The best way to find a bonafide counselor is to contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD sponsors certified counseling agencies in all 50 states that provide free or low-cost advice on buying a home, renting, credit issues and help to avoid default and foreclosure.
To find a HUD-approved counselor near you, call its Housing Counseling Agency Locator hotline at 800-569-4287 or visit www.hud.gov. There’s no charge for this service.
More than likely, you’ll be provided with at least two or three agencies from which to choose. Call each one to find the counselor that makes you feel most comfortable, and check each agency’s track record with the local Better Business Bureau.
Expect discounts of up to 60 percent on mattresses this month, says expert shopper Bill Billick of the bargain-hunting website Deals2Buy.com. You might save even more if you make the purchase on Memorial Day weekend.
Fridges could be marked down as much as 35 percent this month, Billick adds.
The best deals on barbeque grills usually don’t arrive until the end of summer. But retailers usually slash prices on grill-related accessories, such as utensils and covers, in May as homeowners prepare for the peak BBQ months of June, July and August.
Borrowing against your home’s equity at today’s low rates to pay off your higher-interest debt is a terrific idea, provided you don’t quickly run those card balances back up again.
A good inspector will spend at least an hour — or, better yet, two or three hours — to conduct a thorough review of a home’s physical condition. According to the nonprofit American Society of Home inspectors, the report should include an evaluation of the home’s heating, air-conditioning, interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, windows, floors and doors; and the foundation and basement.
ASHI offers a free referral system to help you find one of its certified inspectors who work in your area. Call the group at 847-759-2820 or visit www.homeinspector.org.