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Budgeting: How to Manage Large Mortgage Payments when Buying a Costly, High-value Home
By Peta-Gay
March 2, 2015

Some people try to apply for as small of a mortgage payment as they can reasonably afford to, and there is some prudence associated with this line of thinking. After all, recent economic events have shown that those who get over-extended may wind up in a dire financial situation. However, there are also benefits associated with a higher mortgage and buying a slightly larger home if you can comfortably afford to do so.

For example, the rate of growth on equity will typically be more significant, and there are tax deductions and tax advantages that may be greater. If you are preparing to take on a larger mortgage payment that is reasonably manageable for you, you may do so with greater confidence when you follow a few tips.

Reduce Your Debts Beforehand

The best way to ensure that your larger mortgage payment is still affordable for your budget is to reduce your debts. When you think about the difference between carrying $800 per month in credit card payments or the equivalent in a higher mortgage payment, you will see that the benefit lies in the mortgage payment. The credit card payments typically will be mostly interest that has no benefit to you.

The mortgage payment is building equity through principal reduction on an asset, and the interest has tax benefits to you. However, you want that extra $800 per month in payments to be affordable. If possible, pay off or greatly reduce your credit card debt before you take on a new mortgage. In addition, close most existing credit card accounts so that you do not accumulate additional debt while you are responsible for the higher mortgage payment. 

Increase Your Personal Savings

Then, increase your personal savings if necessary. The best budget with a higher mortgage payment is one that still allows you to save money regularly. If you are unable to save with your higher mortgage payment, there is a good chance that you may be taking on a little too much debt for what you can afford.

Ideally, you will have at least three to six months' worth of your expenses on hand in cash and available to access in a worst-case financial situation. You will be able to sleep easier at night with your higher mortgage payment when you have the extra cash available to support yourself in the event of job loss, serious illness or other related events. 

Your higher mortgage payment may help you to live in a nicer, larger home, to enjoy better tax deductions and to build equity at a faster rate. However, you want your mortgage payment to be affordable. By following these tips, you can confidently take on the larger payment.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, MRP is Owner and CEO of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8096 Edwin Raynor Blvd Suite C Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com.

Buying a Home in the Spring? Five Tips on How to Select the Right Mortgage Lender
By Peta-Gay
March 3, 2015

When home buyers are shopping for a new home, their shopping is not just limited to the house they want to live in. In addition, they must shop around to find the right mortgage lender to meet their needs. This process is not as hard as it seems at first glance. For home buyers who want to find the perfect mortgage lender, they can follow these five steps.

1. Ask Friends and Family for Recommendations

One of the best ways to find a good mortgage lender is to ask for recommendations. When home buyers get a recommendation from someone they can trust, it gives them a better chance to end up with the right lender.

2. Research Potential Lenders Online

Before sitting down to talk with a lender about a mortgage, it is important to research them to make sure that they have a solid reputation. Check their history with the Better Business Bureau. Also, make sure to read as many reviews as you can find online from people who have obtained mortgages with them.

3. Decide What Size of Lender is Right

One of the most important decisions that home buyers need to make is what size of mortgage lender is preferable for them. For people who want to have a lot of face-to-face contact with their lenders and a more personal touch, smaller lenders are preferable. However, the rates offered by larger lenders will generally be better, but the downside to larger lenders is that they sometimes have a reputation for not providing the best customer service.

4. Costs

When home buyers have found three or four lenders that seem like good options, they should ask each one for a good faith estimate. These good faith estimates will include all the miscellaneous fees and costs that will come along with the mortgage. Looking them over will allow mortgage shoppers to find out which lender offers the most reasonable mortgage for them.

5. Sit Down with the Lender

Before deciding to go with a particular lender, make sure to have a face-to-face meeting with them. This personal meeting is crucial for making sure that the mortgage lender is the right fit. This meeting is a great chance to ask questions about anything that is unclear.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, MRP is Owner and CEO of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8096 Edwin Raynor Blvd Suite C Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com.

 

Buying a Rental Property? How to Choose Between Single-family and Multi-family Homes
By Peta-Gay
March 4, 2015

Entering into the real estate market requires time and monetary commitment. Depending on the purpose for purchasing rental property determines whether one should invest in a single family or multi-family dwelling. In either case, one should prepare short or long term goals, be cognizant of his or her financial health and monetary comfort zone, and conduct a comparative market analysis before considering a real estate investment.

Short Term Versus Long Term Investments

For investment purposes, a multi-family dwelling provides the owner with more potential rental income than a single family dwelling. However, if the purpose is to claim the new location as a future domicile, then investing in a single family dwelling provides the buyer with time for relocating. One should be aware, however, that rentals are not eligible for homestead exemptions. With the exception of Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, all states offer some type of homestead exemption for primary residences. As a result, if changing one’s domicile is part of the long-term goal, then considering the purchase of a single family for a temporary rental, until one is ready to change domiciles, may prove advantageous.

Investment Considerations

One must be prepared for the initial rental preparation. Plumbing and sewage lines must be in working conditions to avoid impending disasters. Adequate electrical service and outlets, in combination with internet access, attract financially secure tenants. If one depends on registered, licensed, and insured contractors to provide the necessary workmanship, one must also be prepared for delays in the delivery of goods, inspections, and completed work orders. If one’s finances are not to be stretched beyond his or her monetary comfort zone, then time may present the only obstacle.

 Location Versus Location

Any real estate investor must consider location. One should look at the demographics of an area, the percentage of violent versus non-violent crimes committed in an area, and the future plans for development of any surrounding areas. Usually the rating of the local high school will also provide insight into the stability of the surrounding communities.

 Consult A Reputable Agent

Before making an investment, one should consult a licensed and experienced real-estate agent familiar with area rentals. The agent should provide information regarding long term versus short term available rentals. In addition, if there are deed restrictions, the agent should provide the prospective buyer with the necessary information.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, MRP is Owner and CEO of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8096 Edwin Raynor Blvd Suite C Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com.

Buying Your First Home? Here's Why You'll Need to Ensure You Have a Proper Home Inspection
By Peta-Gay
March 5, 2015

There’s a whole lot to learn when buying one’s first home, an investment that can bring joy, but sometimes, grief. A competent real estate agent can assist in locating those homes that meet the home buyer’s needs and can advise on factors such as market value of the home and neighborhood services. The agent will help the buyer through the negotiation and purchase process. But the buyer should take responsibility to make sure that the steps below are taken.

Home Inspection Contingency Included in Purchase Offer

At the point where the buyer finds a home and decides to make an offer, the contract should be written contingent on an acceptable inspection. If serious issues are found, the buyer has the options of requesting certain items to be fixed, to be compensated for the costs of repair, for a lower purchase price or to cancel the contract. Without this contingency, the buyer is bound to the contract without these options and may suffer huge costs.

Selecting the Home Inspector

Reputable and successful home inspectors may be recommended by the real estate agent or friends. The buyer should talk with prospective inspectors and ask for references. Another indication of competency is an affiliation with professional groups such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI).

Inspecting the Home

There are potentially many problems in homes that are not visible to the eye. The home buyer that engages a professional home inspector can be assured that major problems will be identified. As an added value, by accompanying the home inspector and asking questions, the first-time buyer can learn about proper maintenance and of possible problems that will not go into the report.

What Will the Home Inspector Do?

The home inspector examines the entire home, both outside and inside, and checks for safety, defects, replacement or repair needs, and potential problems that should be monitored closely. The inspector will then produce a report covering the findings. The inspection generally takes two to three hours and costs between $200 and $500.

What Will Be Inspected?

External inspections will cover the roof, exterior walls, foundation, grading, garage, and may include sprinklers, lawn, porch lights, walkways and driveways as well. Interior inspections will examine the plumbing and electrical systems, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), the water heater, kitchen appliances, laundry room, fire safety and bathrooms.

Taking this optional step of completing a home inspection, even with a new home, will be well worth the time and additional cost. It will provide a basis on which to make a more realistic offer and give the buyer the peace of mind of having in-depth knowledge about the house being purchased.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, MRP is Owner and CEO of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8096 Edwin Raynor Blvd Suite C Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com.

Do You Need Mortgage Insurance Even if It's Not Required by Your Lender? Let's Take a Look
By Peta-Gay
March 6, 2015

Finding a proper mortgage loan and understanding the processing procedures behind the loan is the basis of good research. The down payment on a mortgage loan is typically significant when dealing with mortgage insurance. Most loan applications with less than 20% down payment are required to include mortgage insurance with the loan. However, mortgage insurance may still be required even if it's not typically required by your lender.

Underwriting Requirements

Most home mortgage applications undergo a strict set of standards for approval. These standards are known as underwriting and make up the bulk of time spent on a mortgage application. Unique situations in employment or credit history may require an additional down payment percentage to avoid PMI or private mortgage insurance. Most underwriting requirements require adequate information on the borrower's credit and employment history for complete application. Self-employed individuals or those with alternative forms of credit may need a few additional hoops to jump through when dealing with mortgage insurance requirements.

Lender-paid Mortgage Insurance

Lender-paid mortgage insurance is a popular option with potential homeowners that seek to avoid the cost of a PMI or FHA-backed insurance on a home loan. Most lenders incorporate payment of private mortgage insurance in exchange for a slightly higher interest rate. This is one example of the points system on a mortgage application that eliminates the cost of PMI. The increase in interest rate may or may not warrant the need for a lender-paid mortgage insurance arrangement.

What's Involved With Risk Assessment?

Strict lending requirements and banking policy now limit the number of mortgages with zero down payment options. Conventional mortgages and FHA both require private mortgage insurance if it is less than 20% down payment. However, FHA loans can be more flexible with the initial down payment requirements with adequate credit. FHA mortgage costs are now for the life of the loan. Lenders will look at mortgage insurance as risk protection.

The risk protection process may or may not require mortgage insurance in your home loan. For example, VA and USDA loans do not usually require mortgage insurance if the borrower's credit and employment history are adequate. Conventional loans have a reduction in risk once there is at least 20% equity in the home compared to the principal of the mortgage. Don't hesitate to contact a mortgage professional about potentially dropping mortgage insurance in the future to reduce overall loan costs. If you need a referral to a good mortgage professional in your area contact your trusted real estate agent for assistance.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, MRP is Owner and CEO of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8096 Edwin Raynor Blvd Suite C Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com.