A Homebuyer Heads-Up and An Online Travel Booking Alert

When one of my relatives purchased his first home a month or so ago, we talked about some of the insights and tips that saved him just under $20,000. That story, and every story, is always on yourmoneybook.com. However, in addition to that, there are also some ways to assure your home doesn’t become a financial nightmare:

If you have a renter, you need to set aside the security deposit you received and three months of rent in a separate savings account. The deposit isn’t your money, so if you spend it, you could be in trouble when you have to return it.

As with any rental, there are times when you may not have a tenant. But you’ve gotten used to having the rental income. If the truth were know, you can’t do without it. So set the first three months aside. You can’t miss what you don’t have and now, if you are ever without a tenant, you have the money to draw on.

Set your taxes up on a monthly payment plan. Some jurisdictions charge a small fee, or it may be free. Whatever the case, the majority of people don’t have an extra $2,000 to $5,000 around each June. When it’s on a monthly payment plan, just like your mortgage payment, you’ll avoid a ton of debt and trouble that you know will come each year.

If you’re buying a home, trust me that you’ll have to have an extra $4,000 over and above your down payment. I can’t tell you how often that’s a huge shock to people and immediately goes on their credit card or line of credit. You’ll need the lawyer’s fee, appraisal, tax adjustment and house insurance. After that, you have to know there are some fix-ups you’ll need to do the first week – you may as well plan on it.

One more story: Be careful with online travel websites. You’d think that shopping online for hotels or airline tickets should give you a leg up on getting decent prices, but that’s not always the case.

Two really bad examples came to light recently: Delta airlines was recently caught quoting higher airfares for anyone who had logged in with their frequent flyer number, instead of just shopping anonymously. Their logic seemed to be that anyone who is a frequent flyer will be loyal and travel with them, even if the prices are not competitive and higher.

Even worse was the travel site Orbitz. IF you shopped for a hotel room using a Mac computer, you were getting higher priced hotel rooms than if you were using a windows program! They went oopps, and tried to explain that, well, people with a Mac have a higher average income, so they assumed they’d want to see more expensive hotel properties.

As with everything else we talk about – you have to be careful and you have to know what to do and to avoid!

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