Showing posts with label buy a house. Show all posts
Showing posts with label buy a house. Show all posts

Thursday, March 7, 2024

What Does a Mortgage Broker Do and Why Should You Get One?

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you will ever make. This is why it's important to have a professional who can help guide you through the process. 

Enter the mortgage broker. What exactly does a mortgage broker do, and why should you consider getting one? 

In this post, we'll explore the role of a mortgage broker and the benefits they provide to both lenders and borrowers.

What is a Mortgage Broker?

A mortgage broker is a licensed professional who acts as an intermediary between borrowers and lenders. They work with multiple lenders to find the best mortgage products and rates for their clients. 

Mortgage brokers are not employees of banks or lending institutions but rather independent contractors who work on behalf of their clients.

How Does a Mortgage Broker Help Borrowers?

Mortgage brokers help borrowers by shopping around for the best mortgage products and rates available. 

They can also help borrowers navigate complex lending processes, from pre-approval to closing. Mortgage brokers are able to provide their clients with a wider range of mortgage products than traditional banks. 

They are particularly useful for borrowers who may not meet banks' strict lending criteria or have unique financial needs and goals.

How Does a Mortgage Broker Help Lenders?

Mortgage brokers also provide many benefits to lenders. They act as a distribution channel for lenders' products, bringing in a steady stream of business. Mortgage brokers also help lenders keep up with changing market conditions by providing real-time feedback on their products and services. 

Additionally, mortgage brokers help lenders reduce their risk by pre-screening potential borrowers and ensuring they meet the lender's criteria.

What are the Costs Involved?

Mortgage brokers are typically paid by the lender in the form of a commission. This commission is a percentage of the loan amount and is paid upon closing. 

Some mortgage brokers may charge additional fees, such as origination fees or processing fees. These fees should be disclosed upfront and should be in line with industry standards. It's important to note that mortgage brokers do not "mark up" the interest rate to get a higher commission.

In fact, it's in their best interest to find the lowest rate possible for their clients, as this can lead to repeat business and referrals.

Why Should You Get a Mortgage Broker?

If you're considering buying a home, a mortgage broker can provide a number of benefits. They can save you time by doing the legwork of shopping around for the best rates and products. 

They can save you money by finding lower rates and negotiating on your behalf. They can also help simplify the lending process and provide guidance on important decisions. 

Overall, working with mortgage brokers like the Lund Mortgage Team can make the home buying process less stressful and more successful.

Final Thoughts

A mortgage broker is an invaluable resource for both borrowers and lenders. They provide many benefits, from shopping around for the best rates and products to helping lenders reduce their risk. 

If you're considering buying a home, working with a mortgage broker can simplify the lending process and help you achieve your financial goals. 

Remember to do your research and choose a reputable mortgage broker who has your best interests in mind.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

5 Tips On How To Start Saving For Your Dream Home

The largest purchase you will probably make in your lifetime, buying a home, does not come cheap in today's world. In fact, you will often need 20 percent of a home's asking price to get the mortgage you need for the purchase, which may sound impossible to you at the moment.

However, with a little planning and some ingenuity along the way, you can save the money needed for your dream home. To do so, here are some steps you can take right away.

Pay Off Your Debt

If you have high-interest credit cards or student loan payments each month, the money you are putting towards this debt could be saved up for a down payment on a home. Thus, you should do all you can to get your debt under control. 

This can include refinancing your student loan or transferring credit card balances to cards with lower interest rates. Paying off debt is imperative, as you will often pay much more out of pocket due to accumulated interest.

Get a Second Job

When you look around at homes for sale and what they cost, you may decide on getting a side hustle. This can include working a second job at a retail store, driving for Uber in your spare time, or perhaps making restaurant deliveries. Whatever you select, the money you earn can add up quickly.

Cut Expenses

Once you examine your budget, you will see plenty of things you can cut down on each month. If you eat out quite a bit, start doing more cooking yourself. Over time, the money you save will surprise you and your family.

Don't Worry About Retirement

For now, don't worry about putting money into your retirement accounts. Instead, put that money towards the down payment for your dream home. Once you save up what you need for your home, you can once again start saving for retirement.

Request Gift Money

Finally, once the holidays roll around and your family and friends start asking you what you want for presents, tell them you want cold, hard cash that you can use for your down payment. 

If everyone just gives you the money they would have spent on presents, you may wind up with quite a holiday windfall for your house fund.

If you are not shy about putting these tips into practice, it will not be long until you can leave your worries behind and move into the home of your dreams.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

What Do You Need To Get Approved For A Home Loan?

Now that you have found the home of your dreams and are ready to buy rather than continue paying rent to a landlord month after month, it's time to start crunching the numbers.

Since you're going to need a substantial loan to make your purchase a reality, it is important you do your homework beforehand to ensure the loan process goes as smooth as possible.

As you're preparing to seek a loan to buy a home, here are some things you'll need to get approved by your lender.

Proof of Income

Before any bank or other lender gives you a loan to buy a home, they want to make sure you are actually making enough money to pay back the loan. 

Therefore, you will need to produce proof of your income prior to getting loan approval. In most cases, this means recent pay stubs, W-2 forms from the past two years, and possibly tax returns from the previous two years as well.

Good Credit

While in some circumstances it is possible to obtain a home loan with less than perfect credit, the majority of lenders require loan applicants to have good credit. 

While you should be able to get a loan with a credit score of at least 620, the lowest interest rates often go to those applicants whose credit scores are 760 or higher.

Employment Verification

While your pay stubs and W-2 forms may show you are employed, many lenders take things a step further to verify your employment status. Therefore, expect your lender to call your employer to verify your employment and the amount of your salary. 

If you have changed jobs just prior to applying for your loan, the lender will likely call both your previous and current employer to get the information they need.

Driver's License and Social Security Number

Even if you tell your lender your credit rating is good, they won't simply take your word for it. Instead, they will want to pull a credit report on their own so they can look it over before deciding the fate of your loan request. 

To do this, the lender will need to copy your driver's license and have your Social Security number. If you object to providing this information, chances are your loan application will be denied.

Since you want to do all you can to make sure your loan application is approved, taking the time to gather together the paperwork required by your lender may pay off in you soon moving into your dream home.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

3 Reasons to Get a Home Loan

When it comes time to buy a house, most buyers will have to resort to a home loan. Although it may be tempting to save up and pay for a house in cash, getting a traditional mortgage is a better option for the overwhelming majority of consumers.

Here are three reasons you should consider getting a home loan when you buy real estate.

You'll Be Able to Buy Much Sooner

The most obvious advantage of a home loan is that it will allow you to buy and move into your new house much sooner. For all but the highest income earners, saving to pay for a house in cash can take years or even decades.

During that time, you'll have to continue paying rent that could otherwise be spent making payments on a home of your own. In almost all circumstances, the ability to buy quickly and begin building equity in your own property makes a home loan a much better solution than saving to pay for a house out of pocket.

Your Money Can Work Harder

Even if you have enough saved to buy a house without a mortgage, there's still a fairly strong argument in favor of home loans. Mortgage rates, particularly these days, are very low.

When compared to the historical average of the stock market, you'll actually come out ahead by investing your money while paying a much lower rate of interest on your mortgage.

While it may seem counterintuitive, your money will actually work harder when you invest it than when you save it to put toward a home.

Home Loans Provide Protection Against Inflation

As recent experience has proven, high inflation can quickly eat away at your savings. This can be a serious problem when you're saving toward a purchase as large as a house.

When you take out a loan, though, your payments are determined at the outset. This means that even during periods of higher inflation, you can predict what you'll have to spend and not have to worry about your payments rising.

It should be noted, though, that it only applies to fixed-rate loans. If you take on a home loan with a variable interest rate, you could see your payments increase if interest rates rise.

As you can see, there are many good reasons to finance your home purchase with a loan. While there are exceptions to every financial rule, the vast majority of home buyers are better off using home loans than trying to save and pay for their new homes out of pocket.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

How to Prepare to Buy Your Home

The road to homeownership isn't an easy one. The earlier you start preparing for it though, the better of an experience you’re likely to have. You can take the following steps to prepare for buying a home.

Check Your Credit

You don't want to start your home buying journey until you have checked your credit. The first thing that you should look for on your credit report is errors. 

One error can cause your credit score to drop by several points, and it can make the difference between good or bad credit. Contact the credit bureaus to get the errors fixed as soon as you can.

Paying off debts is another way that you can add points to your credit score. It is also a good idea for you to avoid opening up new credit accounts while you are looking for a home.

Save Up Money for a Down Payment

How much money you end up paying for a down payment depends largely on the asking price and what type of mortgage you get. People often end up paying about 5 to 6 percent of their down payment, but again it all depends on the type of mortgage or loan. 

Your income should also be a factor, as it will help you determine how much you can afford to pay month by month.

To avoid Private Mortgage Insurance, you’ll have to put down 20 percent, and some might see this as a favorable option if they want to avoid extra fees and payments every month. 

How much you end up paying on a PMI will largely depend on things like your credit score, the size of the loan, and how much the down payment was. 

You can also get a loan through the Federal Housing Administration, which will allow you to get a lower down payment. Regardless of what option you choose, you need to start saving up money now.

Hire a Real Estate Agent

You need a real estate agent to help you get through this process, as they’re the best person to help you find what you’re looking for. They also have a lot of knowledge about the real estate market in general. 

Additionally, they can help you understand important terms, such as conveyancing, which is the transfer of a title or deed from one party to another.

Real estate agents are known for having great negotiation skills. You may be able to take thousands of dollars off the asking price of the home you’re looking at by working with a real estate agent.

Take a Home Buyer Course

You can learn a lot from your real estate agent. However, it is still a good idea for you to take a home buyer course to give yourself a leg up in understanding the market. 

The course can give you general information about buying a home and help better prepare you for when you’re looking. They can also give you budgeting tips that will help you afford your home.

The process of buying a home can be a lengthy one. You can get this journey started by checking your credit and saving up money for a down payment. It is also a good idea for you to hire a real estate agent who can help you with this process. Furthermore, you can take a home buyer course.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

What to Consider Financially Before Buying Your First Home

When you're ready to buy a home, you are probably excited about finding the right location and the best home in your price range. But be sure to consider other financial aspects of your purchase before making an offer on the home of your dreams.

Additional Purchase Costs

In planning for your home purchase, be sure to factor in the realtor fees and closing costs. These will be explained when you are ready to make an offer on a property, but you will want to have extra cash available. 

Inspection fees and maintenance costs for issues like termites or leaks should also be kept in mind. Sometimes these expenses are negotiable with the seller, but it is a good idea to set aside some additional funds for unexpected surprises.

Moving Expenses

Hiring professional movers can be expensive, although it is often unavoidable and usually best for your furnishings. You don't want to take chances with a pricy piano or a newer entertainment center and speakers. 

Expert movers will make sure that everything is wrapped or packed carefully to avoid nicks or breakage. You may also want to pay extra for moving insurance as well as additional costs for any special items as determined by the moving company

These might include costly china or a movable hot tub. Keep some funds handy for takeout meals and packing materials on or near the day of the move.

Taxes, Insurance, and Utilities

The taxes and insurance are probably factored into your anticipated closing costs, but check to be sure. You may need to increase your current insurance coverage on the property if you are bringing more expensive furnishings or upgrading the property in certain ways.

Such as installing new fixtures or improving the landscape. Utility deposits may be required when the heating, electric, and water bills are switched to your name.

Funding Sources

Start thinking about your financial options before you decide which home to buy. Professional lenders like Precision Capital - Your Private Money Source will discuss your home purchase expenses ahead of time to help you prepare. 

You may be able to set up a savings account or an investment plan that will ensure the needed funds are available when you buy a house. You might prefer to take a loan to cover the upfront costs of your housing purchase.

Prepare financially in advance to have money available when you find a house to buy. Getting ready now will save time and stress later.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

5 Reasons You Might Not Qualify for a Home Loan

Now that you have found your dream home, you thought qualifying for a home loan would be the easy part. However, this may not be the case. 

Although lenders are generally more eager now than in past years to approve mortgage loans, there are some instances where you may be denied the loan needed to purchase a home

Should you be preparing to apply for a home loan, here are some of the most common reasons why you may be turned down.

Poor Credit History

If you have had past credit problems, your poor credit history may be the reason your loan application was denied. Since a lender wants to make sure you are not a high-risk applicant, any problems with foreclosures, bankruptcies, or credit cards could be reason enough to deny your claim. Generally, if your FICO score is under 620, your loan will be denied.

Income/Asset Documentation

Even if you think you have enough money to make a monthly mortgage payment, your lender may not think so, especially if you are unable to provide sufficient documentation regarding your income to debt ratio. 

Should questions arise about this or other related areas, private equity representation may be what's needed to let everyone make a well-informed lending decision.

Very Small Down Payment

If you put down a minimal down payment on your new home, the lender will view you as a high-risk applicant, and thus may deny your loan. If possible, try to put down as much as 25% of the home's price as a down payment, since this will almost guarantee approval.

Issues with the Property

If your new home is appraised at an amount that is far less than the amount of the mortgage loan, your lender may deny your application. While you can get a second appraisal, your best option is to shop around for other lenders.

Limited Employment History

Should you possess a limited employment history or have one where you have changed jobs frequently, this can be used against you by your lender to deny the home loan. 

In most cases, a lender will want you to have at least two years of consistent employment with your current employer prior to approving your loan.

If you have had your home loan application denied, don't give up. By seeking out other lenders and making improvements where you can, it is quite possible you may still get the loan needed to purchase your dream home.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Tips for Affording a Better Home for Your First Purchase

Buying a home for the first time is one of the most financially difficult processes you're ever likely to go through. If you have things lined up in advance, though, you should be able to afford a home you truly love. 

Here are four tips for affording a better home on your first purchase.

Clear out Old Debts First

Before you buy a home, it's a good idea to clear out some of your other debts. Car loans, credit cards, and student loans will all put a monthly drain on your finances, limiting the amount you can afford to put toward a house payment. 

If you retire these other debts, though, you will be able to pay a higher monthly amount for a better property.

Save up a Significant Amount for Your Down Payment

Assuming you have good credit and a decent income, the price of the house you can buy is mostly limited by the amount you're able to put down. 

As a result, it's a good idea to build up a large down payment fund before you begin seriously looking at houses. If you have to, you can use all of this fund to buy a more expensive home. 

If you find something you like at a lower price, you can instead use the extra money for improvements or to reduce the amount you have to borrow when you buy.

Have an Experienced Real Estate Agent in Your Corner

When it comes to getting the best price on a house, few things are as important as having a good real estate agent. An experienced agent can help you put together a reasonable offer on the house and determine what the seller will likely accept. 

Working with an agent who knows your local market will make for a smooth buying process and the best possible final price.

Don't Skip on the Home Inspection

In addition to making sure the home, you're buying is safe and up to date, a home inspection is an invaluable tool for price negotiations. 
If an inspector finds previously unidentified problems, you may be able to negotiate for a lower price that reflects the true condition of the property.

As with your agent, it's important to choose an experienced and reputable home inspection contractor.

With these four tips, you should be able to afford a great property. A bit of planning and preparation goes a long way, so going into the purchase process with everything lined up will give you the best chance of snagging a great price on your future home.

Friday, April 23, 2021

4 Benefits to Being a First Time Home Buyer

If you have been renting for years and have now decided to finally purchase your own home, the journey ahead will be filled with excitement and anticipation. 

Also, since this will be your first home purchase, it will include many great financial perks along the way. Whether it's tax advantages, help with a down payment or other incentives, you will have plenty of opportunities to see your home purchase become easier than you ever imagined. 

As a first-time buyer, here are four of the biggest benefits you'll gain as you move forward with your transaction.

No IRA Withdrawal Penalty

As a first-time buyer, you can look to the money in your IRA to help fund your purchase. In fact, you can take as much as $10,000 out of a Roth IRA or traditional IRA without being required to pay the dreaded 10% penalty for early withdrawal. 

Once withdrawn, the money can be put toward closing costs, a down payment, or other related expenses.

Down Payment Assistance

When you are a first time home buyer, some states have programs in place to provide down payment assistance. Based on your income, these programs may also have limits as to the cost of the property you wish to purchase. 

However, if you qualify, you'll get help making a down payment, paying closing fees, and even making repairs to your new home.

Home Mortgage Interest Deduction

One of the biggest benefits you'll gain as a first-time buyer, the home mortgage interest deduction, will probably be the largest deduction you will take on your tax returns. 

To make sure you take full advantage of this perk, be sure you have your tax returns completed by an accountant or CPA who is up-to-date on the latest federal tax regulations.

Residential Energy Credits

If you have bought a new home and want to make it as environmentally friendly as possible, you will get plenty of help from the federal government to make this happen. 

By taking advantage of the Residential Energy Credits from the IRS, you can install solar panels, energy-efficient windows, heating and cooling systems, or even geothermal heat systems or wind turbines and be eligible for tax credits equaling 26% of your total costs.

Now that you are aware of the many great benefits you'll gain from being a first-time homebuyer, you can contact a real estate agent and get closer and closer to making your dream of homeownership a reality.

Friday, February 26, 2021

How to Find a Way to Afford the Realistic Home of Your Dreams

When it comes to the home of your dreams, you may be holding back because you think that you can't afford it. While it's true that custom-built homes are more expensive than buying an existing home on the market, that doesn't mean that it's out of your price range. 

Here are four great ways they can help you to achieve living in the realistic home of your dreams.

Identify the Characteristics

One of the biggest problems that people run into with their dream home is they don't put it down on paper. They have so many ideas running around in their head that they automatically translate that to mean the price tag of the home will be tremendous. 

It's not until you actually sit down and put all the characteristics that you want in your realistic dream home down on paper that you actually get to discover just what it's going to cost. Take a few moments and consider the exact characteristics that you want in your dream home.

Talk With a Knowledgeable Real Estate Agent

The next thing that you want to do is talk with a knowledgeable realtor in your area or the area and what you desire to purchase a home in. You may be surprised to find out that there are already multiple homes on the market that have what you want. 

Finding a home on the market will usually be cheaper than building a custom home. You should talk to an agent, like those at The Stockton Team: Keller Williams Showcase and other locations, and let them know the qualities that you're looking for in a home. 

Simply giving them the characteristics that you wrote down above will be enough to have them start searching for the right home for you.

Get Pre-Qualified

It's important that you understand how much your home is going to cost you. After speaking with your realtor, they will likely have a couple of places that you can go to look at and understand what the prices are. 

If these homes are what you're looking for, then you'll have an idea of what you need to pay to get them. At this point, it's a good idea to talk to a lender to discover what the loan payment would be for the price of the home that you want to purchase. 

They should be able to explain to you everything that you need including what the monthly payment will be and what your debt-to-income ratio will need to be approved for the loan.

Be Honest About Expectations

As you continue to go through the home searching process, it will start to become clear what characteristics of a home are actually feasible for you and which aren't. Sometimes characteristics may feel important. 

However, as you walk around a home, you may find out that they're not functional for your day-to-day lifestyle. It's important, to be honest about what your actual expectations are of a home that you're going to be living in. It needs to be both functional and have the qualities that make it a special home for you.

Affording the realistic home of your dreams is much easier than you initially may think. The initial overwhelm from the process of choosing your own home can overshadow many aspects of the actual design at the house. 

When you implement the tips that we went over above, you'll soon find out that affording the home of your dreams is actually within your budget.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

4 Elements to Check for in a Home Listing For Greatest Buy Value

When you plan to make one large purchase for the foreseeable future, then you want to make sure it is the best investment possible. Many people choose to purchase a house. Here are four things to look for to help you get the most for your money below.

Age of the property

Typically, the newer the house, the less work you will have to put in to keep it up. Older homes often have code issues and structural problems you must address. Unless you are in the business of rehabbing homes, then it may not be advisable to purchase a fixer-upper. If you have someone with the tools and experience to get more money in the end, then yes, this is a great option. Otherwise, stick with a new house to retain the most value.


Every agent will tell you that the site of the home or building is the most important thing. Whether you are close to shopping, walking paths, grocery stores, parks, entertainment, or diners is important. 

When you want a property that will keep the most value, then you need to be in a thriving neighborhood. A look at the comparison homes will help you see what range your home should be in.

Technical features

What amenities and characteristics are in the home? What things set the property apart from the rest? These items are important to the value of the building. Maybe there are stained glass windows or beautiful built-in shelves in the den. The most unique items are often the ones that add value. Carefully pouring over the home listings will help you find these features.


Old homes with the right updates and maintenance routines can be worthwhile. For example, a house with French doors and marble tile is going to be worth more than old doors and linoleum. 

When previous owners fix problems and add new features, then a home with age can be of value. The key is to make sure to get a property appraisal and inspection to make sure the home basics are solid. Things like electric, plumbing, and the foundation should be in good condition to make a sound purchase.

Picking the right property can provide you with a sense of security. When you have a home with good construction and the right location, you can build a portfolio that will provide income for years. Any agent will tell buyers to get a home inspection and appraisal before signing a contract.

Monday, September 16, 2019

You’ve Got Options—How to Pay for Your New Home

One of the major components of the American Dream is owning a home. However, purchasing a home can be a challenge for many adults. There are so many strategies and rules that it may seem impossible to figure out. Luckily, if you’re ready to buy your new home, you have options to choose a payment plan that works best for you.

Save up the 20 percent Down Payment

Most personal finance gurus recommend saving up 20 percent for the down payment before making the purchase. This strategy comes with some great benefits. First, you’ll automatically have some equity built up, so it’s unlikely you’ll go under on your loan. 

Another great benefit of taking out a conventional loan with a 20 percent down payment is the ability to avoid private mortgage insurance. Usually, if you’ve paid less than 20 percent, lenders require that you pay for PMI. 

Depending upon the price of the home, PMI can cost hundreds each month. The biggest negative associated with a 20 percent down payment is the length of time it can take to save it, but many consider the wait worth it.

Save up and Pay Cash

Another option for paying for your new home is saving up cash to pay for it in full. This will help you avoid debt, but it will likely tie up wealth that could otherwise be invested in more liquid investments. 

Having a paid-off home will greatly improve your monthly cash flow. This option will be more achievable in many areas of the Midwest. It will be very difficult for people looking to buy real estate on the coasts where housing costs are higher.

Fixed vs Adjustable Mortgages

Mortgages with adjustable rates tend to come with lower interest rates. These lower rates can make it easier for prospective homeowners to get into a new home. However, they can be adjusted upward, and your mortgage payments will be adjusted accordingly. The principal and interest portion of a fixed-rate mortgage will stay relatively steady over time.

Mortgage Programs

The US government provides incentives for new homeowners. Mortgage programs through the USDA, the VA, the FHA, and some companies who work with them can give you mortgages with no or very low down payment requirements. These can allow you to get into a house quickly without saving up tens of thousands of dollars. 

Likely, you’ll have to pay for insurance on these. If there’s a downturn in your local market, it could become difficult to sell a home without going into the hole because you’ll be less likely to have equity built up.

If you’re looking to get into a home of your own, you have options. Whether you have no money to put down or you can pay the full price in cash, it’s possible to get into your first home as long as you have reasonable credit. Regardless of the option you choose, you’ll want to perform due diligence to make it less likely you’ll wind up underwater on your purchase.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

How You Can Buy a House Without Thousands in Your Savings Account

You may think that it isn’t possible to get a mortgage without a large down payment. The truth is that you may be able to get a mortgage with no down payment at all depending on what type of loan product you use. Let’s look at how you can become a homeowner even if you don’t have a lot of cash in the bank.

Look for Loans Insured By the Government

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) offers loans with a down payment of 3.5%, and the down payment can be gifted by a friend, parent or colleague. Those who are willing to live in a suburban or rural area may be eligible for a USDA loan that comes with no down payment requirement. 

It is worth noting that you will need to pay private mortgage insurance if you make a down payment of less than 20%.

Do You Have Good Credit?

Lenders that offer conventional mortgage services may allow you to make a smaller down payment without having to pay private mortgage insurance. This is generally true if you have a credit score of at least 700 and a steady income. 

If you have a credit score between 640 and 699, it may be possible to be approved for a loan with a down payment of less than 20% if you have significant assets.

Seek a Down Payment Loan

Lenders may allow you to take out what is referred to as a piggyback loan. In such a scenario, you would take out one loan that covers the cost of the home. You would then take out another loan that would cover the cost of the down payment. 

The two loans are repaid simultaneously over the course of several years, and interest rates on piggyback loans are generally the same as interest rates on conventional home loans.

If you find yourself in a better financial situation at some point after closing on the property, you can refinance those loans into one traditional mortgage. In the meantime, you can accrue equity in your home that can be used as collateral for a future loan or other provide financial flexibility.

Buying a home can be a significant milestone in your life. It can provide you with a sense of stability that may be difficult to achieve when renting a home or apartment. If your mortgage comes with a fixed-rate, you will know exactly how much your housing payment is for next 10 to 30 years.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

How to Set Goals and Start Saving for Your Dream Home

Do you find yourself wishing for a more luxurious home than you now have? If you browse the luxury home listings online and wonder if it would be possible to achieve such a home, you might be surprised how quickly you can build your savings to make it happen.

It will take discipline and diligence to stay on the path toward that dream home, but it’s possible. The first steps forward are to identify your target price ranges and when you want to achieve your goal.

Starting Point

If you already own a home, you may want to learn its approximate value if you plan to use its equity to move up. Bear in mind that real estate markets change in response to supply and demand and home values aren’t always stable.

Use your estimated equity as a springboard for calculating the amount you need. Financial resources include your savings, retirement accounts, or other assets you can liquidate.


Setting aside a percentage of your monthly income to save the down payment for an upscale home is a sensible move. Take a look at your budget and see where you can trim your expenses or forgo some luxuries until you’ve met your financial goals. Regardless of your home purchase plans, it’s a good idea to have some liquidity you can access quickly should you need it for an unforeseen expense or event. 

You don’t need to keep all your savings in one account. Look for places that give you the highest return over the time period you’ll need to save for a luxury home. Some CDs have a short maturity period and generally provide higher returns than bank savings accounts.

Borrowing from Retirement Accounts

Retirement plans can be a source for the down payment for another home. There are guidelines to follow and penalties if you don’t repay the loan on schedule. But using the retirement funds, especially if your employer makes a contribution, could be an excellent choice to increase your down payment.

Borrowed money from 401ks won’t show up on your credit report or increase your debt-to-income ratio. It’s especially advantageous if you increase your savings to the maximum allowable if your employer contributes matching funds.

Bottom Line

Exercising the discipline and diligence it takes to get into a home you’ve always dreamed from does take an effort. It will pay off once you achieve that home both emotionally and financially. You’ll also be able to use the habits that put you into the home to your advantage for other important purchases.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Knowing When It’s Time to Move

As we get older, many of us start to notice that our living situation just isn’t what we need anymore. Sometimes we move in order to become part of a senior community, and live close to others in our stage of life. Other times, we want to be closer to family, or downgrade in order to get rid of all those extra projects that come with living in a big house.

Then again, a move can be a huge disruption to your life, and it’s a major hassle from start to finish. So how can you determine whether a move is actually worth all the effort and bother? Well, whether you’re living out your golden years, or moving into your first home with a spouse, here are some helpful tips.

Can You Upgrade Your Existing Home?

Sometimes, there are things that we really want for our home, and so we start looking longingly at shiny new housing listings. If our health is getting difficult, it might not even be a matter of want, but need. 

Perhaps you’re not able to handle the stairs as well as before, or you need a different kind of shower. However, the truth is that most of the time, it’s much more cost-effective for an individual to update their existing home rather than get a new one. 

It’s true that looking at a quote for something like installing solar panels, or putting a granite countertop in your kitchen, can be intimidating. However, when you consider it an investment in your home that increases its value, it puts things in perspective.

Even if you’re planning to move, it might be worth looking into the costs of certain upgrades in order to increase the price point that you’ll be able to get for the house.

Location is the Primary Concern

If the truth is that all the upgrades, expansion, and remodeling won’t answer your needs, then yes… it’s probably time to move. That means that it’s a problem with the location; not the actual house. 

There are so many things that determine whether your location is good or bad. Often, it seems as though location and price are directly correlative, and it’s just a matter of finding as ideal a location as possible inside of your price range, but the truth is that location is highly relative. A prime location for one person won’t be ideal for another family.

Here are the major things that you need to ask yourself when choosing a location that matters to you.

Is the school district important to you? One of the major concerns people have when moving is what kind of school their child will be going to. So, if you don’t have children, or if your children are attending private school, or an alternate schooling program, you can save a lot by not competing for the same thing other families are desperate for. This link has a good guide if school district is a priority for your move.

What does your commute look like? One of the biggest things that contributes to (or detracts from) our quality of life is the time we spend in traffic getting to and from work each day. How much does a long commute bother you? 

Can you use public transit to reduce costs and stress? Don’t forget; it’s not just about the commute to work. The commute to school, to the grocery store, and to your friends’ or family’s homes can all determine how well a location works for you.

What does your lifestyle demand of your surroundings? Some people love to be friendly with their neighbors. Some of us love to be close to the outdoors. Others love a convenient park in the neighborhood. It’s important not to be distracted by things that really don’t matter to you, though. 

Sure, a park nearby is nice, but if you never use or see that park… then it really doesn’t make a difference to you. Let someone else pay for that proximity.

Renting vs. Buying

Deciding whether you’re going to rent or buy will also have a big impact on whether it’s time for you to move. After all, it’s a completely different game. Renting will feel much more temporary. 

If you decide to buy, you want to be comfortable with a more long-term decision. Even if you need to move from that home, will you be able to get good rental rates if you decide to become a landlord? Will it retain its value if you resell it in a few years?

People Matter

Although we usually think in terms of finances and employment while we’re looking into a move, the truth is that there’s one thing that matters more; who you share that space with. In the end, money doesn’t make us happy, and few jobs will. 

On the other hand, people who have the best quality of life, self-reported levels of happiness, and life expectancy, are those who have strong networks of connection with friends and loved ones. 

So, while you’re evaluating your reasons to move, it could be that it just comes down to doing the best thing for your family. That might be enough! Moving doesn’t have to be a terrible hassle if it’s handled right.

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