• Credit,  Mortgage

    How to Dispute an Error on Your Credit History

    Discovering an error on your credit history can be a rude surprise when you’re attempting to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Though most people don’t think about the details of their credit report until the need to secure a loan, it’s a good idea to check your report for inaccuracies periodically. If you do find an error, the best way to attempt a correction is through a dispute letter. Dispute letters allow you to formally request a fix by the reporting agency. Though it may take a little time to get the errors removed, cleaning up these mistakes can have a direct (and favorable!) effect on your credit score, helping…

  • Buying a Home,  Mortgage

    Which down payment strategy is right for you?

    You’ve most likely heard the rule: Save for a 20-percent down payment before you buy a home. The logic behind saving 20 percent is solid, as it shows that you have the financial discipline and stability to save for a long-term goal. It also helps you get favorable rates from lenders. But there can actually be financial benefits to putting down a small down payment—as low as three percent—rather than parting with so much cash up front, even if you have the money available. THE DOWNSIDE The downsides of a small down payment are pretty well known. You’ll have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance for years, and the lower your…

  • Buying a Home,  Mortgage

    Q&A: All Cash Home Purchase vs. Mortgage

    Many of my clients (especially Baby Boomers who are downsizing or relocating) ask me if they should pay cash for their next house or finance it with a new loan. While the idea of owning a home free-and-clear is certainly appealing, I always present them with a series of questions to help them clarify the big picture. Perhaps you or someone you know may benefit from these as well: How much will you be left with after an all-cash purchase? Maintaining a safety net of three to six months’ worth of living expenses can be a real comfort after you’ve done well on the sale of your home. How comfortable…

  • Credit,  Mortgage

    Yes, You Can Get a Mortgage if You’re Self-Employed

    The so-called “gig” economy means more people than ever are self-employed, receiving 1099 tax forms as independent contractors. In the world of the self-employed, the idea of securing a mortgage can seem like a fantasy. Unlike the traditionally employed, the self-employed entrepreneur is seen as a greater risk. Despite making a good living, some self-employed workers never even apply for a mortgage, believing the dream of home ownership is cut off by slim chances for approval. This isn’t necessarily true! Don’t give up on home ownership just because you’re self-employed. Instead, take the steps to boost your status in the eyes of lenders. Here are some tips to put you…

  • Credit,  Mortgage

    One financial calculator to rule them all!

    Financial health and stability depends upon making informed decisions about loans, debt, taxes, savings, and more. Unfortunately, most people (including first-time homebuyers!) lack a true understanding of how to apply math to help them clearly understand these essential areas. While there are many specialized calculators out there for a particular area (say debt, or mortgage payments), there are few which consolidate all of the most popular financial calculators in one place. Not to mention, you can chalk up quite a bill paying $2 – $5 for each independent calculator you may need. Recently I discovered CalcMoolator, a handy online collection of calculators which also has easy-to-use apps for both iOS…

  • Buying a Home,  Mortgage

    How PMI can make your dream of home sweet home a reality

      (BPT) – In the 2017 housing market, those who choose to pursue the dream of owning a home face several important decisions, such as how much to put toward a down payment. Twenty percent down is typically recommended by most lenders. While 20 percent is not a requirement, paying less can have a big impact on the amount you pay monthly. It is important for home buyers to know that when seeking a conventional loan with less than 20 percent down of the sales price or appraised value of the home, lenders will often require Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). This article takes a deeper look at PMI by answering…

  • Buying a Home,  Mortgage

    An affordable way to qualify for a home loan without that big down payment

      (BPT) – For many Americans, the biggest hurdle in buying a home is the 20 percent down payment they think is required for mortgage approval. According to a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors, 34 percent of respondents believe they need more than 20 percent. Meanwhile, low down payment mortgages account for a significant amount of home buying annually. Families with down payments as low as 3 or 5 percent have been able to purchase a home thanks to private mortgage insurance (MI) for 60 years. Since 1957, MI has helped 25 million families become homeowners. In the past year alone, MI helped more than 795,000 homeowners…

  • Buying a Home,  Mortgage

    Tech tools that can help you find a mortgage and home faster

    (BPT) – Whether you’re a first-time or experienced homebuyer, chances are a good portion of your real estate journey will take place online. In fact, four in 10 homebuyers start their house-hunting with an online search, according to the National Association of REALTORS. It’s easy to understand why: Online tools and apps can make the homebuying experience — including finding a mortgage — easier and more enjoyable. If you’ll be shopping for a home this fall and winter, use the tools homebuyers find most useful, according to the Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report: * Mortgage calculators — It’s important you’re as comfortable with your mortgage terms and lender as…

  • Buying a Home,  Mortgage

    How to Make a Down Payment Possible

    Every month you pay the rent, you’re probably thinking, “I wish this money was going into my future.” For a lot of would-be first-time home buyers, it’s the down payment which makes home ownership seem impossible. Climbing the “down payment mountain” isn’t impossible. Like any major challenge, it’s all a matter of breaking your big, hairy, audacious goal down into practical steps. Here are some tips to conquer saving for a down payment: Find out where your money goes. You can’t start saving if you don’t know where you’re spending. For a month or two, track each expenditure, no matter how small. Get an objective picture of where you’re spending…