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    Refinancing is something that most people will do at some point in their home ownership years.  The reasons are many; sometimes it’s to get a better rate, sometimes to combine a first and second mortgage.  Still others will refinance to take money out from the equity on the home and pay bills or do renovations.  Whatever the reason, equity plays a major role. What Is Equity? Simply put, equity is the difference between the value of your home and what you owe on it.  Although the term is very common, the truth is that not every homeowner has equity, and in fact some may be in the opposite position. Equity increases over time when, as a general rule, the value of a home increases while at the same time the mortgage loans are being paid down.  In difficult economic times, equity may build slowly or even be lost. What Does Equity Have To Do With Refinancing? While it is possible to refinance a home in which there is little to no equity, it is more difficult.  You can refinance for a better rate, but you won’t be able to take any money out on the loan. When the house is […]
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    If you are new to home financing, you may be a little confused by some of the common terms that are used in the process.  These common terms will help simplify getting your home loan and ensure you understand what stage you are at and what comes next. Getting A Loan Pre-Qualification:  This is a term that means you have been provided an estimate of what sort of loan you can expect to obtain based on your credit score and what’s currently available.  It doesn’t guarantee you a loan or any loan terms. Pre-Approval:  This means that you have actually applied for a mortgage and the loan has been approved.  Your approval is usually good for a certain time period during which you are guaranteed the terms of the loan. Locked In:  This is a term that means you have been promised a certain interest rate for a certain time period, usually 30 days. Basics Of Loans Principal:  This is the amount that is owed on the loan, the actual amount financed excluding interest. Interest Rate:  This is the amount of interest, expressed as a percentage, that you will be paying on your loan. APR (Annual Percentage Rate):  Often confused […]
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    When it comes time to finance your new home and you still have a loan on another home you own but plan to sell, you are likely to run into the term bridge financing.  This is a special type of financing that can help solve the cash flow problems created by the need to complete the purchase of one home before you complete the sale of the other. Filling In The Gap It can be difficult to get the sale of your current home to coincide perfectly with the purchase of the new one in order to avoid a problem with cash flow.  If you have a sale closing in 90 days on the old home, but find that you need a short escrow to close the deal on the new home, this can create a gap in cash flow. Bridge financing allows you to close that gap and provides for the time period between the new purchase and the sale that will eventually provide the needed cash for that purchase. Down Payments And More Most people don’t have enough cash on hand to pay the down payment on a new home prior to closing on the sale of the […]
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    Unfortunately, fraud and identity theft are increasing at an alarming rate every year, and mortgage fraud is one of the most important types of fraud from which you will want to protect yourself.  So what constitutes mortgage fraud, and how can you prevent this from happening to you? What Is Mortgage Fraud? Essentially, mortgage fraud is defined by the FBI as any material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission relied upon by an underwriter or lender to fund, purchase, or insure a loan.  There are several different types of mortgage fraud, and each is a serious offense that can have a huge impact on you and your credit.  Here is a basic list of the most common types of mortgage fraud. Undisclosed Kickbacks-This includes any financial deals between a buyer and seller that are not included in the mortgage documents. Falsifying Income-Inflating your income is a serious offense on any loan document, especially a mortgage. Undocumented Non-Owner Occupancy-Rates and other fees can be higher for income and rental properties, but resist the temptation to hide this fact in order to save money. Inflated Purchase Price-In some cases this method is used to obtain a higher appraisal of a property, but it is […]
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    When you are ready to buy a home, applying for a mortgage is one of the first and most important steps.  For married couples, this usually involves applying for a mortgage loan jointly.  This means that the loan will be in both of your names and you will be co-owners of the house.  While it may seem like the obvious thing to do, there are a few situations when applying with only one name might be wise.  Here are a few tips on joint mortgage applications. Is Your Credit Looking Good? If one of you has a poor credit rating, it could strongly affect your chances of qualifying for the loan and will definitely raise the interest rate even if you do qualify.  If the person with poor credit does not make a large sum of money and their income is not required to qualify for the loan, it might make more sense not to apply jointly. Employment Doesn’t Matter If one of the partners is unemployed, a stay at home mom or dad or homemaker, or for any other reason, they won’t have much impact on the amount of money you can qualify for.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t […]
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    Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can still have a beautiful yard if you choose the right plants.  Careful choice of what to place in your yard will mean less maintenance. Plant Native When selecting the plants for your yard, do some research on which plants are native to your climate.  While exotic plants may look different and interesting in your yard, if they aren’t meant for that area you’ll likely need to spend a lot of time coddling them. If you live in the desert, it’s best not to choose plants that require a lot of water.  Not only will you have to pay close attention to them, but the cost of keeping them watered will be high-or impossible if you face drought restrictions on water.  Climates with cold, harsh winters aren’t the best place for plants native to warm, tropical climates.  Get to know the plants that grow naturally in your area-odds are good they’ll thrive without much attention. Plant Hardy Perennials The best thing about perennials is that you don’t have to plant every year.  When you choose hardy, low-maintenance perennials, they will come back year after year with little effort on your part. […]
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    Whether you have just bought your first home or have been a homeowner for some time, chances are that at some point you will be faced with home repairs.  While you can always call the local repairman to fix minor plumbing or structural problems, doing the repairs yourself can save you time and money, and with a few tools you’ll have everything you need to make most home repairs.  So what do you need to create a Homeowner’s Toolkit, and to give you the know-how to make the simple repairs yourself?  Here’s a list that includes everything you’ll need! Home Repair Book-If you know nothing about home repairs, this may be the most important tool you will purchase for your home.  There are a number of great books to choose from, including those in the “For Dummies” series that will not only give you step-by-step guidance, but also tell you the tools you’ll need for each job. Hammer-This is a basic tool that you will no doubt use dozens of time for everything from hanging pictures to more major repairs. Screwdriver-This is another basic tool that you will use over and over.  Be sure you get a set with quality […]
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    Whatever time of year you find yourself shopping for a new home, it’s important to give some thought to what that home will be like throughout the rest of the year.  Be on the lookout for things that could affect the access and comfort of your home through all the months of the year. Winter Considerations If you live in an area with heavy snow, it’s important to give serious thought to how accessible your home will be in those months.  Homes on hills might find the roads impassable due to ice, while homes with long driveways will require a lot of snow clearing to get out. If you are expecting cold winters, the function of your furnace is a vital piece of the puzzle, so be sure the home has a heating system that works well.  You might also look for alternate heating in your home, such as a wood stove or fireplace insert. Things To Think About In Spring Spring can often mean a lot of water, whether from those April showers or melting snow.  The drainage on the property is important to making certain that water doesn’t cause problems such as earth shifting or flooding.  Look for […]
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    You have probably heard a lot about home equity loans if you have spent any time at all looking at home financing options.  These are loans that are usually taken out by people who already own a home and want to borrow against the value of the home.  Not everyone can get a home equity loan-of course, you must actually have equity in the home, as well as the right credit situation.  Home equity loans are a great way to finance major renovations on your house. What Is Equity? It’s a term that is heard a lot, but for those new to the housing market, it might not be one you exactly understand.  It’s quite simple, really.  The equity in your home is the difference between what you currently owe on it and the current market value of the home.  You can achieve equity in your home in two main ways.  The first is by paying down your mortgage.  The second is by increasing the value of your home, either through renovations you have done or a general increase in the market. Loans Vs. Lines of Credit Along with home equity loans, you have probably heard about home equity lines […]
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