Why Marriage Makes It So Hard to Control Remodeling Costs. (Well, Kinda Sorta.)

As I’ve previously mentioned, the Penzo household is in the middle of a long-awaited home renovation project with a reliable contractor.

Originally, it was supposed to be a fairly modest kitchen renovation that involved replacing our porcelain tile counter tops with granite and adding a new tumbled stone back splash. It also included some new appliances.

Then, one quiet evening not too long ago, while we were watching the six-thousandth episode

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21 Reasons Why Corner Lots Are For Suckers

For the six people left in America that are still looking to buy a home, I thought I’d pass on a little advice and save you a serious case of buyer’s remorse.

Don’t be fooled by real estate agents that try to tell you that a corner lot is highly desirable. They’re not.

Oh sure, you’ve got a bigger lot and neighbors on only two sides, but as a former

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REITs: A TIERed Investment For Dyslexics

“You can’t make money in real estate these days. It’s impossible.”

Of course you can. The market isn’t “bad” – no market for any worthwhile commodity is either unequivocally good or bad. Real estate, whether raw land or fully improved buildings, obviously has a function and will continue to. Real estate, in and of itself, is not subject to obsolescence. You know, like ambergris or Pets.com stock.

As long as

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The 5 Biggest Home Repair Ripoffs

I’ve had numerous people come to my house offering “great deals” on home repair services over the years.

You know the type. Most of these guys wouldn’t know what a contractor’s license looked like if it hit them in the head.

Even more telling, they are often willing to do any job for whatever amount you are willing to pay, no matter how low your offer.

I’m not kidding.

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12 Good Reasons Why You Should (and Should Not) Pay Off Your Mortgage Early

Do I think it’s wise for you to pay off your mortgage early?

You may as well ask me if I think it is a good idea if you paint your living room sage green.

I used to think paying off your mortgage was an absolute no-brainer.

Then I did a complete 180, changing direction like one of those day-glo orange heliport windsocks. Oh yes, I did.

After resurveying the macroeconomic

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Real Estate Agents: Why They're Not Worth It

I’ve sold one house in my life and I did that on my own without a realtor. Yep. For sale by owner (or FSBO).

Oh, I started out with a realtor because I was young and rather naive at the time; I thought it would be crazy to not go with a professional.

The first realtor I took on signed me up to a 90-day contract and then sat on it,

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What’s an Emphyteutic Lease? (And Why You May Want to Avoid One)

The other day the Honeybee and I were watching the two-millionth episode of House Hunters (or was it Buy Me ?) when the host mentioned something that sent a shiver down my spine. Apparently, the unwitting owners of a condo found that their home was built on land subject to something called an emphyteutic lease.

Of course, I had no idea what the heck an emphyteutic lease was, but I

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Paying Off the Mortgage Early? Not So Fast…

In January 2009 I wrote one of my most popular posts to-date entitled Paying Off Your Mortgage Early Is A No-Brainer. In that post I did a detailed analysis that justified why paying down my mortgage was the right thing to do.

That Was Then, This Is Now

Of course, that was before all of the corporate and homeowner bailouts approved by Congress.

That was also before President Obama decided to

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A Layman’s Guide to Mortgage Application Junk Fees

As many of you know, I recently refinanced my mortgage for the fourth time in ten years. Since then I have become familiar with that eternal mortgage loan enigma better known as the junk fee. I always challenge the more questionable junk fees and never take them for granted. You should too.

Junk fees refer to lender or loan broker fees charged to cover company overhead. Lenders use

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What Girl Scout Cookies Can Teach Us About Mortgages

I love this time of year. The Girl Scouts are out there selling their cookies, and every year I spend at least 15 minutes agonizing between Thin Mints, Lemon Cremes, Do-Si-Dos and Samoas before usually deciding to get ‘em all. With mortgage rates so low, it’s also refinance time. So why is it that many of you will spend less time reading and signing your loan documents than I do

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