Family Movie Night

When it comes to family, it often can be challenging to find activities that everyone can enjoy together. Age differences, different interests, busy schedules, and a host of distractions (mostly electronic) can sabotage the precious time that family members spend together.

But it’s well worth the effort to create those moments. Countless studies show that children benefit the most from shared family time—they are usually happier and healthier, for example—but the overall family dynamic benefits as well, as there’s better communication, more openness and trust, and stronger family bonds.

One of the easiest ways to carve out family activities, especially during summertime, is to have a family movie night! Here’s all you have to do to pack the (home) theater:

Make it a weekly or monthly event.
This will ensure that you’re being entertained together on a regular basis. Plus, family members, starting with the kids, can alternate making the movie choice. This will provide a sense of ownership and inclusion for everyone.

Go all out.
You can’t go to the movies without tickets, right? Make your own tickets and movie sign ahead of time to give the event an added air of importance.

Don’t forget to download these printable movie tickets and showtime sign to recreate a real movie theater experience!
Do research.
Making your movie night a production also allows you to know which movie is being chosen ahead of time. Take advantage of this to look up the movie to guarantee that it’s appropriate for all family members.

Eat up!
Sure, you can pop some popcorn or make some pizza for your movie. But you can also make the homemade treats that follow to make movie night even more memorable!

Poll: What’s your favorite movie snack?
Junior Mints®
M&Ms®
Milk Duds®
Raisinets®
Sno-Caps®
Swedish Fish®
Twizzlers®
Whoppers®
Popcorn
Submit My Vote
Talk about it.
After the credits roll, make sure everybody sticks around to talk about the movie—the good, the bad, and everyone’s favorite parts. It’s a built-in opportunity for family interaction, but it can also be a teaching moment if kids are confused by or upset about any scenes they saw. Plus, it’s a chance to start planning the next family movie night!

Host your own family movie night, and snap a photo of the fun to share on social media with the hashtag #ALMcreate.

You could always use more family-night activities and treat ideas!

Food of the Red White and Blue

Food of the Red, White, and Blue
PATRIOTIC PARTY IDEAS
Food of the Red, White, and Blue
These are the most patriotic bites around! From firecracker franks to an American flag pie, your guests will be bursting with patriotic pride.

Patriotic Pretzel Rods
Sweet, salty, and crunchy in every bite, these chocolate-dipped pretzels will be the stars of your party table.

Ingredients
Red, white, and blue candy melts
Pretzel rods
White sprinkles

Print Recipe
Melt the candy melts in the microwave according to package directions, each in its own separate bowl.
Dip two-thirds of the pretzel rod in the white chocolate. Lay out on parchment paper or cooling rack with wax paper underneath until hardened.
Dip the top third of the white section in the blue chocolate. While it is still wet, sprinkle with the white sprinkles. Allow to dry.
Pour melted red candy into a plastic baggie. Cut the corner of the baggie, and drizzle over the white section. Place on wax paper, and allow to harden.

Firecracker Dogs
No summer picnic is complete without hot dogs. Take your franks up a notch by adding some biscuit dough to turn them into sizzling firecrackers!

Ingredients
16 hot dogs
1 can refrigerated breadstick dough
16 thick slices Colby cheese (cut to about ¼ to ⅜-inch thick)

Print Recipe
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Stick a skewer all the way through each of your hot dogs, leaving about an inch and a half exposed out of the top of each hot dog.
Take a piece of breadstick dough, and carefully wrap it around a hot dog until you get to the top; repeat with the other hot dogs. Place the wrapped dogs on a Silpat® (nonstick baking liner) or parchment paper, and bake according to the package directions for the breadstick dough, about 20 minutes.
Using a small star cookie cutter, cut out your stars out of the cheese. (Note: how large or small your cookie cutter is will determine how many stars you get out of each slice of cheese).
After your hot dogs have cooled for 2–3 minutes, stick the skewer through the star at the top.

Red, White, and Blue Ice Cream Sodas
I scream, you scream, we all scream for red, white, and blue ice cream sodas! This is the perfect way to cool off at a hot summer picnic.

Ingredients
3–4 ice cubes
2 tablespoons Torani™ syrup, strawberry
Club soda
3 tablespoons half-and-half
2 tablespoons Torani™ syrup, blue raspberry
Whipped cream and a cherry for the top

Print Recipe
Add a few ice cubes to the glass. Pour in red syrup, and then measure in about ½ cup of club soda.
Add in half-and-half, followed by the blue syrup.
Top with whipped cream and a cherry.

American Flag Pie
There’s almost nothing as American as pie, especially this berry pie that looks just like Old Glory!

Ingredients
Refrigerated piecrust
1 can cherry pie filling
1 can blueberry pie filling
Egg whites, optional

Print Recipe
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Take one half of your piecrust, roll it out, and lay it in a pie pan. Make a dam/divider by tearing off a piece of aluminum foil and folding it over several times until it’s about 2 inches high. Then fold the foil in half, creating a sharp crease in the middle. Before you lay it in the pie plate, trim the ends to fit.
Open your foil dam/divider to a 90-degree angle, and place it in your pie plate.
Carefully spoon the cherry filling against the foil divider, and the same for the blueberry.
Use the entire can of cherry filling to fill up the cherry side of the pie, then finish filling the blueberry side to match. Once full, carefully lift up the foil divider to reveal a sharp boundary of cherry and blueberry.
Trim any excess piecrust to slightly outside the outer edge of the pie plate, then roll out the remainder of the piecrust. With a pizza cutter or knife, cut 6 strips of crust approximately 1-inch wide, and long enough to touch the sides of the pie pan.
Lay one pastry strip at the bottom of the blue filling to create a clean line. For the stripes adjacent to the blueberry filling, carefully cut one edge at a perfect right angle to place at the dividing edge of the red and blue pie filling, and lay across the cherry pie filling. Trim and press the edges of the strip laying on the piecrust rim into the crust. Continue until all 6 strips have been positioned.
Using a star cookie cutter, cut your stars out of the pastry. Lay stars all over the blueberry section of the pie. Fold the piecrust rim inwards, and crimp with your fingertips.
Bake for 35 minutes, or until crust is light golden brown. For a browner crust, brush the pastry with egg whites before baking.
Use these recipe ideas to throw your own patriotic summer bash, and share the photos from your celebration on social media using the hashtag #ALMbites.

Get your fill of red, white, and blue with even more patriotic eats!

5 Sizzling Reasons To Buy A Home During Housing’s Hottest Season

The Heat Is On: 5 Sizzling Reasons to Buy a Home During Housing’s Hottest Season
By Rena Behar | Jun 15, 2017
home-heat-wave3
flammulate/iStock; stevanovicigor/iStock
The days are getting longer. Ice cream truck jingles echo up and down the block. But the surest sign that summer is here? It just might be those “For Sale” signs popping up like dandelions in your neighborhood.

Yep, we’re smack dab in the middle of the most popular time of the year to buy and sell a home. If you’re thinking of starting your home search, your first instinct as a savvy shopper might be to stay away and wait for the weather—and the market—to cool down. Why battle the crowds and bidding wars if you’re in no rush to move?

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But there’s no reason to sweat the idea of buying in the summer. In fact, there are some distinct advantages to making your way into the marketplace during housing’s hottest season—as long as you can stand the heat of a little competition.

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1. Prices aren’t necessarily higher

“A huge myth about the real estate market is that homes sell for more in the summer and less in the winter. This is simply not true,” says Dippy Chhina of Dippy Real Estate.

Let’s be clear: Home prices do usually peak in June–August. And it’s a seller’s market in most areas. But other forces beyond the summer sun play a major role in a home’s asking price, Chhina notes. They include the number of similar homes also for sale in a given area, interest rates, and the job market.

“What is true, however, is that there are more homes on the market in summer than in the winter, and there is also a higher number of sales in the summer than the winter,” Chhina says.

Find homes for sale on
Which leads us to our next summer-buying advantage.

2. Inventory is broader

You wouldn’t buy a car from a dealer with only two models for sale, so why limit your options when it comes to picking a house? The open-plan kitchen you’ve been yearning for or a home in a stellar school district is much more likely to pop up in a busier marketplace.

“The large inventory offers significantly more opportunities for purchasers to identify specific floor plans, amenities, and locations,” says Sarah Lilly of Five Star Lakeshore Real Estate. Buyers “feel more confident in their search because additional properties hit the market every week.”

In some less competitive markets, knowing that there are plenty of homes for sale can give you more leverage for price negotiation, and peace of mind knowing that if you have to walk to away, another home will be just around the corner.

3. Buying and selling at the same time could be easier

If you need to sell your current home before you can buy another, you’ll likely have an easier time with the balancing act during the summer. Rather than getting trapped with two mortgages, you could have a more seamless transition in a busier market.

“If the client needs to sell a home before buying, the home will be more likely to sell, and potentially at a good price, allowing the client to purchase their new home sooner,” says Joe Lopez of Connect Realty.

But remember, these transactions take time, so if you’re planning on pulling off a double act, get ready as soon as possible so you can capture as much of that golden season as you can.

4. School’s out for summer

Any beleaguered parent can tell you why this factor is crucial. By waiting until summer to make your move, you can minimize disruption to your kids’ lives. Plus, their schedule is clear to bring them along to showings. (Beware, though, not all agents appreciate young kids underfoot.)

“House hunting during the summer break from school means that kids can more readily attend showings— important when offer time is of the essence and parents want each member to approve of the new family home,” says Orlando Regional Realtor Association President Bruce Elliott, of Regal R.E. Professionals.

And if the sellers have kids, they might also be trying to cement a sale in time for the new school year—and will likely be more motivated toward the end of the season.

“Sellers who find their properties still on the market as summer draws to a close and the ranks of buyers thin out may be more open to price negotiation,” Elliott says. “In addition, those buyers who were unable to secure a home after months of looking and making offers may become fatigued and drop out of the hunt.”

5. You’ll get to know the lay of the land

It’s easier to do a little detective work on your potential home when the weather’s nice and the days are longer. Trees and flowers are in full bloom, so you’ll get a better idea of your prospective new yard. You can step out on that back porch and envision what it will really, truly be like to live there and host your long-anticipated Margarita Mondays. Plus, everyone’s more active, so you’ll get a better feel for the community.

“Summer brings people out of their homes, so while you are home shopping with your agent, you will get the chance to take the pulse of the neighborhood and see your potential neighbors,” says Kyle Springer of South Central Homes.

“Families can often get a feel for the neighborhood’s kid population during the day in the summer,” Elliott says. “Here in Orlando, where daytime temperatures reach the high 90s and so many homes have pools, buyers listen for sounds of shouting and splashing.”

But beware! Sometimes the romance of summer can distract you from some red flags.

“It is fine to stop and smell the roses, but also pay attention to what lurks behind them,” says Jerry Grodesky of Farm and Lake Houses Real Estate.

For example: the eyesore of a junk pile in your neighbor’s yard. Or the giant cellphone tower you didn’t see through those beautifully full trees—that now you can’t unsee. And make sure that foliage isn’t blocking any potential problems with the home, such as foundation issues or peeling roof tiles.

You should also use this opportunity to test how the property holds up in warm weather. See how well the air conditioning works when it’s pushing 100 degrees outside, and open all the windows to see if any stick or simply won’t open. Of course, your home inspector will check these things, but it never hurts to get a jump-start.
Rena Behar is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn. She’s contributed to The Wirecutter, Groupon, Texas Monthly, and other publications. Follow @renadb

12M CONSUMERS MAY GET CREDIT-SCORE BOOST

12M Consumers May Get Credit-Score Boost

DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | THURSDAY, JUNE 22, 2017
The three largest credit-reporting agencies will begin cleaning up credit reports in July, which could help lift the credit scores of about 12 million consumers.

In a survey by the Federal Trade Commission, one in four people say they spot errors in their credit reports, most commonly concerning tax liens and civil judgments. Up to half of tax lien data on a credit report is inaccurate or incomplete, says Eric J. Ellman, senior vice president for public policy and legal affairs at the Consumer Data Industry Association. Civil judgments—which means a court has ruled a person owes money—also tend to be ripe with errors or omissions on a credit report, experts say. Consumers can dispute the errors, but the process can be cumbersome.

Beginning July 1, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion will automatically exclude tax lien and civil judgment records from credit reports if they are missing a person’s name, address, Social Security number, or date of birth. Claims that do contain this key information, however, will remain on credit reports.

Six percent of Americans with a credit score—or 12 million— likely will see their score go up once the new policy takes effect. About 11 million could see an increase of about 20 points. “A lot of people who have liens or judgments against them already have crummy credit to begin with,” says Keith Gumbinger, vice president at HSH.com, a mortgage resource website. “A 10- or 20-point increase isn’t going to make a difference for a lot of borrowers.”

But borrowers who are on the cusp of qualifying for a home loan may stand to benefit the most. For example, Gumbinger says, a would-be buyer with a credit score of 570 who receives a 10-point uptick may be able to qualify for an FHA loan. FHA loans require a minimum 580 credit score.

Source: “Have a Bad Credit Score? It Could Soon Get Better – But Is it Enough to Buy a Home?” realtor.com® (June 22, 2017)

Could Paint Be an Energy Source for Homes?

Could Paint Be an Energy Source for Homes?

DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | TUESDAY, JUNE 20, 2017
The paint on the wall may soon be a source of energy for a home. Researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, say “solar paint” will be available to homeowners in the next few years.

It’s a sunlight-absorbing paint developed by RMIT researchers that produces hydrogen fuel from solar energy and moist air. Even a brick wall could potentially be turned into an energy-harvesting form of real estate, says lead researcher Torben Daeneke.

“Our new development has a big range of advantages,” Daeneke told Science Daily. “There’s no need for clean or filtered water to feed the system. Any place that has water vapor in the air—even remote areas far from water—can produce fuel. … This system can also be used in very dry but hot climates near oceans. The sea water is evaporated by the hot sunlight, and the vapor can then be absorbed to produce fuel. This is an extraordinary concept, making fuel from the sun and water vapor in the air.”

Source: “Solar Paint Offers Endless Energy From Water Vapor,” Science Daily (June 14, 2017)

First Time Buyers Face New Competition

First-Time Buyers Face New Competition

DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | MONDAY, JUNE 19, 2017
Investors are scouring real estate markets looking for low-priced homes, and they’re increasingly stepping on the toes of first-time home buyers, who are hunting in the same price range. “The investor is starting to gobble up pretty much anything under $200,000,” Dennis Cisterna, chief revenue officer for Investability Real Estate, which markets rental homes, told The Dallas Morning News. “We are not adding any new supply to the market to serve that first-time home buyer.”

Housing inventories are at the lowest level in 30 years, and the shortages are most pronounced in the low and middle price ranges. “We are losing inventory at a record pace and in the segment of the market with the most demand,” says Javier Vivas, a realtor.com® analyst.

Investors comprised 33 percent of all single-family and condo sales in 2016, the highest percentage ever recorded by real estate data firm ATTOM Data Solutions. “This is setting the stage for a boom in single-family rentals,” says Daren Blomquist, an economist at ATTOM.

But while institutional investors dominated the rental housing market after the housing crash, they’re increasingly being priced out of markets such as Denver and Dallas. Smaller mom-and-pop investors are now stepping in to take their place. “The investors are competing for those starter homes,” Blomquist says, adding that 61 percent of investor purchases are for homes between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet.

Investors also tend to pay cash, which is making it difficult for first-time buyers who need financing to compete. About 19 million single-family homes in the U.S. are now owned by investors, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.

Source: “First-Time Buyers Hunting Affordable Housing are up Against Property Investors … and Losing,” The Dallas Morning News (June 16, 2017)

The 10 Biggest Regrets People Have About Buying A Home

The 10 Biggest Regrets People Have About Buying a Home

Megan Elliott MORE ARTICLES
June 14, 2017

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A still from The Money Pit
Shelley Long and Tom Hanks in The Money Pit have a few regrets about buying a home. | Universal Pictures via YouTube
Your home might be the biggest purchase of your life, but there’s a good chance you’re not going to be completely happy with the way the transaction went down. Half of people financial website NerdWallet surveyed said if they could repeat the home-buying process, they’d do something differently.

Some people wished they’d saved more money. Others regretted not learning more about mortgages. And a few realized they should have shopped around for a loan. Generation Xers were the most likely to wish for a home-buying do-over, with 61% saying they had some regrets about purchasing their house. Fifty-seven percent of millennial homebuyers had regrets. But more than half of baby boomers said they didn’t have any second thoughts about buying their home, perhaps because they were either more financially savvy when they bought their home or because they had more time to come to terms with their decision.

Many of people’s home-buying regrets had to do with a lack of financial preparation. People who bit off more than they could chew financially sometimes wished they’d done things differently. To avoid second thoughts when buying your next place, check out this list of 10 of the biggest regrets people have about buying a home.

1. Spent too much money
In 81% of U.S. counties, home-price increases outstripped wage growth in 2016, according to Realty Trac, putting homeownership out of reach for millions of Americans. Those who do take the plunge might end up spending way more than they expected, and some come to regret it. Overall, 4% of homebuyers NerdWallet talked to said they’d bought a house that was too expensive. Millennials and Gen Xers were more likely to say they’d spent too much money on a house than baby boomers.

Spending too much money on a house can have serious economic consequences. More than half of Americans say they’ve had to make sacrifices in order to afford their mortgage or rent, a 2015 MacArthur Foundation survey found. A fifth took on an extra job, 17% stopped saving for retirement, and 14% racked up credit card debt.

2. Bought the wrong house
Couple shakes hands with real estate agent
A couple shakes hands with a real estate agent in front of their new home. | iStock.com/lewkmiller
When you buy the wrong pair of shoes, you can take them back to the store and get a refund. But there are no take-backs when you’re buying real estate. Unfortunately, 5% of homeowners said they regretted buying their house, a share that was relatively consistent across generations.

Once you’ve bought the wrong house, there’s not a lot you can do to fix the problem short of putting it on the market and going through the whole process again. To avoid regrets, make sure you avoid common home-buying mistakes, such as forgoing an inspection, ignoring the realities of a long commute, or picking the wrong neighborhood.

3. Bought a house with the wrong features
Man cleaning pool with a dog
A man cleans his swimming pool and potentially regrets having one. | iStock.com
You thought you wanted a house with a chef’s kitchen, backyard pool, and home theater. Now that you’ve moved in, you’ve realized you don’t cook that much, the pool is a pain to maintain, and you’d rather have a guest suite for your in-laws than a room dedicated to watching movies.

Seven percent of homebuyers said the amenities and features they valued most when buying home later changed. Millennials were the most likely to have a poor fit between their home’s actual features and the ones they realized they wanted, perhaps because they’re younger and still figuring out what they need in a house.

“Look at houses based on the lifestyle you have not the lifestyle you aspire to have. … We’d have loved a large green lawn but realistically we’d never maintain it and probably wouldn’t spend on a gardener,” a first-time homebuyer advised in the Personal Finance sub-Reddit.

4. Should have waited longer to buy
Couple meeting with real estate agent
A young couple meet with a real estate agent. | iStock.com/gpointstudio
“Renting is like throwing money away,” some people say. But pressure to stop wasting money and get started building wealth could lead some people to jump into homeownership before they’re really ready. Five percent of people felt they rushed into the home-buying process sooner than they should have.

Ten percent of millennials and 6% of Gen Xers felt they jumped the gun on buying a home. (Only 1% of baby boomers felt they bought a home too earlier.) It’s hardly surprising that younger buyers might come to regret their home purchases. While owning your own home has advantages, it can also make it difficult to move around for new job opportunities. Younger buyers also might not be financially prepared for the costs of homeownership or not have had time to save enough for a big down payment, which can lead to a more costly mortgage.

5. Bought a too-small house
Santana house in Portugal, tiny house
Some people might come to regret the tiny-house trend. | iStock.com
Tiny homes might be popular on TV, but most Americans are still looking for McMansions. The average new house in the U.S. is 2,467 square feet, according to the Census Bureau. And that’s still not enough space for some people. Thirteen percent of buyers said they wish they’d bought a bigger house, including 19% of millennials and 20% of Gen Xers. Baby boomers were far more likely to be satisfied with their home’s size, with only 6% wishing they had a bigger place.

If you’re feeling cramped after you buy, home additions and renovations can add more space, provided you can come to terms with the price. The typical home addition costs $40,942, according to HomeAdvisor, while renovating a basement into livable space costs $18,810 on average. If you can’t afford a major renovation, tricks such as furniture that doubles as storage, using mirrors to make a room look larger, and even cleaning windows to let in more natural light, can make a petite home look more like a palace.

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6. Didn’t save enough for a down payment
monopoly houses on dollar bills
More than 25% of millennial and Gen X homebuyers wish they’d saved more for a down payment. | Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Millennials in many U.S. cities will need to save for 10 years or more before they have accumulated enough for a 20% down payment on their home, research by ApartmentList found. Rather than wait, many are forging ahead with home purchases anyway, sometimes putting as little 3% or 5% down.

Low down-payment options can turn renters into buyers, but some regret the rush to homeownership. Twenty-eight percent of millennials and 27% of Gen Xers who NerdWallet surveyed wished they’d saved more before purchasing their house. Although it’s difficult for many first-time buyers to come up with the traditional 20% down, there are still good reasons to try to do so, including avoiding private mortgage insurance, paying less interest over the life of the loan, and making smaller monthly payments.

7. Wasn’t organized enough
mortgage paperwork
A person completes a mortgage application form. | Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Newbie homebuyers often underestimate exactly how much paperwork is involved in getting a mortgage and buying a home. Twelve percent of millennials NerdWallet surveyed said they wished they’d kept their paperwork better organized from the start.

Depending on your source of income, you might need to provide W-2s or tax returns, profit-and-loss statement for any business you own, brokerage statements, proof of Social Security income, or evidence of child support paid to you in order to get a mortgage. You’ll also need proof of your assets, including documentation of down payment gifts and copies of bank statements, as well as information of outstanding debts.

Gather all your paperwork in advance, and develop a system for keeping it organized to prevent hiccups in the application process. Once you buy your house, continue to stay organized. Keep documents related to your mortgage, taxes, insurance, and home improvements in one place, so you know where to find them when you need them.

8. Didn’t do enough research
meeting with loan officer
A woman meets with a mortgage loan officer. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Hindsight is 20-20, and many homeowners wished they’d spent more time educating themselves about the realities of the home-buying and mortgage-lending process before they purchased their home. Gen Xers were most likely to wish they’d done more research, with 19% wishing they’d been better informed about the mortgage process and 16% regretting they didn’t learn more about buying a home in advance.

A lack of knowledge about how home buying and mortgages work makes it more likely that a buyer will make a rookie mistake. Some might not realize they can negotiate closing costs, underestimate how much money a lower interest rate will save them on their mortgage, or not pay close attention to the terms of their mortgage (such as whether it’s a fixed- or variable-rate mortgage). Starry-eyed buyers might fail to consider the true costs of homeownership, neglect to consider the neighborhood, or skip crucial steps, such as the home inspection.

9. Should have shopped around for a loan
wells fargo home mortgage sign
A Wells Fargo Home Mortgage branch | Spencer Platt/Getty Images
A half of a percent might not sound like a lot, but it can add up to tens of thousands of dollars of savings over the life of your mortgage. Yet half of borrowers simply take the first mortgage that’s offered to them, a survey by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found. Some come to regret that hasty decision, with 18% of Gen X homeowners wishing they’d spent more time shopping around for a loan.

Taking the time to apply for a mortgage from several different lenders can yield a better loan offer. But make sure you’re not shopping based on interest rate alone, notes the Federal Trade Commission. You’ll also want to ask about fees, whether you’ll need private mortgage insurance (and what the cost will be), and what the loan’s APR is. (The APR includes the interest rate as well as points, fees, and other charges expressed as a yearly rate.)

10. Got the wrong type of mortgage
husband and wife working on finances with calculator and laptop
A couple stress about paying their mortgage. | iStock.com/Tomwang112
If there was one big lesson to take from the housing crisis of 2008, it’s that choosing the wrong mortgage can be disastrous. Some homeowners with adjustable rate mortgages found they could no longer afford monthly payments once interest rates reset, leading them to default. Others had interest-only or negative-amortization loans (where your loan balance actually increases every month because your payment is less than the interest that accrues every month). Even a standard fixed-rate 30-year mortgage could be a bad choice if you didn’t shop around for the best rate or misunderstand the terms of your loan.

Overall, 4% of homeowners said they’d chosen the wrong mortgage, including 7% of millennials and Gen Xers and 2% of baby boomers. Researching the mortgage process before you start looking for a house, shopping around for a mortgage, and making sure you understand all your mortgage terms can help you get the loan that’s right for your situation and avoid a potentially expensive mortgage mistake.

More from Money & Career Cheat Sheet:
9 Tax Breaks That Can Make Owning a Home More Affordable
10 Inexpensive Ways to Increase The Value of Your Home
How Much Money Does the Average American Have in Their Bank Account?

5 Most common Home Buyer Regrets

5 Most Common Home Buyer Regrets

DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | WEDNESDAY, JUNE 14, 2017
Half of recent home buyers say that if they could repeat the homebuying process, they’d do something differently, according to a survey by financial website NerdWallet.com. Respondents indicate that their biggest source of regret when buying a home was not preparing enough financially for homeownership. Here are some of the most common reasons for buyer regret, according to the survey.

Purchasing a home that’s too expensive. Millennials and Generation X members were more likely than baby boomers to say they overspent on their home purchase, according to the NerdWallet survey. A 2015 MacArthur Foundation survey also found that more than half of consumers had to make sacrifices in order to afford their mortgage or rent. About 20 percent said they took an extra job, 17 percent stopped saving for retirement, and 14 percent accumulated credit card debt, according to the MacArthur survey.
Purchasing a home that doesn’t fit their needs. About 5 percent of respondents to the NerdWallet survey say their home didn’t align with their homeownership goals. Housing experts recommend avoiding common homebuying mistakes like forgoing a home inspection, ignoring commute time, or choosing the wrong neighborhood. Also, consumers need to know what amenities they need. That’s not always easy: 7 percent of buyers say the amenities and features they valued most changed after buying a home.
Not putting enough money down. Low-down-payment loans can help buyers without robust savings get into a home, but some may later regret not saving more before taking on the costs of homeownership. Twenty-eight percent of millennials and 27 percent of Gen Xers say they wish they had saved more before buying their house, according to the NerdWallet survey.
Not being organized. Many home shoppers say they wish they had gathered paperwork before the mortgage application process and developed a system for keeping it organized. That includes W-2 or tax return forms, profit-and-loss statements for business owners, brokerage statements, proof of Social Security income, and evidence of child support payments. Home shoppers also need proof of their assets, such as documentation of down-payment gifts and copies of bank statements, as well as information on outstanding debts.
Not shopping around for a loan. Half of borrowers take the first mortgage that’s offered to them, according to a survey by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But shopping around for a mortgage with an interest rate that is even half of a percentage point lower can result in tens of thousands of dollars in savings over the life of the mortgage. Home buyers should compare more than interest fees, including the cost of private mortgage insurance and the loan’s APR (which is the interest rate, points, fees, and other charges all rolled into a yearly rate).
Source: “The 10 Biggest Regrets People Have About Buying a Home,” CheatSheet.com (June 14, 2017)