The Ultimate Guide To Hard Money Loans

The Ultimate Guide To Hard Money LoansThere are multiple types of loans out there and one of the easiest to get is called a hard money loan. On the other hand, it is also important for people to avoid being lured in by an attractive loan offer because it might be expensive. When it comes to a hard money loan, there are a few important points that people should note. These can be an essential tool for investors.

What Is A Hard Money Loan?

As a rule of thumb, most people look at a hard money loan as a tool of last resort. This is usually employed as a short-term loan or a bridge loan. This type of loan is commonly found in real estate deals.

Even though many people refer to a hard money loan as a loan of last resort, they serve a bigger purpose than this. Lots of real estate investors take out a hard money loan as part of their financing strategy, particularly if the goal is to fix the house and flip it. There are a few ways that a hard money loan will differ from a traditional loan.

How A Hard Money Loan Is Different

It is important to compare a hard money loan to a traditional loan that people get from a lender, such as a mortgage. Some of the key differences regarding a hard money loan include:

  • They are more expensive
  • The approval process is faster
  • There is more flexibility in terms of repayment
  • The requirements for approval are much lighter

In contrast, the approval process for a mortgage takes a longer time and is harder to get. On the other hand, a mortgage typically comes with a lower interest rate when compared to a hard money loan. This is what people mean when they say a hard money loan is more expensive.

Should Investors Get A Hard Money Loan?

If the goal is to buy a house and flip it quickly, it is important to get approved for loans in a short amount of time. This is where a hard money loan can be helpful. If the loan is going to be paid off quickly with the sale of the house, then the expensive interest rate isn’t as big of a deal. This is the major advantage of a hard money loan.

A Guide To Everything Regarding Instant Pre Approved Home Loans

A Guide To Everything Regarding Instant Pre Approved Home LoansThere are many people who set buying a home as one of their major life goals. There is a lot that comes with owning a home including a major investment opportunity, a sense of stability, and a feeling of pride; however, homes are also expensive. It can be challenging to find a home loan.

A traditional mortgage requires a thorough credit check and could take a long time to get approved. Some people might not even qualify.

On the other hand, there is also a helpful alternative called an instant pre-approved home loan. There are a few important points that everyone should keep in mind.

What Is An Instant Pre-Approved Home Loan?

A pre-approved home loan is a loan that has been offered to existing customers of a certain lender with an immediate sanction. The funds are disbursed once the property has been verified.

The point of a pre-approved home loan is to skip the lengthy procedure that is usually required for someone to obtain a home loan. The bank makes this loan offer available to customers even before they have selected the property they want to buy. A pre-approved home loan often comes with a strong offer at an affordable price. Sometimes, the pre-approved home loan is even offered at a lower interest rate when compared to the current market average.

In order to offer a pre-approved home loan, the bank will still go through the credit history, payment history, and bank statements of its customers.

There are a few major features of a pre-approved home loan that people should note. Usually, these loans are only available for a short period of time. Second, the pre-approved home loan allows borrowers to manage their funds well. They usually bank with the same lender. Finally, there is some room for negotiation when it comes to a pre-approved home loan.

Is A Pre-Approved Home Loan The Right Option?

Many people are wondering if a pre-approved home loan is the right option for them. The downside of a pre-approved home loan is that people are limited to that specific lender. Therefore, it is a solid strategy to continue to check around with other lenders to find out about their comparable rates.

Target The Lowest Borrowing Costs Possible When Applying For A Mortgage

Target The Lowest Borrowing Costs Possible When Applying For A MortgageWhen someone is applying for a mortgage, it is important to consider the other costs that go along with taking out this type of loan. While many people focus on the down payment, the size of the loan, and the interest rate, there are other costs that might go along with taking out a mortgage.

These hidden fees are sometimes referred to as “nickels and dimes” that the lender tacks on to the loan to try to make some extra money. When compared to the size of the loan, many borrowers shrug this off because the loan is so big; however, nobody should have to pay more than they should. It is important to aim for the lowest borrowing costs possible when applying for a mortgage.

The Hidden Borrowing Costs Of A Mortgage

There are several hidden borrowing costs when it comes to a mortgage. One of the most common hidden borrowing costs is called origination fees. An origination fee is a fee that is tacked onto the mortgage for printing the papers. It is important for borrowers to ask about origination fees and try to get them waived, if possible.

A second hidden cost when it comes to a mortgage is called points. Points are interest payments due at signing. In this manner, the lender is asking for more money upfront in an effort to earn interest on that money sooner. Borrowers should keep their eyes open for points and avoid them, if possible.

Finally, some borrowers might also be asked to purchase PMI. While this isn’t a “hidden” cost, it is something that borrowers should know. This is mortgage insurance that the borrower purchases for the lender to protect the lender against the risk of default. Borrowers can often avoid this expense as long as they put enough money down; however, this down payment hurdle might be lowered if the borrower has a strong credit history and plenty of assets.

Reduce The Cost Of Taking Out A Mortgage

These are a few of the most common added costs that borrowers might face when they take out a loan. Everyone needs to keep their eyes open for these hidden costs so they don’t pay more than they should.

What Is Mortgage Insurance?

What Is Mortgage Insurance?When it comes to putting a down payment on a house, most lenders are going to ask for 20 percent; however, some lenders will be willing to accept a smaller down payment in exchange for something else.

That something else is usually mortgage insurance. If a lender says they are asking for mortgage insurance, which is also shortened to PMI, it is important for everyone to know what this means.

An Overview Of PMI

PMI stands for private mortgage insurance and is usually required if the borrower is putting down less than 20 percent. The lender will usually go out and find private mortgage insurance before shifting the premium for the insurance policy to the borrower.

Usually, PMI is included with the rest of the mortgage payment. The lender will take the portion of the mortgage payment that makes up the PMI and shift this into an escrow account. Then, the lender will simply move this out of the escrow account to the insurance company to cover the cost of the policy. This is the most common type of mortgage insurance.

What Is The Cost Of Mortgage Insurance?

The cost of PMI is going to depend on a number of different factors. Some of the factors include:

  • The amount of the down payment
  • The person’s credit score
  • The type of mortgage the borrower takes out
  • How long the mortgage is supposed to last

In general, the larger the down payment and the higher the credit score, the lower the mortgage insurance is going to cost. It is also important for people to note that mortgage insurance is not going to last for the length of the mortgage. As a whole, most PMI policies will be phased out once the amount of equity in the home reaches 20 percent of the home’s value. Then, the PMI will usually be waived.

The Purpose Of Mortgage Insurance

Some people might be wondering why they need to purchase PMI at all. This is an insurance policy that is meant to protect the lender against the risk of the borrower defaulting. If the borrower is able to convince the lender that their risk of default is low, they might be able to avoid being asked for PMI.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 22, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - June 22, 2020Last week’s scheduled economic reporting included readings on U.S. Housing markets, housing starts, and building permits issued. Weekly reports on new and continuing jobless claims and mortgage rates were also released.

NAHB: Builder Confidence in Housing Market Recovers in June

Analysts cited slim supplies of available homes, tight housing markets, and low mortgage rates as drivers of new home sales. Builder confidence in current housing market conditions rose 21 points to an index reading of 58 in June;  builder confidence in housing market conditions in the next six months rose 22 points to 68.

Builder confidence in buyer traffic in new single-family housing developments rose from May’s index reading of 21 to 43 in June. Readings for buyer traffic are typically lower than the benchmark reading of 50.

Readings over 50 indicate that most builders are confident about housing market conditions and component readings of the Housing Market Index. Prospective home buyers continued to face obstacles of high unemployment and loss of income due to the coronavirus pandemic; these factors will likely impact builder confidence for months ahead as impacts of the pandemic change.

Housing Starts, Building Permits Issued Increase in May

The Commerce Department reported 974,000 housing starts on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in May as compared to a  pace of  934,000 housing starts reported in April. Building permits issued in May rose to 1.22 million permits issued on an annual basis from April’s pace of 1.07 million permits issued. Analysts expected 1.25 million permits to be issued in May on an annual basis.


Mortgage Rates Hit All-Time Low as Jobless Claims Decrease

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates that were the lowest mortgage rates recorded. The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was eight basis points lower at 3.13 percent; interest rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.58 percent and were four basis points lower than for the prior week. Interest rates for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages averaged one basis point lower at 3.09 percent. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims fell to 1.51 million claims last week as compared to the prior week’s reading of 1.57 million initial claims filed. Continuing jobless claims also fell; 20.50 million claims were reported as compared to 20.60 million ongoing jobless claims reported the prior week.


What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include reports on sales of new and previously-owned homes, FHFA’s Home Price Index, and the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index.

Home Renovations Are On The Rise

Home Renovations Are On The RiseMillennials are among the most common demographic buying homes today. According to numerous reports that have been published, many homeowners are planning on conducting a home improvement project this year. In large part, this is due to millennials wanting to improve their homes.

Furthermore, home improvement projects may have bigger budgets this year when compared to prior years. It will be interesting to see what kind of home improvement projects unfold this coming year.

Types Of Home Improvement Projects

There are numerous renovation projects that homeowners are going to undertake this year. The most common are outdoor remodels. Many homeowners want to produce encompassing decks, providing a larger space for people to get together and hang out.

In addition to decks, people are looking to add patios as well. Patios can be made from a variety of materials; however, stone is becoming more popular. Homeowners are thinking about adding outdoor kitchens as well.

The most popular indoor renovation project involves the bathroom. People are starting to realize just how much time they spend in the bathroom. With new trends unfolding in terms of baths, showers, and toilets, many homeowners are looking to make an upgrade.

Finally, kitchen renovations are going to be popular as well. This comes as part of a push to generate an open concept among the kitchen, living, and dining areas. With new appliances coming out, there are plenty of opportunities for kitchen upgrades as well.

Reasons For Home Improvement Projects

Many experts are wondering why these home improvement projects are taking place now. The biggest reason is that homeowners are worried about the impression their house would make on their guests. Many homeowners are indicating that they have been planning these projects for a while; however, they haven’t had the time or money to carry out this project until now.

More Home Improvement Projects Are Coming This Year

With more people looking to carry out home improvement projects, expect to see a major jump in home values. Many homeowners enjoy a significant return on the investment they make in home improvement projects. This means that the value of their house may see a jump once the project is finished.  

Should You Buy A Home Warranty?

Should You Buy A Home Warranty?When you buy a new house, the first thing you want to do is protect your investment. You already have property insurance. Should you also buy a home warranty?

What Is A Home Warranty?

A home warranty is not the same thing as insurance. Home warranties are service contracts. If a covered item breaks down and it is covered in the terms of the warranty, the home warranty company will pay to fix or replace that item.

What is Covered Under A Home Warranty?

Every home warranty contract is different but generally, a home warranty may cover items like major kitchen appliances, HVAC components, sump pump, in-home sauna or spa tub, and/or ceiling and exhaust fans.

Often, a homeowner can get an extended warranty contract that covers items like the washer and dryer, garage door opener, septic system and swimming pool components.

Understand The Costs

A basic home warranty costs between $350 and $500 annually, depending on what coverage you get. However, if something does break, you will also be on the hook for incidentals like service call fees or a deductible.

Know The Benefits

There are considerable benefits to having a home warranty contract in place, especially when something expensive breaks down, like a furnace. There is a lot of peace of mind knowing that you will be able to quickly get something fixed in your home.

You Might Already Be Covered

Your homeowner’s insurance policy might cover some of the same things that are covered with a home warranty. So you could be paying for duplicate coverage on some items. However, your homeowner’s insurance likely will not cover a dishwasher that needs to be replaced or a fridge that suddenly goes out.

There Are Alternatives

Finally, before you pay for a home warranty, remember that there are alternatives. For example, most HVAC companies offer financing options to buy a new furnace. Most appliance stores also offer financing on major purchases like refrigerators and dishwashers. You could save your $500 or so a year and put it in a savings account for a rainy day instead of gambling that you might have a major repair or purchase that year.

There are pros and cons to home warranty plans. Just be sure you fully understand both sides of the issue before you sign on the dotted line.


How To Tell If A Home Has Been Well-Maintained

How To Tell If A Home Has Been Well-MaintainedAs a homebuyer, your real estate agent will do their best bring you to see homes that meet the criteria you asked for. However, there’s no guarantee that a home will have a history of being properly cared for.

Your real estate agent can choose the homes you see, but they have no control over the property owner’s homeownership habits.

Why Home Maintenance Matters

Home maintenance should matter to you as a homebuyer and later on as a homeowner. A home needs consistent and proper maintenance in order to run efficiently, and that doesn’t only apply to moving parts like the HVAC system. If a home isn’t looked after, it begins to run down and then break down.

Just as a poorly maintained vehicle will eventually strand its owner on the side of the road, a poorly maintained home will eventually fail to properly house its occupants.

How To Tell If A Home Has Been Well-Maintained

A home that hasn’t been cared for will easily give up its secrets to a discerning homebuyer. Conversely, you can tell if a home has been cherished and well-maintained over the years.

  • Home maintenance warranties in place would be a selling feature and indicates the owner understands the power of proactive maintenance.
  • Solid, quality flooring indicates that the owner has shored up the subfloor beneath tile, removed carpet spills expeditiously and replaced cracked, peeling or missing planks or tiles.
  • No signs of basement water damage may signify that owner has installed sufficient sump pump or other drainage solutions, applied basement waterproofing or taken other steps to ensure a dry basement.
  • Finished basement shows that owner has taken care to improve the home where possible and that the owner trusts their basement possessions will be safe from water damage.
  • Straight roof lines mean that there is likely no sagging roof problem that hasn’t already been addressed.
  • Mature, healthy plantings are a sign that the owner has given thought and care to the surrounding landscape over a long period of time.
  • Sound gutters in good condition show that the owner has taken steps to ensure proper roof drainage to water damage.

These are all positive signs for a prospective homebuyer. Of course, you must still pay attention to the home inspection report. But odds are if you see all these signs, you’re probably looking at a new home that will serve your needs for many years to come.


The Most And Least Expensive Cities In America

The Most And Least Expensive Cities In AmericaThe cost of living in America varies widely in different parts of the country. In general, it is less expensive to live in the country than in the cities.

However, there are many cities where the cost of living is modest compared to others where the money needed to live there is outrageous in comparison.

These rankings came from comparing the monthly cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment, utilities, the price for gasoline, and the cost of groceries.

The Ten Lowest-Cost Cities For Renters

From Texas and Ohio to New Mexico and Arizona, there are some nice cities in this low-cost group.

The top ten lowest-cost cities are:

  1. El Paso, Texas
  2. Lincoln, Nebraska
  3. Toledo, Ohio
  4. Wichita, Kansas
  5. Louisville, Kentucky
  6. Tulsa, Oklahoma
  7. Memphis, Tennessee
  8. Lexington, Kentucky
  9. Albuquerque, New Mexico
  10. Mesa, Arizona

For the top ten lowest-cost cities, the total monthly expenses for two adults ranges from just under $1,200 per month in El Paso to just over $1,500 per month in Mesa. These cities are a great deal when compared to other cities.

In America, the median rent of $1,566 per month is more than the total amount needed to live in these low-cost cities.

The Ten Highest-Cost Cities For Renters

It is not surprising that the biggest metropolitan areas are on the high-cost list.

The top ten highest-cost cities are:

  1. San Francisco, California
  2. New York, New York
  3. San Jose, California
  4. Oakland, California
  5. Boston, Massachusetts
  6. Jersey City, New Jersey
  7. Washington, D. C.
  8. Los Angeles, California
  9. Seattle, Washington
  10. Irvine, California

For the top ten highest-cost cities the total monthly expense for two adults ranges from just over $2,000 per month in Irvine to over $4,200 per month in San Francisco. For those wanting to live in the “City by the Bay” of San Francisco, both of the people in a couple better have an incredibly well-paying executive position to be able to afford to live there.

What About Home Buying?

The national median home price in America is $229,000. The city with the highest median home price is San Francisco at $1,352,000. New York is only $672,000 in comparison. The median home price in El Paso is $129,800; however, El Paso does not have the lowest-priced homes in the country.

The Top Ten Cities With The Lowest-Priced Homes

There are many cities where the homes sell at bargain prices for under $100,000, these include:

  1. Detroit, Michigan — Median home value: $42,800
  2. Dayton, Ohio — Median home value: $66,500
  3. Cleveland, Ohio — Median home value: $67,600
  4. Lansing, Michigan — Median home value: $77,100
  5. Buffalo, New York — Median home value: $77,800
  6. Toledo, Ohio — Median home value: $78,600
  7. Rochester, New York — Median home value: $79,400
  8. Akron, Ohio — Median home value: $80,100
  9. South Bend, Indiana — Median home value: $81,100
  10. Brownsville, Texas — Median home value: $85,900


There are bargains to be found in many parts of America for those that do not have to live in the big cities.

Many younger people are now part of the “gig” economy. They do all of their work online and can work from anywhere that has a decent Internet connection. For these young people, finding a lost-cost city in America to live in and finding a modestly-priced home to buy is not limited to any particular area.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 15, 2020

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - June 15, 2020Last week’s economic reporting included readings on inflation, the post-meeting statement from the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee, and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

Inflation Ticks Up in May

May’s Consumer Price Index moved from April’s reading of -0.80 percent to -0.10 percent. The Core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, rose to -0.40 percent in May as compared to April’s reading of -0.40 percent. The Consumer Price Indices are used to calculate overall and core inflation rates. The Federal Reserve uses an annual inflation rate of 2.00 percent as an indicator for achieving price stabilization.

The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve said in its post-meeting statement that the Fed would do all it can to ease the economic downturn caused by the Coronavirus and left the current federal funds rate of 0.00 to 0.25 percent unchanged. Fed Chair Jerome Powell indirectly encouraged legislators to approve funding for additional coronavirus relief.

Mortgage Rates Remain Stable as Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported little change in average mortgage rates last week as the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by three basis points to 3.21 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.62 percent and were unchanged from the previous week. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was also unchanged at 3.10 percent. Average discount points rose to 0.90 percent and 0.80 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.40 percent.

Jobless claims remained far higher than pre-coronavirus levels but were lower last week than for the prior week. 1.54 million first-time jobless claims were filed as compared to 1.90 million claims filed the previous week. 29.50 million continuing jobless claims were filed last week as compared to the prior week’s reading of 30.20 million continuing unemployment claims.

The University of Michigan reported a higher index reading for consumer sentiment in May with a reading of 87.8 as compared to April’s index reading of 82.3.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index and Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and unemployment claims will also be released.