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Bring Your Luxurious Tastes Outdoors

Home upgrades for privacy protectionIf your luxury home has all you could want indoors, why stop there? There is so much to be done to enjoy the great outdoors around mansions, estates, villas and more – and the Equifax Finance Blog has tips about how to make the best choices to add extravagance to your luxury home in the new article “Increase Your Home’s Value With These Five Outdoor Upgrades.”

One of the first things to consider with exterior home upgrades is that they should be planned, and have a chance to balloon out in costs and time when dealing with the random nature of the elements. With plan in hand, a realistic budget and a vision for how to enhance your property, you can’t go wrong with hot options for big spenders like patio upgrades, the fire pit and the outdoor kitchen.

Seriously consider the following to give your outdoors the same opulence as your main residence with items like:

  • Patio upgrades can really shine with options like stone additions, fountains, artistic paved walkways and more.
  • Fire pits are great for relaxing all through summer and fall, and a custom-made brick or stone firepit area makes a darling focal point.
  • Outdoor kitchens can reach far be more than just a grill. Go all out with pizza oven, sink, stocked bar and outdoor flat-screen television.

The Equifax Finance Blog has more ways you can wisely use your wealth of funds with excellent articles on everything from insurance to investing to how to get the best

privacy protection.

Credit or Debit Card? Which is Better?

Choose the right card to boost credit ratingCredit and debit cards are a great convenience in today’s fast-paced society, but more could be at stake (like your credit rating or identity) with their use than just convenience if you aren’t careful with their use. There’s no clear-cut choice for which way to pay, but the Equifax Finance Blog gives some guidelines and considerations for debit and credit card users in the recent article, “

Tips For Choosing Between Paying With Debit or Credit.”

Credit card – With a credit card, you are building your credit history; which is a great thing for people looking to build up their credit. It’s also not linked to your bank account, so if it were to be stolen, a thief would be limited in the amount of damage they could cause. Fraudulent activity can be detected and contested. However, due to the fact that payment is delayed on credit cards, they can cause some people to get carried away and spend more than they would otherwise. Credit card users should pay the balance in full each month.

Debit cards – Debit cards are a better option for people who have a harder time managing credit and keeping their balances to an amount that they can pay off each month. Since the money on a debit card is linked to your bank account, there is greater risk with their use in terms of theft. Debit card users have little protection against theft; this varies based on the bank you use. Some banks do offer protection but they charge a fee for it.  Debit card use also has no impact on your credit; so if you are working to build your credit, a debit card will not help with that.  It’s important with debit cards that if you use more than the funds you have available, you will be hit with hefty overdraft fees, so be careful not to spend more than you have.

The Equifax Finance Blog offers more tips for money management,

credit reports and scores, insurance, taxes and more.

Know Your Identity Theft Solution Now

Be ready with an Identity Theft Solution

Prevention is best, but having an identity theft solution at the ready is wise if you are at risk

Unfortunately with the progression of technology and a few desperate decisions by some, many people have run into several kinds of identity theft in recent years. Often those who are victimized do not even realize it until much later, such as when they are trying to get approved for a home loan or buy a new car and suddenly get declined due to a credit history that should have been fine.

 

The Equifax Finance Blog recently provided some excellent identity theft information in their article, “What to Do if You’re the Victim of Identity Theft.” To begin with, the article cites some of the typical signs of identity theft to watch out for.

These include:

  • Having collectors contact you about debts you know are not yours.
  • Bills and other important mail stop coming to your address (meaning your billing address may have been changed by a theft).
  • Credit cards arrive in the mail for accounts you have never applied for.
  • Debts and accounts you did not open begin to show up on your credit report (it’s a good idea to monitor your credit reports so you can catch this right away should it happen).

 

Just keep in mind that prevention is always the best

identity theft solution, so even if your identity has been stolen in the past. However, if you should find out that your identity has been compromised, it may take a bit of effort on your part to set things right again. The Equifax Finance Blog can walk you through the steps to begin fixing the damage.

To learn more about these steps, please visit the Equifax Finance Blog today at blog.equifax.com.

Now is the Perfect Time to Get in on a Vacation Home Deal

Vacation home real estate purchased from foreclosureReal estate writer Steve Cook compiled a list of the best areas for buying a vacation or retirement home at a great price, in his article “

Retirement and Vacation Deals for Home Buyers” on the Equifax Finance blog.

With the housing market in recovery, this may be the last season to get a fantastic bargain on a vacation or

retirement home. Prices in many areas hit bottom in the last year, but great deals on homes can still be found, especially if you are up for a

foreclosure or short sale.

Cook selected the following five resort and retirement destinations:

  1. Knoxville, TN – With relatively affordable median home prices and prices still below where they were last year, this beautiful Appalachian gateway is a great choice. The Knoxville Area Association of Realtors reports sales have picked up in the first quarter of 2012, so buyers should move quickly. And don’t look for foreclosures or short sales here: only 1% of the homes on the market fall into either of those categories.
  2. Myrtle Beach, SC – Home prices reached bottom here last spring in this seaside resort community. Single family home and condo sales are on the rise and inventory is down 10% from last year.
  3. Melbourne-Titusville, FL – This is still a great place to find a bargain with prices lower this year than last, following the termination of the space shuttle program and thousands of unemployed residents. What is a loss for those could be your gain if you act fast.
  4. Ventura, CA – Prices are down here from last year, but have been on the rise each month since Spring. Inventories are down and time on the market is down. This indicates that the Southern California coastal resort is at bottom and recovering.
  5. Monmouth-Ocean, NJ – Things are looking good at the Jersey Shore, where prices are down and there are still a good number of foreclosures on the market.

Cook recommends doing as much research as possible to make the best decision.

For more information on real estate, investing, insurance, retirement and credit, explore the Equifax Finance blog.