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.
Monday, December 17, 2018 / by Nicki Conway
Smart home technology promises to make your home more comfortable, convenient and secure. It may not be the home from the Jetson's but artificial intelligence is the hope to make it the home of the future which is available now and controlled from anywhere you have an Internet connection.
When Alexa appeared at Christmas-time two years ago, most people thought it was a novelty to ask what the weather will be or to play a song. Few people understood the vision of Amazon would be verbally purchasing everything imaginable and that your calendar, contacts, lights, and appliances would all be connected.
There are plenty of players in the market including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Samsung Smart Things, Apple and others. It starts with a hub that acts like a brain for your system to connect the different home automation devices. You'll establish an online account with the hub manufacturer so that you can adjust settings and controls.
You could start simple ...
Monday, November 12, 2018 / by Nicki Conway
It's been said that if you can find a home that has most of what you want, you should go ahead and purchase it. Many first-time buyers are using everything they have for a down payment and closing costs and would have to "live" with the less than perfect home until they can save the money to make the changes.
The FHA 203(k) mortgage allows a borrower to purchase a home and provides additional funds for improvements to be made. These types of renovations can include kitchen and bathroom remodels, flooring, plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems, additions and other things.
The benefit to the buyer is that they have the opportunity to consider a home that needs repairs and might have been unacceptable without a program like this. Being a FHA loan, a minimal down payment is required, fair interest rates and generous qualifying requirements.
The 203(k) Streamline can be used for cosmetic improvements, appliances and minor remodeling up to $35,000 in c ...