Dive into a new swimming pool with your newly built home

By Marcie Geffner - Bankrate.com

Say you’re buying a brand-new house. Wouldn’t it be great to have a brand-new swimming pool in your backyard, too?

Some homebuilders offer buyers a pool as an option. Others will work with a pool contractor so you can have a pool built — or at least started — along with your new home. Here’s what to know about building a pool before you take the dive:

Typically, you’ll sign a contract with the swimming pool contractor, who will coordinate with the builder, an arrangement that makes the contractor responsible for any liability, warranty or service associated with your pool during and after construction, says Jim Pinson, homebuilder liaison at Shasta Pools & Spas, a pool-building contractor in Phoenix, Ariz.

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Can you carry a concealed weapon into a bank?

By Marcie Geffner - Bankrate.com

Customers who carry a concealed weapon into a bank could put others at greater risk of injury or death during a robbery, but only one U.S. state specifically prohibits carrying a concealed weapon inside a bank.

U.S. states have issued more than 11 million permits to carry a concealed weapon, according to a 2014 study by the Crime Prevention Research Center.
That's probably a conservative estimate. Four states -- Alaska, Arizona, Vermont and Wyoming -- and most of Montana don't require a permit, according to the center. The number of state-issued permits has been on the rise since 2012. And some people might choose to carry a concealed weapon without a permit even where one is required.
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Banks say no to marijuana shops

By Marcie Geffner - Bankrate.com

More than 20 states now permit the retail sale of marijuana to at least some consumers. But those who want to purchase weed where it's state-legal often will need to bring cash because many of the retailers that sell the product operate outside the U.S. banking system.
That's because federal law still classifies marijuana as an illegal substance, says Rob Rowe, vice president and senior counsel of the American Bankers Association, a banking industry group in Washington, D.C. Under federal law, the possession or use of marijuana is illegal in all U.S. states.
Banks are heavily regulated and their interactions with marijuana businesses could run afoul of not only the federal Controlled Substance Act, but also several other federal statutes. That would present significant risks should they decide to accept marijuana businesses as customers.
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Realtors Can Help Buyers Visualize Their Yet-To-Be-Built Home

By Marcie Geffner - NewHomeSource.com

Some home buyers have a keen ability to visualize a home that’s not yet been constructed. Others are spatially challenged or simply can’t create those mental pictures.

So how can you, as a Realtor, help buyers visualize a home they might love, but can’t yet walk through to appreciate?

The question isn’t trivial because buyers who can’t picture a home probably won’t buy it. That means they could miss out on the best home for their needs and wants or not purchase a home at all.

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Reasons to cash out home equity: 5 good, 1 bad

By Marcie Geffner - Bankrate.com

Homeowners who have equity might be tempted to extract some of that wealth and use it for other immediate needs or wants.

But should you use a cash-out refinance, home equity loan or home equity line of credit to replace your roof? What about to renovate or remodel your home? Pay off your credit cards? Finance your child's college education? Supplement your retirement income? Which uses of home equity are smarter or more legitimate than others?

An easy answer would be nice. But such decisions aren't simple. In fact, any reason might be good or bad, depending on your situation.

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How much equity can you cash out of home?

By Marcie Geffner - Bankrate.com

Home equity loans are back.

But how much equity can -- or should -- you extract from your home?

Home equity options aren't as aggressive or generous as those of yesteryear. But they're not pocket change either, especially for longtime homeowners who have experienced rapid value appreciation in the past two years.

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Home equity loan, HELOC or cash-out refi?

By Marcie Geffner - Bankrate.com

Homeowners who want to cash out their equity might be puzzled by the advantages and disadvantages of their three choices: a home equity line of credit, home equity loan or cash-out refinance.

Which makes the most sense?

The answer depends on:

How much equity you have.
How much you want to borrow.
When you plan to repay the money.
Whether you want a fixed or flexible term.
The interest rate on your current mortgage.

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