December 2011

Houseboats

Are they are a financial reality?

I spent quite a bit of time in and around Seattle's Lake Union. If you aren't familiar with the area, it's full of house boats, one of the biggest communities of the dwellings in the entire world. From the outside, the houses are adorable--many come with wrap-around wood porches complete with potted plants, others have kayaks docked to what are essentially their front yards. I always had a pipe dream of owning a house boat someday, but had dreams of the 1958 Sophia Loren movie, Houseboat, with its leaky ceilings and sprawling unseemliness. Worst of all, I thought that trendy houseboats must cost more money than a house.

Prioritize Saving for a Down Payment

"... that 20 percent down payment is more critical than ever."

These days, there are just so many demands on our income that it can be difficult to allocate enough money for important long-term goals, such as the down payment for a new house.  You may find yourself spinning your wheels, longing for that dream of owning a home to come true, but not getting any closer each month.  Prioritizing your savings for a down payment is essential in reaching that goal.

Wood Heat is so Cozy

Not many people these days have experienced the comfort and pleasure of heating with wood.  Wood was the only heat our family had growing up, by choice.  The warmth of wood is so much different from that of electric or gas heat.  It fills the room and goes deep into your bones.  Nothing is quite as cheerful as the warm crackle of a fire in the middle of winter, either.

Even if You Rent, Buy Insurance

"Even if you think it could never happen to you, you are better off being prepared and having a policy"

Talking about the house that burnt down last week has got me thinking about what would happen if that had been my home.  I wonder how those poor people are doing now, and if they will be able to rebuild or find a new home.  I fervently hope they had an insurance policy, because the devastation of losing your home is bad enough, without having to worry about how you will replace it.

Finally

Attorney General Goes After Banks

Finally, several years after the collapse of the housing market one Attorney General, Martha Coakley of Massachusetts, has decided that enough is enough. Ms. Coakley has broken away from settlement talks organized by the Obama Administration and a coalition of other state AGs. She has instead proceeded to set precedent by filing a lawsuit against the biggest banks involved in the housing collapse and foreclosure crisis.

Staging Your Home

"Staging a home is simply furnishing it in such a way that it will appeal to buyers"

It is well known that when buyers look at homes, they are imagining how that home would fit them.  Home buying is an emotional process, and a smart seller will position themselves to provide the right balance between emotional and functional when trying to sell a home.  Staging your home can make the difference between selling it or having it sit on the market.