5 of the Biggest Celebrities Living in Calabasas, One of LA’s Most Affluent Neighborhoods

Located in the southwest corner of the San Fernando Valley, Calabasas is one of the most affluent neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Calif.

Including a portion of the Santa Monica mountains, Calabasas is located just over 30 miles from the downtown core.

The swanky suburb is bordered by Woodland Hills to the northeast, Topanga to the east, Malibu to the south, Agoura Hills to the west and Hiddens Hills to the north.

And the pretty people love it there! In recent years, the city of Calabasas has upgraded its amenities to cater to the luxurious lifestyles of the rich and the famous.

The exclusive Los Angeles neighborhood offers a variety of attractions such as the popular retail and entertainment complex Commons at Calabasas, the Malibu Creek State Park and the Pet Memorial Park, to name a few.

Entrance to The Commons, an upscale shopping center in Calabasas, California.
Entrance to The Commons, an upscale shopping center in Calabasas, California. Photo credit: Lux Blue / Shutterstock

Not to mention the swanky gated communities with spectacular mountain views and large lots for multi-million dollar mansions.

And that’s why a growing number of famous folks have set up residence in this upscale Los Angeles neighborhood. On that note, here’s a breakdown of some of the biggest celebrities who currently live in Calabasas.

1. Kourtney Kardashian

In 2014, reality star Kourtney Kardashian purchased a Calabasas compound with her former partner Scott Disick.

Spanning 12,000 square feet, the stunning Tuscan-style estate cost $8.5 million and had previously been home to NFL star Keyshawn Johnson.

Kourtney Kardashian house in Calabasas
Kourtney Kardashian’s house in Calabasas. Image credit: property – Architectural Digest; Kourtney Kardashian – Toglenn, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Featuring 6 bedrooms, 9 baths, a state-of-the-art kitchen, a massage room and gym, the Calabasas compound was designed by lauded architect Richard Landry.

The celebrity house was built in 2011 and sits on a nearly 2-acre lot that offers plenty of room for a huge backyard — that includes covered patios with outdoor fireplaces, a cabana and gazebo, sunken basketball court, pool, spa, fruit and shade trees and a barbeque center.

Buying a house nearby is completely out of reach to those that don’t have a million dollar paycheck; mansions on the same street as Kourtney’s house cost between $20 to $30 million.

Most of Kourtney’s famous family lives nearby in the neighboring city of Hidden Hills.

2. Will Smith & Jada Pinkett Smith

Power couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have one of the most luxurious homes in Calabasas. So much so, it has its own zip code!

The sprawling ranch nestled in the Santa Monica mountains has a man-made lake with views of Saddle Peak.

Jada and Will Smith’s house in Calabasas draws inspiration from Persian, Moroccan, Spanish, and Southwest American cultures.
Jada and Will Smith’s house in Calabasas draws inspiration from Persian, Moroccan, Spanish, and Southwest American cultures. Image credit: Roger Davies for Architectural Digest, inset DFree / Shutterstock.com

The couple purchased the 150-acre lot in 2003, and the 25,00-square-foot home — designed specifically for the Smiths by architect Stephen Samuelson — was completed seven years later, in 2010.

Now worth an estimated $42 million, the highly customized Calabasas compound boasts 9 bedrooms, a home theater, meditation lounge, 8-car garage, tennis court, basketball court and outdoor pool, to name a few of the fabulous features.

To read all about it, head on to our dedicated article on Jada and Will Smith’s many houses.

3. Rebecca Romijn & Jerry O’Connell

Joined by their twin daughters, longtime couple Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell live in a secluded home in Calabasas.

Celebrity couple Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell live in a 1939-built Calabasas house. Photo credit: Google Maps, inset Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

Originally purchased for $1.3 million in November 2000 with her ex-husband, Full House star John Stamos, Romijn kept the Calabasas home that was built in 1939.

In an older interview, the model-actress said cowboy star Randolph Scott was one of the former owners. She also shared an interesting tidbit about the private property.

“[The house] used to be a whorehouse!” Romijn said. “When I found it, two old hippies were living here, and they were like, ‘There’s a lotta sexual energy here.’”

Together since 2004, Romijn and O’Connell were wed at their Calabasas home in 2007.

4. Nas

In 2021, rap star Nasir ‘Nas’ Jones joined the ranks of Calabasas celebrities by purchasing a sprawling estate for $3.5 million.

Rapper Nas' 6,500-square-foot Calabasas mansion he bought in 2021 for $3.5 million.
Rapper Nas lives in a 6,500-square-foot Calabasas mansion he bought in 2021 for $3.5 million. Photo credit: Redfin, inset DFree / Shutterstock

Built in 2007, the 6,500 square foot home features 4 bedrooms, 5.5 baths and 10.5+ acres of land with majestic mountain views.

The newly acquired Calabasas compound also boasts a gourmet kitchen, fireside family room, formal dining room, office, wine cellar, billiards room, wet bar, pool, waterslide and beautiful roof deck with views for days.

And it seems to be a perfect fit for Nas; the rapper, whose debut album Illmatic (1994) is considered to be one of the greatest hip hop albums of all-time, has an estimated net worth of $70 million.

5. John Travolta

Legendary actor John Travolta lives with his two children in a Mediterranean-style mansion in Calabasas.

Built in 1993, John Travolta's house is a Spanish-style home
Built in 1993, John Travolta’s house is a Spanish-style house that features an ultra-generous 7,500 square feet of living space. Photo credit: MLS, inset Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

Tragically, the Pulp Fiction star lost his beloved wife, and the kids’ mother, actress Kelly Preston, to cancer in 2020.

Just before her untimely passing, the couple purchased a stunning estate for $2.65 million in the celebrity-filled suburb of L.A.

Spanning 7,500 square feet, the mansion boasts 6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, 4 fireplaces, a library, wine closet, dining room, home office, chef’s kitchen, pool, spa and spectacular mountain views.

The romantic Spanish-style home has plenty of outdoor amenities that make the most of the picture-perfect location. It comes with an extensive patio space with a fireplace, a detached pergola lounge, a pool and spa, and gardens with meticulous landscaping.

More stories you might like

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Serving Up Naomi Osaka’s Budding Real Estate Portfolio: A Look at Her Two Beautiful Los Angeles Houses
Where Does Tina Turner Live Now? Her Swiss House and $76 Million ‘Weekend Retreat’
Inside Ellen Pompeo’s House and Multi-Million Dollar Real Estate Portfolio

Source: fancypantshomes.com

Dear Penny: Is It Possible for Two Retirees to Buy a Home at Age 70?

Dear Penny,
If buying your current home isn’t possible, you’ll probably need to lower your expectations. Maybe you can’t find a home in your current area, but are there affordable options an hour or two away? Would you be willing to live in a small condo instead of a house?
-Sick of Renting 
My husband and I have excellent credit and very little debt. We lost everything, including our home, in 2008. We had to declare bankruptcy to get out from under our home we bought and poured money into with new tiles, a pool and landscaping. 
Privacy Policy
But the challenge here is twofold.

The second problem is one buyers of all ages grapple with. Bidding wars are driving up selling prices above already inflated list prices in many parts of the country. Banks won’t lend you more than the appraised value. That means buyers have to come up with cash not only for a down payment, but to make up the difference between the appraised value and selling price.
Another possibility is what’s known as an asset depletion loan. Basically, your lender uses your assets instead of your income to determine how much you can afford. They’ll typically divide your assets by 360, representing 30 years of payments. For investments, the value is also typically capped at 70% of the value.
For starters, retirees are considered riskier borrowers than people who have jobs. If you’re depending on income from retirement accounts, your income can drop substantially if the stock market tanks.
Ready to stop worrying about money?

Source: thepennyhoarder.com
As you’re painfully aware, finding affordable housing will be the big challenge, whether you rent or buy. One thing to consider if you’re approved for a mortgage is asking your landlord whether he’d be willing to sell directly to you. This may be a long shot if you’re in a highly competitive area. But it’s worth asking, given that this could be convenient for him.
The bright side is that you have six months to prepare. Start talking to lenders about your options now. Also start looking at both rentals and homes for sale now, even though moving day is months away.
Get the Penny Hoarder Daily
Dear Sick,
Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Send your tricky money questions to [email protected].
These last 10 years, we’ve rented. We’ve been excellent tenants and redid the home inside and out. Now because the market here has exploded the landlord wants us to move, as he wants to cash in on the boom. He’s giving us six months. We are devastated. He always said we could stay here forever as we were perfect tenants. 
Obviously, it can take significant time to find a home in an overheated market. But if you’re buying, sometimes flexibility can help you make a stronger offer. Sometimes sellers will accept a lower offer if the buyer is willing to let them stay put for a few months because they need time to find a new home.
Related Posts
I’m not going to sugarcoat it: Now is an absurdly difficult time to buy a home when you don’t have equity to trade up. Being thrust into the madness of this housing market just as your retirement years are beginning is an especially tough blow.
It’s understandable why you want to buy so badly, given the disruption to your retirement plans. But try not to get caught up in the homebuying frenzy. Focus on what you can afford, even if that means downsizing and continuing to rent.
Going back to getting a mortgage as a retiree: When you apply for a loan, your Social Security benefits will count as income. You can also count distributions from your retirement accounts as income, but you have to be able to prove that the withdrawals will continue for at least three years after your mortgage begins. Because investments can be volatile, most lenders will only allow you to use 70% of the accounts’ values to qualify.

So if you had a million nest egg, your lender may allow you to use 0,000 of that money to qualify. Dividing 0,000 by 360, they might determine that you have about ,945 of additional monthly “income.”



Expect to grapple with these questions, even if you wind up renting again. Many landlords keep rent hikes manageable for current tenants, then jack up the rent when the tenant moves out. Though I hate to say it, you’ll probably need to increase your housing budget no matter what.

Loan amounts

  • Flexible loan duration
  • Personal watercraft financing
  • Small loan amount available

Loan amounts

Starting APR
Starting APR
LightStream really shines with their low loan amount (,000) and starting APY, but we’re most enamored with the same-day funding. Terms aren’t as flexible as some others, but for an unsecured personal loan, the loan options are still strong. There’s no minimum credit score requirement, but to qualify for boat financing from LightStream, it’s apparent you’ll need strong credit.
Late payments can bring credit scores down. If you are hoping to improve your score with a boat loan, it is important that you make all payments on time. If possible, set up automatic payments from a bank account that you keep well funded, that way you don’t even have to worry about making monthly payments on time.

Loan terms

And just like with cars, you can take out loans for both new and used boats.
Do I Have to Finance my Boat Through the Dealer?

How Boat Loans Work

APRs vary based on borrowed amount, credit history and loan term. USAA does not disclose a credit score requirement.
Home equity loans are typically recommended for investments that will increase the value of your home, like an addition, a kitchen renovation or a major landscaping project. Because these loans are risky, they are not the best choice for financing a boat.

Down Payments for Boat Loans

Credit score
More Information About LightStream
,000 to 0,000

Repayment Terms for Boat Loans

Because boat loans are for recreational purposes — and not an investment, debt consolidation or emergency expense — a traditional structured loan, where the boat serves as collateral is the best.
The process is quick (funding comes in as little as 72 hours), and terms are flexible (up to 20 year). The minimum loan amount is just ,000 and that’s a plus.

Annual Percentage Rate for Boat Loans

When making a big purchase with a decade-plus repayment term, it makes sense to shop around for your boat loan to ensure you get the lowest annual percentage rate (APY) and the best terms. Make sure loans for the type of boat you want to purchase are even offered at a lender before applying, and make note of their requirements around used boats; some lenders will not offer loans for boats that are 20 or 25 years old.

Types of Boat Loans

Up to 15 years

Secured Boat Loans

However, credit scores can be affected both positively and negatively by a boat loan. Applying for any kind of loan requires the lender to do a hard inquiry into your credit history. This does have a negative impact on your score, but the effect is minimal, and the inquiry falls off your report rather quickly. Just don’t apply for multiple boat loans, as this will result in multiple hard inquiries and a greater impact to your score.
,000 to 0,000

Unsecured Boat Loans

Key Features
What Type of Loan is Best for a Boat?

Home Equity Loans For Boats

You can apply for an unsecured personal loan with no collateral. This works just like any other personal loan, but instead of using it for a home renovation, debt consolidation or a medical emergency, you’d be funding your boat purchase with it.
Source: thepennyhoarder.com

How to Apply for a Boat Loan

Not disclosed

1. Shop Around for Boat Loans

Starting APR

2. Get Pre-Approved

Can You Get a 10-year Loan on a Boat?

3. Have All Your Paperwork Ready

4.5 out of 5 Overall

How Boat Loans Affect Your Credit Score

Key Features
Southeast Financial is great for borrowers with bad credit. The lender could offer more transparency around credit requirements, fees and interest rates, but it’s a good lender to turn to when your credit is keeping you from getting approved elsewhere.
,000 to million

The True Cost of Owning a Boat


Monthly Payments


Down Payment



iNet Lending lacks transparency in its advertising, which can be off-putting to some borrowers. Spend a little time researching a boat loan, and it won’t be entirely clear what APR you’ll be offered, what credit score you need or what fees you’ll pay at closing. So why include it? The smaller loans don’t require a downpayment and that iNet works with borrowers with challenged credit.
Up to 20 years (25 with larger down payment)

Registration and Taxes


Maintenance and Repairs

While many lenders require strong credit scores, some offer boat loans to borrowers with challenged credit. Just don’t expect to qualify for the competitive rates advertised on their site.


You can apply for a boat loan at your own bank or credit union, as well as other banks or credit unions in your community. You can also look to online lenders, marine finance companies and boat dealers themselves.


Can I Get a Boat Loan with Bad Credit?

Boat Insurance and License

Not disclosed

New Boats vs. Used Boats

Not disclosed

Pros and Cons of New Boats

We generally recommend unsecured loans only for necessities, as interest rates are high. (Because there is no collateral, lenders consider personal loans to be riskier). But if you do not qualify for a secured boat loan and think you can manage the increased cost of an unsecured loan, unsecured boat loans certainly give you more options.

We generally recommend unsecured loans only for necessities, as interest rates are high. (Because there is no collateral, lenders consider personal loans to be riskier). But if you do not qualify for a secured boat loan and think you can manage the increased cost of an unsecured loan, unsecured boat loans certainly give you more options.

Southeast Financial strives for same-day approval on loans (often fewer than 3 hours), but the actual funding can take several business days.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Boat Loans


With your down payment at the ready, you can browse for the best boat loans and apply for a set loan amount and repayment term when you’ve found the best lender for you. Interest rates will vary and depend on the strength of your credit history.
Just like with a vehicle, you have to pay an annual fee to register your boat. You’ll also pay taxes on it.
USAA is only available to current and retired military members and their families. If this does not apply to you, you won’t be eligible for a boat loan. But for those who are eligible—especially those who already use USAA for banking and insurance—it can be a great option for a boat loan.
Key Features
Credit scores
Will you need to purchase any equipment for your truck or SUV to tow your boat? Or, even more important, will you need to invest in a new vehicle to be able to tow the boat at all?
While it’s not clear to borrowers at the start of the process what even a ballpark APR might be for a boat loan with iNet, some borrowers are drawn to the no-down-payment option for boat loans under 0,000. Though iNet does not publish a minimum credit score requirement, they make it known that they’ll consider borrowers with challenged credit — and approve 75% of applicants.
Loan amounts
Best for Military Community

Credit scores
Getting a boat loan requires a fair amount of paperwork, especially when the boat is more expensive than a new car. Things you might need for the loan application includes information about your assets and debt, two years of verifiable income history and your Social Security Number and/or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

15 Common Mistakes First-Time Home Buyers Make

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Additional Resources

There’s nothing cheap about buying a home. From the down payment to closing costs, the home inspection to the home appraisal, you can wipe out your savings before ever touching the keys to your new home.

And that goes doubly for first-time home buyers, who can’t lean on the proceeds from selling their last home. You’re on your own to come up with the cash needed to buy a house.

While you can’t lower most of these costs, you can at least avoid paying too much because you’re a real estate newbie.

Common Mistakes First-Time Home Buyers Make

To minimize your financial pain as a first-time buyer, avoid these common home buying mistakes.

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1. Not Getting Preapproved for a Mortgage

When sellers review purchase offers, they want to know more than just the offer price. They also want to know how likely each buyer is to actually make it to the settlement table and how quickly each buyer can close. 

That’s why sellers often take cash offers even if they come in lower than other bids. The seller knows the buyer can close — and quickly. 

If you can’t offer cash, the next best thing you can do is include a preapproval letter from your mortgage lender. In fact, your real estate agent will likely require one before submitting offers on your behalf. 

Note that being “prequalified” is not the same as being pre-approved. A prequalification letter means next to nothing. It’s more of a marketing gimmick than anything else, where the lender says that they could approve you for a loan but won’t make any guarantees. 

In contrast, a preapproval letter means the lender has reviewed your application and conditionally approved you for a mortgage.

Bottom line: You need to line up a lender before you start making offers. 

2. Not Comparing Mortgage Lenders

Before you begin shopping for houses, you need to shop around for loans — preferably with the best mortgage lenders you can find. 

First, get a sense for the best home loan program for your situation. Depending on your qualifications, you might be able to choose from conventional mortgage loans, FHA loans, VA loans, or USDA loans. 

Familiarize yourself with these loan programs and related terminology, such as the difference between conforming and nonconforming mortgage loans. Once you know the best loan program or two for you, compare pricing quotes from different lenders. 

While each hard credit inquiry dings your score, the credit bureaus give you a grace period while you’re shopping for a mortgage. That means that you have a certain window of time, during which all hard credit pulls count as a single inquiry. 

The exact length of this window depends on the credit scoring model and score type but typically ranges from 14 to 45 days. To be safe, wait until you’re ready to get preapproved and do all your comparison shopping in the same week. 

You can also consider pulling your own credit report and verbally provide your score when shopping around. Then, once you find the best fit, you can then submit a single application to get preapproved. 

3. Not Checking Your Credit Report

You need to know what’s on your credit report in order to find the best home loan program for you.

Before you even start talking to lenders, pull your own credit report. Look it over carefully — not just your credit score, but the full report. Do you see any negative public records on it? Late payments or collections? Are there any errors? 

If you find any errors, start the process to fix them now, before you apply for a loan. 

Disclose any negative information from your credit report to lenders as you apply. Lenders want your business and will try to work with you to find a loan program that fits your credit history.

That said, your credit isn’t written in stone. Work on improving your credit score as you start your house hunt. Doing so helps you qualify for lower mortgage rates, better loan programs, and lower lender fees at settlement.

4. Applying for Other Credit at the Same Time

As outlined above, hard credit inquiries temporarily hurt your credit rating. So when you’re shopping around for a mortgage — the largest loan you’re likely to ever borrow — you want to keep your credit as pristine as possible. 

That means you should hold off on applying for new credit cards or other types of loans until after you’ve closed on your home loan. 

5. Overlooking the Hidden Costs of Homeownership

Owning a home comes with more costs than the typical renter realizes. 

Sure, you owe property taxes and you have to pay homeowners insurance premiums. But homeownership costs go far beyond those two obvious expenses. 

Until now, you’ve outsourced repairs and maintenance costs to your landlord. Not anymore.

When you buy a home, you start paying contractors for new roofs and furnaces, for emergency plumbing repairs, for electrical problems. And they add up: I recommend budgeting around 10% of your monthly mortgage payment for a home maintenance fund, which you can either hold separately or merge with your emergency fund. Alternatively, another rule of thumb recommends budgeting 1% of the total home price each year for maintenance and repairs. For a $400,000 home, that comes to $4,000 per year, or $333.33 per month.

You also have to furnish and decorate your new home, which may be far larger than your old apartment or rental home. Most new home buyers forget about these costs when they buy a larger home. 

For that matter, you have to light it, heat it, and cool it. All of which costs more for single-family homes than apartments, and the larger your new home, the more it will cost you. 

Then comes lawn care, from mowing to landscaping to gardening and beyond. You may need to buy a lawnmower, a weed trimmer, and gardening tools. Plus, if you have a patio, you’ll need furniture for that too, along with a grill.

Speaking of tools, do you own a full tool kit? If not, plan on shelling out for that as well. 

Most home buyers don’t realize when they’re shopping for a home that they’re buying a lifestyle, not just a house. And lifestyles cost money, both in the initial financial investment to buy all the accouterments and the ongoing costs in labor, time, and more money. As you shop for a home, consciously think about the lifestyle you want — and what it will realistically cost you.

6. Buying More Home Than You Can Afford

All of the expenses outlined above add to the real costs of owning a home, so you need to include them when you decide on a budget. 

Before you do anything else, revisit your entire monthly budget. In the context of all of your monthly expenses, how much do you want to spend on housing? 

And no, you can’t decide how much house you can afford based on the maximum loan amount that lenders approve. To begin with, lenders create debt-to-income ratio limits to protect themselves against losses, not to help you set an ideal savings rate. 

You have other financial goals beyond simply buying a home, such as retiring one day and possibly helping your children with their college education. It’s up to you to save and invest for these goals, regardless of how much money mortgage lenders try to shove at you. 

7. Making Emotional Decisions

Remember, housing is a monthly expense, not an “investment.” Home buyers love to justify overspending on housing to buy their dream home, by telling themselves that it’s an “investment.” But investments earn you money each month, not cost you money.

The less you spend on housing, the more you can save and invest each month, and the faster you can build wealth. Reframe the question from “What’s the most I can afford to spend on a house?” to “What’s the least I can spend on housing and still be happy?” Ask the former, and you’ll spend up to your limit. Ask the latter, and you’ll buy an affordable home that doesn’t stretch your budget.

8. Not Researching the Neighborhood

You can change your house, within reason. But you can’t change the neighborhood.

Do your homework to find the right neighborhood for you and your family. Research crime rates, local schools, walkability, and neighborhood amenities. 

For example, one factor that influenced where my wife and I chose to live is that we can get around without a car. We save a massive amount of money each year by not having car payments, auto insurance, car maintenance costs, or gas station bills. 

Try to anticipate your needs and buy a home you can live in for at least the next five years. While you can always move later as your needs change, it costs tens of thousands to move. Remember that each home you own comes with two rounds of closing costs: one set when you buy and another when you sell. 

9. Making the Wrong-Size Down Payment

Most first-time home buyers just try to get the lowest down payment possible. But that can add other costs and headaches for you.

To begin with, if you put down less than 20%, the lender charges you mortgage insurance. That can add hundreds of dollars to your monthly payment. 

For conventional loans, you can remove private mortgage insurance (PMI) from your loan once you pay the balance down below 80% of the property value. But FHA loans, which are famous for allowing down payments as low as 3.5%, force you to keep paying mortgage insurance for the entire life of the loan. That adds many thousands of dollars to your loan over time.

A low down payment also raises the risk of becoming upside-down on your home. This is when you owe more on your mortgage than your home is worth. 

10. Draining Your Savings

You need to maintain some savings for emergencies. Otherwise even small surprise expenses can throw you into a financial tailspin. 

Many lenders even require you to keep a certain amount of money held as cash reserves when you settle. 

Keep at least one month’s living expenses in your emergency savings account when you settle on a home. You’re better off with even more in your emergency savings — three to six months’ expenses if possible.

11. Overlooking First-Time Homebuyer Programs

You’d be surprised at the resources available to first-time home buyers, especially lower-income buyers. 

Start with the National Homebuyers Fund, which offers grants to low-income buyers. But don’t stop there — every state offers its own grants, down payment assistance programs, and other help for first-time home buyers. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) maintains a list of local programs that can help.

Some banks also connect homebuyers with down payment grants and other assistance, such as Bank of America and Chase. Beyond the major corporate banks, also call up local community banks and credit unions, as they may offer their own local programs.

12. Overlooking FHA, VA & USDA Loans

The Federal Housing Administration designed its FHA mortgage loan specifically to help first-time homebuyers with modest incomes and less-than-perfect credit. With a credit score of just 580, you can potentially qualify for a 3.5% down payment loan. Even borrowers with credit scores between 500 to 579 can qualify for just 10% down. 

Just beware that you’ll end up paying mortgage insurance for the entire life of the loan. That adds an unavoidable cost that conventional mortgage borrowers don’t have to pay.

For military veterans, it’s hard to beat VA loans. These come with an unbeatable 0% down payment, for qualifying borrowers. It remains an outstanding perk of serving.

Buyers in rural areas can also take advantage of 0% down payment loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

13. Not Budgeting for Closing Costs

Closing costs add up to thousands of dollars when you buy a home. 

From lender fees to title company fees, transfer taxes to government recording fees, expect to open your wallet wide at closing. Lenders do provide a Good Faith Estimate document early in the loan process that breaks down expected closing costs. Unfortunately, these costs often rise before closing. 

But you can ask for a seller concession when you make your purchase offer. In this way, the seller can cover your closing costs, reducing your out-of-pocket expenses. However, in a seller’s market, it’s far from guaranteed a seller will go along. Ask your real estate agent if it’s wise to incorporate seller concessions into your contract offer and negotiation strategy. 

14. Not Budgeting for Moving Costs

Even if you rope some friends into helping you move, you can still expect hundreds of dollars in truck rental costs and pizza delivery.

If you pay a moving service, plan on spending thousands rather than hundreds. 

It’s one more expense that most people fail to consider until moving day arrives. So they whip out their credit card and dig themselves into a hole they can’t really afford.

Before you even start your house hunt, budget for moving expenses. Research truck rental costs or moving company costs, then set aside money for your moving expenses separately from the funds you’ve saved for your down payment and closing costs.

15. Skipping a Home Inspection

Yes, home inspections cost you hundreds of dollars. And they’re worth every penny.

You need to know what you’re getting yourself into when you buy a home. Home inspectors spend hours poking and prodding the property, looking behind every access panel, peering into every nook and cranny. They report back to you with the condition, age, and remaining life expectancy of every mechanical system and utility in the property. That includes plumbing, electrical, heating, cooling, septic, and more.

Home inspectors also look for hidden problems such as mold, foundation issues, or structural problems. These are the sorts of nightmares that can cost you tens of thousands later on if you discover them after settlement rather than before.

Never, ever skip the home inspection. Talk to your real estate agent about home inspection contingency clauses before seeing homes. If they say that the local market is so hot that sellers are rejecting these clauses, consider taking a home inspector or other home improvement expert with you when seeing properties. To avoid paying someone to tour every house with you, you can bring them on second viewings only.

And don’t just glance over it, once you receive it. Read it cover to cover. If you see any surprises, approach the seller to ask them to either lower the price accordingly, pay for repairs, or release you from the contract of sale.

Final Word

As you set a housing budget and explore your options, consider getting creative. 

One of my favorite budgeting tricks is house hacking, which involves using your home to generate income to offset your housing costs. The classic model involves buying a multifamily property and renting out the other unit or units, so the rents cover your mortgage payment. But you can also rent to housemates, set up a basement or garage apartment, build an external accessory dwelling unit (ADU), or rent part of the home out on Airbnb. A friend of mine even rented out her garage as storage space to help cover her housing costs. 

If you look into saving money by buying a foreclosure or a fixer-upper, stick with cosmetic improvements unless you have a background in home improvement. Mechanical systems and structural problems can come with all kinds of unexpected headaches, including permits. 

Buying a home will cost you more than you realize, so budget extra for surprise expenses. When in doubt, spend less rather than more on a home. 

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Since 2017, Masterworks has successfully sold three paintings, each realizing a net anualized gain of +30% per work. (This is not an indication of Masterworks’ overall performance and past performance is not indicative of future results.)

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G. Brian Davis is a real estate investor, personal finance writer, and travel addict mildly obsessed with FIRE. He spends nine months of the year in Abu Dhabi, and splits the rest of the year between his hometown of Baltimore and traveling the world.

Source: moneycrashers.com

13 Of The Best Independent Contractor Jobs

Are you looking for a job that allows more freedom and flexibility? If so, working as an independent contractor may be the perfect solution for you. Independent contracting offers many benefits, which we’ll cover in this article.

There are many different types of independent contractor jobs available, so no matter what your skills or interests are, there’s sure to be an ideal fit. Check out this list of 13 of the best independent contractor jobs to see if one of them is right for you.

Independent Contractor Jobs

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Zirtual and Vasumo hire VAs for independent contractor jobs and provide them with work. Another option is to start your own business as a freelancer and find clients on your own. The highest-paid VAs usually go out on their own.

Income potential: According to PayScale, the average annual salary for a virtual assistant is $42,555.

Getting started: If you want to learn how to build a successful business as a VA, Gina Horkey’s Fully Booked VA is an outstanding resource.

2. Freelance Writer

If you have some writing skills, there are plenty of opportunities to work as a freelance writer. While there are many different services you could offer as a freelancer, writing has an advantage over most of the others because of ongoing work.

Many of the clients who hire freelance writers manage websites and blogs that constantly need new content. As a result, it’s common to find ongoing writing gigs. With some recurring work secured, you won’t need to dedicate your precious time to finding new clients, which means you can spend more of your time doing the work that brings in money.

You might come across some mixed messages when it comes to freelance writing, and that’s because there’s a very wide range of jobs out there. Some gigs pay very low rates. These are typically businesses or entrepreneurs who outsource work to writers in developing countries. But don’t assume, like some people do, that all freelance writing jobs offer low pay. There are also plenty of clients willing to pay outstanding rates for skilled writers.

Income potential: According to PayScale, the average freelance writer makes $40,000 per year.

Getting started: Holly Johnson’s Earn More Writing is one of the most thorough courses for anyone who wants to make money as a freelance writer.

3. Proofreader


Working remotely as a proofreader is one of the most overlooked independent contractor jobs. There are opportunities for proofreading books, magazine articles, technical articles, blog posts, and more.

It’s possible to start a freelance proofreading business and earn a great income either part-time or full-time, depending on what you’re looking for.

To succeed as a proofreader, you’ll need excellent spelling and grammar skills, and you’ll need to be highly detailed.

Income potential: According to PayScale, the average proofreader makes $45,846 per year.

Getting started: Caitlin Pyle’s Proofread Anywhere is the best resource available if you’re looking to get started as a proofreader.

4. Social Media Manager

Almost every business needs to have some sort of presence on social media, and many of them prefer to outsource this work to a contractor. If you have experience with platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you could offer services related to many pages and profiles for businesses and entrepreneurs.

Aside from simply managing social profiles for clients and scheduling posts, another option is to manage social media ads for clients. Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest in particular offer a lot of opportunities for advertisers, but many small businesses don’t have the resources or expertise to handle advertising campaigns in-house.

Income potential: PayScale reports that the average social media manager earns $52,789 per year.

Getting started: Bobby Hoyt’s Facebook Ads Side Hustle course is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to make money part-time or even full-time.

5. Delivery Driver

The opportunities we’ve covered so far all offer excellent income potential, but it may take some time to build up your business and land clients. If you need to start making money right away, or if you don’t want to deal with building a business of your own, working as a delivery driver might be the right option.

Thanks to companies and apps like DoorDash, Postmates, Uber Eats, and Instacart, there are plenty of opportunities. In most cases, you’ll need to wait a few days to pass a background check, and then you can start working right away.

This is a completely flexible gig, so you can work whenever it fits into your schedule, as much or as little as you want.

Income potential: Delivery drivers can make $20+ per hour, including tips. However, it’s important to remember that you’ll be putting additional miles on your car and spending money on gas, which will offset some of what you’ll earn.

Getting started: All you need to do is sign up with the company of your choice and go through the application process. You should be able to start working within a few days.

6. Bookkeeper

If you have some experience with bookkeeping or accounting from a previous job, working as a remote bookkeeper could be an ideal independent contractor job. The pay is excellent and this is a service that will always be needed.

Working as a bookkeeper could be an ideal way to make some money from home part-time, or you could turn it into a full-time business.

Contrary to what you might think, you don’t need extensive experience to work as a bookkeeper. Quickbooks can be learned relatively fast, and you don’t need any accounting experience or a CPA.

Income potential: According to PayScale, the average annual salary for a bookkeeper is $44,337.

Getting started: Bookkeepers.com provides the training you need to develop bookkeeping skills and start building your client base, even if you have no experience.

7. Photographer


Photography is a hobby for millions of people, but it’s also a realistic and practical way to make money. Working as a freelance photographer is an outstanding opportunity for those who want a part-time income. Growing to a full-time income is possible but much more challenging, partly because there are so many part-time photographers out there.

As a freelancer, you could photograph families, kids, newborns, sports teams, school or community groups, couples, weddings, and more. There are also many other ways to make money, like licensing stock photos, selling prints, photographing real estate, leading tours or workshops, and more.

Income potential: The average annual income for a freelance photograph is $47,500, according to PayScale.

Getting started: The easiest way to get started is to offer services to people you know. Talk to your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and everyone you know to see if they have an interest in hiring you (especially families). You can probably find your first few clients from your existing personal network.

8. Graphic Designer

If you have some artistic or design skills, working as a graphic designer would be a natural fit. Designers are needed for brochures and other marketing materials, websites, blog and social media images, product labels and packaging, and much more.

This is an opportunity that could be done part-time, or you could scale up and build a full-time business. There’s plenty of work available, and the demand for skilled designers isn’t going to decrease anytime in the near future.

Income potential: The average salary for a graphic designer is $54,000 per year, according to PayScale.

Getting started: Websites like Fiverr and Upwork present opportunities to start finding work. Of course, you may also be able to find your first clients on your own through your existing network.

9. Trash Cleaner

Here’s one you probably haven’t considered. Many businesses, including retail stores, strip malls, and office buildings, have a need for trash cleanup services to keep their parking lots clean. This is an easy service that just about anyone can do, with no experience required.

Brian Winch, the creator of Cleanlots, calls it “America’s simplest business.” The startup costs are extremely low, the work is easy, and the income potential is outstanding. Brian has been earning a six-figure income since the 1980s with his own trash cleanup business.

You can do the work yourself, or outsource it to other people. That means this is an ideal business for scaling and growing since it relies on inexpensive and unskilled labor.

Income potential: Exceeding $100,000 of annual income is realistic by following the Cleanlots system.

Getting started: Brian Winch’s book Cleanlots covers everything you need to know to start a profitable trash cleanup bonus. Students also get access to support from Brian, which is extremely valuable.

10. House Cleaner

A house cleaning business is relatively simple to set up, and you don’t need extensive experience. One of the benefits of this business model is the repeat business that you’ll get from many of your clients. People may hire you to clean once a week or a few times per month.

While it’s not the highest-paying gig, there’s still enough income potential that it could be part-time or full-time.

Income potential: According to PayScale, the average annual income for a house cleaner is $26,900.

Getting started: Read this guide on how to start a cleaning business for the steps you should follow.

11. Landscaper


If you enjoy working outdoors, yard work and landscaping could be a good fit. You might offer mowing services, gardening, trimming, and other landscaping services. Starting small with something simple like mowing could be a good choice because you won’t need a lot of expensive equipment if you already have a lawnmower.

This type of work is seasonal, but you could also offer leaf cleanup in the fall and snow removal in the winter to stay busy throughout the year.

Income potential: The average landscaper makes $36,294, according to PayScale.

Getting started: Follow these step-by-step instructions on how to start a landscaping or lawn care business.

12. Pet Sitter

Animal lovers have an excellent opportunity to make money as a pet sitter. This could be a doggy daycare where you watch people’s pets while they’re at work, or you could offer overnight services for people who are traveling. The overnight stays tend to pay the best.

Pet sitting is an excellent opportunity for people who are normally at home during the day. For example, stay-at-home moms or dads can make some extra money while being home with kids and pets.

Income potential: The average pet sitter makes $30,500 per year, according to PayScale.

Getting started: Rover is an excellent resource for allowing clients to find you. You can create a profile and pet owners in your local area will see you when they look for a pet sitter.

13. Dog Walker

Many dog owners don’t have the time, or aren’t physically able to walk their dogs regularly. Working as a dog walker requires no particular skills or experience, you just need to be healthy enough to do a lot of walking. Think of it as getting paid to get exercise.

With people having increasingly busy schedules with work and personal activities, the need for dog walkers isn’t likely to go away anytime soon.

Dog walking is also an excellent service to offer if you’re also pet sitting. You can offer clients the option to pay an additional fee for walking.

Income potential: PayScale reports that the average dog walker makes $32,492 per year.

Getting started: Rover also allows you to list services as a dog walker so people in your local area can find you.

Where To Find Independent Contractor Jobs

When you’re ready to move forward, here are some helpful resources for finding the best independent contractor jobs.

  • Fiverr – Create different gigs or services as a freelancer.
  • Upwork – Bid on job listings for freelance work.
  • Craigslist – Place a classified ad in your local area.
  • FlexJobs – A job board exclusively for remote jobs, including some freelance gigs.
  • Solid Gigs – A job board the focuses exclusively on freelance jobs.

Final Thoughts On Independent Contractor Jobs

If you desire more flexibility in your life, working as a freelancer or independent contractor could be the solution. Thankfully, there are plenty of opportunities today. Here, we’ve covered the best independent contractor jobs, how much you can make, and how to get started. Now, it’s your turn to take action. Good luck!

The Best Independent Contractor Jobs

13 Of The Best Independent Contractor Jobs

Source: biblemoneymatters.com

Spotlight On: Jeff Bezos’ House in Los Angeles and His Many Other Sprawling Mansions

As one might assume, billionaire Jeff Bezos’ real estate portfolio is rather impressive.

Being the second wealthiest person in the world (only a few billion behind Tesla CEO Elon Musk), Bezos owns several multi-million dollar mansions in the United States.

The grandest of his compounds comes with the most popular zip code in America.

Located in none other than Beverly Hills, Calif., the Amazon billionaire recently bought two estates in the 90210 area — one of which shattered all previous records to become the most expensive home ever sold in California.

If you’re looking for a serious case of real estate envy, or just wondering what one of America’s richest man spends his money on, today we’re bringing all of Jeff Bezos’ houses back into the spotlight.

Jeff Bezos’ house in Beverly Hills is one for the history books

Just before the pandemic hit, the Amazon founder purchased the Warner estate, a piece of Hollywood history that was owned by fellow billionaire David Geffen.

Making California real estate history, Bezos bought the compound from Geffen for a whopping $165 million, which made it the most expensive home sale in California’s history at the time (the record deal was later dethroned by fellow billionaire Marc Andreessen’s $177 million purchase of a Malibu mansion).

The Warner estate was originally built by Jack Warner, the cofounder and former president of Warner Bros — one of the world’s biggest entertainment conglomerates, particularly known for its film studio.

The Warner brothers, from left to right: Albert, Jack, Harry and Sam Warner — founders of Warner Bros. Entertainment.
The Warner brothers, from left to right: Albert, Jack, Harry and Sam Warner — founders of Warner Bros. Entertainment. Photo credit: Unknown photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Acquiring three acres of former farmland in 1937, Warner built a home, golf course and two ponds on the now posh Beverly Hills land.

Over the years, Warner purchased more land, totaling eight acres on what is now known as one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in the world.

Once built, the California compound became Hollywood’s playground with extravagant A-list parties attended by celebrities such as Olivia de Havilland, Jimmy Stewart and Howard Hughes, Business Insider reports. 

After Warner died in 1978, his widow Ann Warner remained in the house until her death in 1990, which is when music and movie tycoon David Geffen (worth an estimated $9 billion) purchased the Beverly Hills compound. At the time, the sale set a record since Geffen purchased the entire estate, including Warner’s elaborate art collection, for $47.5 million.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Geffen spent $45 million renovating the plush property, including $20 million on landscaping alone.

Aerial view of Jeff Bezos' house in Los Angeles, bought for a record $165 million from fellow billionaire David Geffen.
Aerial view of Jeff Bezos’ house in Los Angeles, bought for a record $165 million from fellow billionaire David Geffen. Photo credit: Google Maps

As reported by the Observer, Bezos and his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez had been house-hunting in Los Angeles for months, and finally settled on the eight-acre Warner estate, situated in the exclusive Benedict Canyon neighborhood of Beverly Hills.

Surrounded by tall hedges, blocked off by a large gate and hidden from the street, the estate offers the utmost privacy for the Bezos-Sanchez family.

Boasting 13,600 square feet of living space in the main mansion alone, the property also features two stunning guest houses and oodles of luxurious outdoor amenities.

The main Georgian-style home offers eight bedrooms and nine bathrooms. According to The Wall Street Journal, the compound includes floors once owned by none other than Napoleon.

And according to the Architectural Digest, the estate boasts a screening room, expansive bar, and elaborate dining room to fit 14+ guests.  

The luxurious outdoor amenities include a tennis court, stunning gardens, large pool, hot tub, nine-hole golf course and a motor court with a garage and gas pumps.

He also bought the house next door to the Warner estate

A few months after purchasing the Warner estate, Bezos added to his Beverly Hills real estate portfolio. The father-of-four, 58, bought the home next door for $10 million.

Exterior of a smaller three-bedroom house Jeff Bezos bought next door to his Beverly Hills mansion.
A smaller three-bedroom house Jeff Bezos bought next door to his Beverly Hills mansion. Image credit: Realtor.com

The Benedict Canyon house shares a hedge line with the Warner estate, according to Dirt — prompting speculation that the tech billionaire is looking to further expand his already-massive property.

Built in the 1930s, the home features three bedrooms, five bathrooms, six fireplaces, an outdoor patio and rose and vegetable gardens. 

No word yet if the Amazon billionaire plans to knock it down to add to the (already huge) California compound, or, offer it to his ex-wife MacKenzie Scott whom he co-parents and shares four children with. 

A look at Bezos’ homes outside the 90210

As Bezos’ fortune grew, so did his real estate portfolio.

Now worth an estimated $176 billion, the Amazon founder has set up residence in several cities across the U.S.A.

Here’s a quick look at the other homes inside the billionaire’s enviable real estate portfolio.

Seattle, Washington:

Bezos founded Amazon in the beautiful Pacific North West, and that’s exactly where he purchased his first multi-million dollar mansion.

In the exclusive Medina neighborhood of Seattle — neighboring the longtime home of fellow billionaire Bill Gates — Bezos put down $10 million on his first home, Architectural Digest reports.

A few years later, the Amazon billionaire bought the property next door and invested $28 million to renovate the combined 5.3-acres of exclusive waterfront property. 

New York City, New York:

Bezos also owns four different apartments in the same Art Deco-style Manhattan building.

Three of the four luxurious condos were purchased from music mogul Tommy Mottola (a.k.a. former Mr. Mariah Carey).

212 Fifth Ave apartments bought by Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos’ condos are set atop of Manhattan’s iconic 212 Fifth Ave building. Photo credit: Visual House / StreetEasy

The NYC homes include a three-story penthouse and the units directly below it. According to Business Insider, the condos span 17,000 square feet and 12+ bedrooms.

Van Horn, Texas:

Of course, every billionaire needs a base for their private space company. And Bezos is no exception.

In 2004, the online mogul bought some serious land — a whopping 30,000 acres — in West Texas, New York Post reports.

Having grown up on his grandparents’ ranch outside Cotulla, Bezos bought nearby and put millions into renovating the Texan land, now known as Corn Ranch or Launch Site One.

While the property is the base for his space company Blue Origin, it also boasts a U-shaped ranch house featuring 12 bedrooms, a guest house and a barn.

Washington, D.C.:

Since he’s the owner of The Washington Post, Bezos purchased the former Textile Museum in Washington, D.C. for $23 million in 2016.

Located in the upscale D.C. neighborhood of Kalorama, Bezos dished out an additional $12 million to renovate the building into a cozy home, The Washingtonian reports.

Bezos owns the Tucker House and Myers House, two historic buildings in Washington, DC that were previously home to the Textile Museum.
Bezos owns the Tucker House and Myers House, two historic buildings in Washington, DC that were previously home to the Textile Museum. Photo credit: AgnosticPreachersKid, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Boasting a brick exterior and stately Roman columns, the 27,000 square-foot building, originally built in 1914, now features ten bedrooms, eight full bathrooms, six powder rooms and eleven fireplaces. 

Maui, Hawaii

In 2021, Bezos coughed up $78 million for a stunning estate in La Perouse Bay, Maui.

Breaking records for the priciest home in Maui, the multi-million dollar compound is located in the town of Wailea, Architectural Digest reports.

Boasting 14 acres, a 4,500 square-foot main house, a 1,700 square-foot guest house and 700-square foot pool, the exclusive waterfront property features a private white sand beach. 

More stories you might like

Everything You Need to Know About Bill Gates’ Extraordinary House, Xanadu 2.0
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Mark Cuban’s Million-Dollar-Mansions are the Definition of Luxury Living
Grant Cardone’s Houses: A $40M Malibu Beach Home and a Unique Mansion in Florida

Source: fancypantshomes.com

Making the Most Out of Your Self-Guided Apartment Tours

Taking a self-guided tour gives you a low-pressure situation to look closely at a potential home. Take advantage of the opportunity if you can.

Seeing something before you buy (or rent) it is pretty standard when you’re shelling out hundreds of bucks for it. When it comes to renting a new apartment, this is especially true.

It’s often recommended you see at least three apartments when on the hunt, and that means scheduling tours. Traditionally, those tours happened with a leasing agent on hand. They’d walk you through and show you the highlights of any available units, as well as the amenity spaces throughout the building.

This is still helpful, but can also lead prospective tenants to feel pressured into sealing the deal once they’ve seen any apartment units.

To eliminate this issue and give you a little more freedom when it comes to touring a potential home, ask about doing it on your own. Getting access to an apartment for a self-guided tour are a much better experience all around.

What are self-guided apartment tours?

Touring an available unit in-person is one of the best ways to get a feeling for the space. Virtual tours are no longer the only option when it comes to social distancing, and a leasing office may offer self-guided apartment tours now as an alternative.

While a traditional tour consisted of an in-person experience for prospective residents, it was usually accompanied by the leasing agent. Prospective tenants weren’t searching through the property themselves on their own schedule.

A self-guided tour removes leasing agents from the equation, allowing you to access places with the ability to explore the unit free of any pressure or constraints. The process involves making an appointment, like with a traditional tour, but it’s totally dependent on your free time. You no longer have to coordinate schedules with a guide.

Couple checking out an apartment

Couple checking out an apartment

How do self-guided tours work?

To request a self-guided apartment tour, you must make an appointment. The best way to do this is by contacting the leasing office. You may have to fill out an online application and provide a credit card number to protect the leasing agent from any damages that may occur during the tour. Some situations may also require a quick background check.

Once all that’s complete, you pick a time slot that works best within your existing free time, and you’re ready for your visit.

When you arrive, you shouldn’t have to wait at all to gain access to the unit. You’ll most likely receive a code to use on a smart lock or even get access to an app that turns your smartphone into a one-time key. Expect to see cameras in the unit though to monitor your tour from a distance.

What you can do before the tour even starts

If you want to do even more exploring around the building, you can arrive for your tour a little early and scope out a few additional spots around the property, including:

Looking at all of these features before you even begin a self-guided tour can help give you the big picture of what living here would be like. Things that aren’t up to par are a clear sign to not live here. You can even complete this exterior review before scheduling any self-guided tours by hopping in your car and taking a drive-by trip of your top choices.

Scope out the neighborhood before you look at an apartment.

Scope out the neighborhood before you look at an apartment.

How to narrow down your choices

Although a self-guided apartment tour makes it easier to see more places on your own than if you had to schedule a guided tour, you still want to narrow down the options for your next apartment beforehand. Seeing too many possibilities can take the fun out of your hunt, and make it more complicated to remember what you liked about each space. Renters may end up with so many choices, it’s impossible to pick one.

Instead, before you begin visiting, use the renter’s information available online to save time and narrow down your possible home list. To do this:

This preparation will save you time when it comes to self touring since you won’t have to waste any time finding slots for a rental without the right amenities. You won’t contact places you’d never rent. You also won’t lose interest while searching by overdoing it.

Make sure the apartment works for you.

Make sure the apartment works for you.

What to look for on a self-guided apartment tour

Once you’re in the apartment, with the freedom of touring the space completely on your own, use the time well. Walking slowly through lets you inspect everything. You may even want to enlist friends to join you for the visit. An extra pair of eyes is never a bad thing.

When walking through, focus on:

If something isn’t working, that can get fixed, it’s not as much of an issue as something that signifies the building isn’t well-cared for (like water stains from a leak). It’s up to you to decide what pushes the apartment over the edge into the ‘it’s not for me’ category.

Red flags to watch out for

As you check the general status of everything, you and your group of trusted supporters need to watch out for specific red flags, including:

You should also trust your gut as the biggest red flag. If you don’t feel right in the building or see anything that makes you uncomfortable, this is not your future home.

The benefits of a self-guided tour

Being able to schedule a self-guided apartment tour opens you up to a much better experience as you hunt. You’re able to go at your own pace on your own time. You’re able to control the schedule, as well. This ensures you won’t run into other prospective tenants. It also allows you to pick an off time when a guided tour wouldn’t be possible. You don’t have to have any contact with leasing agents unless you want to, which means you could even tour at night.

Setting up a day of self-guided tours also means more tours are possible one after another. This saves you a lot of time in finding the perfect place to rent. The environment is also pressure-free, allowing you to closely look at both the home and the amenity spaces to gauge how you feel about all the apartments you like.

There are really very few arguments against a self-guided apartment tour other than the fact that you won’t have a leasing agent on hand to answer questions. However, it’s easy to contact them after your tour to ask questions and discuss submitting an application if you discover this is the place for you.

A leasing agent may not have your best interest at heart.

A leasing agent may not have your best interest at heart.

How a leasing agent can derail your tour

In the opposite corner of the benefits of self-guided tours, having someone from the property with you could completely ruin an apartment tour.

If they’re trying to hide anything, they could rush you through making it hard to catch some hard-to-see red flags. You could end up with an idealized version of the place, which could make it a very disappointing home once you move in. Also, having someone watching you over your shoulder could make it hard to feel comfortable inspecting the place.

There’s also the pressure a leasing agent could bring to the tour, making you feel like you need to sign a lease as soon as you’re done looking around. A request to fill out an application could feel forced since you did take up their time going on the tour itself.

Although a good property manager won’t do these things, there’s no way to know what kind of person they are in this first meeting. Self-guided tours remove all these issues from the equation.

Touring is only one part of the rental process

Apartment tours are a major part of renting an apartment, but they’re not the only piece. There’s a lot to do when going through the entire process of renting, but each step leads to you finding your next apartment.

As prospective residents, it’s up to you to treat every step with care, which includes setting up a property tour that gives you the ability to make up your own mind on where you’ll next call home.

Source: rent.com

What To Know About Personal Loans to Buy Land

If you don’t have the cash on hand to buy land, you may have considered using a personal loan for the purchase. Using a personal loan to buy land can be an option, but there may be others depending on your financial situation. Here, you’ll get information that might help if you’re wondering if you can use a personal loan to buy land.

What Are Personal Loans?

Personal loans work as a flexible source of funds that can be used for a variety of purposes. Since they’re typically unsecured loans — there isn’t collateral backing them up — lenders may consider them high-risk loans.

Recommended: What Are Personal Loans Used For? And How to Apply 

Why Use a Personal Loan to Buy Land?

A borrower might think about using a personal loan to buy land if they don’t have enough savings to buy outright the land they plan to build a home on.

A Personal Loan May Be Cheaper Than Other Financing Options

It may be a more affordable option to use a personal loan for a land purchase if you qualify for a lower annual percentage rate (APR) on the loan. If your credit score is high enough and you have a solid credit history, you might be able to find a personal loan with a better interest rate or more favorable terms than a land loan.

A Personal Loan May Offer Shorter Loan Terms

Some personal loans offer shorter loan terms than land loans. If you think you could pay off the personal loan quickly, it might make sense to have a shorter time frame to work with in order to pay down this debt before tackling the home mortgage debt.

Reasons Not To Use a Personal Loan to Buy Land

There are some things you may want to consider when choosing to finance for your land purchase, and whether a personal loan is the best type of loan for your financial situation.

•   A personal loan might offer higher interest rates than other types of financing that are specifically for land purchases.

•   Your credit may not be strong enough to get a personal loan for land at the rate you want.

•   You might not receive favorable terms for a personal loan if your credit score is merely average.

•   A personal loan will likely need to be paid off quicker than a land loan.

•   Having a personal loan can affect mortgages and the rates or terms you may be offered. If you have multiple personal loans and a high debt-to-income ratio or if you apply for a mortgage within a short time after you borrowed the personal loan, your credit score could decrease, possibly affecting your mortgage qualification.

Recommended: 11 Types of Personal Loans & Their Differences

Personal Loan vs Land Loan

Personal Loan Land Loan
Loan proceeds can be used for many purposes Loan is specifically for purchase of land
Can be secured or unsecured Generally an unsecured loan
Loan terms typically between one and five years May have terms between 10 and 30 years
Potentially high interest rates (10% to 25% APR) depending on applicant’s creditworthiness More likely to have an APR of 4% to 5% depending on the type of land being financed
Higher interest rate can mean the loan will cost more over time Interest costs could be lower than on a personal loan

Different Kinds of Land Purchases

Land to be purchased can come in a few different types. You might be looking at a plot of land that doesn’t have any improvements or a lot in a subdivision that’s ready for construction.

Raw Land

Land that has no improvements at all is raw land. There are no utility lines on the land, there may be no easy access to it, and it has typically never had housing developed on it.

Unimproved Land

A step up from raw land is unimproved land, which sounds like the same thing but is different in a few ways. Unimproved land generally has easier access than raw land — there may be a road leading to it — and it may have accessible utility lines — but no meters or boxes specifically for one home. It may never have had a home built on it, but it would likely be easier to do so than on raw land.

Finished Lots

A lot in a neighborhood or subdivision is generally referred to as a finished lot or improved land. There are typically completed roads and sidewalks and utilities ready to be hooked up to individual homes. The landscape may have been graded or leveled so a build can start relatively easily.

Raw Land Unimproved Land Finished Lot
No improvements whatsoever May have nearby utility lines available to access Generally, ready for building to start, with utilities and roads in place
May not have easy access via any type of road May have a road nearby or leading to it, but the road may be unpaved Usually accessible via paved roads
Offers creative freedom to potential home builder, within limits of any codes or ordinances in place Likely similar to raw land, in that there may be few building restrictions May be limitations to design, landscaping, and other aesthetics based on community guidelines

What Type of Loan Should You Use to Develop Land?

Borrowing money to develop land involves some extra considerations beyond buying a lot in a subdivision. Thinking about what you want to do with the land, whether you have the time to manage a construction project, as well as whether you are prepared to take on more debt for a mortgage once the land is developed and ready for a build are all things that will need to be explored.

•   Land Only Loan: This type of loan means you’ve secured a plot of land you may want to build on in the future, but you may not be ready to right now or you may still be looking for the right contractor to work with.

•   Construction Loan: With this type of loan, you’ll work with a contractor to decide on a budget for the home construction and connect with a bank to get a loan that allows you to use loan funds as you need them, similar to a line of credit.

Alternatives to Land Loans and Personal Loans to Buy Land

A personal loan or a land loan are just two possibilities for financing a land purchase. If neither of those options work for your financial situation, you may want to consider others.

USDA Loans

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has loans available to help borrowers buy land. Section 523 loans can be used for housing to be constructed via a Self-Help method. Section 524 loans are designed for low-income and moderate-income families to buy land with more lenient home construction limits.

Recommended: What is a USDA Loan and Who Qualifies?


A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) is a line of credit secured by the equity in the borrower’s home. It’s often used to make repairs on a home or it can be used to purchase a rental property or improve an investment property. A HELOC may have lower interest rates than a personal loan.

SBA 504 Loans

These loans are designed for commercial real estate and construction. Usually, the borrower is using the SBA 504 loan for raw land, existing buildings, or purchasing or constructing a building on leased land. The business must occupy at least 60% of the land or building and have plans to occupy at least 80% within the next decade.

Seller Financing

Also called owner financing, this is a method of financing the land purchase in which the buyer repays the seller in monthly payments. An advantage to this method is that there generally aren’t restrictions on the types of land or construction that can be bought or sold with it and it can be used by anyone.

Considering a Personal Loan for a Land Purchase?

Deciding if you should use a personal loan to buy land is a decision that requires a lot of thought. Factor in your creditworthiness and how much money you need to borrow, what you plan to use the land for, as well as your target interest rate and loan term in your ideal scenario.

After researching the costs of buying vs. building a house, you might even decide that buying an existing home is the easiest option for you.

The Takeaway

Saving money for a cash land purchase may not be an option for you, or maybe you’d rather use your cash for other purposes. Whatever your reasons for financing a land purchase, there are a number of financing options available.

After comparing different options, you’ve decided that a personal loan is the right option for you, a SoFi Personal Loan could be a good fit. With no fees and competitive interest rates, an unsecured personal loan from SoFi could make that land purchase complete in a relatively short time.

Find your rate in just one minute.

Photo credit: iStock/Nicholas Smith

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. A hard credit pull, which may impact your credit score, is required if you apply for a SoFi product after being pre-qualified.

Source: sofi.com

5 Common Reasons for Being Denied Homeowners Insurance

Buying a home is a complicated process, especially for first-time homebuyers.

Yet, purchasing a property is one of the landmark moments in many peoples’ lives, and a home is often a family’s most valuable asset. Therefore, it’s incredibly important to make sure that it has the proper insurance coverage. Some homes, however, can be more difficult to get homeowners insurance for than others. Being denied homeowners insurance is likely to scuttle the deal with a mortgage company.

There are several reasons why obtaining homeowners insurance can be difficult, from where the home is located to who occupies it and what it is being used for. In addition, issues like flooding, wildfires, construction, and renters can all factor into whether or not you can receive homeowners insurance coverage.

5 Common Reasons Insurance Companies Deny a House

This article will lists five of the major factors why obtaining a policy can be difficult (or impossible) for certain houses and how to prevent or resolve these issues so that you can have success with an insurance provider.

1. The House Is Structurally Unusual

The first major category and the hardest to resolve problems for home insurance coverage relate to homes that are structurally unusual. Structural issues involve questions of what type of home it is or what it is made out of. Alternative homes are becoming increasingly popular as buyers seek to find ways around high home prices.

However, homes made of unconventional materials or unusual construction fall under this category and create hurdles to getting a home insurance policy. It includes houses like barndominiums, or barndos, which are barns that have been converted into a residential home. Other unusual home construction includes cloth or canvas homes like yurts, A-frames, dome houses, and even mobile homes and trailers. Tiny homes can also fall under this category making the hunt to find coverage more painstaking.

For some of these types of homes, there are special policies that cover them. In other cases, you may have to find the right homeowners’ insurance company that will underwrite a policy because of the house’s unique status.

Older homes, properties under construction, and homes with severe flaws that need fixing may also be difficult to insure. Typically, houses that are over 50 years old have to be updated by having rewiring, plumbing, and other updates done. Houses under construction need a special type of insurance called “course of construction” insurance. Sometimes this is called builder’s risk insurance.

Remember, the purpose of purchasing homeowners insurance is to mitigate risk. Married couples may find they also need joint life insurance as additional protection.

It is good to be aware of these issues and to make sure to discuss them with a real estate agent or better yet, talk to mortgage lenders or an insurance company before you make an offer. Ensuring you can obtain insurance is as important as having your financing in order.

2. The House Is in a Risky Location

It’s hard enough to find a home in 2022, but it’s important you find a home in the right place. Some homes may be located in an area that puts them at a particular type of risk, like hurricanes, flooding, and forest fires. Houses in dense bush or forest areas may be deemed too high-risk as well. Houses in a flood zone can often only buy insurance if they purchase a separate flood policy.

Location, location, location has always been the driving mantra when looking for a home but that usually had to do with its proximity to work and schools, not so much about insurance requirements. There are now other factors to thinking about a home’s location in the house hunting process.

Finally, if your home is inaccessible or difficult to access, you may have trouble becoming insured. Houses that are difficult for emergency services, like police and fire, to get to may have higher premiums or be denied homeowners insurance.

Ensuring you select an area without some of these risk factors will make acquiring homeowners insurance far easier than elsewhere.

3. The House Is Being Used for a Business

Third, some buyers forget to consider usage issues when purchasing their homes. Some types of uses will not be covered under a homeowners insurance policy or may result in you being denied coverage.

Special uses include things like businesses, such as daycare, or even farming and ranching. If you are planning on incorporating an LLC and running a business out of your home, then it’s important to make sure that your homeowners’ policy permits this use. You certainly don’t want to find this out by getting denied insurance claims after the fact.

Working from home for another company is not likely to affect your ability to get a policy, especially if you are sitting at a computer most of the day and clients are not regularly coming to the house.

Agricultural business uses that occur on a property can also make you ineligible for standard homeowners insurance. Other home-based businesses, like caring for others in your home, require their own type of insurance. Home daycare insurance is required if you plan to run a daycare out of your home and a reputable insurance company can help you with this.

4. The House (Or Part of It) Will be Rented

Another usage issue for the insurance company is whether or not you will rent out your home. Renting is a great way to earn additional income, especially now as national rent prices are hitting all-time highs.

Rental issues encompass long-term renting as well as short-term renting, like listing your home on websites like Vrbo or Airbnb. It’s critical to double-check your property insurance policy before you rent out your home — or even a bedroom — because it may end up voiding your coverage in many cases.

5. The House Has Maintenance Issues

The final set of issues is related to how you occupy your home. Most homeowners insurance policies require the home to be “owner-occupied.” This means that you have to live in your home. Periods of vacancy or living elsewhere, like in another home, can all potentially undermine your efforts to acquire or maintain homeowners insurance.

Additionally, it is important to be mindful of how you live in your home. A frequent issue is a home that does not show “pride of ownership.” It means that the property is not being maintained. Hoarding is a common issue in this category, but so is failing to maintain your lawn and landscaping. or failing to repair property damage caused by natural disasters. These things represent a risk to insurers.

Other issues may relate to keeping the house in good repair. For example, if your property has broken windows, a collapsing porch, or shabby paint, these factors may all contribute to whether or not you can acquire an insurance policy. Even if the lack of maintenance is a product of the previous homeowners, you could bear the consequences.

As the price of gold slips to $1,803 per ounce, it’s important to think about how you protect the value of your home as an investment. Keeping it in good condition and making home improvements plus ensuring you have the right insurance are both steps in the right direction.

Analyze Your Situation and Find the Right Insurance Company

These are just the main considerations to keep in mind when trying to find a home that will be covered by homeowners insurance. Remember that if one company does not write you a policy, another might.

More often than not, avoiding unique homes, older homes, properties in potentially dangerous areas, and houses that require updating is one of the best ways to make sure you can get homeowners insurance.

New York contributor Kiara Taylor specializes in financial literacy and financial technology subjects. She is a corporate financial analyst who also leads a group affiliated with University of Cincinnati that teaches financial literacy to Black students and helps them secure employment and internships.

Source: thepennyhoarder.com

Where To Live in San Antonio [Quiz]

San Antonio is a multicultural hub known for its delicious food and vibrant atmosphere.

On an average day, you can observe the city’s residents strolling along the River Walk, visiting the Alamo or enjoying an exotic lunch outside the Jingu House Café overlooking the Japanese Tea Garden. From nightly ghost tours in its historical districts to a state-of-the-art aquarium in Leon Valley, San Antonio is ripe with attractions and amenities for all.

Where to live in San Antonio

There are many factors to consider regarding where to live in San Antonio. If you’re looking to relocate to this Texan city, you certainly don’t lack neighborhood choices. Although San Antonio has many areas, neighborhoods and districts to choose from, our simple quiz can help you narrow down your prospects. Based on your answers to our easy multiple-choice questions, we can help you choose the perfect neighborhood to go apartment hunting!

Who’s coming with you?

Which one neighborhood characteristic can you not live without?

What’s your idea of quality downtime?

Which of these best describes your current life stage?

Your personal style could be best described as:

Which of the following is most important to you in choosing an apartment?

Where to Live in San Antonio


Downtown San Antonio is buzzing with excitement. There are many nearby eateries, such as Biga on the Banks, Las Canarias or Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse. Individuals visit places like The Esquire Tavern for casual drinks with friends, Bohanan’s for classic cocktails with colleagues or SoHo Wine and Martini Bar for karaoke. Classic attractions include the River Walk, the Alamo, the Briscoe Western Art Museum, the Southwest School of Art and the Majestic Theatre. However, Downtown San Antonio is not only for fun-seeking individuals. It’s next to many businesses, making for a short work commute. It has apartments for every budget, from affordable studios to more luxurious complexes. Well-suited for entrepreneurs, young professionals and those on a budget, Downtown is a great neighborhood to consider if you are wondering where to live in San Antonio.
Find Apartments Downtown

North San Antonio

Image Source: The Abbey at Sonterra
North San Antonio is growing and comprises multiple neighborhoods with gated communities, shopping centers, impressive landscaping and leisurely golf courses. It’s a desirable area due to its proximity to the San Antonio International Airport. Professionals can easily travel for business, and frequent fliers don’t have to go far to catch their flights. In addition, North San Antonio attracts members of the medical community because it’s close to medical facilities, such as the South Texas Medical Center. North San Antonio is famous for well-to-do business professionals or families who enjoy access to excellent school districts like North East Independent School District. It has family-friendly amenities, including Six Flags Fiesta Texas, where kids and adults enjoy wild rollercoaster rides like the Poltergeist. If your focus is family or luxurious living, North San Antonio is the area for you.
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West San Antonio

Image Source: Twin Creeks at Alamo Ranch
West San Antonio is close enough to the heart of the city that its residents can take advantage of shopping centers, entertainment venues, fine dining, fancy bars, live performances and art exhibits. However, it’s removed enough that individuals can get a breath of fresh air and enjoy wide-open Texas skies and rolling hills. Surrounded by green spaces, West San Antonio offers a taste of the country while being a short drive away from modern amenities and comforts. West San Antonio is perfect for singles, empty nesters and pet owners. It’s a prime destination for young families and first-time homeowners who enjoy affordable, private spaces. Likewise, retirees can enjoy space without being too far from the city. Those who love nature will take refuge in areas like Government Canyon State Natural Area.
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Far West Side

Image Source: Deer Creek
The Far West Side of San Antonio includes a swath of neighborhoods outside city limits. It’s experiencing rapid growth, new employment opportunities and a housing boom. These affordable new homes are enticing the middle class and first-time homeowners. Its proximity to Lackland Air Force Base makes it a prime destination for military members and their families. It’s also close to Northwest Vista College, attracting college students and their roommates. If you’re wondering where to live in San Antonio and you don’t want the hustle and bustle of the city while enjoying nature, the Far West Side is the perfect destination. Outside of the city limits yet still blossoming with new employers and housing, it provides a taste of modern life, complete with large green spaces like the 145-acre Culebra Creek Park.
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East San Antonio

Image Source: 8410 Sea Rim
East San Antonio consists of prominent attractions like the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo. It’s close to the AT&T Center, where fans root for their favorite sports teams. In addition, live shows and concerts take place at the Alamodome. If you want proximity to large venues where you can catch the latest shows, entertainment, sports games, concerts and other attractions, then East San Antonio puts you in a prime position to never miss a beat. East San Antonio has some pleasant apartment complexes in its residential areas, but it’s also home to college students and alumni. Professionals, students, social butterflies and partygoers are likely residents.
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East Side

Image Source: The Stella
The East Side reflects a rich mix of history and culture, growth and renovation. The San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum details the vital history of the Black community. Nearby, Sullivan Park features a 32-foot sculpture of an open hand dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr. The East Side contains commercial and residential areas that provide access to culture, including events at The Carver Community Center. It’s also known for its local eateries, like the authentic soul food at Mrs. Kitchen and tacos at Mittman Fine Foods. Live entertainment venues like The Espee offer a glimpse into the East Side’s cultural history. The East Side is right for you if you value a rich history and culture, excellent eateries, community events and live entertainment.
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Alamo Heights

Image Source: 355 Albany St.
Alamo Heights is an independent city surrounded by San Antonio. This trendy neighborhood is known for its fine dining, quirky vintage shops, interesting art and beautiful boutiques. The city is near the Broadway Cultural Corridor and features the famous McNay Art Museum. Olmos Basin Park offers opportunities for those who love nature to follow walking trails or ride mountain bikes. This welcoming community has coveted school districts and is not far from Downtown. Residents can enjoy being part of a close-knit community while wandering Downtown for work or entertainment. If you’re looking for a family-friendly neighborhood with a quirky yet trendy vibe, tree-lined streets and a mix of gorgeous cottage districts, Alamo Heights is your desired location. Young families and couples are likely to enjoy its vibrancy.
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Terrell Hills

Image Source: 201 Canterbury Hill St.
Terrell Hills is an independent municipality a few miles north of Downtown San Antonio. It’s a part of Bexar County and has a small, dense population. Although Alamo Heights sometimes overshadows it, Terrell Hills is rife with nearby universities and shopping centers, including Trinity University, University of the Incarnate Word and the Culinary Institute of America. Terrell Hills is also close to family-oriented attractions like the San Antonio Zoo and the San Antonio Botanical Gardens. Terrell Hills is a safe community for college students and their roommates, individuals with significant others, families who enjoy outdoor attractions and individuals who love shopping. Its proximity to Downtown San Antonio helps young professionals easily commute to work during the week and enjoy family trips to the zoo or gardens on the weekends.
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Source: rent.com