The mortgage industry has been experiencing an amazing year so far. The Federal Reserve (FED) has continued to cut rates. Need proof? Last week the FED dropped rates another quarter percent, we are currently hovering at a 2-2.25% rate.
What does that mean for you?
Well if you are looking to purchase you have the ability to buy more home for your money; however, if you are looking to refinance you are looking at saving money over the life of your loan, on top of potentially being able to lower your term.
Refinancing is one of the various ways you can utilize to help save money overall; however, if you find yourself needing alternative options and are looking to be proactive in your home financing needs, here are a few out-of-box ideas.
- Buy a Cheaper House – this is self-explanatory, learning to live below your means is a valuable lesson to learn and helps you budget more efficiently.
- Choose a Bi-Weekly Payment Option – Most loan servicers provide this option. When you choose to go this route, you end up making 26 payments a year; which adds up to you paying 1 extra payment towards your principle each year.
- Choose an ARM – this option is great if you don’t plan on living in your home very long. What’s the point of fixing yourself in a 30-year term if this isn’t your forever home?
- Extend Your Repayment Term – Example if you are in a 15-year term you can switch to a 30-year; this doesn’t change the amount of your loan but will overall lower your payments because you are extending the term.
- Make a Larger Down Payment – This option would make your parents feel like you are listening to them. You grew up with them harping you to save for a 20% down payment and there is a good reason why: it helps keep your monthly mortgage payment LOW.
- Get Rid of Your PMI – this option takes some time if your purchasing and your sellers don’t want to pay this off while negotiating. To be able to get rid of your PMI you must gain at least 20% equity in your home; once you achieve that you can request that your lender drop PMI.
- Pay for Points – when you pay for points you are paying for a lower interest rate. There may be more you pay for upfront in closing costs; however, over the term of your loan you aren’t acquiring unnecessary interest.
Recent studies have shown that 93% of homeowners say that having a house makes them happier than renting did.
Why is that?
Experts are coining it “The Homeownership Effect” explaining that owning a home can make you a better person because you naturally find yourself enjoying new hobbies like gardening, landscaping, cooking, and if you are a big spender maybe even remodeling.
Besides allowing you to find and create more hobbies for yourself, it has been said by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, that owning a home helps with financial responsibility and overall better well-being. These can be attributed to homeowners living in an affordable, comfortable home located in a connected neighborhood with a reasonable commute.
However, don’t think that owning a home is the magic key to happiness. There does take a level of preparation and making sure you can comfortably afford things like property taxes, insurance, and unexpected (but relatively normal) home repairs. If you are curious whether or not your family is ready for this next step – click here – to talk with someone today about your current situation.
Even though summer is coming to a close and purchase season is slowing down. Freddie Mac reported that the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed rate dropped to another 3-year low at 3.49%. And as the unemployment rate remains historically low, this means that homebuyer demand is improving along with affordability.
August brought some significant good news, so take a deep breath and find solace in our current economy. Why? Fannie Mae is also predicting that the economy should continue to support the current refinance activity. How do we know that? August’s refinance volume was 150% higher than it was last year, which is in correlation to the increase in the demand for homes and affordability.
And if you are still thinking about refinancing know that Black Knight is here to tell us that roughly half of the homeowners across the United States are sitting on a combined total of 6.3 trillion dollars in tappable equity. We haven’t seen eligibility this high since the early 2000s.
Image source: Google
It’s that time of the year! School buses, packing lunches, dropping the kids off and picking them up.
You name it, we understand! We are right there in the trenches with you.
If you like preparing yourself and your kids for success and enjoy making lists here are a few tips to help you get back into the swing of things:
1. Invest in a family communication calendar – this helps everyone know what’s going on. This can be as simple as getting a blank dry erase board that you hang in the kitchen or office area. Need more ideas that would work for your family? Here are other calendar options with DIY instructions.
2. Make a Fall cleaning list – start by making an extensive list organized by each room of your home. Then break down the small tasks you will need to complete to help you organize and prioritize. Need help? Here are a few tips we’ve talked about recently:
a. Storage ideas?
b. Missed Cleaning Spots?
3. Create a homework space – this can be virtually anywhere; however, we suggest a quiet place with limited distractions. With this project, you can get the kids involved! The possibilities are endless! You can pick out new paint, have the children declutter the area by throwing out old papers and notebooks that won’t be useful, and make sure the lighting is optimal for brain function!
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For many people, closet space can be a determining factor in purchasing a home. Everyone needs space for their clothes and shoes and other storage items. What if we told you that you could create the closet you want by maximizing space? Don’t let a tiny closet deter you from closing on your dream home.
Here are 4 creative closet storage ideas for maximizing space:
1. Add overhead storage
This may seem like an obvious option, but many people don’t utilize the overhead storage space the majority of closets already have built-in. You can use that area for folded clothes or stack shoe boxes, which can save a lot of room.
2. Build shelves
Just like the overhead storage, adding additional shelves will be a game-changer. You can put folded or compact pieces of clothing on the shelves, or you can create a high and low hanging shelved unit to separate your tops and bottoms.
3. Use storage bins
The truth is, you don’t need to hang all your clothes up or even fold them. When the weather changes, so does your wardrobe. Packing away your seasonal clothes will help you stay organized and not waste any space.
4. Install hooks
Installing hooks in your closet is an excellent use of space. You can hang up those miscellaneous ties, hats, and scarves. The key to being organized is having a “home” for every single item in your closet.
Image source: Google
It is no secret that times have changed since our grandparents and even our parents have purchased homes. So much so, that with new programs and requirements, brokers/lenders have stated, you aren’t required to have the 20% down payment that you heard about growing up.
But now you are thinking… how much should I save for a down payment?
Here’s the good news it doesn’t have to be difficult, and you can do what works best for you and your family. To put it in perspective, if we were still required to put down 20% on a home loan, based on Mr. Cooper’s math, it would take renters nearly seven years to save for a 200K home on an average salary of 56K a year. Seven years!
However, there is a benefit to putting 20% down.
1. Right away, there is more equity in your home.
2. Lower monthly payment.
3. Lower rates.
4. You aren’t that high of a risk to your lender.
5. You won’t need mortgage insurance.
6. Future buying power.
Click here to calculate your ideal mortgage down payment.
We are all familiar with this time of year in Michigan. The trees will be changing soon, and the temperature will drop. We all have beautiful leaves and cider mills to look forward to! But, keep in mind that as the seasons change, so do your home needs and maintenance. In Michigan, the weather can change fast, and we don’t want you to be caught unprepared.
Here seven tips to help you get your home fall-ready:
Check your roof: Safely grab a ladder and climb up to get an up-close view of the current state of your roof. Check for any loose or missing shingles and remove any debris that could’ve made its way up there.
Fertilize your lawn: At any hardware store, you can find specialized Fall lawn fertilizer that will help prevent winter damage and spring weeds.
Clean your gutters: Take the time to clean out your gutters or hire a professional to do it.
Inspect your siding: Check your home for cracks or holes and get those fixed before the weather changes.
Bring in flowerpots & hanging plants: Cooler weather is typically not conducive for outdoor plants. So, either toss them out or bring them in to nurture during the cold months.
Tend to your landscaping: Trim all your bushes, trees, and shrubs.
Plant rose bulbs: Planting bulbs in the Fall for the Spring is your best bet to ensure they get into the ground before it gets too cold out.