The Top Home Renovations You Should Go All Out On

The Top Home Renovations You Should Go All Out OnWith many people spending more time at home, lots of homeowners are taking advantage of the opportunity to improve their houses. If you are thinking about making an upgrade to your house, you probably have a budget you would like to stick to. On the other hand, there are several home renovations you should splurge on if you want to maximize the return on your investment.

Renovate The Kitchen

Many people say that the kitchen is the center of the house. This is where you will spend a lot of your time, and a lot of your guests will congregate in the kitchen as well. Because of how important the kitchen is to not only yourself but a prospective homebuyer, this is where you can maximize the return on your renovation investment. It is not unusual for you to recoup most of the money you spend improving your kitchen when you go to sell your home. 

Replace Your Floors

Even though you may not think about the surface on which you walk, upgrading your floors is a great way for you to improve the value of your home. Your floors take a beating between heavy equipment, your feet, and your pets, so if you can replace your floors and give them an upgrade, you can increase the value of your home. There might even be new flooring options available, such as luxury vinyl plank, that were not available when you first purchased it. Consider upgrading your flooring to increase the value of your home. 

Finish Your Attic Or Basement

One of the most direct ways to increase the value of your home is to increase your square footage. You do not necessarily need to complete an addition if you can finish your attic or your basement. You may want to work with a professional contractor who can help you turn your attic or basement into an extra room. You can use the extra space as a home theater, a gym, or a recreational space.

Invest In Your Home Through Renovations

These are a few of the top renovations on which you should consider going all out. Even though it might be expensive, these renovations can increase the value of your home. 

 

Is It Best To Put Down A Large Down Payment, Or Be Agile With Your Savings?

Is It Best to Put Down a Large Down Payment, or Be Agile With Your Savings?Putting down the largest sum of money at your disposal might seem like the best way to go when it comes to your mortgage down payment. There is a certain amount of truth to this, but the reality is bigger is not always better.

Ideally, the amount of money you settle on for your mortgage down payment will take into account your monthly budgeting requirements.

The Big Advantages Of A Large Down Payment

Fewer Mortgage Payments: The larger the down payment, the higher the likelihood that you will be able to afford a shorter mortgage. Unlike some of the other benefits of large down payments, ensuring this perk is available to you is solely dependent on whether or not your post-down payment budget will be able to support the necessary payments.

Lower Payment Totals: If you choose to stick to a longer payment plan, each month’s payment will be significantly less than it would have been had you chosen to put less money down up front. Of course, if you choose a shorter mortgage you will be required to pay more.

No Need For Mortgage Insurance: When the down payment is a lower percentage of the purchase amount, lenders will often require clients to apply for mortgage insurance as way to protect themselves in the case that a client defaults on the loan. However, if the buyer is able to make a larger down payment, mortgage insurance can be completely avoided.

Lower Interest Rates: The interest rate on your mortgage is dependent on how much you need to borrow. The more you pay out of pocket, the less money you will have to borrow from a lender. This means the interest rate on the loan will be lower and you will lose less money on the loan overall.

Coping Smartly With A Small Down Payment

Making a larger down payment may not be an option for you in your current financial state. Opting to make a smaller down payment will still allow you to purchase your new home, with a few extra conditions. Higher interest rates and having to take out mortgage insurance are the two primary conditions you are likely to come across.

Once the down payment is made, your main concern becomes making the most of your monthly mortgage payments.

A great coping strategy is to get into the habit of paying off more than the amount due on as many scheduled payment days as possible. Another good strategy is to arrange for an accelerated payment schedule. These small adjustments could help you pay off your mortgage faster, and save you more money as a result.

When settling on a down payment amount, the most important issue to factor into your decision is whether or not you are capable of remaining financially secure after the payment is made.

If a larger down payment is going to dramatically impact your emergency funds, you may want to reconsider. Contact your local mortgage professional to learn more about choosing the most suitable mortgage for your budget.

Use A Fixer-Upper Mortgage To Expand Your Options

Use A Fixer-Upper Mortgage To Expand Your Options

Many people purchasing a home for the first time are running into the same problem. There simply are not enough starter or entry-level houses available in the current market that are ready for people to move into. One solution some home buyers are exploring is to buy a fixer-upper home. With a home renovation mortgage, prospective homebuyers can qualify for a home loan that combines the cost of home improvements with the purchase price of the house.

A Lack Of Affordable Homes

Regardless of whether they are brand new or resale homes, there simply are not enough affordable homes for first-time homebuyers. A significant number of new houses are built for people who are looking to purchase their second or third home. Furthermore, because there is a lot of demand for affordable entry-level houses, their prices have gone up. This makes it very difficult for first-time homebuyers to qualify for a mortgage for an entry-level home. 

Consider Fixing Up An Existing Home

With a lack of affordable homes, it only makes sense for first-time homebuyers to consider buying and repairing entry-level homes that might be in need of repair. Because a lot of people do not want to purchase a house that requires repairs, first-time homebuyers might be able to save money by going this route. 

There are two separate home renovation loans available. The first is the FHA 203k loan, which is insured by the Federal Housing Administration. The other option is guaranteed by Fannie Mae, and it is called the HomeStyle loan. These loans can cover the cost of most home improvements, regardless of how large or small they might be. Both of these loans can be used to cover cosmetic and structural renovations. With access to this loan, it is possible for first-time homebuyers to begin work immediately after the closing process is done. 

Consider Taking Out A Home Renovation Loan

The FHA 203k is for primary residences only. The Fannie Mae HomeStyle loan can be used for either a primary residence or an investment property. They require a minimum credit score of 620 and a down payment of at least three percent. These loans could make it easier for first-time homebuyers to afford a house. 

 

ARM Loans: What To Know

ARM Loans: What To KnowMany people are wondering what type of home loan is right for them, and one of the options is an ARM loan. This is an adjustable-rate mortgage. Typically, the rate is fixed for a certain amount of time, but it can change after that. Adjustable-rate mortgages will vary depending on the market. Is an ARM a smart loan option?  There are some situations where an ARM loan can be helpful, but people need to be careful with them.

The Risk Of An ARM Loan

First, it is important to understand why ARM loans contributed to the housing crash more than a decade ago. Many people took out ARM loans to buy houses that they could not afford. For example, if an ARM loan is a 5/30 loan, this means that it is a 30-year mortgage that has a fixed interest rate for the first five years. Then, after five years, the interest rate can change. There are typically caps on how much the interest rate can rise, but for many people, a three or four percent increase in the mortgage rate is enough to price them out of their homes.

What Are The Advantages Of An ARM Loan?

There are a few advantages that come from taking out an ARM loan. First, they usually have lower rates than fixed-rate mortgages. They might only be lower than a fixed-rate mortgage by a quarter point, but this adds up over time. Furthermore, they are a great option for real estate investors who are planning on buying and selling properties quickly. If someone is only planning on holding onto the property for a year or two, it might be a smart move to take out an ARM loan because the rate will not have a chance to go up before the property is sold. 

When To Take Out An ARM Loan For A House

Ultimately, people should consider taking out an ARM loan if they do not plan on living in the property for a long time. That way, they can sell the property before the interest rate increases. This could be a way to save money on property purchases and housing expenses, but there are risks involved, so be careful and speak with a mortgage professional to help guide you with the best loan option for you.

 

The Younger Generations Are Interested In Owning A Home

The Younger Generations Are Interested In Owning A HomeThe real estate market has been red hot this year, with many people looking to purchase a home because of record-low interest rates. This includes younger individuals, as younger generations are interested in owning a house for the first time. The past couple of years have been anything except normal, and the housing market has taken off, with demand far exceeding supply. Why is this taking place?

Record Low-Interest Rates Are Driving People Into the Market

Even though there are many reasons why people are interested in purchasing a home, incredibly low-interest rates are one of the biggest reasons. Many people are interested in taking out a home loan with a 30-year term. Potential homebuyers think that they may never see interest rates this low again. As a result, many are looking to capitalize on this opportunity before it disappears. This is increasing competition for homes on the market, driving up their values.

Interest Is Skyrocketing Among Younger Individuals

Record-low interest rates are appealing to just about everyone, but it is a particularly attractive option for young homebuyers. Many are just beginning their careers and are looking for ways to build wealth. One of the best ways to do so is through homeownership. Many research bureaus have noted that there is a sharp increase in younger individuals looking at houses. 

Many Are Facing An Uphill Battle

Even though there are many young individuals and families looking for houses, there are a number of challenges they will need to overcome. One of the biggest challenges is that there is a historic shortage of inventory. Even though potential homeowners might be able to lock in a low interest rate on a loan, they might not find a house they can purchase. It is difficult for young home buyers to compete against older individuals and families who can make a cash offer. If a bidding war takes place, younger homeowners rarely have the cash to come out on top. 

Asking For Help Is Key

Even though today’s mortgage rates are attractive, it is critical not to overpay for a house. Asking for help from a professional can help potential homeowners make the right decision. 

 

Many Millennials Need More Space

Many Millennials Need More SpaceThere are many Millennials who are looking for a home, and many of them are getting ready to trade up for more space. If you think you need more space, you may have more buying power than you realize. The coronavirus pandemic has led to a lot of changes, and you might be able to use the equity in your home to purchase a bigger house with more features.

Why Millennials Are Looking For Bigger Homes

There are a few reasons why many Millennials are looking for bigger homes. First, the coronavirus pandemic forced many people to work from home. This meant that a lot of people, including Millennials, needed a home office. In some cases, this means looking for a home with an extra room. 

In addition, many Millennials have had children during the past few years. This means they need one or two extra bedrooms, and probably another bathroom. This means moving into a home that has more space. 

Millennials Can Use The Equity In Their Homes

A lot of Millennials are still cash-strapped by student loans, but they might have more buying power than they realize. Due to the skyrocketing home prices during the past few years, Millennials may have built up a lot of equity in their homes. They can tap into this equity by selling their current houses for a significant profit. Then, they can roll this profit into a bigger house with a home office, extra bedrooms, more bathrooms, and a variety of extra features. 

How To Choose A New Home

Many Millennials are ready to use their newfound purchasing power to purchase a bigger house, but it is important to find the right one. Just because the house has more space doesn’t necessarily mean it is laid out properly. The bedrooms have to be the right size, particularly if their children are going to have a lot of toys. The home office also needs to be in a location where people will not be distracted while working. Finally, it might be beneficial to find a home office that can be used for more than one purpose. Some Millennials may be getting ready to go back to a physical office in the near future, and it would be beneficial to have a home office that can be used for different things. 

 

Refinancing: Check Your Financials First

Refinancing: Check Your Financials FirstAlthough interest rates continue to rise, they are still low and you have probably heard that refinancing could help you save money on your home loan. Even though you are probably focused on current mortgage interest rates, feverishly comparing them to your own interest rate, you need to check your financials first. What are a few important indicators of your financial health that you need to check before you go through the refinancing process?

Check Your Credit Report

During the refinancing process, you will essentially replace your current home loan with another one. Therefore, the lender is going to check your credit report, so you should do so before your lender does. You can request one free copy of your credit report from each of the major credit bureaus every year. Be sure to check your credit report for any mistakes. Correct them before you go through the refinancing process, and maximize your credit score. 

Look At Your Most Recent Mortgage Statement

Next, you should also check your most recent mortgage statement. You need to understand your current interest rate, your unpaid principal, and the maturity date of your loan. This will help you figure out if it is worth it for you to go through the refinancing process. You can figure out what interest rate you need to have on the new loan to make it worth it. 

Pay Down Other Debt

During the refinancing process, you need to avoid applying for other lines of credit. This includes credit cards. You may also want to pay down other sources of debt to improve your debt to income ratio. This can help you get the best possible terms on your new home loan. 

Check Your Home’s Value

Your lender will order an appraisal to check your home’s value. Ideally, it has gone up in value, which will make it easier for you to qualify for a new home loan. There are free tools you can use online to get a quick estimate of your home’s value. 

Consider Refinancing Your Home Loan

If you want to save money on your mortgage, it might be worth it to go through the refinancing process. You should reach out to a professional who can help you evaluate your opportunities and make the best possible decision. 

 

There Are Several Great Reasons To Consider Buying A Condo Today

There Are Several Great Reasons To Consider Buying A Condo TodayMany would-be homebuyers are now considering buying a condominium instead. Condominiums may be a good option for first-time buyers who are experiencing obstacles when searching for properties that meet their budgets and other criteria. Here’s why:

Condos Might Offer More Budget-Friendly Options

In today’s housing market, supply constraints are a fact of life. Including condominiums in a home search might expand the pool of alternatives. Remember, condos are often less expensive because they have less room—the owner won’t have their own garden, for example—and the overall square footage is typically less than that of a single-family house. Still, if budget is the obstacle, condos could be the solution.

Condos Let Buyers Get Their Feet In The Door

Purchasing a condo is a terrific way to get a foot in the door and begin accumulating equity for a future move up. The sooner the purchase, the more equity can be gained. The condo that is purchased now may not be an everlasting home, but it might serve as a terrific stepping stone toward an ideal house purchase.

Determine If Living In A Condo Suits The Desired Lifestyle

Owning and living in a condo is a lifestyle decision that is right for some but wrong for others. While condominiums are smaller than single-family houses, the features they offer may be a selling point for many purchasers. With less room in the condo, owners typically have less day-to-day care, lower maintenance bills, and more time to spend with family and on leisure and recreation activities.

For instance, if a person dislikes lawn maintenance tasks such as mowing the grass and trimming the hedges, condo living might be ideal. Even spending time power cleaning a driveway is unnecessary, as is spending money on renting or buying a power washer that also needs to be maintained.

Condominiums are a terrific alternative for many consumers, particularly first-time homebuyers who match the profile of ideal condo dwellers. If you’re willing to look at condominiums in your search, you might be able to discover something that fits your budget and needs. To learn more, contact a reputable real estate agent in the area who is familiar with the condo-buying market and process.

Do You Want To Own A Second Home?

Do You Want To Own A Second Home?

Build Wealth More Quickly

One of the first benefits of owning a second home is that you can build wealth more quickly. One of the major benefits of investing in real estate is that you can leverage the bank’s money to help you build wealth. Even though you may have only put down 20 percent, 100 percent of the property’s appreciation benefits you, as you own the home. If you own a second home, you can build wealth more quickly because you are doing this with two separate properties.

Enjoy Switching Up The Scenery

Many people like to own a second house because it allows them to switch up the scenery. If you live in the northeast, you may want to own a second home in the Southeast. If you live on the coast, you may want to purchase a second property in the mountains. That way, when you are ready for a change of weather or scenery, you can simply go to your second home. 

Generate Another Income Stream

Owning a second home allows you to generate another income stream. When you are not using the house, you can rent it out to other people. Or, you might be interested in the stability of a long-term rental. This is something that you can discuss with a real estate professional. 

Consider Owning A Second Home

In the end, there are numerous benefits that come with owning a second house. If you are looking for a way to diversify your investments, or if you are simply looking for a bit more flexibility, you should consider owning a second home as well. A professional can help you plan your finances accordingly, so you can put yourself in the best position possible to be successful. 

Exploring Homebuyer Assistance Programs: Assessing the Options Available

Exploring Homebuyer Assistance Programs: Assessing the Options AvailableThe traditional rule of thumb is that you should put down 20 percent of the cost of the house if you decide to become a homeowner. Unfortunately, the thought of saving 20 percent of the price of a home for a down payment can be daunting for people who are trying to buy a house for the first time. If you purchase a house worth $250,000, this means that you would have to save up $50,000 to put down. Fortunately, there are multiple down payment assistance programs that can make it easier for people to afford a home. 

The Traditional First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Programs

If you are purchasing a home for the first time, you might be able to purchase a house for as little as 3.5 percent down. This comes in the form of an FHA loan. Even though there is a chance you might be asked to pay private mortgage insurance, the idea of putting 3.5 percent down immediately makes a house look more affordable. 

Programs For Repeat Homebuyers

Even though there are plenty of programs available for first-time home buyers, there are options available for repeat home buyers as well. For example, between 35 and 40 percent of all down payment assistance programs have been designed for repeat home buyers. This means that regardless of where you are at on your journey, there might be programs that can make it easier for you to afford a home. 

Programs Are Available For Public Servants

If you work in a service profession, there might be programs specifically designed to help you afford a home. For example, there is a specific program called Teacher Next Door that makes it easier for teachers to afford a home. If you are a first responder, veteran, or active-duty soldier, there are specific programs designed to make it easier for you to afford a home as well.

Explore All Options Available

Ultimately, these are just a few of the many examples of programs that are available that can make it easier for you to afford a home. Even if you do not have the money to put down 20 percent, there are programs that could make it easier for you to purchase a house.