Tips & Advice

/Tips & Advice
15 12, 2016

Buying in 2017: Be Prepared

December 15th, 2016|Blog, Buying a home, Home Finances, Tips & Advice|

Are you planning to buy a home in 2017? If so, you have probably already taken a couple steps to prepare. If you haven’t, that is okay too! We are going to discuss a few things that you can be doing now to get ready to buy a home. There is plenty to do to keep busy!

  1. Check your credit score. A credit score is a number that represents your credit report. FICO scores range from 300 to 850 and the higher the score the better. The better the credit score, the better the chances are that you will get a lower mortgage rate. If you credit score is not where you would like it to be, then start repairing it. Pay bills on time, limit unnecessary purchases, do anything you can financially to make sure you pay your credit card bill on time or even over pay it.
  2. Don’t open new credit cards. The holidays are tempting time for credit card holders. Almost every time you step up to check out at a store, someone is offering you a credit card. The savings sound great, but opening more accounts create more lines of credit. That credit line and what is borrowed, can change the application numbers and jeopardize your application. Also, don’t over spend during the holiday season and rack up more credit card debt.
  3. Suggest financial gifts. You are going to need to prepare for the down payment and also the closing costs and moving costs that are associated with buying a home. You should also consider setting aside money for unexpected repairs and costs. So instead of getting gifts this holiday season, ask your family to give you cash towards your potential new home. It will help in the long […]
2 09, 2016

Tips for Pet Owners when purchasing a home

September 2nd, 2016|Blog, Buying a home, Tips & Advice|

Buying a home as a pet ownerIf you have any pets you would probably agree, they are part of the family. You couldn’t imagine your life without them, so your new home is no exception. It is important to think about a few things when you are buying a home as a pet owner because let’s face it they might be spending more time in the home than you will be.

Ensuring local ordinances, regulations and neighborhood environment in regards to pets will affect how your pet acclimates to your new home and how much room they have for activities.

Let’s take a look at a few tips:

1) Check Local Requirements

For any potential home purchase, whether you have pets or not, you have probably familiarized yourself with the city. As a pet owner, it will be helpful to familiarize yourself with city and county ordinances. These include leash laws, and other common sense rules such as cleaning up after your pet in public places. Noncompliance can result in a fine. Many communities are striving to create and maintain environmentally friendly and pet-friendly parks. Information on pet parks and playgrounds exist in the area of a potential home should be available from local parks and recreation departments.

2) Ask for apartment or HOA rules

If you are buying a single-family home, this will most likely give your pet the most freedom. For you, a condo or town house might be more in your budget. For these options, check the rules and regulations in regards to pets. Homeowners associations (HOAs) typically govern these with rules for what is allowed and what is not. It will all vary on the location that you choose.

3) Assess the home layout

You love your pet; you want them to be comfortable inside and outside of […]

17 06, 2016

Smart Moves for First-Time Home Buyers

June 17th, 2016|Home Finances, Mortgage 101, Tips & Advice|

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First-time home buyers, are you ready to buy? It is a seller’s market right now so we are here to prepare you with tips before entering the market. Your biggest challenge is that you are probably bringing less cash to the table, which makes it harder to compete with more season buyers. What YOU do have is flexibility-you’re not counting on selling your current place to fund the deal. Which means that you are a perfect answer for sellers who want to stay put until they land their next place.

  1. Lock up your financials. It is time to clean up your credit and save for a bigger down payment so that you’ll qualify for a better mortgage rate and avoid costly fees. Start paying down credit cards so your balance is less than 30% of the limit and avoid late payments. It is so important to pay your bills on time, even student loan payments. Student loans will not hinder your chance of getting a loan, as long as you are making the payments on time. Next, 20% is the golden number for down payments. Putting down 20% helps you avoid costly private mortgage insurance and can help you to beat competing offers. If you aren’t there yet, either change your spending habits to save up more or start looking at cheaper homes.
  2. Check Alternative Mortgage Options. If you can’t get close to that 20% down payment or your credit score is not where you would like it to be, that is okay too! FHA loans (read more about them here) let you put just 3.5% down, and offer better rates for those with less-than-pristine credit. It is important to know the tradeoff though, […]
25 05, 2016

Buying a Home with Student Loans

May 25th, 2016|Blog, Buying a home, Home Finances, Mortgage 101, Tips & Advice|

 

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The housing market has been waiting for millennials to settle down and start buying homes instead of renting or remaining in their parent’s home for a few years now. If you ask any millennials, many of them will say these decisions are being prolonged due to the amount of student debt haunting them. The average Class of 2016 graduate has $37,172 in student debt, up six percent from last year according to https://studentloanhero.com/student-loan-debt-statistics-2016/. This is a huge financial burden to be facing, but we are here to tell you how you can still buy a home even with student loans.

Shop for a Home you can afford

This should be a rule of thumb for any purchase in life, if you can’t afford it, you probably should not be buying it. Home shopping can be tempting. You may be looking at multiple car garages, completely new appliances, high ceilings and much more. It is important not to get carried away. If you are a first-time home buyer, you may have to go with a starter home instead of your dream home but that will come with time.

Minimize Debt from Credit Cards and Car Loans

When applying for a loan these are the main factors taken into consideration:

  1. Income.
  2. Savings.
  3. Credit Score.
  4. Monthly debt-to-income ratio.

Your debt-to-income ratio shows the lender your total financial obligations including car payments, credit card debt and student loans in comparison to your income. To keep yours low, keep off as much debt as possible before applying for a mortgage.

Lower your monthly student loan payments

Even if you do not have any other types of debt, having a high student loan monthly payment could give you a high debt-to-income ratio. To lower that ratio […]

17 05, 2016

Renters: Are You Ready to Buy a Home?

May 17th, 2016|Blog, Buying a home, Tips & Advice|

House icon and keys on wooden background

Most renters are planning to buy a home at some point. If so, they are probably saving up for the down payment right about now. Besides that obviously step, here are four more advanced steps towards moving out your rental and into a dream home of your own.

Understanding the full cost of homeownership

As a renter, you are used to writing a check to your landlord and that covering your monthly housing payment. As a future homeowner, make sure you are familiar with the four components of a mortgage payment that are listed below, otherwise known as P.I.T.I:
Principal: Money that is going towards the remaining amount of your loan.
Interest: This is the amount of the payment that is going towards the interest on your loan. For a while at the beginning of owning your home, a large majority of your mortgage payment with be going towards the interest on the loan.
Taxes: Refers to property taxes, which are assessed by the county that you live in. They average 1.2% of your home’s value each year.
Insurance: This will be paid to a homeowner’s insurance company of your choice; this is required when you have a mortgage. Lenders require that your insurance cover the cost of rebuilding the home if it is ruined by fire or other disaster. This “replacement cost” is determined by your insurer, and must be agreed to by your lender. Insurance will typically cost $700 to $1,200 per year for a single family home.

Know your homeowner tax benefits

Mortgage interest and property taxes are deductible when you file your annual tax returns, and reduce taxable income. These deductions significantly lower your cost of homeownership. For example, for a $300,000 home with 20 percent down and a 30-year fixed mortgage […]

3 05, 2016

Down Payment: How much you should save to buy a home

May 3rd, 2016|Blog, Mortgage 101, Tips & Advice|

Horizontal view of marriage analyzing the bills

Is buying a home on the horizon for you? Have you started to save up for the down payment? Let’s first start with the basics of what a down payment is. A down payment is the amount of money you will spend upfront to purchase a home and is typically combined with a home loan to fulfill the total purchase price of a home.

How much do I need to save for my down payment?

The higher your down payment is, the lower your monthly mortgage payments will be. This will also depend on what type of loan that you get. Different loans require different amounts for the down payment. Typically you will need to save 5 to 20 percent of the sale price in cash in order to qualify for a conventional loan (30-year fixed mortgage). Down payments for jumbo loans can be as low as 5%. If you put down less than 20 perfect on a conventional loan, you will most likely have to pay mortgage insurance.

Low down payment financing options

Saving for a 20 percent down payment might be too difficult or take too long for many first-time home buyers or borrowers with lower household incomes. Other loan programs offer as low as zero to 3.5 percent down payment option, although a zero down-payment option is more difficult to get. The most common programs for the lower down payment mortgages come from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Most FHA loans require a minimum 3.5 percent down a decent credit score in order to qualify. Additionally, these types of loans are federally insured to reduce the risk of loss if a borrower defaults on their mortgage payments.

If you meet the eligibility guidelines, you may be able to qualify […]

4 03, 2016

What tax Season means for Homeowners

March 4th, 2016|Home Finances, Mortgage 101, Tips & Advice|

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Tax season is upon us! Whether you already own a home or are looking to buy in the near future this is important information. For being a homeowner, there are many deductions you could receive when filing your taxes. Let’s check out a few:

  1. Mortgage Interest. When buying a home the interest payments can be pretty expensive but there is a silver lining to the situation. Interest that you pay on your mortgage is tax deductible, within limits. If you are married and filing jointly, you can deduct all your interest payments on a maximum of $1 million in mortgage debt secured by a first or second home.
  2. Points. There will be various fees when you first buy your home, one of which is called, “points.” One point is equal to 1% of the loan principal. One to three points are common on home loans, which can easily add up to thousands of dollars. You can fully deduct points associated with a home purchase mortgage. Refinanced mortgage points are also deductible, but only over the life of the loan, not all at once. Homeowners who refinance can immediately write off the balance of the old points and begin to amortize the new.
  3. Equity Loan Interest. You may be able to deduct some of the interest you pay on a home equity loan or a line of credit. However, the IRS places a limit on the amount of debt you can treat as “home equity” for this deduction. Your total is limited to the smaller of:
  • $100,000 (or $50,00 for each member of a married couple if they file separately), or
  • The total of your home’s fair market value – this is, what you’d get for your house on the open market – minus certain other outstanding debts against […]
25 02, 2016

Tips for buying a home this spring

February 25th, 2016|Blog, Buying a home, Home Finances, Tips & Advice|

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It is not a secret that spring is a great time to put your home on the market. Prospective homebuyers can look at homes and condos without having to worry about trudging through snow or bad weather. Plus families search for homes during this time so they can move in the summer without disrupting the school year.

A seller’s market means that buyers have to be smart and prepared if they want to get the right house at the right price. Agents suggest that prospective buyers start by looking at home online, narrowing down neighborhood choices and deciding between must-have and preferred features.

Here are tips for buying a home this spring:

• Get mortgage prequalification or preapproval before you start looking. As with any purchase, you need to know what you can afford. If you do this before you start shopping it will help narrow down your options and makes your offer more competitive.
• Do your research. Use the internet and different apps to research neighborhood and asking prices for the type of home you want.
• Have the documents ready. In order to obtain a mortgage you will need documentation to complete the qualification process. Check out the full list of what is needed on our website: http://firstohiohome.com/purchase-home/mortgage-checklists/
• Be ready to move fast. A well-located house in good condition and priced right will sell quickly; it can even be the first day it goes on the market. A buyer needs to be ready to commit if they find a home they like because they risk the chance of losing it if they don’t. One of the things First Ohio Home Finance is known for is how quickly they work for their customers.
• Understand that no house is perfect. Making your offer contingent on a home […]

22 12, 2015

Interest rates are going up, what does this mean for home buyers?

December 22nd, 2015|Blog, Buying a home, Latest News, Mortgage 101, Tips & Advice|

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The Federal Reserve raised interest rates last Wednesday for the first time in nearly a decade, meaning that the U.S. economy has overcome the wounds of the 2007-2009 financial downfalls. The U.S central bank’s policy-setting committee raised its benchmark interest rate from a range of 0-0.25 percent to a range of 0.25-0.50 percent, ending a lengthy debate about whether the economy could withstand higher borrowing costs.

It is still unsure what the long-term effects of this change will be but for now we can speculate on what this will mean for home buyers:

  • The feds have been signaling that interest rates will be raising very slowly, which will probably have very little effect on mortgages and saving accounts.
  • Mortgage lenders have already been working the increase into today’s mortgage rates because an increase has been approaching for some time.
  • Real estate agents and home builders do not feel there is a sense of urgency for home buyers to purchase before the rates go up, buyers should take the time needed to make good decisions.
  • With that said, if buying a home is on the horizon, it does not hurt to pay attention to these changes.

In the United States right now the average mortgage interest rate is 3.95%. Most experts do not think mortgages rates will go much higher than 4% anytime soon. Even an increase to 4.5% would only add about $700 a year to the monthly payments for a $200,000 home. The early indications are that rates barely budged after the announcement by the Federal Reserve last week.

Buying a home can seem like an overwhelming process but do not let this recent news about interest rates scare you away. Have a personal timeline for when you want to have certain steps in the process accomplished and […]

14 12, 2015

Is an ARM right for you?

December 14th, 2015|Blog, Home Finances, Mortgage 101, Tips & Advice|

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When it comes to buying a home and obtaining a mortgage, everyone’s situation is unique. Housing needs and personal finances vary greatly, so it’s important for every home buyer to understand the types of mortgages that are available.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages, or ARMs, generally offer a lower initial interest rate than conventional 30-year fixed rate mortgages. However, after the introductory period, the rate will increase at specific intervals until it reaches a capped amount. Because ARM terms can vary substantially, borrowers should understand several concepts that apply to this type of loan:

  • Frequency of the interest rate adjustments
  • Interest rate Adjustment Indexes
  • Interest rate caps for each adjustment interval
  • Interest rate ceiling over the life of the loan

Mortgage lenders are an important information source for home buyers and prospective borrowers should keep asking questions until they thoroughly understand their options.

So, is an Adjustable Rate Mortgage right for you? Here are several factors to consider:

  • How large of a mortgage payment can you afford today?
  • Could you still afford your monthly payment if interest rates rise significantly?
  • How long do you intend to live in the home? If you plan on living in the house for only a few years, the lower rate ARM might make good sense.
  • What direction are interest rates heading?

Interest rates have been very low for many years. However, the Federal Reserve has given indications that rates will rise in the future. Higher interest rates along with rising home prices can make ARMs a viable option that helps many buyers purchase the home they need.

If you would like to learn more about Adjustable Rate Mortgages – and whether an ARM is the best solution for your needs – contact First Ohio Home Finance today. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have. You can also […]

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