Priced to Sell

Written by Carla Hill

It has long been a motto of real estate, and the saying goes, “location, location, location.” It’s what sells a property, they say. But recent times have brought to light that the real deciding factor on how fast, or even if, your home sells all comes down to price.

It’s not that buyers are attracted by shiny, new things, but in a sense they are. When a home is newly listed it gathers a lot of interest. The listing agent may send out emails, webcasts, and virtual tours. They launch their entire marketing program. Even the MLS indicates the home as “newly listed.” After a few weeks, however, if no momentum has been built, the home will then face a must steeper challenge on the road to selling.

First, homes that have been on the market a considerable time lose their competitive advantage. A buyer may see a home hasn’t moved, and may come in with a low offer price. Depending on how desperate the seller is, they may feel obligated to take this offer.

Second, no one wants their home to sit on the market. It can interrupt plans to move and to buy. One of the best game plans is to price your home to sell.

This means taking a good, hard look at the area comparables. How much have homes been selling for in your area? How does your home compare in terms of amenities? Your real estate agent can be invaluable when it comes to correctly pricing your home. Sellers judgement can be easily prejudiced by emotional attachment to the home and hopes for certain profits.

If your area is experiencing a strong buyers market, that means you need to be even more competitive. You may need to price your home a little lower than you had hoped for. If you are in a sellers market, you can generally ask for a bit more in the asking price.

One tried a true method a realtor will use to snowball interest in a home is to actually underprice it. If your home is in a desirable location and you undercut the competition, you may find yourself fielding multiple offers. How does that work?

A group of buyers are all looking for a home in your lovely neighborhood. Comparable homes to your are priced around $250,000. So, you price your home at $220,000. Buyers jump at the chance to get such a bargain deal …. buyers being the operative word. This can create a bidding war between buyers who have fallen in love with your property. In many cases, the final sale price ends up being more than you would have gotten had you listed at a higher initial price.

Have your upgrades priced you out of the competition? Renovating your home with upgraded fixtures and granite counters can be very appealing. But if homes in your neighborhood are basic models with Formica counters and fewer fancy upgrades, you may have a hard time finding a buyer who will shell out more. This is one way location is very important. You must make sure you’re aren’t overpriced for your location. Depending on your area, you may have to eat the costs of some of your previous upgrades in order to get a sale.

And finally, are you being greedy? Sometimes people have a magic number in their head of the profit they’d like to make by selling their house. They already have that money spent on the upgrades and toys they’ll buy for their next home. But selling is a time to be realistic.

Rely on your real estate agent to guide you in pricing your home. And good luck selling!

– Copyright © 2010 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading...

How to Improve the Odds of an Offer

Written by Realty Times Staff

  • Price it right. Set a price at the lower end of your property’s realistic price range.
  • Prepare for visitors. Get your house market ready at least two weeks before you begin showing it.
  • Be flexible about showings. It’s often disruptive to have a house ready to show at the spur of the moment. But the more amenable you can be about letting people see your home, the sooner you’ll find a buyer.
  • Anticipate the offers. Decide in advance what price and terms you’ll find acceptable.
  • Don’t refuse to drop the price. If your home has been on the market for more than 30 days without an offer, you should be prepared to at least consider lowering your asking price.

– Copyright © 2010 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading...

How to Recognize a Sellers Market

Written by Carla Hill

As a homeowner, and a prospective seller, you may be wondering if now is a good time to put your home on the market. But how can you tell if the market is in your favor at this time? Will you lose money or make money? Is it a “sellers market”?

These are all very important questions. And the answer is in the market statistics.

As a seller, one of the first things you must evaluate is the desirability of your location. Market conditions are extremely localized statistics. While the national economy and housing market tie every area of the country together to a certain degree, markets and their conditions range widely from state to state, community to community, and even neighborhood to neighborhood within a community.

You must ask yourself, and your real estate agent, “Is my neighborhood up and coming or has it already come and gone?” If you live in a neighborhood that is highly desired due to its school system, local amenities, or even status and prestige, then you may find yourself in a continual sellers market, where you will always be in the advantage.

A great place to start your research is the National Association of Realtors’s website, realtor.org. They offer monthly quarterly and monthly studies by region, that include such things as existing and pending home sales.

For a more local view, look at the most recent sales in your surrounding area. How much are homes selling for? And how does your home compare in both size, location, upgrades, and condition?

Unfortunately, an issue completely out of your control can have a direct effect on your ability to sell your home, and for a good profit. Foreclosures in your neighborhood affect your home’s value. This isn’t fair, but it is how the market works. Buyers look for the best home for their dollar. If they are able to buy a home on your street for a foreclosure price, then suddenly your asking price must decrease in order to compete. Be sure to ask your agent for tips on how to make your home stand out again to buyers, despite this issue.

Another stat you should be aware of is “days on market.” This means how long it takes a home to sell from the time it hits the market. In general terms, anything less than 6 months is considered a sellers market. If the average time is longer than 6 months, then the market is in favor of buyers. This should be a consideration for when you look to buy your next home. Unless you are prepared to carry two mortgages, you will want to make sure your current home has sold before looking for the next.

How is the local job market faring in your city? If you live in a town that has a healthy economy, then chances are you live in a sellers market. People who have steady jobs are more inclined to look to buy. The bigger the unemployment figures, then fewer buyers on the market.

Another consideration is “appreciation.” In a healthy market, a home should increase in value each year. Many of the areas of the country, however, experienced a “bubble burst” after seeing years of record appreciation rates. Two major areas of uncontrolled appreciation were Florida and California. Homes bought during the bubble may very well be worth less now than their owner owes.

Be sure to discuss all of these issues with your local real estate agent. They will be able to help you determine whether now is a prudent time or not to put your home on the market.

– Copyright © 2010 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading...

Too Much To Store and Too Little Space

Written by Realty Times Staff

Do you have too much to store and too little space? If you’re like many homeowners, finding enough storage space can be a challenge. Thankfully, remodeling professionals can help you create new ways to tuck away your family’s treasures in a resourceful and sophisticated way, according to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).

Finding storage solutions doesn’t always mean undertaking a major remodel. Sometimes it’s about using the square footage you already have. Remodelers can help you plan and reallocate storage to accommodate your family’s changing lifestyle. Getting creative with storage can improve daily living and boost the resale value of your home.

Look in Unusual Spaces

Veteran remodeler Don Van Cura, CR, CLC, CKBR, and owner of Chicago-based Don Van Cura Construction, recently won a regional CotY Award for a clever storage solution he designed for stashing canned goods under a kitchen staircase. “I’m a space freak and I don’t believe that any part of the house should be wasted,” he explains. “Almost every section of home has a void in it that can be made into storage — and the older the house, the more nooks and crannies you can find.”

For his stair solution, Van Cura created storage bins under the wooden treads of a staircase. He did this by attaching each tread of the staircase to the frame using hidden piano hinges, which allow each tread to open like a storage chest. The homeowner could then use the space under the tread to tuck away dry goods and cans. This storage strategy can be used in many areas of a home. In the foyer, for example, the hidden cubbies under stairs can stash shoes and outdoor gear. In the basement they store cleaning products or seasonal accessories. For a short run of stairs, remodelers can also install a set of custom drawers underneath the stairwell with access from the either the side or the back — another great use of space.

Any good stair installer or skilled remodeler should be able to do this project, but it demands a structurally sound staircase, fine cabinetry skills and careful preparation. “It’s easiest if you’re planning a new set of stairs, but it can also be done as a retrofit to existing stairs,” Van Cura notes.

Reconfigure Rooms As Needed

Perry Szpek, design sales associate for JDJ Builders in Milwaukee, Wis. recently created more storage for a family of six by reconfiguring two existing rooms and adding some square footage. The family’s mudroom was once a cramped hallway that led from the house to the garage. “Not having a place to put on and take off their shoes was their biggest pet peeve,” Szpek said. As a solution, he designed two furniture-style storage units that provide both seating and a place to store outdoor gear.

On one side of the room, a large boot-bench and locker cabinet gives the kids a place to sit down or hang up coats. The bench features storage beneath the seat and wicker baskets on a shelf above the hanging area. Drawer cabinets also flank each side of the bench, creating a personal spot for each child to stash hats, gloves and mittens.

Across the room Szpek planned a shorter boot bench for mom and dad that offered flip-top storage under the seat and hooks to hang coats behind them. Both storage pieces were accented with traditional beadboard backing, crown molding and a medium-brown distressed birch finish.

In the family’s 120-square-foot laundry room, Szpek created a beautiful and storage-smart workspace. Upper and lower cabinetry provides plenty of storage for detergents, brushes and sponges, and a long countertop gives mom ample space to fold clean laundry. Under one area of the counter, Szpek designed cubbies that accommodate six laundry baskets — one for each member of the family. “When mom’s done folding clothes, she can separate the loads into a separate bin for each member,” he says. “The abundance of storage space worked great for this family of six.”

Where to Start

While some homeowners may think that a bigger home will solve their storage dilemma, this is not always the case. Often, having better storage is about making better layout choices and putting things within easy reach. Before talking to a remodeler, homeowners should take a thorough assessment of the square footage they have and how much stuff they need to store. In addition, it’s important to think about day-to-day schedules. Some areas of the home, like foyers, mudrooms and laundry rooms, could use additional cabinetry or places to drop cell phones, keys and wallets. Sometimes the project is more about reworking traffic flow or designating specific spots for tasks like folding laundry, putting on outerwear and storing cleaning products.

– Copyright © 2010 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading...

Five Keys To Successful Negotiations

Written by Peter G. Miller

Whether you’re a buyer or a seller you want to succeed in the realty marketplace. That’s natural and reasonable, but what are the steps you need to triumph?

Negotiations are a complex matter and all transactions are unique. Both sides — buyer and seller — want to feel that the outcome favors them, or at least represents a fair balance of interests. In the usual case there is a bit of bluff, some give-and-take, and neither party gets everything they want.

So how do you develop a strong bargaining position, one which will help you get the most from a transaction? Experience shows there are five basic keys which will determine who wins at the negotiating table.

1. What Does The Market Say?

At various times we’re in a “buyer’s” market, a “seller’s” market, or a market where supply and demand are roughly equal. If possible, you want to be in the market at a time when it favors your position as a buyer or seller.

Because all properties are unique — it is possible to buck general trends and have more leverage than the marketplace would seem to allow. For instance, if you have a property in a desirable neighborhood with few sales, you may be able to get a better deal than elsewhere. Or, if you’re a buyer who can quickly close, that might be an important negotiating chip when dealing with an owner who just got a new job 500 miles away.

2. Who Has Leverage?

If you’re on the front page of the local paper because your business went bust — and the buyer knows it — you have less clout in the bargaining process. Alternatively, if you’re among six buyers clamoring for that one special property, forget about dictating an agreement — the owner can sit back and pick the offer which represents the highest price and best terms.

3. What Are The Details?

A lot of attention in real estate is paid to transaction prices. This surely makes sense, but the key to a good deal may be more complex.

Consider two identical properties that each sell on the same day for $275,000. The houses are the same, the sale prices are the same, but are the deals the same? Maybe not. For instance, one owner may have agreed to paint the property, replace the roof, purchase a new kitchen refrigerator, and pay the first $5,000 of the buyer’s closing costs. The second owner made no concessions.

In this example, the first house was actually sold at discount — the $275,000 purchase price less the value of the roof repairs, closing credit, and other items. If you’re a buyer, this is the deal you want. If you’re a seller, you would prefer to be the second owner and give up nothing.

4. What About Financing?

Real estate transactions involve a trade — houses for money. We know the house is there, but what about financing? There are several factors that impact the money issue:

Has the buyer been pre-qualified or pre-approved by a lender? Meeting with a lender before looking at homes does not usually guarantee that financing is absolutely, unquestionably available — a loan application can be declined because of appraisal problems, title issues, survey findings, and other reasons.

However, buyers who are “pre-qualified” or “pre-approved” (these terms do not have a standard meaning around the country) at least have some idea of their ability to finance a home and know that they are likely to qualify for certain loan programs.

The result is that pre-qualified buyers represent less risk to owners than a purchaser who has never met with a lender. If the seller accepts an offer from a buyer with unknown financial strength, it’s possible that the transaction could fail because the buyer can’t get a loan. Meanwhile, the owner may have lost the opportunity to sell to a qualified buyer.

The lower the interest rate, the larger the pool of potential buyers. More buyers equal more potential demand, good news for sellers.

Alternatively, high rates or even rising rates may drive buyers from the marketplace — and that’s not good for anyone.

It used to be that down payments were a major financing hurdle — but not anymore. For those with good credit, loans with 5 percent down or less are now widely available. In fact, 100 percent financing, mortgages with nothing down, are now being made by conventional lenders. Reduced down payment requirements are good for both buyers and sellers.

5. Who Has Expertise?

Imagine you’re in a fight. The other guy has black belts in 12 martial arts — and you don’t. Who’s going to win?

Brokers have long represented sellers, and now buyer brokerage is entirely common. In a transaction where one side has representation and the other does not, who has the advantage at the bargaining table?

– Copyright © 2010 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading...

Rules Change for Getting Home Loans

Written by Phoebe Chongchua

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported recently that mortgage applications decreased according to their weekly survey (ending 6/18/10). However, some banks are hiring mortgage lenders—a sign that banks are optimistic that requests for housing loans will increase.

J.P. Morgan Chase is planning to hire 1,200 loan officers, according to CNNMoney.com. Christine Holevas, a spokesperson for the bank said, “We may not be inundated with applications tomorrow, but we are confident the need will be there.” Despite any slight downturns, expected increases in the mortgage business are estimated to go from $725 billion in 2010 to $916 billion by 2013, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

If you’re looking to get a home loan here are a few things you should consider. If you’re self-employed the rules have changed considerably and not just for mortgages but also personal loans too. Some lending institutions are now requiring self-employed borrowers to provide documentation from assets to income and the documented income is then checked with IRS records. “It used to be nobody checked your IRS records,” says one source in the mortgage industry who agreed to be interviewed about the inside changes but could not be named.

Another big change has to do with what borrowers may have done in the past. “When Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac discover loans where the borrowers misrepresented their income, the agencies are requiring the lenders to repurchase the loan from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In turn the lenders then have the option to go after the borrowers in the form of foreclosure—even if the loan is not delinquent,” says the source. There’s no statute of limitation for fraud. The source says, normally, if the loan is current, they won’t pursue the borrower. One major lending institution hired a company to go through all its stated-income loans looking to see if there was fraud. “At first they started with all the delinquent loans and then they moved into performing loans. Then they started requiring lenders to buy back all these loans which put lenders out of business. That closed down some shops,” the industry expert told me.

The problem that many self-employed borrowers have today is that they need to be able to show that their business is legitimate in order to get the loan. The typical documentation includes, but is not limited to, a Web site, CPA letter, 411 listing, and business license. And if you’re not self-employed, the rules for loans are tight as well—bigger down payments and better documentation are a must. While some lenders will allow as little as 5 percent down, most are looking for more than that. Everything you submit to a lender is now being double-checked.

Doing your part to make sure that your finances are in order prior to applying for a loan ensures a smoother process. Here are just a few helpful tips:

1. Make no major purchases such as a car prior to applying for a loan

2. Have complete documentation of your income

3. Check and clean up your credit before attempting to borrow

4. Reduce the number of outstanding credit options: close unused credit cards

5. Remain current on all your loans

For more information on protecting yourself when applying for a loan, read our article: Don’t Get Caught In Mortgage Fraud.

– Copyright © 2010 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading...

Don’t Get Caught In Mortgage Fraud

Written by Phoebe Chongchua

Mortgage fraud is among the top concerns of those investing in real estate. If you get caught in a mortgage fraud scheme it can create a financially painful and emotionally distressing situation. While there are many reputable and trustworthy mortgage providers, the lengthy documents filled with legal jargon make conditions ripe for misunderstandings. So before you sign, attorneys Jonathan Kurniadi and Jeff Hogue who specialize in real estate lawsuits have this advice to protect you from mortgage fraud or mishaps due to misunderstandings.

1. Read every page of every document.

It sounds like such a trite statement but really this is where many borrowers make their biggest mistake. “Most borrowers feel pressured to quickly sign loan documents, trusting that the content of the loan documents is correct. Also, trusting that the real estate loan professional has completed the loan paperwork in such a manner that the borrowers have agreed to. But there’s no reason to feel pressured for one of the biggest purchases of the borrower’s life,” says Kurniadi of The JK Lawfirm, APC.

He suggests taking your time to completely review each page, even taking notes on portions of the document that you have questions or concerns. Also, check things that might seem obvious. One borrower signed loan documents only to find that the street address was incorrectly printed on every single page of the loan documents — getting them changed became a tedious process and required the resigning of all the loan documents.

Kurniadi says borrowers should not feel they have to sign the loan documents. He says always be prepared to walk away if it doesn’t feel comfortable. He also says non-profit HUD approved community housing counselor agencies can help review the loan application and documents. “That’s probably the quickest, cheapest, and most efficient source to have loan documents reviewed,” says Kurniadi.

2. Sign documents only after seeing that the original and the copy contain the same contents. Be sure to get your copy.

“Some borrowers do not realize that they are entitled to a copy of their loan documents. And most borrowers forget that receiving a copy is useless if they don’t make sure the contents of the original and the copy are the same before they sign the loan paperwork,” explains Kurniadi.

He says borrowers must be certain they are comparing the documents before they sign because what can happen is “The borrowers will trust that the contents of the documents are the same as the originals (that they signed),” says Kurniadi. However, if the copy of documents the borrowers receive is not the same, Kurniadi says the original documents are what obligate the borrowers not the copies.

3. Make sure there is no false or even slightly fibbed information on your loan paperwork.

It’s just not worth it to falsify information in order to push your loan through.

“Any real estate or loan professional who advises you to provide any false information on loan paperwork is putting you at risk,” cautions Kurniadi. Jeff Hogue from Hogue and Belong adds, “There is no valid reason to provide false information on the loan paperwork, and most borrowers do not realize that signing a loan application is confirming its contents are true and correct under penalty of perjury.”

And Hogue says, “If your loan broker tells you that ‘everybody does it’ or that ‘it is legal and customary’ to fib on how much you make, ask him to put that in writing for you.” You can bet that won’t be happen!

4. Check the license background of your broker.

Taking the time to review the background of your real estate agent and broker can prove to be invaluable. Make sure you do this before you ever provide any personal information or sign loan documents. Finding out if there is any pending litigation or complaints will help you decide if they are the best people to do business with.

5. Ask how much your mortgage broker is earning on your loan transactions.

Hogue says that, “Often times, this is not disclosed. It is important information because sometimes the percentage of the loan broker’s compensation will correspond to what interest rate you will pay on your loan.”

As the adage goes, better safe than sorry — read your paperwork, tedious as it may be, ask questions, and give yourself time to understand it all. You’ll be glad you did.

– Copyright © 2010 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading...

Transform Your Home With Home Staging

Written by Phoebe Chongchua

We know that dressing for success is important when it comes to establishing an image. Well, when it comes to selling your home, it’s important to dress it up too. Staging homes has become increasingly more popular because it works.

I think of it like setting the stage for a theatrical production. The director wants everything on the set to have a specific place. Using a critical eye, the director makes sure that the set ambiance (furniture, decorations, and even open space) is going to convey the exact feel she intends. That’s what staging can do for your potential buyers – if done correctly.

Staging a home can allow buyers to understand how to best use the space in a particular room. It de-clutters a home. Think about those pictures of model homes … you never see all the electrical cord chaos in an office, right? Instead, you see a single computer (likely an Apple because they look cool) atop the desk. There might also be a big window offering plenty of natural light and that has an unobstructed view to the outside grassy hills. Nearby, a Feng Shui combination of flowing water, rocks, and glass in some sort of ornamental water fountain might sit on a countertop. A filing cabinet that isn’t overstuffed with files takes up a small area of the room. And, yes, it’s important that it really not be overflowing. Buyers will snoop around … in closets and cabinets. Anything that looks like it’s been stuffed to capacity leaves an uneasy feeling for many buyers. But this look is streamlined. The emotional feeling conveys a non-verbal message of accomplishment, success, and an attitude that shouts, ‘Wow! I can get a lot done here!’ Bingo. That’s good staging. And, perhaps, the very thing that causes a buyer to make an offer.

You can hire an expert to stage your home. Your real estate agent will likely also have many valuable tips. And you can also start to do some things on your own. It’s often said, “You don’t stage a home the way you live in a home.” But, sometimes a staged home looks so good (if it’s practical) you might want to keep your home that way. I have seen amazing changes from home stagers…sometimes you don’t even recognize the home! Debra Gould of Six Elements, a home staging company, says that staging your home can increase the sale of your home by $10,000 to $70,000. She also points out on her Web site that “One of the side benefits of home staging is that it helps you see your house as a real estate listing instead of your home.” This gives you the chance to really think about the sale of your home from a buyer’s perspective. If you’re selling your long-time home, it might have been a while since you shopped for a home. When we live in our homes, we begin to see them through a single lens. When home staging is completed it can give your home a completely new look, transforming it into a home that others can see as theirs.

There are typically a few major tasks to act on first when it comes to staging. They are:

1. De-clutter: I know we all accumulate lots of clutter and then get used to living with it. But really, clutter is a big distraction for buyers. Often they simply can’t imagine what the home would look like without all that clutter. So, make it easy for them. Start with a clutter-free home when you list it for sale.

2. De-Personalize: do you want buyers spending more time looking at your personal photos or your home? Easy answer…so, put away the photos and trinkets. Besides, you’re moving…you need to pack them up anyway.

3. Deep clean: don’t leave dirty floors, carpets, windows, hallways, railings, or floorboards. It’s just too easy to lose a buyer’s interest due to something that really is such an easy fix.

4. Lighten and brighten: dark and mood lighting can be good for your creative ambiance but light and bright is best for showing the home.

5. Keep traditional rooms traditional. Gould writes on her Web site that she has seen hundreds of homes where the dining room is not used for its original purpose. While that might work for the homeowner, Gould explains that buyers need to see it as a dining room or else they might be inclined to think there isn’t one.

Doing just these five tips will help improve the look and feel of your home and increase the chance of buyers seeing their belongings and their family in your home—and that means you may be closer to getting and offer and, ultimately, a sale.

– Copyright © 2010 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading...

Debunking Credit Score Myths

Written by Broderick Perkins

In March, ING Direct bank commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct an online survey of 1,042 parents of children age 17 years and younger.

The survey discovered more than half, 56 percent, of those surveyed thought bouncing a check or paying a fee for having non-sufficient funds in their bank account would reduce their credit scores.

Wrong.

Credit reports typically don’t include information about checking and debit accounts, nor non-sufficient fund issues unless they somehow impact an attached credit account.

Also one in five (21 percent) thought checking their credit scores would hurt credit scores. Nearly as many (18 percent) thought accessing their credit report, would hurt their credit scores.

Wrong and wrong.

Obtaining your credit report and credit score has no bearing on your credit standing.

In fact, you should check your credit reports regularly. Every year, federal regulations allow you three free credit reports (ONLY through AnnualCreditReport.com), one each from the three credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

If you visit some other sound-alike, come-on web site, instead of AnnualCreditReport.com, expect to pay for credit services you may not need in exchange for that so-called “free” report.

From AnnualCreditReport.com, get the three free reports all at once if you haven’t seen them for years. Otherwise get one from a different company every four months to regularly monitor your credit report for errors, identity theft, black marks you may need to work on and other issues.

For your credit score it will cost you a nominal fee (it’s worth it) paid to each of the three credit reporting agencies.

A credit score — virtually always examined by lenders when you apply for a mortgage, credit card, car loan, other credit, even homeowners insurance and other financial accounts — is a numerical rendition of your creditworthiness.

Scores range from about 300 to about 850. The higher the number the more likely you are to get credit and the more likely you are to get cheap credit. Your score should be at 760 or above to land the best interest rate, according to FICO, a leading credit scoring system provider.

Debunking the myths

To help debunk credit score myths, misunderstandings, misdirection and to stop financial behaviors that could be passed onto future generations, ING Direct and Experian developed five tips to help parents separate fact from fiction.

Practice what you preach. Simple financial behaviors such as paying your bills on time will keep your credit in good standing and will allow you to obtain better interest rates on big asset purchases like a house or car. Lead by example.

Start early. When you kids start to ask you to buy things for them, it’s time for the “money talk.” Later, introduce more complex credit topics with stern statements like “credit is not free money.” Talk about interest rates, paying on time, paying off balances and saving money.

Make credit a family affair. Let children in on household financial discussions that reveal the true cost of necessities. Sit them at the table during budget and bill paying sessions. Explain the fallout from making poor financial decisions.

Set family financial goals. Teach children how money doesn’t grow on trees. Show them how to save for things they desire rather than accessing credit to spend money they do not have. It’s a way to encourage your children to set financial goals and work towards achieving them. Children savor things more when they put in the time and effort to purchase items with their hard earned cash.

Explain the difference. Talk to children about the differences between needs versus wants, especially at times when they want you to give into impulse buying. During grocery store visits, show kids the difference in prices between name brands and generic brands as a way to expand on this lesson.

– Copyright © 2010 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading...