Ask Ilyce – March 11, 2003

ANCHOR: INTEREST RATES LOOK HEADED FOR THEIR LOWEST POINT SINCE 1958. IS NOW THE TIME TO REFINANCE? WGN’S MONEY-SAVING EXPERT ILYCE GLINK IS HERE WITH THE ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION AND OTHERS FROM HER MAILBAG.

GOOD MORNING.
ILYCE: GOOD MORNING, ROSEANNE AND LARRY. LET’S DIVE RIGHT IN. FREIDA WRITES:

DEAR ILYCE: I REFINANCED LAST YEAR AND GOT 7 % ON A 30-YEAR LOAN. WITH RATES BEING LOW, I CALLED MY LENDER AND ASKED FOR A STREAMLINE REFINANCE. HE OFFERED ME 6 % FOR $750 IN FEES. I CHECKED ELSEWHERE AND WAS OFFERED 5.75% FOR A FLAT FEE OF $1,500. WHAT SHOULD I DO? (SIGNED) FREIDA

ILYCE: FRIEDA, RIGHT NOW, INTEREST RATES ARE AS LOW AS THEY’VE BEEN SINCE JFK RAN FOR OFFICE. AND, THEY’VE BEEN HEADING LOWER SINCE LAST WEEK.

I THINK YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET A RATE AROUND 5 AND A HALF OR 5 AND THREE-QUARTERS, AND BE ABLE TO PAY OFF THE REFINANCING FEES WITH YOUR SAVINGS IN A FEW MONTHS. TELL YOUR CURRENT LENDER THE DEAL ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH AND SEE WHAT ELSE HE OFFERS YOU. IF IT ISN’T WHAT YOU WANT, MOVE ON.

ANCHOR: IN OUR NEXT LETTER, DAVE WRITES . . .DEAR ILYCE: I LIVE IN A HOUSE THAT’S IN DESPERATE NEED OF REPAIR. MY EX MOVED OUT AND I DIDN’T HAVE THE CASH TO FIX IT. WE NEED TO REDO THE BATHROOM, KITCHEN, FLOORS, BASEMENT CEILING AND REPAINT. I’M TEMPTED TO PUT THE HOUSE UP AS A HANDYMAN’S SPECIAL. SHOULD WE?

ILYCE: THAT DEPENDS. FIXER UPPERS DON’T SELL FOR AS MUCH MONEY AS A HOUSE IN GREAT SHAPE, SO YOU COULD BE LEAVING MONEY ON THE TABLE. HERE’S HOW TO DECIDE:

ILYCE: INVITE A INVITE A REAL ESTATE AGENT OVER TO INSPECT YOUR HOME. ASK HOW MUCH HE OR SHE THINKS YOU COULD GET FOR YOUR PROPERTY IN ITS CURRENT CONDITION. THEN, ASK HOW MUCH YOU COULD GET IF YOU FIXED EVERYTHING UP. IF THERE’S A BIG ENOUGH DIFFERENCE IN THE “BEFORE” AND “AFTER” PRICE, YOU SHOULD PROBABLY DO IT.

ILYCE: REMEMBER, CURRENT TAX LAW PERMITS YOU TO TAKE UP TO $250,000 IF YOU’RE SINGLE AND UP TO $500,000 IN PROFITS TAX FREE WHEN YOU SELL YOUR HOME. THAT’S A LOT OF CASH YOU MAY BE ABLE TO GET OUT OF YOUR HOME–FINALLY, WITH THE COLD WEATHER, YOUR UTILITY BILL IS PROBABLY HUGE. FOR MY MONEY-SAVING TIP THIS WEEK,

ILYCE: I THOUGHT I’D GIVE YOU A FEW WAYS TO SHAVE YOUR ENERGY BILL. FIRST:

  • PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTATS * WATCH YOUR FIREPLACE USAGE * SEAL YOUR DOORS, DUCTS AND WINDOWS * INSULATE YOUR HOT WATER HEATER

ILYCE: INEXPENSIVE PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTATS ALLOW YOU TO SAVE MONEY ON ENERGY WHEN YOU’RE NOT AT HOME. WATCH YOUR FIREPLACE USAGE – IT CAN SEND YOUR WARM LIVING ROOM AIR RIGHT UP THE CHIMNEY. SEAL UP YOUR DOORS, DUCTS AND WINDOWS AND FINALLY, CONSIDER INSULATING YOUR HOT WATER HEATER.

ILYCE: TUNE IN NEXT WEEK FOR ANOTHER ONE OF MY MONEY-SAVING TIPS. OR YOU CAN MEET ME THIS WEEKEND, SUNDAY AT 3PM AT BARNES AND NOBLE IN OLD ORCHARD.

MEET ILYCE – 3PM SUNDAY, BARNES & NOBLE, OLD ORCHARD

March 11, 2003


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