Top Tips for Selling Your Home Fast

Top Tips for Selling Your Home Fast

When you want to sell your house quickly, you need to get it right the first time around. Those with more time to leave their homes on the market can enjoy a period of trial and error, but if you’re looking for a quick payout, it’s smart to have a plan, and even a checklist in place. Here are 10 tips you may want to consider that can help increase the appeal of your home, impress buyers and help get your property sold in record time.

1. Clean and declutter

One of the first and most fundamental steps to complete if you want to sell your house fast is to clean and declutter your home. This sounds simple, but it can make a huge difference to prospective buyers. If necessary, you may want to rent a storage unit so you can set aside any belongings that you don’t absolutely need for a showing. A tidy home looks bigger and more appealing, so investing some time and money in a deep clean and even a home staging can help to ensure buyers get a great first impression.

2. Pick a selling strategy

Different buyers will have different needs. For instance, a first-time homebuyer might be ready to purchase, but may not know exactly what they want until they see it. That’s why it’s smart to make sure your selling strategy targets your ideal buyer so you can sell your home quickly. Here are three strategies to consider:

Sell FSBO

Selling your home yourself can be a great way to sell a house fast. The “For Sale By Owner” approach may require a little extra work on your part, but it also lets you avoid agent and broker fees, meaning you can sell the home at a lower price and keep the same profits.

Hire an agent

Of course, going it alone isn’t for everyone. If you don’t fully understand the ins and outs of the market, need a little assistance, or would just prefer for a professional to handle the heavy lifting, hiring an agent may be the better route for you. You may incur some additional fees but having a professional on board can help give you some piece of mind during what can be a very complex and stressful process.

Try the unconventional

There isn’t any one right way to sell a home. These days, some people harness the power of social media to try to sell a home quickly. Others allow potential buyers to spend a night to see if they fall in love with the home. Even virtual tours allowing buyers to “walk through” without ever setting foot in the home are becoming the norm.

3. Price to sell

A mortgage loan is a major expense so it’s often at the forefront of your potential buyers’ minds. That’s why you may want to think carefully when setting a price point for your home. Setting your sale price higher than other properties in your neighborhood could keep your home on the market longer than you’d like. Choosing to set your sale price lower than those in your neighborhood can help set you apart from the pack and may help speed up the selling process.

Set a timeline for a price reduction

It’s perfectly fine to dream big, but it’s smart to have a plan in place if no one bites at your initial price. Setting a date by which you’ll reduce the price can help to generate renewed interest in your property. Even a small price reduction can entice buyers to give your home a second look.

Consider sales incentives

You may also want to consider other sales incentives. Perhaps the buyer wants a new fence installed or an AC unit replaced. New carpentry and modern appliances can be highly appealing for buyers. Also, offering to partially or fully cover closing costs is another tactic that can entice potential buyers.

4. Handle any quick repairs

Speaking of incentives, it’s wise to make sure you do repairs before buyers see the home. Many of those small things we overlook while living in a house can be a big deal to buyers. Repair scratched floors and damaged walls, tighten up that leaky faucet and pull out the touch up paint. All of these quick repairs can make a huge difference in selling your home quickly.

💡 Recommended: What Are the Most Common Home Repair Costs?

5. Pack up and hire a stager

First thing’s first: Most buyers consider how their own belongings will fit in your home as they walk through, and getting some of your things out of the way can aid in that visualization. If you think your belongings are outdated or detract from the overall appeal of the home, you can even consider hiring a stager who will know exactly how to make your home look its absolute best. A well-staged home can sell more quickly.

💡 Recommended: 12 Home Staging Tips for Homeowners Trying to Sell

6. Create curb appeal

Thinking about what people see when they first arrive at your house is a smart move when it comes to selling your home quickly. The front lawn, the door, or even a driveway can influence a buyer’s overall impressions. Consider driving past your home and looking at it from a buyer’s perspective to see where your eyes land first. Whatever catches your eye is probably worth investing some time and money into. Also, mowing the lawn and power washing the front of your home can help make it look more inviting.

💡 Recommended: 5 Curb Appeal Ideas for Your House

7. Hire a professional photographer

Pictures, virtual walk-throughs and social media are huge in real estate these days. And professional photographers make it all much more appealing. If you have stunning professional photographs to show prospective buyers, you’re likely to be more competitive when it comes to getting those buyers into your house.

8. Write a great listing description

A listing price and photographs are helpful, but you also need a listing description. Realtors are often great at this, but if you need to do it on your own, you may want to start by considering your home’s best features. Also it’s smart to consider keywords that might help your home rank higher. Since you’re trying to sell a house fast, it’s perfectly fine to convey that in the listing. It might also attract buyers who want to buy quickly.

Where to post your listing

Where to list your home for sale often depends on how you’re selling it. If you are selling on your own, you can use sites like Zillow to list the house yourself. If you are working with an agent, however, they will probably prefer to list the house for you on the local Multiple List Service (MLS). Of course you can always use your personal social accounts, email, or other means to advertise regardless of whether you have an agent or not.

9. Time your sale right

Timing can play a huge role in how quickly your home sells. However, this can vary widely depending on where you’re located. You may want to start by researching when homes sell best in your area and aim to hit that time frame if you can.

10. Be flexible with showings

Within your ideal time frame, you’ll probably want to be as flexible as possible. Homebuyers can be busy, and if you can accommodate them, they’ll be more likely to view your home. If you can’t, they may look elsewhere.

Hold an open house

An open house is an excellent way to let people see your house. The best part about open houses is that they’re very flexible. People can come and go as they please on their own schedules. Of course, things like cleaning, making repairs and staging will be extra important during an open house. If you have an interested buyer but have scheduled an open house, it’s OK to run the open house anyway. Even a home in contingency can still fall through; it doesn’t hurt to have backup offers or other interested buyers in waiting.

The Takeaway

Whether pricing your home below market rate or just adding a fresh coat of paint, when it comes to selling your home quickly there really are no guarantees. Doing your research and knowing your market are the best ways to position yourself for a sale, and incorporating these tips can help speed up that process.

And once you’ve successfully sold your house and you’re in the market to buy another property, consider SoFi for your next mortgage. With competitive rates and downpayments as low as 3%, SoFi can help get you into a new home in no time.

Find out what you could qualify for with SoFi.


Photo credit: iStock/OlekStock

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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Guide to Saving Money on a Disney World Vacation in 2022

Guide to Saving Money on a Disney World Vacation in 2022

There’s no denying that a Disney World vacation is at the top of many folks’ travel bucket list. But it’s also the case that traveling to Disney World can be expensive, especially if you’re traveling with the whole family. While there are some costs you won’t be able to avoid, there are ways to save money at Disney World.

If you’re heading on a vacation to Orlando, you can use credit card rewards points to help pay for your flights and hotels. It can be more challenging to get discounts on park tickets themselves, but there are a few tricks you can use when you are saving for Disney World. Read on for the full rundown on how to save money at Disney World.

Trips to Disney World

For many kids (and adults!), a trip to Disney World is a once-in-a-lifetime dream vacation. Many parents look forward to the day that they can take their kids to Disney just to see the looks on their faces when they walk into the Magic Kingdom. It’s not just kids though — many adults also dream of taking a trip to Disney World.

Recommended: How to Avoid Interest On a Credit Card

Using Credit Cards Efficiently on a Disney World Vacation

One of the best ways to save money at Disney World is by responsibly using a credit card. Many credit cards offer rewards or cash back for each purchase you make with the card. Additionally, it’s common for credit card issuers to offer a welcome offer that you can earn by signing up for the card and making a certain amount of purchases within the first few months of having the card.

Using these credit card rewards can help if you’re considering how to save money on a Disney vacation. You’ll just want to ensure you understand how credit cards work and how to use your credit card responsibly to ensure your Disney savings efforts don’t undercut your overall financial health.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score

Using Card Travel Rewards on a Disney World Vacation

Applying for a rewards credit card that offers credit card miles or cash back rewards can help augment your Disney World budget.

The two areas where earning travel rewards can help you with saving money at Disney World are on flights and hotels. If you apply for an airline credit card, the miles you get might help cover your flights. Similarly, the hotel points you earn from a hotel credit card can help pay for your lodging while on a Disney World vacation.

Another way to save money at Disney World is by using a cashback credit card or a card that earns bank points.

Recommended: What is a Charge Card

Tips for Saving Money at Disney World

Besides using credit card rewards to travel for less, here are a few other ways that you can save money at Disney World.

Taking Advantage of a Free Disney Dining Plan

Once you’re at Disney World, one of the biggest expenses you’ll have is your food costs. Food can be quite expensive at Disney World, since they know that you’re a captive audience.

You can bring your own food to Disney World, but it usually isn’t a great option for many people. Occasionally, Disney runs sales where a Disney Dining Plan is included in the cost of your ticket. While it may not make sense for every situation, it’s worth checking out.

Picking the Right Season

The cost of Disney World park tickets is the same no matter when you go, but the cost of hotels varies throughout the year. Your Disney World hotel cost will depend on a number of factors, but a good rule of thumb is that the more popular times (spring break, summer vacation, holidays) also come with higher prices. Consider staying during the off-season or during shoulder season, when prices might be lower and there may be smaller crowds.

Never Paying Full Price for Hotels

Your hotel cost will be one of the biggest items of your Disney World vacation, so one tip to save money at Disney World is to not pay top dollar for hotels. One option could be using different credit card rewards to pay for your hotels. There are hotel credit cards that offer a signup bonus that could provide enough points to pay for most or even all of your Disney World trip.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due

Sticking to Your Budget

Just like all aspects of your financial life, it’s a smart idea to set a budget while you’re at Disney World. Not only can this help you save the money to afford your trip, it can also keep you from spending too much while you’re there.

Remember, though, that saving money on a trip to Disney World doesn’t have to mean not having fun. Just make sure you budget appropriately and identify what is and is not important to you. This will help you stick to the important credit card rule of keeping your balance in check.

Picking Free Souvenirs

Like in-park food, souvenirs are another area where you’ll pay for convenience. If you have extra days in Orlando, consider shopping off-property for Disney souvenirs — like at Disney’s official Disney’s Character Warehouse store. If you’re traveling with kids, consider giving them an upfront “souvenir budget” and letting them choose how they want to spend it.

Buying Discounted Disney World Park Tickets

Because Disney World park tickets are usually in such high demand, there aren’t a lot of opportunities to buy them at a discount. To snag Disney World savings in this area, one option is to use cash back rewards toward the cost of Disney park tickets.

Another option is to look for stores that sell Disney gift cards. You can use Disney gift cards for almost anything at Disney World, and some stores will occasionally discount them. Even if you pay full price for a gift card, you might be able to get credit card rewards or credit card points with your gift card purchase.

Recommended: Can You Buy Crypto With a Credit Card

The Takeaway

A Disney World vacation can be quite expensive, especially if you’re traveling with multiple people. This makes it important to learn all the tips you can to save money at Disney World. Look to use your credit card travel rewards toward flights and lodging costs, and consider a cash back credit card to help cover the other costs like park tickets, souvenirs, and food during your vacation.

One opportunity for saving money at Disney World is to use credit card rewards to help pay for your vacation with a cash back credit card like the SoFi credit card. With the SoFi credit card, you can earn unlimited 2% cash back rewards. Cardholders earn 1% cash back rewards when redeemed for a statement credit.1 Plus, you can earn even more when you set up direct deposit on your SoFi Checking and Savings account.

Learn more about applying for a rewards credit card with SoFi today.

FAQ

How can I spend less at Disney World?

There’s no denying that Disney World is an expensive place, but you have a couple of options if you’re trying to spend less at Disney World. One is to use your credit card points to help offset the cost. The other is to set a budget for the necessary costs that are important to you. Having a budget can help prepare you mentally to spend less.

How can I get airline miles to cover my flights to Disney World?

Airline credit cards are great for earning airline miles to help pay for flights. Look at the cost of airline tickets to Orlando from where you live, and see how many airline miles it would take to fly there. Then, look at signing up for an airline credit card to help get you the miles that you need.

When is the best time of the year to visit Disney World?

There isn’t only one set time of year that is the best to visit Disney World — it will depend on your specific situation and how flexible you can be with your travel plans. Typically, Disney World will be more crowded (and hotels more expensive) during peak travel periods like summer, spring break, and holidays. Conversely, you may experience smaller crowds and lower prices if you travel in the off-season.

How can I save on souvenirs at Disney World?

If you’re buying souvenirs inside the parks themselves, there’s no denying that the prices will be expensive. One way to overcome the souvenir sticker shock is to determine what kind of souvenirs are important to you and set a budget to cover that amount. You can also consider buying some Disney souvenirs at the Disney outlet store (Disney’s Character Warehouse).


Photo credit: iStock/miniseries

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
The SoFi Credit Card is issued by The Bank of Missouri (TBOM) (“Issuer”) pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.
You will need to maintain a qualifying Direct Deposit every month with SoFi Checking and Savings in order to continue to receive this promotional cash back rate. Qualifying Direct Deposits are defined as deposits from enrolled member’s employer, payroll, or benefits provider via ACH deposit. Deposits that are not from an employer (such as check deposits; P2P transfers such as from PayPal or Venmo, etc.; merchant transactions such as from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.; and bank ACH transfers not from employers) do not qualify for this promotion. A maximum of 36,000 rewards points can be earned from this limited-time offer. After the promotional period ends or once you have earned the maximum points offered by this promotion, your cash back earning rate will revert back to 2%. 36,000 rewards points are worth $360 when redeemed into SoFi Checking and Savings, SoFi Money, SoFi Invest, Crypto, SoFi Personal Loan, SoFi Private Student Loan or Student Loan Refinance and are worth $180 when redeemed as a SoFi Credit Card statement credit.

Promotion Period: 4/5/2022-12/31/2022. SoFi reserves the right to exclude any Member from participating in the Program for any reason, including suspected fraud, misuse, or if suspicious activities are observed. SoFi also reserves the right to stop or make changes to the Program at any time.

Eligible Participants: All new members who apply and get approved for the SoFi Credit Card, open a SoFi Checking and Savings account, and set up Direct Deposit transactions ("Direct Deposit") into their SoFi Checking and Savings account during the promotion period are eligible. All existing SoFi Credit Card members who set up Direct Deposit into a SoFi Checking & Savings account during the promotion period are eligible. All existing SoFi members who have already enrolled in Direct Deposit into a SoFi Checking & Savings account prior to the promotion period, and who apply and get approved for a SoFi Credit Card during the promotion period are eligible. Existing SoFi members who already have the SoFi Credit Card and previously set up Direct Deposit through SoFi Money or SoFi Checking & Savings are not eligible for this promotion.

New SoFi Checking and Savings customers and existing Checking and Savings customers without direct deposit are eligible to earn a cash bonus when they set up direct deposits of at least $1,000 over a consecutive 30-day period. Cash bonus will be based on the total amount of direct deposit. Entry into the Program will be available 4/5/22 to 5/31/22. Full terms at sofi.com/banking. SoFi Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. Member FDIC.

SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 2.00% annual percentage yield (APY) interest on all account balances in their Checking and Savings accounts (including Vaults). Members without direct deposit will earn 1.00% APY on all account balances in Checking and Savings (including Vaults). Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. Rate of 2.00% APY is current as of 08/12/2022. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.

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How Much Does It Cost to Finish an Attic?

How Much Does It Cost to Finish an Attic?

The longer you live in your house, the more obvious it may become that you need more living space — perhaps for a guest bedroom when your family expands or as a home office where you can work remotely in a telecommuting society. Your first thought might be to build an addition, but the sticker shock may cause you to shelve that idea and instead consider an attic conversion.

Fortunately, an attic conversion is an idea that may be more economical than a complete home addition. Read on for a full breakdown of the cost to finish an attic.

Should You Convert Your Attic Space?

There are many benefits of converting an attic into usable space, including:

•   The space already exists in your home, making this choice both cost- and time-effective.

•   You don’t need to pour a foundation, again making it a more viable and economical option.

•   Wiring is likely already in place and can be modified to suit your needs.

An attic conversion also allows you to use the entire envelope of your home, rather than wasting potential living space.

Before you fully commit to your attic remodel, though, it’s crucial to make sure your attic has the potential to become a usable living space. Better Homes & Gardens provides a litmus test to determine whether your attic is worth remodeling .

Recommended: Renovation vs. Remodel

Tips on Converting an Attic, Plus Associated Costs

One of the first things you might do before converting your attic is to see if your roof is being supported by W-shaped trusses in your attic. If so, it’s likely that building an addition is a better choice. If your attic contains A-shaped rafters, though, that’s a plus; if there’s enough open space beneath the rafters, then you can potentially convert your attic into usable space.

Other considerations that Better Homes & Gardens recommend include to:

•   Check your local building codes to make sure your remodel will fit. As just one example, a typical requirement is that the attic space must be at least 7.5 feet high and over 50 percent of the floor area. The thickness of the material will also factor into the final headroom and ceiling height. The quickest way to add significant costs to your attic remodel is to be forced to change course mid-project because of a code violation (though this is an example of personal loan use that could come in handy).

•   Determine how you’ll get into the space. Will you need to add a staircase or expand the current one? Stairs that go straight up will need more floor space than, say, spiral staircases. Or perhaps your only option is a pull-down access point; this will limit what furniture and materials you can fit into your attic conversion and how utilitarian the new living space might be.

•   Consider whether you’ll need to add windows. If you’re creating an additional bedroom, codes may require an egress window in case of fires. But even if they aren’t required, you might consider adding windows or punching skylights that open to brighten the space with natural light.

•   Decide how much flooring needs to be reinforced, along with any electrical or plumbing issues. If you ultimately decide that your attic has what’s needed for a successful conversion, it’s time to think both practically and creatively to shape what may well become the most interesting — and potentially challenging — room in your house.

•   Prioritize what’s most important to you. Maybe it’s crucial that the attic is fully plumbed for a bathroom because you want this space to serve as a guest suite. To make that happen, perhaps you’d be willing to give up your specialty flooring idea if your budget doesn’t accommodate both or if it could make it harder to get your personal loan approved for the project.

•   Consult with a professional unless you’re already an experienced builder. Ask friends, family members, and building associations for recommendations and referrals, then request quotes from at least three contractors to understand both possibilities and associated costs. When you contact contractors, ask them for credentials. Compare bids and, tempting as it may be, don’t automatically choose the lowest one. Make sure the contractor describes what will be provided as well as the estimated time frame.

Want to know how much value your attic conversion will bring to the table? Check out SoFi’s Home Project Value Estimator.

Recommended: How to Find a Contractor for Home Renovations & Remodeling

How Much Does It Cost to Finish an Attic per Square Foot?

On average, you can expect to pay between $4,600 to $16,000 — or $30 to $60 per square foot — to refinish your attic. Most high-end attic conversions can cost as much as $200 per square foot.

Overall, costs vary depending on the overall square footage and the materials you use.

How Much Does It Cost to Finish an Attic per Task?

If you hire individual contractors for each aspect of your attic remodel, then it’s easy to see what each portion of the remodel is costing you. However, if you hire a contractor to manage the entire project, you likely won’t receive the project broken down into great detail.

Here are some estimates you might expect to pay for various components of your attic renovation:

Cost of Walls and Ceilings

New walls and ceilings can effectively transform an unfinished attic into a space that’s both comfortable and livable. Although prices vary by where you live, attic drywall can cost an average of $1,000 to $2,600 to install, with ceilings costing $120 to $25,000.

Other aspects to consider: Will you paint the walls and ceilings? Add wallpaper? Do you need trim and crown molding? All of these features will be additional costs and can quickly cause your project budget to skyrocket.

Cost of Flooring

Flooring is another important consideration, so first think about what’s located directly below the attic space. Do you need soundproofing? If a bedroom is located below the attic space, you’ll likely want some sound control. Insulation provides that to some degree, and carpeting adds even more dampening.

The cost of attic flooring will depend on the current state of the attic and what materials you choose. Replacing floor joists to beef up the strength will cost anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000, while installing subfloor will run between $500 and $800. Installing the flooring itself averages between $200 and $6,400, depending on material and square footage.

Cost of Windows and Skylights

If there currently are no windows in your attic, you may want to add an egress window, which will run you between around $2,500 and $5,300, as a safety precaution. You also might want windows or skylights to brighten the space with natural light. Expect to pay an average of $200 to $10,000 to install an attic window, and $1,000 to $2,400 to add a skylight.

Cost of Heating and Cooling

Your attic conversion might require additional heating and cooling. The price to install an attic fan is around $400 to $900, and a window air conditioner averages $298. A skillful contractor could also potentially tie in your current climate control system.

For heat, baseboard heaters run $780 on average. Electricians charge $75 to $200 per hour in labor, and installing duct plumbing might cost you between $454 and $2,051 on average.

If your attic is difficult to access during the renovation period, contractors may tack on a surcharge. To get an idea of how much your attic renovation will cost, use our Home Improvement Cost Calculator.

How Much Does It Cost to Finish an Attic Yourself?

It’s generally cheaper to go the DIY route than to hire a professional — though you will need some know-how. If you’re making minor improvements to your attic space, you may be looking at an attic remodel cost as low as $300. However, if you’re looking to make a total transformation, your costs for materials could run as high as $50,000.

Though you’ll certainly save on labor costs, make sure to take into account the time involved if you decide to do it yourself as opposed to bringing in a professional.

How Much Does It Cost to Finish an Attic by Type?

How much it costs to finish an attic will also vary depending on the type of attic space you’re creating. Here’s a look at how much an attic remodel costs by attic type.

Cost of Finishing a Walk-Up Attic

The cost of finishing a walk-up attic generally ranges anywhere from $8,100 and $26,000. Large portions of the costs are typically adding a staircase and installing flooring.

Finishing an Attic as a Storage Space

If you’re finishing an attic to serve as a storage space, your costs are generally a little lower as there isn’t as much polishing involved. Generally, the attic remodel cost for a storage space runs from $4,600 for a simpler setup to $18,900 if the space is larger and you opt for more elaborate storage systems.

Cost to Finish an Attic With a Dormer

Installing a dormer — a window that juts out vertically on a sloped roof — can add in some ceiling height and natural sunlight into an attic. However, it will set you back. On average, the cost to add in a dormer ranges anywhere from $2,500-$20,000, plus the additional costs of other attic remodeling work.

Cost to Finish an Attic Above a Garage

The cost to finish an attic above a garage can vary widely depending on what’s involved, such as the installation of heating, insulation, or ventilation. You can typically expect to pay anywhere from $4,600 up to $24,000.

What Factors Influence the Cost of Finishing an Attic?

As you may have guessed from the wide-ranging estimates above, the cost of finishing an attic can vary a lot depending on what’s involved and what materials you use. Here are some major factors that can affect how much it costs to finish an attic:

•   Square footage: How large your attic is will play a big role in the total costs involved in remodeling. The bigger an attic is, the more materials required and the more time it will take to finish it, which translates to additional labor costs.

•   Need for structural changes: You’ll also pay extra if your attic is an odd shape or difficult to access. These challenges could call for structural updates, such as the addition of height, the expansion of space, or the creation of a staircase.

•   Intended use: Your planned purpose for your attic will also influence cost. If you just want to add in some additional storage space, you’ll pay a lot less than if you plan to install a full suite complete with a bedroom, bathroom, and closet.

•   Extra features desired: Perhaps unsurprisingly, the more features you want in your newly remodeled attic, the more it will cost you. Big-ticket items include windows, electricity, plumbing, and heating and cooling.

Of course, another factor that influences your cost is whether you need to get financing for the project and, if so, what terms you’re able to secure. Keep in mind that you can always use our personal loan calculator to see how your current loan stacks up.

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The Takeaway

An attic conversion can be one way to create a unique room through adding more usable space to your home. It’s also a more economical home renovation project than an addition to your house. There are a lot of technical aspects to consider, and before getting started, it’s best to check with your local codes office so you know any building or permit requirements upfront, then come up with a project wishlist before soliciting bids from at least three contractors.

Figuring out how to finance your attic conversion is the last step of the project before getting started. If you’re looking for help with some or even the whole cost of your attic conversion, a home improvement loan is one way to finance virtually any home project. These are essentially one of the types of personal loans used to pay for renovations, additions, or updates to your home or property.

SoFi offers personal loans online for home improvement with a fast approval process, so you can get started sooner than later. Because of SoFi’s low rates and flexible terms, it can be a better choice than paying for your remodel with high-interest credit cards. And because this is an unsecured loan, you aren’t using your home as collateral like you would with a home equity line of credit.

Ready to start renovating your attic? Learn more about how SoFi personal loans can help.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
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SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC), and by SoFi Lending Corp. NMLS #1121636 , a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law (License # 6054612) and by other states. For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

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Budgeting for Elderly Parents or Loved Ones

Budgeting for Elderly Parents or Loved Ones

At some point, you may need to become involved with your aging parents’ care, which may include immersing yourself in your parents’ finances. Taking over elderly parents’ finances can be a sensitive issue that needs to be undertaken with a great deal of care, patience, and regular (clear and honest) communication.

Your loved ones’ finances can be complicated by a number of issues, including the cost of any care they might need. According to a 2021 survey by Genworth , the median cost of an in-home health aid is $5,148 per month, while an assisted living facility can run around $4,500 per month, depending on where you live.

While healthcare costs will likely only continue to climb, seniors are typically living on a fixed income. This makes careful money management and living on a budget particularly important for older adults. Read on to learn what you can do to help your parents (or other elderly loved ones) manage their money and ensure they don’t outlive their funds.

Tips for Budgeting for an Elderly Parent


Figuring out how to take care of your elderly parents’ finances – without putting a strain on your relationship – comes with a bit of a learning curve. Here are some tips that can help ease the process.

1. Starting With Small, Gradual Changes


It can be a good idea to offer support in small, gradual steps in the beginning. You may want to sit with your parents while they make a budget or offer to set up automatic bill pay with them. If you need to offer financial support, consider starting small, such as paying for a prescription. Ideally, you’ll want to give as much independence to your parents as they can handle.

2. Making a List of Their Financial Documents


It can be very helpful to create a document that lists all of your loved ones’ financial and legal documents, including where they are located, along with contact information for any professionals they use, such as doctors, lawyers, and accountants. Some documents you may want to look for include:

•  Bank statements

•  Mortgage statements

•  401K, IRA, stock certificates, or pension records

•  Income tax records

•  Property deeds

•  Outstanding loans

•  Automobile registration and insurance

•  Homeowners insurance

•  Health insurance

•  Life and disability insurance

•  Will and or trust documents

•  Passport, driver’s license, and social security information

•  Birth and marriage certificates, divorce decree

•  Contact info for doctor, lawyer, investment banker, accountant, clergy, etc.

•  Military service records

•  Medical papers, such as advance directives, DNR

•  Final wishes regarding burial arrangements, cemetery, and funeral home

Recommended: How To Organize Your Finances & Keep Them Organized

3. Creating an Organized Budget


Budgeting for elderly parents is similar to budgeting for yourself, except that the budget line items and amounts will likely look different from your own. Retirees may also have significantly less income coming in than when they were employed.

When helping them set up a budget, here are some monthly budgeting categories you may want to include:

•  Mortgage or rent

•  Utilities

•  Credit card payments

•  Health insurance payments

•  Phone bills

•  Medical bills

•  Food

•  Transportation

Recommended: How to Make a Budget

4. Setting up Automatic Bill Payment for Simplicity


Automatic bill payments can be a big help when it comes to taking care of elderly parents’ finances. If you’re handing the payments, it will eliminate the mental energy it’ll take for you to pay another set of bills each month. Plus, you’ll worry less about things like having their utilities unexpectedly cut off or their insurance canceled.

5. Communicating Changes With Them


There may come a time where you need to make changes that will affect their lives. If you need to switch care providers, for example, it’ll disrupt their routine and expectations. To make the adjustment process easier, you’ll want to communicate any changes early, often, and honestly.

6. Looking at Senior Programs


When budgeting for eldercare, it can be wise to look for senior programs in your area. Not only can they be a tremendous relief on the budget, but they can also enhance the quality of life for your elderly parents. They may be able to qualify for housing, food, or energy assistance. Eldercare services can also include transportation, meals, health insurance counseling, caregiver support, and in-home services You can learn about programs in your area at Eldercare.gov .

7. Reducing Costs Where You Deem Fit


Be sensitive as you approach budget cuts with your parents. You may be able to see things that don’t make sense to pay for anymore, but your parents may view things differently. Keep communication lines open and respect their wishes as much as you can.

Recommended: Typical Retirement Expenses to Prepare For

8. Researching Options for Insurance Plans


Medicare, the healthcare insurance program for those over 65, isn’t as simple as you might expect. There are four parts of Medicare: Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D. Each has their own benefits, deductibles, and copays. To browse medicare options in your area, you may want to take a look at Medicare.gov .

Depending on their financial situation, your parents may qualify for Medicaid (the public health insurance program for people with low income) as well as Medicare. In addition, you may want to look into supplemental health insurance (called Medigap). Medigap is sold by private companies and can help fill in “gaps” in Medicare, such as copays, coinsurance, and deductibles.

9. Separating Finances From Yours


Whatever help you’re able to give an aging parent, it can be a good idea to keep your finances separate from theirs. This is generally the easiest and most ethical way to keep a record of what is happening in your parents’ accounts.

When you’re in control of someone else’s finances, it puts you in the role of a fiduciary, which means you must act in their best interests, rather than your own. If you want to learn more about the different types of financial caregiving, you can look at the guides from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau .

10. Staying Aware of Any Unplanned Charges


Financial exploitation of elderly persons is on the rise. In 2021, financial institutions filed 72,000 suspicious activity reports related to elderly financial exploitation, which was 10,000 more than 2020, according to the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

It’s concerning how often elderly persons’ are taken advantage of, especially when it comes to their finances. Being aware can help prevent financial abuse of an elderly parent. Some red flags you may want to watch out for:

•  Large, frequent withdrawals

•  Withdraws made from an ATM not typical of your parent’s behavior

•  Transfers between bank accounts your parent cannot explain

•  Insufficient funds fees or unpaid bills

•  Attempts to wire large sums of money

•  A new friend accompanying them to the bank

•  Suspicious or forged signatures on checks

•  Reluctance to talk about transactions or shame surrounding their money

•  Altered wills or trusts

If you suspect your parents have been the victim of financial exploitation, you can report it to their bank and ask for their help to investigate and stop it. Your town or state Adult Protective Services department may also be able to help. If you strongly suspect fraud, it’s also a good idea to notify your local police.

The Takeaway


Taking care of your elderly parents’ finances is a big step that often requires time, patience, sensitivity, and maintaining open and clear lines of communication. But it can be well worth the effort. By coming up with a financial plan and helping older loved ones better manage their income, savings, and spending, you can ensure that they live as well as possible during their golden yeast.

If you need a partner to help you through this season of life, you may want to consider opening a bank account with mobile banking app from SoFi. We offer 2.00% APY to all eligible members, plus a number of handy features that can make banking with elderly parents easier, including direct person-to-person transfer service and an easy option for adding a joint account holder.

FAQ

How do you financially help elderly parents?


You can help your parents financially by going over their finances with them, helping them set up a budget, and connecting them with any senior financial support services offered in your area. Helping elderly parents financially doesn’t have to mean giving them money. However, if that’s necessary (and you are able), you may want to start slowly by covering a few expenses here and there and, if needed, gradually increase.

What do you do if you have an elderly parent with no money?


You can help by looking for senior support programs that may be able to help them meet their needs. Beyond Medicare and Social Security, there are a host of other programs your elderly parents may qualify for, including assistance for housing, energy, and food. Eldercare.gov is a good place to start your research.

How do you make a budget for the elderly?


Making a budget for the elderly is similar to making a budget for yourself, except the expenses and allocations will be very different. A good first step is to go through their monthly bank and credit card statements to determine how much is coming in each month and how much is going out. You can then look for places where they may need to cut back.


Photo credit: iStock/Ridofranz
SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2022 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 2.00% annual percentage yield (APY) interest on all account balances in their Checking and Savings accounts (including Vaults). Members without direct deposit will earn 1.00% APY on all account balances in Checking and Savings (including Vaults). Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. Rate of 2.00% APY is current as of 08/12/2022. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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What Are Intermediary Banks? What Do They Do?

When money moves from one bank to another, you may think it travels in one speedy step, but in truth, an intermediary bank may be involved. When funds move between a sender and a receiving account at the same bank, the money typically moves directly. But if the money is moving from one bank to another, the processing may be more involved and an intermediary bank is likely needed.

As the name implies, an intermediary bank is a bank that acts as a go-between, connecting two different banks. Smaller banks require intermediary banks or correspondent banks to facilitate transactions with other banks, while larger banks may have enough connections to serve as their own intermediaries.

Generally, retail bank customers do not have to worry about finding intermediary banks — instead, they work behind the scenes with the banks themselves. Here, learn about:

•   What is the meaning of an intermediary bank and how does it work?

•   When are intermediary banks needed:

•   What is an intermediary vs. correspondent banks?

•   What are intermediary bank fees and who pays them?

What Is an Intermediary Bank?

An intermediary bank is a third-party bank that helps facilitate transfers and transactions between two other banks. Often, intermediary banks are dealing with international transactions such as wire transfers between different countries. If you are sending money to others abroad, your bank may end up using an intermediary bank.

You may not be aware of how the intermediary banks work behind the scenes, but be aware that you may be charged additional fees for the work that intermediary banks are doing.

How Do Intermediary Banks Work

If you are doing a bank account transfer, especially to an account in a different country than the one where your own bank is located, it is likely that an intermediary bank will be involved. During a monetary transfer between accounts at different banks, an intermediary bank works in between the sender’s bank account and the account at the receiving bank.

Here’s how the transaction might work:

•   A person with an account at Bank A wants to send money to another person, a client with an account at Bank B.

•   However, Bank A doesn’t have an account or banking relationship with Bank B.

•   Bank A and Bank B do, however, each have an account with Bank C.

•   Funds can be funneled through Bank C, the intermediary bank, to make the transaction successful.

Intermediary Bank Example

Intermediary banks are like an international travel hub through which transfers flow. They are especially important for fund transfers made via the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Telecommunications) network.

Here’s a simple example to show how intermediary banks usually work. Let’s say that John is an importer-exporter based in the United States who banks at the Acme Bank. He needs to make a payment to Angela, a supplier of his based in Germany, who banks with Big Bank. He gives Angela’s bank’s information to his bank to make the transfer.

If Acme Bank does not have an account at or a relationship directly with Big Bank (Angela’s bank), it will use an intermediary bank; let’s call it Central Bank. This intermediary bank will have accounts at both Acme Bank, John’s bank in the United States, as well as Big Bank, Angela’s bank in Germany.

Central Bank can transfer the money between the two banks. It will likely charge a fee for their role in the transaction. The transaction will be completed by the three banks working together.

When Is an Intermediary Bank Required?

Any time that money is being transferred between two banks that do not have an existing relationship, an intermediary bank is usually involved. Whether you have a single account or a joint bank account, when you transfer money to a user at a different bank (especially internationally), an intermediary bank will generally be required.

This is likely to occur as a commercial banking transaction. In other words, the use of an intermediary bank is not something the consumer has to initiate.

The Need for Intermediary Banks

Intermediary banks are important as part of the global financial system. Since banks generally do not have accounts with every single bank around the world, there is a need for intermediary banks to help facilitate monetary transfers.

The good news is that you typically do not have to worry about finding an intermediary bank yourself. Instead, the banks themselves have intermediary banks that they use to transfer money between other banks.

Ready for a Better Banking Experience?

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account and start earning up to 2.00% APY on your cash!


When Will an Intermediary Bank Be Involved in a Transaction?

An intermediary bank will usually be involved whenever there is a need to transfer money between accounts at two separate banks. If the sending bank does not have its own account with the receiving bank, it will usually use an intermediary bank.

Even if a business thought it could get around the need for intermediary banks (and save money; see more on fees below) by opening multiple bank accounts, its main bank would still probably use an intermediary bank at some point to transfer funds on its behalf.

Difference Between Intermediary and Correspondent Banks

When considering how bank transfers work, you may hear two different terms: intermediary banks and correspondent banks. Depending on which part of the world you’re in, there may or may not be a difference between the terms “intermediary bank” and “correspondent bank.”

•   In some countries, the terms correspondent banks and intermediary banks are used interchangeably.

•   In the U.S. as well as in a few other countries, correspondent banks are often ones that handle multiple types of currencies.

•   Intermediary banks may be smaller banks that only typically handle transactions in one currency.

What Are Some Typical Intermediary Bank Fees?

Because intermediary banks typically do not work directly with consumers, they also do not regularly post a breakdown of the fees they charge. Instead, you can look at your own bank’s fees for financial transactions such as domestic wire transfers or international wire transfers.

The fees that your bank will charge you for these transactions generally include the fees that your bank will have to pay to the intermediary bank it uses. These bank fees can range anywhere from $15 to $50 or more.

Recommended: How Do Banks Make Money?

Who Pays for Intermediary Bank Fees?

Intermediary bank fees are paid in different ways, depending on the specific transaction. Let’s say Person A is sending money to Person B. There are three ways the fees may be handled, depending on what the parties involved agree upon:

•   “OUR” is the code used when the sender will pay all fees. An average fee for an international transfer can be about $70.

•   “SHA” is the code indicating shared costs. Person A will likely pay their bank charges (perhaps $15 to $30 on a typical transaction) and then Person B pays the rest: their bank’s and the intermediary bank’s charges.

•   “BEN” indicates that Person B, the recipient of the funds, will pay all charges.

The Takeaway

If a bank customer wants to send money to someone at a different bank and the two banks involved are not connected, an intermediary bank typically plays a role. Intermediary banks work with other banks to help facilitate monetary transactions such as domestic and especially international wire transfers. You, as a consumer, usually do not have to find or hire your own intermediary bank. However, your bank will likely pass along any intermediary bank fees if you initiate a transaction that requires one.

What about your everyday, basic banking, though? If you’re looking for great interest rates while keeping flexible access to your money, why not open a bank account with SoFi? When you open our Checking and Savings with direct deposit, you can earn 2.00% APY and pay no fees. That means your money can grow faster.

Bank smarter with SoFi.

FAQ

What is an example of an intermediary bank?

An intermediary bank is one that moves funds between other banks. They do not typically work directly with consumers, so you likely neither need to know their names nor contact them. For instance, Bank of America might offer this service, or it might be provided by a foreign bank with which you are not familiar.

Why do you need an intermediary bank?

Intermediary banks are usually used when someone needs to send money to a person with an account at a different bank. An intermediary bank can serve as a middleman and facilitate the transaction. One common example is sending a wire transfer, especially internationally.

How do you find an intermediary bank?

In most cases, you will not need to find your own intermediary bank. The bank you use will have its own intermediary bank that it collaborates with as needed. Depending on what kinds of financial transactions you need, in some cases, you might also want to consider alternatives to traditional banks for international transfers.


Photo credit: iStock/MicroStockHub

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2022 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 2.00% annual percentage yield (APY) interest on all account balances in their Checking and Savings accounts (including Vaults). Members without direct deposit will earn 1.00% APY on all account balances in Checking and Savings (including Vaults). Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. Rate of 2.00% APY is current as of 08/12/2022. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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