Posted by Mark Cabal on Friday, September 30, 2016 at 3:37 PMBy Mark Cabal / September 30, 2016Comment
Learn how to choose the most suitable site for a vegetable garden, a location that will allow the vegetables to thrive.
Growing your own vegetable garden takes planning.
Before you ever put a spade in the soil or drop a seed in the ground, you need to sit down and think about what you want to achieve in your vegetable garden. First you need to consider whether you have the space and conditions to grow what you want. The most familiar is the traditional plot.
The whole area is cultivated and the plants are grown in rows.
Cottage gardens are planted in small square plots with neat edges and paths.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Pay attention to the surroundings when selecting a site.
The best site for a vegetable garden should incorporate the following: At least six hours of sunlight daily, good drainage and air circulation, and a level location with loose, rich soil. There should also be a nearby source of water, and ideally,...
Posted by Mark Cabal on Thursday, September 29, 2016 at 4:23 PMBy Mark Cabal / September 29, 2016Comment
Chances are your home is by far the largest purchase you’ll ever make. So, knowing how to decipher the language of loans and mortgages is key for any homeowner. Get a handle on your finances and better manage your budget with this helpful overview of loan types.
Feeling lost in the sea of home mortgage loan options? You’re not alone. We’ve taken the guesswork out of picking the best lending option for you by outlining the main home loan types.
Happy house hunting!
Fixed Rate: Fixed-rate loans dominate the market more than ever right now, and for good reason: they’re cheaper than they’ve been in three decades. The percentage difference between variable-rate and fixed-rate loans has narrowed, too, and the spread usually isn’t enough to justify giving up all those years of fixed-rate security.
Long-term, fixed-rate loans are good for people who can comfortably qualify for the loan they want and who expect to stay in their homes for many years. But how long do you pay? Many baby boomers are now refinancing mortgages with 15-year fixed-rate loans, assuming they’ll make their last payments by retirement.
For example, if you borrow $150,000, you could pay it off at 6.75 percent in 30 years at $973 a month, with total interest costs of $200,243. Or you could borrow the same amount at 6.5 percent for 15 years and pay $1,307 a month, with total interest costs of just $85,199.
Adjustable-Rate Mortgage: Borrowers who are willing to sacrifice the long-term security of a fixed-rate loan can get a lower interest rate and start with lower payments if they take an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM). That’s a particular benefit for two types of borrowers: those who expect to move within five years, and those who may want the slightly lower rate to help...
Posted by Mark Cabal on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 at 4:49 PMBy Mark Cabal / September 28, 2016Comment
5 Ways to Avoid Overspending at the Grocery Store
Think running into the supermarket to get a loaf of bread is easy? You would be right, but not before they tempt you to spend money on a bunch of other junk first. Grocery stores are laden with traps that try to convince you to buy more than you set out to get. Here are some ways you can avoid them and save some money and shelf space.
1.Make a shopping list and stick to it. This is the easiest and most effective way to avoid overspending at the grocery store as long as you make sure to adhere strictly to the list. If you do this, you don’t even need to worry about following all the other tips.
2. Bring a calculator with you. All cell phones have a calculator function, so whip those out every time you are trying to decide which item is a better deal. If you are caught between spending $5 for a regular-sized can of coffee grounds or $6 for a slightly bigger one, look at the volume difference between the two and do the math. Although most of the time, the bigger volume will be cheaper ounce-per-ounce, this may not always be the case. Use the calculator to figure out which is the best deal. Also, don’t forget to factor in your consumption. Just because the math works out doesn’t mean you are actually saving money if you aren’t going to finish it before the expiry date.
3. Avoid the “2 for $5” deals. You need a can of green beans, and you notice that your grocery store is having a “2 for $5” sale. Should you get two cans instead of just one? That depends. Again, do the math and calculate how much each item is selling for with that...
Posted by Mark Cabal on Monday, September 26, 2016 at 3:15 PMBy Mark Cabal / September 26, 2016Comment
You don’t need a big budget to cook up the kitchen of your dreams.
It’s likely you spend much of your time at home in your kitchen, cooking, entertaining friends over a glass (or two) of wine, or talking through your day with family. But there may come a day when you look around and notice that —gasp! — this well-loved space is starting to look a bit worn. Suddenly, your favorite gathering spot has become a place you rush guests through, and you’re concerned that potential future buyers will be turned off by its outdated appearance — especially if you’re in an expensive (read: high end) market, like Westport, CT.
There’s no need to shy away from kitchen upgrades, though. Make a game of it by hunting for appliances and lighting on sale or clearance; oftentimes, they are discounted for indiscernible...
Everybody remembers their first time. You're at the fair, and you pass a massive, hand-painted sign shouting "FRIED OREOS." It's like a sign from the heavens—and like many signs from the universe, you don't immediately...
Posted by Mark Cabal on Thursday, September 15, 2016 at 4:28 PMBy Mark Cabal / September 15, 2016Comment
5 Numbers to Consider Before You Buy a House
+/- Do the math before you commit.
On the life decision scale, buying a house is often closer to marriage than it is to the purchase of a car. It can be one of the best decisions you make or something you bitterly curse forevermore.
And like marriage, the rent vs. buy decision is unique to the individual, requires you to try to predict your life for the next few decades, and depends on too many factors to summarize in one article.
But fortunately, with housing there are five fairly simple numbers we can look at to help suss out when buying a home is clearly a bad financial idea. I’ve rank-ordered them, starting with…
1.) Housing (and savings) as a percentage of your income
The first and most important metric to check is whether you can afford it. Duh, right? But believe it or not, too many people mess this up. Instead of thoughtfully considering what they can afford for themselves, they go with whatever their banker tells them they’re approved for....
Posted by Mark Cabal on Monday, September 12, 2016 at 4:29 PMBy Mark Cabal / September 12, 2016Comment
Oh The Places You’ll Go: 5 Reasons To Start Investing When You’re Young and Broke
According to a recent Facebook study, most people under 30 don’t think they have enough money to start investing. There was a time when you needed big bucks to become an investor, thanks to minimums from financial advisors and even online brokerages. But a new breed of digital investment services are making minimums a thing of the past. That’s paving the way for a younger generation of investors. And it turns out, starting to invest when you don’t have much experience or even much money can actually be an advantage:
1. You’re a blank slate. You don’t have bad habits to unlearn, like trying to beat the market by trading in and out of individual stocks frequently. Turns out that rarely works, and it’s not really the point of investing. On the other hand, you’re open to learning about the benefits of investing a little bit on a regular basis, making investments you want to hold for the long term, and spreading your money around to diversify your holdings.
2. You have to start small. If you had $50,000 to invest, you might be tempted to plunk it in the market around the same time. But who knows – you could be investing everything you’ve got right before the market drops off a cliff. And with so much at stake, you’d probably be pretty worried about making the wrong investment decisions. If you’re just a few...
Posted by Mark Cabal on Thursday, September 8, 2016 at 4:07 PMBy Mark Cabal / September 8, 2016Comment
DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | FRIDAY, AUGUST 26, 2016
Columnist Jeff Reeves with MarketWatch says right now is the best time ever to invest in real estate. He discounts fears by some about another housing crisis brewing – the uptick in “liar loans” or “Alt-A mortgages” and return of house flipping. He says any such bubble fears amount to “a lot of hogwash.”
“Whether it’s stricter lending standards, a shift in attitudes among borrowers or simply the nation getting wiser about the risks of real estate, we’re hardly seeing irresponsible buying in 2016,” writes Reeves, who is also the editor of InvestorPlace.com. “What we are seeing is a healthy housing market that continues to steadily and organically appreciate.”
As such, he says it’s prime time for investors to jump in.
Home prices are on the rise: Median home prices are above pre-recession levels and even reaching new highs in some locales. Appreciation is growing about 5 percent each year.
Also, some appreciating markets – notably Las Vegas and Florida metros like Miami, Tampa, and Orlando – still have real estate values below pre-crash levels.
Companies are stepping in to help more people become investors too. For example, Investability, an online real estate marketplace, says it offers tools like cash flow calculators that allow those interested in investing to input estimated vacancy rates and rental incomes from potential properties.
“Historically people invest within a 10-mile radius around their own home,” says Dennis Cisterna, chief revenue officer at Investability. “But in 2016, people want to invest in markets outside their own neighborhood.”
Other crowdfunding companies like Fundrise and RealtyShares are allowing people with less money to jump in as investors too. Fundrise requires...