How Do You Make A Household Budget

How Do You Make A Household BudgetCreating a household budget can be a helpful way to track your spending and ensure you are meeting your financial goals. You will need to examine your fixed expenses that are the same each month, such as rent or car payments and your variable expenses that change each month, such as groceries or entertainment.  Dealing with debt can be challenging but incorporating it into your budgeting strategy can help you regain control of your finances. Here are some steps you can take to effectively manage your debt while budgeting:

Assess your debt: Begin by gathering all your debt information, including outstanding balances, interest rates, and minimum monthly payments. List your debts in order of priority, such as high-interest debts or those with approaching due dates.

Create a budget: Develop a comprehensive budget that covers all your income and expenses. Categorize your expenses into essential (e.g., housing, utilities, groceries) and non-essential (e.g., entertainment, dining out) categories. Make sure to allocate funds for debt repayment.

Prioritize debt payments: Allocate a portion of your budget specifically for debt repayment. While making minimum payments on all debts, focus on paying extra towards high-interest debts to reduce their impact over time. This strategy is known as the debt avalanche method. Alternatively, you can prioritize the debt with the lowest balance first (debt snowball method) for psychological motivation.

Reduce discretionary spending: Look for areas where you can cut back on non-essential expenses. This might involve reducing eating out, entertainment costs, or finding more affordable alternatives for certain services. Direct the savings towards debt repayment.

Negotiate with creditors: If you’re struggling to meet your debt obligations, contact your creditors to discuss possible alternatives. They may be willing to offer reduced interest rates, extended repayment terms, or debt consolidation options. Exploring these options can help make your debt more manageable.

Consider debt consolidation or refinancing: If you have multiple debts with high-interest rates, consolidating them into a single loan or refinancing them with a lower interest rate may be beneficial. This approach simplifies your payments and can potentially save money on interest charges.

Build an emergency fund: While dealing with debt, it’s crucial to simultaneously build an emergency fund. Having some savings set aside can prevent you from relying on credit cards or loans in case of unexpected expenses. Start with small, regular contributions until you reach your desired emergency fund amount.

Remember, managing debt takes time and discipline. Stay committed to your budgeting efforts and regularly review your progress. Over time, as you reduce your debt, you’ll regain financial stability and move closer to achieving your financial goals. It may take some time to find the right balance, but creating a household budget can be an effective way to manage your finances and achieve your financial goals. 

What Is A Mechanic’s Lien?

What is A Mechanics LienA mechanic’s lien is a legal claim placed on a property by a contractor, subcontractor, or supplier who has provided labor, materials, or equipment to improve the property. The lien serves as security for the payment of the debt owed to the party who provided the services or materials.

Mechanic’s liens are typically used in the construction industry, where contractors and subcontractors may perform work on a property and then have difficulty obtaining payment from the property owner. The lien provides the contractor with a legal means to collect payment for their work by placing a hold on the property until the debt is satisfied.

How a Mechanic Lien is Placed

To initiate a mechanic’s lien, the contractor or supplier must follow a specific set of procedures, which can vary depending on the jurisdiction. Generally, these procedures involve filing a notice of claim with the appropriate government office, notifying the property owner of the claim, and giving the owner an opportunity to dispute the claim.

If the claim is not disputed, the lien will remain on the property until the debt is paid. If the debt is not paid, the lien can be enforced through legal means, such as a foreclosure sale.

Reasons a Mechanic Lien Would be Placed

There are several reasons why a mechanic’s lien may be placed on a property:

  • Non-payment: The most common reason for placing a mechanic’s lien is non-payment. A contractor, subcontractor, or supplier may place a lien on the property if they have not been paid for their work, materials, or services.
  • Breach of contract: If a property owner breaches a contract by failing to pay for work that has been completed, a contractor or supplier may place a lien on the property.
  • Unpaid taxes or fees: Mechanic’s liens may also be placed on a property if the property owner has not paid property taxes, assessments, or other fees associated with the property.
  • Fraudulent or deceptive practices: In some cases, a mechanic’s lien may be placed on a property if the property owner engaged in fraudulent or deceptive practices, such as misrepresenting their financial position or misrepresenting the scope of the work that was required.
  • Dispute over work performed: Occasionally, a dispute may arise between a property owner and a contractor or supplier over the work that was performed. In such cases, a mechanic’s lien may be placed on the property as a way to resolve the dispute and secure payment for the work that was completed.

It is important to note that the laws surrounding mechanic’s liens can vary from state to state, and the specific reasons for placing a lien may also differ depending on the jurisdiction.

Mechanics’ liens can be complicated, and the laws surrounding them can vary from state to state. Therefore, it is recommended that contractors and property owners consult with an attorney who is familiar with the relevant laws in their jurisdiction.

What Potential Homebuyers Need To Know About Buying Their First Homes

What Potential Homebuyers Need To Know About Buying Their First HomesIt is exciting to purchase a house for the first time, but this is also a major financial decision. Therefore, potential homebuyers need to make sure they are prepared. What do potential homeowners need to know about purchasing a home for the first time? Learn more about this process below. 

Ask For Help From A Real Estate Agent

First-time home buyers always need to ask for help from a real estate agent. A real estate agent can help someone identify potential issues with a home that might have otherwise been overlooked. A real estate agent can also make sure potential home buyers do not overpay for a home. 

Always Get A Pre-Approval Letter

Potential home buyers also need to get a pre-approval letter from a lender. This is a letter stating that a potential home buyer has been approved for a specific loan amount for that specific property. A pre-approval letter will help someone’s offer appear more competitive, particularly if they are going up against a cash offer. This makes the seller more confident that the offer is not going to fall through on financing. 

Do Not Skip The Inspection

Some home buyers are tempted to skip the inspection because this costs more money. It is critical to get a home inspection done so that everyone is aware of the potential issues with the home. If there is a major repair identified, potential home buyers may ask to have this repaired before purchasing the home. 

Pay Down Other Debt

First-time homebuyers need to pay down as much of their debt as possible before applying for a home loan. This could make it easier to receive financing, and potential homeowners might receive a lower interest rate. Examples of other forms of debt include credit card debt, student loans, and car loans. 

Get The Money In Order

Of course, potential homeowners need to make sure they arrange their money prior to closing, but it is also important to get a down payment put together before looking for a home. Many sellers will ask for proof of funds before accepting an offer. Arranging funds prior to the search process can make this much smoother. This can also help first-time homebuyers compete with cash offers. 


The Top Benefits Of Having Mortgage Debt

The Top Benefits Of Having Mortgage DebtThe vast majority of people need to take out a loan to purchase a home. While there are many forms of debt that people would rather avoid, some types of debt can actually be a positive. This includes mortgage debt. What are a few of the top benefits of having mortgage debt?

Access To Extra Liquidity

One of the biggest benefits of having mortgage debt is that homeowners will have access to more liquid cash. If someone spends all of their money buying a house in cash, they might not have anything left over to cover other expenses. Examples include deaths in the family, medical bills, and repairs on cars and the house itself. Many people like to have access to extra liquid cash, and they are willing to take out a mortgage to do it.

The Payments Do Not Change

It is entirely possible that someone’s income will go up during the life of the mortgage. Even if someone’s income goes up, the size of the mortgage payments will not change. The payments might stay the same size for 30 years, which could make the house more affordable. The same cannot be said of rent payments, which usually go up every time the contract is renewed. 

Access To Tax Deductions

Homeowners have access to a significant tax deduction. This comes in the form of mortgage interest. Even though it is important for everyone to meet with a trained tax professional to go over their taxes, the interest attached to a mortgage is usually tax-deductible. This can be a significant tax advantage for homeowners.

A Better Credit Score

It is critical for all homeowners to make sure they make their mortgage payments on time. In doing so, the homeowner’s credit score will go up. People might not think that their credit scores matter much after taking out a home loan, but this could make a difference when applying for car loans or future home loans. Therefore, having a long track record of on-time mortgage payments can make a major difference.

Take Advantage Of Mortgage Debt

These are a few of the top benefits of having mortgage debt. All homeowners need to leverage these benefits for their financial gain down the road.


Understanding Your Debt To Income Ratio

Understanding Your Debt To Income RatioWhen you are filling out a mortgage application, the lender will be asking you for specific financial information. One of the reasons they ask for this information is to enable the underwriter to calculate your debt to income ratio.

The debt to income ratio is what most mortgage lenders use to determine the level of risk they are taking when they agree to provide you a mortgage. Most mortgage lenders will use your debt to income ratio to determine your interest rate, down payment requirements, and in some instances, escrow requirements.

How Lenders Calculate Debt to Income Ratio

When your loan is being underwritten, the lender will look at both a “front-end” and a “back-end” debt to income ratio. There are two separate calculations for these ratios which are:

  • Front end – this calculation is based entirely on your housing costs. The lender will add up all housing costs including mortgage payments, interest payments on your mortgage, personal mortgage insurance, and insurance payments. The total will then be divided by your current monthly income before taxes and other deductions to find the ratio. Ideally, a lender would not want this number to exceed 36 percent.
  • Back end – the debt to income ratio on the back end includes all expenses including housing. Your lender will likely use your open credit accounts showing on your credit report which could include car loans, revolving credit lines, and student debt. For most mortgages, your debt to income ratio should be no higher than 43 percent.

Current Rent and Housing Expenses

If you are currently paying more than 36 percent of your total income for rental expenses, the lender may consider this when calculating your front-end ratio. For example, if your current rent payment is 40 percent of your total gross income and you can demonstrate you have been making payments on time, as agreed for a long period of time, the lender may be more flexible with the terms of your loan. Keep in mind however, you could pay an interest premium if this is the case.

The back-end ratios are also important. This is because for a lender to have your loan backed by a Fannie Mae, or other approved mortgage backer, your ratio would have to be lower than 43 percent. There are exceptions to this rule but in general, a borrower would face challenges obtaining a mortgage if their debt ratios are too high.

Lowering Debt to Income Ratio

There are two ways to improve your debt to income ratio. The first is to earn more money and the second is to lower your debt. Lowering debt can be accomplished by paying off some of your outstanding debt, putting a larger down payment on your home purchase, or taking a mortgage with a lower interest rate. For most consumers, paying off debt is the best way to lower their ratio.

Keep in mind, even if you have open credit lines that are not being used, your mortgage lender may take them into consideration when calculating your debt to income ratios. Before closing an account however, talk to your mortgage lender about what options you should explore. In some instances, a lender may offer you a shorter-term loan or a loan with an adjustable rate to help you qualify.

Borrowers should be aware that their credit scores are not tied to their debt to income ratios. However, a lower debt to income ratio combined with a higher credit score can make a big difference when it comes to what loan programs a lender may be willing to offer to you.

Contact your trusted mortgage professional to find out more about debt to income ratio and other factors necessary to qualify for a home purchase or refinance. 

Got Student Loans? Tips for Graduating Debt Free

Going to a university or college can be a great opportunity to obtain the education and qualifications you need to pursue the career of your dreams. However, many students find themselves under huge mountains of student debt after graduating, which will take years to pay back.

Taking out student loans to go to college is not always necessary, and with a little foresight, hard student loan debtwork, and ingenuity you can get through your degree without having debt cast a shadow over your life. Here are some tips for graduating debt free:

  • Don’t go to school right away. If you spend a year or two working full time and saving first, you will have a nest egg to support you while you study rather than taking out a loan for it. You will also have more time to gain life experience, think about what you want to study and choose the best program for you.
  • Use the summer time when you are not studying to make as much money as possible. Work a full time job and take on extra hours if you can. In the school year, work part time alongside your schooling.
  • Apply for as many scholarships as possible. There are many to choose from and they can reward huge amounts of money to students. Not all scholarships are entirely based on academics, so even if your grades are not perfect you can still apply.
  • If it is possible to live at home with your parents during your degree, this will save you a lot of money and really help you get through your education debt free. If not, try finding the cheapest apartment or on campus accommodation you can and sharing it with a roommate. It’s not the ideal living situation, but you can have your own apartment in a few years when you are working and can actually afford it!
  • Anytime you get an unexpected windfall, such as birthday money, or prize winnings don’t think of the money as extra but use it to pay for your education instead.
  • Buy only what you need, and buy it as cheaply as possible. When you are decorating your university dorm room, you don’t need brand new furniture when a used desk you found on Craigslist for $15 will work just as well. Buy only the essentials, and try to find them used rather than new so that you will spend less money.
  • Many of your friends will be flashing their designer clothes and brand new laptops, and going out on the town every weekend. It can be difficult to resist wanting to fit in, but it’s important to remember that these students are either being funded completely by their parents, or spending student loans foolishly that they will need to pay back. You might feel like you are missing out as a student, but you will be much richer later as a result.
  • Find free or cheap ways to entertain yourself, so that you don’t spend a lot of money on expensive recreational activities. Go for walks, make dinner and watch a movie at home with friends, or go out on 2 for 1 drinks night at your local bar. The fun part is hanging out with friends, not spending a lot.

These are just a few things that you can do which will help you graduate without a huge student debt.