Scott M. Alexander's Blog
Sharing living expenses with your partner or roommates can be a difficult and confusing issue for many.
Life would be made much easier if there was just one bill to pay on your home that includes everything.
Recently there have been attempts to bring such a suction into fruition. Many homeowners and renters have turned to apps that help them split expenses, or have signed up for mortgage agreements that cover stray expenses like property tax and private mortgage insurance.
In this article, we're going to give you a few tips on splitting the bills in your home to make things easier for you, your spouse, and your roommates.
Who pays what?
Many young couples are often left wondering who should pay which bill, especially when you share so many services.
However, there's a big difference between sharing a Netflix account and sharing a car. One solution is to use the bills that report to credit agencies for whoever needs help building their credit score.
Putting credit cards under the person with the lowest score’s name can help them build credit even if they're simply listed as an “authorized user” which means you can take advantage of good interest rates and build credit at the same time.
Paying the mortgage
It can quickly become tiresome having to write two different checks each month for your mortgage or rent. To solve this problem, you can either alternate payments (you pay a full month’s rent or mortgage one month and your spouse pays the following month), or you can choose to pay bi-weekly, which will help you pay off your mortgage sooner.
The best apps to use
If you live with your spouse, you likely aren’t overly concerned with splitting all of your expenses 50/50. Chances are whoever has the higher income will foot the bill for the larger expenses.
However, if you have roommates there’s a bigger chance you’ll want things to be split evenly between you and the other members of the household. That’s where apps come in handy.
First, sit down with your roommates and go over all expenses. Write down each bill that you share: rent, heat, electricity, cable, internet, gas, insurance, and so on.
Then, decide who is responsible for making the payment on those bills. Even if you decide to split them all evenly, one person will have to be responsible for sending out the check each month.
Once you’ve determined which bills you have and who is going to pay them, it’s time to find out how you’re all going to contribute.
One way is to open up a shared account. Doing so can be messy, however, if you’re using that account for multiple bills. Some banks and services also charge a portion of the transfer, so you’ll each be losing money each month, and the amount depends on how many bills you have.
Some apps and services you can use to split bills and transfer money include Splitwise, Mint, PayPal, and Chase’s QuickPay. The benefit of apps that don’t transfer money is that they are often free and don’t collect transfer fees. So, if you’re comfortable with handling money by hand, you could save in the long run.
Aside from your realtor, your lender will be one of the people that you work the most closely with when you’re buying a home. Before you even sign on with a lender, there’s a few questions that you should ask. Don’t feel pressure from a certain lender before you understand what their areas of expertise are. You don’t want to end up with homebuyer’s remorse because you didn’t do the right research before you signed the deal on a home.
Can You Tell Me About Programs For First Time Homebuyers?
There are so many great programs for first-time homebuyers. If the lender you choose can’t help you with these programs, maybe this isn’t the right lender for you. If your lender lacks knowledge in the areas that you need, you probably want to shop around.
How Can You Help Me Qualify For The Loan I Need?
Many times, loans have very specific qualifications that you need to meet. Even if you think you might not meet those requirements due to things like a low amount of down payment or a job change, your lender can often help you to find the details in your situation to help you qualify for a loan. For example, you may have recently changed jobs, but if you have stayed in the same field, your lender can help you to explain these circumstances so that you can still qualify for the loan.
Are There Downpayment Assistance Programs Available?
There are also many programs and loan types available to help buyers get a home with less than a 20% downpayment. Some loans offer good interest rates with less than a 20% downpayment. There are also many grants and downpayment assistance plans available. It’s important to ask questions to know the right information for your loan circumstances.
What Fees Do You Charge?
Some lenders do charge an array of fees. You don’t want to sign on with a lender and then close on the loan, only to find out that you’re knee-deep in fees in addition to all of the closing costs that you have to pay along with the home purchase.
How Will You Communicate With Me
Just like your Realtor, it’s important that your lender communicates with you in a timely manner. Buying a home requires that documents and offers are in on time to secure your home. Don’t let anything fall through the cracks by hiring people on your home search that may lapse in their communication with important information.