The Most Expensive Homes for Sale in the United States

No matter what house you buy, there’s always something more expensive out there. In the case of these four houses, much more expensive. These homes are so luxurious that they almost seem like a fantasy.

From a Mediterranean-inspired villa in Beverly Hills to a recently-constructed palace in Florida, here’s a look at the most expensive homes for sale in the United States right now. Read on to learn about these homes’ incredible amenities—and maybe you’ll get a few ideas of your own! [Read more…]

Do You Know the History of Mortgages?

Think you know when the first mortgage was issued? I’ll give you three chances. Ready? Set? Go!

Okay, how many of you guessed a really, really, long time ago? Like, ancient times? If you did, you were right. Historians believe that the history of mortgages and borrowing goes back to ancient civilization. Civilizations, rather. We see evidence of mortgage type agreements in ancient India, Rome, and even in Judaic law written in the Bible. But what’s the history of modern mortgages, you ask? The story, it turns out, is rather interesting. Read on to see the ups and downs of recent montage history and what this means for you. [Read more…]

Becoming Money Smart in 2015

I know, I know—you’re probably tired of end of the year top 10 lists and have already broken your new year’s resolution a time or two (those gym shoes by the door are still looking pretty squeaky clean, aren’t they? And is that chocolate cake I smell?). But not all top 10 lists are created equal, and this one has lasting implications for your financial well-being.

One doesn’t just wake up one day knowing how to be money smart. Instead, healthy money habits need to be practiced on a day-to-day basis. So in the spirit of the New Year, why not try to set some goals—both for healthy eating and healthy money habits? Follow these suggestions to get your finances in order and achieve your dream of financial independence. [Read more…]

Tis the Season to Stay Safe!

Looking forward to 2015? Yeah, me too. And so is that guy over there scoping out your house. I think he’s especially excited about your new TV. The one he’s about to steal. Oh, and those gorgeous diamond studs. He might just snatch those on his way out.

With the rush of the holiday season—decorations, traditions, food, and travel—we sometimes get too caught up to really take care of the important stuff: staying safe and securing our homes. Here are a few simple things you can do to keep you and your belongings out of harm’s way this holiday season to ensure happy holidays for all!

Decorations

I know, I know, those blow-up reindeer look really cool on the roof. But please, please be careful when putting them up. Before climbing on a slick roof, make sure you’ve visually inspected to make sure there aren’t any ice patches, wear shoes with good treads, and use a reliable ladder. Also remember to make sure someone else is at home when you’re atop the roof in case of an emergency.

Lights can be tricky as well. Inspect the strands for any frayed wires, and discard any cracked bulbs as they can be an electrocution hazard and potentially flammable. Make sure you purchase good quality lights which have been inspected for safety by an independent reviewer. All inspection information should be visible on the packaging.

Inside decorations are similarly fun, but potentially dangerous. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that home holiday decorations cause over 400 holiday fires each year, resulting in $15 million in property loss and damage. Because of this, it’s best to avoid open candle flames (especially near your Christmas tree!), and when purchasing a tree, make sure to shop smart. Most artificial trees are flame resistant, but just like your lights, make sure to inspect packaging to make sure that’s the case. If you purchase a real tree it should be green and vibrant. Always make sure to keep water at its base so that it doesn’t dry out too quickly. Lights should always be turned off when you leave your home (and overnight) to avoid fire hazard.

Traveling for the Holidays

Whether you’re just out with the family for a nice dinner, or are taking the kids to Hawaii for their winter break, making sure your home is safe and secure when you leave will help ensure happy returns when you get back.

When leaving for extended travel it is best not to post specifics about your trip on social media sites to avoid inviting trouble. Make sure your neighbors know the dates you’ll be gone so they can keep an eye on things (that is, if you trust them!).

Keep your presents out of sight so that prying eyes won’t be tempted. It might be smart in addition to making sure doors, windows, and garages are locked, to invest in a home security system—or at the very least a good safe. Make the house look occupied with things like timed lights and a car in the driveway. Just make sure you remove the garage opener from that car so that if someone breaks into the car, they can’t also easily enter your home.

The holidays are an exciting time for us all—at the very least we’ll get a few days off of work, right? So make sure you and your family is safe by taking a few extra precautions so you can fully enjoy family, friends, and fun times. Happy Holidays!