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The Pros and Cons of Paying Your Mortgage Bi-weekly Vs. Monthly

September 23rd, 2015

Bi Weekly MortgageWhen applying for a new mortgage or after closing, many will have the option to choose between a single monthly mortgage payment or smaller bi-weekly payments. There are benefits and drawbacks associated with both options, and some personal financial considerations may need to be reviewed in order to make a decision that is best for the individual. With a closer look at the pros and cons of both options, homeowners or home mortgage applicants can make a more informed decision.

Easy Budget Management For Some
With a single monthly mortgage payment, there is often a need for those who get paid two or more times per month to properly budget so that they can comfortably manage the large mortgage payment with all of their other expenses throughout the month. With bi-weekly payments, the two smaller payments may be easier for some who are paid multiple times per month to manage and budget for. When an individual gets paid one time per month, the individual pay prefer to make the single payment each month.

Faster Debt Reduction
With a monthly payment schedule, 12 full payments will be made per year, and this is in contrast to a bi-weekly schedule which will result in the equivalent of 13 full payments being made per year. Essentially, the extra full payment that will be made with a bi-weekly payment schedule will result in faster debt reduction and in greater accumulation of equity over time. This can improve the homeowner’s financial standing over time.

Lower Interest Charges Over The Life Of The Loan
Because the principal balance will be reduced at a faster rate over time with bi-weekly mortgage payments, the total interest that is assessed on the loan will be reduced in comparison to monthly payments. Depending on the size of the loan and the interest rate on the loan, this may equate to a savings of tens of thousands of dollars or more in some cases.

Each homeowner’s or home applicant’s financial situation will be unique, and factors related to income, payment schedule, the desire to increase equity quickly and more should all be carefully considered. Bi-weekly payments often can be established during the loan application process, but they may also be set up after closing.

Let’s Talk Hardwood: Why Converting Your Home to Hardwood Flooring Will Boost Its Value

September 21st, 2015

hardwood floorsWhen a homeowner makes the decision to upgrade flooring in one area of the home or throughout the entire space, there are numerous materials that may be considered. While each material option has its unique benefits and advantages, many are drawn to hardwood flooring as an option. This is a material that has the potential to boost home value, and a closer look at its benefits will reveal why this is the case.

A Durable, Long-Lasting Material
With many flooring options, homeowners understand that the material will need to be replaced or upgraded over the years. With hardwood flooring, the timeless appeal and incredible durability of the material means that the floor may be an investment to enjoy for many long decades. In fact, with periodic maintenance and regular care of hardwood floors, some hardwood floors may provide the homeowner with 50 years or more of beautiful use in the home.

Numerous Stylish Options
More than that, there are numerous style options for homeowners to consider, and this provides the ability to easily select a material that is ideal for the look of the home. In addition, hardwood floor generally has universal appeal that many desire, and this increases the desirability of the home to future home buyers. This is especially true when a more classic tone of wood is selected rather than a modern or trendy tone.

Improved Indoor Air Quality
Some flooring materials, such as carpet, may have a detrimental impact on indoor air quality, but this is not the case with hardwood flooring. The material is easy to clean, and this means that dust, dander and other allergens can easily be removed from the floor. This will have a direct and beneficial impact on indoor air quality that current owners as well as future home buyers can enjoy.

While hardwood flooring can be desirable and beneficial for current property owners, the appeal of the material will extend to future home buyers. When hardwood flooring is well-maintained by the owner, it is a true investment that will add true value to the home and that may help the owner to sell the property more quickly when the time comes. Those who want to learn more about how hardwood flooring may impact their own home value and the ability to sell their property in the future can request a consultation with a trusted real estate professional.

Start with the Basics: How to Create a Budget to Determine How Much Mortgage You Can Afford

September 18th, 2015

BudgetA mortgage payment typically is one of the biggest payments that a person is responsible for, and this is a financial responsibility that may impact the person’s budget significantly for several decades or longer. While there are mortgage calculators online that can be used to estimate an affordable mortgage payment, it is important to start with a basic budget to determine more accurately how much mortgage payment is truly affordable before applying for a new mortgage.

List Income From All Sources
The first step to take to prepare a budget is to list all sources of income that is received regularly. This may include regular paychecks from both spouses, dividends, annuities and any other sources of income that the individual or the family receives on a regular basis. Most budgets are prepared on a monthly basis, so ensure that the total amount of take-home for a typical month is included in the budget.

List Recurring Expenses
Then create a list of all expenses for the month to complete the next step in the budget-making process, and this should include utilities, minimum credit card payments, car loans, monthly food and gas expenses and more. Ideally, it will include an allotment for savings, home maintenance expenses and other expenses that the individual or the family may have. The more accurate the list of expenses is for the budget, the easier it will be to estimate a new mortgage payment amount that is actually affordable.

Think About Irregular Income and Expenses
In addition, it is important to think about irregular sources of income and irregular expenses. This may include seasonal income from a part-time or temporary job that is expected to continue into the future as well as quarterly payments for homeowners’ insurance or annual property insurance premiums. While these are not monthly income sources or expenses, they nonetheless should be accounted for.

When a mortgage payment is too high, it is unaffordable for the individual to continue to pay over time, and it also increases the risk of a default in the event of unforeseeable circumstances.

House Hunting? Watch for These 5 Red Flags when Viewing Potential New Homes

September 18th, 2015

house-huntingFrom the sales price to the general layout of the home, there are numerous factors that home buyers will consider when touring homes. While there are specific factors that home buyers may be searching for in a new home, there are also a few warning signs that home buyers should keep their eyes open for. These are among the top red flags that may serve as warning signs for home buyers.

Signs Of Poor Home Maintenance
It is reasonable to expect all homes to have some signs of wear and tear unless they are new construction. However, it is also reasonable to expect that sellers have taken some steps to improve the condition and look of the property before listing it. When a home appears to be poorly maintained on a superficial level, home buyers should pause to consider what other aspects of the home that are not visible have also been poorly maintained.

The Grading In The Yard
When a yard grades toward the house, issues with erosion and even flooding may be concerns. Everything from a brief, torrential downpour to snow melt can result in water running toward a property when grading is a concern. Home buyers should take time to review the yard carefully to determine how water may flow when it rains or when snow melts.

A Foul Odor
It is common for sellers to try to make their home smell appealing, and different types of deodorizers may be used to mask everything from food smells to pet odors. However, it is important for home buyers to pay attention to the underlying smells in a home. Everything from a musky or mildew-y smell to sewage smells and gas odors should be warning signs.

Repairs To One Wall
Homeowners may repaint walls to make the space look cleaner, brighter and more appealing, so a fresh coat of paint in itself is not a warning sign. However, if the paint is on just one wall or if the area under the fresh coat of paint appears to have been recently textured or repaired, these are signs that water damage or other damage may have been addressed.

Signs Of Pests And Rodents
Another warning sign relates to signs of pests and rodents. Even if bugs and rodents are not visible during the initial tour, things like a can of bug spray, mouse traps and other related items may indicate that the seller has had an issue with bugs and rodents.

Some warning signs will be obvious during an initial home tour, but others may require more skill and experience to see.