When buying a home, down payment in combination with other costs are associated with loan closing figures. Proper terminology is, cash to close, which consists of a down payment, closing costs and prepaids. But, let’s also remember the cost of inspections and sometimes immediate repairs or improvements that need done if the seller doesn’t fix them prior to closing. Earnest money is also necessary most times when your offer is accepted. Also, there are other costs to consider for when you move in; furniture, deposits to open utilities, like electricity or gas or water. It’s important to look at the big picture and not just the immediate cost to purchase a home. Mortgage money and all the factors involved with buying a home are important. Learn your options. Get educated. Ask us how.

Media reports will vary throughout time. Interest rates will change up and down. An increase in rates may mistakenly convince you that refinancing is not worth looking into. The reality is that rates are still favorable and low. Mortgage loans, generally speaking, are the cheapest and safest type of money to borrow. Consumer debt on the other hand is quite expensive. Debt consolidation, home improvements, removing PMI, and other financial needs should be evaluated to determine the net tangible benefit of refinancing. And while it may sound a little whacky, there may be benefits to refinancing coupled with an increase in your mortgage loan interest rate. Sounds nutty, maybe not. Ask us how.

Most times, there are too many variables to consider having a hard and fast rule about debt to income ratio. Your lifestyle needs to play a factor when making a decision. Your total household income impacts various loan programs. And while it’s important to evaluate current monthly expenses, true income, versus qualifying income, along with your financial reserves should be considered. Overall, while debt to income ratios are a critical component when qualifying for a mortgage loan, isolating this variable and capping the ratio at 30 percent is many times not the correct approach. Learn about mortgage money. Ask us how.

If that were the case, lenders would only offer 30-year loans. It is true that 30-year mortgages guarantee the lowest monthly payments. However, 30-year mortgages do not offer the best lending terms. You will spend more money over time because it equates to a greater amount of interest and a shorter amount of principal paid at each payment. Shorter term loans, at 15 years for example, have higher payments, forcing more money to principal sooner. Considering your lending options and getting educated will help you make smarter lending decisions. Ask us how.

Mortgages are likely the largest debt a person will ever have. And with mortgage money typically being the cheapest type of debt, paying more money to the largest debt and the cheapest debt, is not the most economical approach for money management. It’s much smarter to pay off consumer debt carrying higher payments and higher interest costs than it is to spend more money on your mortgage loan. Also, when you pay off your home, you will lose your mortgage tax deduction that most folks get, and you will also still have monthly obligations consisting of property taxes and homeowners insurance. So paying less on your mortgage allows folks to save additional money for essentially rainy day funds, emergency reserves and avoid more expensive debt like consumer debt. Get educated about mortgage money management. Ask us how.

In real estate, cash, believe it or not, is not always king. Informed sellers are interested in the bottom line; more money talks. So getting pre-approved shows the seller that you are ready to present an approved offer and a buyer simply needs an address to associate with that pre-approved loan. Be strategic and execute your strategy by developing a game plan for making offers. Working with your realtor allows you to shorten the loan process when your offer is accepted. Confidence in your strategy promotes fewer, if any buyer contingencies when presenting your offer. Also, sometimes a letter to the seller appeals to their personal side. Be confident and learn how your loans help. Ask us how.

FHA loans are not exclusively used for first-time homebuyers. FHA loans can be used to refinance your home. They can be used for repeat buyers, buying a second home or third home. And like with any loan, credit and your debt to income ratio and financial reserves all impact loan approvals. FHA loans have fewer restrictions than conventional loans and require much less cash to close. Simply use the right lending tool when buying a home. Ask us how.

House payments have a few parts referred to as your total housing obligation. There are three, and sometimes four factors to a monthly house payment. Your homeowners insurance, property taxes, and a mortgage insurance premium, sometimes referred to as a guarantee for VA loans, USDA loans or PMI, private mortgage insurance. Also, different neighborhoods have different property taxes. So qualifying for a mortgage is dependent on your ability to repay the loan. Your monthly payment varies based on a few factors, so not all homes priced at the same amount have the same monthly payment. Get educated. Be smart when buying a home. Ask us how.

This week, we’ve decided to share in some Christmas cheer and in true Christmas spirit, did grandma actually get run over by a reindeer? I’ve come to one of two conclusions that are most likely. Grandma either had way too many Christmas spirits and went up to Santa’s workshop. Or, grandma got an Uber and went home, and we just haven’t found her yet. Does Santa Claus enjoy milk and cookies, really? I’m not sure that Santa really enjoys milk and cookies. We all know Santa is lactose intolerant and has recently taken up Crossfit training. How else is he getting around the world in one night and not have to use Pepto? Oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh. In the middle of December, really? It isn’t. From our family to yours, Merry Christmas and happy holidays.