Thursday, October 28, 2010

Benefits of Refinancing Your Home Mortgage

The main benefit of refinancing your mortgage loan is clear – to benefit from a lower interest rate and to save money, both in the short term as well as over the term of your mortgage. At the moment, mortgage rates are as low as they have been for a long time and if you are thinking of refinancing, this is probably a good time to do it. As with any other big financial decision, there are pros and cons you’ll need to think through carefully. It’s always a good idea to seek expert financial advice before making decisions, too.

The biggest benefit of refinancing your mortgage – although not the only one – is to save money by refinancing at a lower rate. Not only will your monthly mortgage payment be lower, but you will also save money in interest charges. You can potentially save a lot of money over the term of your mortgage by refinancing - an interest rate that is just one point lower can potentially save you up to $5,000 over the term of the average 15 year mortgage. In general, if your new mortgage loan will have an interest rate that is at least 2% lower than your current rate, you should probably refinance.

You may have an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) and are concerned about your rate going up, rather than down. Refinancing also allows a homeowner to refinance to a fixed rate mortgage (FRM) which offers more stability and peace of mind. You can’t always predict which way mortgage rates are going to go, but if mortgage rates seem to be on the way up, refinancing at a lower fixed rate may be a good idea. However, if you do have a fixed rate mortgage with a higher interest rate, it may benefit you in the long run to take a chance and refinance to an adjustable rate mortgage. It all depends on your financial state and the amount of risk that you are comfortable with.

Refinancing can also allow you to pay off your mortgage more quickly, in addition to saving you money. If you refinance your existing 30 year mortgage to take advantage of lower interest rates, you may also be able to shorten the term of the mortgage at the same time – the big advantage of this is that you will own your home more quickly. Reducing the term of your mortgage will also allow you to build up equity at a much faster rate. Of course, if you refinance from a 30 year mortgage to a 20 year mortgage, you may have a higher monthly payment amount, but it is an effective way to take advantage of lower interest rates to own your home sooner. If you are planning on an early retirement, this can help make that a reality.

Refinancing your mortgage also allows you to access some of the equity that has been built up in your home. There are no restrictions on how you can use this money – college funding, improvements to your home, or that dream vacation. Using the money for home improvements can also add value to your home over the long term. This type of a loan is also known as cash-out refinancing and often comes with a lower interest rate than other types of loan. If you do need extra money for whatever reason, this can often be a less expensive option than taking out a second mortgage.

You may also want to refinance simply because your credit score has improved over the years since you took out the original mortgage. Having a better credit score may mean that you can refinance at a lower rate and save money; the amount saved can often be substantial - your monthly payments can be somewhere between $50 and $250 higher, if your credit score is below about 630. Refinancing can also help your credit – if you do a cash-out refinancing, that money can be used to pay off high interest debts such as credit cards or other loans.

Most people will refinance their mortgage at some point during their lives – in fact, the average homeowner refinances their mortgage once every four years. Without a doubt, for most homeowners it’s a smart move, especially if you are going to save money. And the larger the amount of your original mortgage, the more money you can potentially save - if your current mortgage is for several hundred thousand dollars, the smallest reduction in the interest rate will result in a much lower monthly payment. However, you should always consult your tax advisor and mortgage broker to make sure that it’s the best decision for you.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bankruptcy Lawyer- The simple way To Select A Bankruptcy Lawyer Or Attorney

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How to Figure Out Your Home Budget

Figuring out your home budget can be just about as hard as building a nuclear bomb. Many people do not even know how to keep a good budget as it is, much less figure out one that works well enough to save you money. Most of these people with problems solving their home budget are college students, or those who just got out of college, and are just starting out. It is very important to plan out your financial future before it happens, like during high school. It would be good to plan out a budget for college and what you plan on doing if you run out of money, or get low.

There are many different factors to consider when planning out a budget for moving out of your parent's house. Determine what your rent will be, find a place you would like to move into, and find out the monthly rent. Make a rough estimate of what all your expenses will be, you should estimate a little higher than you think. Make sure to include Bills, Food Costs, Transportation Costs, and any other expenses you may have. Find out what your income will be, make sure that you will be making enough to cover your expenses. If you cannot cover all the costs you need to increase your income, or cut the fat on your budget.

You must make sure that you have an emergency amount of money in your bank account. Enough money for at least two months of all your expenses, so you aren't forced to move back in with your parents right when you start out. Also a very good idea is to get advice from your parents and other successful adults about how to keep up with your budget. You must choose a good location, figure out what factors are important to you, like distance from home or distance from school. Once you take all these factors into consideration, along with cost, you will be able to make an informed decision about where to move out to.

For most young adults, this will be the first contract that they have ever signed. When you get the lease for the apartment and get ready to sign it, look it over very carefully. It's good to have an attorney or a professional look over the lease first, but if you cannot find or afford professional help; at least let your parents look over the contract before you sign. If you sign the contract without looking at it closely you could get stuck in some sort of contract that you will never get out of.

Another very important aspect of moving out on your own, and planning your new budget is to make sure the job you have is solid and reliable. The worst thing that can happen after just moving out is loosing a job you thought was going to last you for years. Without a source of income, and only a few months worth of money saved away, you will have to find another job very quickly. If you think that you could loose your current job at any moment, it is also good to keep a close eye on other businesses that may hire you. This way if you lose your job at least you will have a second one waiting.

Do not forget the key things to remember when figuring out your home budget. Determine the amount of your rent, and the cheapest place that meets all your requirements. Make a budget that includes all important and necessary costs, and make sure that your income meets this number. Have money tucked away for a rainy day, and make sure not to spend it. Most importantly of all, read your contract closely, do not get yourself roped into something you cannot get out of! Be careful, it's a wild world out there.

Monday, October 18, 2010

6 Mortgage Mistakes That Most People Make

Mistake #1: They Have Unrepaired Credit

Your credit score and credit report are, unfortunately, a key factor in how a lender will determine what kind of interest rate they can offer you, while mitigating their own risks as much as possible. For this reason, it's very important to work on improving your score and removing unwanted items listed on your report if at all possible before applying for a mortgage - as this can drastically reduce your interest payments over time. As well, lower interest rates mean that you'll be paying less each month (immediately) for the same mortgage amount.

This can literally equate to saving thousands of dollars every year - money you can otherwise use for things like building up your savings, investing, or even just enjoying life a little more. There's no sense in making the bank even richer, just because of some "score" which you can often improve with simple financial management, or by taking care of some outstandig debts/collections.

Another thing to be aware of is that your credit report - which may list late payments, missed payments or debts sent to collections - is only going to provide "negative" information about your lending profile. In other words, a lender will only see the payment you missed last summer - they won't see that you've been faithfully paying every single month for 7 years.

Repairing your credit may not be the easiest thing at the time, but the process truly is a simple one, and both the long-term and short-term payoffs can be truly astounding.

It's well worth doing...

Mistake #2: They Don't Shop Around

Not all lenders are born equal, and often times certain lenders are only competitive in a certain area (such as commercial loans, or equity take-outs, etc.).

For this reason, the simple act of "shopping around" will be very revealing for you, as some companies simply do not offer competitive rates for certain types of loans, areas, borrower categories, etc. You'll be amazed, and it will save you a fortune just by finding the best possible lender for your needs, who is in the business of serving people like you.

Mistake #3: They Don't Get Pre-Approved

Most potential buyers/borrowers will get pre-qualified, but not necessarily pre-approved.

What's the difference?

Well, there's a big difference. Getting pre-qualified involves zero risk for the lender, and they're basically just saying "we might finance you if everything looks good and our underwriting team doesn't find any issues with you or the property - but no guarantees". You don't want to be going around signing real estate purchase agreements with that kind of off-the-cuff statement.

A pre-approval, on the other hand, is basically the same thing as applying for an actual mortgage, and getting approved - because you'll get an actual commitment from the lender, so long as the application details don't change when the time comes to actually press the button and apply "for real".

The bottom line is that you know exactly what you're working with when you get pre-approved. If you're parusing the real estate market and all you have is a pre-qualification, you really don't know what you can truly afford.

Mistake #4: They Borrow Too Much

It's the old adage of "just because you have it, doesn't mean you can afford to spend it".

Buying a home is certainly an exciting time, but don't fall into the trap of borrowing as much money as you possibly can to get your "dream" home. Your mortgage is only one of many expenses - even when it comes to your home itself.

Between maintenance, property taxes, insurance, inevitable repairs and necessary renovations, and possibly even legal issues - you need to have some "reserve" funds in place, as well as some positive cash-flow each month that you can use for savings (and living a little!)

And we're not even taking into account life's other expenses - car payments, insurance, kids, etc.

Getting approved for a mortgage isn't winning the lottery. You are locking yourself into a situation where you need to know for sure that you can either sell the house if times get tough and at the very least break-even (which, lately isn't something I'd be too confident about) - or make the payments for the duration of the loan term.

Being optimistic can be dangerous in the long run.

Be cautiously optimistic, and borrow what you can comfortably afford with confidence.

Mistake #5: They Pay “Bogus” Fees

Many people don't know this, but a lot of lenders will inflate the cost of basic things like "document preparation" (ie. pressing the print button), or charging $150 for a credit check that costs a mere fraction of that.

Some fees may be legitimate, but you owe it to yourself to find out exactly what the mortgage application will cost. You'll be paying these guys a small fortune in interest over the years, anyway, so there's no sense in paying a cent more than you need to.

And finally...

Mistake #6: They Don't Budget for Closing Costs

Closing costs are almost always much higher than the borrower might think, and if you're not prepared for the lawyer's fees, taxes, transfer fees, pre-paid homeowners insurance, lender fees and so on.

This can turn into thousands of dollars - and a lot of people find themselves scrambling at the end of the mortgage approval process to scrounge up every last dime, max out every credit card they have and so on just to "make it work".

Obviously, this doesn't leave you in a good position for your first few months to a year of home ownership - which can also be the most expensive when you first get settled, maybe renovate a few things, etc.

Talk to your attorney and/or get a "good faith estimate" from your lender beforehand so you can properly estimate what you need to set aside for your closing costs.

In conclusion - this isn't meant to scare you off of getting a mortgage.

On the contrary, by simply addressing these mistakes now - and not later - you can get into a position where your mortgage can truly be a point of value, eventually turning itself into wealth as your property builds in value over time and the principal is paid down.

So be sure to recognize and avoid these mistakes.

Thanks Guys!

Thanks for all of your support, I guess this blog will be focused on me building up my savings to afford said house, and I get a small "discount" from work if I were to get a mortgage through them. In the mean time though I guess I have to work work work and then wait for my tax return just to do it all over again!

So far I'm not even close to building my savings up, though I am keeping about 15% of my paycheck in my savings account at all times. Maybe once I get a decent amount I'll put it in a CD account or something. Shame the rates suck right now though, ugh.

In the mean time though, what's a good color to paint my apartment?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I want a house you guys

I did just recently move into a two bedroom apartment and it's slightly bigger than my last place, but the more I look at it I realize that renting just might not be for me, I wouldn't mind applying that rent to a mortgage instead.

I bet the feeling of "owning" is great, despite the fact that you have to pay for property taxes, home insurance, fire insurance all other types of things.

Granted there are a lot of crazy things going on such as foreclosures and debt consolidation and I don't even know what it all means! I just want to buy a house but not get into any debt of some sort. Help, I am conflicted!

It's all so cute!