Understanding How Mortgage Calculators Work and When to Make Use of One

Understanding How Mortgage Calculators Work and When to Make Use of OneInvesting in a home is a big financial decision, and along with the decision to buy is the question of how much mortgage you’ll be able to afford. While your debt-to-income ratio can be helpful in determining the range for your mortgage amount, a mortgage calculator can be a beneficial tool in coming to a potential price. If you’re curious about how and if this financial tool can benefit you, here are the details about using a mortgage calculator.

What Does It Do?

It’s very important to ensure that you can afford your mortgage before signing on the dotted line, and a mortgage calculator can assist with this. Most calculators utilize the principal amount of the loan, the interest rate and the amortization period in order to find a monthly payment that is foreseeable for you. While a debt-to-income ratio and the advice of a mortgage professional can be helpful, a calculator can be a quick determination of the overall cost involved.

How Accurate Is It?

Some mortgage calculators can utilize a pretty simple formula to come up with an estimate, but some are more complex and can calculate PMI, home insurance, and even property tax to arrive at a sum. The most accurate calculators will utilize the principal, interest, taxes and home insurance in order to determine an estimate that is feasible for you. However, it’s important to understand that you’ll need to enter the information accurately and leave out as little as possible, as this can have a dramatic impact on the calculation’s reliability.

Should You Use One?

A mortgage calculator can be beneficial in providing you with an estimate, but it should not be the be-all-end-all when it comes to making the final decision. It’s important to consider your current lifestyle and your future plans to ensure that your monthly payment will remain do-able down the road. While a calculator is a good place to begin, it’s worth consulting with a lender to get an idea of how much home you can afford. Since they’ll be required to provide a GFE with the fees disclosed, this will be the best means of understanding the costs.

A mortgage calculator can be a good means of estimating your house-buying ability, but it’s important to get the advice of a lender before making the big decision. If you’re currently in the market for a new home, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

3 Ways to Earn Some Spare Cash to Help Pay Your Mortgage Down Faster

3 Ways to Earn Some Spare Cash to Help Pay Your Mortgage Down FasterA mortgage is one of the most expensive purchases you’ll make in your life, and for many, the idea of being indebted to it for years can seem like quite a burden. However, while you won’t necessarily be able to pay off your home with instant savings, there are ways that you can pay it down more quickly. If you’re wondering how to drum up some extra money for your mortgage, you may want to consider the following options.

Refinance Your Mortgage

One of the best ways to get a hold of extra funds is by lowering the amount you owe, and refinancing can be a way to do this. Since the interest rate on your mortgage adds up to additional money spent over time, getting a lower rate can easily minimize your monthly mortgage payment. It’s just important to be aware of all the costs associated with refinancing beforehand so that you can be sure the choice will result in money saved and an improved financial outlook.

Review Your Budget

Budget may be a dirty word for many people, but when it comes to scrimping for your home, it may be one of the best weapons you have in paying down your mortgage. Instead of looking elsewhere, sit down and review your budget to ensure your expenditures aren’t out of line with your income. It may seem too good to be true but, in all likelihood, you’ll be able to find a few places you can cut back for a little extra money each month.

Get A Second Job

It may not be the best option if you’re already working hard at your day job, but getting a job on the side can end up being a great way to find extra cash without limiting your lifestyle. Whether you decide to work in a restaurant or pick up a freelance gig on the side, there are plenty of options that may quickly add up to a more-rapidly reduced principal. You may even want to find something you already enjoy so it feels less like work.

The idea of paying down your home more quickly may seem out of reach, but by re-considering your budget and considering other employment, you may be able to hustle up some additional funds for your investment. If you’re preparing for home ownership and are considering your mortgage options, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Dealing With a Tight Housing Market? 3 Tips to Ensure You Get the Mortgage You Need

Dealing With a Tight Housing Market? 3 Tips to Ensure You Get the Mortgage You NeedIn many cities around the country, real estate prices are on the rise and potential buyers are working hard to find a home they can feel good about. However, finding the right home in a tight market can be even more of a challenge when it comes to striking the right balance. If you’re hedging around the market in the hopes of finding the perfect home, here are some things you should do to ensure you don’t miss out on a good opportunity.

Keep An Open Mind

When wading into the real estate market, it can be very easy to get so enamored with the kind of house you want that you don’t see what’s in front of you. However, not paying attention to the potential of a particular house can mean a missed opportunity that will end up costing you down the road. Instead of waiting around for your dream home, make sure you take a look at homes you might not have thought about as they may end up being a welcome surprise.

Be Confident, But Not Too Confident

Since many homeowners have history with their home, they want a homebuyer who’s going to be just as invested in their property as they were. On the other hand, though, it’s important not to be too excited about a home as the seller may use your interest to get a higher offer. Instead of playing on opposite poles, show your interest and get into the game with a respectable offer, but be willing to back off if the seller isn’t interested.

Don’t Demand Too Much

Many potential homebuyers have been told to be aware during the home inspection and ensure they get the repairs they’re requesting, but in a tight market you may want to let a few things slip. While ignoring certain items like foundation or roof issues can be a major misstep, letting small things like a broken doorknob or peeling paint slide may be something you can easily remedy that won’t push you out of the game.

It can be complicated to get into the real estate market as a new buyer in a competitive market, but by letting the small stuff slide and being open-minded, you may just find the home you’re looking for. If you’re currently getting prepared to dive into the real estate market, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Mortgage 101: This Is How Mortgage Refinancing Works, in Plain and Simple Terms

Mortgage 101: This Is How Mortgage Refinancing Works, in Plain and Simple TermsThere are so many unfamiliar terms involved in the real estate market that it can be easy to be confused by the jargon. However, some words are more important to learn than others if they can end up benefiting you in the long run. Whether or not you’ve heard of mortgage refinancing, here are the basics on what this may mean for your home and whether or not it’s an option you should consider.

Acquiring A Lower Rate

If you’re new to refinancing, the primary reason that most homeowners choose this option is to get a lower interest rate and pay less on the overall cost of their mortgage. Because a lower interest rate means that a higher amount is paid on the principal each month, you may be able to pay off your mortgage at a quicker rate. While this may sound ideal, you’ll need a certain percentage decrease in your interest rate in order to make this option financially beneficial.

A Shorter Loan Term

While refinancing doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be paying less on your mortgage payment each month, it does mean that you may be able to take advantage of a shorter loan term. Since the overall amount you pay on your mortgage may be lowered with refinancing, you may be able to pay off your mortgage more quickly without it bumping up the amount of your monthly payment significantly. There may be a slight difference, but the benefits can definitely outweigh the drawbacks when it comes to paying less over time.

Weighing The Refinancing Option

The decision to refinance may very well end up being a boon for your financial well-being, but it’s important to consider the pros and cons ahead of time in order to make an educated decision. You’ll also want to make sure you’ll be staying in your home a while to reap the benefits of your equity. Because there will be fees associated with utilizing this mortgage option, like closing costs and application fees, it’s important to look over the numbers and ensure that it works out in your favor at the end of the day.

Refinancing your home to acquire a lower interest rate can be a great financial decision, but it’s important to determine whether or not the price is right before you move forward with this option. If you’re currently considering refinancing your mortgage, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Thinking About Investing in Real Estate? Here’s What You’ll Need to Get a Second Mortgage

Thinking About Investing in Real Estate? Here's What You'll Need to Get a Second MortgageThe decision to invest in a home is a big one for many people, but if you’re making the foray into real estate the second time around, it’s even more important to be financially aware and prepared. If you’re wondering what you’ll need in order to get approved for an investment property, here are some things that you’ll want to consider before deciding a second property is in your future.

A Larger Down Payment

Due to the risk factor involved in taking on more than one loan, acquiring a second mortgage for an investment property will likely require you to put more money down up front. Because you’re already paying into your home and are taking on an additional loan, you’ll have to prove to the mortgage lender that you’re a viable choice and have the financial wherewithal to stick to your payment schedule.

Knowledge Of The Market

It’s well and good to want to invest in a property so that you can find renters and turn a profit, but you’ll need to have a good place at the right price to make the investment worthwhile. Before you decide on a place, make sure that you research the neighborhood and the type of home you’re looking to buy so you can ensure there’s a viable market. A rental property is good, but you’ll need to have reliable renters in order to make it profitable.

A Property Manager

If you’re planning on being the landlord and doing all the little fix-its, you may not need to worry about a property manager. However, it’s important to weigh the decision carefully beforehand and ensure what will work best for you. If you’re not prepared to do emergency work or basic property maintenance, you’ll need to look for a property manager you can trust.

A Mortgage Pre-Approval

Without a doubt, a second mortgage will require you to take on more risk, so it’s important to speak with a lender about pre-approval before getting too involved. If you’ve crunched the numbers, you may already have an idea of what you can and can’t afford, but a lender will be able to give you a price range that suits your financial position and income set.

Investing in a second property can be a financially lucrative decision, but it’s important to be knowledgeable about your investment and your finances before diving in. If you’re currently getting prepared to invest in a home, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Can I Qualify for a Mortgage After Declaring Bankruptcy? Yes — and Here’s How

Can I Qualify for a Mortgage After Declaring Bankruptcy? Yes -- and Here's HowIt may feel like a very daunting task to consider buying a home after you’ve declared bankruptcy, and there’s no doubt that it’s an uphill battle. Fortunately, while you’ll have hard work ahead, there are things you can do in order to make your dream of home ownership a possibility. Whether you’ve just declared bankruptcy or some time has passed, here are some things you should consider before getting into the market.

Wait It Out

It might not be what you want to hear, but it’s, unfortunately, the case that you’ll have to wait at least two years before you purchase a home following bankruptcy. Since lenders will not want to take the risk on someone that has proven to have poor financial habits, they will require a waiting period in order for the credit risk you pose to improve. While this may seem like a long time, take the opportunity to improve your financial habits so you can be amply prepared when the time comes.

Build Up Your Credit

In order to own a home, you’ll need to develop some solid financial habits, and that means getting on top of your finances even in times when it feels like you have no leverage. Ensure you get a copy of your credit report and, if you notice any errors, reach out to the credit bureau for corrections. It’s also a good idea to consider applying for a secured credit card and ensure that you pay all of your bills on time. While it might feel like a lengthy task, developing good habits will have a positive impact on your credit over time.

Prepare For Your Payment

When it comes to a poor credit history, you’ll need to pull out every stop you can to that convince lenders that you’re a solid financial bet. Instead of wasting the time, write up a budget for yourself and save a sizeable sum for your down payment each month. It’s possible that 10 or 15% down will do, but a 20% payment will help you avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI) and will go further in convincing lenders of your reliability.

It’s more than a little disheartening to have to deal with bankruptcy, but by waiting it out and developing good financial habits in the interim, you’ll be well on your way to buying a home. If you’re currently preparing to purchase, contact your trusted mortgage professional for more information.

Yes, It’s Getting Easier to Get a Mortgage. Here’s How You Can Take Advantage

Yes, It's Getting Easier to Get a Mortgage. Here's How You Can Take AdvantageIt can be hard to stay on top of a changing real estate market from day-to-day, but it’s a matter of fact that there are more available mortgage products out there than ever before for many different kinds of homebuyers. If you’re wondering how you can take advantage of easier lending opportunities and strike while the iron is hot, here are some things to consider.

Take Care Of Your Credit

While many regulations on mortgage applications may have been loosened in recent years, it goes without saying that having a better credit score will still enable you to qualify for a mortgage more readily. Instead of risking it, ensure that you’ve obtained a copy of your credit score and are aware of where you stand as a financial risk. By working on your credit and correcting any errors on your report, it will be that much more likely to have your mortgage application approved.

Saving For A Down Payment

It’s often said that 20% is the ideal amount to put down in order to avoid private mortgage insurance, but it’s not the required amount in order to invest in a home. While it may save money, in the long run, to put more money down, for those who want to get into the housing market, there are many opportunities for putting a lot less down and still being able to purchase. It’s possible you may want to hold off until you can save up for your down payment, but possibilities exist for mortgages with as little as 3.5% down.

Dealing With Closing Costs

Saving up for a down payment and deciding to invest in a monthly mortgage payment is a significant commitment, but adding mortgage closing costs to that can be a bridge too far for many potential homebuyers. Fortunately, many lenders nowadays are offering the opportunity for closing costs like origination and attorney fees to be included in the total cost of the loan. While this will bump up the amount of your monthly payment, it can make a mortgage more feasible from the start.

For many people, there’s a lot of stress that goes along with applying for a mortgage, but with lower down payments required and closing costs included in the total price, getting approved has become a lot easier in recent years. If you’re currently in the market for a new home, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

Understanding What a “Piggyback” Mortgage Loan Is and How It Works

Understanding What a As a potential homebuyer who is new to the market, many of the terms and mortgage products available to you can be more than a little confusing. Piggyback loans might be a little less familiar than many other options, but if you’re ready to jump into the housing market this type of mortgage can be useful for you. If you’re hoping to invest in a home sooner rather than later, here are the details on this type of loan.

What’s A Piggyback Loan?

While most mortgage loans require one loan and one lender, a piggyback loan is used for homebuyers who don’t have 20% to put down but want to avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI). Because a mortgage with less than 20% down will require the homebuyer to pay PMI, a piggyback loan can assist in avoiding this. For example, in the event that the homebuyer is putting down 10%, their primary mortgage will cover 80% of the purchase price while the piggyback loan will cover the remaining 10%.

What Are The Requirements?

Since there have been many issues with piggyback loans in the past, there are more requirements for this type of loan than there used to be. While it varies from lender to lender, most homebuyers will be expected to put down at least 10% in order to qualify for this loan. In addition, they will be required to have a good credit score to ensure they are a good risk. While the debt-to-income ratio will fluctuate from lender to lender, potential homebuyers will have to prove that they can make their monthly payments.

Is This Loan Right For You?

It’s important before deciding on a piggyback loan that it’s the right choice for you. Since a piggyback loan will require you to pay down two different loans, it means that you will not be able to tap into your home equity in the event that you want to free up funds. It can also put home ownership in harm’s way if there are any financial setbacks. As well, while PMI can be canceled after the equity in your home is at 20%, a piggyback loan does not provide this option.

A piggyback mortgage can be a good option for homeowners who want to get into the market, but it’s important to determine if it’s a financially solid choice before wading in. If you’re currently getting prepared to buy, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

Thinking About a Second Mortgage on Your House? Here’s What You Need to Know

Thinking About a Second Mortgage on Your House? Here's What You Need to KnowWhether it’s to consolidate debt or make funds available for a home renovation, many people consider a second mortgage in order to make it possible to pursue other options. However, like any important financial decision, it’s important to be informed about the financial implications before diving in. If you’re currently weighing your mortgage options and are considering a second mortgage, here are some things to do before the final decision.

Research The Lenders

Since a second mortgage means that you’ll be borrowing against the value of your home, it’s especially important to do your research the second time around and ensure you’re going with the right lender. Instead of going with your first choice or the familiar one, look at a number of different lenders and see if they have positive reviews. A second mortgage can be a big risk so you’ll want to ensure you’re working with a lender who will be working for you.

Prepare Yourself For Higher Costs

Since a second mortgage qualifies as the second loan on your home, it means that it will be the second loan to be paid off in the event that you default on the debt. As a result, the rates for a second mortgage are generally higher than those for your first loan because the lender will be taking on a more substantial risk. While higher rates may not be that alarming if you’ve garnered low rates for your first mortgage, it’s important to determine the financial benefits before deciding on this option.

Is A Second Mortgage Right For You?

Borrowing money may be a common signpost of our culture, but it’s important to consider if a second mortgage is the right financial choice for you. You can certainly improve the value of your home with renovations and perhaps pay off some of your debt, but a second mortgage will only be beneficial if it improves your financial outlook in the end. Before diving in, make sure that you create a budget and calculate the potential savings so you can determine if it’s a good move.

There are a number of financial risks associated with getting a second mortgage so it’s important to weigh your options before deciding that this mortgage product is the right choice for you. If you’re currently looking into available options on the market, contact your trusted mortgage professional for more information.

The 10-year Mortgage: Why a Shorter Amortization Period Can Be Your Best Option

The 10-year Mortgage: Why a Shorter Amortization Period Can Be Your Best OptionFrom ‘down payment’ to ‘adjustable rate’ to ‘debt-to-income’ ratio, there are so many terms involved in the mortgage process that it can be hard to learn them all and keep them straight. However, whether or not you’ve heard it, the term ‘amortization period’ might be one of the most important ones associated with your financial well-being. If you’re currently considering the period of loan you should choose, here are some things to think about before taking on a term.

What Is Amortization?

Used to refer to the length of time it takes to pay off your mortgage loan, a typical amortization period is 25 years. However, there are many periods over which homebuyers can choose to pay off their mortgage. While many homeowners opt for what works best for them, it can be the case that a shorter mortgage period will actually be more financially beneficial in the long run. It may not only mean lower overall costs, it may also mean financial freedom from a loan much sooner than originally anticipated.

The ‘Principal’ Of The Matter

It’s important to have a monthly mortgage payment amount that’s sustainable, but a shorter amortization period means that you will be paying a higher amount on the principal and paying more on the actual loan amount. While a longer amortization period will add up to more interest payments and less paid on the loan cost each month, a shorter period can end up costing you less for your home when all’s said and done.

Considering Your Loan Period

It goes without saying that a shorter amortization period will pay down the principal sooner and cost less over time, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the best choice for you. Because your monthly payment will be taking a sizeable chunk out of your salary, it may be difficult to swing a higher payment in order to pay off your loan in 10 years. If it’s doable without compromising your quality of life, you may want to choose this option, but if there’s too much sacrifice you may want to opt for a longer loan period.

Everyone has a choice in the amortization period that works for them, but it’s important to make your decision based on what works for you and will be beneficial for your finances. If you’re currently getting prepared to invest in a home, contact your trusted mortgage professional for more information.