While your credit score will play a role what your mortgage interest rate will be, there are also various types of loans that can increase or lower your monthly mortgage payment. In general, there are two specific loan types, adjustable rate loans, known as an ARM and fixed rate. However, within these two categories, there are various options you should be aware of before shopping for a mortgage.
Fixed Rate Loans
The fixed rate loan is exactly what it sounds like. This means your interest rate will remain stable throughout the life of your loan. Keep in mind, this does not mean your payment will remain the same — if your property taxes or insurance premiums increase and are part of your mortgage payment, the monthly payment will increase.
There are four categories of fixed rate loans that are available to borrowers. The shorter the term of the loan, the lower the interest rate. However, the shorter the term of the loan, the higher your monthly payment will be. The four categories are 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, and the most popular, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage.
Fixed rate mortgages can be as short as 10 years and as long as 30 years. Assuming you were able to secure a $100,000 30-year mortgage at a fixed rate of 3.92 percent, your total mortgage payments would be $172,000 over the life of the loan. If you were to secure a 20 year at a fixed rate of 3.5 percent, you would pay approximately $139,190 over the life of the loan. As you can see, a small decrease in rate, and decrease in time can make a significant difference.
Adjustable Rate Mortgages
If you are considering an adjustable rate mortgage, your lender may offer you different options. The most common types of ARMs are 3/1 ARMs, 7/1 ARMs and 10/1 ARMs. What this means is the first number (3, 7 and 10) means your rate will be fixed over that number of years. The second number (1) means your rate will change every year after the fixed rate period ends.
ARMs typically have what is known as a “cap” which means the amount your loan can increase cannot increase more than a specific amount. The caps may be defined as how much the monthly payment can increase over the life of your loan, over how much the rate can rise over the life of your loan, or how much the rate can increase from year to year. Before agreeing to accept an ARM, make sure you have a full understanding of the terms. It is also worth noting that many ARMs also have prepayment penalties associated with them. This means you may pay a fee to the lender if you sell your home, or you decide to refinance your mortgage.
Deciding whether a fixed rate or an adjustable rate mortgage is the right choice for you can be challenging. Some borrowers may opt for an adjustable rate, so they can meet other criteria such as debt to income ratios. Your real estate agent, and your mortgage lender can help you determine which loan is right for your needs based on the value of your home, how long you plan to own the home, and your current financial status.
You’ve been considering an investment in real estate but are you really ready? Putting your money into something you haven’t done your homework on could be detrimental. You may even have all the tools, but are still straddling the fence. How will you know it’s time? Here are a few signs that indicate you have some ways to go:
Long-term Investment Strategy
If you don’t have one of these, you aren’t ready. Although flipping homes and other elements of getting into the real estate game may seem attractive, all the income coming in is tied to you doing “work.” When you stop doing it, the money stops to. An actual investment strategy means once you’ve found the home, did the work and found the tenants, the income continues rolling in. That means your assets continue to grow year after year.
Finances Need Work
Are your finances in order? That means you’re living below your means and are saving a good amount of your income. How’s your rainy day fund? If you don’t have at least three, six to a year’s worth of expenses that you can quickly get to, investing in something that may not give you a return on your investment doesn’t really make sense.
Do you have insurance? It’s important to have at least a term life insurance policy that’s 10 to 12 times your income.
Unless you have the cash to pay for your investments outright, you need to have a high enough credit rating that allows you to get the financing you’ll need. While your credit doesn’t have to be perfect, it should be good enough and showing indications of improving over time.
Capital is the name of the game. You should have access to enough capital that will allow you to secure long-term financing to get those properties when you want. Take a look at your risk profile. Purchasing high quality, low-risk property instead of maxing out the capital you have can make a difference. If you don’t have the capital, you’re not ready.
While you’re giving these areas some thought, it’s also a good thing to look at the market. While there are always ongoing talks about a recession, consider the stock market. Which one is riskier? Market stats are usually based on the entire country, but real estate stats are only based on specific cities, properties and neighborhoods. That means even if a recession hits, each property is impacted in its own way.
It’s time to study how to beat a recession if one hits and know the fundamentals. If you have a property that provides significant cash flow now, chances are it will during a recession as well. If you have quality properties in high-demand areas, you can withstand a market downturn. The goal is to make a recession an opportunity if you can. It's time to get things in order. If you purchase the right property in the right area, you’ll be just fine.
Regardless of when or where you search for a house, a home buying checklist is essential. With this checklist in hand, you can quickly and effortlessly discover a residence that suits you perfectly.
Now, let's take a look at three factors to incorporate into your home buying checklist.
1. Your Home Buying Timeline
Account for how much time is available to find and purchase a house. That way, you can boost the likelihood of getting the most out of the time and resources at your disposal.
As you create a home buying checklist, consider how much time you have before you need to relocate from your current address. Then, you can see how much time you have to pursue your dream home and evaluate the steps you will need to take to make that process run smoothly.
2. Your Home Must-Haves and Wants
Consider what you absolutely require from your new home. For instance, if you need a house that is close to your office in the city, you should check out homes in or near the city itself. Or, if you require a home that offers ample space for you and your children, you should hone your search to residences that have two or more bedrooms.
Of course, it helps to create a list of home wants and needs when you develop a house buying checklist. With the ability to evaluate your home needs at any time, you will be better equipped when deciding if a particular house is right for you.
3. Your Home Buying Budget
You know you want to purchase a house, but your current financial situation may be limited. Fortunately, if you prepare a home buying budget, you will know how much you can spend on a residence and map out your search accordingly.
Oftentimes, it helps to meet with credit unions or banks before you begin a home search. Credit unions and banks can teach you about different types of mortgages and how they work. Plus, these financial institutions can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage.
For those who want to streamline the home buying journey, it's a good idea to hire a real estate agent, too. A real estate agent can help you craft a home buying checklist, as well as provide tips and guidance as you search for your ideal house.
A real estate agent understands what it takes to find a terrific house at a budget-friendly price. First, a real estate agent will help a buyer evaluate the local real estate sector and narrow their home search. A real estate agent will also help a buyer discover a home that matches their expectations. Finally, a real estate agent will work with a buyer to put together a competitive offer to purchase this residence.
Craft a home buying checklist today – you will be happy you did. Once you have a home buying checklist, you can more seamlessly navigate the house buying journey.
Flooring can add to the function of your newly finished basement, or it can take it away. Installing the wrong type of flooring material in a below-grade space could leave you open to costly water damage or even the growth of mold and bacteria. Even the best-built basements are sometimes prone to invasion by moisture seeping through concrete walls or up through subfloor materials. This is why it's vital to choose flooring that's specifically designed for below-grade use. If you want a finished basement that's attractive and functional, as well as one that won't require constant maintenance, opt for easy-care materials like those listed below.
Epoxy flooring is a mixture of resin with hardeners added. And if you've ever shopped the local food warehouse or super home store, you've likely seen epoxy flooring. Sleek and exceptionally glossy, epoxy can be applied with rollers over the course of a single weekend, giving you an attractive basement floor that's nearly impervious to damage. It's available in a full range of colors, as well.
Stamped, Stained or Painted Concrete
Another easy flooring option for your new basement involves concrete that's been poured and smoothed with a rake and a squeegee. Afterward, the concrete can be stained or painted any color you desire. It can even be stamped to resemble other materials such as natural stone, brick or tile.
Laminate is a type of flooring that's installed as planks or tiles. It's a manufactured type of flooring that's extremely durable and can mimic the look and feel of hardwood at a fraction of the cost and without the worry of warping should it happen to get wet. Because it's installed in pieces as a floating floor, laminate is easy to repair if a section becomes damaged. Simply pop out the bad plank and replace it with a new one. This may mean removing part of the floor to get to the piece that's damaged, but there's no adhesive involved with laminate, so putting everything back is an easy fix.
Rubber flooring comes in multiple variations, including tiles and rolls. Either is good for basement flooring, but tiles are easy to replace should the need arise. Rubber is super easy to install, and it adds soft comfort to your below-grade space. It's also a great insulator. This translates into a lower utility bill each month. Residential-grade rubber flooring may be comparable in price, however, to other high-end flooring options such as natural stone.
These flooring options are all easy to install yourself, but if you doubt your DIY skills, your local contractor will be happy to help. Your newly finished basement can be a reality this year if you make savvy choices from the floor up.
Although you might already own a house, now may prove to be a good time to pursue a second residence. For example, if you have always wanted to own a home in the mountains, you can purchase a second residence to make your dream come true. On the other hand, if you want to own a vacation residence on or near the beach, you could enter the housing market to find a beachfront house that suits you perfectly.
Like any home search, finding a second house that matches your expectations may be difficult. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to streamline your quest to find a second home, such as:
1. Evaluate Your Finances
Your finances will play a significant role in your ability to purchase any house, at any time. As you get set to pursue a second home, examine your finances closely. Then, you can map out your home search accordingly.
Generally, it helps to consult with banks and credit unions before you launch the search. If you meet with these institutions, you can gain financial insights that you can use to make an informed purchase.
2. Establish Home Buying Criteria
Think about the features you want to find in a second residence. Next, you can craft home buying criteria.
Once you have home buying criteria in hand, you can narrow your house search, too. By honing your home search to residences in specific cities and towns, you can speed up your quest to find the right home at the right price.
It often helps to maintain flexibility as you conduct a search for a second home as well. If necessary, you can modify your home buying criteria throughout the home buying journey.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
There is no reason to enter the housing market on your own. Thankfully, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market experts can help you quickly and effortlessly acquire a second residence.
A real estate agent understands what it takes to navigate the home buying journey. This housing market professional first will learn about you and your home buying goals. He or she next will craft a custom home buying strategy based on your individual needs. Finally, a real estate agent will put this strategy into action and ensure you can discover a terrific home at an affordable price.
Furthermore, a real estate agent takes the guesswork out of buying a second home. If you are unsure about whether to submit an offer to purchase a particular residence, a real estate agent can offer a data-driven recommendation. Or, if you have concerns or questions at any point during the home buying journey, a real estate agent is prepared to respond to them.
If you want to pursue a second house, it helps to plan ahead for the home buying journey. By using these tips, you should have no trouble finding a second home that you can enjoy for years to come.