The Housing Market’s Crazy — If You Ever Want to Buy a Home, Do These 6 Things

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The housing market is turbocharged these days because of a shortage of homes for sale is leading to heavy competition between home buyers. That keeps pushing home prices higher and higher.

If you’re looking to buy a home, you better buckle up.

The housing market remains hot, even though things might be starting to slow down just a little bit, according to news sources like CNBC and The Wall Street Journal, among others. Low mortgage rates continue to spur robust demand, and the number of houses for sale is well below normal.

If you want to buy your own home, you’ll need to be smart and strategic about it. Consider these six tips:

1. Boost Your Credit Score

Looking to buy a home? Then there’s something you need to start thinking about right now: Your credit score. We know that sounds boring, but it’s actually super important, if you’re going to be signing up for a mortgage sometime in the future.

The higher your score is, the better deal you’ll likely get on your loan. So a good credit score can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of a 30-year mortgage.

If you’re looking to get your credit score back on track — or if you just want to bump it up some more — try using a free platform called Credit Sesame.

Within a couple minutes, you’ll be able to see your credit score, as well as a breakdown of what factors are contributing to your score and personalized tips on how to manage your credit better. With a couple of strategic decisions, you can improve your credit, saving you thousands.

2. Grow Your Money 50x Faster — Without Risking It

To buy a home, you’re going to need to start saving up money for a down payment.

When you sign up for a debit card called Aspiration, you could get up to 5% back when you swipe at certain stores — plus they give you up to 50 times the normal national interest rate on your savings balance.

It’s perfect for earning extra cash for things that are already on your shopping list. You were going to buy these things anyway — why not get this extra money in the process?

This card used to have a huge waiting list, but now you can sign up for free.

Just enter your email address here and link your bank account to see how much extra cash you can get with your free Aspiration account. And don’t worry. Your money is FDIC insured and under a military-grade encryption. That’s nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”

The Aspiration Spend & Save Accounts are cash management accounts offered through Aspiration Financial, LLC, a registered broker-dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC, and a subsidiary of Aspiration Partners, Inc. (“Aspiration”). Aspiration is not a bank.

3. Get Paid Every Time You Buy Toilet Paper

To save up that down payment, you’re going to want to find new ways to save money on everything else. For example, groceries account for a good chunk of your budget. Everybody’s got to eat. You may as well earn a little money back while your groceries are being bagged up.

A free app called Fetch Rewards will reward you with gift cards just for buying toilet paper and more than 250 other items at the grocery store.

Here’s how it works: After you’ve downloaded the app, just take a picture of your receipt showing you purchased an item from one of the brands listed in Fetch. For your efforts, you’ll earn gift cards to places like Amazon or Walmart.

You can download the free Fetch Rewards app here to start getting free gift cards. Over a million people already have, so they must be onto something.

4. Stop Overpaying for Stuff Online

Here’s another way to save money. Wouldn’t it be nice if you got an alert any time you’re shopping on Amazon or Walmart.com and you’re about to get ripped off?

That’s exactly what this free service does.

Just add it to your browser for free, and before you check out, it’ll check other websites, including Walmart, eBay and others to see if your item is available for cheaper. Plus, you can get coupon codes, set up price-drop alerts and even see the item’s price history.

Let’s say you’re shopping for a new pair of shoes, and you assume you’ve found the best price. Here’s when you’ll get a pop up letting you know if that exact pair of shoes is available elsewhere for cheaper. If there are any available coupon codes, they’ll also automatically be applied to your order.

In the last year, this has saved people $160 million. You can get started in just a few clicks to see if you’re overpaying online.

5. Knock $610/Year From Your Car Insurance in Minutes

Here’s the thing: your current car insurance company is probably overcharging you. But don’t waste your time hopping around to different insurance companies looking for a better deal.

Use a website called EverQuote to see all your options at once.

EverQuote is the largest online marketplace for insurance in the US, so you’ll get the top options from more than 175 different carriers handed right to you.

Take a couple of minutes to answer some questions about yourself and your driving record. With this information, EverQuote will be able to give you the top recommendations for car insurance. In just a few minutes, you could save up to $610 a year.

6. Ask This Website to Help Pay Your Credit Card Bill This Month

No, like… the whole bill. All of it.

While you’re stressing out over your debt, your credit card company is getting rich off those insane interest rates. But a website called Fiona could help you pay off that bill as soon as tomorrow.

Here’s how it works: Fiona can match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every credit card balance you have. The benefit? You’re left with just one bill to pay every month, and because the interest rate is so much lower, you can get out of debt so much faster. Plus, no credit card payment this month.

If your credit score is at least 620, Fiona can help you borrow up to $250,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 2.49% and terms from 6 to 144 months.

Fiona won’t make you stand in line or call a bank. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars. Totally worth it.

All that credit card debt — and the anxiety that comes with it — could be gone by tomorrow.

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He’s a homeowner.