Saving Up for Your Down Payment? Try These Money-saving Tips to Speed Things Up

Saving Up for Your Down Payment? Try These Money-saving Tips to Speed Things UpOne of the most significant challenges that many people face when preparing to buy a first home relates to saving money for a down payment. While there are many different loan programs with varying down payment requirements, the fact is that it can still be difficult to save up a large sum of money. Some programs may require you to save as much as 10 percent or 20 percent of the sales price of the home.

You can employ a few different tips and techniques to save money for a down payment more quickly, and these are some of the options that others have successfully used to save money for their home purchase.

Make Saving Automatic

One idea that works well for many people is to make saving for your new home automatic. This may be as simple as scheduling a regular draft or transfer from your checking account when your paycheck is deposited into your savings account. Some employers may even facilitate this process by contributing some of your funds into a savings account on your behalf. With this option, the money would go directly into your savings account without you having a chance to spend it.

Take Advantage of Retirement Accounts

If your employer provides you with the option of investing in an employer-sponsored retirement account, you should take advantage of this option. Many will offer a dollar-for-dollar matching program, and this may essentially double the amount of money that is saved in the account.

More than that, the funds from many retirement accounts may be withdrawn without penalty if they are used for a first-time home purchase. There are some rules and regulations regarding this, so you should research this option more thoroughly.

These are among the two best options for saving money for a down payment for your first home purchase. There are other ideas that you can consider as well. For example, you may borrow from a whole life insurance policy, obtain a gift from a family member or even sell some of your personal belongings that you no longer need or use.

When you combine many of these ideas together, you may be surprised how quickly your down payment fund can grow. You can also speak with a mortgage professional to learn more about the actual amount of money that you may need for the down payment and closing costs.

What Fees Are Involved With a Reverse Mortgage? Let’s Take a Look

What Fees Are Involved With a Reverse Mortgage? Let's Take a LookInvesting in a home may be one of the most significant purchases you’ll make in your lifetime, but many people forget that there are a number of other costs associated with buying a home. If you’re considering a reverse mortgage and want to be clear on all of the fees involved, here are a few things you can expect to come across.

Initial Home Appraisal Fee

In order to ensure that you qualify for a reverse mortgage, you’ll need to spend a lump sum up front to determine the market cost of your home. While the amount of this fee will depend on the size and age of your home, it generally runs from a couple hundred dollars to less than a thousand and will be paid to the appraisal company that you’re dealing with.

Mortgage Insurance Premiums

At the time that you close on your mortgage, you’ll be required to pay a mortgage insurance premium (MIP) in order to secure your loan. This amount will vary from lender to lender and will be calculated based on the lesser-appraised value of your home. In addition to this, annual mortgage insurance premiums will be charged throughout the entire period of the loan and will be a percentage of the outstanding balance of your mortgage.

Loan Origination Fee

In order to process and underwrite your loan, you will also be required to pay a loan origination fee, which covers the administrative costs. While this amount has come down in recent years, it is a sizeable lump sum that hovers around 2% of your home’s value up to $200,000. If the home’s value exceeds this amount, it will go down to 1% after the initial amount is charged.

Other Third Party Fees

Like any mortgage loan, there are a number of one times fees that you’ll need to pay in order to secure your mortgage. In addition to a monthly servicing fee, there will also be fees like surveying, title fees and credit checks that will be added on to the total cost of your mortgage product. It’s important before choosing this option to ensure that you know what costs you’ll be dealing with.

A reverse mortgage may be the right mortgage product for you, but it’s important to be educated of all of the costs before choosing this option. If you’re currently considering other mortgage products, you may want to contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Wondering How Much Mortgage You Can Afford? Here’s How to Calculate It

Wondering How Much Mortgage You Can Afford? Here's How to Calculate ItMany people are aware of the financial commitment that is involved when investing in a home, but what that amounts to is different for every person. From what you can afford to what a lender will allow, there are plenty of details involved in determining the right home for you. If you’re not quite sure what the right price is, here’s how to approach home ownership and determine your debt-to-income.

Calculating Your Debt-To-Income Ratio

You may not know what your DTI ratio is, but it has a lot to with how much home you can afford. In order to calculate this amount, add together all the debts you owe each month and divide them by your monthly pre-tax income. For example, if your credit card is $150 and your rent is $900, your debt amount would be $1050. Divide this amount by your income, say $2500, to get 0.42. This means your DTI ratio is 0.42 or 42%.

What Your DTI Means

While a DTI in the high 20s or low 30s is good, anything that hovers above 43 percent may serve as a red flag to the lender. The lower your DTI ratio is, the more likely it is that a lender will approve your mortgage application since you’ll have the disposable income to deal with financial hurdles. If your dream home has you hovering close to this amount, it may be a sign that it’s a bit out of reach.

How Do You Want To Live?

It’s quite common to be taken over when you find your dream home and decide to commit. However, buying a home is a huge financial commitment, and if you’re buying more than you can afford it may drain your well-being over time. Instead of diving in, determine other expenses that are likely to come up in the next few years, whether it’s travel, a child or a new car. It’s important to have the home you want and budget when buying it, but you’ll still need to financial wiggle room in case something comes up.

There are a lot of factors involved in determining how much house you can afford, but by calculating your DTI ratio and being aware of your spending plans, you’ll be well on your way to an ideal price range. If you’re currently on the market for a home, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Honesty Is the Best Policy: Why You Need to Be Truthful on Your Mortgage Application

Honesty Is the Best Policy: Why You Need to Be Truthful on Your Mortgage ApplicationThere are few things better than finding your dream home and being able to afford it, but simply because you’ve found the perfect place doesn’t mean you should stretch the truth. It might seem tempting to polish your mortgage application a little in the hopes of making a better impression, but here are a few reasons why you should stick to the truth when signing off on your home.

Your Credit History Tells All

It can be tempting to bump up your salary or make some hefty deposits into your savings account. However, lenders will be taking a look at your financial history by way of your bank statements, credit report and paystubs so they’re likely to discover any erroneous details. If you’re not honest about your financial situation, the lender may suspect that you’re not a reliable buyer. Not only that, making false statements about your finances may give you more home than you can really afford, which can cause setbacks down the road.

Mortgage Fraud Is Still Fraud

A little white lie on your mortgage application might not seem like such a big deal, but because you are painting a picture of yourself that is not true, this can actually be considered mortgage fraud. While there are mistakes that can be made on any mortgage application given all the details required, it’s very important not to mislead the lender or home seller on purpose. It may not be common, but mortgage fraud can be punished with hefty fines or even prison time.

A Bad Way To Begin

There’s nothing like the feeling of moving into your newly-purchased home and feeling enthusiasm for all the things it entails, but being dishonest about your financial situation can sully that. A lie may just be a small detail, but mortgage lenders look at a variety of factors to ensure you’re a good fit for a loan that will stay manageable month after month. While a minor mistruth may seem insignificant, it disables lenders from being able to assess if your financial situation is right for the home you want to purchase.

It may be enticing to fudge a few details on your mortgage application, but there can be serious implications involved in not being honest about the information on your application. If you’re currently in the market for a home, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Did You Know? How Accelerating Your Mortgage Payments Can Help Your Credit Score

Did You Know? How Accelerating Your Mortgage Payments Can Help Your Credit ScoreThe tough part might be over after your mortgage has been approved, but it’s still important to keep on top of your monthly payments and maintain a good credit score for your financial future. If you’re currently wondering how increasing your mortgage payments can help your credit outlook, here are some things to consider.

Change Your Payment Schedule

Most people opt for a monthly mortgage payment, which can certainly stretch the budget but is still something that can be maintained consistently. However, what many homeowners don’t realize is that more consistent payments, like a bi-weekly or even weekly payment, can actually pay down the principal that is owed on your home. While this may seem like enough of a benefit on its own, this will also lower the interest you pay on your investment and will mean financial freedom much more quickly!

Make A Lump Sum Payment

Whether you’ve come into an inheritance or received a bonus at work, making a lump sum payment on your mortgage can be a great way of minimizing your interest and improving your overall credit. There are often limitations on the amount of money you can put down, but by adding an additional payment to the amount still owing on your mortgage, you might be surprised by the money savings and the boost to your financial profile.

Limit Your Amortization Period

25 years may be the standard amortization period for a mortgage, but longer is not necessarily better when it comes to your biggest investment. While you won’t want to push yourself too much if your monthly mortgage payment is already high, if you have the financial wherewithal to make a higher payment, it may be worth it for owning your home a little sooner. A shorter amortization period may seem like it will significantly bump your monthly mortgage, but by re-tooling your budget you can get the benefit to your credit score without sacrificing your monthly expenditures.

For many people, it is a month-to-month challenge to stick to their budget and make the monthly mortgage payment, but there are benefits to putting down more than expected. Whether you come into a lump sum amount or want to pay on a bi-weekly basis, extra payments can help to improve your credit and make your investment yours much sooner. If you’re currently in the market for a home, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

Til’ Debt Do Us Part: How to Get a Mortgage If One Spouse Has A Poor Credit Score

Til' Debt Do Us Part: How to Get a Mortgage If One Spouse Has A Terrible Credit ScoreA poor credit history is a reality for many people, but it can be particularly daunting when it comes to investing in a house. Fortunately, if you or yours have experienced bad credit doesn’t mean that you should be penalized in the future. If your spouse has struggled with bad credit in the past but you’re both preparing to move forward and invest in a home, here are some tips for getting it together financially.

Face The Music

Many people who have bad credit are too scared to take a look at their credit report and broach it honestly, but it’s important to come to terms with the problem so that it can be fixed. Instead of ignoring it, get a copy of the credit report and review it for any errors so that you can update these if needed and be aware of the issues impacting your credit score. While there may not be any inaccuracies on the report, knowing what you’re dealing with will give you a point to start from.

Make Your Payments

At some point, most people have missed a credit card or bill payment, but the first step involved in improving your finances and your credit is ensuring your spouse is paying their bills on time. While this won’t require paying the complete balance each month, it’s important to pay the minimum balance before the due date, and stick with it! It may seem like a small step, but over time it will improve credit and say a lot to mortgage lenders!

Save Up For Down Payment

20% is the amount that’s often suggested when it comes to a down payment, but if your spouse has terrible credit, it may be worth your while to save up more. It goes without saying that having good credit for both yourself and your spouse is important in getting approved for a mortgage, but by having extra for your down payment and paying your bills on time, you may be successful at convincing lenders you’re a solid bet.

It can be a lot more difficult to get your mortgage approved if your spouse has bad credit, but there are steps you can take to improve your financial outlook and give lenders a better impression. If you’re planning on investing in a home in the near future, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

How to Calculate Your True Cost of Living and Determine How Much Mortgage You Can Afford

How to Calculate Your True Cost of Living and Determine How Much Mortgage You Can AffordA monthly mortgage can seem like enough of a financial responsibility on its own, but there are many factors involved in home ownership that affect its fiscal feasibility. If you’re in the market for a house and are wondering how your income will stack up against the rest of your expenses, here’s how to determine a home cost that’s reasonable for you.

Determine Your Down Payment

Before you start with anything else, you’ll want to determine the amount of money you can put down so you can estimate your monthly payments. The traditional amount for a down payment is 20% of the home’s purchase price, so if you don’t have anything close to this amount it might be worth waiting a little longer so you can minimize your payments and the amount of interest or mortgage insurance you’ll be paying in the long run. Each person’s situation is different, and there may be programs available with less than 20% down. This is an excellent question to pose to your trusted mortgage advisor.

Calculate Your Monthly Budget

If your mortgage cost already seems high, it will definitely be worth carefully calculating your monthly expenditures. Instead of a wild guess, take the time to sit down and calculate what your costs are including food, utilities, transportation and any other monthly necessities. Once you do this, it’s also very important to add any debt repayments you’re making to the mix. The total amount of your estimated mortgage costs, debt payments and living expenses should give you a pretty good sense of if your mortgage is viable in the long term.

Don’t Forget About The Extras

When it comes to purchasing a home, many people envision that they will be eating and sleeping their new home so don’t pay attention to all of the additional costs that can arise with living life. A new home is certainly an exciting, worthwhile financial venture, but ensure you’re realistic about what it entails. If you’re planning to go back to school or have children in the future, you’ll want to add a little bit of extra cushion in your budget so that you don’t have to put your other dreams on hold for the sake of your ideal home.

It can be very exciting to find a home you feel good about, but it’s important before making an offer to realize the amount of house you can afford so you don’t find yourself in a hole down the road. If you’re currently on the market for a new home, contact your trusted mortgage professional for a personal consultation.

The Pros and Cons of ‘Mortgage Before Marriage’ for Young Couples

The Pros and Cons of There was a time when a higher percentage of people were married before they committed to buying a home together, but it’s a lot more common to co-habit and invest in a home together. If you’re considering the commitment of a mortgage without being married, here are some things to be aware of before you start searching the market.

Relationship Status Won’t Affect Your Rates

It might seem like there are greater risks involved if two individuals purchasing a property are not legally bound, but it actually makes no difference to the mortgage lender. If two people are buying a home together, the lender is going to be assessing their credibility based on their individual credit reports and financial history, not on their relationship to each other. While it may seem like co-habiting will have an impact, the proof – as far as lenders are concerned – is in the numbers.

What’s Your Credit History?

Most people are aware of their credit history, whether they’ve had financial hiccups in the past or are still paying off a significant amount of debt. However, it is more difficult for some to know the financial background of their partner, and this can be more common when it comes to co-habiting. Because the lender will be looking at both credit scores, if you or your partner have had financial issues in the past, it can have an adverse impact on your application. While you may have a nearly perfect credit history, if your partner does not this can make mortgage approval more difficult.

In The Event Of Separation

Home ownership can involve significant hurdles after a divorce, but there will still be some legal and financial issues to wade through if you’ve never been married. Since it’s likely that you won’t want to continue to co-habit, there’s the possibility that one party will have to buy the other out, which can be a sizeable financial burden. While this type of situation may never come to fruition, it’s important to be aware of what might occur so you can be prepared.

There can be a lot of complexities involved in co-habiting whether you’re married or not, but it’s important to have an awareness of your partner’s financial history and be prepared for financial hurdles. If you’re currently on the market for a new home, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Three Tips to Ensure That a Reverse Mortgage Makes Sense for Your Financial Situation

Three Tips to Ensure That a Reverse Mortgage Makes Sense for Your Financial SituationIf you’re having financial troubles, or if you need to free up a large sum in a short period of time, a reverse mortgage is a great way to get the money you need without having to take on new debt or make monthly payments. When you apply for a reverse mortgage – also known as a home equity conversion mortgage – you’re essentially borrowing money from the equity you’ve built up in your house. The great advantages of a reverse mortgage are that you don’t need to make any loan payments until you decide to move out of the house and that in spite of the interest rates attached, you’ll never owe more than the value of your home.

However, there are tight restrictions and requirements with respect to who can get a reverse mortgage and what needs to be done before you receive any money. In order to qualify, you must meet an age requrement and the property must be your primary residence. You also can’t owe more money on the property than it is worth.

So how can you tell if a reverse mortgage is a good solution for you? Here are three factors you’ll want to consider.

Will You Use The Money Responsibly?

In general, the high-cost, high-risk nature of a reverse mortgage makes it ideal for people who are having trouble meeting their everyday living expenses. That means you’ll need to ensure you use the money responsibly. Good uses of reverse mortgage funds include paying living expenses and medical costs when no other options are available, and paying for emergency care after a serious injury if you’re uninsured.

Have You Exhausted All Other Avenues?

A reverse mortgage can have significant upfront costs. The fees may be higher than other loans, which means even if you don’t actually use any of the credit you obtain through a reverse mortgage, you’ll still may be paying a large sum out of pocket. Furthermore, your lender has the authority to recall the loan if you let your home insurance expire, if you fall behind on your property taxes or home maintenance, or if you spend a full year in an assisted living facility.

These risk factors mean that a reverse mortgage is typically best used as a last resort. If you have other options – for instance, if you have stocks or investments you can cash out, or if you can sell your home to your children and then rent it back from them – you’re better off going down another route. But if you’ve already exhausted all other options, a reverse mortgage may make sense.

Are You Planning To Stay In Your Home For The Foreseeable Future?

A reverse mortgage generally works best for people who intend to stay in their homes for several years. When you get a reverse mortgage, you’ll need to take out insurance to protect against the possibility of your loan balance growing beyond your property value. That means you’ll need to pay monthly insurance premiums – and if you only plan to stay in your home for a short period of time before selling, it’s very unlikely that your loan balance will grow beyond the value of your home.

A reverse mortgage can be a convenient way to access emergency cash reserves – and when used responsibly, it’s a great tool that can help you to help you with otherwise unmanageable expenses. However, reverse mortgages can also be risky and complicated – and you’ll want to consult a professional before applying for one. Call your local mortgage expert to learn more about whether a reverse mortgage is right for you.

Setting the Record Straight: 3 Major Misconceptions About Mortgage Financing

Setting the Record Straight: 3 Major Misconceptions About Mortgage FinancingPurchasing a home is often considered an important step in one’s financial life, no matter what point you arrive at it, but there are things you should know about financing your home purchase before stepping into the fray. If you’re planning on buying a home soon and want to avoid some major missteps, here are a few tips that will set you up for success.

Taking The Lender You’re Offered

In the event that you’ve been pre-qualified for a certain amount, you’ll want to find a lender that will make the process towards a home purchase a little bit smoother. Instead of going with the first option that’s offered, do some research and come up with a shortlist of potential lenders that have good reviews and have been around the industry for a significant amount of time. The process will be a lot more comfortable if there’s someone on your side you know you can trust.

Keeping Your Credit History In The Dark

Without a doubt, the lender will be looking at your financial history in order to determine the amount of financing you will receive, but it’s still important to be prepared on your end so that you know what to expect. Start by acquiring your credit report so that you can correct any inaccuracies on it and be prepared for what this score will say about your financial viability. When it comes to the financing you’ll need down the road, the right information on your credit report will make a difference in the end result.

Forgetting About The Loan Officer

If you’ve already established who your lender will be, it’s still important to meet with the person who will be handling your loan and make sure they’re someone you can trust. Ensure that you are aware of their qualifications and that they have enough previous experience in their back pocket to provide you with insights that may come in handy. While having a reliable lender is certainly a good start, the right individual to handle your loan will be someone who is licensed and involved with a local, professional mortgage association.

All of the things involved with mortgage financing can be quite complicated, but by finding the right lender and preparing yourself for the tough financial questions, it can be a much easier experience. If you’re starting to consider your options for a home purchase, you may want to contact one of our local mortgage professionals for more information.