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Before You Apply For A Mortgage Be Careful With Your Credit

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credit-report-basicsConsumers In The Eyes Of Lenders

Your credit history may seem like a vague and abstract stack of file entries to you. But to banks, the numbers and ledger entries are all they need or want to know about you. What lenders find in your credit report will determine how they respond when you apply for a mortgage.

As it turns out, the way that you use your credit gives very distinctive clues about you. Your credit card usage shows how you are likely to behave when you pay a home loan.

If you have credit cards and use them regularly, your behavior is likely to fall into one of three categories. You pay off your cards completely each month, a substantial portion of your balance or just enough to stay in good standing.

Somebody Studied How Predictable Consumers Can Be

In a 2013 study, TransUnion conducted a study that concluded there are three types of credit card payers. The TransUnion Study showed that these categories also indicated the likely future behaviors of borrowers. The study referred to consumers who made full payment monthly as transactors. The term that describes card members who pay only part of the balance or the minimum as revolvers.

By analyzing tens of millions of consumer habits with credit cards, car loans, and mortgage payments, TransUnion found that revolvers have three times the mortgage default rate of transactors.

Using credit cards will build your credit score precisely because the credit agencies want a detailed history of your activity. Charges and payments will show a statistically measurable record that shows the experts how you are likely to behave in the future.

Lenders now use software that includes analytics that discovers information about transactors and revolvers into their lending decisions. This new approach is excellent news for many homebuyers. The metric will raise the number of applicants who win approval for the best terms and lowest interest rates. Borrowers who pay off credit card balances the most quickly will have the best access to home loans.

Apply For A Mortgage Like A Transactor

So what does this mean for consumers thinking of purchasing a new home or refinancing? Anyone who thinks they might wish to buy a home at some point in the future should craft their reportable credit activity accordingly. Become mindful of how you use credit. The earlier you can develop the practice of living within your means, making purchases on a credit card but paying off the balance every month.

Using a credit card sensibly demands tremendous self-discipline. The temptation to over-spend will always be right there. If you can cope with this challenge, you can enjoy the benefits of the features that credit card companies promote, without the costs of interest payments.

Whether you choose to make the sacrifices to develop a track record as a transactor or not, if you have any credit rating at all, there is a mortgage package that will work for you. However, it’s your card repayment behavior that will determine the terms that lenders offer when you apply for a mortgage.

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Down Payment Gifts – Avoid The Obvious Mistakes

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Mortgage Down Payment BasicsIn Which You Say Down Payment Gift Three Times

Trying to use a cash gift from friends or family as a down payment on a home is like rattling a can opener around cans of dog or cat food. Presumably, if you have the food you have the pet also and immediately get its full attention, whether you want it or not.

In the case of the can opener, it’s your dog or cat that miraculously appears. Your furry best friend goes from sleeping in the other room to hungrily staring at you in seconds.

Cash gifts passing into your bank account make your branch manager and the government wake up and take an interest. You will have to prove that it’s a gift, and the person giving it will have to prove they have it legitimately. You are going to get a lot of attention.

Getting Ready To Find A Chunk Of Change

When you are buying real estate, and you don’t have cash from selling your last home or out of your savings account, one of your biggest challenges is likely to be finding the funds for the down payment.

When you finance a home purchase with a mortgage, your lender will expect that you contribute a share, the down payment. The convention in residential real estate is that the deposit is at least twenty percent of the purchase price. Government programs such as FHA allow you to put down a smaller deposit if you buy mortgage insurance for the exceptional amount.

How To Present A Down Payment Gift Letter

When you are purchasing real estate, you are journeying right to the heart of the financial system. You’re going to generate some serious scrutiny if you bring in any sources of funding that are hard to track.

Banks and government agencies see transactions of every description; this includes some shady deals; if it’s possible, the banks have seen it all before. So, they have very carefully developed policies and procedures to ensure that they don’t inadvertently facilitate money laundering.

Couples Can Double Up On Giving

Having someone who is willing to help you buy a home is a real blessing, it’s likely to be someone close like your parents or in-laws. This noble third-party still needs to prove to your lender’s satisfaction that they are helping with funds from a legitimate source. Some rules determine how much a person can give as a down payment gift for tax purposes. Currently, one person can give $14,000 per year, and a couple can give twice that.

If your benefactor agrees to it, the best course of action may be to accept the cash early, before you begin the pre-qualification process. When it comes time to give the finds to the escrow company, you can then do so from a paper trail of regular bank accounts.

Your lender will happy, and you are more likely to get a loan on terms you like, and then you can close on a home, and collect the keys. All that remains after that is to open a can of tasty treats for your cat or dog, a bottle of a favorite beverage for you, and celebrate.

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13 Hacks To Lift Your Credit Score Before You Buy A Home

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Before You Purchase Your HomeBuying your first home is an excellent decision. But you may want to improve your credit score now that you are putting the plan into action. When you apply for a loan, you will want to be in the best financial position to get a good deal. The one thing that will disrupt your efforts most quickly is a rejected loan application.

To make sure you can qualify, boost your credit score and optimize your credit reports before you begin house hunting. Your credit score will improve when you make regular payments and reduce the balances of outstanding loans.

Your Credit Reports

Read your credit reports – The three major credit reporting agencies TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax, have to provide a free copy of your credit reports once a year. Download from the web at annualcreditreport.com and read these agencies say about you, it can be an eye-opening experience.

Inventory your liabilities – Your credit reports should have all of your borrowing and outstanding debts listed. These documents can run to dozens of pages.

Dispute any anomalies – Credit agencies have been known to record inaccurate and false information about consumers. Read your reports with a skeptical eye and be prepared to challenge inaccuracies. Getting incorrect data removed might make a difference in whether you get a loan or how much interest you pay.

Your Credit Score

Free credit scoring services – Your Fair Isaacs and Company or FICO Score is a mathematical calculation of your credit worthiness. FICO gives you a snapshot of your credit condition where higher means a better chance to get your mortgage application approved. Some services charge to give you this information, but you can get it free on the web if you shop around.

Credit monitoring – If you are concerned about credit fraud, consider paying for credit monitoring by one of the big three credit agencies or FICO.

Create A Proactive Budget

Write it all down – Create a budget on paper or use a spreadsheet application. You get a much clearer picture of what you owe when you see it all on one page. A budget will also help you make a plan to reduce your debt and improve your credit score.

Online budget managers – Subscription based online budget management services like Mint.com by Intuit will help you organize your personal finances and make a budget.

Pay Off Loans

Make extra payments – Use any cash you have to pay down the balances that are reducing your credit score. It will help your credit both by showing that you can make payments and by reducing the amount you owe. If you don’t have savings you can:

Spend less – Cut your living expenses by any means necessary. It may take some ruthless self-discipline, but it will open up the world of home ownership to you.

Earn more – Become the resident expert at volunteering for overtime, get a second job, or a gig that gives you extra income and pays everything toward reducing high loan balances. Also, the time you spend working you will be spending less money.

Financial Kung Fu

Rent-to-own programs – Ask your local agent or broker about leasing programs that give you the option to buy later. Rent-to-own may help you secure the right terms and give you the time to organize your finances.

Renegotiate your interest rates – While it might seem unlikely, call the customer service desk and ask. If you offer to make larger payments in return for a lower interest rate they might agree to new terms. What do you have to lose?

Seek alternative lending sources – Consolidating loans and credit cards may offer you the chance to pay down balances more quickly. Paying less interest means you can take bigger bites out of the principal.

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Earnest Money Deposits Show How Serious You Are

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Home Purchase BasicsHow Much Earnest Money Deposit And When?

When real estate holdings transfer from a seller to a buyer, earnest money deposits get the ball rolling, they’re the good faith payment that says the purchaser means business. As a buyer, the usual practice is that you offer an earnest money deposit between $1,000 and two percent of the sale value.

The law of contracts and the principle of caveat emptor govern real estate, which means be careful and don’t believe anything until you get it in writing. For sellers, that means you don’t do a deal until you’ve got a signed contract. You need to confirm that the buyer has deposited the earnest money into the appropriate escrow account.

Lenders And Sellers Understand Deposits Differently

Don’t confuse the earnest money with the deposit your bank wants you to put down. Your earnest money locks the seller into the sales contract. Although this payment contributes to your equity and therefore the full deposit, you’ll have to provide additional funds to fulfill the lender’s requirements when you close.

Banks expect buyers to provide a deposit of at least twenty percent of the sale price. You can reduce the deposit if you can join a government-backed loan program. If you don’t have the equity, you can also purchase private mortgage insurance for the excessive portion of the loan.

Once you’ve hammered out the details of the deal and signed the contract, you send a check or wire transfer to escrow for all or part of the agreed earnest money deposit. The amount you agree to put down depends on how well you negotiated. If the seller has other offers, your realtor may advise you to provide a larger sum as earnest money than you would if no one else is bidding.

Getting Your Funds Back When Agreements Fall Through

As the buyer, you are making a serious commitment and parting with funds when your realtor posts the deposit. Real estate transactions are always suspenseful, with a significant chance that even the simplest deal will fall through. Financing is the most notorious culprit; changes in terms demanded by the bank on a whim or of some flaw discovered in the property can stop the sale in its tracks.

Here are the three most likely outcomes when a deal doesn’t go through:

  • If the seller pulls out of the deal, then the buyer is likely to get the funds back
  • The purchaser changes their mind and cancel the transaction; they’re probably not getting the earnest money back
  • When it’s the lender that backs out the question is more complicated and may come down to timing
  • In any case, you should get advice from your Realtor

Only hand over the deposit when you are sure that you want the home and understand the risks. As with many other aspects of real estate sales, your individual state sets the laws that determine the finer details. Earnest money deposits are no exceptions how states regulate property transactions. Consult your realtor to confirm their personal approach and the process in your state.

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Rising Real Estate Prices And Stretching To Buy Your First Home

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Before You Purchase Your HomeHow Do You Respond To Rising Real Estate Prices?

Buying a home is once again becoming less affordable, but so is renting. Even with rising real estate prices, buying your home is still a less expensive option in the medium to long term. So, how can first-time buyers make a move to home ownership when it’s such an extreme reach to do so?

As it turns out, surging housing prices aren’t a problem for all regions of the country, some areas are affordable, others not so much. The price of houses and condominiums connect to other factors. The desirability of the region and the demands of the job market; residential real estate affordability relates directly to the quality of life and economic strength of your area.

Options That Make Home Buying More Affordable

Your choices in the face of high real estate prices are only limited by your imagination and determination. Granted, some of those choices sound a little like strong medicine. But, as prices go up, earning extra capital will require that you commit to investing sweat equity.

Here are some things you can do in response to high housing prices:

Move to a more affordable region – Harsh, but if you live in one of the most expensive parts of the nation, there are homes of equal size and quality that are less expensive elsewhere. If you’re retiring or can work remotely, you may find that other regions have much to offer.

Begin the process early – If you decide to buy your first home in an expensive community, you have to take longer and work harder to gather the necessary resources.

Get a second job – If you can save the income from a second job it could add up to a down payment, or at least enough to cover your closing costs. Five to eight hundred hours of work extra in a year adds up to a chunk of change, even at minimum wage. Also, keeping busy will help you avoid spending extra cash on entertainment, making your nest egg even bigger.

Explore Government loan guarantees – If you aren’t already checking out programs that offer government-backed financing. FHA and the Veterans Administration are two such examples. One of these programs might get you a smaller down payment and a lower interest rate than you could qualify for otherwise.

Lower your expectations – Well that just sucks! Or does it? Perhaps a more modest home-buying option could be a happier one. A smaller house or one further out from town might come with peace of mind included.

Tips For Would-Be Investors

Invest in more affordable regions – Like moving to cheaper regions, investing in residential and commercial investments can provide bargains. Smart investors can find less expensive options with which to expand a property portfolio. The returns will be proportionally smaller and growth slower, but over time, you can attain substantial equity.

Join a real estate syndicate – When investors of modest means want to tackle ambitious projects they form syndicates, legal entities pool assets. Ask your real estate broker or business-banking manager for local opportunities.

Buy shares in REITs instead – Larger syndicates can apply for special tax treatment, as real estate investment trusts. Many of the largest REITs are listed on the stock market and pay substantial quarterly dividends. Publicly traded REITs are the most hands-off real estate investment, available from your stockbroker.

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Here Are The Seller Financing Good And Bad Points

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selling-your-home-easy-wayVery occasionally, the party that sells a home to you will lend you some of the money to make the purchase. Seller financing rarely happens because there are usually other alternatives. However, for one reason or another, it could work out that the seller provides a loan for a part or the entire amount that you borrow.

An Extra Avenue To Home Ownership

The most common terms are for five years with a balloon payment. The payments only cover the interest due and a small fraction toward the principal. The balloon payment recoups the outstanding balance for the seller at the end of the term.

As the buyer, you will most likely use a conventional loan to refinance at the end of the loan and pay off the balloon. Your equity should have grown enough in the intervening time to make bank lending a comfortable fit. Seller financing helps you buy a property that would be out of your reach.

Seller Financing Can Help To Close The Deal

Sellers will sometimes agree to provide the funding because, by offering to carry a second mortgage, they can liquidate a portion of the sale proceeds as cash. They might need the cash for a down payment on a new property or to pay off other loans and obligations. Once the deal closes and you begin making payments, the seller still has an interest in the home. They may choose to sell the loan on to someone else or hang in for the duration.

Real estate transactions are all about titles, deeds, and contracts. Organizing seller financing is a matter of paperwork as part of the closing process, in line with the real estate laws of your state. The buyer and seller exchange a promissory note that specifies the interest rate and terms. The parties agree on how to include a schedule of payments of interest and principal, and any balloon payment due at the end.

The Downside For Buyers

Although buyers gain advantages from seller financing, such as quicker closing, lower closing costs, and more flexibility about the down payment, there are still plenty of things that can keep you up at night worrying. The terms will likely include a higher interest rate; sellers have the right to sell the promissory note to a third party, and you’ll still need to prove credit worthiness. Additionally, if a bank holds a note that the seller hasn’t disclosed, you will be on the hook if the bank decides to foreclose; you need to be very confident that the seller owns the property free and clear.

Always get professional advice from your real estate agent or attorney before you sign any such agreement. Seller financing is relatively uncommon in the United States at present because of widely available institutional credit on terms and conditions that suit almost any situation. If seller financing comes up as an option, talk to your realtor or broker to find the best way to acquire the home that you want.

 

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5 Tips For Homebuyers Seeking The Perfect Mortgage Solution

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Home Purchase ProcessBecoming a homebuyer is of the most trying consumer activities that you will ever experience. One of the things that make purchasing a home rewarding is finding the right loan to make it happen.

A little extra effort up front will help you get the best possible mortgage terms for your situation. Small adjustments to your home loan terms can save you thousands of dollars overall.

Three Different Mortgage Routes

There are three main channels through which to obtain real estate funding for homebuyers these days; these are banks, brokers, and online.

Banks and other financial institutions – Companies that have the capital to provide the funding provide the capital for lending directly. Your bank might be the first institution that you go to for financial advice and services. Pre-qualifying with your bank is one way to make realtors and sellers see you as serious about finding a deal.

Mortgage brokers – The advantage that agents who can bring lenders together with buyers are the diversity of loan packages they can offer. Even if your bank seems to have the right offer for your home buying needs, you might get a considerably better deal from a broker that has access to many different lending sources.

Online mortgage sites – The possibilities of online lending are just getting started. While many of the online lenders stick to the same practices as brokers and banks, a few digital mortgage lenders are rewriting the rules on how to approve a home loan.

The lesson is to shop around to make sure you get the best deal on a mortgage that you can. Lenders will vary the terms they offer and may even respond to requests for alternative terms. If you choose carefully, you can save tens of thousands of dollars over the life of a home loan.

5 Tips To Find The Right Home Loan

Build a budget – Work out your household budget; add up all of your monthly expenses and your income. The numbers you write down may confirm your understanding of your finances or it might turn out to be an eye-opening experience. In any case, writing down a budget will help you to understand what you can afford and what to do before you can buy a new home.

Look at your credit report – If you have not done so in the last year, go to AnnualCreditReport.com and pull your credit history, it is the only official website authorized by Federal law to provide the information to consumers.

Get preapproval – Once you have a sense of where you are and what you can afford it is time to get pre-approval from a lender. You already know what you think about your circumstances, pre-approval will give you some critical feedback and tell you what lending professionals judge your situation and how much home you can afford.

An abundance of options – Home loans are usually either fifteen or thirty-year terms, beyond that and the laws of your state and nation almost anything goes. Lenders will give you different interest rates and points to pay at closing.

Fees are not all written the same – As with interest and points; lenders are businesses, they work on many different business models. The origination fees a lender will demand depend on how they wish to build their portfolios of loans.

Bonus Tip For Stressed Out Home Buyers

Rejections don’t matter – One rejection does not mean all will reject you, sometimes it’s you, and sometimes it’s them. Lenders write their company policies differently, and they seek to lend to consumers that fit the specific criteria of their lending policies. Try to find out the reason, adapt, and keep going. Buying a home is an intense but rewarding experience.

Remember that lenders and Realtors earn a living when you succeed in purchasing your home. Don’t hesitate to discuss your questions and desires with your Realtor or real estate broker and get the ball rolling today.

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3 Ways Homeowners Can Get A Lower Mortgage Payment

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Mortgage Payment OptionsWould a lower mortgage payment make a difference in your lifestyle or family budget? If you have a burdensome pile of bills each month, these tips might help save a little on your budget.

Three Lower Mortgage Payment Options

The one most hopeful choice, with multiple variations, is refinancing your loan. The longer the time since taking out the loan you wish to replace, the more you can save by refinancing.

Leverage your equity – You might get lower mortgage payments by taking out a new conventional mortgage. This option requires that you find a cheaper package than the original loan or smaller due to your previous payments of principal that now have increased your equity.

Alternatively, you might be able to save on the mortgage insurance. If your equity has increased, either by repayments, rising home values or both, you can apply to end your policy, stopping the payments. If you can refinance with equity for a combined smaller payment and without premiums, you will double the savings.

Interest only – Loans for real estate usually combine repayments of principal and interest on the outstanding balance. Refinancing with a loan that only pays interest every month is a short-term solution at best.

A few lenders may offer an extended period of interest only payments. The down-side is either a future balloon payment or payments of interest and principal.

Adjustable rate mortgages – Lenders love loans that give them a chance to adjust to the current market rate periodically. In return for future uncertainty, lenders offer lower interest rates, fixed for some time after the start of the loan.

The initial fixed period may be as much as five years followed by yearly changes, relative to some index. If interest rates stay low, you pay a lower mortgage payment every month. On the other hand, the interest could become a burden if the rate goes up significantly. You trade short-term savings for medium and long-term risk with an ARM.

Pay More Monthly Instead

Here is a thought; maybe you want to pay less interest over the long run. If you have increased your equity and your payments are not so bad, perhaps you can refinance for a shorter term. Lenders love to get paid fast. So, if you make larger payments over fifteen years instead of thirty, you get a lower interest rate. The payment may be higher, but not by much, and you will pay much less over the lifetime of the new loan.

Issues When Seeking Lower Mortgage Payments

The one consideration when you are refinancing a home loan is that you will have to pay fees for the new loan. Your lender will tack on some combination of up-front costs and fees added to the new balance of the loan. These costs can be significant, and they vary from lender to lender. So, shop around carefully and make sure that you understand all of the costs involved clearly.

Once you have a home and making payments, your creditworthiness grows and so does your equity. The longer you keep making your payments on time, the better your position in refinancing. So, if you need to tighten your household budget, it may be an option to look around for a lower mortgage payment.

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Don’t Depend On Your Last Pay Statement To Get That Mortgage

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Home Purchase ProcessThe Sixty-Day Seasoning Rule

When you are waiting for approval on your home loan, you need to prepare for this one important detail. Your lender is unlikely to regard your most recent pay deposit as part of your contribution at closing. That means your paycheck is not eligible to form part of your deposit.

Conventional home loans require a substantial deposit of twenty percent of the purchase price. If you intend to take advantage of a government-backed loan program, your deposit may be as low as 3.5 percent instead. However, even if that covers most of your deposit, your lender won’t see it that way.

Instead, mortgage lenders prefer to count only funds that posted to your accounts more than sixty days ago. The term for such balances is that they are seasoned.

To Qualify For A Mortgage Be Prepared

As the Scouts say, “Be prepared” which is an excellent motto for the stressful time that you spend house hunting and negotiating with sellers. Getting to the point of agreement is not the end of the process; as the buyer, both you and the home must qualify for mortgage funding with your lender.

By this point you will be pre-qualified, otherwise, the sellers and agents would not have taken you seriously. You will also have sought pre-approval from a lender. This all serves to put you in the position to negotiate the best deal and close on a house. However, even when you have preapproval, your lender will still have to formally propose the loan to their underwriters, who look at everything very carefully before agreeing to release the loan funds.

Get Your Borrowing Stance On Ahead Of Time

Finding out that your bank balance is somehow inadequate, even when the funds are there, is a jarring experience. Your Realtor will gladly help you prepare your finances for final approval. After all, they depend on your success to stay in business. You still need to begin the process ahead of time. The longer before you intend to purchase that you can start to gather the resources, the more smoothly the home buying experience will go for you.

If you are just now thinking about entering the home buying marketplace be patient, buying a home is a major life event, and you need to take your time to do it right. There is no point in rushing because of two significant risks. You will either regret purchasing the property after you choose it too quickly or you will hit roadblocks. These obstacles are such things as sellers passing over your offer or loan applications rejected by lenders.

In the time you spend to prepare, work to improve your credit score and put away enough funds to make a reasonable offer on a home that you like. If you do this before you begin house hunting, you will have properly seasoned cash in the bank when it is time to close the deal, pick up the keys, and start making payments on your new mortgage.

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Had Enough Of Renting? Maybe It’s Time To Buy Your First Home

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First Time Buyer BasicsSo, you think you’re ready to end your time as a renter and buy your first home. In the long-term, it’s an excellent choice, but when you begin investigating the short-term costs and labor involved it becomes much more complicated.

Buy your first home, and you’ll find that there is work to do to get there and responsibilities that renters never have to consider. The process of purchasing real estate can be stressful, and it takes time and energy.

Steps Into The Home Buying Process

First take a detailed look at your personal finances and check your credit reports. You will need to know your budget and whether you have the funds for a twenty percent deposit. Fortunately, there are FHA-backed loans with 3.5 percent down payments plus costs. You may qualify for even better terms if you are a veteran or serving member of the United States military.

Once you understand your budget and credit, speak to your bank about how to pre-qualify for a home loan. Pre-qualifying marks a milestone in home buying because it shows realtors, lenders, and sellers that you’re serious and, in principle, you have the capacity to purchase a home. From this point, you’re beginning the real journey of finding a home, which warrants a complete post.

The Issues When You Buy Your First Home

You have more payments to make as a homeowner. You have to make your loan payments every month; this usually includes payments toward principal, interest, property tax, and insurance. If you go FHA and make a small down payment, you’ll also pay mortgage insurance premium on the extended loan each month.

The fifth payment type is for homeowner association fees or condo fees. If you are buying into a community or building that has shared responsibilities you pay HOA fees. HOA covers the cost of maintenance, some utilities, and the property management contract. An HOA fee is a given for condos, if you are purchasing a house, you should still budget a similar amount for the cost of maintenance and repairs and set it aside each month.

Do Homeowners Have Lower Living Costs?

The magic of real estate is that every property is unique and that’s also a nuisance if you want to compare your options. Look at how much house you can afford to pay for a monthly mortgage payment for your current rent amount. You should then consider how much it would cost you in down payment and closing costs.

If you can save for a larger down payment and improve your credit score to qualify for lower interest rates on your mortgage the investment will pay off well in the long-term. In five to ten years you will accumulate equity and have a more settled lifestyle. It is expensive to get through the home buying process, and you will have responsibilities as never before, but you will also be a home owner, and that pleasure will make it worth struggling to buy your first home.

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