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September 5, 2017

Why property investment should be a key part of Estate Planning?

plan for your estatePeople underestimate the importance of property investments within estate planning until it’s too late. Estate planning is your declaration after you pass away. You may not want your family to receive money and other assets you intended for your wife and children. Molly McCollough found out how essential property investment within estate planning is the hard way.

Meet Molly

Molly McCollough is a 54 year old woman who is the founder of Theature Company. Molly thought she and her husband has everything figured out. They never thought they needed life insurance or a strategy for financial planning because they were married and didn’t have children, so everything would be left to Molly. After her husband, Joe died, Molly found out being his wife didn’t carry much weight in collecting his estate.

The Issue

Molly’s husband didn’t have a will, and the money he left behind was in a foreign bank account that did not have her name on it. Because Molly’s name was not on any of the accounts, she didn’t have access to anything.

Molly was afraid and mourning the death of her husband. Molly needed to figure out a way to gain access to his estate before his family tried to claim any part of the estate. Molly felt her husband was hiding secrets, and she didn’t know where to turn or who she could trust.

Molly said, “There’s just something about death and greed and money and long-buried resentment that bubbles to the surface when there’s any substantial inheritance. It tears families apart. People lie and steal and cheat.” In her situation, she was right. Joe’s family did just what Molly hoped they wouldn’t. They came and took all of his estate and left her with nothing. Inheritance drama is something no one wants to deal with and it can cause years of frustration, and put a rift between families.

Life insurance, financial planning, and estate planning are things you need to discuss with your partner before it’s too late. Make sure you and your partner have a will whether you have children or not. If these things are not in place before you pass away, the state will do what they see fit, and most of the time, it’s not what you wanted.

The Solution

At Unified Lawyers, we work tirelessly to help people who don’t understand wills, trusts, estate planning, and similar assets. We understand the urgency in these situations and always put our best foot forward. We are not a traditional law firm. We believe in helping people instead of collecting a check. All our fees and costs are straightforward so each of our clients know how every cent of their money was spent. We are here to help you get your situation resolved.

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June 29, 2017

7 Tips on How to Buy a Luxury Home

luxury home buyingLooking for a luxury home or condo? Don’t know how to find the best deal. The following 7 tips can help you buy your dream home.

1. Get familiar with the search process

Many luxury homes do not protect the privacy of their sellers. Those properties are quite often found later through the personal connections of Realtors. The large search engines don’t always cover everything you need. So, you may need to check a lot of online sources when searching for a real estate.

2. Go beyond the photos

Do not dismiss a real estate based on its front elevation photographs. The large homes and condos are often not photogenic. Your best bet would be to see a property in person. It’s also a good idea to do some search on Google Earth. This computer program can help you explore the property itself and its vicinity as well. This way you will be able to see what is around the home you’re looking for. You can also use the online search tools when searching for the luxurious properties. If you’re looking for a real estate within Hilton Head Island, make use of such a tool to find the best sea pines real estate.

3. Contact a local expert and reliable adviser

Once you’ve determined the location of your property, you should contact a buyer agent. A local expert can provide you with important info about the property you want to buy. Some high-end areas have a controlled access with the fewer open houses. Sometimes, you will have to make a few appointments to get access. Besides a local buyer agent, you should also hire a reliable Realtor for some suggestions.

4. Gather your financial documents

It is critical to document everything before heading to the high-end market. Pay attention to financial documentation in particular. People who are making a lot of money have an accountant or a manager to shelter their money.

5. Bank on your relationship

The banks keep the portfolios of their clients for many years. So make sure to go to the bank(s) you have the relationships with. It’s good to know the difference between the prequalification letter and pre-approval letter.

6. Don’t forget your title insurance

The title insurances ensure that you’re protected against possible issues that may occur. Before closing time, you need to take a look at the exceptions page. This page is included in the title insurance, but many people are not aware of it.

7. Get familiar with co-ops and condos

You need to know in advance what to expect with condominiums and cooperatives. Your attorney should represent you for condos and co-ops when you enter the field. The attorney should also do a thorough research on the financial viability of the real estate you are interested in. There is always a room to negotiate before you make an offer. Let your agent investigate the comparable real estates that have recently sold in that area. That will help you get the more affordable closing price.

Look into the future. Try to find out what buildings are planned around your property in the near future. And be aware of the timeline. Don’t tie your money up for an extended period of time. You may miss a good opportunity due to the construction delays.

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June 10, 2017

Time to Honor your Parents by gifting them a House

property to giftNo matter who you are and where you are, you can never fully repay your parents for all the care, love and sacrifices that they have made. Isn’t it?

But increasingly, many people who have already taken care off their financial responsibilities (like buying a house, paying for children’s education, etc.), are honoring their parents by gifting them a house. Also, father’s day is around the corner.

This is indeed a great gesture that shouldn’t be only evaluated from the financial angle.

Gift or not, there is no doubt that house purchases are major decisions. And they cost a lot of money. But if you too are planning to gift your parents a house, then it shouldn’t be a problem as home loans are easily available at very low rates. Ofcourse you need to have a good credit history and a reasonably good repayment capacity to avail home loans.

But even before getting into the financial aspect of the house purchase, you need to be careful before selecting a house for your parents. More so if they would be living in that house.

Any house that is to be occupied by senior people should be built keeping in mind the ease-of-use from seniors’ angle. Like if you are looking to buy a flat, then it should have the lift facility or it should be on the ground floor. To ensure proper ventilation and lighting, its better to opt for a house/flat that has more open windows/balconies.

Security is another factor while selecting a property for parents. If the flat being considered is in a residential society, then security aspect is taken care off. But if it’s a standalone house, then you need to think about how secure would the property be, if the parents were to live there alone. Of course all these factors will reduce the number of options (properties) that fit all your criteria. But that is necessary considering the limitations that seniors have.

So all in all, once you have taken care of most of your financial responsibilities, go ahead and surprise your parents with the biggest gift of their lives.

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December 14, 2016

How is your Home Loan Eligibility Impacted by CIBIL Score?

home loan appliedWhen you find that house of your dreams, the first thing that springs to mind is to apply for home loan since it’s your ticket to funding the big purchase. But sometimes, loan applications get rejected for various reasons, among which the most common is a low CIBIL or credit score. It is major factor that determines your loan approval, loan amount and even rate of interest.

Why is high and low credit score important?

While a high credit score is viewed as a low probability of a default, a low credit score reflects the opposite, making financial institutions wary of the person applying for a home loan.

Credit score is a three digit number that ranges between 300 and 900. It reflects your creditworthiness as it is a summary of your payment history, outstanding balances, number of loans, total credit limit, credit utilization, every loan detail taken from different lenders. Higher credit scores are great for you if you are applying for a home loan. On an average, a credit score of 750 is great for borrowers as lenders find themselves at less risk. Moreover, at this score, you can get good deals on your home loan and better rates of interest.

Your credit score is impacted positively by:

● Consistent payment of loan EMIs
● Credit card bill payments on time
● No over-leveraging
● Payment of credit card bills in full as opposed to minimum due amount each time
● Good financial records
● Many types of credits, especially unsecured personal loans in family
● Good utilization of credit limit on cards

Your credit score is impacted negatively by:

● A lot of credit report enquiries by banks and financial institutions
● Dishonoured or bounced cheques
● Loan repayment irregularity
● Defaults on credit repayments and even defaulting as a guarantor
● Late payments on credit cards or making part payments consistently
● Number of unsecured credit (multiple personal loans)
● Numerous applications for unsecured loan, especially when rejected
● Going beyond the approved credit limit and even high utilization of it

Other than these, your credit score can also be impacted negatively when banks or financial institutions you are dealing with make errors in their records. Hence, it’s important that you keep checking whether or not your banks are submitting the right information. It comes really handy if you request and maintain a copy of your credit history personally as compared to a financial institution doing that for you.

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December 13, 2016

Why you need Good CIBIL Score for Home Loan Approval

approved loan for your homeCIBIL Score is a crucial aspect in determining your home loan eligibility. Every time you apply for home loan, your lender checks this score for approving/disapproving your application. It is a summary of your credit history as per your credit behaviour. It depends on the following factors:

Past payments: All your previous payments, whether on time or delayed, are recorded with CIBIL. Consistency in making payments is considered good whereas more recent delays are seen negatively.

Settlements, defaults and write-offs: Multiple write-offs, defaults on previous loans and more recent write-offs (as opposed to older ones) have negative effects on your credit score. Defaults and delays on secured loans are worse than on unsecured loans.

Credit as proportion of income: The higher the loan balance you have, the lower your credit score will be. Less loan balance shows smart credit utilization on your part.

Credit cards: If you have high credit card balances, your credit score will be low. Consistency in repaying credit card debts improves the score. Credit cards (unsecured loans) are viewed negatively by lenders as compared to secured loans.

Different ranges of CIBIL Score

Every person with a financial history has a CIBIL score and it can range anywhere between 300 and 900, with 900 being the highest. A person can also have a score of 0 or -1, which means that they have no credit history in terms of loans and credit cards. So to get the credit history started, you must have at least one credit card or applied for a loan. Here is a breakup of CIBIL scores and what it means:

  • 550 – 650: It is a fair score and accepted by many lenders. This score shows that you have been quite regular with your repayments, other than a few exceptions. Most lenders trust borrowers with this score and approve their home loans but usually with a higher interest rates.
  • 300 – 550: This is the worst score anybody can have and it means that you have been defaulting on your payments. With such a score, getting credit is extremely difficult.
  • 650 – 750: For home loan eligibility, this score is very promising. And if you have this credit score, you will not face any issue regarding approval of application.
  • 750 – 900: It is the best possible score anybody can have and it indicates your expertise at managing your finances. Lenders will approve even a larger loan amount to you at great rates when you apply for home loan.
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