If you're a first-time home buyer, the big challenge is saving up enough money for the down payment. Financial experts tell us you need to take aggressive steps to cut spending, add income, or do both. Here's how to proceed.
1. Set a goal and timeline.Find out the price range of the type of home you want in the area you like. Then talk to mortgage professionals like us to get an idea of the down payment you'll need, which could be up to 20% of the purchase price. Then set a timeline and figure your monthly savings goal. For example, if you need to save $20,000 in two years, you'll have to put away $833 each month.
2. Open a separate down payment savings account. This keeps the money separate and makes it easy to track progress. The experts say that when you're saving for a short-term goal, put the money in a low-risk investment such as a savings account or a CD. Shop around for the best interest rate, and make sure the money will be available when you need it.
3. Small steps to big savings. Put together a budget based on what you're spending, and then look at the following to make cuts:
4. Big steps to bigger savings.If you can handle some lifestyle changes, consider these options:
5. Look at retirement accounts.If you have a 401(k) and contribute more than your employer will match, think about putting that extra money into your down payment savings account. If you have an IRA, you may be able withdraw funds without penalty to buy a first home, although you might have to pay income taxes.As with all tax matters, check first with a tax professional.
Whether you're buying your first home, moving up, or downsizing, we can help with the financing. We're happy to answer any questions, whenever you're ready to take advantage of today's attractive housing market. We can also help with refinancing your existing home or funding home improvements. Please call or email us any time. We're always here for you.... Have a great day!
P.S.: Mortgage rates have edged up a little, but remain at historically attractive levels. When buying or refinancing, it's smart to start the process early. Please call or email us to explore the appealing options available now.
The IRS is nice to homeowners, no kidding. Here are the some of the tax breaks available.
All tax matters should of course be reviewed with a tax professional. But if we can help with any questions about home financing or re-financing, please call or reply to this email...and best wishes in this and all your endeavors!
This holiday season, hackers stole over 40 million credit and debit card numbers from Target's retail system. This makes all of us extra cautious about protecting our own computer systems. Here's how to hold off those hackers:
1. "ABC" online."Always Be Careful" when checking emails and surfing the Web. Hackers use these online connections to get malware onto your system that gives them access to personal information and passwords.
2. Use different passwords for different sites and accounts. That way, if one account is hacked, only one is compromised. Write passwords down and keep in a secure place, or use a secure online password manager.
3. Make passwords hard to hack and change them often."Password" and "123456" are easy to hack. So are your birthdate and your child's name, which can be found online. Experts suggest using a long sentence with numbers and symbols, such as "PumpkinsClimbIntoHurricanes%82&." Or make up an even longer sentence, such as "I came to Dallas in 2011 after living in Atlanta for 4 years", but just use the first letter of each word: "IctDi2011aliAf4y." And change passwords every six months.
4. Watch what gets stored. Never email your Social Security Number, because it stays in your archives. Delete old messages with bank account info or credit card numbers. Never put your master list of passwords on your computer.
5. Use protection tools:
What to do if you've been hacked.Take these steps immediately:
KEEP STRESS AT BAY WITH THESE 3 TACTICS
No matter what's happening around you, it's important to stay calm. You'll be happier–and healthier–if you take these approaches:
1. Focus on the big picture. If a complex project is getting you down, keep reminding yourself of the end goal. This keeps you motivated and prevents you from getting bogged down in the details.
2. Just relax. When faced with a challenge, the initial reaction is often to act immediately. This can lead to impulsive decisions that create more challenges and even undermine long-term goals. Instead, when a difficulty arises, don't react. Stop for a moment, and then calmly consider the best next step to take.
3. Do a little exercise. When it comes to dealing with stress, researchers say short bouts of moderately intense exercise will keep you on an even keel. You don't need to take up a full exercise program; just plan to include a short burst of exercise in your daily routine. As always, check with your doctor first before starting any exercise program.
If you're thinking about buying a home, don't get stressed out over the financing. We can answer any questions, whenever you're ready to take advantage of today's attractive housing market. We can also help with refinancing your existing home or funding home improvements. Please call or email us any time. We're always here for you.... Have a great day!
FHA, VA, and RHS mortgages are government loans.
FHA loans are administered by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), part of the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). FHA administers mortgage loan programs with lower down payment requirements that are easier to qualify for than conventional loans. FHA loans can't exceed the statutory limit. The loans are made by private lenders and insured by FHA. FHA loans are attractive to first-time home buyers, lower-income borrowers, and those with limited down payments.
VA loans are also made by private lenders, but are guaranteed by the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA). This guarantee allows veterans and service personnel to obtain a home loan with favorable terms and usually without a down payment. It's easier to qualify for a VA loan than a conventional one, but lenders generally limit the maximum amount. The VA determines your eligibility, but you still apply to private lending institutions.
RHS loans are guaranteed by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture for rural properties. Let us help you determine if you qualify.
If you'd like more information about any of these loans for your home purchase or refinance, please call us or reply to this email. We're happy to put together the perfect solution for your special situation...and best wishes in this and all your endeavors!