Real Estate and Housing http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4810/all en-US 5 Times Buying a Home With Cash Is Bad for Your Budget http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-buying-a-home-with-cash-is-bad-for-your-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-times-buying-a-home-with-cash-is-bad-for-your-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house_building_insurance_housewarming_loan_real_estate_home_concept.jpg" alt="House building, insurance, housewarming, loan, real estate, home concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Buying a home with cash is usually considered a smart financial move, if you can swing it. That's because taking out a mortgage loan to finance your home requires you to pay a ton of interest, even in today's low-interest rate environment. With cash, you don't have to worry about interest at all.</p> <p>For example, let's say you take out a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage of $200,000 at an interest rate of 3.93 percent. You'll pay more than $140,000 in interest if you take the full three decades to pay back your loan. If you pay in cash, that $140,000 stays in your pocket.</p> <p>What could possibly be the downside of paying this way? Here are a few possibilities.</p> <h2>1. When making an all-cash offer will deplete your savings</h2> <p>If you can afford to buy that $300,000 home with cash, that's great. But if that purchase leaves you with little or no money in your savings, it can put you in financial jeopardy.</p> <p>It's important to have cash reserves to handle life's emergencies. What if you lose your job? You might wish you still had some of those savings available.</p> <p>Remember, your investment in your home is largely <em>illiquid</em>. To access it, you'll have to sell your home or take out a home-equity loan or line of credit. Neither option is as appealing as having cash reserves on hand.</p> <p>If you do have plenty of cash &mdash; but not enough to have funds leftover after buying a home &mdash; consider coming up with an extra-large down payment instead. This way, you can reduce your mortgage while keeping some cash on hand.</p> <h2>2. When your cash is earning you money</h2> <p>Are your cash savings earning you plenty of big returns? Then it might not make sense to take a big chunk of this money and invest it in a house. Yes, it's nice not to have to make a mortgage payment each month. But you'll have to determine if the return that your invested dollars are generating outweighs the savings in interest you'd get by avoiding a mortgage.</p> <h2>3. When you'll miss out on a tax break</h2> <p>Homeowners can deduct the amount of interest they pay on their mortgage loans each year. This tax break is more valuable during the earliest years of a mortgage, when homeowners are paying the most interest.</p> <p>You'll have to determine how valuable this tax break is to you. If you do need to reduce your tax bill each year, using some of your cash to come up with a bigger down payment and then taking out a mortgage to finance the rest of your home purchase might make the most sense.</p> <h2>4. When your home's value might fall</h2> <p>There was a time when no one thought homes could lose value over a seven- or 10-year period. Then came 2007 and 2008, when home values suddenly plummeted.</p> <p>There's a lesson here: There is no guarantee that your home will increase in value after you buy it. There's also no guarantee that it won't lose value.</p> <p>The hope is that after buying your home in an all-cash offer, the property will become even more valuable. When it's time to sell, you'll earn a profit. But there is no guarantee that this will happen. And if you do have to sell your home at a loss one day, that money you invested in it will be lost.</p> <h2>5. When you'll miss out on great interest rates</h2> <p>Mortgage interest rates have risen, but they are still at historic lows. The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey says that the average interest rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.89 percent as of June 8, 2017. The average rate on a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.16 percent. Those are great rates.</p> <p>Instead of investing a big chunk of your cash in a home, it might make more sense to take that same money and make a different investment that will generate bigger returns. You can then apply for a mortgage loan with the shortest possible term and enjoy interest rates that are still at near-historic lows.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-buying-a-home-with-cash-is-bad-for-your-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-equity-in-your-home">How to Build Equity in Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-pay-your-mortgage-off-early">Should You Pay Your Mortgage Off Early?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-yourself-these-5-questions-before-buying-a-home">Ask Yourself These 5 Questions Before Buying a Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-shouldnt-buy-a-house-yet">5 Reasons You Shouldn&#039;t Buy a House (Yet)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-5-last-minute-home-buying-costs">Watch Out for These 5 Last Minute Home Buying Costs</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing down payments downsides home buying homeownership interest rates mortgages new home paying cash tax breaks Thu, 22 Jun 2017 08:30:16 +0000 Dan Rafter 1965874 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Build Equity in Your Home http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-equity-in-your-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-build-equity-in-your-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/imagine_owning_our_dream_house.jpg" alt="Imagine owning our dream house" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Equity is the difference between what you owe on your mortgage loan and what your home is currently worth. Say you owe $150,000 on your mortgage and your home is worth $200,000. You now have $50,000 worth of equity built up in your home. Congratulations!</p> <p>Equity is important when you sell your home. If you sell the home in the above example for $200,000, you'd end up with a sizable check, whatever is left of that $50,000 equity after you subtract your real estate agent's commission and any other fees you might have to pay to close the sale. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-unexpected-costs-of-selling-a-home?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Unexpected Costs of Selling a Home</a>)</p> <p>You can also tap your home's equity for home equity loans or home equity lines of credit. Maybe you want to remodel your bathroom. If you have enough equity, you can take out a home-equity loan of, say, $20,000 to pay for it. You can also rely on home equity loans to pay for a child's college tuition or pay off high-interest credit card debt.</p> <p>And if you ever want to refinance your mortgage loan to one with a lower interest rate, you'll usually need equity to do so. Most lenders won't approve a refinance unless you have at least 20 percent equity built up in your home.</p> <p>So how do you build equity? Mostly by making your mortgage payments on time and hoping that the value of homes in your local housing market continues to rise.</p> <h2>Keep making your mortgage payments</h2> <p>Every time you make a mortgage payment, you'll gain a small bit of equity, as long as your home's value isn't falling at the same time. But don't think that if you are paying $1,500 each month, you are gaining $1,500 worth of equity with every payment. Not all of your monthly payment goes toward reducing your mortgage's principal balance.</p> <p>There's something known as PITI, which stands for principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. This means that a portion of each of your mortgage payments goes toward paying off your loan's principal balance, interest, property taxes, and homeowners insurance. Only the portion that goes toward paying off your principal helps you build equity.</p> <p>In the earliest days of your payments, a greater chunk of your mortgage check will be used to pay off interest. The deeper you get into your mortgage's life span, the more principal you'll pay off with each payment &mdash; and the more equity you will gain.</p> <h2>Count on rising home values</h2> <p>When you buy a home, you hope that its value will continue to increase. If your home does rise in value, the equity you have will automatically increase.</p> <p>If your home is worth $200,000 and you owe $190,000 on your mortgage, you have $10,000 in equity. But if your home's value was instead $210,000, owing that same $190,000 would leave you with $20,000 worth of equity. Just be aware that your home is not guaranteed to rise in value.</p> <h2>Make a bigger down payment</h2> <p>If you are using a mortgage to finance the purchase of a home, you'll usually have to come up with a down payment. With some loan products, that down payment can be as low as 3 percent of your home's purchase price. For a home costing $200,000, a down payment of 3 percent comes out to $6,000.</p> <p>The larger your down payment, however, the more equity you'll have as soon as you take ownership of your house. When you reach 20 percent equity, you'll no longer have to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI). That's why if you can afford it, it makes financial sense to come up with as large of a down payment as possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-really-need-a-20-percent-down-payment-for-a-house?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Do You Really Need a 20 Percent Down Payment for a House?</a>)</p> <h2>Take out a shorter mortgage</h2> <p>Taking out a loan with a shorter term means larger monthly payments. But it also means that you'll build your home's equity at a faster pace. If you take out a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage instead of a 30-year, fixed-rate loan, your monthly payment will be significantly higher because you are stretching out your payback period over a smaller number of months.</p> <p>But that larger monthly payment also means that you'll be reducing your mortgage's principal balance by a greater amount each month, something that will help you build equity much faster. This is one reason why, if you can afford the larger monthly payment, a shorter-term mortgage is a smarter financial move. Just be careful not to take a shorter-term mortgage if the monthly payment will be a struggle.</p> <h2>Make bigger mortgage payments each month</h2> <p>You can increase the speed at which you gain equity by making larger mortgage payments each month, as long as you tell your lender that you want this extra money to go toward paying down your loan's principal balance.</p> <p>If you owe $1,700 each month on your mortgage, you might instead send a check for $1,900, with the extra $200 allocated to paying down your principal. Your lender's mortgage statement probably has a line that you can fill out stating that you want your extra money to go toward principal. Make sure to fill that out.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-equity-in-your-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-biggest-regrets-of-new-homeowners">8 Biggest Regrets of New Homeowners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-really-need-a-20-percent-down-payment-for-a-house">Do You Really Need a 20 Percent Down Payment for a House?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-qualify-for-a-mortgage-with-a-small-downpayment">5 Ways to Qualify for a Mortgage With a Small Downpayment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-questions-to-ask-before-selling-your-house">6 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-reverse-mortgaged-heres-how-to-sell-it">Home Reverse Mortgaged? Here&#039;s How to Sell It</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing down payments equity homeownership interest loans mortgages principal Tue, 20 Jun 2017 09:00:08 +0000 Dan Rafter 1966194 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Questions to Ask Before Leaving Your House to Your Kids http://www.wisebread.com/4-questions-to-ask-before-leaving-your-house-to-your-kids <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-questions-to-ask-before-leaving-your-house-to-your-kids" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_handing_a_house_key_to_woman.jpg" alt="Man handing a house key to woman" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You might consider it the perfect gift: You are ready to move out of your home and downsize into a smaller condo or move into an assisted-living facility. Instead of selling the house, you'd like to gift it to one or more of your children.</p> <p>This is a generous act, but it also comes with some serious consequences. In most cases, if you want to leave your home to a relative, it's best to do so as an inheritance <em>after </em>you die rather than as a gift.</p> <p>Before you gift your residence, consider these key factors.</p> <h2>The big tax implications</h2> <p>Gifting your children your house might eventually leave them with a big tax bill. The reason is something known as the home's tax, or cost, basis.</p> <h3>How does tax basis work?</h3> <p>When you gift a home to a relative, the original cost of the home is now also considered the cost basis for the person to whom you are giving the residence, even though this person isn't paying anything for it. For instance, if you give your child a home on which you spent $170,000 10 years ago, that property's tax basis remains $170,000, even if an appraiser would determine that the residence is worth $270,000 in today's housing market.</p> <p>If you give a home to your children as part of your inheritance after you die, though, the tax basis is whatever the home is worth in the <em>current </em>market. Even if you only spent $170,000 on your home, the tax basis of the property would be considered $270,000 if that is what it is worth today.</p> <p>This subtle difference can have a big impact on the person to whom you've gifted your home.</p> <h3>What about the capital gains taxes?</h3> <p>If your children decide to sell the home you gifted them right away, they could face a big tax hit. If the home's tax basis is $170,000 and your children sell it for $270,000, they'll have to pay capital gains taxes on the profit &mdash; in this case $100,000. If you had left the home to your children as part of their inheritance, they could have avoided these capital gains taxes. That's because the tax basis would have been $270,000. If they then would have sold the home for that same figure of $270,000, they would not have had to pay any capital gains because officially the house sale would not have generated a profit.</p> <p>Your children can avoid capital gains taxes by living in the house that you have gifted them for at least two years before selling it. In this case, your children can skip capital gains taxes on up to $250,000 in profits from the sale of the home. Couples can skip paying capital gains taxes on up to $500,000 on a home they sell if they have lived in it for at least two years.</p> <p>If you don't know if your children will actually live in the house for at least two years before selling it, leave the home to them as part of their inheritance. It's the better financial move for them.</p> <h3>Is the timing right?</h3> <p>There are times, of course, when you simply can't hold onto a house so that you can leave it to your children as part of their inheritance. In such cases, gifting the house might make sense.</p> <p>Say one of your children desperately needs a place to live now. Waiting until you die to pass the home to this child won't be much of a help.</p> <p>Or what if you are moving into assisted-living and can no longer maintain your home? Letting it sit vacant might speed up its deterioration. Your children might be willing to maintain the home until you die and it passes to one of them through an inheritance. Or maybe they'd rather not. Gifting a home to one of your children might be the best way to keep the home in the family.</p> <h3>Are you gifting the mortgage, too?</h3> <p>Gifting becomes more complicated if you still owe mortgage money on the home. That mortgage won't disappear simply because you are gifting the home to one of your children.</p> <p>The person receiving the home will be responsible for paying the mortgage each month. Make sure this is a financial responsibility that the child receiving the home is willing and able to take on.</p> <p>Some mortgage lenders might &quot;call in&quot; your mortgage loan when you gift the house. This means that either you or your child must pay whatever the balance is on your mortgage. If this is a small amount, it might not matter. But if you owe a significant amount on your loan and neither you nor your child can pay it, the mortgage lender will have the right to foreclose on your property and take ownership of it.</p> <p>Make sure that either you or the child who receives the home is able to take care of any mortgage issues.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-questions-to-ask-before-leaving-your-house-to-your-kids">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-reverse-mortgaged-heres-how-to-sell-it">Home Reverse Mortgaged? Here&#039;s How to Sell It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-finance-a-tiny-house">3 Ways to Finance a Tiny House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-2015-is-the-year-to-buy-a-house">5 Reasons Why 2015 is the Year to Buy a House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-be-saving-big-with-bi-weekly-mortgage-payments">Why You Should Be Saving Big With Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payments</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-stage-your-home-without-hiring-a-pro">8 Ways to Stage Your Home Without Hiring a Pro</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing adult children capital gains taxes cost basis gifting heirs homeownership selling a home tax basis transferring ownership Mon, 19 Jun 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Dan Rafter 1961861 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Valuable Rights You Might Lose When You Refinance Student Loans http://www.wisebread.com/8-valuable-rights-you-might-lose-when-you-refinance-student-loans <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-valuable-rights-you-might-lose-when-you-refinance-student-loans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house_on_money_stack.jpg" alt="House on money stack" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Fannie Mae, the nation's largest buyer and guarantor of mortgage loans, made news recently when it announced it would sweeten the deal for folks who want to refinance their mortgage to pay off student loan debt. Fannie Mae works with 1,800 lenders nationwide, so their rule change affects many homeowners. At the same time, newer financial companies that target millennials have been pushing student loan refinances as a way to save money and simplify life.</p> <p>Fannie Mae's change will make it more affordable for graduates &mdash; or parents &mdash; to use home equity to pay off student loans by waiving the usual extra charge for taking out cash when you refinance a home. With mortgage interest rates still at historic lows, this could indeed be an opportunity for young adults with high-rate student loans to reduce their monthly payments. But proceed with caution.</p> <p>If you have a private student loan, you probably have nothing to lose by converting it into a mortgage, personal loan, or other consolidation loan. But if you have a federal loan, you should be more cautious about making changes. You may not realize you'd be losing these protections and options when you give up your federal student loan.</p> <h2>1. Deferment</h2> <p>If you lose your job or are unable to find a job after graduation, you may qualify for a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-deferring-student-loans" target="_blank">deferment</a>, which halts your loan payments until you're in a better position to pay. With certain federal loans, the government will even pay the interest during deferment.</p> <h2>2. Forbearance</h2> <p>Similar to deferment, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-student-loan-forbearance-anyway" target="_blank">forbearance</a> stops your payment obligation during a period of hardship. But unlike deferment, interest continues to accumulate.</p> <h2>3. Income-driven repayment plans</h2> <p>The government has rolled out a whole range of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-student-loan-repayment-plan-saves-you-the-most" target="_blank">flexible payment options</a> in recent years to help federal loan borrowers handle payments. These plans cap your monthly payment at a certain percentage of income (10 percent for the program known as Pay As You Earn and 15 percent for the Income-Contingent Repayment Plan). Another benefit of income-driven repayment plans that you would lose if you refinance: an end date. With PAYE, any balance you still owe after 20 years is forgiven; with ICE, loans are forgiven after 25 years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-definitive-guide-to-pay-as-you-earn-a-great-student-loan-repayment-plan?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Definitive Guide to Pay As You Earn</a>)</p> <h2>4. A second chance if you default</h2> <p>The Federal Loan Rehabilitation Program is a one-time opportunity to get a default removed from your credit report by making a series of on-time payments. This can save you from wrecking your credit and being unable to buy a home later.</p> <h2>5. A central source for tracking loans</h2> <p>If all your student loans are federal, you'll be able to check up on all of them online through the National Student Loan Data System. If you refinance some but not all of your loans, you may end up having to keep track of them using multiple resources.</p> <h2>6. An unsecured loan</h2> <p>If you default on your student loan, you can lose your good credit, but not much else. If you default on your mortgage, you can lose your house. Let that reality sink in before you jump to refinance a home loan to pay off student loan debt.</p> <h2>7. A fixed interest rate</h2> <p>Of course, you could use a fixed-interest mortgage or a fixed-rate personal loan to pay off your federal student loan. But make sure that's what you're getting. If you use a variable rate loan to consolidate your debt, you could get hit with a big payment increase when rates inevitably go up. Federal loans, on the other hand, are guaranteed to be fixed rate.</p> <h2>8. Prepayment penalties</h2> <p>Federal loans don't charge a fee if you pay more than you owe on any given month, but some private lenders do &mdash; check on that before you commit to a refinance.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-valuable-rights-you-might-lose-when-you-refinance-student-loans">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-student-loan-debt-can-affect-your-mortgage-application">3 Ways Student Loan Debt Can Affect Your Mortgage Application</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-student-loan-grace-period">4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Student Loan Grace Period</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-student-loan-forbearance-anyway">What Is Student Loan Forbearance, Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-deferring-student-loans">4 Things You Need to Know About Deferring Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-ignore-these-4-things-before-refinancing-your-student-loans">Don&#039;t Ignore These 4 Things Before Refinancing Your Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training Real Estate and Housing debt default deferment fannie mae federal loans forbearance interest rates mortgages refinancing repayment plans student loans Thu, 15 Jun 2017 08:30:16 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1963763 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Biggest Regrets of New Homeowners http://www.wisebread.com/8-biggest-regrets-of-new-homeowners <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-biggest-regrets-of-new-homeowners" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house_key_on_keychain.jpg" alt="House key on keychain" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Buying a home is a big decision. When you buy your first home, it can turn out to be one of the happiest moments of your life, and set you and your family up for years of comfort. But there are also countless decisions to make during the buying process, and it's easy to make one you'll regret later.</p> <p>It helps to know common traps others have learned from. Try to avoid these mistakes that many new homebuyers have made. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-before-buying-your-first-home?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What You Need to Know Before Buying Your First Home</a>)</p> <h2>1. You bought more house than you can afford</h2> <p>It's easy to purchase a home that may be out of your price range. Banks are known to approve homebuyers for loans that are way beyond what should be sensibly budgeted. It's also tempting to buy a more costly home than you need, based on the assumption that you will earn more in the future.</p> <p>A good rule of thumb is to avoid paying more than 30 percent of your gross income on housing. Anything more than that, and you may find yourself financially handcuffed. When searching for homes, be sure to have a budget in mind, and do your best to stick to that budget even if it means walking away from homes you like. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-ends-meet-when-youre-house-poor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Make Ends Meet When You're House Poor</a>)</p> <h2>2. You did not put enough money down</h2> <p>Making a big down payment can make things much easier for a homeowner in the long run. If you are able to save up enough to put down at least 20 percent, there's a good chance you'll avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI), which can add thousands of dollars in overall costs. Plus, a bigger down payment will help you qualify for a more favorable loan, and will reduce the amount you need to borrow.</p> <p>Homeowners who can't make a sizable down payment often find themselves struggling financially because the mortgage costs are onerous. The more money you put down, the more money you'll save &mdash; and the better off you'll be.</p> <h2>3. You did not get the right kind of mortgage</h2> <p>There are many different mortgage products out there. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fixed-or-adjustable-choosing-the-right-mortgage-loan?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed:+wisebread+(Wise+Bread)" target="_blank">Loans with fixed interest rates or adjustable rates</a>, interest-only loans, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-the-right-mortgage-loan-15-or-30-years" target="_blank">30-year loans, and 15-year loans</a>. It can be bewildering and hard to find the right mortgage for you. The key is to understand what kind of homebuyer you are.</p> <p>Generally speaking, if you want to build equity in your home and plan to stay a while, you will want a fixed-rate mortgage. A 30-year term is most common and often allows for manageable monthly payments, but shorter terms can make sense if you want to pay off your loan sooner and you can afford to pay more each month.</p> <p>Adjustable rate mortgages, which often start with low interest rates that can change after a certain time period, make sense for those who think they may only stay in the home for a few years.</p> <p>Interest-only loans, in which you begin paying interest before any principal, tend to be riskier and don't help you build equity. But they might be right for people who want very low payments to start and think they can refinance or handle higher payments later.</p> <p>Do you plan to stay in the house a long time or move within a few years? What is your budget, both in terms of down payment and monthly payments? These are hard decisions, but it is important to research your mortgage loan options thoroughly before locking one in.</p> <h2>4. You didn't reduce debt and improve your credit before buying</h2> <p>The interest rate on your mortgage is based on a variety of factors, most importantly your current debt level and credit score. If you already have a high debt load and your credit score is mediocre or poor, you may end up with a higher interest rate. This could add thousands of dollars to the overall cost of your home.</p> <p>You may be eager to buy that first house, but you should first take time to pay off any current debts and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-rebuild-your-credit-in-8-simple-steps" target="_blank">improve your overall credit picture</a>.</p> <h2>5. You should have continued renting</h2> <p>There is a lot of pressure on people to buy instead of rent, because it can be a path to long-term financial security. But there are many cases where it's perfectly fine &mdash; and perhaps wiser &mdash; to continue renting.</p> <p>If your income is inconsistent or your job security is in question, renting is a better option. If you expect you may need to move within a short period of time, renting makes sense. If you don't have enough money for a sizable down payment yet, continuing to rent is fine. Renting offers flexibility and is often cheaper, so there should be no rush to buy if you're not comfortable doing so. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Rent Your Home or Buy? Here's How to Decide</a>)</p> <h2>6. You bought a home that needed work</h2> <p>A so-called &quot;fixer upper&quot; can be a great bargain for those willing to invest the time, sweat, and money on making necessary repairs. But this type of home isn't for everyone.</p> <p>Purchasing a home that requires heavy renovation can be a source of stress, and if you're not handy enough to fix things yourself, it may be more expensive for you in the long run.</p> <h2>7. You waived the inspection</h2> <p>During the housing boom a decade ago, competition for homes was so fierce that buyers were willing to forgo a routine inspection in order to close a deal. In fact, some sellers saw a demand for an inspection as a deal-breaker. Today, this is a recipe for potential disaster.</p> <p>An inspection should be an essential part of the homebuying process, allowing you to learn about any problems before you make a financial commitment. No homeowner should find themselves stuck with a house full of problems simply because they waived their right to inspect the property beforehand. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thinking-of-skipping-the-home-inspection-heres-what-it-will-cost-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Thinking of Skipping the Home Inspection? Here's What It Will Cost You</a>)</p> <h2>8. You researched the house, but not the area</h2> <p>It's a beautiful house and you got it for a great price. But after moving in, you realize that your commute to work just doubled. Or maybe you learned that the school system is not well-regarded. Or that the neighborhood has a high crime rate. Or the home backs up to the wastewater treatment plant.</p> <p>Remember that when you buy a home, you're not just buying a property. You're selecting a place to live and possibly raise your family. There's more to home than just the structure and the yard. If you don't do the research on your new neighborhood, you could end up sorely disappointed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-evaluate-a-neighborhood-before-you-buy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Evaluate a Neighborhood Before You Buy</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-biggest-regrets-of-new-homeowners">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-youre-too-old-or-too-young-for-a-mortgage-loan">4 Reasons Why You&#039;re Too Old — Or Too Young — For a Mortgage Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-real-estate-cuts-your-taxes">10 Surprising Ways Real Estate Cuts Your Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youre-paying-too-much-for-your-mortgage">8 Signs You&#039;re Paying Too Much for Your Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-ends-meet-when-youre-house-poor">How to Make Ends Meet When You&#039;re House Poor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-ever-consider-a-balloon-mortgage">Should You Ever Consider a Balloon Mortgage?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing house house poor inspections interest loans mortgages new homeowner payments regrets renting Tue, 06 Jun 2017 09:00:09 +0000 Tim Lemke 1959133 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Fire Your Real Estate Agent http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-fire-your-real-estate-agent <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-fire-your-real-estate-agent" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/worried_estate_agent.jpg" alt="Worried estate agent" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you're selling a home or buying one, your realtor is a key partner in the process.</p> <p>When you're selling, you want your real estate agent to negotiate the highest price for your home in as few days as possible. When you're buying, you want your agent to find the best house for you at the lowest price.</p> <p>Working with the right agent can help you save or make a significant amount of money in what might be the biggest financial transaction of your life. So if you're dissatisfied with your agent, it might be time to break up your relationship.</p> <p>But how do you do this?</p> <h2>Breaking up when buying</h2> <p>Ending a relationship with an agent who is helping you buy a home is simple. That's largely because you don't pay these agents, even when they successfully help you find and purchase a home.</p> <p>When you close on a home, your agent is paid by the seller from the proceeds of the home's sale. The listing agent and the agent representing the buyer split a commission equally. This commission is usually 5 percent or 6 percent of the home sale &mdash; meaning that the agent representing you gets 2.5 percent or 3 percent of the money. That money does not come from your pocket. It comes from the seller's.</p> <p>Because of this, most buyers don't even sign a contract stating that they are working with an agent. They just start working with that agent, who will show them homes available for sale. That agent will also draw up the offer papers when buyers find a home they want to purchase and will handle negotiations to close the sale on behalf of the buyer.</p> <p>If you no longer want to work with your buyer's agent, ending the relationship is as simple as telling them. Give them a call and politely explain that you don't feel that they're the right fit for you.</p> <h2>Breaking up when selling</h2> <p>Ending a relationship with a real estate agent gets more complicated when they're helping you sell your house.</p> <p>Because you are the one who pays your agent, you'll have to sign a contract. Most contracts between a homeowner and real estate agent are &quot;exclusive right to sell.&quot; These contracts state that the listing agent receives the commission when the home sells no matter who finds the buyer. The contract will also state the commission you'll pay, usually 5 percent or 6 percent of the sale. It will also state the duration of the agreement, perhaps three or six months. Typically, you'll want this duration to be as short as possible. Then if you're unhappy, you can simply end the relationship by not renewing the contract.</p> <h3>Ending the contract early</h3> <p>Before you sign a contract, ask your agent what happens if you are unhappy with the service. Will he or she will let you cancel the contract before its end date? What conditions need to be met to allow a quicker break of the contract? Agents might agree to let you out of your contract if a certain number of showings aren't scheduled or offers aren't made during a set period of time. This is important: It's easier to break a contract if you can prove that your agent isn't fulfilling the duties listed in the contract.</p> <p>Some agents will let you end the relationship early simply because they don't want to work with a client who isn't pleased with their services. Agents rely on positive recommendations from past clients; they don't want to take the chance that an angry client will spread negative information about them.</p> <p>If you're unhappy with your agent, contact them immediately. Explain, politely, why you want to break your contract. Maybe you don't think your agent is doing enough to market your home. Maybe you aren't happy with the photos they took or the online listing they created. Your agent might be willing to make changes in the service he or she is providing to resolve your differences. If the differences can't be resolved, the brokerage in which your agent works will usually provide you with a different agent from its office with whom you can work.</p> <p>If you don't want to work with the brokerage at all, you'll have to rely on its mercy when trying to break a listing contract before it expires. Some brokerages will let you break your contract if you're not happy. Others won't. Remember, your agent and brokerage have no legal obligation to let you out of a contract as long as the agent is fulfilling the duties listed in it. You can hire a lawyer to break a contract, but there is no guarantee that you'll succeed. Pursuing this option will also be costly.</p> <p>Sometimes your best option is to wait out the contract until it expires. This is why signing a contract with the shortest duration is the smartest move.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-fire-your-real-estate-agent">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-homebuying-questions-youre-embarrassed-to-ask">5 Homebuying Questions You&#039;re Embarrassed to Ask</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-house-in-24-hours">How to Sell Your House in 24 Hours</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-real-estate-agents-dont-want-you-to-know">8 Things Real Estate Agents Don&#039;t Want You to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-questions-to-ask-before-leaving-your-house-to-your-kids">4 Questions to Ask Before Leaving Your House to Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-reverse-mortgaged-heres-how-to-sell-it">Home Reverse Mortgaged? Here&#039;s How to Sell It</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing breaking contract buying a home customer service firing real estate agent Realtor selling a home unhappy Fri, 02 Jun 2017 08:30:09 +0000 Dan Rafter 1957902 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your House http://www.wisebread.com/6-questions-to-ask-before-selling-your-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-questions-to-ask-before-selling-your-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_'just_listed'_sign_in_front_of_beautiful_home.jpg" alt="Woman holding &#039;just listed&#039; sign in front of beautiful home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The idea of selling your home may be exciting, but there's a laundry list of questions you must ask yourself before even thinking about hiring a realtor. From determining if now is the best time to sell, to deciding if your curb appeal is up to par, consider this comprehensive list of presale questions to get your ducks in a row.</p> <h2>1. What is the remaining balance on my primary mortgage and any other home equity loans I have taken out?</h2> <p>You first need to determine if you can afford the process of selling your home. Ideally, you'll make a profit from the sale, but this doesn't always happen.</p> <p>You need to check how much you owe on the mortgages and loans you've taken out. If your property is valued at more than what you owe, chances are you'll come out on top. But if you're already underwater on your loans and market or estimated value is less than what you owe the bank, you could be putting yourself at greater financial risk by selling. You'll need to pay off those debts when you sell.</p> <h2>2. What am I trying to accomplish with the sale of my home?</h2> <p>Simple question: Why do you want to move? Is this a personal choice? Do you need more or less space? Are you financially strapped in your current home?</p> <p>You need to figure out if selling your home will actually help you achieve any of these goals. Maybe you owe too much on your mortgage, or the house sells for way less than you hoped. In this case, you're already off on a bad financial foot.</p> <h2>3. How much repair and cleanup work is needed to get my house ready for the highest offers?</h2> <p>Before any potential buyer walks through your door, you have to ready your property for viewing. Smart sellers understand that this may be quite the undertaking. Attention to detail outside and inside is important to show off your home's best assets and visually persuade the buyer that your home should be their new home.</p> <p>Curb appeal is also a major selling point for most buyers, which means that you may need to hire a landscaper, plant greenery, or otherwise tidy up the exterior of your property. As this may be a substantial task (both in time and money), new questions arise: Are you willing to put the time, effort, and money into doing these repairs and cleanup, or are you willing to accept a lower market value?</p> <p>You may want to ask your realtor if they can recommend professional, well-reviewed vendors to do any electrical, plumbing, HVAC, sewer, roof, or painting work that needs to be done. These repairs and enhancements can be costly, so it's important to keep that in mind when moving forward.</p> <h2>4. Is this the right time of year to sell my home?</h2> <p>While interest rates generally dictate the good and bad times to sell a home, so does the time of year. Historically speaking, the months of April, May, and June see a peak in home sales, but don't get hung up on that small window &mdash; there are buyers during all seasons. You just have to accommodate your listing to the time of year.</p> <p>&quot;The weather's great, the kids are just about to finish their school term, and your garden has never looked better [in the spring],&quot; says Michael A. Pallares, a Boston-based realtor with Andrew Mitchell &amp; Company. &quot;If you have to sell at another time of the year, then the right marketing tactics you choose will help bring the right buyers to your door. Selling in the fall? Promote the idea of a 'new home in the new year.' Selling in the summer? Mention how the buyers can enjoy the in-ground pool as soon as they unpack. People need a home at all times of the year, so don't stress about the 'ideal' time to sell.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Do I really need to hire an agent?</h2> <p>Though I've purchased a few homes, I haven't yet sold any. But I can tell you this: Unless you're a real estate professional who understands all the marketing and legal aspects of a home sale, you'll want to hire an agent who does. You may balk at the commission you're forking over to get the job done, but it's certainly worth freeing yourself from the burden of taking on a task that you don't fully understand. You can also be sure that the agent will try to get you the best possible price.</p> <p>&quot;An experienced realtor will take the stress and worry of selling your home right out of your hands,&quot; Pallares explains. &quot;He or she will handle all aspects of the sale, from determining the proper market value; producing marketing materials; handling all the contracts; negotiating the best sales price; ensuring the safety of your home during all showings; and, more importantly, selling your home for the best price in the shortest time.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Where am I going to move?</h2> <p>While you're in the process of selling your current home, it's probable that you'll also be looking for a new home to move into. This simultaneous sell-and-search can present logistical problems if you're not prepared.</p> <p>Should you purchase a new home first, or wait until your current home is under contract? What should your realtor write into the listing contract about delaying possession of your house? Can you afford two mortgages if you purchase your new home first?</p> <p>Answering these questions ahead of time will alleviate some of the hiccups along the way (you don't want to sleep in your storage unit, do you?) and reduce your overall stress throughout the process.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-questions-to-ask-before-selling-your-house">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-yourself-these-5-questions-before-buying-a-home">Ask Yourself These 5 Questions Before Buying a Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-finance-a-tiny-house">3 Ways to Finance a Tiny House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide">Rent Your Home or Buy? Here&#039;s How to Decide</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-5-last-minute-home-buying-costs">Watch Out for These 5 Last Minute Home Buying Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-2015-is-the-year-to-buy-a-house">5 Reasons Why 2015 is the Year to Buy a House</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing curb appeal home listings homeownership housing market mortgages real estate agents realtors selling house Fri, 26 May 2017 09:00:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 1953942 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Ways to Save When Buying Your First Home http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-ways-to-save-when-buying-your-first-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-ways-to-save-when-buying-your-first-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_new_house_507836724.jpg" alt="Couple finding ways to save when buying their first home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found articles on ways to save on your first home, tips for building your personal brand, and when you should not DIY.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="https://blog.allstate.com/3-ways-save-buying-first-home/">3 Ways to Save When Buying Your First Home</a> &mdash; Newly remodeled homes have better curb appeal and will sell faster, which means the seller will be less likely to negotiate on price. If you want to save money, be open to houses that are structurally sound but may need a makeover. [The Allstate Blog]</p> <p><a href="https://due.com/blog/building-your-personal-brand/">8 Tips for Building Your Personal Brand Faster</a> &mdash; Be accessible! It isn't enough to maintain the usual social networks; make sure you have a good website, too. [Due]</p> <p><a href="https://dyernews.com/when-is-diy-a-bad-idea/">When is DIY a Bad Idea?</a> &mdash; You're better off hiring a professional if a project needs to look, you know, <em>professional</em>. [Dyer News]</p> <p><a href="https://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Help-Someone-Anxiety-42078628">7 Things You Can Do to Help Someone With Anxiety</a> &mdash; Stay calm and comforting, and don't get overexcited or agitated. Someone who is dealing with anxiety doesn't need to deal with external drama, too. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.stackthechips.com/beginners-guide-cutting-cord/">A Beginners Guide To Cutting The Cord</a> &mdash; You have many hardware options for streaming, but you probably already have a device to watch your favorite programming: a computer, laptop, gaming console, smartphone, or tablet. [Stack The Chips]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.frugalvillage.com/2017/05/16/how-not-to-overspend-when-remodeling-your-house/">How Not to Overspend When Remodeling Your House</a> &mdash; Rent a dumpster to hold things that can't be sold or given away, like old bulky furniture, carpeting, and waste materials from your renovation. [Frugal Village]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2017/0516/Should-US-companies-get-a-tax-break-if-they-bring-offshore-money-back">Should US companies get a tax break if they bring offshore money back?</a> &mdash; Major US multinational companies want a sharply reduced taxed rate if they are forced to bring home foreign earnings. [The Christian Science Monitor]</p> <p><a href="https://www.goodfinancialcents.com/5-money-hacks-saved-4-1-million-dollars/">5 Money Hacks that Have Saved Me Over $4.1 Million Dollars</a> &mdash; You could earn $1.5 million by driving a paid-off car and investing the difference. [Good Financial Cents]</p> <p><a href="http://www.dinksfinance.com/2017/05/sell-used-books-online-extra-money/">How to Sell Used Books Online for Extra Money</a> &mdash; eBay isn't the only place to sell used books these days. Consider listing your old books on these online marketplaces that make book selling fast and easy. [Dinks Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.dontpayfull.com/blog/saving-money-quotes">20 of the Most Powerful Things Ever Said About Saving Money</a> &mdash; Let these money quotes steer you in the right direction! [Don't Pay Full]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-ways-to-save-when-buying-your-first-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/growin-home-how-much-house-do-you-really-need">Growin&#039; Home: How Much House Do You Really Need?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-buy-a-house-with-a-pool-until-you-can-answer-these-7-questions">Don&#039;t Buy a House With a Pool Until You Can Answer These 7 Questions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-the-house-you-want-to-buy-is-a-money-pit">5 Signs the House You Want to Buy Is a Money Pit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-you-need-to-walk-away-from-your-dream-home">8 Times You Need to Walk Away From Your Dream Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-rules-of-home-buying-you-need-to-know">The Only 5 Rules of Home Buying You Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing best money tips home buying Wed, 17 May 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Amy Lu 1948477 at http://www.wisebread.com Should You Ever Consider a Balloon Mortgage? http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-ever-consider-a-balloon-mortgage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-you-ever-consider-a-balloon-mortgage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-641329694.jpg" alt="Person wondering if they should ever consider a balloon mortgage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Balloon mortgages have some tempting qualities. They come with lower interest rates and, because of this, smaller monthly payments. This can help borrowers get into a pricier home that they might not have been able to afford otherwise.</p> <p>But balloon mortgages come with one huge risk: At the end of a set period, borrowers must pay off the remaining balance on these loans in full (the &quot;balloon&quot;). And these balances can be quite large.</p> <p>So, how exactly do these mortgages work, and who do they work best for? Let's break it down.</p> <h2>How balloon mortgages work</h2> <p>A balloon mortgage comes with two parts. First, there's the standard repayment portion of the mortgage. For a set period of time, usually five to seven years, homeowners make monthly payments just like they would with a standard 30-year or 15-year fixed-rate mortgage.</p> <p>During this period, homeowners' interest rates remain the same. This is a positive because the interest rates on a balloon mortgage tend to be lower than on standard fixed-rate loans or adjustable-rate mortgages.</p> <p>After this period ends, though, the second part kicks in: You'll have to pay the balance of what you owe (the balloon payment). So if, for example, you still owe $130,000 on your mortgage at the end of your five- or seven-year period, you'll have to pay that entire $130,000.</p> <p>Obviously, that's a lot of money. But most people who take out a balloon loan never make that payment out of their own pocket. Instead, they typically plan to refinance or sell their home before the balloon payment comes due.</p> <p>If they sell the home, they can use the proceeds to pay off the loan in full. The same thing happens in a refinance: Once the refinance closes, borrowers pay off the remainder of the balloon and settle into making monthly payments on their new loan.</p> <p>Sadly, unforeseen problems can ruin this plan.</p> <h2>Problems</h2> <p>What if, during the five or seven years after taking out a balloon loan, your FICO credit score falls? Now, lenders might not approve you for a refinance. The same could happen if your monthly income drops after taking out a balloon mortgage. Lenders might worry that you no longer make enough money to afford your monthly payments, and they won't approve you for a mortgage loan.</p> <p>Then there's the question of home value. If the value of your home drops after you take out a balloon mortgage, you'll again struggle to refinance. Most lenders require that you have at least 20 percent equity in your home before they'll approve your request to refinance. If your home's value has fallen, odds are you won't have the equity you need.</p> <p>Even if you are approved for a refinance, consider that interest rates can rise between the start and end of your balloon loan. If they rise significantly, you could be stuck with a much higher monthly mortgage payment.</p> <p>If you can't refinance, you'll face some dismal options, assuming you can't afford the balloon payment on your own. The main option would be selling your home. That may not be an issue if you were planning on selling anyway, but what if you weren't? And what if you can't find a buyer? If your home has fallen in value since you took out your balloon loan, you might be forced to sell your residence for less than what you owe on your mortgage. If that happens, you still won't have enough money to pay off the balloon.</p> <p>If you can&rsquo;t make that balloon payment, either from your savings, refinancing, or selling, your lender can begin foreclosure proceedings. You could end up losing your home and watching your FICO credit score fall by 150 points or more.</p> <h2>What should you do if you can't pay the balloon?</h2> <p>If you can&rsquo;t afford that balloon payment and you can&rsquo;t refinance or sell, your best bet is to call your mortgage lender immediately. They might be willing to work with you. Maybe your lender will shift your balloon loan to an adjustable-rate or fixed-rate loan, or even extend the term of your balloon loan, giving you more years to either sell, qualify for a refinance, or save up enough to make the payment.</p> <h2>Is it ever a good idea to take out a balloon mortgage?</h2> <p>Given the risks, the short answer is: Maybe.</p> <p>If you absolutely know that you will sell your home before that balloon payment comes due, this kind of mortgage can work. You&rsquo;ll get the benefit of homeownership at a lower interest rate and lower monthly mortgage payment. The lower payments might even give you the opportunity to live in a home that you otherwise wouldn&rsquo;t have been able to afford. Then, you can sell, pay off the balloon, and move on.</p> <p>It's difficult to call a balloon mortgage worthwhile otherwise. There are positives to this type of home loan, but they can easily be outweighed by the risks.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-ever-consider-a-balloon-mortgage">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-biggest-regrets-of-new-homeowners">8 Biggest Regrets of New Homeowners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-times-a-refinance-is-the-wrong-move">3 Times a Refinance Is the Wrong Move</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-valuable-rights-you-might-lose-when-you-refinance-student-loans">8 Valuable Rights You Might Lose When You Refinance Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-paying-cash-for-a-house">The Pros and Cons of Paying Cash for a House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-fire-your-real-estate-agent">How to Fire Your Real Estate Agent</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing balloon mortgage buying a home homeownership loans payments refinancing Tue, 16 May 2017 08:30:14 +0000 Dan Rafter 1943631 at http://www.wisebread.com Do You Really Need a 20 Percent Down Payment for a House? http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-really-need-a-20-percent-down-payment-for-a-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/do-you-really-need-a-20-percent-down-payment-for-a-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-640228744.jpg" alt="Couple learning if they need 20 percent down on a house" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The thought of coming up with a down payment is nerve-wracking for many would-be homebuyers. Some people think they absolutely must have at least 20 percent down to purchase a home. If they don't have anything close to this amount in savings, they give up on their dream of ownership.</p> <p>This doesn't have to be the case, however. Despite what you may have heard, a 20 percent down payment isn't written in stone. There are several other options you can consider. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-qualify-for-a-mortgage-with-a-small-downpayment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Qualify for a Mortgage With a Small Down Payment</a>)</p> <h2>1. Get an FHA mortgage</h2> <p>FHA mortgages are insured by the Federal Housing Administration. A common misconception is that this loan is specifically for first-time homebuyers, but the truth is anyone can apply &mdash; even repeat borrowers. And the best part? FHA loans only require a down payment of 3.5 percent with a minimum credit score of 580. If your credit score is below 580, your lender will require a 10 percent down payment &mdash; still much less than the traditional 20 percent down. Just keep in mind that you'll have to go to an FHA-approved lender to qualify, and not all FHA-approved lenders will offer the same interest rate.</p> <p>There are some additional costs with an FHA loan. First, you'll pay an upfront premium of 1.75 percent of your total mortgage loan. Second, you'll pay mortgage insurance premiums, or MIP, for the life of the loan. With a conventional loan, mortgage insurance is temporary and the payments typically stop once you build your home equity to 20 percent. With an FHA loan, however, that's not the case. To drop mortgage insurance with these loans, you'll need to refinance once the property has sufficient equity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-an-fha-home-loan-right-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is an FHA Home Loan Right for You?</a>)</p> <h2>2. Apply for a conventional home loan</h2> <p>Like FHA mortgages, conventional home loans allow you to purchase a property with less than a 20 percent down payment. Standard conventional loans require a minimum down payment of 5 percent, but some specialized conventional products allow down payments as low as 3 percent. Note that these programs typically have income restrictions and often only accommodate first-time homebuyers (including borrowers who haven't owned in the past three years).</p> <p>One example is the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac-backed Conventional 97 purchase program. Again, some restrictions apply: Both repeat borrowers and new homeowners can purchase a home for 3 percent down, assuming they're using the program for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage on a single-unit primary residence. The program is limited to loan sizes of $424,100 or less. You'll also need a credit score of at least 620 to qualify for any Fannie Mae-backed loan.</p> <h2>3. See if you're eligible for a USDA or VA loan</h2> <p>Zero-down mortgages became practically extinct after the housing crisis, but you can still find some programs offering 100 percent financing. For example, eligible veterans and active-duty military can apply for a VA-guaranteed home loan and purchase a property with no down payment and minimum closing costs.</p> <p>My husband and I qualified for this type of loan for our first home purchase. We had to jump through plenty of hoops to nail it down &mdash; the qualifications changed midway through our process, requiring us to redo all our applications. It was worth it in the end, however, considering we didn't have enough for a down payment.</p> <p>Another zero-down option is a USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Housing Loan, which is backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. To qualify for this loan, though, you must meet set income requirements and purchase a home in an eligible rural area.</p> <p>Neither USDA loans nor VA loans have mortgage insurance. Instead, they come with an upfront premium or funding fee, generally somewhere between 1.25 percent and 3.3 percent of the purchase price of the home.</p> <h2>What to consider when making a down payment</h2> <p>There are a few things you need to consider before deciding if a lower or higher down payment is the best choice for you.</p> <p>If you can afford to give the bank 20 percent down <em>and</em> maintain some cash in savings, a higher down payment is a smart move. You'll want to make sure a home purchase doesn't completely drain your savings, because additional, unforeseen costs will inevitably pop up. I can almost guarantee it, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-ends-meet-when-youre-house-poor" target="_blank">being house poor</a> isn't fun. If putting 20 percent down will wipe out all your cash reserves, a lower down payment is the safer choice. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-start-saving-for-a-down-payment-on-a-home?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Easy Ways to Start Saving for a Down Payment on a Home</a>)</p> <p>Just be aware that putting less than 20 percent down means you'll then need to take out a bigger loan, which will result in a larger monthly mortgage payment. A smaller down payment can also result in a slightly higher interest rate. There are no hard or fast rules regarding how much your interest rate could increase. However, even a slight increase from 4 percent to 4.25 percent on a $200,000 30-year mortgage can result in paying an additional $30 per month.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-really-need-a-20-percent-down-payment-for-a-house">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-private-mortgage-insurance-anyway">What Is Private Mortgage Insurance, Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-5-money-moves-before-applying-for-a-mortgage">Make These 5 Money Moves Before Applying for a Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-qualify-for-a-mortgage-with-a-small-downpayment">5 Ways to Qualify for a Mortgage With a Small Downpayment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youre-paying-too-much-for-your-mortgage">8 Signs You&#039;re Paying Too Much for Your Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-smart-ways-to-lower-your-monthly-mortgage-payment">4 Smart Ways to Lower Your Monthly Mortgage Payment</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing conventional loans down payments equity fha loan home loans mortgages pmi private mortgage insurance zero down mortgages Mon, 15 May 2017 08:00:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1943628 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: What Is Your Dream Home? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-dream-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-dream-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_new_house_640228768.jpg" alt="Couple standing in front of their dream home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to Janice, Angela, and Karrie for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>House and apartment hunting requires a lot of compromise. It's rare to find a property or unit that is exactly what you want, where you want it, and at a price you can afford. Still, it's fun to think about what your dream home looks like &mdash; and helpful for your search, too, because you have a clear idea of what features you want in a home.</p> <p><strong>What is your dream home?</strong> Where would it be located? What features are must-haves for your dream home, and what would you be willing to compromise on?</p> <p>Tell us about your dream home and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; here's how you can win:</p> <ul> <li>Tweet about our giveaway for an entry.</li> <li>Visit our Facebook page for an entry.</li> </ul> <p>Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of three Amazon Gift Cards:</p> <p><a class="rcptr" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/79857dfa297/" rel="nofollow" data-raflid="79857dfa297" data-theme="classic" data-template="" id="rcwidget_teyq2bad">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a> </p> <script src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, May 8th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. Winners will be announced after May 8th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook or Twitter.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You must be 18 and U.S. resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us about your dream home and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-dream-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-hamburger-what-to-do-with-it-a-chance-to-win-20">Ask the Readers: Hamburger, What to Do With It? (A Chance to win $20!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-have-you-ever-re-gifted">Ask the Readers: Have You Ever Re-Gifted?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-will-you-celebrate-fathers-day">Ask the Readers: How Will You Celebrate Father&#039;s Day?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-whats-your-favorite-wise-bread-article-your-chance-to-win-20">Ask the Readers: What&#039;s Your Favorite Wise Bread Article? (Your Chance to win $20!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-did-you-spend-your-first-paycheck">Ask the Readers: How Did You Spend Your First Paycheck?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Giveaways Real Estate and Housing Ask the Readers dream home Tue, 02 May 2017 08:30:06 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1936195 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Ways Student Loan Debt Can Affect Your Mortgage Application http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-student-loan-debt-can-affect-your-mortgage-application <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-ways-student-loan-debt-can-affect-your-mortgage-application" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-164113230_0.jpg" alt="Learning how student loan debt affects your mortgage loan application" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're ready to buy a home, but you're also paying back federal or private student loans. Will this make it more difficult to qualify for a mortgage?</p> <p>Yes. But that doesn't mean qualifying for a mortgage while paying off student loans is impossible. Here's what you need to understand before starting the home buying process.</p> <h2>Debt-to-income ratio</h2> <p>When determining whether to approve you for a mortgage, lenders look at something called your debt-to-income ratio. This ratio shows how much of your gross monthly income &mdash; your income before taxes are taken out &mdash; your monthly debts eat up. If your debt-to-income ratio is too high, lenders won't approve you for a mortgage because they worry that you won't have enough money each month to handle this significant payment.</p> <p>It's important to remember that mortgage lenders aren't as concerned about your total student loan debt as they are about the size of your monthly student loan payments. Lenders typically want all of your monthly debts, including your new mortgage payment, to equal no more than 43 percent of your gross monthly income. So, if your total debts &mdash; again, including that new mortgage payment &mdash; are at or under that percentage, your odds of qualifying for a mortgage loan are higher.</p> <p>Your student loan payments are considered part of your monthly debt by lenders. For example, if you are paying $300 a month on your student loans, your lender will count that amount when calculating your debt-to-income ratio. If that $300 payment pushes your debt-to-income ratio past 43 percent, you might not be able to qualify for a mortgage.</p> <h2>A deferment won't help</h2> <p>Your student loan might be in deferment while you are applying for a mortgage, meaning you won't have to start making payments on it for six to 12 months. You might think this will help your debt-to-income ratio. After all, when you're applying for your mortgage, you aren't making those student loan payments.</p> <p>But this isn't the case. Lenders will still count your student loan debt against you. That's because lenders know that long before you pay off your mortgage, you'll have to eventually start making those monthly student loan payments. Lenders don't want your mortgage payment to be affordable for 12 months but then suddenly turn into a burden once your student loan payments kick in. When your monthly debts suddenly rise, you might no longer be able to afford those mortgage payments that you were once able to handle.</p> <p>Loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration, better known as FHA loans, were once an exception to this rule. In the past, student loan debt that was deferred for more than 12 months before a mortgage's closing was not counted in applicants' debt-to-income ratios. That changed last year, when the FHA amended its rules. Now, if the lender doesn't know what the monthly student loan payment amount will be when the deferment ends, it must count 2 percent of applicants' total student loan debt as part of their monthly debt.</p> <p>So if you have $30,000 worth of student loan debt, under the new FHA rules, $600 will be added to your monthly debt levels, a figure that could push you over that 43 percent threshold.</p> <p>Borrowers might actually help themselves by getting their student loans out of deferment. That's because their actual monthly payments could be far lower than 2 percent of their total student loan debt. If loans aren't in deferment, lenders will use the actual amount borrowers are paying each month on their student loans. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-deferring-student-loans?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Things You Need to Know About Deferring Student Loans</a>)</p> <h2>Missed student loan payments can hurt, too</h2> <p>Student loan debt doesn't just make reducing your debt-to-income ratio harder. It can also hurt your credit score, if you're not careful about making your payments on time.</p> <p>In addition to debt-to-income ratios, lenders also rely on borrowers' FICO credit scores when determining who qualifies for a mortgage. Most lenders consider FICO scores of 740 or higher to be exceptionally strong. If your score is under 640, you'll struggle to qualify for a mortgage without paying high interest rates. If your score is under 620, you'll have a hard time qualifying for a mortgage at all.</p> <p>Paying your bills late is one of the biggest reasons for a low credit score. Your student loan payment is officially considered late when it is 30 days or more past due. A single late payment can sink your credit score by 100 points or more. On the other hand, making your student loan payments on time every month will help your score, making you a more attractive borrower.</p> <h2>What you can do about student loan debt</h2> <p>What can you do if your student loan debt is hurting your debt-to-income ratio? You can always improve your ratio by earning more income each month, perhaps by taking on a second job. The more income you make without increasing your monthly debt, the lower your debt-to-income ratio will be. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-pay-back-student-loans-faster?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</a>)</p> <p>You might also try to consolidate your student loan payments into one loan with a lower monthly payment. That will reduce your overall monthly debt obligation, again improving your debt-to-income ratio.</p> <p>Reducing other monthly debts &mdash; anything from trading in a car with a high monthly payment to paying off your credit cards &mdash; can help, too.</p> <p>Then there's your choice of home. Buying a lower-priced home will result in a lower monthly mortgage payment. That will also reduce your future monthly debt and lower your debt-to-income ratio.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-student-loan-debt-can-affect-your-mortgage-application">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-valuable-rights-you-might-lose-when-you-refinance-student-loans">8 Valuable Rights You Might Lose When You Refinance Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-5-money-moves-before-applying-for-a-mortgage">Make These 5 Money Moves Before Applying for a Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-ends-meet-when-youre-house-poor">How to Make Ends Meet When You&#039;re House Poor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-shouldnt-buy-a-house-yet">5 Reasons You Shouldn&#039;t Buy a House (Yet)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youve-defaulted-on-your-loan-now-what">You&#039;ve Defaulted on Your Loan. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Real Estate and Housing credit score debt to income ratio deferment home loans missed payments mortgages student loans Mon, 01 May 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Dan Rafter 1935490 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Times You Need to Walk Away From Your Dream Home http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-you-need-to-walk-away-from-your-dream-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-times-you-need-to-walk-away-from-your-dream-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-647168754.jpg" alt="Woman learning when to walk away from her dream home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You think you've found the perfect house. But before you plunge into homeownership, you need to watch out for any warning signs this sale isn't meant to be. Ask yourself whether any of these things apply to you. If so, buying the home of your dreams may just have to wait.</p> <h2>1. You can't afford 20 percent down</h2> <p>The house may have everything you are looking for, but you need to make sure that the sale price isn't beyond your means. Ideally, you want to make a down payment of at least 20 percent. This may be a substantial amount of money, but without that down payment, your lender will likely ask you to pay for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-private-mortgage-insurance-anyway?ref=internal" target="_blank">private mortgage insurance</a> &mdash; which can add hundreds of dollars a year to your homeownership costs.</p> <p>Moreover, the more you can put down up front, the smaller your monthly mortgage payments will be. If you are in the market for a home but can't hit that 20 percent mark, consider holding off on buying until you have a larger sum saved. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-start-saving-for-a-down-payment-on-a-home?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Easy Ways to Start Saving for a Down Payment on a Home</a>)</p> <h2>2. Your mortgage payments would restrict your ability to save</h2> <p>Even if you have the ability to put 20 percent down on the house, you may find that the monthly mortgage payments are higher than you can reasonably afford. The U.S. government recommends spending no more than 30 percent of your gross monthly income on housing. That means if you earn $3,000 per month before taxes, you shouldn't spend more than $900 per month on your mortgage.</p> <p>You may get approved for a loan much bigger than you expected, but don't use this as an excuse to buy more house than you can afford. If your payments are too high, you will find it harder to live comfortably or save money for anything besides housing costs. If you have to go into additional debt in order to make house payments, then your &quot;dream home&quot; could become more of a financial nightmare. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-ends-meet-when-youre-house-poor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Make Ends Meet When You're House Poor</a>)</p> <h2>3. You didn't get a favorable interest rate</h2> <p>There are two key things that impact how much you'll end up paying for a house: the sale price, and the interest rate on the mortgage loan. Even if the sale price is within your predetermined budget, you may find your monthly payments to be onerous if the interest rate is too high. A modest difference in interest rate can mean thousands of dollars in extra costs over the lifetime of a loan.</p> <p>Your past financial history, debt load, and credit score impacts the interest rate that banks are willing to offer. The worse your credit, the higher the rate will be. If your credit score is low, you may be better off in the long run financially if you take time to pay off debt and make yourself more attractive to lenders. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-improve-your-credit-score-fast?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score Fast</a>)</p> <h2>4. Your income situation may change for the worse</h2> <p>You may have found your dream home, but your ability to pay for that house may be based on income that's no longer a sure thing. Have you recently lost your job, or are you on the verge of a layoff? Were you counting on income from investments that have not performed as well as expected?</p> <p>If your income situation is unfavorable, consider waiting to buy a home. You don't want to exacerbate a difficult financial situation by taking on more expense than you can handle at that moment. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-5-money-moves-before-applying-for-a-mortgage?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Make These 5 Money Moves Before Applying for a Mortgage</a>)</p> <h2>5. It's a money pit</h2> <p>You're not opposed to a fixer-upper, but this house has more needed repairs than you bargained for. You also learned that it's horribly inefficient when it comes to heating and cooling. On top of that, there are sizable homeowners association and community fees that you hadn't taken into account. All of this adds up to a house that busts through your budget, and it may be a good idea to walk away. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-the-house-you-want-to-buy-is-a-money-pit?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Signs the House You Want to Buy Is a Money Pit</a>)</p> <h2>6. There are signs that housing prices may drop</h2> <p>It's hard to predict where housing prices will go, but if the market is inflated, you may be better off waiting to see if prices come down. There are countless people who purchased homes during the housing bubble around 2005, only to see home prices drop precipitously. Many of these homeowners ended up underwater on their loans, and some even ended up losing their homes altogether.</p> <p>If you feel like the housing market is overheated and you are willing to be patient, you may save money on the purchase price if you wait for prices to drop. One big caveat to this is that it's also important to pay attention to interest rates. If interest rates are on the rise, it may be better to buy sooner rather than later.</p> <h2>7. The seller wants you to waive an inspection</h2> <p>During the housing boom more than a decade ago, competition for homes was so fierce that sellers often viewed a request for an inspection as a deal breaker. No matter how desperate you may be to land that perfect home, waiving an inspection is a risky proposition that could backfire on you. Without an inspection, you have no way of knowing if a home will be in dire need of repairs, now or down the road. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thinking-of-skipping-the-home-inspection-heres-what-it-will-cost-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Thinking of Skipping the Home Inspection? Here's What It Will Cost You</a>)</p> <h2>8. The seller wants you to waive a title search</h2> <p>A search of a home's title is a crucial aspect of the homebuying process. This is where a buyer may uncover things about the history of the home, including when it was built, who has owned it, and whether there are any tax liens. It's extraordinarily risky to waive this contingency, so if a seller insists upon it, consider it a red flag and run. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/yes-you-need-home-title-insurance-heres-why?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Yes, You Need Home Title Insurance &mdash; Here's Why</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-you-need-to-walk-away-from-your-dream-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-reduce-mortgage-closing-costs">8 Ways to Reduce Mortgage Closing Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-didnt-pay-my-mortgage-off-in-full">Why I Didn&#039;t Pay My Mortgage Off In Full</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youre-paying-too-much-for-your-mortgage">8 Signs You&#039;re Paying Too Much for Your Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-really-need-a-20-percent-down-payment-for-a-house">Do You Really Need a 20 Percent Down Payment for a House?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-the-right-mortgage-loan-15-or-30-years">Choosing the Right Mortgage Loan: 15 or 30 Years?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing home buying home loans inspections interest rates mortgage private mortgage insurance red flags title search warning signs Tue, 25 Apr 2017 09:00:12 +0000 Tim Lemke 1931276 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways to Stage Your Home Without Hiring a Pro http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-stage-your-home-without-hiring-a-pro <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-to-stage-your-home-without-hiring-a-pro" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-505618800.jpg" alt="Woman staging her home without hiring a pro" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So, you're selling your home but don't have the budget to hire a professional stager. Who does? After all, supplying and artfully arranging those vintage books, ficus trees, and nesting tables takes time and money. In fact, according to a 2016 article by Realtor.com, professionally staging a 2,000-square-foot home can cost around $2,000 a month.</p> <p>But never fear: By employing a few basic tips and tricks, your humble abode can still look like a million bucks. Here are eight ways to stage your home without hiring a pro. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-unexpected-costs-of-selling-a-home?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Unexpected Costs of Selling a Home</a>)</p> <h2>1. Edit and organize</h2> <p>Not only can you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-a-deep-declutter-can-improve-your-life?ref=internal" target="_blank">improve your life with a deep declutter</a>, it's an essential first step in staging a home properly. Toss out the junk, donate unused items, and consider packing for your move early and storing boxes off-site or in the garage. Once that's done, tame the wild spaces in your home. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-ways-to-organize-a-messy-closet?ref=internal" target="_blank">Organize messy closets</a> and neatly arrange the pantry, basement, and other catchall areas.</p> <h2>2. Clean</h2> <p>Staging is an art, so start with a clean palette. Mop the floors, wash the windows, scrub the toilets, and dust anything that's standing still. In the minds of most buyers, a clean home is a well cared-for home.</p> <h2>3. Pack up the personality</h2> <p>As a stager, your goal is simple: Help potential buyers feel as if your home was made for <em>them</em>. Since you want to appeal to the widest audience possible, it's time to put away the personal photos and bubble-wrap that troll doll collection you've been curating since 1982. Sure, these things may mean the world to you, but they only limit the vision of would-be buyers.</p> <h2>4. Paint</h2> <p>Painting is one of simplest and most cost-effective ways to freshen up the look of a home. Stick with neutral wall colors. Shades of cream and white, soft greens, and subtle blues can add glow to a room without overpowering it. Though flat paint is ideal for nearly every area in your home, choose an easy-clean semi-gloss for kitchens, baths, and mudrooms.</p> <h2>5. Slow your roll</h2> <p>Selling a house is stressful. Besides packing and looking for a new place, you have to constantly bend your schedule around multiple showings and make sure your home always looks pristine. Don't add to the pressure by starting major projects.</p> <p>Forget retiling the bathroom floor, expanding the deck, or transforming the attic into a guest suite. Keep things simple, small, and entirely manageable. The goal is to accentuate the positive, not launch a full remodel. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-50-or-less?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $50 or Less</a>)</p> <h2>6. Add detail</h2> <p>Once your house is decluttered, cleaned, and painted, it's time to take things to the next level. Spruce up the décor with plush accent pillows, new bathroom linens, tailored bed skirts, and neutral window treatments. If you're buying new, choose simple forms and solid colors that complement what you already own. Top things off by adding a few lush houseplants (skip the fresh flowers; some buyers may be allergic).</p> <h2>7. Expel bad smells</h2> <p>A well-staged home looks good and smells good (or at least doesn't smell <em>bad</em>). Remove pet and cooking odors with a deep clean that focuses on carpets and upholstered furniture. Air things out the old-fashioned way: Throw open the windows and turn on a few fans. Run a dehumidifier regularly to battle musty odors in bathrooms and basements. And remember, it's better to neutralize odors than cover them up with loads of scented candles and plug-in air fresheners. Strong artificial scents can turn off buyers.</p> <h2>8. Take it outside</h2> <p>Yes, curb appeal is a thing. Take your staging skills outside and spend an afternoon caulking windows, touching up paint, replacing broken light fixtures, and power-washing the deck. And green thumb or not, try a few inexpensive ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-ways-to-make-your-yard-look-awesome-for-under-100?ref=internal" target="_blank">make your yard look awesome</a>.</p> <p>Successful staging is all about refinement &mdash; elevating a home's best features and appealing to the tastes of the general public. Though it doesn't take a professional to accomplish either of those tasks, it does require a professional-level commitment and a willingness to take your personality out of the equation. For your trouble, you just might land a top-dollar offer and get the chance to put your own stamp on a brand new place. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cheap-ways-to-stage-your-home-in-a-buyers-market?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Cheap Ways to Stage Your Home in a Buyer's Market</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-stage-your-home-without-hiring-a-pro">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing">6 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal for Next to Nothing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-unexpected-costs-of-selling-a-home">8 Unexpected Costs of Selling a Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-easy-home-improvements-that-add-thousands-to-your-listing">9 Easy Home Improvements That Add Thousands to Your Listing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-ways-to-get-your-apartment-deposit-back">7 Smart Ways to Get Your Apartment Deposit Back</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-fire-your-real-estate-agent">How to Fire Your Real Estate Agent</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing attract buyers cleaning curb appeal decluttering decorating packing painting selling a home staging Fri, 21 Apr 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Kentin Waits 1931273 at http://www.wisebread.com Score Your Dream Home With the Perfect Offer Letter http://www.wisebread.com/score-your-dream-home-with-the-perfect-offer-letter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/score-your-dream-home-with-the-perfect-offer-letter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-639309248.jpg" alt="Couple scoring dream home with perfect offer letter" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In a hypercompetitive housing market, buyers need to seize every advantage possible. In addition to a strong credit score, loan preapproval, and reasonable offer, a well-crafted offer letter can tip the scales in your favor. If you've found your dream home but are facing some stiff competition, it's time to put pen to paper. Here are eight tricks to writing the perfect offer letter.</p> <h2>1. Write it yourself</h2> <p>Don't delegate this one. Your offer letter should be penned by you, not your real estate agent. As a prospective buyer, it's up to you to connect emotionally with the seller and authentically express why you're drawn to the property.</p> <h2>2. Explain your interest</h2> <p>Details matter. Writing that you &quot;simply love the house&quot; is a good start, but it won't get the job done. What about the home appeals to you? Is it the gleaming hardwood floors? The big front porch? The way the sun shines through a stained-glass window? Including a few well-considered details accomplishes two things: First, it flatters the seller (as he or she may be responsible for many of the features you're drawn to). Second, it establishes a sense of shared appreciation and implies that you're well-suited to be the home's new steward.</p> <h2>3. Put your heart into it</h2> <p>Selling a house isn't just a business transaction; it's an emotional one. For sellers who've owned their home for decades, leaving may be bittersweet. Make it easier for them by tapping into the emotional side of your story. Discuss why you think the home is perfect for your family and what memories you hope to make within those walls.</p> <h2>4. Be cheery, not dreary</h2> <p>Though adding a bit of emotion to your offer letter is helpful, keep the emotions positive. Referring to a divorce, long-term illness, or the death of a loved one can cast a shadow over the transaction. Make the tone of your letter hopeful and joyful.</p> <h2>5. Skip the remodeling plans</h2> <p>Since sellers are understandably attached to their homes, avoid phrases like &quot;rip out,&quot; &quot;total gut job,&quot; and &quot;down to the studs&quot; in your letter. While remodeling may be part of you plans, focus on what you love about the home right now &mdash; not your vision to redo it.</p> <h2>6. Give buyers something to bank on</h2> <p>Remember, your offer letter is your moment to shine in every way possible. Show that you can make good on your offer without unnecessary delays and drama. Along with your loan approval documentation, briefly discuss what you do for a living, how established you are in your career, and the strength of your credit score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-a-first-time-home-buyer-needs-to-buy-a-house?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Everything a First-Time Home Buyer Needs to Buy a House</a>)</p> <h2>7. Don't rush</h2> <p>Your offer letter is an important document that can save you thousands of dollars and months of continued house-hunting. Though you may not have the luxury of time in a hot market, write the best letter possible. Consider your approach carefully, write simply and sincerely, and proofread thoroughly to catch any spelling and grammar mistakes.</p> <h2>8. End with a thank you</h2> <p>Your mom was right &mdash; a simple thank you can work wonders. Wrap things up with a humble and heartfelt &quot;thank you for the opportunity to view and bid on your beautiful home.&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/score-your-dream-home-with-the-perfect-offer-letter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-buy-a-house-without-a-mortgage">4 Ways to Buy a House Without a Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/growin-home-how-much-house-do-you-really-need">Growin&#039; Home: How Much House Do You Really Need?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-are-the-7-features-home-buyers-want-most">These Are the 7 Features Home Buyers Want Most</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-buy-a-house-with-a-pool-until-you-can-answer-these-7-questions">Don&#039;t Buy a House With a Pool Until You Can Answer These 7 Questions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-the-house-you-want-to-buy-is-a-money-pit">5 Signs the House You Want to Buy Is a Money Pit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing advice buyers home buying new house offer letters sellers writing Thu, 20 Apr 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Kentin Waits 1930341 at http://www.wisebread.com