mortgages http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7866/all en-US 5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Home When You're Single http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-to-consider-before-buying-a-home-when-youre-single <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-things-to-consider-before-buying-a-home-when-youre-single" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_with_keys_standing_outside_new_home.jpg" alt="Woman With Keys Standing Outside New Home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's become increasingly common for people to buy a home by themselves instead of as a couple. According to the National Association of Realtors' <em>Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers</em>, new homeowners in 2016 were comprised of 17 percent single females and 7 percent single males.</p> <p>Buying a home is a big undertaking, whether or not you're doing it as a single person. I spoke to Markus Brown, a realtor in Orange County, California, about some things to consider before buying a home by yourself.</p> <h2>1. Understand the risks</h2> <p>As a single person, is it better to pay rent or to own a home? The monthly costs of owning a home may be higher than what you pay in monthly rent when you consider costs like insurance, property tax, maintenance, and higher utility bills. You're also taking on greater risk by taking on a loan. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-choose-to-rent-instead-of-buy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why I Choose to Rent Instead of Buy</a>)</p> <p>However, according to Brown, there can be significant advantages to owning a home, the biggest of which is the ability to fix your housing costs in the future. When you own your home on a fixed-rate, 30-year mortgage, you remove unknowns such as your rent going up, being asked to move because the landlord wants to renovate or sell, and more. This allows you to make concrete plans for the future without worrying about housing.</p> <p>If you're planning to stay in the area for several years, you should consider buying a home. &quot;Historically, you need to own for at least five to 10 years before market appreciation helps you to make a profit,&quot; Brown says, &quot;[but] if you're going to be relocated in a year or two, don't buy.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Review your finances</h2> <p>Having only one income to rely on in purchasing a home can stretch you financially, so it's a good idea to go over your finances before considering a home purchase. You'll also want to take steps to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-improve-your-credit-score-fast" target="_blank">improve your credit score</a> before buying a home. Consider the stability of your income and whether you have enough savings to see you through if something happens to that source of income.</p> <p>As a single person, you will want to have a large savings buffer, because you won't be able to fall back on another person's income if yours is disrupted. The rule of thumb is that your emergency fund should have at least six months of income &mdash; nine if your income is unpredictable.</p> <h2>3. Calculate the hidden costs</h2> <p>Don't be surprised by the &quot;hidden&quot; costs of owning a home, including the closing costs, property taxes, insurance, possible homeowners association fees, utilities, maintenance, and potential renovations. Factor all these extra costs into your budget before deciding on a home that you can afford. According to Brown, many people think they can buy more than they actually can when all these costs are factored in. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-hidden-housing-costs-new-homeowners-dont-expect?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Hidden Housing Costs New Homeowners Don't Expect</a>)</p> <h2>4. Talk to a mortgage broker</h2> <p>As a single person, it can be more difficult to quality for a loan because you can only count on one income. If it's your first time buying, you may be able to qualify for an FHA loan, which allows you to purchase with a lower down payment (only 3.5 percent down) and lower interest rates, and doesn't require as high of a high credit score.</p> <p>Another option is the HomeReady Mortgage Program through Fannie Mae, which only requires as little as 3 percent down, and allows greater flexibility in qualifying for a loan, including income from co-borrowers, family members who are not on the loan, gifts from family members, and even &quot;boarder&quot; income from a roommate.</p> <p>Talk to a mortgage broker or financial adviser about whether it makes sense for you to pay a lower down payment. You may have to purchase mortgage insurance if you don't put enough money down, so factor those costs into your decision.</p> <p>&quot;Low down-payment loans make sense for people who have a solid job and stable income, but don't have a lot of savings because they've just started out, such as new grads or young couples,&quot; Brown recommends.</p> <h2>5. Choose the right home</h2> <p>In his experience, Brown sees single people going for condos, because the maintenance and chores are simpler and easier to deal with. Brown suggests buying only what you need at the moment and getting a foot in the market, instead of trying to buy a family home when you don't know what you'll need later. Look for a condo in a community that has other working professionals, and allows you to enjoy your single life.</p> <p>However, it's better to buy a two-bedroom rather than a one-bedroom if you can afford it, according to Brown, because it gives you what he calls &quot;future-proofing.&quot; If you lose your job or the economy tanks, you can take on a roommate to help you share the costs. On the other hand, if you get married or have your partner move in, you have enough space for the next step in building your family. Either way, you won't have to sell immediately if something changes in the future.</p> <p>In addition to potential financial benefits, there are a lot of intangible benefits to owning your own home. Pride in your own home, the ability to control things about your living situation that you couldn't control as a renter (such as decorations and renovations), and the feeling of being more settled, are all attractive reasons to buy a home as a single person.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-to-consider-before-buying-a-home-when-youre-single">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-a-first-time-home-buyer-needs-to-buy-a-house">Everything a First-Time Home Buyer Needs 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/5-times-buying-a-home-with-cash-is-bad-for-your-budget">5 Times Buying a Home With Cash Is Bad for Your Budget</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 buying a home credit score down payments hidden costs homeownership income mortgages qualifying single Tue, 18 Jul 2017 09:00:09 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1985091 at http://www.wisebread.com Stop Believing These 5 Home Refinance Myths http://www.wisebread.com/stop-believing-these-5-home-refinance-myths <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/stop-believing-these-5-home-refinance-myths" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/color_question_mark_in_drawing_house.jpg" alt="Color question mark in drawing house" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You might think, because of rising interest rates, that it no longer makes sense to refinance your home mortgage. Or maybe you are certain you don't have enough equity in your home. Perhaps you don't think you have enough available cash to afford a refinance, so what is the point of trying?</p> <p>Here's the truth: Those are all refinancing myths.</p> <p>Don't let these common falsehoods stop you from trying to refinance your existing mortgage into one with a lower interest rate or a shorter term. Refinancing can boost your financial health, either by lowering your monthly payment or reducing the amount of interest you'll pay during the life of your loan.</p> <h2>1. I don't have enough equity in my home</h2> <p>Traditionally, mortgage lenders have required that homeowners have at least 20 percent equity in their residences before refinancing. It might not be easy to hit that mark if your home has lost value since you purchased it.</p> <p>But the 20 percent rule isn't quite as absolute as it once was. The federal government's <a href="https://www.harp.gov/" target="_blank">Home Affordable Refinance Program</a>, better known as HARP, allows homeowners to refinance even if they have no equity or negative equity in their homes. You will have to meet certain requirements, but if you are low on equity, HARP can help.</p> <p>To participate in HARP, ask the lender that is handling your refinance. This lender will help you determine if you qualify for the program.</p> <h2>2. I can't afford it</h2> <p>No one disputes that refinancing is expensive. Lenders vary, but you can expect to pay about 1.5 percent of your loan's outstanding value in closing costs. If you are refinancing a loan with a balance of $200,000, you'll pay about $3,000 in fees.</p> <p>Don't panic, though: Most lenders will allow you to roll these fees into the balance of your new loan. This means you won't have to pay them upfront when you close on your refinance. Instead, they'll be paid out over time, every time you make a monthly payment on your new mortgage.</p> <p>Of course, if you can afford the costs of refinancing, you can also pay the closing fees upfront in one lump sum.</p> <h2>3. I was turned down before, so there's no reason to try again</h2> <p>Maybe you tried refinancing a year ago, but your lender rejected your application. This doesn't mean that you can't ever qualify. The reason for your rejection is key.</p> <p>Did your lender reject your application because your credit score was too low? If you start a new history of paying all your bills on time and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">cutting down on credit card debt</a>, your score might be high enough today to secure a &quot;yes&quot; from a lender. Maybe your lender rejected you because your monthly debt obligations were too high for your gross monthly income. If your income has risen or you've reduced your monthly debts, you might qualify if you try again. (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. It's easier to refinance with your existing lender</h2> <p>You are free to refinance with any mortgage lender that is licensed to do business in your community. This means that you don't have to close your refinance with the lender to which you are already sending your monthly payments. You might think it's easier to work with your existing lender, but this isn't really true. You'll still have to send paperwork to your current lender verifying your job status, salary, and yearly income. This information, after all, might have changed since you first took out your mortgage. Your current lender will want to verify that your income is still high enough to afford your new monthly mortgage payments.</p> <p>Also, it makes sense to get quotes from several lenders when refinancing. You might nab a lower interest rate or fees from a new lender.</p> <h2>5. Interest rates are too high to make refinancing worthwhile</h2> <p>Mortgage interest rates are still at historic lows, but they have risen in the last year. You might think that it no longer makes sense to refinance. That's not necessarily true.</p> <p>It all depends on where your current interest rate stands. If the interest rate on your 30-year, fixed-rate loan is 5 percent and you can refinance to a new loan with a rate of 4 percent, you will save money each month. Sure, you would have saved even more had you refinanced earlier, when you might have nabbed an interest rate of 3.5 percent. But if you can still drop your rate by a full percentage point, you will still save a significant amount of money in a refinance.</p> <p>There are also other reasons to refinance besides chopping your monthly payment. You might consider refinancing to a mortgage with a shorter term. By refinancing from, say, a 30-year, fixed-rate loan to a 15-year, fixed-rate loan, you can reduce the amount of interest you pay over the life of your loan by $100,000 or more, if you hold onto your loan for its entire term. Your monthly mortgage payment will go up because you are paying your loan back at a faster rate, but your interest rate, and the interest you pay in total, will fall.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fstop-believing-these-5-home-refinance-myths&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FStop%2520Believing%2520These%25205%2520Home%2520Refinance%2520Myths.jpg&amp;description=Stop%20Believing%20These%205%20Home%20Refinance%20Myths"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Stop%20Believing%20These%205%20Home%20Refinance%20Myths.jpg" alt="Stop Believing These 5 Home Refinance Myths" width="250" height="374" /></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/stop-believing-these-5-home-refinance-myths">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/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score</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-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-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/yes-you-need-home-title-insurance-heres-why">Yes, You Need Home Title Insurance — Here&#039;s Why</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/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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing equity fees HARP interest rates lenders mortgages myths refinance turned down Fri, 07 Jul 2017 08:01:04 +0000 Dan Rafter 1976047 at http://www.wisebread.com Stop Thinking of Your House as an Investment http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-your-house-is-not-an-investment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-why-your-house-is-not-an-investment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/saving_to_buy_a_house_or_home_savings_concept.jpg" alt="Saving to buy a house or home savings concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your house is many things: It's a place to raise your children, hold family parties, relax on weekends and, maybe, rent out for a bit of extra cash.</p> <p>But here's one thing that many economists believe it is not: an investment.</p> <p>That flies in the face of what you might believe. After all, if you buy your home for $200,000 and then sell it 15 years later for $270,000, you've made $70,000, right? That sounds like a good return on investment, but it's actually not.</p> <p>That profit doesn't include all the property taxes you've paid on your home, the interest you've paid on your mortgage loan, or all the money you've spent on maintaining your residence.</p> <p>The fact is, the only time a home might truly be a good investment is when you're downsizing or moving to an apartment after selling it.</p> <h2>Sobering numbers</h2> <p>In a 2014 interview with USA Today, economist and housing expert Robert Shiller explained why consumers should not think of housing as an investment.</p> <p>From 1890 through 2012, <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2014/05/10/why-your-home-is-not-a-good-investment/8900911/" target="_blank">home prices adjusted for inflation</a> did not grow at all, according to Shiller's research. During the same period, though, stocks did. Shiller found that the S&amp;P 500 increased by more than 2,000 times during those same years, adjusted for inflation.</p> <p>Shiller found that there have been long periods of time in which housing values when adjusted for inflation fell. He said that from 1890 through 1980, real home prices dropped by about 10 percent.</p> <p>Personal financial blog Observations also looked at inflation-adjusted housing prices from 1900 through 2012. According to these numbers, the average annual price for U.S. homes was just <a href="http://observationsandnotes.blogspot.com/2011/07/housing-prices-inflation-since-1900.html" target="_blank">0.1 percent a year</a> after inflation.</p> <p>These numbers make it clear: You should buy a house because it's a house, you need a place to live, and you don't want to rent. You shouldn't buy a house thinking that you're making a great financial investment. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Rent or Buy a Home? Here's How to Decide</a>)</p> <h2>It's not easy to get your cash from an investment in housing</h2> <p>There are other aspects of houses that make them less-than-ideal as investments. The biggest? It's not easy to turn your home into cash.</p> <p>Sure, your home might have risen in value during the 10 years you've owned it. (Even if, as shown above, when adjusted for inflation, that appreciation might be negligible.) But accessing this appreciation isn't easy. You'll have to sell your home to get at whatever money it's made.</p> <p>Selling a home is no simple task. It's time-consuming. It's expensive, too, as you'll probably invest in everything from fresh coats of paint to major appliance repairs before you put your home on the market. And what if you don't want to sell your home? Then you won't be able to nab that cash.</p> <p>You can take out home equity lines of credit or home equity loans to tap the equity in your home. But you'll have to pay back the money you borrow, with interest, each month. If your home should lose value after you take out our home equity loan, you could end up underwater, owing more on your combined mortgage loans than what your home is worth.</p> <h2>If it's an investment, it's an expensive one</h2> <p>It's expensive to own a home. And that, too, makes housing a less attractive investment.</p> <p>Consider homeowners insurance. If you are using a mortgage loan to finance your house, you're required to invest in this insurance. Even if you're not financing your home, you should take out a policy to protect yourself. Realtor.com estimates that the average homeowners insurance premium across the country is $952.</p> <p>Then there are property taxes. The U.S. Census Bureau said that in 2017 the average household was spending $2,149 in property taxes.</p> <p>Finally, there is maintenance. This will vary, of course, but Realtor.com says that you can expect to pay from 1 percent to 4 percent of your home's value in maintenance each year. If your home is worth $200,000, that comes to between $2,000 and $8,000 a year.</p> <p>If you do sell your home for a profit, you need to factor in these costs of ownership when patting yourself on the back for making such a wise investment.</p> <h2>Housing's not bad, though</h2> <p>This doesn't mean that buying a house is a bad financial move. You do have to live somewhere, and depending on where you live, it might be less expensive to own a home than it is to rent an apartment.</p> <p>Owning a home also gives you some financial flexibility. You can rent out a portion of your home, for instance, to earn additional cash. You'll also be able to claim tax write-offs for the interest you pay on your mortgage loan each year and the property taxes you pay.</p> <p>Housing does provide this other benefits, too: shelter for your family, a gathering place for relatives and friends, and a respite at the end of a tough day.</p> <p>It's important to be realistic about housing's investment potential. If you want to invest, buying stocks or investing in mutual funds might be a better choice. Even low-interest, but safe investments such as bonds or CDs make more sense as an investment.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fheres-why-your-house-is-not-an-investment&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FStop%2520Thinking%2520of%2520Your%2520House%2520as%2520an%2520Investment.jpg&amp;description=Stop%20Thinking%20of%20Your%20House%20as%20an%20Investment"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Stop%20Thinking%20of%20Your%20House%20as%20an%20Investment.jpg" alt="Stop Thinking of Your House as an Investment" width="250" height="374" /></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/heres-why-your-house-is-not-an-investment">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-4"> <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-home-buying-habits-we-can-learn-from-millennials">4 Home-Buying Habits We Can Learn From Millennials</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/yes-you-need-home-title-insurance-heres-why">Yes, You Need Home Title Insurance — Here&#039;s Why</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <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-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-you-need-to-know-about-investing-in-real-estate">The Only 5 Rules You Need to Know About Investing in Real Estate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Real Estate and Housing homeownership housing market maintenance mortgages property taxes renting return on investment selling a home Thu, 06 Jul 2017 08:30:16 +0000 Dan Rafter 1976048 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Signs a Seller Should Pass on a Home Offer http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-a-seller-should-pass-on-a-home-offer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-signs-a-seller-should-pass-on-a-home-offer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/loan_for_house_concept.jpg" alt="Loan for house concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's no way to predict how long it'll take to sell a house. I'm in the process right now, and it's excruciating. When you get an offer from a buyer, your first inclination may be to seize it. The sooner you accept an offer, the sooner you can move into a new place, right?</p> <p>But not every offer is a good offer &mdash; and if you accept the wrong one, the deal could collapse (which has happened plenty of times in my amateur real estate dealings). Learning how to recognize the red flags of an iffy buyer is the best way to protect yourself.</p> <p>Here are six warning signs to consider before accepting an offer on your house.</p> <h2>1. Buyer isn't preapproved</h2> <p>There's no rule that says a buyer must be preapproved before submitting a bid. But when a person has taken steps to secure a mortgage loan, you know you're dealing with a serious buyer.</p> <p>On the other hand, if you receive an offer from a buyer who hasn't met with a lender, you don't know if they meet the requirements for a mortgage. If you accept this offer only to learn that they can't get financing, you're back to square one.</p> <h2>2. Buyer is inflexible</h2> <p>Be wary of buyers who have nonnegotiable time constraints for closing and moving into the home. A buyer may want a quick close, which isn't a bad thing if you already have another place. But if it doesn't complement your own timeline, you could end up living with family, or worse, in a hotel, which chips away at money that could go toward your new home.</p> <p>Then again, a buyer may not want to take possession of the house for 60 or 90 days. This can delay closing on your next property, and if you've already signed a purchase agreement for another property, you could end up juggling two mortgages for a couple of months. Ideally, you should work with a buyer who's able to close and take possession of the house around the same time you're scheduled to close on your new property.</p> <h2>3. Buyer's offer is contingent on selling their house</h2> <p>If a buyer has yet to sell their current house, they may submit a purchase agreement that's contingent on the sale of their home. Accepting this offer is tempting, especially if your property hasn't had a lot of interest. But it's a risky move.</p> <p>You don't know if or when the buyer's home will sell. If the buyer's property doesn't sell within the agreed upon time frame, you'll have to cancel the purchase agreement. This wastes time and you could potentially miss out on other offers.</p> <h2>4. Buyer offers an amount above list price</h2> <p>A buyer who has a strong interest in your property might submit an offer above your list price. This is good news for your wallet, but you could run into appraisal problems if the offered price is more than your home's value.</p> <p>As a rule of thumb, a bank will only lend up to a home's appraised value. If your list price is $200,000 and your home's worth $205,000, yet you receive an offer for $210,000, the buyer's mortgage lender will not approve financing unless the buyer pays the difference between the sale price and appraised value out-of-pocket.</p> <p>An appraisal issue isn't the end of the world, but it's a hassle because you have to renegotiate the sale price. To avoid this hang-up, know your home's market value and select offers within this range.</p> <h2>5. You receive an offer from a cash buyer</h2> <p>A cash buyer can be a home seller's dream. You don't have to worry about the buyer qualifying for financing, appraisals, and many cash deals close relatively quickly. But if you receive an offer from a cash buyer, don't take their word for it. Ask for proof of funds before accepting the offer, such as a bank statement or other documentation. The last thing you want to do is take your house off the market, and then find out a so-called cash buyer doesn't have enough funds to complete the purchase.</p> <h2>6. Buyer requests too many concessions</h2> <p>Some homebuyers are bold and ask for concession after concession. This is typical if your home has been on the market for a while and buyers smell your desperation. They may submit an offer well below your asking price, ask for seller-paid closing costs, request appliances like the washer and dryer, and some go as far as requesting repairs in their purchase agreement.</p> <p>It's tempting to give in to these requests, but at the same time, don't get in over your head financially. Keep in mind that the buyer will likely also request a home inspection, which could uncover costly hidden problems with the home. If you agree to drop your sale price, pay a buyer's closing costs, and take care of their requested home repairs, this can leave you with little money to address any issues found by a home inspector. If you don't correct issues on the home inspection report, the buyer could pull out of the deal.</p> <p>When reviewing your purchase agreement, be realistic and don't feel you have to submit to a buyer's every wish.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-signs-a-seller-should-pass-on-a-home-offer&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Signs%2520a%2520Seller%2520Should%2520Pass%2520on%2520a%2520Home%2520Offer.jpg&amp;description=6%20Signs%20a%20Seller%20Should%20Pass%20on%20a%20Home%20Offer"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Signs%20a%20Seller%20Should%20Pass%20on%20a%20Home%20Offer.jpg" alt="6 Signs a Seller Should Pass on a Home Offer" width="250" height="374" /></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-signs-a-seller-should-pass-on-a-home-offer">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-6"> <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-times-buying-a-home-with-cash-is-bad-for-your-budget">5 Times Buying a Home With Cash Is Bad for Your Budget</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/5-things-to-consider-before-buying-a-home-when-youre-single">5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Home When You&#039;re Single</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/heres-why-your-house-is-not-an-investment">Stop Thinking of Your House as an Investment</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-home-buying-habits-we-can-learn-from-millennials">4 Home-Buying Habits We Can Learn From Millennials</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/6-questions-to-ask-before-selling-your-house">6 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your House</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing buyers concessions contingencies homeownership mortgages paying cash pre-approvals selling a house Thu, 29 Jun 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Mikey Rox 1969760 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Home-Buying Habits We Can Learn From Millennials http://www.wisebread.com/4-home-buying-habits-we-can-learn-from-millennials <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-home-buying-habits-we-can-learn-from-millennials" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/new_home_owners_with_key.jpg" alt="New homeowners with key" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Millennials entered the housing market later than their baby boomer and Generation X predecessors. They chose to rent for longer, and are just now starting to flood the housing market.</p> <p>But just because millennials have been slow to embrace homeownership doesn't mean that they don't have anything to teach others about buying a home. In fact, despite their late jump into the housing market, millennials have demonstrated plenty of smart home-buying behaviors. Here are a few smart homeownership habits we can all learn from this younger generation.</p> <h2>Don't rush</h2> <p>Ellie Mae, a software company that works with mortgage data, says that millennials &mdash; young adults from the ages of 18 to 34 &mdash; are currently the largest group of homebuyers in the housing market. According to the company, in January of 2017, these young buyers took out about 45 percent of all the mortgage loans used to buy homes. But homebuying is a recent trend for this age group.</p> <p>Economists have long observed that millennials waited longer than older generations to jump into the housing market, just as they have also waited longer to get married and have families.</p> <p>This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Buying a home is expensive. You'll need money for a down payment and the closing costs on your mortgage loan. This will run you thousands of dollars.</p> <p>As millennials show, there's nothing wrong with waiting until you have a more established job and reliable income to buy a home. Having that economic stability will eliminate some of the stress of covering that mortgage payment each month.</p> <h2>Don't break your budget</h2> <p>You don't want to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-ends-meet-when-youre-house-poor?ref=internal" target="_blank">overspend on a home</a>. And today, that's getting easier to do because housing prices continue to rise. The National Association of Realtors says that the median price for a home sold in March of 2017 hit $236,400. That's an increase of 6.8 percent from March of 2016, when the median price was $221,400. This March also marked the 61st consecutive month in which home prices rose on a year-over-year basis.</p> <p>One of the most often-cited reasons for millennials' slow entry into the housing market is the student loan debt they face. According to Student Loan Hero, the average college graduate of the class of 2016 has $37,172 in student loan debt, up 6 percent from the previous year. Taking on the added debt burden of a mortgage can be intimidating when you already owe tens of thousands of dollars in student loans.</p> <p>Millennials know about debt. It's why so many of them are cautious about overspending. And this wariness is a good habit to acquire. Just because a mortgage lender approves you for a mortgage loan of $250,000, doesn't mean you must buy a home costing that much. It's OK &mdash; and is, in fact, fiscally smart &mdash; to buy a home that costs less. This will leave you with money leftover and an easier time making those housing payments each month.</p> <h2>Be realistic about the American dream</h2> <p>Buying a home has long been a part of the American dream. But millennials understand that this American dream can easily turn into a nightmare.</p> <p>Many millennials saw their parents lose their jobs and struggle to make their mortgage payments during the Great Recession. Some saw their parents lose their homes to foreclosure. Others watched as their parents' homes steadily lost value, leaving them underwater &mdash; owing more on their mortgage loans than what their homes were worth.</p> <p>Millennials learned that buying a home wasn't the only way to be happy in America. They learned that it could, in fact, be one way to be unhappy in America.</p> <p>The good habit here is that you should never jump into owning a home just because everyone else seems to be doing it. Owning a home isn't the right choice for everyone, which brings us to one last habit.</p> <h2>Don't think that renting comes with a stigma</h2> <p>Millennials are less averse to renting apartments later in life than both baby boomers and Gen Xers. In fact, the apartment market around the country is in the middle of a boom, with more people of all ages choosing to rent instead of owning a home.</p> <p>Renting has become a preferred way of living for a growing number of people. Need proof? Landlords keep increasing monthly rents to historic levels, something they'd struggle to do if the renters weren't coming. Apartment company Abodo said that in March of this year, the median monthly rent of a one-bedroom apartment across the United States stood at $1,005.</p> <p>In major cities, where many prefer to rent, monthly rents are especially high. Abodo reported that in San Francisco the median monthly rent stood at $3,415 in March 2017, while it hit $2,705 in New York City and $2,549 in San Jose, California. Other markets with high monthly rents include Boston ($2,398); Washington, D.C. ($2,097); Los Angeles ($2,030); and Oakland ($2,009).</p> <p>If you prefer to rent &mdash; and you aren't interested in the yard work and upkeep that come with owning a home &mdash; don't feel pressured to make the move to owning. You'll have plenty of company when it comes to renting an apartment.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F4-home-buying-habits-we-can-learn-from-millennials&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F4%2520Home-Buying%2520Habits%2520We%2520Can%2520Learn%2520From%2520Millennials.jpg&amp;description=4%20Home-Buying%20Habits%20We%20Can%20Learn%20From%20Millennials"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/4%20Home-Buying%20Habits%20We%20Can%20Learn%20From%20Millennials.jpg" alt="4 Home-Buying Habits We Can Learn From Millennials" width="250" height="374" /></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-home-buying-habits-we-can-learn-from-millennials">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-7"> <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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-your-house-is-not-an-investment">Stop Thinking of Your House as an Investment</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-biggest-regrets-of-new-homeowners">8 Biggest Regrets of New Homeowners</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-build-equity-in-your-home">How to Build Equity in Your 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/5-times-buying-a-home-with-cash-is-bad-for-your-budget">5 Times Buying a Home With Cash Is Bad for Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing American Dream apartments home buying homeownership lessons loans millennials mortgages renting Wed, 28 Jun 2017 09:00:12 +0000 Dan Rafter 1970390 at http://www.wisebread.com 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> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-times-buying-a-home-with-cash-is-bad-for-your-budget&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Times%2520Buying%2520a%2520Home%2520With%2520Cash%2520Is%2520Bad%2520for%2520Your%2520Budget.jpg&amp;description=5%20Times%20Buying%20a%20Home%20With%20Cash%20Is%20Bad%20for%20Your%20Budget"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Times%20Buying%20a%20Home%20With%20Cash%20Is%20Bad%20for%20Your%20Budget.jpg" alt="5 Times Buying a Home With Cash Is Bad for Your Budget" width="250" height="374" /></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/5-things-to-consider-before-buying-a-home-when-youre-single">5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Home When You&#039;re Single</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-home-buying-habits-we-can-learn-from-millennials">4 Home-Buying Habits We Can Learn From Millennials</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/6-signs-a-seller-should-pass-on-a-home-offer">6 Signs a Seller Should Pass on a Home Offer</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-build-equity-in-your-home">How to Build Equity in Your 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/should-you-pay-your-mortgage-off-early">Should You Pay Your Mortgage Off Early?</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> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-build-equity-in-your-home&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Build%2520Equity%2520in%2520Your%2520Home.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Build%20Equity%20in%20Your%20Home"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Build%20Equity%20in%20Your%20Home.jpg" alt="How to Build Equity in Your Home" width="250" height="374" /></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-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/5-things-to-consider-before-buying-a-home-when-youre-single">5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Home When You&#039;re Single</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-home-buying-habits-we-can-learn-from-millennials">4 Home-Buying Habits We Can Learn From Millennials</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </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 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-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/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-2 views-row-even"> <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-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-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-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 6 Foolish Ways to Pay Down Debt http://www.wisebread.com/6-foolish-ways-to-pay-down-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-foolish-ways-to-pay-down-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/reduce_debt_concept.jpg" alt="Reduce debt concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Living paycheck to paycheck is even more challenging with loads of high-interest debt. At the end of the month, you've worked hard and barely made a dent in the principal you owe.</p> <p>Sound familiar? If so, it's time to develop a repayment strategy that avoids common gimmicks and shortsighted solutions that only dig a deeper hole. Here are six terrible ways to get out of debt.</p> <h2>1. Depleting your retirement account</h2> <p>Taking a loan against your 401(k) account is a trifecta of bad ideas. First, your employer may not allow you to make new contributions until the loan is repaid in full. Second, because of those loan payments, you'll take home less money &mdash; a situation that can turn household budgets upside down and may tempt you to revert to bad credit habits. Third, if you leave your job, the outstanding loan amount must be repaid immediately. Not able to swing it? Then you'll get hit with early withdrawal fees and be responsible for income tax on the balance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-traps-to-avoid-with-your-401k?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Traps to Avoid With Your 401(k)</a>)</p> <h2>2. Consolidating debt with a high-interest loan</h2> <p>Whack-a-Mole is a classic arcade game, not a debt repayment strategy. Consolidating debt into a single loan <em>only </em>works if the interest rate is low (that is, significantly lower than your average credit card rate). Proceed with caution. Understand the terms of any loan that's offered and don't be seduced by low monthly payment amounts that actually keep you paying for a longer period of time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>3. Borrowing against your home</h2> <p>What's worse than being in debt? Being homeless and in debt. If your current debt is unsecured (that is, not tied to any property as collateral), why secure it by folding it into your mortgage? If you don't pay back an unsecured debt, you'll end up with a bad credit score. But &mdash; and this is a <em>big but </em>&mdash; if you don't repay a home-equity loan, you'll end up with a bad credit score and a foreclosure.</p> <h2>4. Draining your emergency fund</h2> <p>An emergency fund serves a singular purpose: It's a safety net that helps people cope with a job loss or unexpected expense without resorting to high-interest credit cards. Tapping your emergency fund to pay off unsecured debt today jeopardizes your financial security and can leave you exposed to even higher debt levels tomorrow. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h2>5. Working with a debt settlement company</h2> <p>Sure, convincing your creditors to accept a lump-sum payment of less than what's owed sounds fantastic. But debtors beware: Sometimes <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-debt-settlement-can-leave-you-deeper-in-debt-even-with-trustworthy-companies?ref=internal" target="_blank">debt settlement can make things worse</a>. As part of the lengthy and fee-riddled settlement process, you must stop paying your debts &mdash; an act that triggers collection calls, late fees, and negative credit reporting. And even if all your creditors agree to the settlement terms (there are no guarantees), it'll take years to rebuild your credit score.</p> <p>To better understand your debt, connect with a <em>nonprofit </em>credit counseling service instead. (The FTC has some tips on <a href="https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0153-choosing-credit-counselor" target="_blank">finding and choosing a reputable credit counseling service</a>.) These agencies help consumers review their budgets and design a repayment plan that's realistic and effective. They may negotiate with creditors on your behalf to lower penalties and interest charges, but they won't go to the drastic and credit-damaging lengths that many debt settlement companies do.</p> <h2>6. Borrowing from family or friends</h2> <p>While borrowing from those closest to you may seem like a reasonable way to avoid predatory debt-settlement services and high-interest loans, it's a quick way to shorten your Christmas list permanently. One missed payment or one obvious personal splurge builds ill will that's difficult to overcome. Unless you're absolutely certain you can pay back the money without a single hiccup, avoid mixing finances with family and friends.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-foolish-ways-to-pay-down-debt&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Foolish%2520Ways%2520to%2520Pay%2520Down%2520Debt.jpg&amp;description=6%20Foolish%20Ways%20to%20Pay%20Down%20Debt"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Foolish%20Ways%20to%20Pay%20Down%20Debt.jpg" alt="6 Foolish Ways to Pay Down Debt" width="250" height="374" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</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/6-foolish-ways-to-pay-down-debt">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/when-to-use-savings-to-pay-off-debt">When to Use Savings to Pay Off Debt</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/who-pays-when-loved-ones-leave-debt-behind">Who Pays When Loved Ones Leave Debt Behind?</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/whats-better-less-debt-or-more-savings">What&#039;s Better: Less Debt or More Savings?</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-money-moves-to-make-if-your-net-worth-is-negative">6 Money Moves to Make If Your Net Worth Is Negative</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-use-peer-to-peer-lending-to-pay-down-credit-card-debt">Should You Use Peer-to-Peer Lending to Pay Down Credit Card Debt?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management 401(k) loan borrowing money debt settlements emergency fund high interest debt home equity loan money mistakes mortgages repayment Tue, 13 Jun 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Kentin Waits 1961854 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-4"> <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-home-buying-habits-we-can-learn-from-millennials">4 Home-Buying Habits We Can Learn From Millennials</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-build-equity-in-your-home">How to Build Equity in Your 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/heres-why-your-house-is-not-an-investment">Stop Thinking of Your House as an Investment</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/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide">Rent Your Home or Buy? Here&#039;s How to Decide</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 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/heres-why-your-house-is-not-an-investment">Stop Thinking of Your House as an Investment</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-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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-to-consider-before-buying-a-home-when-youre-single">5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Home When You&#039;re Single</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-home-buying-habits-we-can-learn-from-millennials">4 Home-Buying Habits We Can Learn From Millennials</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/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide">Rent Your Home or Buy? Here&#039;s How to Decide</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 Who Pays When Loved Ones Leave Debt Behind? http://www.wisebread.com/who-pays-when-loved-ones-leave-debt-behind <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/who-pays-when-loved-ones-leave-debt-behind" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-523154492_1.jpg" alt="Woman learning who pays when a loved one leaves behind debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Losing a loved one &mdash; a parent, spouse, or sibling &mdash; is difficult enough. But what if your loved one left mortgage, auto loan, or credit card debt behind? Will you now be responsible for paying those bills?</p> <p>In most cases, no. Creditors can't force you to cover the unpaid debts of loved ones who have died. But the money that your loved ones owed might cut into or even eliminate any inheritance that was meant for you or other survivors.</p> <h2>What usually happens</h2> <p>When people die, the money they owe creditors &mdash; everyone from their mortgage lender, to their auto loan providers, to their credit card companies &mdash; is collected from their estate. The estate in this case is defined as the money and assets owned solely by the deceased.</p> <p>This might mean that the house your parents owned has to be sold to pay off any mortgage debt they owed. Their car might have to be sold to pay off credit card or other debts.</p> <p>Whatever is left after these debts are paid off remains in the estate of the deceased. If your parents wanted to leave money behind for their children and grandchildren, the amount they wanted to bestow will be reduced by however much they owed creditors at the time of their death.</p> <h2>It can get more complicated</h2> <p>Of course, that's the most basic course of action. In reality, money matters can get more complicated after the death of a loved one.</p> <p>This is especially true when you lose a spouse. In most states, you won't be responsible for any debt that your spouse left behind when he or she died, as long as the debt was accrued in your spouse's name alone. If both you and your spouse share a credit card or a mortgage, then you will be responsible for making payments on that debt after your spouse dies.</p> <p>If you live in what is known as a community property state, you will be responsible for even more debt. In such states, the debts of deceased people are passed onto surviving spouses, even if the debt is not in the survivor's name. If your spouse took out a loan to buy a motorcycle and didn't finish paying it off before dying, you'd be responsible for paying off that loan.</p> <p>There are only 10 states that have community property laws: Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. If you live in any other state, you are not responsible for debt run up in your spouse's name alone.</p> <p>Co-signing presents another complication. If you co-signed on a loan with anyone, you will have to pay off the debt left behind when they die. Say your sibling dies, but before that tragedy, you co-signed their auto loan. You will now be responsible for paying off that loan.</p> <h2>Mortgage debt</h2> <p>Different types of debt come with different issues. Mortgage debt left behind can be one of the most complicated.</p> <p>Surviving children or siblings aren't personally responsible for the mortgage debt left behind by their loved ones. But it still needs to be paid off. Otherwise, the bank will sell the home to pay off the unpaid mortgage debt.</p> <p>This can be problematic if parents wanted to leave their home to their kids. If your parents leave their home to you, and they still owed money on their mortgage at the time of their death, you can take possession of the home. But you must make the monthly mortgage payments. If you don't want or can't afford to do this, you'll have to sell the home.</p> <p>If your spouse dies and you still owe on your mortgage loan, you'll have to continue making monthly payments if the loan was in both your name and your spouse's. If it wasn't, you'll have to take over the payments if you want to keep the house.</p> <h2>Credit card debt</h2> <p>Credit card debt is never passed on to surviving family members whose names are not on the credit card account. When your loved ones die, this debt will be paid off from their estate. If there is not enough money in the estate, the credit card company is out of luck.</p> <p>Some debt collectors might try to convince you that you are responsible for the credit card debt of a deceased loved one. Don't fall for this. If your name is not on the account, you are under no legal responsibility to pay off this debt.</p> <p>That goes for authorized users, too. Authorized users are never liable for the debt charged to a card, even if they made those charges before the person's death. Do not continue making charges on the account, though, or you could be held liable.</p> <p>Finally, if you shared a joint credit card account, the debt on that card becomes your responsibility. You must continue making payments on it.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwho-pays-when-loved-ones-leave-debt-behind&amp;media=Who%20Pays%20When%20Loved%20Ones%20Leave%20Debt%20Behind&amp;description=Who%20Pays%20When%20Loved%20Ones%20Leave%20Debt%20Behind%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Who%20Pays%20When%20Loved%20Ones%20Leave%20Debt%20Behind.jpg" alt="Who Pays When Loved Ones Leave Debt Behind?" width="250" height="374" /></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/who-pays-when-loved-ones-leave-debt-behind">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/what-happens-to-your-debt-after-you-die">What Happens to Your Debt After You Die?</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/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family&#039;s Estate</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/12-financial-moves-to-make-when-a-loved-one-dies">12 Financial Moves to Make When a Loved One Dies</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/when-to-use-savings-to-pay-off-debt">When to Use Savings to Pay Off Debt</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/whats-better-less-debt-or-more-savings">What&#039;s Better: Less Debt or More Savings?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Debt Management auto loans cosign death inheritance leaving debt behind loves ones mortgages settling estates Thu, 18 May 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Dan Rafter 1947500 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/how-to-build-equity-in-your-home">How to Build Equity in Your 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-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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-to-consider-before-buying-a-home-when-youre-single">5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Home When You&#039;re Single</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 6 Money Moves to Make If Your Net Worth Is Negative http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-if-your-net-worth-is-negative <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-money-moves-to-make-if-your-net-worth-is-negative" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-546177782.jpg" alt="Woman making money moves when her net worth is negative" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the most illustrative financial figures to know is your total net worth. This is the value of all of your cash and assets, minus your debts. For many people, that figure is below zero.</p> <p>Building a high net worth should be the ultimate goal of anyone seeking financial freedom. If your net worth is less than zero, consider making these moves ASAP. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-increase-your-net-worth-this-year?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Ways to Increase Your Net Worth This Year</a>)</p> <h2>1. Reduce your spending</h2> <p>One of the most direct ways to end up with a negative net worth is to spend more than you earn. Cutting unnecessary expenditures is the first step in having a net positive income each month. This can mean some tough choices, like eliminating cable, eating out, and your annual vacation. It may also require more extreme measures, like getting by without a car.</p> <p>You can help yourself by tracking your spending meticulously in a budget so you know where money is going each month. Even if you think you are already living frugally, there's a chance you can find savings just by taking a closer look.</p> <h2>2. Pay off your high-interest debt</h2> <p>If your net worth is negative, it may be partially due to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">high interest credit card debt</a> and other loans. Interest can quickly pile up and eventually overwhelm your earnings, putting you in negative net worth territory. Tackling debt starting with the highest interest rate first is called the avalanche method, and this can save you a lot of money on interest payments in the long run. Sometimes, even paying off just one credit card can make a huge difference in your financial situation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>3. Bring in more income</h2> <p>If you're crumbling under a mountain of debt and you don't have enough income to pay off the debt, you must find a way to bring in more money. Start by searching for higher paying jobs or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-you-should-demand-a-raise?ref=internal" target="_blank">asking for a raise</a> from your current employer. Consider starting a side hustle, small business, or taking an additional part-time job. It may also be worth exploring income-producing investments, such as dividend stocks or peer-to-peer lending. If you have a maniacal focus on earning more money, you will help yourself move from negative to positive in the net worth department.</p> <h2>4. Invest</h2> <p>Arguably the most important way to build net worth is through investing. If you are able to put even a small amount of your earnings into stocks or index funds that grow, you'll give your financial picture a boost over time. Obviously, investing in the stock market carries risks. But U.S. stocks have consistently risen in value over time, with long-term growth eventually surpassing losses during market crashes. The more you can invest, the better off you'll be, especially if you stay in the market for many years. You won't get rich overnight, but your overall net worth will eventually rise.</p> <h2>5. Set a financial goal</h2> <p>If you had enough money, what would you ultimately want to do with it? Would you want to buy a home? Start a family? Build a hefty retirement account? To increase your net worth, it helps to have a goal to motivate you to save. Ideally, your financial goal should be geared toward building a high net worth, not a one-time purchase like a car. Whether it's a down payment for a home, a comfortable retirement, or saving for college, your dreams can help keep you accountable.</p> <h2>6. Refinance your mortgage</h2> <p>Homeownership can be a great way to build net worth, but it can also be a drain on your finances if you have the wrong kind of mortgage. If your loan term is very long, or if you have a high-interest or interest-only loan, you may not be paying much toward the principal of the loan (or building any equity) for a while. And that could be a serious problem if you're having trouble making payments.</p> <p>If you find yourself in this situation, you may want to consider refinancing to a shorter term or lower interest rate. There's no sin in borrowing to buy a home, but ideally, homeowners should seek a fixed-rate mortgage with a relatively short loan term: 30 years is standard, but a 15-year mortgage offers you the ability to build equity &mdash; and thus your net worth &mdash; at a faster pace. Just be sure you can comfortably make the monthly payments.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-money-moves-to-make-if-your-net-worth-is-negative&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Money%2520Moves%2520to%2520Make%2520If%2520Your%2520Net%2520Worth%2520Is%2520Negative.jpg&amp;description=6%20Money%20Moves%20to%20Make%20If%20Your%20Net%20Worth%20Is%20Negative"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Money%20Moves%20to%20Make%20If%20Your%20Net%20Worth%20Is%20Negative.jpg" alt="6 Money Moves to Make If Your Net Worth Is Negative" width="250" height="374" /></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/6-money-moves-to-make-if-your-net-worth-is-negative">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/7-financial-differences-between-millennials-and-the-next-generation">7 Financial Differences Between Millennials and the Next Generation</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/5-inspiring-people-who-each-paid-off-over-100000-in-debt">5 Inspiring People Who Each Paid Off Over $100,000 in Debt</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/refinance-these-4-common-debts-before-year-ends">Refinance These 4 Common Debts Before Year Ends</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/are-your-emotions-costing-you-money-take-this-quiz">Are Your Emotions Costing You Money? Take This Quiz</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/10-reasons-to-cut-millennials-some-slack-about-their-money">10 Reasons to Cut Millennials Some Slack About Their Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management assets goals investing mortgages net worth refinancing saving spending stocks Wed, 10 May 2017 08:00:08 +0000 Tim Lemke 1941242 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-5"> <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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <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> <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-you-shouldnt-buy-a-house-yet">5 Reasons You Shouldn&#039;t Buy a House (Yet)</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