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Buying a New Home in the City? The Pros and Cons of Buying a Home on a Busy Street

March 27th, 2015

prosandconsFinding the perfect property is an exciting feeling, but its relative location can leave a lot of room for worry. Buying a home in the city is a venture that comes with an entire assortment of advantages and disadvantages. While the location might be close in proximity to businesses, services, and other people, it’s easy to worry about the other aspects of city living. What are the great and not-so-great facets of living on a busy street?

Pro: Access to Businesses and Schools

The chances are high that anyone living in a busy area is within walking distance of any store, shop, or service. Likewise, children have a range of options for education in busier areas; there are often multiple schools to choose from in any given busy area.

Pro: Access to Many Internet/TV Providers

In highly populated areas, a large number of internet and TV providers can co-exist. This means residents have a number of options when the time comes to choose providers. Luckily, it’s often difficult for providers monopolize densely populated areas.

Pro: Sense of Community

Many people that live in busy areas will be quick to share that they adore the sense of community. In fact, a large population is often one of the biggest reasons that people choose to move to bigger areas.

Con: Noise Level

As a street sees more activity, there’s no doubt that the noise level will also be a bit higher than usual. Residents that own homes on busy streets not only hear lots of noise from outside traffic, but they also often hear police sirens, animals, conversation, and more.

Con: Higher Price

It’s no secret that busy areas are a bit more expensive to live in. As anyone would expect, the convenience of city living comes with a higher price. Expect to hand over quite a bit more for a property in a highly populated area.

Con: Parking

Depending on the location of the neighborhood, parking can also be a problem. If street parking isn’t allowed, a resident in a big city might have to sacrifice their vehicle or park it a long distance from the property. This can be off-putting for many buyers.

If you’re on the fence about purchasing a property on a busy street, get more information from your trusted real estate agent before making a decision. A professional agent can provide valuable information about the property, neighborhood, chances for resale in the future, and much more. Don’t proceed any further without an agent’s advice!

 

You Ask, We Answer: What is Private Mortgage Insurance or ‘PMI’ and How Does It Work?

March 26th, 2015

YouAskWeAnswerFor many homeowners, their mortgage payment contains more than just principal and interest. A little something called PMI could be representing a significant portion of that payment, and it’s important for home buyers to understand this cost.

What Is PMI?

PMI stands for private mortgage insurance, or sometimes just mortgage insurance. However, it isn’t intended to mitigate risk for the homeowner, but rather the bank.

Statistics show that when a home buyer puts less than 20% down on a home, he/she is much more likely to default. So, requiring these buyers to carry PMI helps the bank hedge their losses in the event of a default.

It’s important to note that the home buyer doesn’t shop for PMI; this is all taken care of by the lender. However, the cost of PMI should be calculated out well before closing to help the home buyer be aware of his/her final mortgage payment.

Who Needs PMI?

Who will need to carry PMI depends on factors like the credit rating of the buyer and the exact mortgage being sought out. However, it’s safe to say that most home buyers with less than a 20% down payment will be required to carry PMI.

Does PMI Ever Go Away?

Eventually, PMI can be removed from a mortgage once enough of the principle has been paid down or enough years have passed.

It’s important for home buyers to fully understand the terms of their PMI requirement. Sometimes, it will be automatically removed once 20% of the house has been paid off, while other times, refinancing may be required.

Should Those Who Cannot Put 20% Down, Not Buy A House To Avoid PMI?

Unfortunately, this is not an easy question to answer. Yes, PMI is an extra cost that needs to be calculated into the cost of the home – but putting off a home purchase isn’t necessarily the right course of action.

For many families, it’s financially challenging to save up 20% of the cost of a home. After all, in 2010, the median home price of new homes sold in America was $221,800. A 20% down payment on such a home would be $44,360.

However, many find that it’s still cheaper, or just financially wiser, to buy a home with PMI than to continue renting.

Thinking About Refinancing Your Mortgage? A Look at Refinancing Rates and Predictions

March 25th, 2015

refinanceMortgage rates have been so low for so long that it’s hard to believe there are any homeowners left who haven’t refinanced their mortgages. But there are still people who can benefit, and conditions are still strong for refinancing. Below are some predictions for how the refinancing market will shape up.

Rates Will Remain Low, At Least For A While

Mortgage rates moved back below 4 percent in the latter stages of 2014 and are expected to stay around that level into at least the first half of 2015. For homeowners who still have a mortgage rate that’s around 4 1/2 to 5 percent, that makes it worth it to refinance. However, because the Federal Reserve has stopped buying mortgage-backed securities, rates are likely to go up at some point. Mortgage rates also could rise if, as expected, the Fed starts raising short-term interest rates, which could happen as early as spring.

Refinancing Activity Should Increase

As mortgage rates have dropped back below 4 percent and should remain there for at least a few months, it should spur refinancing activity, at least in the first half of the year. An improving economy and improving housing market also could help the refinancing trend, because people are more likely to refinance when they have more equity in their homes and when they feel more stable about their overall financial situation. Experts are predicting as much as a 7 percent increase in mortgage refinancing volume.

Fannie, Freddie Change May Boost Refinancing

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced on December 8 that they will allow down payments on conventional loans to be as low as 3 percent for first-time home buyers. A part of that announcement that was less-touted, however, is that Fannie and Freddie will also allow homeowners to refinance with as little as 3 percent equity in their homes to help cover closing costs. The loans will only be available to well-qualified buyers, but it should help boost refinancing somewhat. On a home worth $200,000, the difference between 5 percent equity and 3 percent equity is $4,000, which should cover closing costs in most situations.

Don’t Wait To Refinance

While mortgage rates are low, they aren’t likely to stay there for long. If you have a rate that’s higher than current rates or want to refinance into a shorter term, call your trusted Real Estate or Mortgage professional right away.

 

Get a Jump on Your Payments with Our Quick Guide to Paying Your Mortgage off Sooner

March 24th, 2015

Mortgage-InsuranceWhile there are many goals that are worthwhile, paying off your mortgage as soon as possible can significantly improve your financial position and is a great goal to aim for. With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at a few helpful tips for paying your mortgage off sooner.

Refinance To A Shorter Mortgage Term
For example, switching from a 30-year mortgage to a 15-year will get your mortgage paid off in half the time it would have originally taken, and it will also lower the total amount owed. By switching to a 15-year mortgage plan, you can save well over a decade’s worth of interest payments.

Carefully Consider How Much Space You Need

Many people have more home than they can afford. By downsizing to a smaller, cheaper house, you should be able to pay more than your minimum payments each month. Other nice perks, such as saving money on heating and air conditioning, may also be able to help make the goal of paying off your mortgage seem more attainable.

Make Payments Every Other Week
Mortgage companies often give borrowers the option of choosing to make payments either every month or every other week. If you opt to pay every other week instead of every month and have a standard, 30-year mortgage, you’ll be able to pay off your debt about six years sooner than expected.

Cut Expenses
Find a regular expense in your budget that isn’t a necessity and start using that money towards your mortgage instead of what you would normally spend it on. For instance, bringing lunch to work each day instead of eating out could easily save a person at least $100 per month. That’s over $1,000 per year!

Set Extra Money Aside
To pay off your mortgage quickly without having to cut regular expenses, use overtime income, holiday pay and gift money for extra mortgage payments. This way, you can pay down your debt without having to lower your standard of living. Another option is getting a part-time job for a few hours each week and putting the extra income towards your house.

There are many things that you can do to pay off your mortgage quickly, but you don’t have to do them all. Whether you choose one tip from this list or all five, you should be able to start making progress on your loan.