Posted in Real Estate

Qualify For A Larger Mortgage With A Co-Signer

Qualify For A Larger Mortgage With A Co-SignerThere are numerous steps involved in the process of buying a new home. It is important to go through the mortgage qualifying process before looking at dream houses. This gives people an idea of how big a house they can afford. Sometimes, individuals looking for a house might not get a loan that is big enough to cover their dream house. There are ways to qualify for a larger loan; however, one of the fastest methods is to use a co-signer.

What Is A Co-Signer?

A co-signer is someone who signs onto a potential home loan with the homebuyer. Essentially, the co-signer is saying that he or she is willing to be on the hook for the loan in the event that the primary homeowner is unable to make his or her mortgage payments.

This is a big commitment from the co-signer because he or she is exposing himself or herself on behalf of the primary borrower. On the other hand, the co-signer is also providing a vote of confidence on behalf of the primary borrower. Parents often act as co-signers for their children when they purchase their first home.

Vetting The Co-Signer

When someone is going through the home loan process, they are asked to produce tax returns, proof of income, credit reports, bank statements, and more. The co-signer is going to go through the same process. The bank wants to make sure the co-signer is actually adding something of value to the buying process.

The income and debt of the co-signer will be added to the primary borrower. Then, the two will be combined to be approved for a larger home loan. This can help someone purchase the home of his or her dreams.

An Important Note On The Co-Signer

If the co-signer goes to apply for a home loan or car loan in the future, the loan for which they co-signed will show up. This could limit the ability of the co-signer to qualify for a loan down the road. Even though having a co-signer can increase the size of the loan for the primary borrower, this is not without risk to the co-signer. Consider this carefully!

Posted in Mortgage

How To Save Big Money On Your Next Home Renovation Project

How To Save Big Money On Your Next Home Renovation ProjectEvery year, homeowners spend billions of dollars renovating their homes. It almost seems expected that homeowners are going to end up going over budget on any project. On the other hand, this doesn’t have to be the case. In reality, there are a few tips and tricks that homeowners can follow to help them save big money on that next home renovation project.

Serve As The General Contractor

Many homeowners hire a general contractor to control the staffing of each individual project. While this might reduce stress levels, it also costs more money. Hiring a general contractor adds an additional middle man to the project who might charge a premium for each individual project.

Homeowners that need to renovate the kitchen, replace the roof, and find a new water heater should hire professionals to handle these individual projects; however, they don’t necessarily need to hire a general contractor. Skipping this step can save money.

Seek Out Multiple Bids On Each Project

Some homeowners don’t like making phone calls and filling out paperwork to collect bids for various projects; however, collecting multiple bids can help homeowners save money. On any given home renovation project, try to collect at least three bids. For larger projects, it is better to collect even more. 

Then, once all the bids are collected, they can be leveraged against each other for a lower price. Homeowners are often surprised by the wide range of bids on a project. Some proposals might even be thousands of dollars apart.

Take Advantage Of Sales

Just as food goes on sale at the grocery store, the materials needed to complete a home renovation project might go on sale from time to time as well. Taking advantage of sales at department stores can be a great way to reduce overhead costs. There might even be cheaper options online. 

Reduce Home Renovation Costs

These are a few of the most important tips for reducing the cost of that next big home renovation project. Home renovation projects don’t have to break the bank! Be sure to collect multiple bids and leverage inventory sales. 

Posted in Mortgage

Are Home Warranties Worth The Money?

Are Home Warranties Worth The MoneyThose who own homes might regularly receive mail advertising something called a home warranty. Many people end up tossing these leaflets away because they think this is just another form of home insurance, which many people get through their mortgage lender. In reality, a home warranty is not home insurance. Therefore, some people might be wondering whether or not a home warranty is worth the money.

There are a few important points that people should know.

What Is A Home Warranty?

A home warranty is similar to insurance is that people are going to pay a set premium per year to protect them against the risk of larger expenses down the road; however, people need to know what a home warranty is going to cover. This is where people need to read the policy. 

Typically, a home warranty is going to cover the cost to repair or replace certain appliances or home systems is they are damaged or break down. If someone needs to file a claim, this is usually done online or over the phone. Then, the homeowner is going to bring out a professional and pay a service fee (which is similar to a deductible) to get the repair completed. In some cases, the homeowner will have to pay the entire bill and get reimbursed later.

Is The Home Warranty Worth It?

In general, if someone has purchased a brand new home, this policy simply isn’t necessary. In many states, the builder is required to repair defects for a few years after the home is built. The common time-frames range from two years to ten years. Therefore, a home warranty might be duplicate coverage and, thus, unnecessary. Furthermore, brand new appliances are almost always protected by one or two-year warranties. Again, a home warranty might be duplicate coverage.

On the other hand, if someone has an older home or older appliances, the home warranty might be worth it. Older appliances are more likely to break down and, thus, require repairs. Therefore, people need to think about their own individual circumstances and weigh the risk of a broken appliance against the cost of the policy. A home warranty may be right for some people but not others.

Posted in Mortgage

How Does A Home Appraisal Work?

How Does A Home Appraisal WorkWhether you’re a buyer or a seller, a home appraisal is a critical component of the home selling process. An appraisal is also required in situations where a home is gifted to a family member, so it’s important to have a clear understanding of what it entails. 

What Is A Home Appraisal?

A home appraisal is an unbiased estimate of a home’s fair market value conducted by a professional appraiser. All 50 states require that appraisers be licensed and/or certified and demonstrate knowledge of the specified area. The purpose of a home appraisal is to determine whether the home’s asking price is appropriate based on its location, condition, size, and amenities.

Appraisals are done in almost all purchase, sale and refinance transactions, with the exception being when a buyer uses cash and doesn’t have a mortgage. They are typically coordinated by the mortgage lender to ensure the loan isn’t too large in relation to the home’s value.

How Are Appraisal Values Determined?

Licensed appraisers calculate a home’s value based on comparable recent sales in the area and current market trends. Factors such as the home’s floor plan, size, number of rooms, and any upgrades or amenities are also considered. Upgrades and amenities could include things such as a pool, an expanded garage, or a remodeled kitchen.

The appraiser conducts a visual inspection to appraise a home, noting the home’s condition and whether any major repairs are needed. It’s important to note that this differs from a home inspection in that the appraisal assesses a home’s value, while an inspection assesses its condition. In an inspection, the home inspector actually makes repair recommendations. During an appraisal,the appraiser notes any necessary repairs but does not make recommendations.

When Is An Appraisal Done?

After an offer is made, an appraisal is one of the first steps in the closing process. Everything will proceed as planned as long as the appraisal value comes in at or above the price in the contract. If it appraises for below that amount, closing can be delayed or canceled altogether.

What Does A Home Appraisal Cost?

Costs vary based on the mortgage type, but a home appraisal generally costs $300-500. It is almost always paid for by the borrower as part of closing costs.

Posted in Mortgage

How Do Mortgage Points Cut Your Interest Costs?

How Do Mortgage Points Cut Your Interest CostsThose who are involved in the real estate industry likely know that mortgage rates are at an all-time low. At the same time, nobody wants to pay more for a house than they have to. Some of the most important factors that dictate how much someone is going to pay for a house include points and interest rates.

While interest rates are incredibly low, there is a way to make them lower. This comes in the form of points. This is additional money that is paid upfront to get a better deal over the life of the loan. Even though this sounds great in theory this might not be the best option for everyone. There are a few important points to keep in mind.

What Are Points?

Often, the lender is going to offer someone the option of paying points when the mortgage is created. This should be viewed as paying interest on the loan in advance. In exchange for paying interest upfront, the lender should offer to lock in a lower interest rate over the life of the loan. The more points someone purchases, the better the rate.

For example, paying one point of interest may reduce the interest rate on the loan by 0.25 percent. This is standard. Take, for example, a $200,000 home. One point on this loan would cost someone about $2,000. In exchange, the interest rate on the loan is going to drop by 0.25 percent. This might be worth it in the long run.

Discount Points

Other people might have heard about something called discount points. This is another term for mortgage points. The two terms can be used interchangeably. Typically, people can purchase as many discount points as they want, up to the limit of the lender. 

An Overview Of Origination Points

Another type of points that people might have heard about is origination points or origination fees usually expressed by a percentage of the loan amount. These are points that are charged to the borrower to cover the of processing, or originating, the mortgage loan. These fees are included in the total closing costs disclosed when you apply for your home loan.

Origination points are almost always negotiable. The number of origination points that a lender is going to charge can vary from place to place. Therefore, always be sure to ask about origination points. There might be a way to get these points waived, saving the borrower a significant amount of money.

Posted in Mortgage

Mortgage Relief Refinance Programs For 2020

Mortgage Relief Refinance Programs For 2020There are lots of people out there who are searching for options for mortgage relief. A quick search will reveal options for programs such as FMERR and HARP; however, many of the articles regarding these programs are a bit outdated. This makes them misleading. Sometimes, people might think they can apply for these programs when, in reality, they cannot. These programs have expired. Fortunately, there is another option for HIRO.

What Is HIRO?

HIRO is the mortgage relief refinance program for 2020. Run by Fannie Mae, this program does have some similarities to its ancestors (HARP and FMERR); however, it also allows homeowners to refinance even if they don’t have any equity. Furthermore, there isn’t a maximum LTV (loan to value) ratio. The biggest difference between HIRO and prior programs is that only people who currently have mortgages through Fannie Mae are able to qualify.

Some of the other conditions of this program include:

  • The loan must have been originated on or after October 1, 2017
  • There is a long history of making payments on-time
  • There cannot have been any more than one late payment in the prior year
  • There cannot be any late payments in the last six months
  • The loan to value ratio is at 97.01 percent or above

If these conditions are met, someone might be able to find mortgage refinance relief through HIRO.

Reasons To Refinance

Of course, if someone is looking to apply for this program, there must be some tangible benefit. Some of the reasons why someone might want to refinance include a lower monthly payment, a loan with an earlier end date, or a transition from a risky adjustable-rate mortgage to a much safer fixed-rate mortgage. These are a few of the common reasons why someone might want to refinance through HIRO.

Options For Government-Backed Loans

If someone has a mortgage through a government program such as USDA, VA, or the FHA, they will need to apply for other mortgage relief programs. This means looking for streamline refinances. These are specific refinance programs that are meant for people with loans backed by the government. These programs often have less paperwork because there is no need to verify income or employment. Furthermore, there is no need to get the home appraised.

Posted in Mortgage

How To Retain Your Sanity While Working From Home

How To Retain Your Sanity While Working From HomeThere are a lot of people who enjoy working from home; however, with the COVID-19 pandemic, many people who are not used to working from home are forced into this new arrangement. It can be hard for individuals o stay focused when they are stuck in the environment at home. Particularly if the kids are home from school, it is easy to get distracted. Fortunately, there are a few ways people can retain their sanity as they work from home.

Get Into A Routine

One of the first steps people need to follow is to find a routine. It can be tempting to sleep in every day, procrastinate while watching TV, and take long breaks for meals; however, it is critical to remember that there is still a job to do. Try to wake up at the same time every day. Start work at a consistent hour. Take a consistent break for lunch. Finding a routine will make working from home feel more like a job than a vacation.

Take Advantage Of Technology

Even though working from home can feel lonely, it doesn’t have to be this way. With technology, it is easy for people to stay in touch with their partners from work. Use technology to talk to people. Check up on others and see how they are doing. Ask for help when it is needed. Communicate with multiple people at a time. This is incredibly important for those who work in a team. At the same time, those who typically work alone should make sure this doesn’t become a distraction. Talking to others can be a great way to break up the monotony of the day.

Learn Something New Every Day

Finally, take the time to learn something new! Those who no longer have a morning or evening commute are going to wind up with some extra free time on their hands. Take this opportunity to learn something new. Even though some people might feel like they are being forced to work from home, turn this situation into a positive one. use the extra time wisely and find a way to expand those horizons ever so slightly. Learning new skills can pay big dividends down the road.

Posted in Mortgage

Wealthy Seniors Can Benefit From Jumbo Products

Wealthy Seniors Can Benefit From Jumbo ProductsIndividuals who own their homes with a considerable amount of equity should consider looking into proprietary jumbo reverse mortgages. These can be helpful tools that may allow seniors to either pay down an existing mortgage or fund their retirement. 

These tools are particularly helpful in areas of the country that have high property values, such as California and New York. In these states, jumbo reverse mortgages may provide seniors with up to $4 million in potential loan proceeds. These funds can be applied to a variety of possible purposes.

A Changing Thought Process Surrounding Reverse Mortgages

In the past, mentioning reverse mortgages was seen by many as an option of last resort; however, it seems like this reputation was largely gained because they were new and unfamiliar to most people. Over the past few years, financial experts have done a tremendous amount of research into reverse mortgages and have uncovered their potential to help someone’s financial portfolio.

There are numerous ways that reverse mortgages can help someone’s retirement portfolio ride the ups and downs of the market. Reverse mortgages can even be used to help someone postpone the claiming of Social Security benefits. 

A Potential Use Of Reverse Mortgages

One potential use of reverse mortgages follows a simple formula. The goal of this formula is to buy low and sell high. When the market goes up, draw on the retirement account for income. After all, the market is high, so shares of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds are going to be at their greatest value.

When the market starts to drop, avoid using the assets in the retirement account. Wait for those assets to come back up before using them. During this time, it is better to use a reverse mortgage and draw on the equity in the home instead.

A Mountain Of Untapped Equity

Proprietary reverse mortgages are becoming more popular in locations that have high housing values. In these locations, retirees might be sitting on a large amount of equity and might not even know it. In these locations, jumbo reverse mortgages can help individuals and families who might be short in their incomes. For this reason, retirees should consider using a jumbo reverse mortgage to help cover their living expenses and long-term care needs.

Posted in Mortgage

Three Reasons 25% Of Millennial Homebuyers May Struggle To Purchase A Home

More Than 25% Of Millennial Homebuyers May Be Financially UnpreparedMillennials are the first generation in America that will probably not be able to do as well as their parents. In the United States, there is not as much upward mobility as there was in the past. What is the cause of this?

CNN reports that Millennials have more college degrees than their parents. They also have an enormous amount of student loan debt. Many millennials have lower-paying jobs than their parents had at the same age when adjusted for inflation. Spending patterns changed as well, due to the high cost of living.

Finding The Money

Saving is not easy. The net worth of Americans, who are from 18 to 35 years old, decreased by 34% since 1996. Even though millennials are financially savvy, the 2008 global financial crisis made it difficult to find jobs and made saving for many nearly impossible.

Those who have been able to put aside some money in the last ten years are lucky if they have $8,000 in savings, which is the average for those millennials trying to save for a home purchase.

Soaring Home Prices

By 2018, the real estate market recovered from the 2008 collapse. In most American cities, housing prices are going up significantly. The home prices surpassed pre-crash levels and now continue to rise. Soaring home prices make buying a home very challenging.

What To Do?

For most millennials, the best choice is to continue to live with their parents and use the lower cost of living as an opportunity to put away enough money for the required down payment to buy a house. Many plan to live very frugally and to save for up to five years if they want to buy a home of their own.

For others, they are developing co-ownership plans, where millennials plan to share home buying with more than one person. In these deals, they become the landlord and the tenants of a multifamily property that they buy together.

The Math

The median home price in America is $226,800. First-time buyers, who qualify, can get FHA-backed mortgage financing with as little as 3.5% down. Still, that is $7,938 just for the down payment. There is also the need to have 2% to 5% of the loan amount for closing costs, which can add up to $10,943.

Financial prudence recommends having at least three months of living expenses in savings to cover any unexpected temporary emergencies, like losing a job. Add another $12,000 for this contingency. This means to safely buy a home at the median price, with a low-down-payment loan, a millennial may need to have as much as $30,881.

For conventional financing, with 20% down, the numbers are much higher. For that type of financing, a millennial needs about $66,432.

Summary

Millennials face significant challenges in homeownership that are unique to their generation. For these reasons, many are delaying homeownership for at least five years and living with their parents longer, to save more money, to make their dream of homeownership come true in the more distant future.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

Posted in Mortgage

Home Improvement Projects For The Quarantined

Home Improvement Projects For The QuarantinedIf you have paid attention to the news recently, you have probably heard about the coronavirus pandemic which also goes by the name COVID-19. Those who are exposed to the virus might be asked to place themselves in quarantine. Some states have even told their residents to shelter in place. While this infection has forced everyone to change the way they live their lives, there are still some home improvement projects you can tackle during quarantine to put your free time to use.

Jump On Spring Cleaning

One of the first home improvement projects people need to tackle is spring cleaning. Spring is right around the corner so it is time to sort through items that aren’t needed anymore. Start with the wardrobe closet and figure out what is going to be worn during the warmer months, what can be put into storage, and what can be donated. Then, move to the kitchen. Take a look at the drawers and see if there is anything that can be put away. Try to pull out the separators can clean the drawers as well. Finally, move to the living room and declutter anything that isn’t needed anymore. This is going to make the home feel more open, which is important during quarantine.

Repurpose A Room In The Home For A Gym

If you or your family are going to miss going to the gym, it is time to repurpose a room to act as an indoor space to exercise. Think about using the bonus room or basement as an athletic area. Furthermore, you can even save money on gym costs. Try to move chairs and coffee tables out of the way. If possible, put down some rubber flooring, an old mat, or even a few towels to prevent from staining the rug. If you are going to use a jump rope, make sure that nothing valuable is in the way. Try to shift items to make plenty of space for push-ups, sit-ups, jump rope, and free weights.

Home Improvement During Quarantine

It is important for people to follow the advice of medical professionals during the pandemic. Being quarantined is not an ideal situation, but these are only a few of many home improvement projects that can be accomplished during your time at home.