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The Pros and Cons of Paying Your Mortgage off Biweekly Versus Monthly
By Peta-Gay
November 25, 2015

If you have a mortgage, you’re probably looking for the best option to pay it off. Monthly mortgage payments are an easy-to-manage way to pay for your house – in fact, they’re the most common form of mortgage payment – but now, many homeowners are discovering that biweekly payments offer them better results.

So is a biweekly payment the better option for you? Which payment strategy best fits your individual circumstances? Here’s what you need to know.

Biweekly Payments: Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster and Save on Interest

Biweekly payments are becoming increasingly popular for a variety of reasons. With a biweekly payment, you’ll pay less money in total interest payments over the course of the whole mortgage, and you’ll pay your mortgage off faster. Biweekly payments also make it easier to budget for your mortgage because they coincide with your paycheck, and the biweekly payment system forces you to make extra payments toward your principal.

That said, biweekly payments also have some disadvantages. If you’ve bought a home at the very top tier of what you can afford, you might not have the budget flexibility for extra payments. Your lender may also force you to pay a $300 setup fee or a processing fee for each payment.

Monthly Payments: Easier to Afford for Large Homes

Paying your mortgage off on a monthly basis has long been the standard, for a variety of reasons – for instance, most homeowners are typically more comfortable with monthly payments as they were the norm during the owner’s years as a renter. It may also be easier to manage monthly payments if you work as an independent contractor and don’t always get paid every two weeks.

Monthly mortgage payments are more affordable for owners of larger homes, which typically come with larger mortgages. A monthly payment schedule also means you make one less payment per year, and for those on a strict budget, this can help to make the daily necessities of life more affordable.

Monthly mortgage payments were once the expected norm, but now, a lot of homeowners are choosing to make biweekly payments in order to pay off their mortgages faster and better budget their money. Monthly payments still remain popular, though, for a variety of reasons.

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

Thinking About Downsizing? Here's What You Need to Know About Life in a Condo
By Peta-Gay
November 30, 2015

The shift from home living to condo life may seem like a minor one, but there are plenty of things that will differentiate your lifestyle other than size when it comes to making a condominium purchase. If you’re contemplating this move and wondering about some of the things that this might entail, here are a few factors that are worth considering.

The Fees You’ll Have to Pay

While a smaller condo is unlikely to have the same associated costs as a large home, you will be paying a monthly condominium fee that will be covering maintenance and insurance so that many repairs and upgrades won’t have to be paid out of pocket. While this cost will not cover each and every maintenance issue that can occur in a condo, it should keep you covered for many standard home costs. When purchasing a condominium, it’s important to read about what this monthly fee entails.

The Life of Central Living

Life in the suburbs can often mean that you’re far away from the amenities of the city, but many condominiums are built in areas that are full of restaurants, pharmacies, cultural centers and grocery stores which are only a short distance away. If you don’t mind getting into the car to run your errands, this might not be that important to you, but if you enjoy the exercise and like having amenities close by this type of living situation can be a welcome change.

Less Room for Stuff & Storage

Condo life can certainly eliminate many of the responsibilities of having a home, but if you’re downsizing there’s a possibility that you may have to get rid of a large number of items to successfully fit into your new space. If you’ve thought about the decision a lot and are convinced that condo living is the right choice, it’s still worth considering how much storage space you will have in your new home so that you can plan for this change, and shift your living style to fit the demands of a smaller space.

 

There are a lot of things to think about if you’re planning to downsize into a condo, but if you’ve considered the space you’ll have to work with and the conveniences that will make your life easier, you’re probably already prepared for the shift. If you’re curious about condo living and options available in your area, you may want to contact a local real estate agent for more 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

Real Estate Investing: Why Buying a Condo in a Ski Resort Area Can Be a Great Investment
By Peta-Gay
November 18, 2015

The decision to invest in real estate can be one rife with risk, but if you’re ready to take this type of step into the investment market, you might be wondering where to begin. While upcoming neighborhoods and university areas may always be a place where investment is a viable idea, here are some reasons it can be a boon to consider a resort condo.

A Reliable Influx of Visitors

The great thing about having a condo close to a resort is that, no matter the weather, people will be getting away in the summer and the winter for some vacation relaxation. While you’ll certainly notice a more significant influx of visitors to a ski resort when winter rolls around, there will still be heavy crowds for the summer months when people want to escape from the city. Renting a condo in a resort can seem like a risk in the off-season, but there are many months out of the year that you can garner a cash flow that will make up the difference.

Maximizing Your Rental Earnings

An investment property in a trendy neighborhood or next to an educational institution will probably always be a popular renter’s area, but being a landlord for a resort property can have its own special perks. With the high season comes the push and pull of supply and demand, and this means you’ll be in a position to offer your property at a significantly higher rate. By keeping your rent reasonable but respectable, you should be able to quickly make up for the cost of initial investment.

It’s An Extra Vacation Property

While this might not work for the investment angle, having a condo at a popular resort may help with the cost savings that can come from not spending money at vacation time. Instead of going to far flung places and splurging on expensive hotel rooms, a resort condo property will mean that you can save on accommodation and still enjoy a relaxing holiday with your family and friends. If your vacation happens to occur during the resort’s downtime, it’s even better since you won’t miss out on improved rental earnings.

While investing in real estate is not risk-proof, buying into a resort condo can be a great way to enjoy a vacation pad and still make money in the high season at the same time. If you would like to learn more about the ins and outs of investment properties, you may want to contact your local real estate agent for more 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

Small Home Staging: 3 Ways That You Can Stage Smaller Spaces to Make Them Pop
By Peta-Gay
November 20, 2015

When it comes to real estate, putting your home in its best light is key when it comes to making the sale. While it may seem like you’re more limited with a home of a smaller scale, here are a few ways you can enhance what’s best and make a good impression on potential buyers.

Let There Be Ideal Light

If you’ve ever taken note of a room on a perfectly lit day or a downcast one, the difference in how lighting can impact a space is marked. When staging your small space, you’ll want to check the lighting of each room and make sure it ideally enhances the space it’s illuminating as few things can improve the look of a place like lighting. If you’re prepared to go all out, you may even want to install a swanky chandelier or lengthy light fixture in certain rooms as it can draw the eye up and lengthen the look of your space.

Brighten a Room with an Accent Wall

Homeowners often think that bright colors are a bad idea because they’re flashy and will minimize a space, but using a brilliant color on one wall of a room can actually maximize the look of your room and can serve as something memorable for viewers of your home. While you’ll want to make sure the color you choose isn’t garish and doesn’t completely overwhelm the eye, you’ll want to keep in mind that an accent wall works particularly well for enhancing a pint-sized bathroom.

Stand By a Statement Piece

It might seem like unique or off-the-wall furniture pieces will overtake the room in a small living space, but one statement piece can actually provide potential buyers of your home with a unique look that may instill an interest in your house and highlight it in a unique way. Instead of choosing multiple pieces that are bright or quirky, stick with one or two items per room that will stand out and make themselves known, but will still give off the living-style vibe that you’re going for.

Staging a small home can seem more complicated with less space, but there are great ways that you can highlight it to positive effect. While you may want to consider an accent wall or lighting that will effectively illuminate the room, if you’re interested in more tips for small home staging, you may want to contact a local real estate agent for more 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

Looking to Close Faster? Follow This Easy Guide to Speeding Up the Mortgage Process
By Peta-Gay
November 17, 2015

If you’re buying a home, you’ll want to try to get your mortgage processed as quickly as possible. Improperly filed mortgage applications are one of the biggest reasons why home sales get delayed, and if you have a hard move-out date already set, it’s critical that your mortgage process goes smoothly.

With careful planning, though, you can shorten the mortgage process and get your financing approved faster. Here’s what you need to do to speed up the approval.

Get Your Paperwork in Order Before You Apply

One of the biggest reasons why mortgages get delayed is because the applicant is missing a vital piece of paperwork. Something like a missing pay stub or a forgotten home insurance document can hold up the mortgage process, so make sure you have everything you need before applying for your mortgage.

When you apply for your mortgage, you’ll need pay stubs dating back four weeks, plus a bank statement for the last 30 days. Note that you’ll need the actual mailed statement from your bank – online screenshots don’t qualify. You’ll also need a homeowner’s insurance declaration document and any legal documents pertaining to your finances, like a divorce decree.

Keep Your Finances Consistent Once You’ve Applied

Once you’ve started the mortgage approval process it’s critical that you keep your finances fairly consistent, as major changes will mean your mortgage lender will need to restart the evaluation process. Try to avoid making larger than usual bank deposits, and don’t take out a new loan or credit card. Keep your credit card usage similar to where it’s been in the past.

If you do end up making major changes to your finances, make sure you send the proper documentation to your lender as soon as you can. Call ahead of time to make sure you know what you need to send.

Don’t Forget to Mention Assets and Debts 

Before your mortgage is approved, your lender will want to take a thorough look at your existing debts and assets. If you exclude information, your lender will need to spend extra time untangling the situation and determining your proper finances. Make sure you tell your lender about any and all investment properties you own, mortgages on other homes, or loan and credit card balances that are past due.

Getting a mortgage is a complicated process, but having your documents in order can speed things up and ensure you get your mortgage on time.

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