The Pros & Cons of Offering Owner Financing (When You Sell Your Home)

Sometimes, home sellers find a buyer eager to purchase but unable to finance the property with traditional mortgage financing. Sellers then have a choice: lose the buyer, or lend the mortgage to the buyer themselves.

If you want to sell a property you own free and clear, with no mortgage, you can theoretically finance a buyer’s full first mortgage. Alternatively, you could offer just a second mortgage, to bridge the gap between what the buyer can borrow from a conventional lender and the cash they can put down.

Should you ever consider offering financing? What’s in it for you? And most importantly, how do you protect yourself against losses?

Before taking the plunge to offer seller financing, make sure you understand all the pros, cons, and options available to you as “the bank” when lending money to a buyer.

Advantages to Offering Seller Financing

Although most sellers never even consider offering financing, a few find themselves forced to contemplate it.

For some sellers, it could be that their home lies in a cool market with little demand. Others own unique properties that appeal only to a specific type of buyer or that conventional mortgage lenders are wary to touch. Or the house may need repairs in order to meet habitability requirements for conventional loans.

Sometimes the buyer may simply be unable to qualify for a conventional loan, but you might know they’re good for the money if you have an existing relationship with them.

There are plenty of perks in it for the seller to offer financing. Consider these pros as you weigh the decision to extend seller financing.

1. Attract & Convert More Buyers

The simplest advantage is the one already outlined: You can settle on your home even when conventional mortgage lenders decline the buyer.

Beyond salvaging a lost deal, sellers can also potentially attract more buyers. “Seller Financing Available” can make an effective marketing bullet in your property listing.

If you want to sell your home in 30 days, offering seller financing can draw in more showings and offers.

Bear in mind that seller financing doesn’t only appeal to buyers with shoddy credit. Many buyers simply prefer the flexibility of negotiating a custom loan with the seller rather than trying to fit into the square peg of a loan program.

2. Earn Ongoing Income

As a lender, you get the benefit of ongoing monthly interest payments, just like a bank.

It’s a source of passive income, rather than a one-time payout. In one fell swoop, you not only sell your home but also invest the proceeds for a return.

Best of all, it’s a return you get to determine yourself.

3. You Set the Interest Rate

It’s your loan, which means you get to call the shots on what you charge. You may decide seller financing is only worth your while at 6% interest, or 8%, or 10%.

Of course, the buyer will likely try to negotiate the interest rate. After all, nearly everything in life is negotiable, and the terms of seller financing are no exception.

4. You Can Charge Upfront Fees

Mortgage lenders earn more than just interest on their loans. They charge a slew of one-time, upfront fees as well.

Those fees start with the origination fee, better known as “points.” One point is equal to 1% of the mortgage loan, so they add up fast. Two points on a $250,000 mortgage comes to $5,000, for example.

But lenders don’t stop at points. They also slap a laundry list of fixed fees on top, often surpassing $1,000 in total. These include fees such as a “processing fee,” “underwriting fee,” “document preparation fee,” “wire transfer fee,” and whatever other fees they can plausibly charge.

When you’re acting as the bank, you can charge these fees too. Be fair and transparent about fees, but keep in mind that you can charge comparable fees to your “competition.”

5. Simple Interest Amortization Front-Loads the Interest

Most loans, from mortgage loans to auto loans and beyond, calculate interest based on something called “simple interest amortization.” There’s nothing simple about it, and it very much favors the lender.

In short, it front-loads the interest on the loan, so the borrower pays most of the interest in the beginning of the loan and most of the principal at the end of the loan.

For example, if you borrow $300,000 at 8% interest, your mortgage payment for a 30-year loan would be $2,201.29. But the breakdown of principal versus interest changes dramatically over those 30 years.

  • Your first monthly payment would divide as $2,000 going toward interest, with only $201.29 going toward paying down your principal balance.
  • At the end of the loan, the final monthly payment divides as $14.58 going toward interest and $2,186.72 going toward principal.

It’s why mortgage lenders are so keen to keep refinancing your loan. They earn most of their money at the beginning of the loan term.

The same benefit applies to you, as you earn a disproportionate amount of interest in the first few years of the loan. You can also structure these lucrative early years to be the only years of the loan.

6. You Can Set a Time Limit

Not many sellers want to hold a mortgage loan for the next 30 years. So they don’t.

Instead, they structure the loan as a balloon mortgage. While the monthly payment is calculated as if the loan is amortized over the full 15 or 30 years, the loan must be paid in full within a certain time limit.

That means the buyer must either sell the property within that time limit or refinance the mortgage to pay off your loan.

Say you sign a $300,000 mortgage, amortized over 30 years but with a three-year balloon. The monthly payment would still be $2,201.29, but the buyer must pay you back the full remaining balance within three years of buying the property from you.

You get to earn interest on your money, and you still get your full payment within three years.

7. No Appraisal

Lenders require a home appraisal to determine the property’s value and condition.

If the property fails to appraise for the contract sales price, the lender either declines the loan or bases the loan on the appraised value rather than the sales price — which usually drives the borrower to either reduce or withdraw their offer.

As the seller offering financing, you don’t need an appraisal. You know the condition of the home, and you want to sell the home for as much as possible, regardless of what an appraiser thinks.

Foregoing the appraisal saves the buyer money and saves everyone time.

8. No Habitability Requirement

When mortgage lenders order an appraisal, the appraiser must declare the house to be either habitable or not.

If the house isn’t habitable, conventional and FHA lenders require the seller to make repairs to put it in habitable condition. Otherwise, they decline the loan, and the buyer must take out a renovation loan (such as an FHA 203k loan) instead.

That makes it difficult to sell fixer-uppers, and it puts downward pressure on the price. But if you want to sell your house as-is, without making any repairs, you can do so by offering to finance it yourself.

For certain buyers, such as handy buyers who plan to gradually make repairs themselves, seller financing can be a perfect solution.

9. Tax Implications

When you sell your primary residence, the IRS offers an exemption for the first $250,000 of capital gains if you’re single, or $500,000 if you’re married.

However, if you earn more than that exemption, or if you sell an investment property, you still have to pay capital gains tax. One way to reduce your capital gains tax is to spread your gains over time through seller financing.

It’s typically considered an installment sale for tax purposes, helping you spread the gains across multiple tax years. Speak with an accountant or other financial advisor about exactly how to structure your loan for the greatest tax benefits.


Drawbacks to Seller Financing

Seller financing comes with plenty of risks. Most of the risks center around the buyer-borrower defaulting, they don’t end there.

Make sure you understand each of these downsides in detail before you agree to and negotiate seller financing. You could potentially be risking hundreds of thousands of dollars in a single transaction.

1. Labor & Headaches to Arrange

Selling a home takes plenty of work on its own. But when you agree to provide the financing as well, you accept a whole new level of labor.

After negotiating the terms of financing on top of the price and other terms of sale, you then need to collect a loan application with all of the buyer’s information and screen their application carefully.

That includes collecting documentation like several years’ tax returns, several months’ pay stubs, bank statements, and more. You need to pull a credit report and pick through the buyer’s credit history with a proverbial fine-toothed comb.

You must also collect the buyer’s new homeowner insurance information, which must include you as the mortgagee.

You need to coordinate with a title company to handle the title search and settlement. They prepare the deed and transfer documents, but they still need direction from you as the lender.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the home closing process, and remember you need to play two roles as both the seller and the lender.

Then there’s all the legal loan paperwork. Conventional lenders sometimes require hundreds of pages of it, all of which must be prepared and signed. Although you probably won’t go to the same extremes, somebody still needs to prepare it all.

2. Potential Legal Fees

Unless you have experience in the mortgage industry, you probably need to hire an attorney to prepare the legal documents such as the note and promise to pay. This means paying the legal fees.

Granted, you can pass those fees on to the borrower. But that limits what you can charge for your upfront loan fees.

Even hiring the attorney involves some work on your part. Keep this in mind before moving forward.

3. Loan Servicing Labor

Your responsibilities don’t end when the borrower signs on the dotted line.

You need to make sure the borrower pays on time every month, from now until either the balloon deadline or they repay the loan in full. If they fail to pay on time, you need to send late notices, charge them late fees, and track their balance.

You also have to confirm that they pay the property taxes on time and keep the homeowners insurance current. If they fail to do so, you then have to send demand letters and have a system in place to pay these bills on their behalf and charge them for it.

Every year, you also need to send the borrower 1098 tax statements for their mortgage interest paid.

In short, servicing a mortgage is work. It isn’t as simple as cashing a check each month.

4. Foreclosure

If the borrower fails to pay their mortgage, you have only one way to forcibly collect your loan: foreclosure.

The process is longer and more expensive than eviction and requires hiring an attorney. That costs money, and while you can legally add that cost to the borrower’s loan balance, you need to cough up the cash yourself to cover it initially.

And there’s no guarantee you’ll ever be able to collect that money from the defaulting borrower.

Foreclosure is an ugly experience all around, and one that takes months or even years to complete.

5. The Buyer Can Declare Bankruptcy on You

Say the borrower stops paying, you file a foreclosure, and eight months later, you finally get an auction date. Then the morning of the auction, the borrower declares bankruptcy to stop the foreclosure.

The auction is canceled, and the borrower works out a payment plan with the bankruptcy court judge, which they may or may not actually pay.

Should they fail to pay on their bankruptcy payment plan, you have to go through the process all over again, and all the while the borrowers are living in your old home without paying you a cent.

6. Risk of Losses

If the property goes to foreclosure auction, there’s no guarantee anyone will bid enough to cover the borrower’s loan debt.

You may have lent $300,000 and shelled out another $20,000 in legal fees. But the bidding at the foreclosure auction might only reach $220,000, leaving you with a $100,000 shortfall.

Unfortunately, you have nothing but bad options at that point. You can take the $100,000 loss, or you can take ownership of the property yourself.

Choosing the latter means more months of legal proceedings and filing eviction to remove the nonpaying buyer from the property. And if you choose to evict them, you may not like what you find when you remove them.

7. Risk of Property Damage

After the defaulting borrower makes you jump through all the hoops of foreclosing, holding an auction, taking the property back, and filing for eviction, don’t delude yourself that they’ll scrub and clean the property and leave it in sparkling condition for you.

Expect to walk into a disaster. At the very least, they probably haven’t performed any maintenance or upkeep on the property. In my experience, most evicted tenants leave massive amounts of trash behind and leave the property filthy.

In truly terrible scenarios, they intentionally sabotage the property. I’ve seen disgruntled tenants pour concrete down drains, systematically punch holes in every cabinet, and destroy every part of the property they can.

8. Collection Headaches & Risks

In all of the scenarios above where you come out behind, you can pursue the defaulting borrower for a deficiency judgment. But that means filing suit in court, winning it, and then actually collecting the judgment.

Collecting is not easy to do. There’s a reason why collection accounts sell for pennies on the dollar — most never get collected.

You can hire a collection agency to try collecting for you by garnishing the defaulted borrower’s wages or putting a lien against their car. But expect the collection agency to charge you 40% to 50% of all collected funds.

You might get lucky and see some of the judgment or you might never see a penny of it.


Options to Protect Yourself When Offering Seller Financing

Fortunately, you have a handful of options at your disposal to minimize the risks of seller financing.

Consider these steps carefully as you navigate the unfamiliar waters of seller financing, and try to speak with other sellers who have offered it to gain the benefit of their experience.

1. Offer a Second Mortgage Only

Instead of lending the borrower the primary mortgage loan for hundreds of thousands of dollars, another option is simply lending them a portion of the down payment.

Imagine you sell your house for $330,000 to a buyer who has $30,000 to put toward a down payment. You could lend the buyer $300,000 as the primary mortgage, with them putting down 10%.

Or you could let them get a loan for $270,000 from a conventional mortgage lender, and you could lend them another $30,000 to help them bridge the gap between what they have in cash and what the primary lender offers.

This strategy still leaves you with most of the purchase price at settlement and lets you risk less of your own money on a loan. But as a second mortgage holder, you accept second lien position

That means in the event of foreclosure, the first mortgagee gets paid first, and you only receive money after the first mortgage is paid in full.

2. Take Additional Collateral

Another way to protect yourself is to require more collateral from the buyer. That collateral could come in many forms. For example, you could put a lien against their car or another piece of real estate if they own one.

The benefits of this are twofold. First, in the event of default, you can take more than just the house itself to cover your losses. Second, the borrower knows they’ve put more on the line, so it serves as a stronger deterrent for defaults.

3. Screen Borrowers Thoroughly

There’s a reason why mortgage lenders are such sticklers for detail when underwriting loans. In a literal sense, as a lender, you are handing someone hundreds of thousands of dollars and saying, “Pay me back, pretty please.”

Only lend to borrowers with a long history of outstanding credit. If they have shoddy credit — or any red flags in their credit history — let them borrow from someone else. Be just as careful of borrowers with little in the way of credit history.

The only exception you should consider is accepting a cosigner with strong, established credit to reinforce a borrower with bad or no credit. For example, you might find a recent college graduate with minimal credit who wants to buy, and you could accept their parents as cosigners.

You also could require additional collateral from the cosigner, such as a lien against their home.

Also review the borrower’s income carefully, and calculate their debt-to-income ratios. The front-end ratio is the percentage of their monthly income required to cover all housing costs: principal and interest, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and any condominium or homeowners association fees.

For reference, conventional mortgage lenders allow a maximum front-end ratio of 28%.

The back-end ratio includes not just housing costs, but also overall debt obligations. That includes student loans, auto loans, credit card payments, and all other mandatory monthly debt payments.

Conventional mortgage loans typically allow 36% at most. Any more than that and the buyer probably can’t afford your home.

4. Charge Fees for Your Trouble

Mortgage lenders charge points and fees. If you’re serving as the lender, you should do the same.

It’s more work for you to put together all the loan paperwork. And you will almost certainly have to pay an attorney to help you, so make sure you pass those costs along to the borrower.

Beyond your own labor and costs, you also need to make sure you’re being compensated for your risk. This loan is an investment for you, so the rewards must justify the risk.

5. Set a Balloon

You don’t want to be holding this mortgage note 30 years from now. Or, for that matter, to force your heirs to sort out this mortgage on your behalf after you shuffle off this mortal coil.

Set a balloon date for the mortgage between three and five years from now. You get to collect mostly interest in the meantime, and then get the rest of your money once the buyer refinances or sells.

Besides, the shorter the loan term, the less opportunity there is for the buyer to face some financial crisis of their own and stop paying you.

6. Be Listed as the Mortgagee on the Insurance

Insurance companies issue a declarations page (or “dec page”) listing the mortgagee. In the event of damage to the property and an insurance claim, the mortgagee gets notified and has some rights and protections against losses.

Review the insurance policy carefully before greenlighting the settlement. Make sure your loan documents include a requirement that the borrower send you updated insurance documents every year and consequences if they fail to do so.

7. Hire a Loan Servicing Company

You may multitalented and an expert in several areas. But servicing mortgage loans probably isn’t one of them.

Consider outsourcing the loan servicing to a company that specializes in it. They send monthly statements, late notices, 1098 forms, and escrow statements (if you escrow for insurance and taxes), and verify that taxes and insurance are current each year. If the borrower defaults, they can hire a foreclosure attorney to handle the legal proceedings.

Examples of loan servicing companies include LoanCare and Note Servicing Center, both of whom accept seller-financing notes.

8. Offer Lease-to-Own Instead

The foreclosure process is significantly longer and more expensive than the eviction process.

In the case of seller financing, you sell the property to the buyer and only hold the mortgage note. But if you sign a lease-to-own agreement, you maintain ownership of the property and the buyer is actually a tenant who simply has a legal right to buy in the future.

They can work on improving their credit over the next year or two, and you can collect rent. When they’re ready, they can buy from you — financed with a conventional mortgage and paying you in full.

If the worst happens and they default, you can evict them and either rent or sell the property to someone else.

9. Explore a Wrap Mortgage

If you have an existing mortgage on the property, you may be able to leave it in place and keep paying it, even after selling the property and offering seller financing.

Wrap mortgages, or wraparound mortgages, are a bit trickier and come with some legal complications. But when executed right, they can be a win-win for both you and the buyer.

Say you have a 30-year mortgage for $250,000 at 3.5% interest. You sell the property for $330,000, and you offer seller financing of $300,000 for 6% interest. The buyer pays you $30,000 as a down payment.

Ordinarily, you would pay off your existing mortgage for $250,000 upon selling it. Most mortgages include a “due-on-sale” clause, requiring the loan to be paid in full upon selling the property.

But in some circumstances and some states, you may be able to avoid triggering the due-on-sale clause and leave the loan in place.

You keep paying your mortgage payment of $1,122.61, even as the borrower pays you $1,798.65 per month. In a couple of years when they refinance, they pay off your previous mortgage in full, plus the additional balance they owe you.

Of course, you still run the risk that the borrower stops paying you. Then you’re saddled with making your monthly mortgage payment on the property, even as you slog through the foreclosure process to try and recover your losses.


Final Word

Offering seller financing comes with risks. But those risks may be worth taking, especially for hard-to-sell properties.

Only you can decide what risk-reward ratio you can live with, and negotiate loan terms to ensure you come out on the right side of the ratio. For unique or other difficult-to-finance properties, seller financing may be the only way to sell for what the property’s worth.

Before you write off the returns as low, remember that your APR will be far higher than the interest rate charged.

Beyond the upfront fees you can charge, you’ll also benefit from simple interest amortization, which front-loads the interest so that nearly all of the monthly payment goes toward interest in the first few years — the only years you need to finance if you structure the loan as a balloon mortgage.

Just be sure to screen all borrowers extremely carefully, and to take as many precautions as you can. If the borrower can’t qualify for a conventional mortgage, consider that a glaring red flag. Seller financing involves risking many thousands of dollars in a single transaction, so take your time and get it right.

Source: moneycrashers.com

12 Hidden Costs of Raising a Child – Expenses Parents Should Budget For

A USDA report pegs the total cost of raising a child at $233,610, or $284,570 if you factor in future inflation. That includes only the basics however, and excludes costs like helping with college education, birthday parties, and holiday gifts.

Include those, and you’re looking at $745,634, according to a report by NerdWallet — a jarring amount, no matter how much you earn.

Most of us know that kids come with extra costs like clothing, food, and possibly college tuition. But what about the hidden costs of raising a child? Kids require more than food and clothes, and often the less obvious costs get lost in estimates of just how much children cost to rear.

As you consider having children or plan your finances for an existing family, keep the following costs in mind. Just remember that although these expenses are common, they’re not written in stone, and you do ultimately control how much your own children cost you.

Hidden Costs of Raising a Child

Many parents, particularly mothers, take a career break to raise young children in their first years and often up to school age. It’s not like pressing the pause button and resuming play where you left it. Taking an extended break comes with significant costs, some less obvious than others.

1. Lost Income

On the obvious side, you lose out on the income from those years spent outside the workforce.

Imagine a family where both partners work, and upon having their first child, the mother decides to take a career break. They have a second child three years later, and the mom decides to stay at home until the youngest starts kindergarten at age 5.

That’s eight years of lost income. At a median full-time salary of $52,312 calculated by BLS, that comes to $419,496 in lost wages, not including wage growth over the next eight years.

This says nothing of lost retirement benefits, such as 401(k) matching, or lost returns on your own contributions to investments you could have made with that extra income. Compounded over the next 30 years, those lost returns can amount to millions of dollars.

2. Lost Career Momentum & Potential

Beyond the lost years of income, becoming a stay-at-home parent can stunt your career potential.

By the time you’re ready to reenter the workforce, you’ve fallen vastly behind your colleagues who have had many years to climb the corporate ladder. They’ve been advancing and winning promotions, while you’d be lucky to reenter your industry at the same level where you left.

The opportunity cost doesn’t end there, either. In today’s world of disruption and fast-paced change, eight years of falling out of touch with industry trends, best practices, and technological innovations puts you at a deep disadvantage compared to people still in the workforce and up to speed.

The bottom line: parents who take a break of several years from their career may reenter the workforce at a lower level than they left, and advance less over the remainder of their career. While there’s surprisingly little research on this effect, one study by Adzuna found that Brits who took a five-year career break took an average annual salary loss of £9,660 (about $12,500).

3. Less Time for Side Hustles

Even among parents who don’t take a career break, they simply don’t have the same free time to build extra income through a side hustle.

Historically, I spent much of my Saturdays working on either my business or writing. When my daughter was born, that came to an abrupt end, first because I was so sleep-deprived and later because my wife wouldn’t hear of it.

My father told me growing up that the 40-hour workweek was a baseline for survival, and it’s what you do outside those hours that determines your success, particularly in your 20s and 30s.

Although I believe in creating passive income streams and pursuing financial independence, you need to save a lot of money in the beginning to build momentum. That comes from a high savings rate and a high income, which often requires side gigs.

It’s not so easy to run a business on the side of your full-time job when you have young children.

4. Higher Housing Costs

A family of two can share a one-bedroom apartment. A family of three, four, or five? Not so comfortably.

At the time of this writing, Apartment Guide lists the average one-bedroom apartment rent at $1,621, compared to the average two-bedroom apartment rent of $1,878. That’s a difference of $257 per month, or $3,084 per year, just to add one more bedroom.

Larger homes cost more money, whether you rent or buy. And with the extra square footage comes higher utility costs to light, heat, cool, and power the property and everything in it.

They also require more maintenance for homeowners. The larger the roof, the more square footage there is to spring a leak. The larger the lawn and grounds, the more time and/or money they cost to maintain. And so on.

Expect to pay thousands of dollars more each year for a home that can accommodate your children, not just you and your spouse.

5. Transportation Costs

The same logic applies to transportation.

According to Kelley Blue Book, the average cost to buy a new compact car is around $20,000. The cost to buy a midsize SUV? A hefty $33,000, representing a 65% increase in cost.

As with housing, the difference in costs doesn’t end at the sticker price. It costs more to insure and fuel a beastly SUV than an efficient compact. When your kids reach their teenage years and start driving, they’ll need car insurance, which many parents pick up.

(Personally, I had to pay for my own as a teenager, and I recommend you do the same with your kids to give them practice earning and budgeting for real world expenses. But I digress.)

Some parents even go so far as to give their teenage kids a car, whether a hand-me-down or buying it for them as a gift.

Again, these costs remain voluntary. But it’s harder to drive your kids, their friends, and their gear to hockey practice in a sporty compact than in a minivan or SUV.

6. Medical Costs

People of all ages need medical care. And in the United States, medical care is expensive, no matter how you approach it.

Higher Health Insurance Premiums

Adding more people to your health insurance plan adds to your monthly premium. Period.

Well, not quite period. Some insurers, like Blue Cross Blue Shield, charge for each additional child up to the first three, then stop charging extra and only charge for the three oldest under the age of 21. Regardless, expect to pay more for family health insurance when you have children than you’d pay as a couple.

You may also decide you need more coverage as a family with kids than you did as a couple. For example, you may opt for dental coverage, or more inclusions, or a lower yearly ceiling on out-of-pocket expenses.

Higher Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Kids get into trouble, break their arms playing soccer, step on rusty nails while running around the neighborhood barefoot. And before they do that, babies require plenty of checkups and medical care of their own.

Every time they visit a doctor, need a prescription filled, or look cross-eyed at the health care system, you can expect to get hit with an out-of-pocket bill. Few health insurance plans cover 100% of all medical expenses with no deductible, and those few charge outrageous premiums.

And kids come with other medical costs. If you don’t want your kids to have crooked teeth, suddenly you find yourself with orthodontist bills. Eye exams, contact lenses, glasses — the list goes on.

Your kids will need plenty of medical care between birth and when they enter the workforce, and you’ll be on the hook for every penny.

7. Lessons, Tutoring, and Other Extracurriculars

If your child has dyslexia, they may need special tutoring to help them learn how to read. Many children need speech therapy as young kids. Many others require academic tutoring at some point or another.

If your kids want to learn an instrument, dive deeper into a sport, or pick up just about any hobby, they’ll need lessons.

Parents always forget to budget for these sorts of expenses until they strike, but kids — and just as often their parents — may want or need more than what resources their school offers for free. And when it happens, you need to be prepared to open your wallet.

8. Baby Paraphernalia

I was shocked and appalled at the amount of baby paraphernalia that flooded our apartment when we had a baby.

At every turn, I fought my wife to stop buying so much stuff. And at every turn, I lost the battle. She insisted on buying every gadget, every “cute” piece of baby clothing, every piece of nursery furniture she could get her hands on. From infrared baby monitors to smart chips that attach to diapers to track vital signs, we have it all.

As a minimalist, it drives me insane. Like so many middle-class parents, we have far more baby items than we need. Eventually, I stopped tallying the cost because it was pushing my cortisol levels through the roof.

You may consider yourself a reasonable human being, vigilant against unnecessary spending. But new parents get both anxious and excited — and their response to both is usually to buy more stuff. When you or your spouse gets pregnant, budget extra for spousal splurges when you try to predict how much it costs to have a baby.

9. Toys and Gifts

Again, parents all too often go wild buying gifts, toys, and unnecessary clothes, all in the name of spoiling their children.

It’s so insidious that many parents go into debt each holiday season. Between gifts, swag, and travel, the average American family spends $1,050 at the holidays according to a 2019 National Retail Federation study reported by USA Today.

You can and should fight the urge. But parents overspend on gifts and toys all the time, so it bears including here.

10. Electronics

Increasingly, kids need electronics for schoolwork, not just as frivolous gifts. In the era of COVID-19, they’ve become mandatory learning tools.

Laptops and tablets aren’t cheap though, and they come with notoriously short lifespans as they slip into obsolescence after a few short years. Between the time a child is old enough to use one and the time they move out and pay their own bills, they’ll likely go through dozens of devices between phones, tablets, laptops, and gadgets that haven’t been invented yet but will be all the rage 15 years from now.

Added together, that comes to tens of thousands of dollars.

11. Travel Costs

My wife and I once looked up the cheapest flights for the following week from our then home. We booked flights to Bulgaria for $160 round trip per person and spent only a few hundred dollars over the entire next week.

That doesn’t happen when you have kids, for several reasons.

First, you can’t just up and go during the travel offseason when you feel like it. Your kids have school, so you have to travel when everyone else and their mother travels: during school holidays. Which means always traveling during the expensive high season.

Second, you have to pay for more, well, everything. More airline tickets. More hotel rooms, or a larger home on Airbnb. And then come the meals, entertainment, entrance passes, and so forth. All of it costs more money.

When you travel with an infant, you can avoid many of those costs. But they don’t stay infants very long, and soon you find yourself traveling with teenagers who insist on doing the exact opposite of what you want to do. So you end up paying to do both.

And good luck doing low-key travel like backpacking or hiking trips with social media-addicted kids and teens.

If you really want to travel the way you used to with your spouse, you end up either having to hire a nanny or ship your kids off to summer camp — both of which cost an arm and a leg in themselves.

12. Life Insurance

Many couples can responsibly dodge life insurance, provided they both work. If the worst happens, the surviving spouse can still pay their bills, albeit with the possible need to downsize.

Add children to the mix, however, and you have more mouths to feed — plus all the other expenses outlined above. Losing one spouse, particularly a primary breadwinner, could tip the family into poverty or at the very least require a massive, painful change in lifestyle.

Having children doesn’t necessarily require you to buy life insurance. I don’t have it, as one of the many side benefits of the FIRE lifestyle. But when you have children, you need to plan for contingencies like losing a spouse, and making sure your family can survive without them.

Often that means a life insurance policy, and even when it doesn’t, you still need a plan in place.


Final Word

Having children is not all financial doom and gloom. Yes, some expenses remain unavoidable, no matter how frugally you live. But many of the expenses above represent average expenses among parents with little financial literacy. You can minimize many of them with a little more awareness, and avoid others entirely.

The costs of raising children also operate on an economy of scale. While you and your spouse don’t want to share a bedroom with your child after the first few months, you can put two children in the same second bedroom, for example. Younger children can benefit from hand-me-downs such as cribs, strollers, and clothes. And once you bite the bullet to buy a minivan, having a third child doesn’t change your transportation needs any further.

It doesn’t have to cost $745,634 to raise a child. But it certainly can if you’re not careful.

Source: moneycrashers.com

Best Neighborhoods to Move to in Nashville | ApartmentSearch

High-rise building in Nashville's city.Are you thinking about making Music City your new home? With its vibrant downtown, ample outdoor space, delicious southern food, and country music galore — there’s so much to love! Whether you’re a young family on the move or a mobile, dog-loving professional, these cool neighborhoods in Nashville have a little something to offer everyone. Learn the best suburbs of Nashville and which one is right for you with this handy neighborhood guide.

The Gulch

The Gulch is the fastest-growing neighborhood in Nashville, and for good reason. Packed with restaurants, shops, bars, fitness studios, and some of Nashville’s trendiest apartments, this area attracts young professionals who enjoy being center of the action.

Nashville is also one of the best U.S. cities for dating — making this small neighborhood a prime location for singles. The Gulch is the perfect home for anyone with the “work hard, play hard” mentality. So, you’ll have tons of unique things to do and fun, young people to do them with!

12 South

This neighborhood spans half a mile along 12th Avenue South – hence 12 South. And it has become one of the most desirable places to live for young, remote-work professionals and families alike.

12 South is a highly walkable neighborhood, so you’ll find no shortage of hot eateries (like Burger Up and Urban Grub), coffee shops (like Frothy Monkey), and stylish clothing stores (like Reese Witherspoon’s own Draper James!). 12 South attracts Nashville natives and excited transplants alike, and it’s an excellent option for someone who always wants something to do or see.

East Nashville

While East Nashville isn’t as walkable as many of the other neighborhoods on this list, it has plenty of perks that make up for it. A hub for musicians and various creative types, East Nashville residents enjoy the neighborhood’s laidback, inclusive vibe and ample green space.

While some may describe East Nashville as “the hipster neighborhood,” it’s home to a diverse mix of creatives, young families, and professionals. You’ll find everything from rental houses to apartment buildings in this lively, on-trend neighborhood. But it’s likely a better option for those with their own vehicle.

The Nations

The Nations is one of the more affordable neighborhoods on this list – though, with how many people move to Nashville a day, it may not stay that way for long. This area was largely industrial only a few short years ago but is now exploding with restaurants, breweries, retail establishments, and residential developments.

Located around the central district of 51st Avenue and about 10 minutes from the heart of downtown, the Nations is an up-and-coming neighborhood that’s attracting a mostly younger crowd. This is a great place to look if you’re on a tighter budget and want all the amenities of a vibrant city. This hotspot will be on everyone’s list of cool neighborhoods in Nashville before long!

Germantown

Chock full of gorgeous, historic townhouses and tree-lined streets, Germantown has become known for its culinary scene. Boasting several critically acclaimed eateries, like Rolf and Daughters, City House, and Henrietta Red, residents of this beloved neighborhood will never go hungry.

Thanks to its location, only a few blocks from downtown Nashville, Germantown has prime access to the sports arenas, music venues, and other attractions in the city’s hub. This neighborhood manages to feel slower-paced and quieter than many other options and has a little something for everyone.

Sylvan Park

A young family looking to settle down should take a good look at Sylvan Park. Known by locals to be safe, quiet, and one of the best neighborhoods in Nashville to live, historic Sylvan Park is full of people who genuinely love their little community.

A quaint, walkable area, Sylvan Park boasts plenty of beloved, locally-owned restaurants, boutiques, and easy access to McCabe Park. Whether you’re raising little ones in Music City or simply enjoy a more residential feel, Sylvan Park is a growing neighborhood you shouldn’t overlook.

Make Your Move to Nashville with Apartment Search

Is there a Nashville neighborhood calling your name? Now that you’ve got an area picked out, explore available apartments on ApartmentSearch! Narrow your search by apartment size, rent amount, amenities, and more. Nashville can’t wait to have you home!

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

Julia Child’s Fairytale Cottage in Provence is Now Available for Rent; The Kitchen is a Must-See


Few people have had such an impact on American cooking as the legendary cookbook author Julia Child.

Julia has inspired millions of American home cooks and taught them to be more adventurous in the kitchen, exposing them to the world of fine eating. As the first woman to have her own cooking show, Julia quickly become a media sensation.

Famous for her passion for French cuisine, Julia Child mastered the art of French cooking while spending her summers in a beautiful cottage in Provence, a region in the southwestern part of France bordered by the Mediterranean, the French Alps and Italy.

And that cottage, known as La Peetch or La Pitchoune, is now available for rent.

What Makes La Pitchoune Special

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Image credit: Beth Kirby

Located in the picturesque Provencal countryside, La Pitchoune (“The Little Thing”), also fondly referred to as La Peetch, is an adorable property with a rustic and homey ambiance.

The property is a perfect retreat from the fast-paced city life. Besides its location in the idyllic rural France, it comes equipped with a yoga space and a swimming pool.

But the centerpiece of this property is without a doubt Julia Child’s kitchen. It was designed by her husband as a copy of their home kitchen in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Image credit: Beth Kirby
julia-child-house-kitchen
Image credit: Beth Kirby
julia-child-house-kitchen
Image credit: Beth Kirby

As you can imagine, Julia Child’s kitchen is a foodie paradise with high countertops, pegboard walls, ceramic cookware and vast array of tools that would wow every aspiring chef.

The kitchen is exactly as Julia has left it – which gives the property an irresistible appeal and makes it a dream vacation destination for all her fans.

The property doesn’t come cheap though as a full week in February will cost you almost $6,000. But if you are a hardcore Julia Child fan it’s probably well worth every penny – and looking at the reservation calendar for 2019, which is already almost fully booked (!!!), seems like there are lots and lots of Julia Child fans out there.

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Image credit: Beth Kirby
julia-child-home-table
Image credit: Beth Kirby

Tip: a weekend retreat to La Peetch would make an incredible gift for every chef or passionate home cook.

More celebrity homes:

The Mysterious Allure of Stephen King’s House, the Beating Heart of Bangor, MaineThis Malibu Beach Home was once Frank Sinatra’s “Happiest Place on Earth”
40 Years Ago, Jackie O Turned a Sheep Farm into her Dream Retreat on Martha’s Vineyard; It Now Costs $65M
Ernest Hemingway’s Iconic House in Key West Stands Tall and Mighty After 168 Hurricane Seasons

Source: fancypantshomes.com

How Celebrities Decorated their Homes for the Holidays


I’m a sucker for Christmas. I love everything about it: the joy, the kindness, the music, the lights, the food, and the decorations. Oh, how I love the decorations. Every year, I look forward to the day when we take out the box of Christmas decorations and I get to spread them around the house — often leaving a faint trail of glitter behind.

And as I sit here in my living room, trying to gather up the strength I need to start dismantling the tree (and failing miserable at it), I thought of a way to keep Christmas around for longer.

Instead of peering into a brand new celebrity home today, thought we might take a look at how some of the most famous people in showbiz decorated their homes for the holidays.

Celebrities showing off their decorated homes on Instagram


Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez

In a cute family moment, the famous couple decked the halls of their Miami house with a little help from the most adorable elves. Lopez, 49, and Rodriguez, 43, each have two children: J Lo shares 10-year-old twins Max David and Emme Maribel with ex Marc Anthony, while Rodriguez has daughters Ella, 10, and Natasha, 14, with ex Cynthia Scurtis. They all gathered around the Christmas tree and helped decorate, and the end result was pretty impressive.

Heidi Klum

As the supermodel was getting ready for a very special Christmas — she announced her engagement to Tom Kaulitz on Instagram right on Christmas Eve — she spared no effort in decorating her tree. In fact, she spent a full 3 hours decorating it, documenting the ritual in a video shared on her Instagram page.

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith

Now here’s my favorite couple, showing off what an extraordinary family they are once again. Will and Jada went all out for Christmas, and they didn’t just stop at the decorations, impressive as those were. Jada Pinkett Smith shared a video on her Instagram account with the artificial snow they used to recreate a magical Christmas for the family (and their socials, apparently.)

Catherine Zeta Jones

While Catherine Zeta Jones didn’t show off her Christmas Tree, she did post a snapshot of her living room on Instagram, with the fireplace all decked out for the holidays. And if the fireplace is any indicator, we can only imagine how the rest of the house looked like.

Liv Tyler

Same goes for Liv Tyler. The Lord of the Rings actress chose not show her tree, but instead celebrated Christmas with her fans by sharing an endearing picture of the kids checking the fireplace and chimney to make sure everything’s clear for Santa. And if the fireplace is any indicator, the rest of the house may be decorated like a hobbit house too.

Melania Trump

Following last year’s backlash for the grim decor Melania Trump chose when prepping the prestigious 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue home for the holidays, the First Lady decided to go for more cheerful colors this year when decking the halls of the White House. 2018’s Christmas decorations at the White House followed the theme “American Treasures,” which reportedly celebrated patriotism and honored elements of the country’s heritage.

Kylie Jenner

Kylie Jenner doesn’t joke around when it comes to Christmas decorations. Clearly her mother’s daughter (Kris Jenner is known to be partial to an oversized fir tree), Jenner showed off a Christmas tree so large it towers above her mezzanine landing.

Busy Philips

As part of a paid deal with arts and crafts retail chain Michael’s Stores, Busy Phillips went all out with her Christmas decorations, transforming her living room in a festive space that honors Christmas in every sense of the word.

Neil Patrick Harris

As soon as I wrote the headline for this article, I went straight on Neil Patrick Harris’ Instagram profile. Why? Because there’s no family celebration that this man doesn’t get right, and Christmas is no exception.

Sofia Vergara

The Modern Family actress didn’t leave any room for subtle decor this Christmas, opting for a surreal tree, shining thousands of lights and draped in white ribbons and charming ornaments. Based on the tree, we can only imagine how the rest of the house was decorated for Christmas.

Reese Witherspoon

Known for having impeccable taste when it comes to decoration — she has her own Southern preppy-chic lifestyle brand, Draper James, and has been selling a small selection of her brand’s holiday-inspired entertaining and tabletop products at Crate and Barrel — Reese Witherspoon did not shy away from showcasing her Christmas decor.

Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell

Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard just know how to make our hearts melt. The cute couple of 11 years shared an endearing pic of their living room this Christmas, showing how they spent their holidays with daughters Delta and Lincoln in the most down-to-earth display of a lovely family holiday.

Kourtney Kardashian

Known to be a big fan of Christmas — she holds a breakfast every Christmas morning for her entire extended family — Kourtney Kardashian proved she was ready for the exciting morning when she took to social media to showcase her extravagant three trees and holiday decor. The 39-year-old shared a series of videos on Instagram that showcased her impressive interior design while also ensuring all eyes were on the dozens of wrapped presents that couldn’t fit under the trees.

Kaley Cuoco

After wishing new husband Karl Cook a happy Christmas birthday, Kaley Cuoco made my day not by sharing how she prepped her Christmas tree for the festive occasion, but how she adorned her cute little four-legged friends.

Ludacris

Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, the artist planned to kick off this year’s Super Bowl celebrations, shared the cutest photo of his Christmas tree over the holidays. The image, where Ludacris’ daughter Cadence is shown next to their massive Christmas tree, comes with a witty caption addressed to the girl’s mom, who apparently wasn’t all that happy with the size of the tree last year. It’s safe to say that this year’s tree is “big enough.”

More celebrity homes:

Step Inside the $19M Beach House Mark Cuban Got Himself for Christmas
This $12.9M Malibu Beach Home was once Frank Sinatra’s “Happiest Place on Earth”
Julia Child’s Fairytale Cottage in Provence is Now Available for Rent; The Kitchen is a Must-See
David Guetta’s New $9.5M Miami Beach Apartment Finishes Redesign, Now Ready to Welcome Renters

Source: fancypantshomes.com

Live Like Anne Hathaway in her Former Olympic Tower Duplex — On the Market for $19.5M

A 7,750-square-foot duplex atop the Olympic Tower in midtown Manhattan recently came to market for a hefty $19.5 million. And of course it comes with its own celebrity angle.

Once home to Oscar-winning actress Anne Hathaway — who shared it with her then-boyfriend, Raffaello Follieri — the apartment is located in the legendary Olympic Tower, designed by Jackie O’s second husband Aristotle Onassis. Anne Hathaway and Raffaello Follieri famously paid $37,000 in monthly rent for the massive Olympic Tower spread, not long before the couple split up and Follieri was sent to jail in 2008 for fraud and money-laundering.

If you think Anne Hathaway’s rent was over-the-top at $37k/month, know that the Olympic Tower duplex resurfaced on the rental market in 2016 for whopping $48,000/month.

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Olympic Tower duplex. Image courtesy of Stribling and Associates

The 11-room duplex is one of the largest homes in the Olympic Tower building. The 7,750 square feet space is split over two levels, with the first hosting a ballroom-sized 41-foot long corner living room with wet bar, a formal dining room, a chef’s eat-in kitchen with marble counters, breakfast room and a 34-foot library/media room with 8 ft. projection screen.

The corner master suite is on the 2nd level and features 2 full bathrooms and walls of custom closets. Two additional bedrooms, each with en-suite baths, complete this floor. There is a professional sound system throughout and numerous deep storage closets on each floor.

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Olympic Tower duplex. Image courtesy of Stribling and Associates
anne hathaway apartment olympic tower fireplace
Olympic Tower duplex. Image courtesy of Stribling and Associates

Don’t miss: Bong Joon Ho’s House in the Oscar-Winning ‘Parasite’ is One You Won’t Forget Anytime Soon

anne hathaway apartment olympic tower
Olympic Tower duplex. Image courtesy of Stribling and Associates

The apartment comes with great Central Park views to the North, the East River to the East and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Empire State Building and beyond to the South.

Listed for $19,500,000, the Olympic Tower duplex is being brought to market by John Barbato with Stribling and Associates.

More celebrity homes:

Dakota Johnson Gives AD a Tour of Her Hollywood Home, which She Calls ‘Her Anchor’
Lance Armstrong’s West Aspen Home Has All the Charm – And Fridges
Former DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg Sells Beautiful Chalet Outside of Salt Lake City
Cindy Crawford’s Impeccably Designed Beach House in Malibu Is On the Market

Source: fancypantshomes.com