How to get the lowest mortgage rates possible

Holly Johnson •
The Simple Dollar

When it comes to financing your home, a basic understanding of certain financial principles will help you get the lowest mortgage rates. For example, you should know that your credit score might determine what kind of mortgage rate you qualify for. Also, it’s crucial to understand the different types of mortgages available, what their drawbacks

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Paying taxes on a home sold after a spouse’s death

Kimberly Lankford, Contributing Editor, and Kiplinger's Personal Finance •
Kiplinger

[question]My husband died last year, and I’m selling our home. Do I still get to exclude $500,000 of home-sale profits from taxes, or am I limited to the $250,000 exclusion for singles? [answer]Surviving spouses may exclude $500,000 of home-sale profits from taxes if they sell the house within two years of their spouse’s death, as

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4 ways a home energy audit will save you money

Wisebread.com and Dan Rafter •
Kiplinger

Feel like your home’s utility bills are too high? You’re not alone. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that the average monthly electrical bill for U.S. homes stood at just over $114 a month in 2014. And the U.S. Energy Information Administration suggests U.S. homes relying on natural gas would spend an average of $578

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9 home money pits that sap your savings

Wisebread.com and Dr. Penny Pincher •
Kiplinger

There are so many expenses associated with paying the bills for a home that it is easy to miss money leaks that are costing you big dollars. Putting a plug into these leaks can make a big difference in your budget. From old-school thermostats to faulty plumbing, here are some of the top money-pits to

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4 ways to disaster-proof your homeowners insurance policy

Pat Mertz Esswein, Associate Editor, and Kiplinger's Personal Finance •
Kiplinger

One-half to two-thirds of homeowners who experience a total loss don’t have enough insurance to rebuild their home and replace their belongings, according to post-disaster surveys of homeowners by United Policyholders, a consumer advocacy group. Thankfully, most homeowners never experience a total loss. But when a catastrophic loss does occur, the gap in coverage can

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First home was their vacation home

ALISON BOWEN •
Chicago Tribune

Mary McCarthy wasn’t sure she wanted to buy a condo in Old Town. While considering a change from renting to owning, she loved her apartment but remembers thinking, “What I want at 29 is probably not what I want at 35.” But what was she sure wouldn’t change? Her lifelong goal to be able to

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