What You Need to Know About Mortgage Insurance

Posted by on Sep 14, 2018 in Blog

Homeowners insurance and title insurance may not be the only kinds of insurance you need when you buy a home. Many buyers also have to purchase mortgage insurance, which lenders require for mortgages with a down payment of less than 20 percent. Take the time to understand what you’re buying and how long it will affect you. Mortgage Insurance Protects the Lender Most types of insurance will pay you if you make a claim. Mortgage insurance, though, is solely for the lender. If you were to stop making payments and the lender foreclosed on your home, the mortgage insurance would pay the lender the difference between the profit from selling your home and the amount you still owed on your mortgage. Types of Mortgage Insurance When you have a mortgage with a traditional lender, you get private mortgage insurance, often abbreviated PMI. This insurance is provided by a third party, although your lender will typically dictate who provides the coverage. When you get an FHA mortgage, the federal government offers the mortgage insurance, and you pay mortgage insurance premiums, often abbreviated MIP. Mortgage Insurance Amount You can expect to pay 0.5 percent to 1 percent of your loan balance each year for private mortgage insurance. The federal government sets FHA mortgage insurance premiums, and as of 2017, are 1.75 percent of the loan balance up front, plus 0.45 percent to 1.05 percent of the loan balance each year, depending on the type of loan. How to Stop Paying Mortgage Insurance FHA loans have mortgage insurance until the loan is paid off, either through regular payments or by refinancing. Traditional loans automatically cancel mortgage insurance when you have reached the point on your amortization schedule where the loan balance drops below 78 percent of the purchase price. You also may be able to apply to cancel mortgage insurance as soon as your loan balance is less than 80 percent of your home’s current appraised value. How Can You Get Around Paying Mortgage Insurance? When purchasing a home, the only way to avoid having to buy mortgage insurance is to get a mortgage for less than 80 percent of the home’s purchase price. However, the cost of mortgage insurance may be something you’re willing to pay for the opportunity to buy now without a down payment of 20...

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Tips for Organizing Your Attic

Posted by on Sep 7, 2018 in Blog

For the most part, attics are perceived to be a place where you store all the things you don’t need or don’t have room for. That is true for most people, and since they are usually out of the way, most people don’t think about them much. That doesn’t mean you should entirely dismiss organizing your attic once a year or so, to make sure that things aren’t lost or broken. If you are looking to organize your attic, here are some tips for tackling that project. Declutter The first tip for organizing your attic is to set apart some time to do it. If you need to go through a lot of things, you will need to set apart a little time to do so. As any show on TLC or HGTV will attest, the best way to go through any room is to organize your things into three piles; a keep it collection, a donate pile and a get rid of pile. It is easiest to do this by having plastic tubs to put them into. Once you go through each thing in the attic, you can send the donations off to a thrift store and the get rid of pile to the dump. With the keep it pile, you can move to the next step. Label In your plastic bins, you will better be able to keep your items organized by labeling the plastic containers. This way, the next time you go through things or need something from the attic, you will know where things are. It makes things much more easily accessible and will make the organization for the attic much easier than next time you go there. Paperwork If you have a lot of paperwork in the attic, you will want to make sure you organize that as well. You will want to find the right grouping for them as well, such as by year, type of paperwork, or by importance. While you won’t want to keep most of your most important paperwork in the attic, there are some things like manuals or extended warranty paperwork that will be easy to get at if you have them organized handily in the attic. The attic isn’t always the most used part of the house, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t organize it as well. Besides, while you are assembling it, you might find a valuable piece of furniture or a box of expensive baseball cards....

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What You Need to Know About HOA Fees

Posted by on Aug 30, 2018 in Blog

If you are thinking of buying a condominium or a home that is part of a planned community, you have likely come across the term “homeowners’ association” or HOA. In short, the HOA is a coalition of local homeowners who have banded together to manage the needs of the local community. Let’s explore the concept of the homeowners’ association, why they charge fees and what you can expect from your HOA if you buy a home that is part of one. HOA Fees Should Make Things Easier HOA fees are meant to make your life easier. Common sense dictates that all homeowners won’t be able to commit to investing some of their time in community upkeep. So the HOA charges a monthly fee to everyone to cover the costs of keeping everything in order. Of course, some HOAs can make mistakes or foolish investments that don’t benefit all equally. But most are well-intended and do positive work. What Do HOA Fees Cover? Your HOA fees will be used to pay for needs that benefit all homeowners’ in the community. If you live in a building, this will be everything from elevator maintenance to keeping the doors in good order. If you live in a townhouse complex or planned community, this includes landscaping, gardening, road maintenance and more. As long as your HOA leaders are doing their job, they will use fees to maintain and improve the community for everyone. Some Pros And Cons Of HOA Fees The main benefit of paying HOA fees is that you are offloading your share of the responsibility for building or community upkeep. In essence, you are trading a monthly payment so that you don’t have to vacuum the common areas, change the light bulbs or worry about repairing the gate when it breaks. The main downside to paying HOA fees is that you only have a single vote as to how they should spend the money and you may disagree with other homeowners about the HOA’s priorities. All things considered, whether or not you have a favorable view of your HOA comes down to you. If you are the type that likes to share their opinion and is willing to commit the time to improve your local community, you may want to join your HOA. However, if you are less interested in having someone spend your money, you might disagree with their approach. Whatever the case, when you are ready to buy your next home, contact our professional mortgage team. We’re happy to help you find the right financing for your new home – HOA or...

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