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Re: First time home buyer - realtor?

If you are comfortable assessing condition and value of the property, plan to bid low and won't be devastated if the sale doesn't go throug, and are willing to expend some DIY effort, this is likely a good opportunity to go sans realtor. Making an offer unrepresented is a great bonus to the selling ...
by hand
Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: First time home buyer - realtor?
Replies: 4
Views: 422

Re: Buying a house without a realtor

And it isn't all about the agent fees. IMO, there isn't anything that requires the buyer's agent to have the buyers best interest in mind (that I am aware of). They make money by making the sale. Once they find a house you are even considering, they benefit by convincing you to buy it. I don't need...
by hand
Mon Oct 20, 2014 5:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a house without a realtor
Replies: 43
Views: 2768

Re: Email on specific words

Not sure if this site provides the requested functionality, but you could accomplish something similar by setting up a Google Alert for "LifeStrategy" site:bogleheads.org.
by hand
Fri Oct 17, 2014 9:28 am
 
Forum: Forum Issues and Administration
Topic: Email on specific words
Replies: 3
Views: 410

Re: Suggest an AM - FM Stereo Receiver?

If I were you, I'd look at the power handling capacity of my speakers and then do a search for a receiver which can't overdrive them, i.e., if the speakers are each rated to handle 50 watts into 8 ohms continuous, I'd be looking for a receiver that puts out say 40 watts per channel into 8 ohms. Any...
by hand
Mon Oct 13, 2014 4:10 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Suggest an AM - FM Stereo Receiver?
Replies: 24
Views: 1810

Re: Building a New House, Advice please.

A couple of quick thoughts: 1) Consider tamper resistant outlets if children may be in the house, upcharge is minimal, but they appear to be a real safety improvement. 2) Consider wiring circuits and panel(s) in such a way to make adding a future generator easy (grouping essential circuits into a si...
by hand
Mon Oct 13, 2014 10:46 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Building a New House, Advice please.
Replies: 60
Views: 4381

Re: How would one negotiate with daycare?

It is rumoured that my daycare enforces a no PITA policy - while I agree that you have been adversely impacted by the late start (though less clear who is at fault), I would be hesitant to pursue some small monetary redress 1) from someone who is caring for my child, and 2) unless I had a backup chi...
by hand
Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:13 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How would one negotiate with daycare?
Replies: 33
Views: 2890

Re: Possible Uninsured Motorist accident

While I understand the arguments that it is likely cost effective in the short run to pay the $1k deductible vs. trying to recover, and also low likelihood of recovering if perpetrator is truly indigent, I'm surprised at the lack of focus on the longer term / societal impacts of pursuing damages vs....
by hand
Thu Oct 02, 2014 11:38 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Possible Uninsured Motorist accident - UPDATE
Replies: 47
Views: 3361

Re: LED Flashlights

Oh and as for the second question, I upgraded a 20 year old 2D Maglight with this: http://www.amazon.com/TerraLUX-TLE-6EXB-MiniStar5-Conversion-MagLites/dp/B001I9TI4Q/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1412196789&sr=8-2&tag=bogleheads.org-20&keywords=led+replacement+maglite It is not bad for $1...
by hand
Thu Oct 02, 2014 9:12 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: LED Flashlights
Replies: 51
Views: 3672

Re: Unexpected Emergency

Depending how large the medical / dental bills are, you may consider going back to the college(s) and asking for a review of your financial aid award in light of new circumstances.

You might also look into a home equity line of credit / loan to cover your cash needs in these peak spending years.
by hand
Fri Sep 26, 2014 9:38 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Unexpected Emergency
Replies: 33
Views: 3298

Re: 1 year from Retirement, Help with simplifying investment

Wow - company stock looks really, really high as a percentage of your total portfolio. Conventional wisdom is that company stock is a double no-no; 1) uncompensated risk for concentrated holding, 2) additional risk because your income is dependent on this company as well as your portfolio (though le...
by hand
Thu Sep 25, 2014 11:12 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 1 year from Retirement, Help with simplifying investments
Replies: 7
Views: 888

Re: Unexpected Emergency

Situation would have to be pretty desperate for me to stop funding 401(k) enough to capture employer match. In case of emergency, I would likely get funds as follows: 1) Spare taxable holdings / dollars earmarked for discretionary spending 2) Emergency fund 3) Sell unwanted / unneeded goods 4) 401(k...
by hand
Thu Sep 25, 2014 10:53 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Unexpected Emergency
Replies: 33
Views: 3298

Re: Is it safe to pay down rental property?

What are your other options for the "extra" cash? My gut says ensuring adequate emergency funds (personal and rental) and maxing out retirement accounts should take precedence over paying down the rental mortgage. If you get to the point where you can completely pay off the mortgage, the c...
by hand
Thu Sep 11, 2014 12:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it safe to pay down rental property?
Replies: 12
Views: 870

Re: Tip for the Roofing Crew

"Watch out for the first step... it's a doozy!"
by hand
Wed Sep 10, 2014 1:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tip for the Roofing Crew
Replies: 13
Views: 1315

Re: Home purchase negotiation: credit or reduced price?

Using the numbers above, to highlight out of pocket difference between reduced price and seller fixes assuming an 80% mortgage:

1) Reduced price means you pay 20% of $270k ($54k) + $30k = $84k
2) Seller fixes means you pay 20% of $300k ($60k) = $60k
by hand
Wed Sep 10, 2014 9:52 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home purchase negotiation: credit or reduced price?
Replies: 17
Views: 1319

Re: Home purchase negotiation: credit or reduced price?

In general, a lower price and your ability to manage quality of the repairs are preferable, though a price reduction might reduce the amount you are able to borrow and increase your cash requirements for purchase + repairs. For the wiring and foundation issues you mention, I certainty wouldn't want ...
by hand
Wed Sep 10, 2014 9:27 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home purchase negotiation: credit or reduced price?
Replies: 17
Views: 1319

Re: Is My Car Insurance Plan Enough? - the Bogle way!

Why are you paying for rental insurance - would a couple days / weeks of paying for a rental if accident your fault be an undue hardship? Why are your deductibles so low, would an extra $500 or $1000 out of pocket be an undue hardship? I also agree liability coverage is too low, and suggest you cons...
by hand
Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:26 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is My Car Insurance Plan Enough? - the Bogle way!
Replies: 18
Views: 1417

Re: Tract Home - Things to Watch During Construction

Can you hire a home inspector who can monitor the construction? This is where I would spent my money. Hire a good home inspector to go out multiple times during construction to check / report back on the various stages. Dont confuse this with what your regional building inspector does. While their ...
by hand
Wed Aug 20, 2014 5:08 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tract Home - Things to Watch During Construction
Replies: 56
Views: 3318

Re: How much should a New Jersey home inspection cost?

While home inspection is an important part of a housing purchase, be aware of the limitations of home inspectors: 1) Their inspections are typically limited to what can be seen without damaging the house, and many won't even move carpets / furniture which is often strategically placed 2) Inspectors'...
by hand
Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much should a New Jersey home inspection cost?
Replies: 7
Views: 583

Re: Is the 401k 10% early withdrawal penalty worth it?

Great question in that it challenges "conventional wisdom." Standard answer is that you need to run the math for your specific situation to get the right answer for you. My intuition says that while paying a 10% penalty is worse than not paying a penalty (duh), if you are paying the penalt...
by hand
Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:27 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is the 401k 10% early withdrawal penalty worth it?
Replies: 32
Views: 1498

Re: XC90

I'm fascinated by the several comments from Volvo owners in this thread that the things have some rather crummy characteristics (such as being gas hogs, having lousy suspension) but people love them anyway. I have the feeling there must be Volvo people and then there is everybody else. :) I don't s...
by hand
Tue Aug 05, 2014 4:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: XC90 [Volvo XC90 SUV]
Replies: 40
Views: 3010

Re: XC90

As a recent purchaser of a late model XC90 (3.2 I6) my impressions are as follows: This is a quality people mover with a generous amount of well appointed interior space, and while engine power and handling are sufficient for typical use, there is little risk of confusing with the power / handling c...
by hand
Tue Aug 05, 2014 2:40 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: XC90 [Volvo XC90 SUV]
Replies: 40
Views: 3010

Re: Zoning Issue in PA

If a variance has been requested, there will likely be a public hearing at which you would have the opportunity to object if you attended. It is likely immediate neighbours would be formally notified of the hearing, though not necessarily everyone who would be impacted by the variance would be notif...
by hand
Wed Jul 30, 2014 8:18 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Zoning Issue in PA
Replies: 8
Views: 1160

Re: What's Golf Course Frontage Worth - Indianapolis

Two warnings about living on a gold course: 1) If the design was not well thought out, you will be pelted by golf balls. I have a friend with a house adjacent to a course in North Carolina and he generally finds 6-12 gold balls in the yard daily. Personally, I don't want balls hit in my direction a...
by hand
Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:59 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Golf Course Frontage Worth - Indianapolis
Replies: 19
Views: 1254

Re: Former Employer Over Payment

My understanding is that debt collectors are not always the most scrupulous or truthful. It would behove you to learn more about the rules and regulations related to debt collections (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act). From a Bankrate article (http://www.bankrate.com/finance/debt/6-tips-for-dealin...
by hand
Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Former Employer Over Payment
Replies: 37
Views: 2420

Re: Two month car rental

For a multi-month rental, be sure that your insurance (primary auto, credit card) does not have exclusions / limitations based on length of rental.
by hand
Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:34 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Two month car rental
Replies: 28
Views: 2039

Re: Should I go back?

From a financial standpoint, you need to estimate the value of the state pension, the likelihood of remaining in the state job until you are eligible for the pension, and the likelihood of the pension being solvent when you retire. You also need to compare salary trajectory in the public sector with...
by hand
Tue Jul 01, 2014 10:21 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I go back?
Replies: 32
Views: 3246

Re: Pay down (not off) mortgage?

If your mortgage interest is deductible, your return from paying down the 3.25% mortgage is less than 3.25%.
Assuming a 25% marginal income tax rate, your actual return for paying down the loan is just under 2.5% (0.75 * 3.25%).
by hand
Mon Jun 30, 2014 2:15 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Pay down (not off) mortgage?
Replies: 53
Views: 5154

Re: What To Do With Underwater Rental

Problem 1) Long story short, I have a underwater rental in California. Currently owe 170,000 at 5.875% with 20 years remaining. Payment is $1373. The Market is up and Zillow puts the value at 161,571. Rent is $925 after management fee, putting me out of pocket about $445. To be honest with myself, ...
by hand
Mon Jun 30, 2014 8:21 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What To Do With Underwater Rental
Replies: 33
Views: 2655

Re: Kindle - Which one to buy?

I'm a happy user of the first generation Paperwhite, love the e-ink, and backlight, though would be interested in a version with page turn buttons in addition to the touchscreen. As a buyer, you should be aware that there have been persistent rumors of a new and improved Kindle Paperwhite to be rele...
by hand
Mon Jun 30, 2014 8:06 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kindle - Which one to buy?
Replies: 36
Views: 2137

Re: When to get an appraisal to remove PMI

A couple of quick thoughts: 1) Have you considered refinancing to a non-PMI loan rather than trying to remove PMI? 2) Make sure you understand PMI removal rules - on recent loans, may be very different than the commonly understood 80% LTV 3) It is very possible the appraiser chosen by the bank will ...
by hand
Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:46 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When to get an appraisal to remove PMI
Replies: 16
Views: 1489

Re: School me on my rental property understanding..

One additional thought for the OP, if you do convert to a rental, spend the money to get an appraisal at the highest value possible when you convert to a rental - this will increase depreciation during the rental period and decrease future capital gains assuming property gains value. This is incorr...
by hand
Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:15 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: School me on my rental property understanding..
Replies: 16
Views: 1019

Re: School me on my rental property understanding..

One additional thought for the OP, if you do convert to a rental, spend the money to get an appraisal at the highest value possible when you convert to a rental - this will increase depreciation during the rental period and decrease future capital gains assuming property gains value.
by hand
Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: School me on my rental property understanding..
Replies: 16
Views: 1019

Re: School me on my rental property understanding..

b I would suggest refinancing to a 30 year mortgage at ~4.25% I have a rental and my mortgage rate for a 30yr fixed is 4.75. My broker told me that the rate is higher because the loan amt is small and it is an investment property. Does this sound right. How much higher is the rate for an investment ...
by hand
Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: School me on my rental property understanding..
Replies: 16
Views: 1019

Re: School me on my rental property understanding..

Example B - my real-life situation) I have a $1900 mortgage payment on a $210k house (15-yr loan @ 3.75%, taxes/insurance included) and can get $1600/month renting it out. So every month I have to pay $300 towards the mortgage, but each payment $900 goes toward paying principal. So my $300 pays off...
by hand
Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:40 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: School me on my rental property understanding..
Replies: 16
Views: 1019

Re: out of residency since 07 - please advise

I'm a bit surprised that I haven't seen mention of risk reduction and asset protection as part of this thread... While I sympathize with the view towards reducing interest paid (paying down highest rate loans etc.) I thought doctors often had specialized asset protection needs due to high risk of la...
by hand
Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:56 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: out of residency since 07 - please advise
Replies: 29
Views: 3878

Re: Insider Trading & Bogleheads

Okay, please clear something up for me. Perhaps it's me and my misunderstanding of the term "insider trading". In my mind there is a huge difference between "insider trading" and "trading on inside information". Insider trading : Top executives buying or selling large ...
by hand
Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:44 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Insider Trading & Bogleheads
Replies: 26
Views: 1822

Re: Keeping up with the neighbors and Balance

Am I the only one who thinks it's a bit weird for the OP and neighbor to have 1) bought his/her adjoining town homes at the same time 2) be the same age, and 3) make the same salary? It is typical for buyers in new construction "communities" to have similar demographics (wealth, income, a...
by hand
Mon Jun 02, 2014 4:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Keeping up with the neighbors and Balance
Replies: 95
Views: 10580

Re: Section 179- Gross Vehicle Weight 6000lbs

Have you considered purchasing dealer installed option(s) to increase the vehicle weight?
by hand
Mon Jun 02, 2014 2:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Section 179- Gross Vehicle Weight 6000lbs
Replies: 14
Views: 1559

Re: Can I lock in the low mortgage rate?

If you owned another property free and clear, you could take a mortgage at today's rates and use the funds to make your future purchase effectively locking in today's rates.
Cost to lock in rates would be interest on today's loan until you made the future purchase.
by hand
Fri May 30, 2014 8:37 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can I lock in the low mortgage rate?
Replies: 8
Views: 872

Re: Telecom Quandary

You might take a look at RootMetrics... In addition to a website which shows metro level reliability and data speed, they have a great app which not only shows cell performance by vendor at a very granular level, but also allows you to automatically report performance at your specific location. Whil...
by hand
Fri May 30, 2014 8:28 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Telecom Quandary
Replies: 14
Views: 1252

Re: Co-worker made a dumb mistake with 401k transfer???

The biggest mistake would seem to be the failure to contribute to the current 401(k) assuming there is some sort of match available.

Paying 1.5% on $7k is bad in theory, but at $100 /yr - likely not on a top 10 list of financial / retirement opportunities for this person.
by hand
Wed May 14, 2014 4:31 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Co-worker made a dumb mistake with 401k transfer???
Replies: 28
Views: 2358

Re: Going Solar with PPA - 20 Yrs. Insights Needed

What happens if your roof requires replacement before end of 20 year solar system life?
by hand
Wed May 14, 2014 3:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Going Solar with PPA - 20 Yrs. Insights Needed
Replies: 10
Views: 882

Re: Should wife take new job offer- pregnant? FMLA issues?

Edited to update: **** UPDATE: It is a recruiter that connected my wife with the company. The recruiter said the company wanted the answer by the end of the day Monday, but hinted that she would prefer it if the answer was today. We speculate it is because of timing of the recruiters pay. Recruiter...
by hand
Fri May 09, 2014 2:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should wife take new job offer- pregnant? FMLA issues?
Replies: 24
Views: 1382

Re: Custom vs production homes

I have a specific home floor plan in mind and would love to build a custom home for my next house. It would be anything fancy, it seems difficult to justify the premium of custom over production. The plus side is that my custom home would be ~30% smaller than my production home because I would tail...
by hand
Mon May 05, 2014 10:44 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Custom vs production homes
Replies: 9
Views: 1181

Re: 1st time home buyer considering 401K loan - Thoughts?

What about buying the home with what you have now and then plowing extra money at the mortgage to get rid of PMI as soon as possible? Seems like you could do that within a year. How much would you pay in PMI in that time would be the question, I guess. I just don't like 401k loans. That's supposed ...
by hand
Thu May 01, 2014 4:45 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 1st time home buyer considering 401K loan - Thoughts?
Replies: 12
Views: 1416

Re: 401(k) Loan make sense?

Wow - Thanks for all of the feedback. Some of the information was new to me, specifically a) the possibility that taxable investing is preferable to non-deductible retirement contributions, and b) the availability of 0% car loans. A couple of points of clarification in response to questions above: 1...
by hand
Wed Apr 30, 2014 9:28 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 401(k) Loan make sense?
Replies: 31
Views: 3715

Re: 401(k) Loan make sense?

1) Loan would allow for some combination of increased lifestyle (new car to replace 10+ year old car, home improvements) and paydown of 2.49% Home Equity Loan without tapping 6 month Emergency Fund. 2) Opportunity to increase retirement contributions as 4.25% interest better than current bond funds...
by hand
Mon Apr 28, 2014 10:55 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 401(k) Loan make sense?
Replies: 31
Views: 3715

401(k) Loan make sense?

Hi I would love a sanity check on proposed 401(k) loan. First some background: Ages: Husband and Wife are 40 Gross Income: $250k / yr Annual Retirement Savings: $79k ( 401(k) $17,500 *2 + Employer Match $3,500 *2 + Backdoor Roth $5,500 *2 + Cash Balance Pension Contributions $26k) Current Retirement...
by hand
Mon Apr 28, 2014 10:12 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 401(k) Loan make sense?
Replies: 31
Views: 3715

Re: Trouble with Financial Engines Account?

Issue has *finally* been fixed for me!
by hand
Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:25 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Trouble with Financial Engines Account?
Replies: 18
Views: 3848
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