The workplace as we know it is changing… and now I’ll tell you the sky is blue!
Seriously, though, as you’re well aware, the gig economy is booming. That means earning a paycheck doesn’t have to happen within the walls of your 9-to-5. In fact, some people do away with it altogether and take up several side jobs, instead.
One of our favorite options? You could get paid to deliver food with Postmates, one of the few app-based side gigs that will pay you 100% of your earnings.
That means there are no annoying service fees, booking fees or transaction fees to deduct from your pay — the money you worked for goes directly into your pocket. All of it.
And because there will always be someone who wants a milkshake but doesn’t want to drive to go get it (ahem… me), your money might add up faster than you think.
Getting started only takes a few minutes.
Land Your Next Side Gig In Only 3 Minutes
It took us about three minutes to sign up when we tried it. But it could be less, honestly, if you happen to speed through it.
What’s great about signing up to join Postmates’ fleet is how simple the process is. You don’t need to stress about the hassle of scanning in forms of identification, and you can forget about finding the right lighting to get a photo of your license verified.
So what do you need?
Just your driver’s license and Social Security card nearby — unless you already have both those numbers memorized, in which case you’re a God-tier human.
After that, you’re all set to provide this basic information and authorize a (free!) background check:
First and last name
Full address and phone number
Vehicle type and drivers license number
Social Security number and date of birth
Then, you upload a selfie, and you’re done. Fini. Terminado.
Once you complete the sign-up process, Postmates will ship you a welcome kit (a free delivery bag and a prepaid card to make your purchases) to help get you set up for deliveries. Link the card to the Postmates Fleet app, and you’re off to earning extra money.
Postmates lets you decide how much or little you want to drive, and when. So in a way, you’re your own boss.
And because this is so epic, I’ll say it again: you get to keep 100% of your earnings, tips included. (That’s where it differs from other apps.)
To maximize your earnings, deliver during Postmates’ recommended weekday peak hours of 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Demand is always high on weekends, so log some hours then, too!
Whether you’re on two wheels or four, you’re welcome to deliver takeout, groceries or alcohol. Just, you know, make sure you have enough room to hold the requested items.
So, Cliffs Notes: You can get started in three minutes or less; you get to keep 100% of your money; and no one even has to get in your car. No awkward small talk, for the win!
The Postmates Fleet app is free, and it’s available on iOS and Android. Creating an account is easy, so you’ll be making extra money before you know it.
Farrah Daniel is an editorial assistant at The Penny Hoarder. She tested the sign-up process for this article and is excited to receive her welcome kit.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
Housing prices are on the rise with no signs of slowing down.
Since 2011, single-family home prices have climbed 42%. That means a house that cost $200,000 eight years ago would now cost $284,000.
With rising home prices and inflation, growing student loan debt and stagnant wages, the dream of homeownership is becoming more challenging for each generation.
But it’s not impossible.
How to Buy a House: 9 Steps for First-Time Buyers
While the road to buying a house has become more riddled with potholes and speed bumps, it’s still one you can navigate with the right savings plan, a decent credit score and a little professional guidance.
Think you’re ready to embark on your homebuying quest? Here’s how to buy a house in nine simple steps.
1. Whip Your Credit Score Into Shape
A strong credit score is crucial to securing a low interest rate on your mortgage.
Over 30 years, the most common length of a mortgage, paying just 1 percentage point more in interest could cost you big time. For example, if you bought a house with a $200,000 fixed-rate 30-year mortgage at 5% interest, you’d pay an extra $40,000 in interest over 30 years than you would have at 4%.
At a minimum, your credit score should be 620. Some mortgage lenders may approve you for a loan if your score is under 620, but prepare for astronomical interest rates and larger down payment requirements. An above-average credit score falls within the 680 to 740 range. Anything above 740 will secure you the best interest rates available.
If you have poor credit, don’t rush to buy a house just yet. You can improve your credit score over time by paying off debts (especially credit cards), lowering your credit utilization and diversifying your credit portfolio responsibly.
Paying off debt is especially important because lenders look at your debt-to-income ratio, which is your monthly debt obligations (including your estimated future mortgage payment) divided by your pretax monthly income. Lenders look for a debt-to-income ratio of 43% or lower.
2. Save for a Down Payment
Saving for a down payment while also paying off debts is challenging, but if you want to be a homebuyer, you’ll need to do both.
The age-old wisdom is that you need to save 20% for a down payment. But with the median home sale price at $232,700 as of February 2019, that would make the average 20% down payment $46,540. And in 2019, most first-time homebuyers do not have that kind of cash lying around.
In recent years, it has become more common to put as little as 10%, 5% or even 3.5% down. FHA loans, which are popular among first-time buyers (this millennial included), require only 3.5% down when your credit score is above 580.
VA loans, reserved for members of the military, veterans and some surviving spouses, require no money down but typically require a funding fee of 2.15%, which can be financed into the loan.
There are benefits to putting 20% down, however. When you put 20% down, you usually avoid having to carry private mortgage insurance, or PMI.
I currently have the luxury of paying more than $200 a month for PMI, and it is the most useless expense in my entire budget. My lender would, of course, disagree because PMI protects them in the event that I stop making my payments.
VA loans do not require PMI even if you put 0% down.
A larger down payment can also make your offer more attractive in a competitive market.
3. Figure Out Your Price Range
How much house you can afford and how much you should actually spend on a house may be two vastly different numbers.
The golden rule: Never set your sights on a house that you could afford — but that will cause you to make other sacrifices you’re not jazzed about, like cutting vacations or ruling out education.
Similarly, if you or your significant other (if you’re buying with a partner) both work, but one of you is considering a career change that could result in less income or becoming a stay-at-home parent, you should not budget using your current combined income.
Be conservative. Your home shouldn’t cost more than three to five times your annual income, but if any part of you that suspects your income may decrease in the next 10 years, stay closer to three times your income than five.
Housing expenses — including your mortgage payment, homeowners insurance and property taxes — generally should not exceed 30% of your monthly income.
4. Get Preapproved for a Mortgage
Before shopping for houses, you should shop for a lender. You can compare mortgage rates online and interview prospective lenders to find the best deal.
Ask friends, family and your real estate agent (if you already have one) for recommendations and try your own financial institution, but ultimately, go with the lender that will offer you the best interest rate on your home loan.
Then ask that lender for a preapproval letter. This is different from being prequalified. Lenders can typically prequalify you with just a few data points that they don’t verify to give you a ballpark range of the loan amount and interest rate they might offer.
But a preapproval letter is an official document that says the lender is committed to giving you a loan, assuming nothing changes in your finances. Getting preapproval takes more work, because the lender will send all of your financial documents (W-2s, pay stubs, tax returns, etc.) to an underwriter for verification.
A lender may preapprove you for a higher amount than you’ve budgeted for. Remember: Just because they are willing to give you that much does not mean you have to spend that much.
5. Hire a Real Estate Agent
The beauty of the homebuying process is that the seller will typically pay your real estate agent fees, so hiring an agent doesn’t cost you a thing, though some sellers may lower the price slightly if you purchase without an agent.
Ask family members and friends for recommendations, and always hire a buyer’s agent. These homebuying tips include several recommendations for hiring a good real estate agent who will find you the best deal on your dream home.
6. Shop for Your Dream Home
This is the most exciting step. Now you can actually set foot inside of homes and envision your life inside them. Visit open houses and go on private tours with your real estate agent, but also research houses on your own on sites like Zillow and Trulia.
But don’t be distracted by fresh paint and that hot tub in the backyard. When you’re house hunting, have a sharp eye for what really matters. If possible, bring along friends or family who know what to look for in a new house.
Cosmetic things like ugly carpet and questionable wallpaper can be changed relatively cheaply. The structural components are what you should be most concerned with. Some things to look for when you tour a home:
How’s the plumbing? Can you get hot water fast? What’s the water pressure like? Do you notice any leaks or signs of water damage? Does the basement show signs of flooding?
Is the foundation solid? Or are there issues that might require costly repairs?
How old are the appliances? Will they need to be replaced soon?
What about the exterior? When was the roof last done? Is the siding in good shape? Are the windows going to drive up your energy bill?
What’s the neighborhood like? Do you feel safe where this house is? Is there a lot of noisy traffic? Is it conveniently located near restaurants, shopping, hospitals and parks? If you have or want children, are there good schools nearby?
7. Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse
Once you have found a house that fits your needs and is within your budget, you and your real estate agent will submit an offer. Be prepared to negotiate the purchase price, especially if you envision needing to do some remodeling.
Your real estate agent likely has a number of tricks up their sleeves to make your offer more appealing — but then, so does everybody else’s agent.
The seller may make a counteroffer. You ca [...]