Cash Saving Tips Before Buying a Fixer-Upper

According to a recent report in the Business Insider, you need to check on four items before buying a fixer-upper. The following tips can save you headaches or frustrations, so it is good knowledge to know.

Check the Zoning Ordinance

Because a municipality features zoning districts, you have to find out what uses are permitted. Knowing this information is essential so you can find out what can and cannot be done in a home.
For example, you may buy a home in a historic district. If so, you may need to follow certain requirements that include the installation of single-pane windows or the repair and maintenance of a unique brick-pier facing. To research a home’s zoning requirements, you need to visit a municipality’s website or schedule an appointment with a municipal staff member who can review the legalities with you.

Contact a Home Inspector

As soon as you have verbalized an agreement to purchase a house, you need to contact a home inspector. The home instructor will look at structural issues and advise you on anything that needs replacement, such as electricity, roofing or plumbing.

If your broker refers you to a home inspector, make sure they are not biased as you need someone with an objective opinion. Therefore, if you can do so, hire an inspector who will work for you, not the seller or broker. Make sure you set some time aside to walk through the house with the inspector too. That way, you can acquaint yourself with the property.

While most home buyers ask questions about termites and asbestos, it is also essential to ask about the age of certain systems and when they will need replacement. For example, a water heater that is 25 years old will probably need replacement in the near future while a newly-installed heating and ventilation system probably won’t be an issue for another two decades.

You may also want to ask the inspector about problems that are specific to a locale. For example, in some cities, the water mains tend to be older. Therefore, you will need to confirm that the mains in your home are not made of lead. Also, you should ask about the electrical system. Is it adequate or does it need an upgrade?

Hire an Architect

Hiring an architect is helpful to anyone buying a fixer-upper as he or she can advise you on what you can do design-wise. The architect can also point out any load-bearing walls, and determine whether or not they can be moved. Obtain the opinions of more than one architect to ensure your design enhancements will improve your property overall.

Review Tax Incentives

Depending on your location, you may be able to receive a tax credit or abatement for any improvements undertaken on your real estate.

Bad Credit Loan Borrowers May Get Share in $10 million lawsuit

Are you in Ontario? Did you recently take out a payday loan? Were you a customer of the now-defunct Cash Store or Instaloans? Well, you could receive a share of a multi-million-dollar class action settlement.

It was announced Monday that more than 100,000 bad credit loan borrowers in Ontario could receive a share of a $10 million class action settlement. Ontarian consumers who took out next day loans after September 2011 are being requested to file claims to recover some of the illegal fees and interest they were charged.

The lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of Timothy Yeoman, claims that Cash Store Financial Services violated the Payday Loans Act by charging more than the maximum cost of borrowing permitted. In the province of Ontario, payday loan stores banned from charging more than $21 for every $100 borrowed.

Cash Store allegedly avoided the rules regarding maximum interest rates by adding extra fees for establishing products for bank accounts and debit cards. The company maintained more than 500 outlets across the province.

“We’ve made it as easy as possible for people to get their money back, but the challenge is to ensure borrowers come forward and file claims for their share of the settlement money,” said Jon Foreman, partner at Harrison Pensa LLP, legal counsel to the class members in the case, in a statement. “If you took a payday loan from these businesses after September 1, 2011 in Ontario, we want to hear from you.” – (PR)

As soon as payday loan borrowers have their claims approved they will be eligible to receive a minimum of $50. The final amounts may depend on how many claims are submitted to the courts – some claimants could receive more money based on how many loans they took out. The claims period will be open until October 31, 2016.

What happens if borrowers don’t have the necessary loan documents? According to the news release, the lawyers have set up a process for previous customers to determine if they’re eligible. Some documents or other sources of information would only be necessary in specific circumstances.

“Considerable efforts have been made to reach the more than 100,000 claimants that are entitled to this compensation and we’re confident the great majority will be able to obtain what’s rightfully theirs,” Foreman states.

The claims period will be open until October 31, 2016.

The lawsuit was initially filed in 2012 for Yeoman. When he borrowed $400 for nine days, he was charged $68.60 in fees and service charges and another $78.72 in interest. His total borrowing costs for the principal amount was $147.32.

In 2014, Cash Store and its directors filed for bankruptcy protection, which made things a lot more difficult because it’s harder for the business to gather up enough funds to pay out the $10 million. The attorneys argue that the sum could have been much higher if the firm had remained solvent.

“When you have a company like the Cash Store that literally declares insolvency once the litigation gets to a more mature stage, it’s a terrible situation for the case,” he told the Toronto Star. “To scrounge $10 million out of the circumstances that we had was a victory in itself.”

In the end, Foreman and his team believe there are other payday loan operators who are breaking the laws currently in place for the payday loan industry.

5 Top Cities to Start a Career

Part of keeping your financial house in order is choosing a city where your career prospects are high. The following cities offer the best advantages to people just beginning a career in terms of salary, transportation, housing costs, and dining and entertainment options.

1 – New York

While it is not easy to obtain a job in New York, the rewards are exceptionally satisfying for those who do. According to the US Department of Labor, New York industries that had above-average growth between 2009 and 2014 include construction, health, finance and business and professional services.

Workers also enjoy higher-than-average annual wages and can expect above-average future job growth. However, rent is about $3,100 per month for a one-bedroom apartment. Therefore, if you do work in the city, you need to make sure you have a dependable roommate to help pay the rent.

As for dining and entertainment, you won’t be disappointed. The state of New York is home to 45,000+ restaurants and bars so you will always have something to do inside and outside the Big Apple.

2- Austin

Austin has a low unemployment rate (3%), which makes it an attractive place for college graduates to take up roots. Also, the city is regularly recognized by Forbes for its emphasis on STEM-related jobs and technologies. Tech jobs increased 73% from 2004 to 2014 while STEM jobs experienced a growth rate of 36% – all which makes the city an ideal alternative to living and working in the Silicon Valley.

As of 2014, people between 25 and 34 years old made up about 17.5% of the city’s total population, which is also the highest of its kind in the US.

3 – Denver

The start-up culture in Denver is booming. In fact, the city plays host to an annual Denver Startup Week each year – which is a good time for college graduates or about-to-be-grads to check things out and see what the city offers.

While the rent is a little high ($1,300), the median household income is approximately $66,870, which is higher than the median US income of $53,650. About 15% of the population are millennials, which places Denver among the top 5 cities with the largest percentage of young adults, 24 to 34 years of age.

4 – Chicago

The continual increase in employment in the city shows that the potential for getting a job in Chicago is very good for recent college graduates. Leisure and hospitality and construction are the two industries that show the most promise for someone seeking a job. Also, one of the major perks of Chicago is its food. Not only are you exposed to high-quality restaurants, you can also regularly partake in the city’s food fests.

5 – San Francisco

While San Francisco is known to be one of the country’s most expensive cities, it is also a great place for technology grads to look for a job. The median income range for tech employees is from $65,000 to $115,000 per year.

Needless to say, when you are making that kind of salary, you probably can afford the average high rent ($3,000) for a one-bedroom apartment. Since 2010, the city has experienced a population boom, which, in turn, has raised the cost of living. The surge in jobs has attracted an extra 270,000 people to the Bay Area. The city has the highest population of millennials in the state.