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It’s Tax Time: Learn How Buying a New Home Can Help to Reduce Your Tax Burden

April 7, 2017

It's Tax Time: Learn How Buying a New Home Can Help to Reduce Your Tax BurdenMost people do not look forward to tax time, whether they get money back or not, but as a homeowner there are a lot of things you can do that will help to reduce your taxes and get you a refund. If you’re getting prepared to invest in a home and are wondering how it can benefit you, here are some deductions you’ll want to watch out for.

Minimizing Mortgage Interest

One of the best benefits of having a home is that you can actually deduct mortgage interest at tax time and save considerable money as a result. While the amount you receive will depend on your interest rates and the type of loan you have, this can make a significant dent in the amount of your monthly payment when all’s said and done.

Deducting Property Tax

Property tax is another fee that comes along with home ownership, and it can be a rather debilitating amount depending on where you live. While you have the ability to deduct this amount on your primary residence, you also have the option of doing this if you happen to own a vacation home. This is not only a benefit for money savings, but can be a boon for future home investment too.

Capital Gains Credit

Many people stay in a home for a few years and then invest in something larger, and the Capital Gains Exclusion is a great way to take advantage of tax-free profits on your home. While you’ll have to live in the primary residence for at least two years to take advantage of this deduction, you will not have to pay any capital gains tax up to a certain amount.

Line Of Credit Reduction

If you happen to have either a line of credit or a home equity loan, you can also deduct the interest off the amount paid for a refund on your taxes. In addition to the lower rates provided by these loans, you can also save on interest when tax time comes around, making it a considerable benefit.

Most people do not look forward to doing their taxes, but if you’re a new homeowner you may not be aware that there are many financial benefits associated with buying a home.

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Buying a Home With a Mortgage? Here’s What You Can Expect at Your Closing Meeting

April 6, 2017

Buying a Home With a Mortgage? Here's What You Can Expect at Your Closing MeetingIf you’ve decided to invest and have finally found your ideal home, it’s probably an exciting time for you and your family. But before the deal is sealed, there will be a closing meeting so that all of the loose ends can be tied up. If you want to be ready for closing and are curious what the final meeting will entail, here are a few things to be prepared for.

The Last Walk Through

The initial home inspection may have already occurred prior to your closing meeting, but a final walk through should also be granted in the event that anything has happened to the house since it occurred. If problems have been made note of and a price or repair has been negotiated, you won’t need to worry, but the final walk through is a good opportunity to cover off any additional maintenance issues.

Discussion Of The Details

It’s a good idea to bring any paperwork you have regarding your mortgage along to the closing meeting as this will enable you to follow up on any outstanding questions and go through the specifics of the home sale. In all likelihood, you’ll be going through items like the closing costs, escrow payments, the settlement costs related to the home sale and the deed of trust to secure your mortgage, so ensure you understand all of the documents and are prepared to sign on the dotted line.

All The Appropriate Parties

You may expect the closing meeting to be rather informal after the offer has been accepted, but there are many parties that will be present in order to transfer the ownership of your new home. In addition to the home seller, yourself and your respective real estate agents, there will also be any attorneys present, a closing agent, and the lender. While it can be overwhelming to have so many people present, it is generally a formality so that the proceedings can take place without a hitch.

If you’ve determined that the home you’ve made an offer on is right for you, the closing meeting will likely be a seamless experience. However, it’s important to ensure you’ve done your final walk through and looked over all the applicable documents to avoid any issues related to the purchase of your home. If you’re getting prepared to buy a home, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

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Your Debt-To-Income Ratio and How It Affects Your Mortgage

April 5, 2017

Your Debt-To-Income Ratio and How It Affects Your MortgageWhen you’re delving into the market in the hopes of finding your dream home, it’s likely you’ll come across the term debt-to-income ratio. This may not seem important at first, but your DTI is the key to determining the amount of money you can put into your home and just how much you should spend on a monthly basis. If you’re curious about what this means for you, here’s how to calculate it and how it can impact your mortgage.

What’s Your DTI Ratio?

One of the best ways to determine whether or not a home is affordable for you is to first calculate your DTI ratio. To get this amount, add up all of your monthly payments including any credit card, loan and mortgage payments, and divide this amount by your gross monthly income. The amount you get is your DTI percentage and this will help to determine how much your monthly payment should be.

What Does Your DTI Mean?

Your DTI percentage helps to determine the amount of house you can afford on a monthly basis, and this is why it can be such a good way to help you find the right home. While a DTI of 25% or less is ideal, a DTI that rises above 43% may be hard to get financing for since there will be little room for error. When it comes to a higher debt load, approval may come down to what your credit history says about your financial health.

The Amount Of Home You Can Afford

It’s easy to be convinced that your dream home is for you, and worth the splurge, but investing in too much home on a consistent basis can lead to future financial difficulties. If you’re set on a home that has a high monthly payment, you may want to hold off until you’ve saved a larger down payment or revamp your budget so that you can make the investment work for you. It may also be worth continuing the housing search so that you have more flexibility to invest in education, travel or other things down the road.

Your DTI ratio may be unfamiliar now, but this can be a great save when it comes to determining how much home you can afford and what will stretch your limits. If you’re currently looking into your housing options and are curious about what’s available to you, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

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Understanding Mortgage Amortizations and Why Longer Periods Can Cost More

April 4, 2017

Understanding Mortgage Amortizations and Why Longer Periods Can Cost MoreBuying a home is one of the largest investments you will make in your life, and that’s why so many people have longer mortgage amortization periods to pay down the principal. While it may seem appealing to have a longer amortization period, here’s why an extended loan term can end up costing you more and may be less financially beneficial when it comes right down to it.

About Mortgage Amortization

Generally speaking, a 25-year mortgage amortization period can be typical, but there are many loan periods that a homebuyer can choose for amortization. While a longer-loan period may seem enticing because it will mean a smaller monthly payment, a shorter amortization will enable you to own your investment sooner, which can be a great boon for many people. It’s worth being aware of what works best for you as this will depend on your financial situation.

Paying Off The Principal

For those who have a high monthly payment, a longer mortgage period can seem like a benefit. However, while this will lower your monthly payment, it also means that you will be paying less on the principal over time and this can cost you when it comes to interest. A shorter loan period, on the other hand, may force you to re-do your budget to make the monthly payment, but you’ll be paying more on the principal each month and less on interest over time. A 25-year term may sound good at first, but a shorter term may be more financially lucrative in the long run.

What Works Best For You?

It may seem like a shorter loan period is the right financial decision, but there are a lot of factors that go into determining what will work best for you. If your interest rate is low and you’re struggling to make your monthly payment as it is, a longer loan period may be for the best. However, if you have the money in the bank and you can still live your life while saving a little bit extra, a shorter loan period may be an option that saves money in the end.

On the surface, a longer loan period and a shorter monthly payment may seem optimal, but it’s important to weigh all of the variables before deciding on your mortgage amortization. If you’re currently getting prepared to invest in a home, you may want to contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – April 3, 2017

April 3, 2017

Last week’s economic news included Case-Shiller Home Price Index reports, pending home sales, and consumer confidence readings. Weekly readings on average mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

CaseShiller: Home Prices Higher in January

According to Case-Shiller reports released last Tuesday, average home prices increased in January. The national average home price rose 0.20 percent from December to January; year over year, home prices grew by 5.90 percent. Home prices were 0.90 percent higher on a month-to-month basis when seasonally adjusted. The West continued to dominate home price growth. Seattle, Washington reported 11.20 percent growth in home prices year-over-year. Portland, Oregon reported year-over-year home price growth of 9.70 percent and Denver, Colorado reported that home prices grew by 9.20 percent year-over-year.

San Francisco, which posted double-digit home price growth in recent months, posted year-over-year home price growth of 6.20 percent. Home prices declined 0.40 percent month-to-month. While short supplies of homes for sale continued to drive up home prices, slower home price growth rates in San Francisco, California posted fell by 0.40 percent month to month and were 6.30 percent higher year-over-year. San Francisco posted double-digit year-over-year growth in recent months; slower home price growth over a period of months could signal a cooling of red-hot home prices in high-demand markets.

The three cities with lowest home price growth rates were Cleveland, Ohio and Washington, DC, where home prices rose 3.90 percent year-over-year. New-York City posted a year-over-year gain of 3.20 percent.

Pending Home Sales Rebound in February, Mortgage Rates Drop

The National Association of Realtors® said that pending home sales reached their second highest reading in ten years. Pending home sales rose 5.50 percent in February as compared to January’s negative reading of -2.80 percent. The Pending Home Sales Index rose to 112.30 in February as compared to January’s reading of 106.40. Unseasonably warm weather, home buyers rushing to buy before mortgage rates and home prices go higher. Improved jobs markets and few layoffs were also seen as boosting consumer confidence in buying homes.

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by nine basis points to 4.14 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was five basis points lower at 3.39 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage was six basis points lower at 3.18 points. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Lower mortgage rates could help first-time buyers who’ve been sidelined due to rapidly increasing home prices and mortgage rates.

In other news, new jobless claims were lower than last were with 258,000 new claims filed as compared to last week’s reading of 261,000 new jobless claims. Analysts expected a reading of 247,000 new claims filed. Spring holidays and school vacations can create additional volatility in week-to-week first-time jobless claims.

Consumer sentiment index readings for March increased to 96.90 against expectations of a 97.60 index reading. February’s index reading for consumer sentiment was 96.30.

Whats Ahead

Next week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on construction spending, ADP payrolls, Non-farm payrolls and the national unemployment rate. Mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

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Student Loans vs. Down Payments: 3 Ways You Can Manage Both and Buy a New Home

March 31, 2017

Student Loans vs. Down Payments: 3 Ways You Can Manage Both and Buy a New HomeThe idea of paying off your student loans and buying a home at the same time can seem like an impossible feat given the impact on your Debt-to-Income (DTI) ratio. However, there are ways it’s possible to have enough funds and good enough credit to make your dream of home ownership come true a little more quickly. If you’re currently considering how to manage both, here are some options you might want to consider.

Decrease Your Debt

Lenders will be looking at your DTI ratio in order to determine whether or not you’re a solid financial bet, so before throwing yourself into the market, it can be a good idea to minimize your debt load. While this doesn’t mean paying off all of your student loans, try putting more down over a period of a few months so you have additional wiggle room. By making a budget plan that you can stick to, you’ll slowly eat away at the principal and have a little more room to invest when the time comes.

Add Another Income

You’re probably working pretty hard in your post-student life to make ends meet and pay off debt, but one of the best ways to pay off two loans is to bump up your income. Whether you decide to find something part-time on the weekend or hone one of your skills for freelance profit, a little bit of extra money each month can make a huge dent in the amount you owe in no time at all.

Consider A Starter Home

It’s entirely possible that you’ve got your eye on your ideal home, but if you’re dealing with student debt there’s a pretty good chance that the monthly payment will be unattainable. Instead of choosing a home that’s out of your league, make your dream of ownership come true by picking something that will be affordable month to month. While it might not be exactly the house you’re dreaming of, you’ll still be putting equity into something so you’ll have money to invest down the road.

It’s certainly not an easy feat to take on student loans and mortgage debt at the same time, but by improving your income and paying down as much as possible before investing, you may be able to do both at once. If you’re currently in the market for a home, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

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Trim Your Mortgage Closing Costs by Following This Easy 3 Step Guide

March 30, 2017

Trim Your Mortgage Closing Costs by Following This Easy 3 Step GuideYou may be so busy with determining your debt-to-income ratio and deciding what kind of offer to make that closing costs have gotten lost in the mix, but it’s important to remember that finalizing your mortgage will cost you extra. While there’s no way to get around paying money to solidify your mortgage, there are a few steps you can take in order to make it more economical for you.

Shop Around For A Lender

Many people go with the lender that is offered to them, but it’s a good idea to do the research so you can find the deal that’s right for you. Instead of sticking with one option, look into the closing costs for a handful of well-reviewed lenders that have been on the market for at least a few years. While it takes more than a list of fees to make the right decision, it will give you a good sense of the true cost of your mortgage and can help you make a more informed choice.

Be Prepared To Negotiate

There are people who are comfortable with negotiation and those who are not, but if you want a better deal it’s worth discussing it with your lender. While there are a number of third-party fees that are non-negotiable, many of the fees that lenders charge can be so you’ll want to get a list of what they charge and what they might be willing to budge on. It’s unlikely you’ll get everything you ask for, but it doesn’t hurt to ask in the event that it leads to substantial savings.

Review Your Loan Estimate

You have the ability to call off your mortgage at any time up until you’ve signed on the dotted line, so ensure you’ve read through the paperwork and understand your closing costs clearly. If there’s anything you’re uncertain about or any cost you weren’t made aware of, it’s imperative to address it with the lender before signing. This will be the last chance you’ll have to negotiate and go over everything so the lender may be a little more flexible on any final hesitation.

There are a number of costs associated with home ownership, but it’s important not to forget about the final closing costs as these can greatly impact the total cost of your home. If you’re currently getting prepared to purchase a home, you may want to contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.