Homebuyer Tips

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29 05, 2014

5 Tips To Protect Yourself When Buying Newly Constructed Real Estate

5 Tips To Protect Yourself When Buying Newly Constructed Real EstateBuying newly constructed real estate isn’t much different from buying an “already used” home. What variances there are, however, can make all the difference between buying a diamond or a lemon. 

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when buying new construction:

Tip #1: Don’t Use The Builder’s Sales Agent – Hire Your Own

If they’re the builder’s agent, they’re being paid to represent the builder, no matter what they tell you.  Your own real estate agent, who is representing you, is required to tell you the negatives as well as the positives.  The builder’s agent doesn’t have to tell you the drawbacks of the transaction.

Tip #2: Find Your Own Lending Agency

Again, if you go through the builder, the lending agency may offer you a deal that isn’t in your best interest.  In addition, the builder may actually own the lending company, and will have full information on your personal progress. 

Your real estate agent can refer you to a reputable lender, if you don’t already have one of your own.

Tip #3: Talk To A Real Estate Agent Or Lawyer

Although standard agreements are made to keep everyone out of court, they aren’t necessarily in your best interests. Ask about cancellation rights and make sure you understand both your liability and your commitments.  Also, check your contract to make sure it doesn’t contain warnings about health issues.

Tip #4: Decide What Options Or Upgrades You Want

Remember that the profit margin for many builders is highest in upgrades.  Find out if your lender allows the options and upgrades you’ve chosen to be added to the loan. If your lender doesn’t allow this, the cost of the upgrades will come out of your pocket in cash. 

Tip #5: Research The Builder

It’s amazing how many people think a builder is good, simply because they can build a house. Unless you’re a licensed home inspector, the chance of you catching a cut corner or shoddy building practices is slim to none. 

Check out the neighbors’ homes and talk to them. Are the homes a consistent size or are they shrinking in size?  Do the neighbors have consistent complaints about the quality of their homes?  Also, check public records for lawsuits.

Owning newly constructed real estate and knowing that you’re the first person to live in the home can be a wonderful, exciting experience.  Make sure that you protect yourself so you can enjoy it!

Thinking of buying newly constructed real estate? Talk with me before you start shopping.  If you visit a builder prior to working with me, I won’t be able to legally represent you with that builder. 

To find out more about how I can help you save money and get the best terms when buying newly constructed real estate, call or email your trusted mortgage professional for more information.

14 05, 2014

Whatever You Do, Don’t Make These Common Mortgage Mistakes

Whatever You Do, Don't Make These Common Mortgage MistakesAre you applying for a mortgage on your home? Keep in mind that a mortgage is a major financial decision and choosing one will have a significant impact on the rest of your life.

Many people go into this decision without understanding all of the essential mortgage information they need to know, which means that they are likely to make poor choices that will result in paying much more than they need to.

If you want to save yourself from throwing away your hard earned money, here are a few common mistakes to avoid:

Trying To Bottom Out the Market

Many people will wait too long to make a decision to lock in their mortgage rate, trying to wait until they think that the rates have hit bottom. However, unfortunately most of the time this leads them to wait too long and end up with a higher interest rate.

If you are waiting things out, keep a very close eye on the economic indicators. Your daily newspaper will be a good source of information about the fluctuations of interest rates.

Forgetting About Closing Costs

In addition to saving up a down payment for your mortgage, don’t forget to factor in the closing costs. These can range from two percent all the way up to six percent of the value of your home. Make sure that you have budgeted for this in advance, so that these fees don’t catch you by surprise.

Not Considering All Loan Options

There are many people out there who haven’t considered certain loan products, such as an adjustable rate mortgage, because they just don’t understand how they work.

However, if you do this you might be missing out on an option that would really work well for you. Make sure you do your research and gain an understanding of the loan options available to you.

Looking At Just The Mortgage Rate

Remember that the mortgage interest rate is only one factor that you should consider when choosing a mortgage. Don’t forget to also consider the time frame of the mortgage, the restrictions on lump sum payments and any other important factors.

These are just a few of the common mistakes people make when choosing a mortgage, so make sure to avoid falling into these traps yourself.

For more information about home buying and mortgages, you can call your trusted mortgage professional. 

2 05, 2014

What’s in a Color? Six Paint Colors That Will Affect Your Mood

What’s in a Color? Six Paint Colors That Will Affect Your MoodBelieve it or not, paint colors can affect your mood. When remodeling your home, the color you use on the walls can end up being just as critical to the thematic consistency of your home as the furniture you use to decorate it.

Before you slap any old color on the walls, take some time to consider what mood you’d like each room to inspire.

Red, Yellow And Orange: The Colors Of Excitement, Hunger And Happiness

Ever wonder why the dining rooms, kitchens and entertainment rooms you see in magazines always seem come in every shade of red? It’s because these rooms are dedicated to eating and leisure time. Shades of red, especially bright, vibrant reds, have been linked to increased appetite and increases in energy levels.

In a similar vein, we have shades of yellow. Typically, yellow hues have been known to encourage feelings of happiness and joy.

That said, it’s a good idea to steer clear of especially bright shades of yellow that can be harder on the eyes, as they can foster feelings of frustration and an inability to concentrate.

Orange, like red, provides a great way to bring up energy levels, but like yellow, is prone to cause irritation when used excessively. People are more likely to be excitable and show more enthusiasm in rooms that incorporate this color. In order to reap the benefits of orange without causing irritation, restrict your use of it to the odd wall here and there.

Blue, Green And Purple: The Colors Of Restfulness, Peace And Serenity

It’s no surprise that blue is the color of calm and relaxation. For bedrooms and bathrooms, blue hues are ideal for inspiring restfulness; however, this color’s calming influence makes it a poor paint color choice for high traffic areas where high energy levels are necessary. 

Occasionally, overusing this color – especially in darker shades – can bring moods down beyond calmness and into sadness and depression.

Green is yet another color that inspires peace and restfulness. The advantage of green is that the serenity it brings on is accompanied by feelings of rejuvenation and replenishment. Think of green spaces as places where you can gather yourself and quietly rebuild your energy levels.

Purple is often associated with lavishness and luxury in deep, rich hues that spark creative thinking. In lighter shades, it has the same calming influence of blue but, thanks to its red undertones, none of the sadness that blue can often have.

Making The Most of These Colors: A Little Goes A Long Way

It’s unlikely that you will be painting any of the rooms in your house in a single shade of any of these colors. Experiment with different shades and work with colors that inspire similar emotions to break up the visual impression of the room.

You can use neutral paint colors like brown, black and white to bring depth to room, or to suppress the harsh tones of brighter colors like yellow and orange.

Psychologists have long known that colors affect mood, and in recent years, the interior design world has caught on as well. Now that you understand how paint colors can alter your mood, it’s important to paint your walls wisely.

17 04, 2014

How You Can Get The Full Selling Price You Want For Your Home

How You Can Get the Full Selling Price You Want for Your HomeWhen it comes to selling your home and getting the full selling price you want, there are certain tactics and methods you can employ to ensure that this wish becomes a reality.

Avoiding the commonly made mistakes that end up lowering the value of your home and discouraging people from viewing it is ultimately the key in getting top dollar, as well carrying out the showings and sale of your home in a professional manner.

Listen to the professionals, and make sure you employ these real estate sale methods to get your desired number on your home sale.

Listing Tactic: Adding A Buffer

Always dependent on the type of market you find yourself in, a common and successful tactic in getting the price you really want for your home is adding a buffer on the list price.

This means that if you want $500,000 for your home, you should list your home somewhere around $510,000 to $520,000 to allow for some negotiating room. Even if you’d prefer not to negotiate, the majority of buyers will always assume that you have room to come down on the price, and will put in their offers accordingly.

Overpricing: Avoid At All Costs

With that being said, you don’t want to overprice your home too much so as to discourage potential buyers from looking at it, or to put your home outside of a financial bracket. Make sure you speak to your trusted real estate advisor on exactly what the right list price should be to obtain your desired value.

Increase Desire: Have Your Home Staged

In order to get the price you want for your home, you need to make a good impression on the prospective buyers. Having your home professionally staged can dramatically increase the amount of interest you receive on your home, perhaps even creating multiple offers – which is the best situation a home seller can be in!

Appeal To Online Shoppers With Professional Photos

With so much of today’s modern real estate shopping happening online, you want to ensure that your home has a strong online presence with professional photos and a digital floor plan available to prospective buyers. Also make sure that all information online is full and complete, and presents your home in the best light possible.

Always Say Yes To Open Houses And Showings

Especially in a hot market, you want to ensure that you leave your home empty for your real estate agent on weekends so that they can hold it open to the public. This is especially important early on in your list date so that the buyers on the market who are ready to make a move can see your house right away.

You should also apply the same importance to showings, and ensure that each showing request is promptly responded to with an easy “yes.”

If you put these tactics into your home selling plan, you will find that it will be much easier to obtain more interest from buyers. And with more interest, it will be much more likely that you will be able to obtain the price you want for your home.

So don’t underestimate the importance of these factors, and discuss them today with your trusted mortgage professional. 

15 04, 2014

The Ultimate Guide To Winning At Auction! Don’t Let Your Dream Home Slip Away

The Ultimate Guide to Winning at Auction! Don't Let Your Dream Home Slip AwayWhile the traditional method of trawling for sale listings, making bids, and negotiating with the seller has been a popular rite of passage for many home buyers, buying a house at auction is swiftly becoming a favored way to purchase property.

Buying a home through auction can be tricky, so it’s best to do your research and keep your cool on auction day, lest you find yourself stuck with a less-than-ideal place to live for a price you didn’t expect to pay. If you’re in the market to buy through auction for the first time, here are some things you need to know.

How To Find Houses Up for Auction

Real estate agents will often use the same methods to sell a house by auction as they do in a traditional sale: adverts in newspapers and online, posters in their office windows, and signs outside the property.

Depending on the reason for the sale, a home auction may be held at a local courthouse, an auction house, or, in some cases, online.

Viewing A House Before Auction

It’s always best to try before you buy, so make sure you are able to view the house prior to the auction. Some real estate agents will insist on exterior views of the home only, but, if you’re a new buyer, this may not be enough.

Seasoned home buyers can often pick a house by looking at the exterior and reading a description; buyers new to the game should bank on seeing inside first.

Checking The Price Of An Auction

Look into the price that is offered for the home you seek to buy; sometimes, if a house is in foreclosure, the starting price of the home may be the balance of the mortgage, or a lower price to get people to begin bidding. Lenders, such as banks, are not permitted to make a profit from selling a foreclosure and may often sell homes at a loss; look out for these bargains when checking house prices in your local area.

Bidding At An Auction

On auction day, make sure you enter the auction knowing the general value of the house and the maximum amount you are willing to pay; having these parameters set out will help prevent you from getting swept up in the auction process and bidding more than what you have or what the house is worth.

On the day, bring a cashier’s check—auction holders ask winners to pay for auction fees, bidding fees, and a deposit on the purchase. If you are successful on auction day, you will then have to close the deal with the seller just like any other property purchase.

If you need financing, you may wish to be pre-cleared by your lending company before the auction. Also, be aware that your winning bid may not be accepted. Many homes have a reserve price, and if the reserve is not met, the house will not be sold on the day.

If you are interested in buying a home through auction, go into the process knowing that auctions can be riskier than buying a home via traditional means. Also remember that just because a house is up for auction doesn’t mean you are guaranteed a good price. Some houses sell for a lot of money, and others sell cheaply but have hidden costs, such as urgent maintenance.

When you’re ready to find your new home by auction and finance it, call your local trusted mortgage professional for information.

26 03, 2014

BUSTED: 4 Myths About Buying Your Home That Just Aren’t True

BUSTED 4 Myths About Buying Your Home That Just Aren't TrueIt can be pretty intimidating to dip your toes into the realm of home ownership, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. To make things worse, there are a number of myths floating around out there surrounding the home buying process.

Such misconceptions have many kept many would-be homeowners from realizing the personal and financial rewards of owning a property. To clear things up, here are 4 myths about buying your first home that simply aren’t true.

Myth #1 – It’s Cheaper To Rent Instead Of Own

If you buy a property that is within your budget and your mortgage terms allow you to make comfortable monthly payments, the cost of rent can often be higher than mortgage payments.

Sure, there are other expenses associated with owning a property that you wouldn’t be responsible for if you were renting, but one thing that many people forget is the fact that renting does not allow you to build equity.

The ability to build equity into a property that you own is like paying into a savings account – if you buy a home for $200,000, and pay down your mortgage to $175,000 in 5 years, you’ll have $25,000 in home equity that can be tapped into later if you need a lump sum of cash to pay for other large expenses.

If you sell your property down the line, any equity that the property has accumulated will provide you with more profit from the sale of the home.

Myth #2 – Whatever Shows Up On The Inspection Report Is The Seller’s Responsibility

Most offers on a home usually come with a home inspection condition that makes the offer contingent on the acceptance of a home inspection report by the buyer. Many buyers, however, are under the impression that sellers are responsible for any issues that show up on the inspection report.

Although the seller is required to make certain major repairs as stipulated by the lender, everything is still negotiable. A buyer may ask the seller to fix a minor crack in the basement wall or repair any scuff marks on the hardwood flooring, but the seller can essentially refuse, leaving the buyer with the decision of whether or not to continue with the offer anyway.

Myth #3 – The Perfect Home Is Out There – I Just Have To Wait For It

Buyers have a tendency to focus too much on all the little things that may be wrong about a house rather than on the majority of the things that are right. Homes are much like people – they aren’t perfect. Even brand new homes might have a few minor flaws.

The goal of a house hunt is to find the perfectly acceptable home – one that may have a couple of quirks that you can either live with or fix, but is otherwise ideal. An experienced buyer’s agent can help you identify issues that are deal-breakers, and help keep some perspective by separating irritating details from the big picture.

Myth #4 – I Don’t Need A Real Estate Agent To Buy A House

Without the proper team behind you – especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer – you could potentially find yourself in a compromised position. Many buyers don’t take the time necessary to shop for an agent who can best represent them in their purchase.

Think about it this way – would you perform surgery on yourself? Do you feel comfortable filing your own income taxes, or do you opt to use the services of an accountant? Being represented by a licensed real estate agent will give you the benefit of professional skills and knowledge, including the ability to find financing and close the deal with your best interests put first.

It’s always in your best interests to have an experienced, knowledgeable agent representing you in a home purchase. With such a major investment on the line, you want to have someone who can help you complete a purchase leaving no stone unturned, and ultimately saving you money – and a lot of headaches.

A professional real estate agent will be able to sort the myths from the reality and make your first home-buying experience a positive one. 

12 03, 2014

What Financial Preparations Should I Make Before Applying For A Mortgage?

What Financial Preparations Should I Make Before Applying For A Mortgage?Getting a mortgage isn’t an easy thing to do. Before a lender will put down tens of hundreds of thousands of dollars, it wants to know that the borrower can handle the loan so that it will get paid back. to this end, there are three things that a potential homebuyer can do to prepare for the mortgage approval process.

Managing Debts

For many homebuyers, managing their credit score is the biggest challenge. Mortgage lenders like buyers with strong credit. While getting strong credit usually isn’t something that can be done overnight, paying bills on time, all of the time can help to build a positive profile.

Using as little credit as possible is also helpful, since high utilization of existing credit lines can harm a borrower’s score. Having less debt can also reduce monthly payments, making it easier to qualify for a larger mortgage.

Managing Income

Lenders look for two things when it comes to a borrower’s income:

  • Stable incomes are preferred, so being able to prove the income with a W-2 form or other documentation is usually required. Self-employed people will typically need to prove their income with their tax returns, so taking high write-offs can make it harder to qualify.
  • A borrower’s income should be significantly higher than his total monthly debt payments. Lenders divide a borrower’s monthly payments including their proposed mortgage into the gross monthly income. If the payments exceed a set percentage, the lender will shrink the mortgage until it considers the payment affordable.

Managing Paperwork

To qualify for a mortgage, borrowers typically need to submit a comprehensive file of supporting documentation. This can include tax returns, pay stubs and bank and investment account statements.

Since lenders frequently want some historical data, it can be a good idea for people considering applying for a mortgage to start collecting documentation months before they actually begin the mortgage application process. That way, they will have everything the lender wants and when the lender needs it.

20 02, 2014

What Are The Requirements To Sell A Home Using An FHA Loan?

What Are The Requirements To Sell A Home Using An FHA Loan?Before an owner can market a property to buyers that want to use a FHA loan, he will want to familiarize himself with the FHA’s standards. FHA won’t insure loans on just any property.

While their standards aren’t as stringent as they used to be, a home needs to be in relatively good condition to qualify for FHA financing.

Location And Lot

To qualify for FHA financing, the property has to be located on a road or easement that lets the owner freely enter and exit.

The access also has to be paved with a surface that will work all year a long dirt driveway that washes out in spring won’t qualify.

The FHA also wants the lot to be safe and free of pollution, radiation and other hazards. For that matter, it also needs to provide adequate drainage to keep water away from the house.

Property Exterior

The FHA’s requirements for making a loan start with the home’s roof. To pass muster, the house must have a watertight roof with some future life left. In addition, if the roof has three or more layers of old shingles, they must all be torn off as part of the replacement process.

The property’s exterior has to be free of chipped or damaged paint if the home has any risk of having lead paint. Its foundation should also be free of signs of exterior (and interior) damage. It also needs full exterior walls.

Property Interior

The property’s interior also needs to be inspected. FHA standards require that the home’s major systems be in good working order.

Bedrooms should have egress routes for fire safety and the attic and basement should be free of signs of water or mold damage.

The bottom line is that the FHA wants to make loans on homes that borrowers can occupy. This doesn’t mean that a home has to be in perfect condition to be sold to an FHA mortgage-using borrower. It just needs to be a place that they can live.

19 02, 2014

What Is A Mortgage Pre-Approval?

What Is A Mortgage Pre-Approval?When you are purchasing a home, your broker may recommend you obtain a mortgage pre-approval before you find the home of your dreams.

There are some benefits to being pre-approved before you find a home, but oftentimes, people confuse pre-qualifications with pre-approvals.

So the question many buyers have is what exactly is a mortgage pre-approval?

In a nutshell, it’s when the lender provides you (the buyer) with a letter stating that your mortgage will be granted up to a specific dollar amount.

What Do I Need For Pre-Approval?

In order to obtain a pre-approval for your home purchase, you will have to provide your lender all of the same information you would need to show for qualifying for a mortgage.

This means providing tax returns, bank statements and other documents that prove your net worth, how much you have saved for your down payment and your current obligations.

What Conditions Are Attached To A Pre-Approval?

Generally speaking, a pre-approval does have some caveats attached to it. Typically, you can expect to see some of the following clauses in a pre-approval letter:

  • Interest Rate Changes – a pre-approval is done based on current interest rates. When rates increase, your borrowing power may decrease.
  • Property Passes Inspection – your lender will require the property you ultimately purchase to come in with a proper appraisal and meet all inspection requirements.
  • Credit Check Requirements – regardless of whether it’s been a week or six months since you were pre-approved, your lender will require a new credit report. Changes in your credit report could negate the pre-approval.
  • Changes In Jobs/Assets – after a pre-approval is received, a change in your employment status or any assets may result in the pre-approval becoming worthless.

Getting pre-approved for a home mortgage may allow you more negotiation power with sellers and may help streamline the entire loan process.

It is important however to keep in mind there are still things that may have a negative impact on actually getting the loan.

It is important to make sure you keep in contact with the lender, especially if interest rates increase or your employment status changes after you are pre-approved.

14 02, 2014

What To Consider When Buying A Fixer-Upper

What To Consider When Buying A Fixer-UpperIn your imagination it seems like a great idea – you purchase an older run-down property and you have the chance to fix it up and turn it into the home of your dreams.

To Renovate, Or Not To Renovate

However, the renovation project that is simply a quick montage in your imagination will actually take several months or years and thousands of dollars in real life.

The concept of renovating a “fixer-upper” property is exciting, but the reality is a lot of work and investment. How can you make sure that you are making the right choice for you?

One of the main advantages of buying a fixer-upper property is that you will usually be able to get the property for a much cheaper price. But is it worth it for the amount of time and money you will need to invest in the property?

Here Are Some Questions You Should Be Asking Yourself When Making Your Decision:

  • Do you (or your friends and family members) have the skills to be able to perform most of the renovations yourself? If you do the labor yourself, you will be able to save thousands of dollars that you would have spent hiring contractors, which will make the renovation a much more profitable project.
  • Are you comfortable with the idea of living in a construction zone, perhaps for several months or more? There will be dust and noise everywhere and you might have to cope without a kitchen or a shower for a while.
  • Make sure that you have a thorough inspection of the home performed so that you can see whether the home has a sturdy foundation, good wiring and plumbing, etc. If your inspection reveals any structural issues or water damage, you might be in for more than you bargained for. You need to start with a house that has “good bones”.
  • If the home has serious structural, plumbing or wiring problems you should stay away – these repairs are very expensive but “invisible”, so you are unlikely to recoup your costs when you sell the home.
  • Add up the estimated costs for renovating the property along with the cost of the home – does it still work out to be a better deal or would you be better off buying a new property.
  • What is your strategy for financing the renovations? If your only option is putting it on the credit card, you might want to think twice because this is a very high interest option.

Buying a fixer-upper property can be a great investment and can give you the opportunity to transform a run-down old house into the property of your dreams. However, make sure you that you consider the choice carefully before making your decision.

For more information about home mortgage advice and how to get approved to buy a home, contact your trusted mortgage professional. 

13 02, 2014

How A Mortgage Pre-Approval Can Help You Get A Better Deal On Your Home Purchase

How A Mortgage Pre-Approval Can Help You Get A Better Deal On Your Home PurchaseOftentimes, when you are searching for a new home, it may seem obtaining a pre-approval for your mortgage loan is a waste of time and energy. However, there are some significant benefits to a pre-approval which should not be overlooked.

In many cases, buyers can use a pre-approval for leverage when negotiating with sellers and may wind up buying a home for far less than what the listed price is.

Knowing Your Limitations

One significant benefit of a mortgage pre-approval is knowing exactly how much money you will be able to borrow. This means you will be looking at homes you know you can afford.

Whether you are working on your own or you’ve sought the assistance of a real estate broker, there will be no question in your mind how much money you can spend.

Approaching A Seller

When someone is attempting to sell a home, chances are they are either buying a new home or they are relocating. This means they may be facing certain time constraints which can be difficult when they list their home.

When sellers are faced with multiple offers, chances are the potential buyer who has a pre-approval will often be the offer that is accepted, even if it’s slightly lower than other buyers.

Benefits For The Seller

It may seem the seller has nothing to gain if they are taking less money for their home simply because you have a pre-approval. However, this is typically not the case.

Keep in mind the usual process is the buyer makes an offer, they search for a loan and they may eventually get turned down for a mortgage. This means the seller has to start the process all over again; typically 30 to 60 days after they received the first offer.

A pre-approval can give you a great deal of negotiating power simply because your lender has already validated your credit information, your employment, debt and income.

This means when you begin negotiating with a seller, the time from signing a purchase and sale agreement to closing your loan is typically significantly shortened.

6 02, 2014

Can I Get Cash Out From My Home Right After I’ve Purchased It?

Can I Get Cash Out From My Home Right After I've Purchased It?Generally when you are purchasing a home, you are buying below the appraised value and you are making a down payment. The good news is this means you have “instant equity” in your home.

For some homeowners, this means may be considering taking cash-out from your home equity in order to pay off credit card bills, purchase a car or pay for college for one of your children. However, it is important understand, this may not be as simple as it sounds.

Cash Out Refinance, Equity Loan Or Second Mortgage

There are three basic ways to access the equity in your home which are common these include:

  • Cash Out Refinance – you refinance your current mortgage and you request cash-out for the equity. For example, if your home is worth $200,000 and you have a current mortgage of $100,000 you may be able to access an additional $60,000 to $70,000 in cash depending on your lender’s requirements.
  • Home Equity Loan – a home equity loan is typically a line of credit that you take out with your local bank. These loans are typically what are known as “revolving” where you can access the funds over and over again as you make payments. Home equity loan interest payments are generally not tax deductible.
  • Second Mortgage – in order to qualify for a second mortgage on your home, the lender would require you to meet specific credit requirements as well as certain debt-to-income ratios. Generally, new mortgage borrowers will not qualify for a second mortgage.

In most cases, lenders will require borrowers to have had their mortgage at least one year before they are allowed the option of any type of cash-out refinance.

What’s So Special About One Year?

The one year may seem subjective but there are some important things to keep in mind. When you applied for your original mortgage, your lender based their decision on your existing credit.

Before you can take cash out, you may need to demonstrate a history of making your mortgage payments on time, as agreed.

While you may already have a substantial amount of equity in your home, lenders are taking an additional risk if you are allowed to “tap into” that equity. Before you make the decision to access the equity, talk to your lender regarding possible restrictions including prepayment clauses.

5 02, 2014

Overpay On Your Mortgage Or Add To Your Savings, This Is The Question

Overpay On Your Mortgage Or Add To Your Savings, This Is The QuestionSo you find yourself with a little bit of extra money – perhaps due to a raise, an inheritance or an unexpected windfall?

Should you put all of your money toward paying down the mortgage on your home? Or would you be better off placing your extra cash into a savings account?

Deciding whether to pay down your mortgage or add to your savings is a complex choice and it depends on a number of factors in your personal financial situation.

Here are some of the things that you will need to consider when making the decision:

How Much Are Your Savings Earning?

Take a look at the savings accounts where you are keeping your money and assess the interest that your savings are earning. Is your money earning more in savings than you would save by paying down your mortgage earlier?

Does Your Mortgage Have Overpayment Penalties?

Some mortgage lenders will charge you a fee if you try to repay your mortgage earlier than the agreed upon term. Check with your lender to find out and calculate whether the extra costs will outweigh the benefits you get from overpaying your mortgage. If they do, put your windfall in savings instead.

What are Your Other Debts?

It doesn’t make sense to be overpaying on your mortgage if you have a lot of credit card debt that is charging you an enormous amount in interest. Prioritize your high-interest debt first before you think about overpaying on your mortgage.

Do You Have An Emergency Fund?

You should always have an emergency fund in cash that will protect you from having to use expensive credit card debt if an unexpected payment comes up such as a burst pipe or a flat tire on your car or if you lose your job.

A good rule is to have the equivalent of three to six months of savings in a bank account just in case you need it. This is a first priority and only when you have this emergency fund established should you consider overpaying on your mortgage.

These are just a few of the important factors that you should consider when deciding whether to overpay the mortgage on your home or place the money in savings. For more information, contact your trusted mortgage professional.

7 11, 2013

Factors To Consider When Applying For A Home Mortgage

Factors To Consider When Applying For A Home MortgageOwning a home can be a sign of independence and success. It allows you to build up equity and the mortgage interest and property taxes are tax-deductible. What can you do to make a home affordable for you?

Reputable lenders look at a list of criteria to decide how much they’ll loan you. 

This List Includes:

  • Credit score
  • Existing assets including cash
  • Car leases or loans
  • Credit card balances
  • Debt consolidation loans
  • Home equity loans
  • Installment loans
  • Student loans
  • Other monthly debts
  • Size/source of your down payment

If you’d like to get an idea of what you can afford before talking to a lender, here are a few tools you can use to decide whether a home is within your budget.

Here Are Some Guidelines:

  • As a rule of thumb, your house hunting budget shouldn’t be more than 2.5 times your pre-tax annual income.  If you earn $50,000 a year, your budget for house hunting should be around $125,000.
  • Your Housing Expense Ratio, which is principal, interest, taxes and insurance shouldn’t be more than 25% to 28% of your pre-tax monthly income.
  • Your Debt-to-Income Ratio should be no more than 36% of your pre-tax monthly income.  This is the ratio between how much you owe and how much you earn.
  • Use an online calculator to figure how much home you can afford.

“Qualifying for” and “can afford” are two different things.  Shopping for a home within your budget will save you a lot of heartache now and in the future.

If you’d like help determining how much mortgage you can really afford, call your trusted mortgage professional today.

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