Deb Evans ABR,CSG - ERA Key Realty Services



Posted by Deb Evans ABR,CSG on 8/6/2019

There are so many factors that go into finding and securing the financing to buy a home.   While lenders require quite a bit of information for you to get a loan, you still need to be aware of your own financial picture. Even if youíre pre-approved for a certain amount of money to buy a home, you still need to dig into your finances a bit deeper than a lender would. The bottom line is that you can't rely solely on a lender to tell you how much you can afford for a monthly payment on a home. Even if youíre approved to borrow the maximum amount of money for your finances to buy a home, it doesnít mean that you actually should use that amount. There are so many other real world things that you need to consider outside of the basic numbers that are plugged into a mortgage formula.   


Run Your Own Numbers


Itís important to sit down and do your own budget when youíre getting ready to buy a home. You have plenty of monthly expenses including student loan debt, car payments, utility bills, and more. Donít forget that you need to eat too! Think about what your lifestyle is like. How much do you spend on food? Do you go out to the movies often or spend a regular amount of cash on clothing? Even if you plan to make adjustments to these habits when buying a home, youíll want to think honestly about all of your needs and spending habits before signing on to buy a home. 


Now, youíll know what your true monthly costs are. Be sure to include things like home insurance, property taxes, monthly utilities, and any other personal monthly expenses in this budget. If you plan to put down a lower amount on the home, youíll also need to include additional insurance costs like private mortgage insurance (PMI).


The magic number that you should remember when it comes to housing costs is 30%. This is the percentage of your monthly income that you should plan to spend on housing. Realistically, this could make your budget tight so this is often thought of as a maximum percentage. By law, a lender canít approve a mortgage that would take up more than 35% of your monthly income. Some lenders have even stricter requirements such as not allowing a borrower to have a mortgage that would be more than 28% of monthly income. This is where the debt-to-income ratio comes into play.


As you can see, itís important to take an earnest look at your finances to avoid larger money issues when you buy a home.  





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Posted by Deb Evans ABR,CSG on 5/15/2018

If youíre hoping to buy a house in the near future, youíll want to focus on saving for a down payment.

Down payments are a way to let a lender know that you are a low-risk investment, and a way to save money on interest over the term of your loan.

If you have your other finances in order--a good credit score and stable income--thereís a good chance that making a 20% or more down payment will land you a low interest rate that can save you thousands while you pay off your loan.

How large should my down payment be?

The larger the down payment you can afford, the more money youíll likely save in the long run. While there are ways to get a loan with no or very small down payments, these arenít always ideal.

First, if you put less than 20% down on your home loan, youíll be required to pay private mortgage insurance, or PMI. These are monthly payments that you make in addition to the interest that is accrued on your loan.

So, if you donít put any money down on your home, youíll accrue more interest over your term length and youíll pay PMI on top of that.

What affects your minimum down payment amount?

Lenders take a number of factors into consideration when determining your risk. If youíre eligible for a first-time home owners loan, a veteranís loan, or a USDA loan, your loan can be guaranteed by the government. This means you can likely pay a lower down payment while still receiving a reasonable interest rate.

When applying for a mortgage, be sure to reach out to multiple lenders and shop around for the rates that work for you. Many lenders use slightly different criteria to determine your eligibility to pay a lower down payment.

Other things that affect your minimum down payment include:

  • Credit score

  • Location of the home you want to buy

  • Value of the mortgage

Saving for a down payment

Youíll get the most value out of your mortgage if you put more money down. However, if youíre currently living in a high-rent area, it could mean that itís in your best interest to get out of your apartment and start building equity in the form of homeownership.

If you want to buy a home within the next year or two, there are a few ways you can help increase your savings.

First, determine how much you need to save. Depending on your housing needs and the current market, everyone will have different requirements. Do some home shopping in your area online and look for homes that are within your spending limits. Remember that you shouldnít spend more than 30% of your monthly income on housing (mortgage, property taxes, etc.)

Next, find out what a 20% down payment on that home would be, adjusting for inflation.

Once you have the amount you need to save, remember to leave yourself enough of an emergency fund in your savings account to last you a month or two.




Tags: Mortgage   down payment  
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Posted by Deb Evans ABR,CSG on 5/1/2018

 

Two thirds of American homeowners are somewhere in the process of paying off a mortgage. It may seem like common sense that everyone should try to pay off their mortgage sooner rather than later. However, there are circumstances when it benefits a homeowner more to hold onto their mortgage longer.


In this article, weíll offer some tips on paying off your mortgage, when you should refinance, and offer some tools that will help you along the long road to debt-free homeownership. If youíre a homeowner and find yourself asking these questions, read on.

I can afford to pay more each month on my mortgage, but should I?

In many cases, paying off your home as quickly as possible saves you money in the long run. A shorter loan term means less interest applied to your loan which could save you thousands of dollars in accrued interest.


What many people donít think about is whether that money could be better spent elsewhere. If your mortgage interest rate isnít too high, you might be better off allocating that extra income toward investments or retirement funds where they could earn you more in the long run.


This technique is typically most beneficial for younger homeowners. In your 20s and 30s you stand the most to gain from long-term investments, especially tax-benefitted retirement funds. Ultimately youíll have to do the math, which is tricky because circumstances change; markets vary, our income goes up and down, etc. However, a good starting place is to determine whether you could earn more in retirement and investments than you could by paying off your mortgage sooner and therefore saving on interest. 

Iíve owned my home for a few years now, should I refinance?

Refinancing is a term that has become ubiquitous for homeowners. There are a few important things to understand about refinancing. First, lowering your monthly payments is not always ideal if it means youíll end up paying more interest in the long run. Ideally, refinancing your mortgage will help you pay the least amount in total.

One way this can be accomplished is by refinancing to a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage which often darry slightly lower interest rates. This option is designed for people who have improved their credit and increased their income since signing their first mortgage.

Math isnít my strong suit. How can I figure out my finances?

If all of the numbers and percentages associated with mortgages and refinancing seems overwhelming--youíre not alone. Fortunately, there are mortgage and refinancing calculators that will give you a good idea of where you stand if you decide to increase your payments or to attempt to refinance your loan. Here are some great tools:
  • Use this mortgage calculator for determining how much you would save by making extra payments.

  • This refinance calculator will help you understand the potential benefits of refinancing your mortgage.

  • To determine how much you could earn through investments (rather than paying more toward your mortgage) use this helpful tool.

  • You might be able to increase your savings by creating a better budget for yourself. This website will help you make a detailed budget and hold yourself accountable each month.






Tags: home   Mortgage   refinancing   finance  
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Posted by Deb Evans ABR,CSG on 4/24/2018

If youíre a first-time homebuyer, odds are youíve thrown the words ďprequalifiedĒ and ďpreapprovedĒ interchangeably. However, when it comes to home loans, there are some very important differences between the two.

For buyers hoping to purchase a home with a few missteps and misunderstandings as possible, itís vital to understand the procedures involved in acquiring financing for a home.

Today, weíll break down these two real estate jargon terms so that you can go into the mortgage approval process armed with the knowledge to help you succeed in securing a home loan.

Mortgage prequalification

Letís start with the easy part--mortgage prequalification. Getting prequalified helps borrowers find out what kind and what size mortgage they can likely secure financing for. It also helps lenders establish a relationship with potential customers, which is why you will often see so many ads for mortgage prequalification around the web.

Prequalification is a relatively simple process. Youíll be asked to provide an overview of your finances, which your lender will plug into a formula and then report back to you whether or not youíre likely to get approved based on your current circumstances.

The lender will ask you for general information about your income, assets, debt, and credit. You wonít need to provide exact documents for these things at this phase in the process, since you have not yet technically applied for a mortgage.

Prequalification exists to give you a broad picture of what you can expect. You can use this information to plan for the future, or you can seek out other lenders for a second opinion. But, before you start shopping for homes, youíll want to make sure youíre preapproved, not prequalified.

Mortgage preapproval

After youíve prequalified, you can start thinking about preapproval. If youíre serious about buying a home in the near future, getting preapproved will simplify your buying process. It will also make sellers more likely to take you seriously, since you already have your financing partially secured.

Mortgage preapproval requires you to provide the lender with income documentation. They will also perform a credit inquiry to receive your FICO score.

Mortgage applications and credit scores

Before we talk about the rest of the preapproval process, we need to address one common issue that buyers face when applying for a mortgage. There are two types of credit inquiries that lenders can perform to view your credit history--hard inquiries and soft inquiries.

A soft inquiry wonít affect your credit score. But a hard inquiry can lower your score by a few points for a period of 1 to 2 months. So, when getting preapproved, you should expect your credit score to drop temporarily.

After preapproval

Once youíre preapproved for a mortgage, you can safely begin looking at homes. If you decide to make an offer on a home and your offer is accepted, your preapproval will make it easier to move forward in closing on the home.

Once the lender checks off on the house youíre making an offer on, they will send you a loan commitment letter, enabling you to move forward with closing on the home.





Posted by Deb Evans ABR,CSG on 3/6/2018

If you are thinking of buying a home, you probably have been getting your finances for some time. First-time homebuyers need the right information to avoid making big mistakes when they purchase their homes. The leap into home ownership is a big one, and youíll want as much information with you along for the ride. Below, youíll find a crash course on mortgages for first-time homebuyers. 


Think Ahead


Every homebuyer needs to prepare ahead of time for the process to be smooth. Research different lenders in your area and see what their rates are. If you talk to your lender about your goals and what type of loans youíre looking for, youíll understand all of the costs that youíll face ahead of time. You donít want any surprises when it comes to signing a contract for a home.


Every Mortgage Is Different


Itís easy to think that all home loans are created equal, but they arenít. The diversity in types of home loans is why you need to research and meet with a lender ahead of time. Talk to your real estate agent and see who they suggest. Your agent is a useful resource because they want your entire transaction to go smoothly for everyone involved. There are many different kinds of mortgages, and you need to make sure youíre getting the loan thatís right for you. Be sure you understand the specifics of each loan before you sign on.       


What You Need In Order


Before you even head into the home buying process, there are a few things that youíll need including:


  • Cash for a downpayment
  • A budget
  • Knowledge of all of your finances
  • Where youíd like to look for a home
  • An idea of how much you can spend on a home
  • Information to get pre-approved including tax returns, proof of income, and bank statements


Once you have saved up cash for a downpayment, itís time to take a look at your budget. Can you afford a monthly mortgage payment in the price range that you hope to buy? How much money will you have left over each month? Should you adjust your expectations? 



Youíll need to save up a bit of cash before you know that youíre ready to buy a home. Itís recommended that you have at least 20 percent of the purchase price of a home to put down towards your loan. The more you put down, the lower your monthly payments will be on the mortgage. So saving is the next big step in securing a mortgage in the smoothest possible way.     




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