MoneyWisdom Blog

Bill Burpeau

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What is a secured credit card?

Posted by Bill Burpeau on Apr 24, 2017 7:56:18 AM


“Why would you borrow money for something you could buy outright?” 

I heard this question a lot when I was a young ensign in the Navy. I had set up a credit building loan with the credit union. The very nice loan officer had taken the time to explain that if I built my credit now – when I didn’t need it, I would be able to get financing and the best possible loan rate when I was ready to buy a house or make any type of major purchase. 

The advice I got that day has paid off in spades. Thirty years later, after having bought two houses, refinanced multiple times, and made too many major purchases to count, the money I’ve saved in interest dwarfs the small amount of interest I paid to establish my credit. Nowadays, you can build your credit without spending a dime in interest by setting up a secured credit card.  But secured credit cards are not all the same.

 “Many third party institutions offer secured cards with fees or other pitfalls,” says Scott Post, SVP of Strategy and Delivery at Hanscom FCU.  “A good financial institution will make it as easy as possible to get you on the road to good financial health.”

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Topics: Credit Matters

Use Home Equity - For Projects Big and Small

Posted by Bill Burpeau on Apr 19, 2017 1:22:00 PM

Fall Back in Love with your Home

Many of us reach a point where we begin to feel a little blah about our home, but moving is not always an option. Here are some tips on how you can get a “new” home without a new mortgage – and increase your home’s value.

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Topics: Home Equity

Should I use home equity for maintenance and upkeep of my house?

Posted by Bill Burpeau on Apr 19, 2017 12:00:00 PM

The adage ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’ does not always apply. Sometimes, you not only need to fix it, you need to improve it. Home improvements can build equity in your home by increasing property values, overall comfort and curb appeal. Although the housing market is still in the process of recovering, that does not mean you cannot give your home an upgrade. Does spending money help you save money? In this case, yes. Homes improvements are investments that build home equity. Choosing the right home improvement project pays off when potential buyers want that same convenience and beauty. In the end, home improvements can save you a good deal of money. Here are some solid ideas for adding equity to your home.

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Topics: Home Equity

How do I find the right bathroom fixture when planning an update?

Posted by Bill Burpeau on Apr 19, 2017 8:22:00 AM

Once you have decided to remodel your bathroom, choosing the right bathroom fixture to complete the home improvement project can be a confusing prospect.  There are so many different types and styles out there, how do you know which to go with to create the effect you are looking for?  Hate to say it, but the answer is research, research, research. That's the only way you are going to learn what's available to you.  Here are some thoughts to get you started. 

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Topics: Use your home equity wisely

Home Equity FAQs - What are your closing costs?

Posted by Bill Burpeau on Apr 19, 2017 7:00:00 AM

Closing costs are part of the costs of setting up a home equity loan or line of credit.  They are similar in nature to those you pay when you get a mortgage.  Closing costs can include such things as:

  • Fee for property appraisal
  • Application Fee
  • Attorney's Fees
  • Title Search 
  • Mortgage Preparation and Filing Fees (Dependent on Municipality)
  • Property and Title Insurance

According to, these fees can be between 2 and 5 percent of the loan. 

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Topics: Home Equity FAQs, Home Equity

Home Equity FAQs - Is there a prepayment penalty on a home equity line of credit?

Posted by Bill Burpeau on Apr 12, 2017 5:00:00 PM

What is a prepayment penalty?

A prepayment penalty is a provision of your contract with a lender that states that in the event you pay off the loan entirely at a point prior to the final maturity date, you will pay a penalty. Penalties can be expressed as a percent of the outstanding balance at time of prepayment, or a specified number of months of interest.

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Topics: Home Equity

Five things to consider when updating a bathroom.

Posted by Bill Burpeau on Apr 11, 2017 2:30:00 PM

Sooo. . .You've decided that your next home improvement project is going to be the bathroom. It is somewhat outdated and a little worn around the edges.  Not only will a face lift give a more modern look to the house, it will increase your home value and make it more salable. Before you start knocking out walls for a walk in shower or tearing up the floor, stand back and consider a few things.

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Topics: Home Equity

Can regular home maintenance increase your home's value?

Posted by Bill Burpeau on Apr 10, 2017 3:08:00 PM

My wife and I try to keep our home maintained and major equipment in good working order.  We do this for two reasons. First, we like having things in good repair so we can enjoy them more.  Second, we expect it to help when the time comes to sell our home. But, does regular home maintenance really improve my home’s value?

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Topics: Home Equity

Home Equity: Fixed-Rate or Line of Credit - What's the difference?

Posted by Bill Burpeau on Apr 10, 2017 11:00:00 AM

Home equity is the value of your home minus any outstanding mortgage balance.  That equity can be used to secure a loan or a line of credit. Because they are secured by your residence, you enjoy lower rates and a possible tax benefit.

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Topics: Home Equity

Home Equity FAQs - What's my rate?

Posted by Bill Burpeau on Apr 10, 2017 9:16:00 AM

This is by far the most frequently asked question of our loan officers regarding home equity lines of credit (HELOC).

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Topics: Home Equity FAQs, Home Equity

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