the pros and cons of this debt solution.

IVA Basics

An IVA is something that just doesn’t happen. It a well thought of plan and must be done professionally. IVAs must be set up by a qualified person, called an insolvency practitioner. This could either be a lawyer or accountant. The insolvency practitioner charges a fee for the IVA, and they don’t come cheap. Then again, ultimately, the insolvency practitioner totally deals with your creditors throughout the life of the IVA.

IVA

Here’s how IVA works: if you decide to get an IVA, you need to work out a repayment plan with the insolvency practitioner. The repayment plan is discussed with the creditors, and if they agree, you need to pay back a set amount each month, usually for five years. Your monthly repayment can then be paid directly to the insolvency practitioner who would then distribute the money to your creditors. In this way, some of your monthly payment may be kept by the insolvency practitioner to pay for their fees.

Take note that if you go to a debt management company for an IVA, you need to find out about how much they charge before you make your decision. A debt management company is likely to be more expensive because they charge a fee on top of the insolvency practitioner’s fees. Then again, there are companies that you can inquire with and who may give you a better practitioner fee depending on your budget. You can start off with Creditfix – Individual Voluntary Arrangement in order to get a head start with this highly viable option.

Generally, you need to take note of the following before deciding if an IVA is good for you:

  • Your savings and personal pension payments are usually used to pay your creditors.
  • If you own a home, you may have to re-mortgage it.
  • It may affect your job, for example if you’re an accountant or a solicitor.
  • If your financial circumstances drastically change, you could struggle to keep up your IVA payments. If your creditors won’t accept less, the IVA might fail, and you might head for bankruptcy.

The Pros:

  • IVAs are legally binding on your creditors: Your creditors can no longer take any further legal action against you; they also cannot contact you either by post or phone. If approved, the creditors have to abide by the IVA as agreed. This includes writing off a percentage of your debt.
  • Affordable payments: You need to make an affordable monthly payment that takes into account all essential payments in your budget.

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  • You’re not forced to sell your own home, or any big property: In an IVA, you would not be forced to sell any of your major properties. Then again, you would be expected to attempt to re-mortgage your house, if any, 6 months before the IVA ends.
  • You can keep certain assets: Speaking of being forced to sell any big property, an additional advantage of IVA is that it is possible that you can retain assets such as vehicles. Extra IVA payments may also be offered in place of retaining other assets, and your creditors have to decide if they agree to this.
  • IVAs are time bound: Most IVAs have a time frame of 5 or 6 years. However, this may be extended by 12 months if you have equity in your property which you cannot release for the benefit of creditors.
  • You pay something back: IVA clients often don’t want to go down the bankruptcy route as they realize that their creditors, in most cases, won’t see any return on the money borrowed. However, in an IVA you would offer to repay a percentage of the debt owed to your creditors, showing you have made your best efforts to repay as much as you can.
  • They are adaptable if things change during the term of the IVA: 5 or 6 years is a long time, and during this time, there may be a number of changes in your circumstances.  IVAs can be really flexible, and if required, you should be able to vary the terms of the IVA with the agreement of your creditors.
  • You have support: A licensed Insolvency Practitioner can guide you through the process. Their support and experience should act as a reassurance through the course of the IVA.

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The Cons:

  • An IVA can be strict: You are asked to stick to a budget for 5 or possibly 6 years, and this come with a review of your income and expenditure every 12 months to make sure that the payments still remain affordable for you.
  • An IVA could affect your job: An IVA is a form of insolvency and could affect some professions; you would need to check the terms and conditions of your employment.
  • Rejection and failure are still lurking in the shadows: Creditors could reject the proposal outright, or the IVA could fail at anytime due to a significant change in your circumstances that could mean you are unable to pay. This is something that you should always take note of, and it is in direct relation to the first con of an IVA being strict.
  • It still has criteria to follow: Unfortunately, IVA is not for everyone, so you need to take advice to ensure that this is indeed the best solution for you. Also, this can be dependent on who your majority creditors are and their attitude towards IVAs.
  • It may hit your Credit Score: An IVA stays on your credit file for 6 years from the day it starts. You won’t be allowed credit above £500 for the duration of your IVA, and it may be difficult to gain any credit until the IVA has cleared from your credit file.
  • An IVA is a long term commitment: 5 or possibly 6 years is a longer time frame than bankruptcy. People going bankrupt may be discharged after just 12 months and have to pay contributions for 3 years. An IVA is a legally binding agreement for both you and the creditors which may contain legal sanctions to make sure you stick to the contract.

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  • It is a public record: An IVA is a form of insolvency, so it is listed on the Insolvency Service website. This database can be searched by anyone.
  • It entails fees: All IVA firms have to charge a Nominee and Supervisory fee; this is taken from payments you make into the IVA and is not an additional cost to you. Some IVA firms charge an upfront fee for the drafting of an IVA proposal.
  • Bankruptcy may be near: If your IVA does fail, there is a risk of bankruptcy proceedings.

3 Golden Rules for Financially-Free Teens

Nowadays, the reality of this world is that money has gotten harder to earn and easier to spend. With the lavish trends on technology and innovation, as well as the overall approach on human living, people are more likely to spend their earnings to appease their human needs and wants. Furthermore, the reality is that people purchase basic necessities in equal allocation with things that they want.

The perfect example is how most people are inclined to allot money for their weekly groceries the same way they set aside money to buy the newest iPhone.

People often disregard proper financial management in their lives, causing monetary disasters evident in the increasing cases of unpaid debt, growing interest on bank loans, and “normality” of filling bankruptcy. Any of these experiences can be quite excruciating, given the implications of such financial problems, not to mention the eventual economic instability and decline.

In times like these, financial advising and management can draw the fine line between an impending catastrophe and a smooth, worry-free life.

This is the reason why people should be taught the importance of managing money at a young age.

Teaching financial management to young individuals can help shorten their learning curve in properly handling their money, honing money-smart, reasonably thrifty and more responsible members of the society.

What better timing to teach the essence of financial management than at their best developmental stage, wherein they are generally more prone to making wrong judgments, more adaptive to critical changes, and more malleable in their ways.

Lesson #1 – No Money? Don’t Spend.

The simplest yet most profound lesson any professional financial advisor can give is that an individual should not spend money he or she doesn’t have. This is a lesson that people of all ages should follow but can be most applicable to those in their teenage years. Why?

Don't spend money you don't have.

For a young adult living in the trend-dependent, hip lifestyle of this generation, it is inevitable to be caught in waves of societal mainstream. This can ultimately have them running off swiping their (or their parent’s) credit cards left and right whenever and wherever they like. There is nothing wrong about wanting and having the latest accessories, the luxury gadgets, and the expensive clothing from time to time. However, what is critical is how a person has programmed his or her mind on spending, or how he or she evaluates the significance of every purchase as something that can be paid back later.

In a twisted way, the term shopaholic has become a socially-accepted “fact” nowadays. Still, something that has become a norm does not equate to socially (and financially) right. Spending credit money is something that all young people should absolutely avoid. Though it may be true that the major implications of lavish spending will be felt in a later time, the psychological repercussions can still appear readily.

Studies have found that people who frequent buying stuff tend to justify their expenses as investments. Evidently, this is not always true. Furthermore, the more frequent these lavishly buying of these investments, the consumer can experience an inexplicable satisfaction with every purchase, leading to a form of addiction. It exhausts the person, and also exhausts their bank account.

In this light, as early as possible, young adults should have a firm grip on themselves, a strong sense of control, and an impeccable assessment of what needs to be bought versus what doesn’t.

Lesson #2 – Get Insured.

Having life insurance is one of the smartest investments to get into to ensure financial freedom. More so, it is smarter if a person be insured at an early age. We say, the younger the better.

Getting an insurance policy is imperative for a money-smart individual. This is because it protects him or her from the risks of financial losses, damages or liabilities for damage caused by a third party. Insurance companies can vary in wide arrays, but the most significant ones involve health and life protection.

Having health insurance can benefit a person in periods when professional medical care is necessary. In this time when professional healthcare can be very costly, it would be a gift to be able to save one’s self and his hard earned money.

Health and protection is actually encompassed within life insurance. It allows individuals to get what they deserve during the span of their lifetime. Leading life insurance like American General (AIG) and up and coming insurance companies which provide Term Insurance offer a variety of choices in their plans that can ensure support to those who want to set-up and be prepared for their future.

A flotation device symbolizing life insurance.

Getting started early is an effective start in every young adult who wants to be financially stable in the future.

In addition, life insurances offer various benefits for people seeking them. Not only does it inculcate the values of being thrifty, it has been proven to be a safe and profitable long-term investment which ensures returns in the long-run. Similarly enticing is the fact that insurance acts as risk covers — Which allows people to live comfortably amidst the uncertainties of life.

Growth through dividends is also a major hook for this type of investment. There are policies that offer an opportunity to take advantage of economic growth without too much investment risk. In totality, the collective income of the company and all shareholders is distributed among the policyholders through annual announcement of dividends and bonuses.

In the end, being insured can give young individuals the opportunity to truly prepare for the success of their future.

Lesson #3 – Save Save Save!

Simply put, the most common way to go about being financially free is by saving. There comes a time when financial problems in the family may arise or business may not be going too well. Little by little, preparing for a rainy day can save your wallet and lessen the stress of your mind.

Prepare yourself by saving an emergency fund. Any amount saved should be put preferably in an account where it could only be accessed in dire need. Excess allowances, earned money from part-time jobs, or any money that a young adult can get his hands on should be put in a separate account for emergencies only.

However, saving money does not only prompt opening a bank account. Saving coins in a traditional coin bank is not a bad idea. It is a good start since its accumulated value can still be of great significance, more so in times of need.

Every little bit of money helps, such as what you can save in a piggybank.

Even at a very young age, people should be taught the essence and value of saving. This can be taught to teens by letting them have their own savings account where they can learn the responsibility of growing and handling their money safely. Ultimately, when a situation comes when money is hard to find, there is always an option to tap their rainy day stash.

The 21st century has prompted people to become hasty spenders because of growing trends and the inevitable evolution of one’s financial mindset. It is imperative to train young adults as early as possible to set their minds on integrating a sense of living in the moment and enduring for the future.

Challenges will absolutely come, but in spite of all the financial hurdles an individual may run into, living life today and creating a life for tomorrow can still be achieved through good money management and proper financial advising.

The Best Finance Apps to Keep Track of Your Budget

Keeping track of your finances through you own version of bookkeeping – maybe through a logbook or a handy notebook – was considered the norm when the age of mobile devices began to take over. Nowadays, there are many applications and software that can provide you the most convenient bookkeeping solution possible, and most of them are free!

If you’re looking for the best finance application to keep track of your budget, here’s the cream of the crop:

Pocketguard

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App Description: PocketGuard makes personal finance fun and easy. It categorizes and organizes your expenses, monthly bills and subscriptions into clear, beautiful tabs and graphs, so you will always be on top of your finances.

Available for both Android and iOS, PocketGuard is a one-size-fits-all bank account tracking and budget management app. It can show you how much you’ve got in your accounts, as well as how much you can afford to spend for the day.

Yes, you’ve read that right! The app can help create your budget plan with your bank account. The app connects to your bank and card accounts through an encrypted, read-only connection. This allows users to quickly view the status of your accounts and transactions while remaining secure.

The app automatically sorts your purchases, subscriptions, and bill payments, and factors in your previous spending factors to provide you an estimate as to how much you can safely spend from your accounts without going into the red.

Mint

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App Description: From Intuit, the makers of TurboTax, QuickBooks, Mint Bills, and Quicken: The free Mint app helps you spend smarter and save more. Easily pull all your accounts, cards and investments into one place so you can track your spending, create a budget, receive bill reminders, and get customized tips for reducing fees and saving money.

Mint’s mobile apps for iOS and Android takes on the competition by offering a comprehensive look at all your account balances – accounts, budget plans, and even you credit score. In addition, all data is updated in real time as long as you’re connected to the Internet. It automatically categorizes your transactions, alerts you when you’re about to go over your budget, and lets you opt-in to push notifications about bills.

Its unique feature includes the Trends feature, which helps you track your credit cards, cash, spending, income, and net worth over time. Charts and graphs can then show you an infographic point of view about where you’re spending money.

Intuit’s Mint Personal Finance not only helps you track your income and expenses, but also your financial state as a whole. Aside from allowing for in-depth personal budget management and expense logging, the Mint app lets you sync your bank and card details for an up-to-date and secure look at your financial status. You can also view your personal finances offline: the app stores information from a user’s latest download so they can still review their bank accounts, track credit card spending, or see when their bills are due.

Spendee

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App Description: Spendee gives you the power of unique data analysis in an adaptable environment that automatically and thoroughly analyzes your income and expenses, giving you intelligent advice on how to make the most of your money. The app is beautifully designed with a sleek, simple layout and built with a precise user interface that is both enjoyable and comfortable to use. Simply punch in the numbers, and see your money analyzed and expressed as informative and easy-to-read infographics.

Perhaps the most fun way to keep track of your expenditures, Spendee goes for a modern look with all the comfort and ease of infographics as you manage your accounts. Enjoy data synchronization in real time while keeping your data safe and synchronized in all your iOS and Android devices. Expenses are quickly logged into categories, with the option to snap photos of bills and receipts for easy storage.

There is also a “sharing wallets” feature: with each wallet, you have the option to give access to members of your family, friends, business partners and others for common registration and tracking your finances if you want to pay for the premium service of the application. The best thing is, you can track your expenses for any categories and wallet members. This feature can totally be harnessed for the better budget management of the whole family.

Spendee also features a brightly colored and user-friendly UI that comes with great budgeting tracking tools whether you’re a free user or a subscriber. The Feed tab lets you easily scroll through your expenses, while the Overview mode offers useful infographics on your spending over time, as well as a breakdown of what items and categories you’re spending your money on.

Spendee has also added a budget creation tool, making it not only an expense tracker but a legitimate budgeting app.

Qapital

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App Description: Say hello to Qapital – the app that makes it easy to save for the things you really want. We use the ways you’re already spending your money to trigger micro-savings that we automatically put aside for your Goals. That means while you’re busy dreaming and planning, we’ll be doing all the work to make it happen.

Qapital can easily match the best online bookkeeper out there in the app market. Personal finance app Qapital helps you to have the mentality to save through gamification and tiny actions you take every day. It makes saving for goals easy, though it requires you to open a new savings account. If a big time saving is too much of a leap for you, Qapital app can help you save little by little.

You can use Qapital to round up change on debit & credit purchases, and save it towards a Goal. It also helps its users to set a budget and save when they stay under it; there is even an interesting feature that “punishes” users whenever they indulge in guilty pleasures.

Qapital offers to its users FDIC-insured savings – no monthly or annual fee, no minimum deposit, goal-based savings, and automated transfers with guaranteed no hidden fees.

Expensify

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App Description: Can’t stand your expense reports? Look no further! Expensify makes capturing receipts, tracking time or mileage, business travel and creating expense reports quick and easy. Acknowledged by the tech community as the best app for expense reporting, Expensify takes the time, paper, and headaches out of your expense reports! Simply put, Expensify does expense reports that don’t suck!

Expensify gained its popularity by narrowing its target market: while it can be useful for anyone, it focuses on travelers. If you’re a business traveler, then Expensify is easily your best friend when it comes to making easy expense reports. It allows you to manually track expenses, photolog receipts and even import purchase info from your credit card for IRS validated eReceipts.

Its best feature is Smart Scan, which allows users to photograph a receipt, have the information “read” from the image, and automatically generate expense data. The app includes input options for travel mileage, time and rate based expenses, as well as automatic currency conversion.

Expensify can also be in sync with your car or any vehicle that you use through its Mileage Entry feature where you can manually enter the distance, use your phone’s GPS, or take a picture of your odometer. Travelers can find this extremely handy so that they won’t neglect taking care of their finances while still enjoying each and every moment of their wanderlust.

3 Smart Moves for Getting the Best Life Insurance for Career-Starters

Having yourself insured is one of the most important factors when it comes to your finances. More so, it is smarter if you can be insured at a young age, especially when you’re just starting your career.

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True enough, life can be so unpredictable that the inevitability of unfortunate circumstances may be more likely than you had thought. This is why life insurance plans have become “basic requirement” for many; not only in the United States, but also in many parts of the world.

In the U.S., 2/3 of the population have already acquired their own life insurance plans because of the emphasis put on them by the government. These plans have proven to be a useful tool to help an individual and their family minimize the impact of any possible financially challenges in the future, especially in the continuation of their family’s financially stability in case the insured passes away.

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However, many issues become more difficult when you are just starting your career. At this point, you may encounter problems with regards to understanding how to get the best out of your money with life insurances. As such, below are some ways how career-starters like you can grasp the essence of affordable and financially manageable life insurance.

Understand the Pricing and Get Several Quotes

First things first – life insurance plans vary in the policy price. This is because these plans are based on a person’s current financial stature as well as projected lifespan. A right price for a life insurance plan is the one that best suits your income as well as the coverage. For career starters like you, this can prompt a good projection of your income or salary.

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However, before even trying to know what price is most suitable, you should understand first how life insurance plans prices are established. According to the Department of Financial Services, the premium rate for a life insurance policy is grounded on two fundamental concepts – mortality and interest. Often, a third variable is the expense factor which is defined as the sum the company adds to the cost of the policy to cover operating costs such as selling insurance, investing the premiums, and paying claims.

Life insurance is based on the sharing of “the risk of death” by a large group of people. The amount at risk must be known to predict the cost to each member of the group. Mortality tables are used to give the company a basic estimate of how much money it will need to pay for death claims each year. By using a mortality table, a life insurer can determine the average life expectancy for each age group.

The second factor used in calculating the premium is interest earnings. Companies invest one’s premiums in bonds, stocks, mortgages, real estate, etc., and assume that they will earn a certain rate of interest on these invested funds.

The third consideration is the expenses of operating the company. The company estimates such expenses as salaries, agents’ compensation, rent, legal fees, postage, etc. The amount charged to cover each policy’s share of expenses of operation is called the expense loading. This is a cost area that can vary from company to company based on its operations and efficiency.

Now that you understand the concept of pricing in the life insurance industry, you are now a little more equipped to pinpoint what factors affect the prices. With the large number of companies offering plans, it is paramount that you compare these prices. One simple thing to do is to get several quotes from these companies. If you intend to get cheaper life insurance, then you need to avoid policy riders and additional insurances such as option to purchase child policies or more insurance at a future date without going through medical exam process.

Be Critical in the Coverage Policy

With several company quotes at hand, it would now be easier to determine which one would fit your budget. However, it does not follow that the cheaper the policy, the better it is for you. It is also an important factor to inspect the coverage of these life insurances.

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Insurance coverage is the amount of risk or liability that is covered for an individual or entity by way of insurance services. Insurance coverage, such as auto insurance or life insurance, is issued by an insurer in the event of unforeseen occurrences.

You should understand first that there are multiple types of life insurance coverage. The two basic types of life insurance are term and permanent. The one that’s right for you depends on many factors highlighted by the amount of coverage you need and the length of time the coverage will last.

Term insurance provides protection for a limited period of time and pays a death benefit if something bad happens to you during that period. Term coverage can meet a wide variety of business and personal needs, and is a practical way to provide the most coverage for your premium dollar.

On the other hand, permanent policies can provide valuable protection for one’s family. They offer the potential not only for guaranteed lifetime protection but also for building cash value. How that cash value grows is based on the amount of premium paid and the death benefit option selected.

If you are hoping to acquire a life plan, you must always take note on what type of insurance you actually need. There are many guidelines out there that you can follow, but the best tips to save on your life insurance tells you that since the coverage varies depending on its type and on which provider, you must always base your decisions in favor of your preferences.

Save and Invest Early for a Better Life Insurance

Since you have now realized the pricing and coverage policy that surrounds life insurances, it is now time for you to do the hardest phase in the setup. Save and invest early.

saving-money

Saving is an important facet in your current and future financial status. This is because there comes a time when financial problems may arise or business may not be going too well. It is in these bad circumstances where saved money can provide its best benefit.

If that’s the case, how does one go about saving?

Any good saver first establishes where to put his or her money. You can opt to simply open a bank account, preferably a savings accounts, where you can deposit your money. Also, you can still go for the traditional coin bank. It is not a bad idea at all, considering the fact that it can hold significant money when the time comes. Besides, every penny counts when it comes to your future.

If you ever want to save more for a better life insurance, you should consider the wonders that can be brought by investing. Investing early is much more preferred since money will require time to grow. The question is – where do you invest?

Banking is the most common used approach for saving money, and is a form of investing as well. Over time, money saved in a bank account can accumulate interest. It may be true that if you are just starting your career, it is harder to have a significant amount of interest. This is because most banks only give interest not greater than 5% based on what you have in your savings account. Then again, since you’re starting early, you have a longer time to accumulate the money to pay for a better life insurance policy and more coverage in the future.

8 Steps in Buying your New Home

Buying your own home and starting a brand new household is not an easy task. Since everybody think it is easy, they eventually commit a lot of mistakes. People most often buy a home that’s more expensive than what they can afford. People oftentimes look at sweet deals and end up in a pile of debt because the deals are actually based on ridiculous credit interests. People also take mortgage plans that they cannot pay off in the long term just because their income cannot match their expenses.

All these factors greatly contribute to why starting up a household is not only a difficult but also a demanding task. It requires a lot of thinking and planning beforehand. You wouldn’t want to just jump into buying a house in a suburb just because it’s a “great” deal. Now, if you are just starting to plan to buy your house, here are the steps that you should consider following for you to make it through your mortgage alive.

just bought new home

Step 1: Know Thyself

The first step is to evaluate your financial capabilities. Know how much you can and willing to pay. You can always start with understanding your credit score.

A credit score is a number calculated from a formula created by Fair Isaac based on the information in your credit report. You have three different credit scores, one for each of your credit reports. Credit reports are kept by the three major credit agencies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. They show whether you are habitually late with payments and whether you have run into serious credit problems in the past.

Generally, a low credit score may hurt your chances for getting the best interest rate, or getting financing at all. So get a copy of your reports and know your credit scores. There’s an online app MyFICO.com where you can check your credit score.

After clearing your credit score, you can now look at your assets. Know how much all your debit is as of the moment, so you can start setting your budget.

Step 2: Set your Budget                        

You now need to determine how much you can afford. While the most common way is to add all your income and subtract your expenses, you can now document every detail of your finances easily with online applications such as CNN Money’s Real Estate Calculator. If you want to go for an easy-to-use yet professional app, you can try Quickbooks Online to guide you every step of the way by allowing you to use accounting disciplines in keeping track of your finances.

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For a more accurate figure, ask to be pre-approved by a lender who will look at your income, debt and credit to determine the kind of loan that is in your league. The rule of thumb is to aim for a home that costs about two-and-a-half times your gross annual salary. If you have significant credit card debt or other financial obligations like alimony or even an expensive hobby, then you may need to set your sights lower.

Step 3: Show the Money

At this point, you need to come up with cash for your down payment and closing costs. Estate sellers wouldn’t just straight up give you a house out of installment deals. Normally, they would want to get 20% of the home’s price as a down payment. If you can put down more than that, the lender may be willing to approve a larger loan. If you have less, you’ll need to find loans that can accommodate you.

Once you’ve considered the down payment, make sure you’ve got enough to cover fees and closing costs. These may include the appraisal fee, loan fees, attorney’s fees, inspection fees, and the cost of a title search. They can easily add up to more than $10,000b – often running upto 5% of the mortgage amount.

If your available cash doesn’t cover your needs, you have several options. First-time home buyers can withdraw up to $10,000 without penalty from an Individual Retirement Account. You can also receive a cash gift of up to $14,000 a year from each of your parents without triggering a gift tax.

Step 4: Look for an Agent

Most real estate sellers list their homes through an agent. Just a reminder – these agents work for themselves. It follows that they can offer more time to focus on your account, holding you accountable to your financial obligation. Then again, since these agents are usually self-employed, they would want you to pay as quickly as possible to ensure you clear the loan as early as possible, and for them to get their commission in the earliest time, too.

couple embracing in home

Professionally speaking, you would want to have an “exclusive buyer agent”. Sometimes, buyer agents are paid directly by the buying clients themselves, on an hourly or contracted fee. Other times, they split the commission that the seller’s agent gets upon sale. A buyer’s representative has the same access to homes for sale that a seller’s agent does, but his or her allegiance is (supposed to be) only to you.

Step 5: Look for your desired house

There are tons of criteria for looking for your desired house,but it all boils down to location, location, location.

Location of the house tells you whether living there is economically advantageous so you can easily find a new job or entrepreneurial opportunities. The location can also determine if your house would be perfect for the quality of life you seek for your family.

just bought home

When the house already checked the more important criteria, you can now look into the added features like that of aesthetics or bonus amenities.

Step 6: Make an Offer

Now that you’ve found the house that you want, have a little help with your exclusive agent so that you can make your bid. If you’re working with a buyer’s broker, then get advice from him or her for an initial offer. If you’re working with a seller’s agent, devise the strategy yourself.

Know that negotiation is an art. Try to line up data on at least three houses that have sold recently in the neighborhood. If you really want the house, don’t lowball because it would irk the seller too much.

Remember that your leverage depends on the pace of the market. In a slow market, you’ve got muscle; in a hot market, you may have none at all.

Step 7: Iron out the Contract

Have your lawyer or exclusive buyer’s agent review the documents to make sure the deal is contingent upon: a.) you obtaining a mortgage, b.) home inspection that shows no significant defects and c.) guarantee that you may conduct a walk-through inspection 24 hours before closing.

It would also be best if you can make a good-faith deposit – usually 1% up to 10% of the purchase price – that should be deposited into an escrow account. The seller receives this money after the deal has been closed. This serves as your safety net in case of a problem: if the deal falls through, you get the money back only if you or the home failed any of the contingency clauses.

Step 8: Close the Deal

A couple of days before the actual closing, the lender sends you the final HUD-1 Settlement Statement that lists all the charges you can expect to pay at closing. The HUD-1 Settlement Statement is a form prepared by closing agents itemizing all charges imposed on a buyer and a seller in real estate transactions. The HUD-1 is used primarily to settle reverse mortgage and mortgage refinance transactions.

keys to home

Review it carefully and thoroughly. Make sure that everything that you and the seller have settled is intact. This form includes deal elements like the cost of title insurance that protects you and the lender from any claims someone may make regarding ownership of your property. The cost of title insurance varies greatly from state to state, but it usually comes in at less than 1% of the home’s price.

Make sure that you see through all these steps meticulously. Buying your first home is very important, and you wouldn’t want to make mistakes that can injure you for a long time.