Testing the Offer of a Mortgage-Free Year

Imagine coming home to this.

Considering the financial burden of your mortgage, it’s likely you’ve wondered about ways to pay it off early. But without a hefty inheritance, a lottery win or a fairy godmother, you expect to be carrying that burden for years. That’s why the news that a California marketing company wants to offer Tampa Bay residents the chance to live mortgage-free for a year may be getting your attention right now. But it comes with a big and brightly colored catch: you have to willing to allow your home to be turned into a billboard.

For anyone who wants his or her home to stand out from the rest of the neighborhood, this is one sure-fire way to accomplish that goal. The “billboard house” concept has already been tested in one California town. We won’t mention the company’s name; it’s already gotten a great deal of exposure that has led to 40,000 applications through its website, including more than 200 from Tampa Bay. So don’t be surprised when you’re driving around this spring and you see a billboard house somewhere in the area.

Is a billboard house the kind of offer that’s too good to be true? That remains to be seen, pun intended. But here are a few things to keep in mind when you encounter a money-saving offer connected to your Tampa Bay home.

5 Key Aspects of Any Money-Saving Offer
1. Terms of agreement: What is negotiable and non-negotiable? In the billboard house scenario, what extent of input does the homeowner have? Is the homeowner free to reject an advertiser and what is allowable for the basis of that rejection?

2. Expertise: Who is doing the actual work you’re paying for and what credentials do they come with? In this case, a marketing company must hire contractors to handle the painting.

3. Materials: Precisely what type of products are being used on your home?

4. Insurance: Is the company contracted to do the work insured in the event of accidental damage to your home or property or in case of injury to a worker?

5. Potential impact: Does the company providing the services or any company affiliated with the services foresee any issues developing that stem from the original service? For example, are there any restrictions to altering your home in this way? Will neighbors complain and do they have any recourse if they oppose it?

Asking intelligent questions throughout the process will lead to becoming a more informed decision maker. With as much time, effort and money that you’ve invested in your home already, retaining your control over the situation is the ideal place for you to be. Allow the “experts” to provide their expertise, but keep in mind it’s you who has the final say about what does and does not happen at your home.