Might not be new, but new to me.I have to do landscaping in the backyard, HOA is after us and probably the neighbors too. Doing it ourselves probably going to cost at least 3-5K, thought about increasing home equity loan to have someone else do it since I have no clue on how to landscape. Anyway, point being we need some spending power at a low interest rate and this offer came along.Get purchases for 0% until Oct. 2004 after making a balance transfer at 8.9% APR. At first glance I thought it was 0% for both balance transfers and purchases, I am glad I read more carefully or else I could have buried up to 5,000 in balance transfers at 8.9%. Good thing is, fine print says a minimum balance transfer of $100 is needed for 0% on purchases until Oct. 2004. I am very tempted to transfer the minimum and using the card for landscape materials.If anyone has advice on landscaping, please share!!
Get purchases for 0% until Oct. 2004 after making a balance transfer at 8.9% APR.Sounds like an OK deal to me, but beware - cc companies apply your payments to the lowest rate balance first, not the oldest item. This means that if you have a $100 balance transfer at 8.9% and $25 in purchases at 0% for a total of $125 due, if you pay $75 on the card you'll still owe $50 at 8.9%.The way to get around this tactic is to get the card, do the $100 transfer, pay it off in it's entirety, get the next statement showing a zero balance, THEN start using the card for your 0% purchases. Otherwise you're going to be paying interest. Those cc companies are a wily lot! To me this tactic on the part of the cc companies looks like "bait & switch," but it must be legal since so many of them do it. While it's deceptive, it IS spelled out in their offer. Right? Otherwise they could have a heck of a class action suit on their hands, don't you think? (What a little instigator I am this evening!)As for the landscaping, I probably *could* help you out a bit there, but you don't want to get me started. To give you an idea of what you might be in for on that front, this is my dad:http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=14273742 I just found him today and thought I'd share. He's the reason I joined the Fool. Gardening is in my blood (as, perversely enough, are a facination with finance and a propensity for PCs :) ).SoftSimp
The way to get around this tactic is to get the card, do the $100 transfer, pay it off in it's entirety, get the next statement showing a zero balance, THEN start using the card for your 0% purchases. I thought about this tactic, I was just afraid that some small fine print would prevent this but I have yet to see it. Has anyone else employed this tactic and did it work to your advantage? Thanks in advance.
I have a non-credit question:What are your neighbors doing peering into your back yard?As long as you aren't raising livestock, or making drugs or bombs, it's really none of their business what your private yard looks like.Now, if it were the front yard, I could understand, since everyone can see that.
What are your neighbors doing peering into your back yard?Where do you live where they don't?We don't have a HOA, but we do have a neighbor who speaks in code.She says: Wow, your lawn is doing really well this year!She means: It's long past time you cut the grass.She says: Isn't it a shame your tree lost its leaves so quickly this fall?She means: What a mess; you'd better rake.She says: Boy, that sunflower sure grows well in that spot!She means: Cut the thing back before I do it for you.She says: What a shame the snow hit before you had a chance to cut everything back!She means: I can't believe you left all that dead @#$%!! in the yard for so long.This is what you get when houses are spaced 15 feet apart.-lizmonster
We don't have a HOA, but we do have a neighbor who speaks in code.oh the joys of not caring. ah, this is the life!mr burns
oh the joys of not caring. ah, this is the life!I don't remember saying I cared.Although I have to admit to a small amount of glee when we plant something particularly weird (anybody seen Rattlesnake Master?), and I imagine her reaction. She so very much wants to tell us what to do, but won't actually cross the line.Sorry; this is totally OT!-lizmonster
I don't remember saying I cared.whoops -- not saying you do or don't. just saying that i don't. :)what is a rattlesnake master??mr burns
ugh...let's try this again. saying i don't care about nosey neighbors and their opinion of my lawn. *not* saying i don't care about what you are discussing. message boards can be fun.mr burns
LOL!!! I was reading fast - you wouldn't believe what I *thought* you said!What are your neighbors doing peering into your back yard?
She says: Wow, your lawn is doing really well this year!She means: It's long past time you cut the grass.She says: Isn't it a shame your tree lost its leaves so quickly this fall?She means: What a mess; you'd better rake.She says: Boy, that sunflower sure grows well in that spot!She means: Cut the thing back before I do it for you.She says: What a shame the snow hit before you had a chance to cut everything back!She means: I can't believe you left all that dead @#$%!! in the yard for so long.lizmonster,As an apartment renter these statements and translations are very funny!DizChick
Where do you live where they don't?The neighbors used to snoop over the wall, until they spotted my mother out in the yard nekkid--BEFORE her surgery.YIKES!
saying i don't care about nosey neighbors and their opinion of my lawn. *not* saying i don't care about what you are discussing.No problem, Mr. B. My neighbor has a certain entertainment value for me; but I'm an irredeemable people watcher.As for Rattlesnake Master, here's a picture:http://www.eco-usa.net/flora/rattmast.shtmlI just call it my "space plant." ;-)-lizmonster
Has anyone else employed this tactic and did it work to your advantage?Yes, I've employed this strategy and yes, it worked to my advantage... for a while. Basically, I kept transferring balances to cards with 0% transfer rates and opening cards with 0% purchase rates, transferring when one would reach the end of the reduced rate term, opening, transferring, opening... but eventually I lost track of what I was doing (I was juggling a LOT of cards) and got hit with some big finance charges. I HATE finance charges.So in a nutshell, I wouldn't recommend this strategy unless you are extremely organized and extremely desperate. At the time I thought I was both, but apparently I was only desperate.If you've got the time, I'll tell my tale. If not, stop here - I've already said the important stuff. Well, the pertinent stuff, anyway.Here goes... (I think I can tell a good sob story along with the best of them.)I've been self-employed as a software consultant since 1994 and my DH is a pressman (he prints stuff on big printing presses). In October 2000 our financial roof fell in. My DH's boss of 21 years decided out of the blue to sell the business and gave everyone two weeks notice an $0 severance. And get this - the boss thought he was being a good guy because he gave them a whole two weeks to look for something else before shutting the place down. At the time I was 7 months pregnant and had scaled back on work, knowing that I couldn't reasonably take on any major commitments and expect to complete them. We had been planning to live off my DH's income until the baby was old enough to go to daycare. When he suddenly had no income, we definitely had to revise that plan.In general, I'm the more employable of the two of us, and if we didn't do something fast we'd not only be out of money, but out of health insurance. Not an attractive prospect for a VERY pregnant lady. So I hit the bricks - I was looking for jobs, gigs, anything to pay our mortgage, medical insurance and grocery bill. In addition to ourselves, we had two sons, aged 3 and 15. Unfortunately, people aren't too eager to hire a woman who resembles a watermelon that's ready to burst.Surprisingly, I actually did find a gig on January 2, 2001 and a good one at that - but I gave birth on January 16, so I wasn't able to do much work on it immediately. Since I get paid by the hour, my contribution to our finances wasn't much. My baby was born with a "syndrome," which will mean surgeries until well into his teens. (Aside from that, he is healthy, strong and smart. We are very fortunate.)Meanwhile, my husband also found work after only a month or two, but at 60% of his former salary. After a period with NO income, an income of 60% of what we had been counting on was not sufficient to pay our bills. But at least we had medical insurance, even if the plan sucks.So I came up with the idea of doing the 0% shuffle with the credit cards, and it worked for a while. We had good credit so there was no problem getting the cards, but after about a year+ we had racked up 14,000 in cc debt and I was getting sloppy with the transfer deadlines. Missing a couple cost us another few hundred dollars. I threw in the towel and transferred the whole thing to our home equity line. I figured finance charges that were at a decent rate and tax deductable were preferable to non-deductable ones at 18%. I hadn't done this before then because I didn't want to endanger our house, but a gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do.While all this was going on, the insurance companies screwed up the payments from my baby's birth and the hospital kept trying to get us to pay stuff that we weren't responsible for. Some stuff has gone to collection, but because I was able to show that it was a screw up between the hospital and insurance companies, it never hit our credit report. (Whew!) But I really had to fight. Disputing incorrect debts is not easy. It's still not completely cleared up to this day, but at least it's not affecting our ability to get credit. In December 2002, my baby had his first surgery. At the same time, the water main that supplies the water to our house sprung a leak. We have no basement, so we wound up living with men with jackhammers and a large pile of dirt next to the closet in the foyer. We got from the main part of the house to the bedrooms via a plywood bridge over the large hole in the hall. Since we have boiler heat, we were without heat and water for days, on and off (during December in Ohio). We dealt with it by having the water company come out to turn the water on, then we'd heat up the house and fill up containers and the bathtub, then we'd have them shut the water back off before our house was flooded. We did this a few times.Finally, we gave up trying to repair our water main and decided to replace it. What's a few more thousand on the old HELOC, anyway? So the backhoes came and destroyed our front yard - but at least we had water again!!Meanwhile my son did well after his surgery and didn't notice the disruption (except for the jackhammers) much at all. After the water main was replaced, the concrete guys came and filled the hole in the middle of the house and put new concrete down to replace the plywood. Since then, things have gotten better, but it's been a slow process.Last summer, our oldest went on a baseball trip to Florida (against our wishes, because we couldn't afford it, but the coach worked out a deal where he could work off the cost after the fact). On the second day there, he broke his collar bone during practice. Between the ambulance, emergency room costs, follow-up visits and our crappy insurance, this fiasco cost us another $2500+. Thanks for the favor, coach! My son still owes the coach about $140. But I digress.We lived with the naked concrete in our foyer and hall until this spring, when we finally had the money to put down new tile (or rather, until I finally couldn't take it anymore and decided to dip into the HELOC one more time, based on the fact that I had a lot of projects lined up and felt that we would *soon* be able to start digging ourselves out of the hole). All we have left to do is put the moldings back on.As of two months ago, our HELOC was up to over $45,000, leaving $15,000 available. My baby (now 2 1/2) had his second surgery a month ago. And two weeks ago we actually paid DOWN our HELOC by $2500, mainly because we refinanced our primary mortgage down to 4.875% from 7.25% and my business is doing well.This fall, our oldest will be starting college, which will cost about $16,000 for the first year (all though we're working on getting some financial aid). Unfortunately, our roof is also leaking, which will cost about $12,000 to replace (darn ranch has way too much roof!) Since we can only spend the remaining $15,000 on our HELOC once, we've decided to put off the roof for a while longer. Heck, if we can live with naked concrete in the foyer for over a year, we can certainly deal with a little leakage for a while. It's not like the roof is about to fall in or anything.Here's the capper and the point of my tale - while all this really crappy stuff happened to us over the past 3 years, I never once expected someone else (be it a creditor, parent, or society in general) to bail us out. It's just not in me to do so. If it came down to going into default or declaring bankruptcy, I would've sold our house first. There are always choices, even when it appears that we have no choice. I think it comes down to making the ones that offer the short-term fix vs. making the ones that will provide the long term benefit. I'll take the long view every time. Things always seem worse in the present than they do in hindsight - but this is something that isn't obvious, it has to be learned. Ask most (not all) teenagers to defer gratification and you'll see what I mean. They simply don't have the life experience to understand the concept.In spite of everything, we have not made any late payments and our credit score has not dipped below 730 (although it had been higher - it dipped when we were doing the cc shuffle and because of our debt/income ratio). But things very well might have been different if we hadn't had the HELOC available. It's taken us years to build up that equity, and it came by occasionally making sacrifices in the present to look out for our future.Looking over what I wrote, I just realized something - things are not as dire as I made them out to be with the $15,000 remaining available on our HEL. Except for the period in 2000 when we were both not working, we've been socking away 1/4 of our income into various investments (retirement accounts, college funds, etc). I forgot to include that because we have that automatically pulled out of our account every month and I pretend it doesn't exist. This keeps me frugal. That's our retirement next egg, but I suppose we would dip into that before considering selling the house. But I'm really, really hoping that we don't get to that point.While we don't have any luxuries, we are not hurting for the necessities. We've managed to survive 3 very rough years on roughly $30,000 for a family of 5 while continuing to sock away 1/4 of our take-home pay toward our future. I've worked for many years to increase our net worth, and I've seen a significant portion of that eroded away in the past 3 years, but I'm proud of the way I dealt with it. My children have learned that there's more to life than material possessions and that if you REALLY want something, you have to set a goal and work for it, rather than expecting Mommy and Daddy (or anyone else, for that matter) to hand it to you. So I think we've done very well by our kids, too. Much better than we would have done by using a $100 interest payment to buy them some books (that's why we have libraries). Yes, we wear hand-me-downs. Yes, we drive cars that are older than 10 years. Yes, my children have to work for their little extravagances rather than having them handed to them. Yes, we don't eat out very often. Yes, a family outing consists of hiking in the park instead of heading to off Disney. But you'll hear no apologies from me for how we live and where our priorities lie. I am not embarrassed about ANY thing we've done and would never try to hide it from anyone. And I think we've set a good example for our kids about how to live a "rich" life. Happiness isn't found in getting everything we want, it's found in shouldering our own burdens and wanting what we have. We are definitely happy. And quite proud of the obstacles we've overcome. Why have I taken up so much of your time to tell my tale? Because of the threads I've seen on this board in the last day or two. I've known so many people who have consistently taken the easy way out, who have always gone for immediate gratification regardless of the consequences, who have blamed "the system" for the situation they find themselves in, who are always unhappy and think that "if just this one thing were different, then I'd be happy." But then they get that "one thing" and discover they're still unhappy and repeat the whole process over and over again. The secret to happiness isn't catching a break or getting some sucker to pay for your mistakes, the secret is relying on your own capabilities and discovering out that you're a lot more capable (and a much better person) than you thought you were. Once you start accepting responsibility for your actions and choices, you discover that your entire *life* is better because, for the most part, what happens to you is completely within your control. If life (or your credit rating or your job or your marriage) sucks, change it. It's hard and it may take some time, but it can be done.Every choice we make has a consequence. Sometimes it's good, sometimes not, but we can usually see far enough down the road to have an idea about whether we will be negatively or positively affected by the choice we make. I think the key is to try to look further down the road than the next block. Short-term gratification is usually not worth long-term dissatisfaction. Make your choices Foolishly.And one more thing. Regarding the OP in the "Save Our Credit" threads, while I don't necessary agree with her objective, I do admire her forthrightness in presenting it. I don't believe she's a dishonest person, just very, very frustrated and perhaps she's starting to lose hope. Patience isn't easy when you've had the rug pulled out under you. I give her credit for taking the initiative to try to make things better for herself and her family. I DO believe she's a lot wiser now than she was when she got into this mess. Help her out, she's drowning.SoftSimp
Forgive me for not reading the entire thread first, but I gotta ask... How much landscaping is your HOA requiring???Kaiti
We don't have a HOA, but we do have a neighbor who speaks in code.oh the joys of not caring. ah, this is the life!Or not having a yard. :-)Kaiti
Llamaluv,We just closed in late December and our backyard is just dirt and weeds. HOA requires us to landscape the backyard within 1 year of closing, however we got a letter because I think the neighbor behind us complained. We live on a hill and the neighbor's rocks are filled with dirt.
Most likely the whole backyard which I estimated at 5,000 square feet (ARGJ).
HOA requires us to landscape the backyard within 1 year of closing,Again--no one can see the back yard; what is the problem?
Again--no one can see the back yard; what is the problem? In the suburbs around Boston, there are hundreds if not thousands of neighborhoods where the only way to avoid seeing your neighbor's back yard is to never look out your windows. My kitchen window looks into one neighbor's back yard. Her foundation is about fifteen feet from mine. To the OP, I'd recommend a lot of perennials. Much easier to care for than lawn, and (unlike our sunflower ;-)) they can be quite neat and compact.-lizmonsterPS Did you have a financial question, too? Sorry! ;-)
In the suburbs around Boston, there are hundreds if not thousands of neighborhoods where the only way to avoid seeing your neighbor's back yard is to never look out your windows. My kitchen window looks into one neighbor's back yard.Ick. how do you keep their dogs out of your yard?
Everyone can see our backyard, the houses are very open with lots of windows. Each backyard is separated by a split rail fence that is about 3 to 4 feet high. No landscaping would not fly with this HOA.
Ick. how do you keep their dogs out of your yard? Leash laws.
If it was me, I'd just go ahead and plant grass seed. Anything else can come later. I don't see where the HOA can force you to do anything else. Everyone has a right to have their lawn the way they want. IMHO So if you want nothing but grass, then so be it. Anything else can be added later, when you have money and have decided on a specific plan. If your yard is eroding into the neighbors, you may need to put in a retaining wall, but these can be as simple as a stack of railroad ties or some of those keylock (cement) blocks. Something you could do yourself. Go to your local library and take out a book or two on landscaping. Most will have some type of "How-to" on putting in a simple retaining wall. Good Luck. Lady I, would come help install it if she could.
Each backyard is separated by a split rail fence that is about 3 to 4 feet highAh. I wouldn't have bought there. I come from the land of 8' block walls
We just closed in late December and our backyard is just dirt and weeds. HOA requires us to landscape the backyard within 1 year of closing, however we got a letter because I think the neighbor behind us complained. We live on a hill and the neighbor's rocks are filled with dirt. I would write back to the HOA stating that, according to bylaws, you have a year to do landscaping and that year does not expire until Decembler.I'm guessing this is new construction? Why didn't the builders at least give you some grass?Kaiti
I don't see where the HOA can force you to do anything else. Heh - LadyIanna, have you ever been subject to an HOA? They can require anything they want, if the board decides to and it's not illegal or contrary to the bylaws.I agree, tho, just get some grass down for now (especially if the HOA doesn't require anything fancier) and you can pretty it up later.Kaiti
Heh - LadyIanna, have you ever been subject to an HOA? They can require anything they want, if the board decides to and it's not illegal or contrary to the bylaws.No, I haven't, and I would never live in a house where I am subject to the neighbors whims and theories of "keeping up with the Joneses" (or the Kennedy's) Last I knew I lived in a country where people were supposed to be free to do as they liked within the law. I don't think the law should include how and what I do with my backyard. (Short of building a nuclear missle silo or a toxic waste dump.) but that's MNSHO.Lady I, independant.
I don't think the law should include how and what I do with my backyardAh-ha, you've obviously never had to get permission from your local council to build a fence or a deck !!
Yea, HOAs can be a good thing in terms of making sure basic upkeep is done on a property, but beyond that they are a PITA. I'm in a condo, and subject to both an HOA and COA. Fortunately, none of the bylaws are unreasonable.But you must read them thoroughly before you buy...Kaiti
Gotta tell y'all a funny story. In Atlanta this past Spring a real-estate investor wanted to add a stoop to a home he had purchased to rehab and resell. The home was in a historical district, and the Association's architectural preservation committee was really strict about approving the improvement, even though the owner had documentation that his request was within acceptable limits.So the owner painted his house yellow with purple polka-dots.To the HOA's astonishment, this was not a violation of the by-laws and they were powerless to punish him or force him to repaint. Naturally, his protest made the local news (you may have seen it on CNN too), and soon he had copycat polka-dots popping up on new constructino in support.And it worked. A few weeks ago the committee reversed itself and gave the owner permission. Now the home is painted a more traditional color and a stoop is on its way. Plus, when he sells the property, the notoriety will probably add value!BTW, as a board member of my HOA, we own the ground around our condos, but still rely on the owners (not force) to do some planting while we take care of the common areas.
What are your neighbors doing peering into your back yard?In my son's neighborhood they have big lots that are just over 1/2 acre and they build all the homes in his developement without fences. You can put them up but most people haven't. If they don't keep their lawn mowed the homeowners association can hire someone to cut the grass and the homeowner has to pay. I know that this isn't for everyone, but when you think about how nice the homes look because they have to be kept up, it's really worth it. My son and his wife just had their first baby and they had two different neighbors come over and mow their lawn for them as a favor this last month. Utahtea
In my son's neighborhood they have big lots that are just over 1/2 acre and they build all the homes in his developement without fences. You can put them up but most people haven't. If they don't keep their lawn mowed the homeowners association can hire someone to cut the grass and the homeowner has to pay. I know that this isn't for everyone, but when you think about how nice the homes look because they have to be kept up, it's really worth it. My son and his wife just had their first baby and they had two different neighbors come over and mow their lawn for them as a favor this last month. I think I'll stay in Phoenix. It's nice to know I don't know if any of my neighbors like to sunbathe nude. (Or cook nude, or vacuum nude, etc)
What is the definition of landscape to your HOA? If I were you and you didn't want to spend ALOT of money just sprig grass plugs for now.When you get the money you can just cut the grass out of the areas where you want to make your flower beds.Stockbuyer2
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