Category: Financing

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The Truth About Down Payments

If you’re planning to buy your first home, saving up for all the costs involved can feel daunting, especially when it comes to the down payment. That might be because you’ve heard you need to save 20% of the home’s price to put down. Well, that isn’t necessarily the case. Unless specified by your loan type or lender, it’s typically not required to put 20% down. That means you could be closer to your homebuying dream than you realize. As The Mortgage Reports says: “Although putting down 20% to avoid mortgage insurance is wise if affordable, it’s a myth that this is always necessary. In fact, most people opt for a much lower down payment.” According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median down payment hasn’t been over 20% since 2005. In fact, for all homebuyers today it’s only 15%. And it’s even lower for first-time homebuyers at just 8% (see graph below): The big takeaway? You may not need to save as much as you originally thought. Learn About Resources That Can Help You Toward Your Goal According to Down Payment Resource, there are also over 2,000 homebuyer assistance programs in the U.S., and many of them are intended to help with down payments. Plus, there are loan options that

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Avoid These Common Mistakes After Applying for a Mortgage

If you’re getting ready to buy a home, it’s exciting to jump a few steps ahead and think about moving in and making it your own. But before you get too far down the emotional path, there are some key things to keep in mind after you apply for your mortgage and before you close. Here’s a list of things to remember when you apply for your home loan. Don’t Make Any Large Purchases It’s not just home-related purchases that could disqualify you from your loan. Any large purchases can be red flags for lenders. People with new debt have higher debt-to-income ratios (how much debt you have compared to your monthly income). Since higher ratios make for riskier loans, borrowers may no longer qualify for their mortgage. Resist the temptation to make any large purchases, even for furniture or appliances. Don’t Deposit Large Sums of Cash Lenders need to source your money, and cash isn’t easily traceable. Before you deposit any cash into your accounts, discuss the proper way to document your transactions with your loan officer. Don’t Cosign Loans for Anyone When you cosign for a loan, you’re making yourself accountable for that loan’s success and repayment. With that obligation comes higher

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What Lower Mortgage Rates Mean for Your Purchasing Power

If you want to buy a home, it’s important to know how mortgage rates impact what you can afford and how much you’ll pay each month. Fortunately, rates for 30-year fixed mortgages have come down significantly since the end of October and are currently under 7%, according to Freddie Mac (see graph below): This recent trend is great news for buyers. As a recent article from Bankrate says: “The rate cool-off somewhat eases the housing affordability squeeze.” And according to Edward Seiler, AVP of Housing Economics and Executive Director of the Research Institute for Housing America at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA): “MBA expects that affordability conditions will continue to improve as mortgage rates decline . . .” Here’s a bit more context on how this could help with your plans to buy a home. How Mortgage Rates Affect Your Search for a Home Understanding the connection between mortgage rates and your monthly home payment is crucial for your plans to become a homeowner. The chart below illustrates how your ability to afford a home changes when mortgage rates shift. Imagine your budget allows for a monthly payment between $2,400 and $2,500. The green part in the chart shows payments

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