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Vocabulary: Loans & Lending Terms

(Published on - 1/29/2017 12:13:50 PM)

 

 

Term.

Mortgages are generally available at 15-, 20-, or 30-year terms. In general, the longer the term, the lower the monthly payment. However, shorter terms mean you pay less interest over the life of the loan.

Fixed vs. adjustable interest rates.

A fixed rate allows you to lock in a low interest rate as long as you hold the mortgage and, in general, is a good choice if interest rates are low. An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) usually offers a lower rate that will rise as market rates increase. ARMs usually have a limit as to how much and how frequently the interest rate can be increased. These types of mortgages are a good choice when fixed interest rates are high or if you expect your income to grow significantly in the coming years.

Non-traditional mortgages.

Also sometimes called “exotic,” these mortgage types were common in the run-up to the housing crisis, and often featured loans with low initial payments that increase over time.

Balloon mortgage.

This is a form of non-traditional financing where your interest rate will be very low for a short period of time—often three to seven years. Payments usually only cover interest so the principal owed is not reduced. This type of loan may be a good choice if you think you will sell your home at a large profit in a few years.

Government-backed loans.

These loans are sponsored by agencies such as the Federal Housing Administration or the Department of Veterans Affairs. They offer special terms, including reduced interest rates to qualified buyers. VA Loans are open to veterans, reservists, active-duty personnel, and surviving spouses and are one of the only options available for zero down payment loans. FHA loans are open to anyone, and while they do require a down payment, it can be as low as 3.5 percent. Drawbacks include a slower loan process and—for FHA loans—the need to pay mortgage insurance.

However…

As the housing market shifts, so do lending practices. A mortgage broker—an independent professional who acts as an intermediary between you and lending institutions—may be able to help you find a better rate than you can on your own. Also, be sure to shop around; slight variations in interest rates, loan amounts, and terms can significantly affect your monthly payment.

 

 

 

 

SOURCE: http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/handouts-for-customers/for-buyers/vocabulary-loans-lending-terms


How to Prepare to Finance a Home

(Published on - 1/29/2017 12:12:25 PM)

 

 

Develop a budget.

Instead of telling yourself what you’d like to spend, use receipts to create a budget that reflects your actual habits over the last several months. This approach will better factor in unexpected expenses alongside more predictable costs such as utility bills and groceries. You’ll probably spot some ways to save, whether it’s cutting out that morning trip to Starbucks or eating dinner at home more often.

Reduce debt.

Lenders generally look for a debt load of no more than 36 percent of income. This figure includes your mortgage, which typically ranges between 25 and 28 percent of your net household income. So you need to get monthly payments on the rest of your installment debt—car loans, student loans, and revolving balances on credit cards — down to between 8 and 10 percent of your net monthly income.

Increase your income.

Now’s the time to ask for a raise! If that’s not an option, you may want to consider taking on a second job to get your income at a level high enough to qualify for the home you want.

Save for a down payment.

Designate a certain amount of money each month to put away in your savings account. Although it’s possible to get a mortgage with 5 percent down or less, you can usually get a better rate if you put down a larger percentage of the total purchase. Aim for a 20 percent down payment.

Keep your job.

While you don’t need to be in the same job forever to qualify for a home loan, having a job for less than two years may mean you have to pay a higher interest rate.

Establish a good credit history.

Get a credit card and make payments by the due date. Do the same for all your other bills, too. Pay off entire balances as promptly as possible.

Start saving.

Do you have enough money saved to qualify for a mortgage and cover your down payment? Ideally, you should have 20 percent of the purchase price saved as a down payment. Also, don’t forget to factor in closing costs, which can average between 2 and 7 percent of the home price.

Obtain a copy of your credit report.

Make sure it is accurate and correct any errors immediately. A credit report provides a history of your credit, bad debts, and any late payments.

Decide what kind of mortgage you can afford.

Generally, you want to look for homes valued between two and three times your gross income, but a financing professional can help determine the size of loan for which you’ll qualify. Find out what kind of mortgage (30-year or 15-year? Fixed or adjustable rate?) is best for you. Also, gather the documentation a lender will need to preapprove you for a loan, such as W-2s, pay stub copies, account numbers, and copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements. Don’t forget property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and association fees, if applicable.

Seek down payment help.

Check with your state and local government to find out whether you qualify for special mortgage or down payment assistance programs. If you have an IRA account, you can use the money you’ve saved to buy your first home without paying a penalty for early withdrawal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOURCE: http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/handouts-for-customers/for-buyers/how-prepare-finance-home


The Tax Benefits of Owning A Home

(Published on - 1/29/2017 11:47:30 AM)

 

The tax deductions you’re eligible to take for mortgage interest and property taxes greatly increase the financial benefits of home ownership. Let’s work through a hypothetical situation to see how it works.

For a married couple filing jointly earning $112,400 in gross income, here’s how those homeownership deductions might work:

112,400 (income)
-12,577 (home ownership deductions)
= 99,823 (taxable income)

Using IRS tax tables from 2014, their tax would be $16,669. Without the deductions, they would pay $19,812.50 in taxes ($112,400 X 25% - 8,287.50, based on the 2014 IRS Computation Worksheet). This means they save $3,143.50 on their taxes as homeowners.

Of course, this is just one example to give you an idea of how homeownership might affect your tax liability. These numbers will vary according to your mortgage, local tax rates, marital status, income, and based upon other deductions for which you may qualify. Consult with your CPA or tax professional to understand your particular situation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/handouts-for-customers/for-buyers/tax-benefits-owning


How to Improve Your Credit

(Published on - 1/29/2017 11:46:18 AM)

Credit scores play a big role in determining whether you’ll qualify for a loan and what your loan terms will be. So, keep your credit score high by doing the following:

Check for errors in your credit report.

Thanks to an act of Congress, you can download one free credit report each year at annualcreditreport.com. If you find any errors, correct them immediately.

Pay down credit card bills.

If possible, pay off the entire balance every month. Transferring credit card debt from one card to another could lower your score.

Don’t charge your credit cards to the max.

Pay down as much as you can every month.

Wait 12 months after credit difficulties to apply for a mortgage.

You’re penalized less severely for problems after a year.

Don’t order items for your new home on credit.

Wait until after your home loan is approved to charge appliances and furniture, as that will add to your debt.

Don’t open new credit card accounts.

If you’re applying for a mortgage, having too much available credit can lower your score.

Shop for mortgage rates all at once.

Having too many credit applications can lower your score. However, multiple inquiries about your credit score from the same type of lender are counted as one if submitted over a short period of time.

Avoid finance companies.

Even if you pay off their loan on time, the interest is high and it may be considered a sign of poor credit management.

 

 

 

Source: http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/handouts-for-customers/for-buyers/how-improve-your-credit


What to Know About Credit Score

(Published on - 1/29/2017 11:44:06 AM)

 

Credit scores range between 200 and 850, with scores above 620 considered desirable for obtaining a mortgage. The following factors affect your score:

Your payment history.

Did you pay your credit card bills on time? Bankruptcy filing, liens, and collection activity also affect your history.

How much you owe and where. 

If you owe a great deal of money on numerous accounts, it can indicate that you are overextended. However, spreading debt among several accounts can help you avoid approaching the maximum on any individual credit line.

The length of your credit history.

In general, the longer an account has been open, the better.

How much new credit you have.

New credit—whether in the form of installment plans or new credit cards—is considered more risky, even if you pay down the debt promptly.

The types of credit you use.

Generally, it’s desirable to have more than one type of credit—such as installment loans, credit cards, and a mortgage.

 

 

 

Source: http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/handouts-for-customers/for-buyers/what-know-about-credit-scores