Plano home loan / plano mortgage ratesWhen it comes to finding the best Plano mortgage, your credit score is a major determinant as to the kinds of rates and conditions you can get. Lenders quite understandably want to manage their risk. But for a number of potential homeowners, these practices and policies can be a barrier to home ownership.

The good news? If your credit score isn’t great, you can easily improve it and get better lending terms. Here are five steps you can take right now to give your credit a boost.

Get Your Annual Credit Report And Dispute ErrorsPlano home loan / plano mortgage rates

Simply disputing errors on your credit report is one of the easiest ways to give your score a boost. The FTC says that 1 in every 5 Americans has errors on their credit report that have an impact on their score. By simply disputing errors on your credit report, you can give your score a small boost almost overnight.  Go to www.annualcreditreport.com to get your free copy.

Miss A Few Payments? Talk To Your Lender

If you’ve missed a payment and it’s more than 30 days past due, chances are your lender has already reported the missed payment. Once a missed payment is on your credit report, the fastest way to remove it is to talk to your lender. Get a written and signed agreement that if you pay the overdue balance, they’ll report the account as “paid in full.”

Plano home loan / plano mortgage ratesAsk For A Credit Increase

Your credit utilization ratio – the amount of credit you’ve used compared to the total amount available to you – makes up 30% of your FICO score. In general, experts say that using more than 30% of your available credit can harm your score. If you can’t immediately pay down your debt below that 30% threshold, one great way to improve your credit utilization ratio is to ask for a credit limit increase.

Get A Co-Signer To Help

Having someone with good credit co-sign your lending agreement is a great way to improve your credit. When you get a co-signer for your credit card or car loan, the better quality credit line may help boost your score. Just make sure you stay on top of payments – otherwise both you and the co-signer will see your credit scores fall.

Keep Good Debts On Your ReportPlano home loan / plano mortgage rates

While it is important to review your credit report and have any negative items removed, you’ll want to ensure that any positive entries – debts you’ve paid in full – stay on the report. When your credit report shows debts as paid in full, your score increases because it shows that you’re a responsible borrower.

Improving your credit score doesn’t have to take years. These five strategies can help you to boost your credit and qualify for better mortgage loan terms. Contact Warren Whitaker at 972.523.8353 or Warren@Lendhome.comyour local mortgage professional to learn more.

Plano home loanA monthly mortgage can seem like enough of a financial responsibility on its own, but there are many factors involved in Plano home ownership that affect its fiscal feasibility. If you’re in the market for a house in Plano, and are wondering how your income will stack up against the rest of your expenses, here’s how to determine a home cost that’s reasonable for you.

Determine Your Down Payment

Before you start with anything else, you’ll want to determine the amount of money you can put down so you can estimate your monthly payments. The traditional amount for a down payment is 3.5% to 20% of the home’s purchase price, so if you don’t have anything close to this amount it might be worth waiting a little longer so you can minimize your payments and the amount of interest or mortgage insurance you’ll be paying in the long run. Each person’s situation is different, and there may be programs available with less than 20% down and Down Payment Assistance. This is an excellent question to pose to your trusted mortgage advisor.

Calculate Your Monthly BudgetDown Payment Assistance

If your mortgage cost already seems high, it will definitely be worth carefully calculating your monthly expenditures. Instead of a wild guess, take the time to sit down and calculate what your costs are including food, utilities, transportation and any other monthly necessities. Once you do this, it’s also very important to add any debt repayments you’re making to the mix. The total amount of your estimated mortgage costs, debt payments and living expenses should give you a pretty good sense of if your mortgage is viable in the long term.

Don’t Forget About The Extras

Plano real estateWhen it comes to purchasing a home, many people envision that they will be eating and sleeping their new home so don’t pay attention to all of the additional costs that can arise with living life. A new home is certainly an exciting, worthwhile financial venture, but ensure you’re realistic about what it entails. If you’re planning to go back to school or have children in the future, you’ll want to add a little bit of extra cushion in your budget so that you don’t have to put your other dreams on hold for the sake of your ideal home.

It can be very exciting to find a home you feel good about, but it’s important before making an offer to realize the amount of house you can afford so you don’t find yourself in a hole down the road. If you’re starting to consider your options for a home purchase, you may want to contact Warren Whitaker at 972.523.8353 or Warren@Lendhome.com, one of our local mortgage professionals for more information.

Plano Home LoansWith mortgage bubbles and real estate issues still in recent memory, one might feel that their best option is to buy their next home using cash instead of borrowing the necessary funds or using OPM…Other People’s Money. In today’s article we’ll explore the pros and cons of paying cash for that next Plano house or condo.

The Pros Include A Feeling of Complete Ownership

There’s a feeling of pride and joy that comes with owning a Plano home outright. There are several other reasons for paying cash instead of signing on the dotted line and being strapped to a mortgage. Perhaps the best reason is having 100 percent equity in the home.

The cash will be there to borrow in case of an emergency or to have it work for you in other ways. Having cash on hand is great if a water pipe bursts or Plano Home Loansthere’s a huge car repair bill. In addition, instead of paying a monthly mortgage, that money could be used to start a college fund, to grow savings or to invest.

And, credit problems wouldn’t be an issue since there wouldn’t be a need to check credit history in the first place. The homeowner may be able to negotiate a better price, which may result in a likelihood of a smoother sale, and attract more prospective buyers.

The Not So Great Reasons To Pay With Cash

Buying a home is one of the largest financial investments a person will make in his or her lifetime.

However, buying a home outright most likely means that a significant percentage of cash will be tied up in the house. Less cash will be on hand for savings, college funds, and emergencies like a plumbing malfunction or an expensive car repair.

While paying in cash may result in a mortgage life, if the property value drops for whatever reason, there’s no purchase protection. For instance, if the market value of a $100,000 home loses 10 percent that will be a loss of $10,000. Take this example and apply it to a mortgage down payment. If the Plano Home Loansmarket value falls, there’ll be a loss of $10,000, but the bank would take a loss for the remainder of the property value.

Also, when paying with cash, there is no third party property evaluation to ensure the buyer isn’t overpaying for the home. Banks will send a professional to provide a property evaluation check to verify the correct home value.

Buying a home is a significant personal decision. In today’s tough economy, homeowners are finding ways of cutting back on expenses. Owning a home outright, without the stress of mortgage payments can be extremely liberating. Comminting a large amount of your cash to this large of an investment needs careful planning.  Sit down with Warren Whitaker, 972.523.8353, today before making the decision to use cash to pay for a home.

 

4 Great Reasons To Make The Largest Down Payment You Can Afford

MortgageIf you’re looking for a new home, you’ve probably heard lots of advice about down payments. About how it’s okay to just have a five percent down payment – you’ll still get approved. About how you should make the down payment as small as possible to avoid cash flow problems.

In truth, you’re actually better off making the largest down payment you can possibly afford. Even if you have to slice up other areas of your budget, save for a few more years before you buy, or take a second job on the weekends, it’ll be worth it in the end. Here are just four reasons why you should make the largest down payment possible.

You Can Avoid Useless Insurance Premiums

Although you can buy a house with as little as a 3.5 percent down payment, it’s in your best interest to make a much larger down payment if you can. Mortgage insurance premiums can be as high as one percent of the loan’s value, which means until you’ve invested 20% – 22%  of the home’s value in equity, you’ll have to pay an extra one percent every year. If you pay at least 20 percent of the purchase price upfront, you’ll be able to avoid having to get private mortgage insurance – so you keep more of your money in your own pocket.

You’ll Pay Much Less InterestPlano Home Loans

The less you have to borrow, the less you have to pay back – for more reasons than one.

When you take out a mortgage, the interest rate applies to the principal amount that you owe – and over time, the interest can run on top of interest, quickly outpacing the original sum. Having a larger down payment means the interest applies to a smaller sum. And that means it accumulates slower and ends up being a smaller amount over time.

You’ll Have More Ammunition In A Bidding War

Offering up a larger down payment is also a great way to make sure you get your dream house, especially if it’s a popular property with multiple offers. The seller isn’t just going to consider who offers the most money – they’re also going to consider which buyer is most likely to get a mortgage. After all, failing to get a mortgage is one of the most common reasons why real estate deals fail.

If you can show that you’re able to make a larger down payment, you’ll have a better shot at getting a mortgage – and that means sellers will prioritize you over other buyers.

Plano Home LoansYou’ll Get A Great Start On Building Equity

Your home equity is equal to the difference between your home’s fair market value and the amount of debt invested into the home. If you don’t have enough equity in your home and home prices in your neighborhood fall, you may find yourself in a situation where you owe more money on your home than it’s worth – a phenomenon known as negative equity. By making the largest possible down payment you can, you’ll have a great head start on building your home’s equity – which may help you profit if you decide to sell in the future.

Buying a house isn’t easy, but making the largest down payment you can afford will give you a great financial head start on home ownership. Want to learn more about how to afford the home of your dreams? Contact Warren Whitaker @ 972.523.8353 or warren@LendHome.com, your local mortgage professional today for practical advice to help you maximize your down payment.

Plano home loansA Plano home mortgage is typically one of the biggest monthly payments and financial responsibilities that a person is responsible for. Mortgage payments usually 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. A budget will allow you to more accurately determine how large of a mortgage payment is truly affordable before applying for a new Plano 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, Plano home loandividends, 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 income for a typical month is included in the budget.

List Recurring Expenses

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.

Plano home ratesThink About Irregular Income and Expenses

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 person takes on a larger mortgage payment than the budget allows for, it can quickly become unaffordable for the individual to continue to pay over time. A high mortgage payment also increases the risk of a default in the event of unforeseeable circumstances.

It is best to set up a monthly mortgage payment that is affordable for the individual’s or family’s budget, and these steps provide basic guidance for establishing a budget. A trusted mortgage professional can assist with setting up a mortgage payment that is affordable based on the budget that is created.

Plano mortgage.If your goal is to purchase a Plano home, you may find that it’s challenging to save up enough money for your down payment. While this is something that many first time home buyers struggle with, it is by no means insurmountable. By making a few simple changes you will be able to accumulate the funds you need for your down payment.

Keep Track Of Your Spending

One of the reasons why it can be difficult to save money is that you aren’t even sure of where your money is going. While you may be aware of major expenses such as rent, car payments and utilities, it’s easy to lose track of many of the smaller bills and impulse purchases. If you aren’t keeping a budget, you should begin as soon as possible. Software programs and apps such as Mint.com can make this simple.

Consider If You Have Anything To SellPlano Home Loan

You may be able to raise some quick cash by selling some personal belongings. Don’t part with something that will cause you regrets, such as a precious family heirloom. However, if you’re like many people, you probably have lots of items you no longer need. In addition to holding a garage sale, you could sell items such as jewelry, electronics, art or almost anything on eBay.

Refinance Credit Cards

Refinancing credit cards or any type of debt can help you save money on monthly bills. Balance transfers can often give you a more advantageous rate with credit cards. If you have a car loan, you may be able to find better terms with a different lender.

Find Another Source Of Income

In addition to finding ways to cut back on your spending, taking in some extra money every week can make it much easier to save up for that down payment. Perhaps you or your spouse could find time for a part time job. You might also consider starting a part time business, such as an online store that can be managed from home.

gift1Consider a Down Payment Assistance Program

If your credit score is greater than 640 and your income is less than $78,000 per year, the State of Texas has several down payment assistance programs that can provide upto 5% of the loan amount towards a down payment.  This is a true grant/gift and repayment is NOT required.  Call Warren Whitaker @ 972.523.8353 to find out if you qualify.

If you are creative about it, you can probably find many ways to save up for your down payment. You should also do plenty of shopping around when it comes to finding the best deal on a mortgage for your first home. Consult with a qualified mortgage professional to get an idea of what you can realistically afford.

Resources

How to save a down payment for a home

How to Start Saving for a Home Down Payment

Down Payments: How much you need to save

How to save for a house in 10 simple steps

10 Easy Ways to Save for a Down Paymen

Plano MortgageHomeowner’s insurance is an incredibly valuable and beneficial policy for homeowners to have, but it is necessary to understand what traditional policies do and do not cover. Once you familiarize yourself with the intricacies of various plans you will be better educated to make the proper decision when selecting your desired level of coverage.  Your home must be covered by homeowner’s insurance if you have a home mortgage.

What’s Covered In Homeowner’s Insurance?

The majority of homeowner’s insurance plans will cover dwelling and other structure protection, personal property protection, natural disaster protection, and bodily injury liability protection. Dwelling and other structure protection plans cover damage to your Plano home and other structures that are directly connected to the home, such as the garage. Personal property protection covers damage or loss of personal property within the dwelling. Natural disaster protection covers your home should a natural disaster cause damage, but note that natural disasters such as flooding and earthquakes typically are not covered. Finally, bodily injury liability protection typically covers injuries to individuals while on your property.Plano Home Loans

What Is Not Included In Homeowner’s Insurance?

As mentioned above, two of the major natural disasters that are not covered by homeowner’s insurance are flooding and earthquakes. There are specific insurance plans that cover flood damage and earthquake damage, but you’ll find that the vast majority of common homeowner’s insurance plans do not cover these types of disasters.

Homeowner’s insurance does not typically cover home business equipment either. If you are running a business from within your home, small business insurance is required to mitigate your risk.

Plano MortgagePersonal property over a certain value is also not typically covered unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Items such as expensive musical instruments, artwork, jewelry, and silverware should have their own insurance policy which is dedicated to valuable personal property.

Why You Might Need Homeowner’s Insurance

Homeowner’s insurance is intended to help protect you against the unexpected. You never know when a natural disaster such as a tornado or a lightning strike which causes a fire within your home might occur. Accidents do happen, and a visiting friend or relative can be injured on your property. Homeowner’s insurance is a great protection plan to have to make sure that both you and your property are covered should disaster strike.

Resources

Warning Signs Your Homeowners Insurance Premium

Home insurance

Homeowner Insurance Complaints Drop

 

Closing the air registers in rooms you don’t use seems like a good way to potentially save money, but doing so isn’t a good idea for several reasons, according to Alison Bailes, whose Energy Vanguard blog has some of the best building science and energy efficiency advice on the web.

Most vents have a little lever that lets you close the louvers behind the grill. When you block a vent, your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system’s blower motor will either have to work harder to push air through your home, or it may spin at a lower speed.

“No matter which type of blower motor your HVAC system has, it’s not a good thing when it has to push against a higher pressure,” she explains.

If you haven’t had your ducts sealed, and most of us haven’t, putting more pressure into the air system will cause you to lose more air through leaks in the ducts, too.

And the more vents you close, the higher the pressure, the less efficient your system and the more leaking air you’ll have.

Low air flow can also cause condensation on your coils to freeze and can cause damage to your compressor.Plano Real Estate

If you have a furnace, low air flow can be dangerous, Bailes warns. “Low air flow in a furnace can get the heat exchanger hot enough to cause cracks in your Plano Home. Those cracks then allow exhaust gases to mix with your conditioned air. When that happens, your duct system can become a poison distribution system as it could be sending carbon monoxide into your home.”

Sealing your air ducts and other energy improvements not only cut your electric bill, they can help your home stand apart from the competition when you decide to sell. I can include information about your home’s energy efficiency upgrades in your home’s sales listing. Contact me if you’d like to hear more about that.

Resources

101 Ways to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Little Steps: 100 Great Tips For Saving Money

Top 50 MoneySaving Tips – Martha Stewart Living

50 Nifty Tricks for Big DIY Savings 

A Top-to-Bottom Guide to Saving Money Around Your House

Plano Mortgage LoansBuilding a tree house is a time honored tradition for many families. One of the benefits of having a yard is the ability to build a tree fort for your children.

If you’re planning to build a fun fort for your kids, here are seven steps to help you create the ultimate tree house.

The Ultimate Plan For The Perfect Playhouse

The best projects are often the most thought out. Sit down with your children and lay the plans for their tree house. Let them contribute their thoughts and ideas so they feel a part of the planning process.

Although you won’t need an engineering degree to build a quality tree fort, it’s important to calculate all the measurements and specifications of the Plano Home Loansbuild.

A Solid Foundation For Your Tree House

Prepare the location for your future tree house by trimming away any precarious branches or boughs on the tree you plan to build on. Ensure that your tree house will be well supported, and reinforce any questionable spots.

If your tree fort is being built from the ground up, make sure you’re working with a level foundation.

Plano Mortgage LoansHave The Right Tools For The Job

Make sure you have all the tools you’ll need to construct your tree house. Power tools and construction equipment can be borrowed from friends and neighbors or rented from your local hardware store.

When the time comes to gather your building supplies, be creative and consider re-purposed supplies. These materials are less expensive and add character and charm. You can find recycled and salvaged items at various recycled construction supply companies and through online classifieds like Craigslist.

Construct Your Tree House With Confidence

When you’re constructing your tree house, make sure it’s structurally sound. Watch tutorials online – you’d be amazed at the things you can learn from watching YouTube videos!

Make sure to measure twice and cut once. Using the proper cutting tool for each cut will help you achieve cleaner, more precise cuts. Also makePlano Mortgage Loans sure to obtain any permits that may be required for the project.

A Personalized Theme Encourages Creativity

Choose a theme that relates to your child. If they love fairies, use that as the inspiration for your design. Pirate forts and superhero lairs are perfect places to spark imaginative play and creativity.

Incorporate cannons, cupboards and ropes with pulleys to create a unique and fun space for your children to play.

A Colorful Paint Job Brightens The House

When the walls are up and the building is done, it will be time to choose paint colors. Bright colors are a great way to brighten and liven up an outdoor space.

You could even consider creating a mural. Choose something that fits with the theme. This is something that you and your child can do together, or that you can do on your own as an added surprise.

Plano Mortgage LoansPerfecting Your Child’s Play Space

Once your tree house is built, it’s time to get it ready for play. Decorate the space with fun decor and functional items. Throw pillows and rugs can add color and personality to a child’s play space. Window coverings can be made from scrap fabric or bed sheets.

Creating a tree fort for your child is a memorable experience and a labor or love. A unique space that sparks imagination and nurtures creativity is a wonderful gift to give a child.

Resources

How to Build a Treehouse

Family Builds Amazing Treehouse For Less Than $300

How to build a treehouse

Tree House – Building Tips

How to Build a Backyard Treehouse

 

govt3The Federal Government shutdown has occurred.  Here is some research that may help you understand any impacts on real estate and home loans. So what does this all mean?

 FHA Loans

• Lenders will be able to obtain a FHA case number from the FHA Connection

• Limited FHA staff to respond to questions

• CAIVRS will be available to determine if a borrower has a delinquent federal debt

• FHA Total Scorecard will be available

• FHA will collect the Upfront MIP during a shutdown

Can we close loans with a MCR? Answer = Yes. However, if the shutdown continues we will likely not allow loans with a MCR to close. This is because HUD approves all MCRs after we close the loan and HUD has indicated they will not have the staff to complete these reviews.

 VAgovt5

• The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will continue to operate if there is a government shutdown, which means lenders will be able to continue originating VA-guaranteed loans. Both lenders and borrowers will be able to obtain the Certificate of Eligibility online, and they will still be able to submit applications and follow up on COEs that require more research with the Atlanta Eligibility Center.

Will VA loans be adversely affected in any way? Answer = no

 USDA

• Indications are that Rural Development will cease all but essential functions and no new loans or guarantees will be made.

Will we be able to obtain a conditional commitment? Answer = No

Can we close a loan without the conditional commitment? Answer = No

Can we close a loan if we have the conditional commitment? Answer = Yes

 Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

• The IRS will NOT process any forms, including tax transcripts (Form 4506T).

Can we close loans without the tax transcripts? Answer = No

 govt4Social Security Administration (SSA)

• The SSA will likely NOT be able to verify social security numbers.

Can we close loans without verifying the social security number? Answer = No

 Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

• Fannie and Freddie would not be directly affected, except to the extent they rely on verification and other functions of HUD, IRS, and SSA.

 Federal Reserve

• The Federal Reserve – including the reserve banks – is not funded through the annual appropriations process; thus a government shutdown would have no impact on Federal Reserve operations, including payment system and open market functions.

 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)govt2

• The CFPB is not funded through the annual appropriations process; thus a government shutdown should have no impact on CFPB operations.

 FEMA Flood Insurance

• It is likely that mapping issues or amendments will be impacted.

• Most functions will be unaffected because of their use of contractors and public/private partnerships.

Will I be able to get flood insurance? Answer = yes

If the subject property is not yet mapped by FEMA and needs research by FEMA will my loan be affected? Answer = yes

Can I close the loan if mapping research cannot be completed by FEMA? Answer = no

 Big Thanks to Ted Harris!

 

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