Web Reviews: Watching Your Dollars

Money matters: When clients have financial questions, this government-run Web site can help.

April 1, 2005

MyMoney.gov

As a real estate practitioner, you walk clients through one of the biggest purchases of their lives and oftentimes the biggest investment they’ll ever make. So when they come to you with questions about important financial matters, it’s smart to be armed with as many resources as possible. This Web site is a place where homebuyers can learn about a wide range of financial issues—from credit scores to private mortgage insurance. The U.S. government-run portal is dedicated entirely to helping Americans understand more about their money, usually by linking to resources at other government departments, such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, U.S. Department of Labor, or Federal Trade Commission. Here are some features you may want to recommend to clients or use on your own to brush up on financial matters:

  • 66 Ways to Save Money  When prospects tells you they want to buy a home but don’t have enough money saved for a downpayment, tell them about this resource. Produced by the Consumer Literacy Consortium, these tips will help your customers save money on everything from Gasoline to Funeral Arrangements.
  • Home Sweet Home Improvement After your clients have moved into their new fixer-upper, keep in touch by offering tips on finding competent and reliable contractors. Tell them about this Web site, run by the Federal Trade Commission, for information on potential contractor rip-offs, what to ask when interviewing contractors, and what to check for in a written contract. You also can print out the 16-page document in PDF format and hand it to your past clients in person.
  • The SEC’s Roadmap to Saving and Investing Maybe your clients are wondering how a mortgage would impact their spending money, or they’re thinking about buying a larger residence because they want to start a family. Whatever your clients’ situation, it makes sense that they include their home in a larger financial plan. This Web site by the SEC will help Define Your Goals so that your clients can identify what they want to save for and then Make a Financial Plan to meet those goals. The site also helps consumers create a net-worth statement and determine how much money they can afford to put toward investments.
  • MyMoney.gov En Español Have Spanish-speaking clients who want financial information? Don’t worry. When they have money-related questions you can direct them here, where they’ll find all the resources from the Web site in their native language.
Kelly Quigley

Kelly Quigley is the former managing editor of REALTOR® Magazine.

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