Wednesday, April 3, 2019 / by Nicki Conway
In the time that it takes to write one check, you can set it up with your bank and never have to do it again. You won't have to write checks, envelopes or buy stamps anymore. You'll save time, money and benefit in other ways too.
1. Never be late ... avoid late fees and protect your credit
2. Schedule additional principal contributions monthly to save interest, build equity and shorten the mortgage term. An extra $200 a month applied to the principal on a $200,000 mortgage at 4.5% for 30 years will result in shortening the loan by 8.5 years. If the loan was paid to term, it would save $52,977 in interest. Use the Equity Accelerator to see how much you can save.
3. It's convenient ... by doing it online with your bank, you'll have a centralized history of the payments.
4. Protect your credit ... your payment history is the single biggest component of your credit score and accounts for over 1/3 of your credit score.
Establishing the practice of au ...
Monday, March 25, 2019 / by Nicki Conway
Checklists work because they contain the important things that need to be done. They provide a reminder about things we know and realize but may have slipped our minds as well as inform us about things we didn't consider. Periodic attention to these areas can protect the investment in your home.
1. Change HVAC filters regularly. Consider purchasing a supply of the correct sizes needed online and they'll even remind you when it's time to order them again.
2. Change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors annually.
3. Create and regularly update a Home Inventory to keep track of personal belongings in case of burglary or casualty loss.
4. Keep track of capital improvements, with a Homeowners Tax Guide, made to your home throughout the year that increases your basis and lowers gain.
5. Order free credit reports from all three bureaus once a year at www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
6. Challenge your property tax assessment when you receive that year' ...
Monday, February 25, 2019 / by Nicki Conway
Affordability, stability and flexibility are the three reasons homebuyers overwhelmingly choose a 30-year term. The payments are lower, easier to qualify for the mortgage and they can always make additional principal contributions.
However, for those who can afford a higher payment and commit to the 15-year term, there are three additional reasons: lower mortgage interest rate, build equity faster and retire the debt sooner.
The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage is the loan of choice for first-time buyers who are more likely to use a minimum down payment and are concerned with affordable payments. For a more experienced buyer who doesn't mind and can qualify making larger payments, there are some advantages.
Consider a $200,000 mortgage at 30 year and 15-year terms with recent mortgage rates at 4.2% and 3.31% respectively. The payment is $433.15 less on the 30-year term but the interest being charged is higher. The total interest paid by the borrower if ea ...
Monday, February 18, 2019 / by Nicki Conway
Fear of the unknown is common among all ages. Kids, at night, imagine monsters in their closets or under their beds and adults are unsure of what the future might bring.
It may be natural for first-time buyers to be unsure of the process because they haven't been through it before but even repeat buyers need to know changes that have taken place since the financial housing crisis.
The steps in the home buying process are very predictable and generally follow the same pattern every time. It certainly makes the move stay on schedule when you know all the different things that must be done to get to the closing.
• In the initial interview with your real estate professional, you share the things you want and need in a home, discuss available financing and learn how your agent can represent you in the transaction.
• The pre-approval step is essential for anyone using a mortgage to purchase a home to assure that they're looking at the right price of homes and ...
Monday, January 14, 2019 / by Nicki Conway
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 increased the standard deduction to $24,000 for married couples. There will be some instances that homeowners may be better off taking the standard deduction than itemizing their deductions. In the past, homeowners would most likely be better off itemizing but the $10,000 limit of state and local taxes (SALT) adds one more issue to consider.
Let's look at a hypothetical homeowner to see how a strategy that has been around for years could benefit them now even though they haven't used it in the past. The strategy is called bunching; by timing the payments in a tax year so that they can be combined to make a larger deduction.
Let's say that the married couple filing jointly has a $285,000 mortgage at 5% for 30 years that has about $14,000 in interest being paid. The property taxes are $6,000 and they have $4,000 a year in charitable contributions for a total of $24,000 of allowable itemized deductions on Schedule A.