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

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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).

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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

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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

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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

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8 ways first-time homebuyers can make themselves mortgage-ready

(BPT) – It’s rare to get something right the very first time you try it, but when it comes to buying your first home, a lack of knowledge and experience can lead to costly mistakes. One in four first-time homebuyers say they are completely unfamiliar with the mortgage financing process, according to a report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Even among those with an understanding of the overall process, the report found that many first time homebuyers still had significant knowledge gaps in important areas such as available mortgage rates, closing costs, down-payment requirements and income required to qualify

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The One Expense Buyers Underestimate

Sixty-five percent of home owners with private mortgage insurance say that the additional cost of PMI prompted them to pay a higher monthly mortgage payment than they had originally expected, according to a new survey released by TD Bank of more than 2,000 Americans who purchased a home in the past 10 years. “PMI has had a definitive impact on many home buyers – including making them rethink or delay the purchase of a home in light of not being able to meet monthly mortgage payments,” says Michael Copley, executive vice president of retail lending at TD Bank. Borrowers are

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You Don’t Need That Much of a Down Payment

Many consumers are overestimating  the down payment they need in order to purchase a home, according to Christina Boyle, vice president and head of single-family sales at Freddie Mac. Consumers believe they need 11 percent to 15 percent in order for lenders to approve them for a loan, according to a survey of renters and non-home-owners conducted by Zelman & Associates in New York. Thirty-nine percent say they need at least 15 percent of the purchase price in order to qualify for financing. Only 28 percent of respondents say they would even qualify for a mortgage. But in reality, home

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