Dianne Vernon's Blog
- Significant price variations: Getting multiple quotes can help put you in the driver's seat when it comes to controlling household expenses. It's all too easy to overpay on a product or service when you have no points of comparison. Even if you're just saving $50, that's hard-earned money that can be saved, invested, or spent on something else you and your family needs. It's amazing how much of a price variation there often is between providers of similar services. When you rely on one contractor, retailer, or landscaper to deliver the most value for your money, you're failing to look at the full range of choices. However, when you factor in other prices, customer service policies, payment terms, and features, then you're giving yourself the information you need to make the most economical decision. In many cases, that can translate into hundreds of dollars of savings, enabling you to keep more money in your pocket or bank account.
- Comparing features and benefits: Once you start comparing things like customer reviews, price differences, guarantees of satisfaction, and value-added features, then one contractor, service provider, or manufacturer may quickly emerge as the clear winner. When it's an individual you're considering, such as a handyman, house cleaner, or plumber, things like experience, references, attitude, and work ethic can also make a big difference in your level of satisfaction.
- Knowledge is power: One of the advantages of reading online reviews, getting at least three estimates, and comparing different proposals is that you become more knowledgeable about what you're going to be spending your hard-earned money on. This not only helps you make an informed decision, but it gives you the knowledge to communicate your expectations more clearly to the person or company who ends up getting your business.
If you’re hoping to buy a house in the near future, you’ll 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--there’s 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 you’ll likely save in the long run. While there are ways to get a loan with no or very small down payments, these aren’t always ideal.
First, if you put less than 20% down on your home loan, you’ll 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 don’t put any money down on your home, you’ll accrue more interest over your term length and you’ll 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 you’re eligible for a first-time home owners loan, a veteran’s 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:
Location of the home you want to buy
Value of the mortgage
Saving for a down payment
You’ll get the most value out of your mortgage if you put more money down. However, if you’re currently living in a high-rent area, it could mean that it’s 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 shouldn’t 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.
If you are in the market for an FHA loan, you are probably happy to get many benefits from the loan like a good interest rate along with the need for a low downpayment. While these loans can be very helpful on the path to homeownership, they can be complex. It’s a good idea to hire a realtor who is well-versed in the ins and outs of FHA loans and standards. A real estate agent can help you to find the right property to suit your needs and meet the standards the FHA loan will require.
Do you know what you’re getting into when it comes to shopping for a home? The FHA sets the rules for how homes get approved for an FHA loan and under what standards. These rules exist because the FHA is insuring the loan, but the organization is not directly funding the loan itself. This insurance protects the lender if the loan is defaulted on. An inspection appraisal report must be completed on each property. The appraiser is required to be an FHA approved appraiser to complete the job.
There are limits on how much of a loan you can get when it is FHA-backed. This is because the FHA will only insure a loan amount up to this limit. This means that you won’t be looking at high-end homes because the limits are usually quite restrictive as to the type of property you can get. This holds true unless you can afford a larger downpayment than the standard 3.5% required by the FHA.
Condition Of The Home
FHA-backed home loans can be rejected due to the poor condition of the home. If an appraiser says that the home is unsafe or hazardous to occupants, the loan will be denied. The assessment of the home’s condition is very important to the lender’s decision to grant the loan. The lender may even require that certain improvements be made before the loan can be approved. These improvements can include pest treatments, fixing leaks, or other damages that are deemed hazardous.
The Property Itself
The FHA also sets guidelines for the type of property that you can get. A condo must be in a HUD approved complex, for example. If you want to research FHA-approved condo complexes, you can search right on the HUD website. Each complex meets the Department of Housing And Urban Development’s standards for financial stability, hazard, and liability insurance. If you’re looking at manufactured homes, these are also held to certain standards. The manufactured home must be permanently attached to the foundation, have the ability to be taxed as a real estate property asset, and have been constructed before June 15, 1976.
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