The Mark Cabal Team
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Why You Should Buy the Least Expensive House You Can Afford

The housing market has changed a lot in just the past few years. The old philosophy of buying the most expensive house you can afford has become obsolete. There are far more advantages to buying the least expensive house you can afford.

Consider some of the following . . . .

Lower Down Payment and a Lower Monthly Payment

Every expense and cash outlay that you have in connection with a house rises and falls with the price that you pay to purchase it. That includes your down payment. For example, if you purchase a $300,000 house, and need a 20% down payment, you’ll need to have $60,000 upfront. But if you opt instead for a less expensive house, say $200,000, your 20% down payment will be only $40,000.

That will leave you with $20,000 extra after closing on the home. This is more important than it seems on the surface too. The down payment that you make on a house can be thought of as trapped equity. That means it is capital sitting in the property, but unavailable for other purposes.

The same is true with expenses. A higher-priced home will result in higher property taxes and insurance, and if the house is also larger, you’ll have commensurately higher utility and maintenance costs.

One of the fundamental problems with both the down payment and the monthly expenses in regard to higher-priced homes, is that you essentially locked them in at the time you purchased the home. There will be no opportunity to lower those expenses after the fact.

More Money for Living Life – Avoid Being ‘House Poor’

The more money that you have tied up in the house – whether in the form of a down payment or a high monthly payment – the less you will have available for everything else in your life. At the extreme, a high-priced home could lead you to be house poor – owning a nice home, but having little room in your budget...

Senior Housing Is Expensive—A Reverse Mortgage Could Help

**Call The Mark Cabal Team if you have any mortgage questions and we will put you in touch with our trusted Residential Mortgage company**

For most people, the retirement dream consists of independence, relaxation, and enjoyment of free time. And for many, that dream is well within reach. But as retirement continues on, old age may begin to take its toll. Eventually, you may find yourself needing help with certain things like cooking or cleaning, or that you or your spouse needs help with taking medication, bathing, or simply getting around.

The good news: there are several common senior housing options for individuals and couples who find themselves in need of assistance. Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Care are all rising in popularity as the aging population increases. Communities that provide these different housing types can help with activities of daily living such as cooking, or with higher levels of care, such as medication management. They also typically include transportation, activities, wellness programs, and more.

The bad news: they can be quite expensive and the costs are rising. In fact, the average annual price per unit rose by $1,200 in 2015 versus 2014, according to national senior living referral service A Place For Mom. Regionally, southern and western states face the fastest acceleration in cost growth compared to other U.S. regions, APFM found based on its survey of actual rents paid across senior living communities nationwide.

Nationally, the average cost of independent living is $2,700 per month, according to the findings. For assisted living, the average price per month is $3,900 and for memory care, which requires more care expertise, that figure is $5,100. If you happen to live in the Northeast,...

5 Ways to Get Back on Track After a Budget Hit

You’re casually going through your email when one message catches your eye and makes you say, “Oh, shoot!” The email says your car insurance payment is due in 30 days—and the message is 29 days old.


Money mishaps like this happen to everyone. Whether you forget about a bill or overspend on groceries or entertainment, budgets can take a hit. But getting your budget back on track is simple, even when it gets dinged! Here are five ways you and your money can recover.

1. Rearrange your budget. Look for areas where you haven’t maxed out your monthly spending yet. Think nonessentials like entertainment, clothing and restaurants. Rearrange the money in these categories to even things out.

2. Use your emergency fund. Sometimes a forgotten medical bill or yearly HOA dues are big enough to use your emergency savings. It’s all right to do that as long as you aren’t tapping into that money every other month. Pay the bill, and then restock your rainy day fund immediately.

3. Adjust next month’s spending. If you are overspending on groceries or you got a little too excited buying landscaping supplies for fall, it could indicate how your budget is trending. Add more money to those areas in next month’s budget so you are better prepared. It’s okay if you spend more—just make sure to account for it!

4. Make a long-term plan. Create notes on your calendar about expenses in certain months so you’ll know to adjust your budget. Give yourself a heads-up about car insurance bills or a weekend anniversary trip by looking at the calendar each time you make a new budget.

5. Give yourself some grace. The...

Basic Advice for Newlyweds On Picking Out Furniture

Newlyweds have trouble enough without having to worry about picking out furniture. In a perfect world, every newly married bride and groom has rich enough friends that the bridal shower includes teak dining tables, mahogany chests of drawers, sofas fitted with a freezer for keeping cold drinks cold, and a microwave for keeping popcorn warm. In my own experience, we had to scour every last coin we had just to get our life after marriage as comfortable and as pleasing as possible. Alas, such a perfect world is not the one into which most people marry.

Argue Now, Laugh Later

Then again, picking out your first furniture together may be one of the longest-lasting and happiest memories of your entire marriage. Of course, going shopping for furniture for the first time together as a couple can be a lot less interesting if you both share the same tastes. Fortunately, the trope that opposites attract is true often enough that very few newly wedded couples head to the furniture store with both parties in full agreement that French Provincial or Georgian or even Art Deco is the way to go. Here’s the thing to keep in mind when the debates over furniture styles start: you will one day look back on those arguments and laugh.

The point? Don’t be afraid to stake a claim for a Gate-leg table even if your so-called better half insists that his family has always been a dropleaf table family and always will be a dropleaf table family.

The Bare Necessities

You may have heard an old married couple boast that during their first year of marriage, the only furniture they owned was...

Inside A Tiny House That Actually Has Room For Guests!!!

There are two (!!) bedrooms in a very tidy 184 square feet. 

One downside (or upside, depending how you look at it) of downsizing to a tiny house is no longer hosting overnight guests. There's simply no room for extra bodies when you're already scrambling to fit the kitchen sink. 

Meet the answer to your entertaining woes: the Hikari Box Tiny House. Made by the small space experts Shelter Wise, the home makes the most of its 184 square feet by lofting a master and guest bedroom. The "large" suite can accommodate a luxuriously-wide queen bed, and the second loft can fit a twin mattress (or a cozy reading nook if you're so inclined).

The extra bedroom doesn't mean less storage space, however. A set of Japanese "tansu" stairs also function as a large closet — not to mention a perfectly-sized cabinet for wine, like in this model. 

If you're still not sold on the tiny house lifestyle, what the Hikari may lack in space it makes up for in windows. Its name, which means "light-filled" in Japanese, comes from the 14 windows (including a skylight over each bedroom). Star-gazing from your queen-sized bed doesn't sound half-bad,...

How to Use a Positive Attitude to Change Bad Financial Habits

spending and saving money

If you’ve ever made a promise to change your spending habits, only to break that promise repeatedly, you are not alone. After all, you still have to go past your favorite coffee shop every morning where a delicious (and overpriced) beverage is only minutes from your lips. Throughout the day, your inbox may bring news of sales and special offers from your favorite retailers. And your next travel adventure to bring warmth to your skin and sand to your bare toes is only a few clicks away. It’s tempting to spend, isn’t it?

If you find it hard to change your attitude about spending, you might be interested in learning what scientists are discovering about habits and why they’re difficult to change. However, it’s possible to transform your bad financial habits into a positive attitude about saving more, living frugally, and building long-term wealth.

How Dopamine Affects Spending Decisions

According to research at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, humans have a brain chemical called dopamine that is triggered with pleasure. When it is triggered, it transmits signals from cell to cell and creates pathways for addictions to enjoyable stimuli, such as food, cigarettes, alcohol, sex, and shopping. When we do something that gives us happiness, such as buying the latest smartphone or new, fashionable clothes, our brain receives a dopamine surge. Some of that chemical then moves to the area of the brain where memories are created and stored, causing the brain to positively associate the spending of money with pleasure.

But dopamine doesn’t stop there – it also controls our decision-making...

10 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Value on a $200 to $2K Budget

Maintaining and increasing your home’s value can pay off in major ways. Not only does helping your home hold value help it sell for its full amount, it can also help your home sell more quickly, help maintain your neighbor’s home values, and ensure that you’re not overpaying in property taxes.

These 10 projects are listed from least to most expensive, and may help you increase your home’s value. Best part: None of these projects cost more than $2,000, so you don’t have to break the bank to take on these projects either.

—-Low Cost: Budget under $500—-


Fertilizing your lawn may not seem as though it’s doing much for your home’s value, but a well-maintained lawn plays a major role in your home’s curb appeal. Curb appeal is how well your property looks from the road, and has a major impact on your home’s value and resale. Fertilizing a dry, brown, or otherwise patchy lawn can help boost your home’s curb appeal, and in turn its value.

Cost: The average cost of lawn fertilizing is around $.03 a square foot assuming a 6,000 square foot lawn, for a total of $180. Total costs range from $.02 a square foot for a DIY job to $.04 a square foot during peak season.

Money Saving Tips

  • If you are able to tackle this job DIY, you can save a lot of money (which you can then use to plant shrubs or trees to further increase your home’s curb appeal).
  • Tackle this job at the beginning of the season to avoid paying peak prices.


The attic is one of the most overlooked areas of the home when it comes to the impact on the rest of the home. Attics that are not properly insulated can become superheated,...