Category Archives: Finance

When Rent Prices Continue to Soar

Couple looking at rented house

The renting economy is facing a major setback. Prices continue to rise, and renters are faced with the inconceivable truth: owning a house could be the better option. Though there are several reasons that families are not renting, if you consider the monthly payments and the long-term results, the benefits of owning a home outweigh that of renting.

Is it time for you to make a change?

The Price to Pay

Specifically, this refers to the monthly price. When you’re renting, your primary concern is meeting those fixed monthly payments. However, upon renewing your contract, your landlord may inform you of an increase in the rental fee. A one-bedroom property costing $900 per month in Portland could get an increase of $100 in monthly rent, and that’s a big deal considering that you can own a two-bedroom home for $1200. 

When it comes to home ownership, your main concern is the mortgage rate, which will determine the monthly repayments you have to make. Here, it’s wise to inquire about your options and to assess whether a fixed-rate or an adjustable-rate mortgage would be more favorable. Historical knowledge of how the prices have risen and fallen in Portland can help you decide.

What You Get in the End

For a family, job security is important. So is a roof over your head. You’ll rest easy knowing you won’t be evicted from your house because the landlord wants to rent out the property to someone who is willing to pay more. You also want the security of having the property to your name after completing mortgage payments. In the end, the additional cost you have to pay for home ownership instead of renting goes into securing that property permanently. It seems like a no-brainer, isn’t it? 

Keeping tabs of your finances may be more difficult if you have to adjust to rising prices continually. It’s better if you get something from it in the end, right? 

Despite Irma, Florida’s Housing Market Poised for Recovery

a top view of residential properties in Fort MyersThe residential property market in Florida has recovered in recent years with a rebound in home prices and a stabilizing economy among other factors.

Home prices have increased once again after falling by as much as 50%, while low unemployment also helped the market’s recovery. The jobless rate in the state reached lower than the nationwide average, improving to 4.1% from 11.2%.

Housing Recovery

Sean Snaith, University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness director, said that Florida has led the country in terms of overall economy by 2012. A strong tourism sector has contributed to the housing sector’s resurgence.

Most of these tourists may have decided to relocate to the state, as it now has the third largest population in the US. The pace of recovery also helps those looking for a mortgage in Fort Myers and other cities, since growing demand fuels competition among lenders.

However, the pace of recovery has become under threat by Hurricane Irma, as experts believe that rebuilding after the storm serves as a major challenge.

Lesson Learned

Construction workers will be the key in rehabilitation efforts after Hurricane Irma and finding them may be difficult, according to Chris McCarty, University of Florida’s bureau of economic and business research director. They are vital for ensuring tourists and residents still come back to Florida, as opposed to what happened in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

However, people will still decide to stay in Florida even after the storm, according to Turnberry Associates CEO Jeff Soffer. Regarding real estate prices, Soffer expects that the damages from Irma will not have any effect at all.

Florida’s housing market will likely remain as an attractive option for both buyers and investors post-Irma, although the state government should have contingency measures to make sure the supposed economic damages do not linger for a long time.

When is the Right Time to Refinance Your Mortgage?

Home refinance conceptRefinancing your home is a major way of taking control of your debt. For it to be a properly timed plan there are several things that must be carefully considered. It is important that the new contract fit the client’s accurate needs as well as any future prospects. Choosing the correct time to go for a refinance option makes a difference.

Emergency Refinancing

There are times when you reach out to your financier for a home refinance in Ogden or anywhere in Utah. If your family cannot support the expenses of servicing your current loan, then Wasatch Peaks Credit Union and other experts say that you may have to go for a refinancing option.

It's a reasonable move to request your loan to be restructured at this point in order to have it extended. From this move, it is possible that you will have enough time to make the necessary arrangements that could get you from the situation as you get your finances in order.

Home Upgrades

Chances are that your home will be in need of major renovations and refurbishments by the time you are done with your mortgage payments. As such, a refinance option can be a good way to ensure that you get the necessary cash you need to cover the costs of any refurbishment. In addition to that, you also get to spread the burden of the monthly payment you have to make. However, you need to be careful as going with the refinancing option increases the amount of money you have to pay.

When Moving to Another City or Town

There are many reasons for refinancing your mortgage and moving places makes a good one. You need to talk to your financier to see if they can switch your old mortgage to the new one, depending on where you're planning to move. If you make the right move, you could end up with a house larger than the one you had before at no extra cost.

In the end, refinancing is an option that can only work when you are ready for it. Assessing the move is what every homeowner needs to do before taking this step.

What VAT Funding Options Do SMEs Have?

Business Owner Having a Meeting with a Financial Adviser

Corporation tax and VAT funding is not a new subject in the business world, and many businesses have succeeded on their applications for VAT loans. However, this funding has not found its way into the SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprises), which are the heartbeat of British business. Good thing there are some viable funding options for those businesses.

What Options Do Small and Medium-sized Businesses Have?

Corporate and Medical Finance Ltd notes that SMEs can take a bank loan, but the associated fees and longer duration to get approval makes this option quite a hassle. Business owners can likewise get money from peer-to-peer lenders or companies that offer businesses money. Usually, these companies require a personal guarantee, and they may post your details as they seek money from the public. Again, this is not a quick solution for your business.

So, Why Do Companies Look to Fund Their VAT and Corporation Tax Liability?

Below are some of the reasons business owners look for VAT funding:

  1. When a client has raised a sales invoice and the supplier has not received the purchase invoice, a business may experience an increase in VAT liability for that quarter.
  2. Most companies set aside their tax money to pay at the latest day possible. Getting funding allows the business owner to invest in other important projects.
  3. Sometimes, the corporation tax bill does not resemble the actual position of the company. Spreading the tax payment in the next year makes things a bit bearable.

After sending your application for a VAT loan, its approval will take some time. The loan you qualify for will determine your repayment period and repayment amount. You can choose to clear the first debit immediately or wait until HMRC have received their payment.

Home Loans 101: Helpful Advice to Get a Home Loan Approved

Approved Mortgage loan application with rubber stampSome people have very little idea on the process of getting a mortgage. They hastily decide to jump into homeownership the moment they hear news of lower home prices and dropping interest rates. When all they see are the rewards and not the entire application process, they often find themselves disappointed when a lender rejects their home loan application. Thus, educating yourself is key to getting your mortgage application approved. Keep these things in mind to help you get a home loan approved.

Know What You Can Afford

Keep your budget in check and borrow only what you can afford to pay. Use a mortgage calculator to help you determine your minimum repayments. See if you are able to pay that amount every month.

Find Out Your Credit Score

Determining your credit score would literally take you just a few minutes of your time. Surprisingly, some aspiring homebuyers aren’t so keen on checking their credit scores before submitting a mortgage application, believing that their scores are okay enough to qualify.

Credit scores have an impact on mortgage approvals. A majority of lenders require a certain minimum credit score. They can reject an application if the score falls below their requirement.

Stay at Your Job

Staying with your employer during the mortgage application process is important. Any employment changes could affect the outcome of your application. Lenders approve an application based on the information you provide. Thus, shifting to a lower-paying job or becoming self-employed can greatly affect your chances of getting approval. This is because lenders will need to reassess your new circumstance to determine if you still qualify for a loan.

Knowing what you can afford, determining your credit score, and staying at your job during the entire mortgage application process can help you in getting your home loan approved. In case you don’t qualify for a home loan, don’t feel discouraged. Instead, let your current situation motivate you to improve your credit and your finances.

How the Self-Employed Can Be Mortgage Ready

Home Exterior of House with LandscapingYou do not have to shy away from the idea of owning a house. Here are simple ways you can qualify for a mortgage to get your dream home.

Be mindful of your credit score.

Having a high credit score will increase your chances of qualifying for a mortgage and will get you a better loan deal. You can increase or maintain a good credit score by doing the following:

  • pay your bills on time
  • minimize your purchases on credit
  • avoid opening new credit accounts a year before you apply for a mortgage

A reasonably feasible way of maintaining a good credit score is to keep your credit balance below 30% of your credit limit. You can also hire professionals for a credit repair. The National Homeowners Foundation (NHF) states that 60% of credit reports contain inaccurate information. Getting credit repair services will help you remove inaccurate information and negative marks from your credit report.

Do a lot of research on available loans.

There are loans, such as Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, that are available for those with imperfect credit. This is perfect for the self-employed who had rocky periods after leaving their employer or setting up their business.

With a credit score of at least 580, you can get an FHA loan, and your down payment for your home can be as low as 3.5%. Meanwhile, if your credit score is somewhere between 500 and 579, your down payment will be 10% of the house’s amount.

Try to reduce your claims for a tax deduction.

Tax deductions are beneficial for the self-employed but can hurt your case when applying for a mortgage.

When lenders look at your W-2 forms, they consider that your real income is your gross wage, minus the expenses you listed on your Form 2106. The resulting amount will be one of the bases to qualify you for a mortgage. So if you’re planning on applying for a mortgage in two years, try to reduce your 2106 expenses.

With a little bit of juggling, you can apply for a mortgage in a few months or years. You’ve already worked up the courage and discipline to work for yourself; you can certainly find the means to qualify for the mortgage. 

Improve Your Credit Score with 3 Proven Steps

Making Proper Investment for the FutureMany people struggle with runaway interest rates, not knowing things could’ve gotten better with a little bit of preparation.

Your credit score and financial history are some of the crucial factors lenders look at when you apply for a mortgage. In most cases, they expect to find nothing but a stellar history. However, some people have a checkered history that does not inspire confidence.

If you fall into this category, do not worry; it’s possible to repair the damage. All you need is a considerable amount of patience and commitment.

Don’t Settle for Quick Fixes

“Improve your credit history in 7 days” and “We fix your credit history fast” are some of the top results when you search for ways to fix your credit score.

For people new to the scene, such services might sound like the must-have solution. Wasatch Peaks Credit Union, a loan provider, says otherwise. When it comes to Ogden’s mortgage rates, there’s no such thing as a quick fix.

In most case, these so-called experts may remove bad history from your record, but they just waste your time and money. False entries and false promises will just sabotage your credit report. Instead of throwing your resources away, invest in something that’s worth it.

Do Pay Your Debts on Time

Apply for a credit report to get a clear picture of your debt outlook, and identify your shortcomings.Take note of all debtsand plan to keep up your payments and the balances low. Ideally, you should keep the balances on your credit card below 30 percent. Also, reduce the number of credit cards under your name. Pick one or two credit cards with good interest rates.

Keep a Good Record

Your financial history is crucial to calculating your credit score, as it attests to your commitment to paying your bills. As such, you should leave the good old debt on your report. A solid repayment record works to your advantage and helps boost your overall score.

The key to getting the best mortgage rates lies in cleaning up your financial history. Luckily, with a little bit of planning and preparation, you can boost your credit score and enjoy friendly rates.

Project Management Professional Exam: Crucial Study Guidelines

Project Management The PMP or Project Management Professional credential is widely known as the most difficult certifications that require coursework and several years of experience just to be eligible for the certification exam. Surveys state that only around 70% of individuals successfully pass the exam. To increase the chances that you don’t end up as one of the 30%, below are some practical study guidelines to help you prepare for the exam.

Create a Study Calendar

This is a crucial step in your preparation to earning the PMP credential. Focus on reading and really comprehending the terminology, knowledge areas, and processes in the PMBOK Guide. Taking quizzes is likewise important for easy recall. Additionally, consider going to preparation classes to learn about critical study tips and compare notes with other test takers.

Take Plenty of Practice Tests

This must be done later on in your study schedule after you’ve had the chance to understand your study material as best as you could. An expert from Milestone Management Partners advised to make certain that the practice tests involve situational questions and are not only recall-oriented. This is because the exam is all about measuring your capability to apply the knowledge you learned from the PMBOK Guide, and not merely your capability to recall it, advises a PMP training course instructor in Utah. To reiterate, start your studying with information recall and then move on to the more situational questions. Focus on your trouble spots and practice!

Isolate Yourself

A day before you’re scheduled to take the exam, go to a quiet place, like a hotel, close to your exam facility and isolate yourself with only your study materials. Many people have various distractions — a spouse, children, work, chores, and hobbies among others. Having this private time makes certain that you could focus on your studying and your studying alone, away from interruptions.

Lastly, make sure that you get a good night’s rest prior to your PMP exam. Take note that according to many studies, taking an exam completely refreshed and well rested could help you recall more of your study material and give you ample confidence in yourself when you take the exam.

Your 2017 in SEO: When You Want It to Be Good

Search Engine OptimizationFor most people, search engine optimization (SEO) boils down to either one of two things: hacking or coding.

When you think about it, it actually makes sense.

At one point, gaining much from SEO required a little hack here and there. Since ranking required fighting tooth and nail, getting the top rank needed some off-hand help. The good old days of “black hat” SEOs encouraged experts to find new ways to manipulate Google.

Search engines have discouraged SEO experts from using these black hat techniques. Still, there’s a big difference between good and bad SEO; knowing what sets them apart (and what you should avoid), however, has a big effect on your content creation.

Where Do You Belong: Good or Bad SEO?

You might think: “I don’t stuff my content with keywords or manipulative links. I’m a good SEO practitioner.”

For Third Stage Marketing, a digital marketing company, you might be good in most parts, but there’s a chance you also practice bad SEO. Why? Because Google changes all the time.

Over the years, the search engine giant rolled out countless algorithms with different names (e.g., Hummingbird, Penguin, Pigeon, and Panda). The zoo of algorithms is enough proof that one can easily fall off the SEO bandwagon if they are not careful.

Google does not implement these changes to make life difficult for everyone. The search engine aims for a more accessible and high-quality platform for all. It wishes to deliver a better user experience through better search ranking practices, content ranking rules, and mobile-friendliness.

Despite Google’s good heart for its users, a number of these factors have a distinct impact on SEO. Before they know it, one change can turn a good SEO practice into a bad one.

The Sin That Holds Them All: Poor UX

Ask yourself: Do your (or your brand’s) SEO habits promote better user experience for visitors?

If the answer is no, you are in trouble.

The search engine giant is a big fan of creating the best possible environment for their users. Over the years, Google received more searches – many of them coming from newer platforms such as tablets and mobile phones. Apart from changing the way people search, the mobile trend also changed how search engines relate to their visitors.

To succeed in SEO today, promotion of better user experience (UX) is a must. It’s the number one thing that lets your brand stay in the users’ minds. SEO practices that compromise UX will result in user abandonment.

2017 – The Year of Your New SEO

Every year is a good year for search engine optimization; if you’ve had a brush with the bad last year, do not lose heart. While it’s true that nothing stays the same with SEO, you can still stay on top by keeping a few things in mind: honor user experience, explore the world of mobile, and maintain quality whenever, wherever. Staying updated with trends also keeps you from staying with bad SEO practices.

Keep these suggestions in mind to ditch unpleasant practices. With enough determination, you’ll make your way to the top. 

3 Web Design Techniques to Use This Year

Online MarketingIf your business owns a website, you need to be on top of your game to reach more audiences and make more profit for your business. It’s important to keep updating your website to cater to the changing needs of your potential customers. 

Here are some of the best and newest strategies and techniques you can use to make your web design more fascinating and effective:


Animation is more engaging than a plain image and is, therefore, more effective to use in web design. Animations these days are also not as over the top unlike what flash animations did in the past, so they won’t cause a distraction to other design elements and content on your site. Coforge Marketing added that it doesn’t take much bandwidth compared to videos, so it’s ideal for mobile users.

Minimalist Design

These days, people don’t want overcrowded websites that are overly confusing to understand and navigate. That’s why it’s best to leave the design minimalistic and give more importance to how users can easily do what they want to do on your website. Make your imagery less cramped and classier. Minimalist designs load faster and are perfect no matter what device the user is using.


Video marketing has been growing in relevance and popularity. This is thanks to the fact that people are naturally visual creatures. As long as you present your videos in an engaging, relatable, and appealing way, you can score more clients and help build their loyalty towards your brand. You can embed YouTube videos onto your web pages to make it easier for users to view, save, and share them on their social media feeds.

Web design is an important element of your website. You can have a high SEO value to gain more traffic and a great content marketing plan to improve your credibility, but without good web design, you can’t persuade casual visitors to become loyal customers.