The Top Tricks For Updating A Home On A Tight Budget

The Top Tricks For Updating A Home On A Tight BudgetThere are a lot of people who are looking for ways to get the most money out of their property when they put it on the market. One of the tricks to doing this is to update the home before it goes on the market. Unfortunately, this can also be expensive.

Even though it is true that many homeowners will be able to recoup the price of the renovations when they list the home on the market, we still need to pay for these updates out-of-pocket. This can be incredibly expensive and could take money from other important areas, such as a car or someone’s education. Fortunately, there is a way for people to update their home without spending any money out of pocket. 

Refinance The Home And Free Up Some Cash

The first option the people need to consider is the opportunity to refinance the home while also freeing up some cash. Those who have been in their home for several years might have some equity built up in the home. They may be able to refinance their home, reducing their monthly payment while also getting a little bit of cash they can use to complete the renovation without paying anything out of pocket. Those who are interested in this option should speak with their lender about some of the ways they might be able to finance their renovation project.

Set Up A Payment Plan With The Contractor

Another option that homeowners might want to consider a set up a payment plan with the contractor. A lot of contractors are willing to provide homeowners with very low interest rates, or 0 percent interest rates, on the home renovation project. Most contractors understand that a lot of families are operating on a budget and might not have money to pay for the project in its entirety up front. This is another topic that homeowners should discuss.

Finance A Home Improvement Project On A Budget

These are just a few of the many ways that homeowners can finance a home renovation project without spending an exorbitant amount of money out-of-pocket. Think about these options ahead of time and make that next home improvement project more affordable.

 

4 Steps to a Smooth Mortgage Refinance at a Rock-Bottom Rate

4 Steps to a Smooth Mortgage Refinance at a Rock-Bottom RateRight now is the best time to look at refinancing your home. Even if your current mortgage is as young as a year old, you might find that a refinance is in your best interest.

Be Sure That A Refinance Makes Sense

With today’s rates, refinancing makes sense for many homeowners, but it might not be the right move for you. Depending upon your mortgage, you may pay a penalty if you prepay early. Also, if you’ve paid heavily into your mortgage, refinancing into a new 20 or 30 year mortgage could cost you money over the long-term. The bottom line is to carefully read through your loan documents or even call your loan company to find out the details of the impact of a refinance.

Consult With A Professional

Once you’ve determined that a refinance makes sense in theory, it’s time to talk with an objective professional, i.e., not your loan rep. Seek out a fiduciary, who has receives no gain whether or not you refinance. Have the professional run the numbers so you can see in black and white where you will stand financially after a refinance.

Compare Rates

If you and your financial professional decide that a refinance is the way to go, now it’s time to compare rates. Even with rates at rock bottom prices right now, you’ll find that you might save even more money just by shopping around. Also, remember that if your credit is excellent, you have more negotiating power. If you have a preference with working with a certain company, ask them to match the interest rate you’ve been offered by a competitor. 

Protect Your Investment

Now that you’ve improved your mortgage situation with a refinance, it’s time to consider what your heirs will be left with when you’re no longer here to provide for them. Make sure that your loved ones can reap the benefit of your savvy financial planning by taking out a life insurance policy. There are many variations on life insurance policies, so by sure to compare and contrast benefits, terms and rates.

As a homeowner, you should always be on the lookout for ways to maximize your investment. Use these refinancing tips to get the most out of your home’s value.

 

How To Finance Your Home Improvement Project

How To Finance Your Home Improvement ProjectIf you have been spending a lot of time at home recently, then you might be getting tired of staring at the same four walls. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways for you to switch it up by financing a home improvement project. At the same time, home improvement projects can be expensive, particularly if you are targeting the kitchen. Therefore, you might be wondering how you are going to be able to pay for them. There are plenty of ways that you can finance a home improvement project, so take a look at a few of the options below. 

Consider Taking A Cash-Out Refinance

One way that you can free up some extra cash is to carry out something called a cash-out refinance. Right now, due to the coronavirus pandemic, mortgage rates are at historic lows. Therefore, you might be able to complete a refinancing plan that can free up some cash for the home improvement project. When you refinance your loan, you essentially change the terms of your mortgage to free up some of the equity that you already have in your home. Then, you can put this equity toward your home improvement projects. 

Take Out A Home Equity Line Of Credit

You might also be able to tap into the equity you have in your home directly by creating a line of credit. This is a common option when it comes to home improvement financing. The money that you receive from this home equity line comes directly from the equity in your home. If you have been paying into your mortgage for several years, then there is a high chance that you have built up an equity line of credit. At the same time, remember that this is very much like a second mortgage, so you are essentially putting up your house as collateral.

Finance Your Home Improvement Project

Even though you can always put your home improvement project on a credit card or take out a personal loan, it might be better for you to tap into the equity in your home. By accessing a lower interest rate, you might be able to save a significant amount of money while still accomplishing your home improvement project goals.

 

Getting A Lower Interest Rate During A Refinance

Getting A Lower Interest Rate During A RefinanceThere are a lot of people who have spotted the record-low mortgage rates right now and are wondering if they can refinance successfully. While many people apply for a refinance of their current home loan, not everyone will be approved. Furthermore, a home refinance is not the best option for everyone. Those who want to qualify for record-low refinance rates need to keep a few key points in mind.

Be A Strong Refinance Candidate

First, homeowners need to make sure that it is actually worth their time to refinance to a lower home mortgage rate. In general, homeowners want to make sure they are able to save at least three-quarters of a percentage point when compared to their current home loan to make a refinance worth their while. If they cannot save this much money on their home loan, then they may end up spending more money on the refinance in closing costs.

Act Quickly

The real estate market is volatile right now. Therefore, home refinance rates are often moving targets. As a result, the interest rates that are published this week could change in the span of a few days. By the time loan packages are returned to the lender, the rates might not even be accurate anymore. Therefore, all homeowners need to be willing to act fast. Have pay stubs, bank statements, and tax returns ready to go when the lender asks for it.

Have The Money For Closing Costs

One of the most common reasons why homeowners lose out on the best interest rates is that they do not have the money ready to pay closing costs. By the time the homeowners get the money together, the refinance rate might have passed them by. Usually, closing costs fall somewhere between two percent and five percent of the total loan amount and this amount is usually due at signing.

Qualify For The Best Mortgage Rates During A Refinance

With mortgage rates falling to record lows, now is a good time for many homeowners to refinance. On the other hand, homeowners need to set themselves up to qualify for the lowest mortgage rates. Following these steps can place homeowners in a position to be successful when they apply for a refinance.

Should You Get A Second Mortgage To Pay For College?

Should You Get A Second Mortgage To Pay For CollegeCollege is expensive and everyone needs to think about how they are going to cover the costs. Some of the costs include tuition, room and board, meals, books, and spending money.

In order to pay for college, some people consider taking out a second mortgage instead of taking out a student loan. How can someone know if taking out a second mortgage is the answer for them? There are several factors to consider.

The Interest Rate

One of the factors that people need to consider is the interest rate on the second mortgage. The higher the interest rate, the more expensive the second mortgage is going to be.

The total cost of the second mortgage, including the interest rate, points, origination fees, and other expenses, must be weighed against the cost of attending college, which often comes in the form of a student loan. Which is going to be more cost-effective? The second mortgage or the student loan?

The Size Of The Loan

Another factor to consider is the size of the loan. Ultimately, the size of the loan is going to impact the final cost of attending college. The larger the loan, the more someone will have to pay in terms of interest. The size of the student loan should be compared to the cost associated with a second mortgage. 

The Tax Implications

Another aspect people need to consider is the tax implications. The interest on a first mortgage is tax-deductible. This is often the largest tax deduction that someone claims. People might assume that the interest on their second mortgage is going to be tax-deductible as well.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Interest on a second mortgage is tax-deductible only if the proceeds from that mortgage are going to be used to pay for the property. If they are being used to pay for education, they are not tax-deductible.

People need to compare the tax implications of a student loan versus the implications of a second mortgage.

Using A Second Mortgage To Pay For College

These are a few of the factors that everyone needs to think about when trying to finance the cost of higher education. These decisions can have significant impacts on someone’s financial future.

Consult with your trusted home financing professional for a review of your personal situation. They can guide you through the process to make the best decision for your family.

6 Ways to Fight Foreclosure

6 Ways to Fight ForeclosureSometimes, things don’t go as planned. Despite the best intentions, there are times when it’s impossible for homeowners to fulfill their mortgage obligations. When your misfortune turns into a foreclosure notice, these tips will help you control the situation and realize the best outcome.

Work With Your Lender

Open the lines of communication with your lender to stall the foreclosure process.

  • Call your lender and explain your predicament. Give them specific details about the nature and estimated length of your circumstances. Many lenders are willing to temporarily modify payment terms to temporarily accommodate certain hardships.
  • Apply for a loan modification. If your credit rating has improved or market values have shifted in your area, it’s possible to negotiate friendlier terms that lower your monthly payments.
  • A forbearance allows you to pause or drastically reduce your mortgage payments for a short period. However, you’ll have to pay everything owed in a lump sum or via larger monthly installments.

It is in your lender’s best interest to keep you in your home. Contact them early to avoid unnecessary issues.

Take Legal Action

Keep the law on your side to ensure you have the best chance at keeping your home.

  • If you believe your foreclosure is unlawful or in error, you will have the chance to present your case in court. Respond in writing to the official foreclosure complaint as soon you receive it. This eliminates quick default judgments.
  • Talk to a lawyer about your case. Even if you can’t afford to retain one for the trial, invest in a short sit-down session with a knowledgeable legal representative to get the facts straight and ensure you’re ready to present your defense.
  • Personal bankruptcy is a final strategy for saving your home. Most chapter 7 and 13 filings allow you to keep your primary residence while reorganizing your debt.

Foreclosure is less of a threat when you understand the laws and procedures that govern the process. Educate yourself on your legal options.

A temporary setback doesn’t have to ruin your entire life. With these tips, you won’t have to lose your dream to foreclosure.

Contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss current financing options.

Is Now a Good Time to Cash Out Your Home Equity?

Is Now a Good Time to Cash Out Your Home EquityFor many Americans, their home is their primary investment. The equity stored in your residence can be a source of available cash for home repairs, upgrades, or for financing the purchase of investment properties. However, few homeowners really understand the process that results in home equity. 

What Is Home Equity?

Your monthly mortgage payment goes towards two different amounts. The first is the interest that you pay for the loan. The other is your principal payment or the amount that counts against the initial amount that you borrowed for the purchase. Depending on the details of your loan contract, each payment is generally split between these two types of charges.

Over time the amount that you’ve paid towards the loan’s principal grows your equity position. With each payment, your equity grows as well. Once enough equity is accrued, many lenders allow homeowners to access those funds via an equity line of credit, home equity loan or a cash-out refinance. 

You’ll have to pay interest on any monies you withdraw from the second mortgage or higher loan amount upon your refinance. With home equity lines, however, these loans only charge interest on the money that you actually use. You can secure a home equity line of credit for a certain amount and not be liable for a penny in interest until your first withdrawal.

How Can You Calculate Potential Equity?

There are 4 main factors to consider when calculating your home’s equity.

  • Home value.
  • Monthly mortgage payments.
  • Down payment.
  • Any liens or additional mortgages on the property.

Imagine your home is currently valued at $300,000. With cash down payment of 20%, your home’s starting equity is equal to your initial $60,000 payment. Each payment slowly increases your equity until you have full financial ownership of your home.

Talk to your lender to understand how interest in applied to each payment. For fixed rate loans, you can easily figure out how much of your mortgage payments are immediately applied to the loan’s principal. An easy way to see this equity build up on a monthly basis is to reference an amortization schedule. Your lender should be able to provide this for you at no charge.

For property owners with liens and additional mortgages, add the value of those items to what’s still due on your primary mortgage loan before completing the calculations.

Home equity is a flexible financial tool that you can use to improve your property, expand your business, or treat yourself to something special. Plan carefully to get the most out of your home equity line of credit.

If you are interested in a refinance or a home equity loan, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

Mortgage Terms 101: Understanding ‘Cash-Out Refinancing’ and How to Determine if It’s Worth It

Mortgage Terms 101: Understanding 'Cash-Out Refinancing' and How to Determine if It's Worth ItWith interest rates remaining near historic lows for the past several years, many of your friends and neighbors may have already told you that they have refinanced their home mortgages once or even a couple of times. A cash-out refinance can provide you with several important benefits, but it is not the best option for all homeowners. By learning more about what a cash-out refinance is and what the pros and cons of this type of refinance loan are, you can make a decision that is best for your current and future plans.

What Is a Cash-Out Refinance?

When you refinance your home mortgage, you can select a rate and term refinance which does not pull equity out of your home, or you can select a cash-out refinance to access some of the equity in your property. You can research your property value and your outstanding principal balance to determine how much equity you have available. Keep in mind that most lenders will not allow you to access all of the equity, and you can obtain more information about the loan amount you may qualify for by speaking with a mortgage professional.

The Benefits of a Cash-Out Refinance

If you decide to apply for a cash-out refinance loan, you may be able to walk away from the closing table with tens of thousands of dollars or more. This is money that you may use for any purpose, including home improvements, paying off high interest rate credit cards, sending the kids to college and more. In addition, you may enjoy other benefits from refinancing, such as lowering your interest rate and mortgage payment and adjusting your loan term to meet long-term goals.

When a Cash-Out Refinance May Not Be Advisable

A cash-out refinance loan can be beneficial, but there are instances when it is not the best solution. The loan will adjust principal reduction, the loan payoff date, the interest charges and other factors. The adjustment of these factors may make your new loan less advantageous for you in some cases, so you should carefully consider the full impact of refinancing before you decide to move forward.

From learning more about the benefits of refinancing to finding a competitive rate for your new mortgage, there are many factors to consider. You can speak with a mortgage professional today to inquire about the cash-out refinance loan terms that you may qualify for and to explore the options in greater detail. If you are thinking about applying for a cash-out home loan, contact a lending representative today.

An Insider’s Guide to Reducing Your Remaining Mortgage Years Through a Smart Refinance

An Insider's Guide to Reducing Your Remaining Mortgage Years Through a Smart RefinanceIs it always the best idea to pay off a mortgage over 30 years? While it may help a homeowner lower his or her monthly payment, it can mean paying more in interest and waiting several more years to build sufficient equity in the home.

The question is…how can a homeowner reduce the amount of time it takes to pay off a mortgage by refinancing his or her loan? A few methods for reducing your mortgage term are explained below.

Refinance From A 30-Year Mortgage To A 15-Year Mortgage

For those who don’t want to wait any longer than necessary to pay off their home loan, it may be possible to refinance to a shorter-term mortgage. Instead of taking 30 years to pay off the loan, a homeowner can opt to pay off the loan in 10 years or 15 years. The shorter the term, the less interest will be paid on the loan.

Get A Lower Interest Rate With A Shorter-Term Mortgage

Another good reason to shorten a mortgage term is because it could lower the loan’s interest rate. Instead of paying 4.5 percent over 30 years, it may be possible to pay 4 percent over 15 years. This gives the mortgage holder the chance to build equity in the home faster as they are paying more of the principal balance with each payment. While a mortgage holder can pay more than the minimum amount on a longer-term mortgage each month, it could still end up costing more overall due to the terms of the loan. Be sure to ask your mortgage professional about your options here.

Stop Paying Mortgage Insurance

Those who are paying mortgage insurance could be paying $200 or more per month for nothing more than the right to protect the lender against default. Homeowners who could qualify for a conventional loan should attempt to refinance to a conventional loan if possible to avoid making this payment. Instead of going toward mortgage insurance, put that money toward the principal balance on the loan. There are, of course, risks involved with this approach so be sure to fully discuss them with a professional.

How Can Someone Refinance A Loan?

Now that you know how to pay off your mortgage faster through a refinance, how can someone go about refinancing a home loan? Fortunately, refinancing is similar to the process of securing the home’s first loan. All a borrower will need to do is find a lender that he or she wants to work with, find an offer that works for that borrower and then close on the deal. Although there may be closing costs associated with the new loan, some lenders may be willing to waive some or all of them on a refinance.

Paying off a mortgage as soon as possible can help a borrower save money while building equity in the home at a faster pace. This gives a homeowner financial strength as well as the flexibility to sell the house in the future without worrying about losing money in the deal. To find out more about refinancing options, talk to a mortgage lender.

When It Pays To Refinance Your Mortgage — Literally

Why Refinance

To refinance a mortgage means to pay off your existing loan and replace it with a new one.

There are many reasons why homeowners opt to refinance, from obtaining a lower interest rate, to shortening the term of the loan, to switching mortgage loan types, to tapping into home equity.

Each has its considerations.

Lower Your Mortgage Rate
Among the best reasons to refinance is to get access to lower mortgage rates. There is no “rule of thumb” that says how far rates should drop for a refinance to be sensible. Compare your closing costs to your monthly savings, and determine whether the math makes sense for your situation.

Shorten Your Loan Term
Refinancing your 30-year fixed rate mortgage to a 20-year fixed rate or a 15-year fixed rate is a sensible way to reduce your long-term mortgage costs, and to own your home sooner. As a bonus, with mortgage rates currently near all-time lows, an increase to your monthly payment from a shorter loan term may be negligible.

Convert ARM To Fixed Rate Mortgage
Homeowners with adjustable-rate mortgages may want the comfort of a fixed-rate payment. Mortgage rates for fixed-rate mortgages are often higher than for comparable ARMs so be prepared to pay more to your lender each month.

Access Equity For Projects, Debts, Or Other Reasons
Called a “cash out” refinance, homeowners can sometimes use home equity to retire debts, pay for renovations, or use for other purposes including education costs and retirement. Lenders place restrictions on loans of this type.

A refinanced home loan can help you reach specific financial goals or just put extra cash in your pocket each month — just make sure that there’s a clear benefit to you. Paying large closing costs for small monthly savings or negligible long-term benefit should be avoided.

Many lenders offer low- or no-closing costs options for refinancing. Be sure to ask about it.