February 1, 2022, 9:05 am

Best Loan Options for First Time Home Buyers

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Personal Finance,Properties

When it comes to buying a home, there are several things to consider, and financing is one of them. Luckily, there is a myriad of financing options that first time home buyers can access to make home-owning easier. If you’re thinking about owning your first home, this guide will help you select a suitable financing option:

1.  USDA Loan: Excellent for Low-Income Earners in Designated Areas

The United States Department of Agriculture provides USDA loans at low-interest rates to help people buy homes without making down payments. This financing option primarily targets rural areas. The USDA guarantees your lender-issued mortgage and allows you to access very low mortgage rates with zero down payment.

2.  FHA Loan: Suitable for Home Buyers With Poor Credit History:

Unlike most other home financing options that only serve buyers with impressive credit scores, Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans are available to buyers with low credit scores. With an FHA loan, you can make a small down payment (as low as 3.5%) and own your home. However, you’ll be required to pay mortgage insurance which includes annual premiums and a 1.75% upfront fee. Nevertheless, it’s a home financing option worth considering.

3.  VA Loan: For Military Members and Their Families

If you’re actively in military service or have retired honorably and are looking to buy a home, VA loans backed by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs are an excellent choice. They have lower interest rates, no mortgage insurance, and do not require a down payment. Also, a Veteran Affairs loan won’t restrict a homeowner from selling their property partway into their loan term or impose prepayment penalties or exit fees.

If your prospective home buyer is VA eligible, you can transfer your existing VA loan to that person. Nevertheless, you’ll need to pay a funding fee based on your loan cost and other factors.   

4.  EEM: Great for Home Buyers That Care About Energy Efficiency

An energy-efficient mortgage (EEM) allows you to buy a home that meets specific energy-efficiency requirements. Usually, it is backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The downside of this financing option is that you must obtain an energy assessment to qualify. If you qualify, you can get up to 15% of your home’s appraised value for upfront energy-efficient upgrades without additional down payments. 

5.  Good Neighbor Next Door Program: For Home Buyers in Specific Public Service Professions

This financing option allows firefighters, emergency medical technicians, law enforcement officers, and teachers employed full-time to buy homes at significantly discounted rates. It is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and can allow homebuyers to get up to 50% discount in a ”revitalization area.” If you get this loan, you’ll have to live in it for at least three years, and it must be your sole residence.

6.  Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae: For Home Buyers With High Credit Scores but Small Down Payment

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are home mortgage companies created by the U.S. Congress and backed by the federal government. They don’t service their own mortgages but buy and guarantee mortgages given through secondary mortgage market lenders.

It is suitable for first-time homebuyers with high credit scores of at least 620. These programs allow buyers to get their homes with a 3% minimum down payment. But if you are making a down payment of less than 20%, you’ll need private mortgage insurance (PMI). 

7.  FHA 203(K) Loan: For Buyers Interested in Homes That Need Fixing

An FHA 203(K) loan is a government-backed mortgage that allows a first-time buyer to take out a loan for purchasing their home and renovating. This type of loan centers around repairs or rehabilitation to a home that will serve as the borrower’s primary residence.

This is best for middle and low-income families buying homes in old communities. Therefore, house flippers and real estate investors do not qualify for this loan. The repairs must not extend past six months. The renovation amount is placed in an escrow account, and when the work is completed, it is disbursed to the contractors. The repair budget is capped at $35,000.   

8.  Native American Direct Loan (NADL): Suitable for Native American Veterans

Nave American Veterans and their spouses can access NADL to build, buy, or improve a home on federal trust land. Unlike other VA (Veteran Affairs)-backed loans, the VA is the mortgage lender in this case. NADLs offer low-interest rates and limited closing costs. If you’re using this funding option, you won’t require private mortgage insurance or a downpayment. Nevertheless, you must have an impressive credit score and meet specific eligibility requirements

9.  State First-Time Homebuyer Programs: Best for Buyers Needing Down Payment Support

Several states and local governments offer low-interest mortgages and grants to first-time homebuyers. If you’re thinking about buying your first home, find out the financing opportunities in your area so you can take advantage of them. Most state programs have income limits; that is, they are reserved for households with a specified maximum income. They also require buyers to attend counseling courses and present certificates of completion.

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December 14, 2021, 9:54 am

Gold vs. Crypto – Which is the best inflation hedge?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Investment, Market and Risk

Rising inflation all around the world has become one of the top concerns among policymakers, but also for institutions and the average person. Rising prices reflect a diminishing purchasing power of fiat currencies, which should prompt you to look for proper inflation hedges.

In doing so, you can preserve purchasing power, but all of this comes with several risks. The debate continues as to which asset is the best inflation hedge and in this article, the focus will turn to gold and cryptocurrencies.

gold vs. crypto as an inflation hedge
Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/cryptocurrency-concept-blockchain-3423262/

Comparison of both markets

Since the pandemic has had a major impact on the global economy, as well as on asset prices, it would be appropriate to first see how gold and the crypto market performed during the past two years. At the March 2020 bottom, the price of gold in USD was around $1,450, later managing to climb above $2,000 for the first time in its history.

It peaked in August 2020, on the back of rising Treasury yields and a strong risk appetite, which led market participants towards other asset classes.

When looking at cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, volatility has been much more significant. The price of BTC bottomed at $4,000 and since then rose above $65,000 by November 2021. Some other altcoins have posted even larger returns, but traders should consider the risks involved were (and still are) larger.

Now that the financial industry has been democratized, trading via mobile apps is possible. This puts any individual in a position to get involved in any asset, without requiring a lot of capital or advanced hardware.

Risk appetite – an important factor?

Considering both gold and cryptocurrencies have risen in USD terms, you could conclude these are inflation hedges. An asset return, however, does not mean anyone can take advantage and generate income in the future. The risk profile is important and some traders might perform well when trading gold, while others will feel comfortable taking greater risks with cryptocurrencies.

A divergence of opinions is the case here because each individual is limited by their own beliefs, while in finance there are many different ways to hedge against inflation, each with both pros and cons.

A change of generation among market participants

Conflicting beliefs can also be attributed to the fact that traditional investors and traders, which have been in the industry for a longer period of time, show an appeal for gold, an asset that until 1971 has been at the core of the global monetary system.

On the other hand, as youngsters get involved in finance, they are attracted by digitalization, given they grew up with advanced technology all around them. Which camp will ultimately prevail? It is yet to be seen, but you should keep in mind that emerging industries, such as crypto, take time to mature, and are bound for elevated volatility until that happens.

All in all, diversification among different hard assets remains one of the most trusted ways to protect yourself against inflation risks. As long as interest rates are low and fiscal spending increases each time there’s an economic downturn, hard assets can outperform cash.

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November 16, 2021, 10:34 am

How to Find a Career Opportunity That Fits You Perfectly

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Career

Just starting out on your career journey? Not sure where to go from here? What even is a “career” anyway?

All of these questions are questions that recent graduates and undergraduates have asked, and for many students, the very idea of leaving the safe confines of the college campus and going into a career is actually pretty scary!

Finding Out Who You Are

Before you go into any career, you should have a good understanding of who you are and how you like to work. You’ll need to know your own strengths and weaknesses, including things like what you are good at and what you are not so great at.

Try your hand at answering some of the following questions honestly:

  • What do you want your career to accomplish in life?
  • Do you have any particular skills that will be important to have in your career if you do decide to move into that field?
  • Are there other possible career choices that might suit your personality better?
  • How would your parents feel about you starting a job?

All of these questions may go through your mind when starting to think about what kind of job would best suit your lifestyle.

Getting the Right Education

Education plays a huge part in any career search. Like many things in life, a formal education makes a big difference in your future. That doesn’t necessarily mean going to college or university, though!

Lots of people have started their own businesses or have pursued amazing careers because they have a natural curiosity and desire to learn. In other words, don’t discount the value of self-education just because you do not have a degree yet!

If you decide to attend college or university, this is because you will get an education that will help you further your career success. You can expect that there will be tests and other criteria that need to be met before you are officially considered graduated.

Once you’ve graduated with your bachelor’s degree, you can improve your career prospects even further by getting an advanced degree. Courses like the online MBA Boston are perfect for graduates who want to climb the business career ladder.

Matching Your Future Career to Your Personality

Hiring managers are always looking for ways to make their offices more efficient. While having a brisk, organized work atmosphere is generally considered pleasant, it is not necessary to have this for a successful career.

If you are eager to learn about all the different opportunities in this industry, you can be successful by learning to adapt your personality to the type of work that you are applying for.

For instance, if you are applying for an entry-level position in customer service, your goal should be to get along with and help people as quickly and effectively as possible.

To find out what kind of employee is needed more in a particular role, research the job description and compare your qualifications and personal qualities to the requirements.

After you pick an industry that you’d like to work in, you can start thinking about a career path. Think about what kind of career path would suit your abilities and lifestyle best, and start gearing up for the interviews!

The Biggest Decision You’ll Have to Make

Okay, so now that we’ve talked a little about how to find a position in an industry that suits your interests and lifestyle, it’s time to talk about the most important part.

It’s time to decide whether or not this is really something you want to do as a job!

There are lots of things to consider before getting into any one line of work as a career. You need to consider all of the time you’d be willing to invest, the money you expect to make over time, and whether or not it’s something you can do for fun.

You also need to consider how much risk there is involved in your decision.

If it’s a choice between working for yourself or working for someone else, which would suit you better?

Should You Work for Yourself?

Working for yourself has a lot of benefits, but it can also come with some drawbacks.

If you decide to work for yourself, you need to remember that this means you will be working harder and longer hours than your peers who work for somebody else’s company.

On the other hand, you will have more control over your own success or failure in the job. You will be able to set your own hours and even make your business location whatever place is convenient for you.

Working as an entrepreneur is a great way to build up your skills and abilities as well as make connections in the industry that you want to work in.

When you start your own business, you’ll be able to utilize all of your different talents and experience to help you succeed.

You will also need to do all of the work required on your own, but if that’s something that is too much for you, then it is possible to delegate certain tasks out to others if it makes your job easier or more efficient.

And even if you prefer to work alone (or at least not with others), working for yourself allows you to make a choice about the hours of work that best suit your needs. You can always scale back your hours or choose full-time jobs with steady hours after a couple of years of working on the side.

It’s an Exciting World, Dream Big!

Finding your career can be super challenging, but it’s also important for your continued happiness. The fact of the matter is if you do not like what you do for a living and don’t like what it’s doing to your health, don’t leave anything to chance.

If the job is not exactly the direction you want your life to go in, then it may be time to think about changing paths. Now is the perfect time to learn about all the different career opportunities out there so that you are prepared for any career change that comes along in your future.

Finding the right career is hard work, but it can totally change your life in so many ways. The extra time and effort you put into finding the right career will pay off in spades – just give it some time and put your heart into this process.

You’ll be glad that you did.

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July 22, 2021, 8:12 am

How to Make Money Online During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Uncategorized

There’s no denying the COVID-19 pandemic has been terribly hard on people. Even if you didn’t get the disease chances are, you either lost your job or have been furloughed for a while. Even with Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and the occasional stimulus check, it’s been hard for people to pay their mortgage or rent. Especially for those paying their mortgage down early.

But for some lucky homeowners, age 62 or older, they’ve been able to tap into their home equity via a reverse mortgage. After loan approval, they’re able to accept the cash in one lump sum payout or they can receive partial payments every month. This much needed extra cash has been a blessing for many during these uncertain financial times. You can see what your rates and incoming payments would look like with this reverse mortgage calculator here: https://reverse.mortgage/calculator.

But for those who aren’t fortunate enough to tap into their home equity, they’ve had to resort to more creative ways to make extra money. It hasn’t been easy. According to a recent report, with all the fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) that’s surrounded the fatal virus, the global lockdowns and financial downturns that’s resulted from it, have made our lives much more difficult and stressful. If it’s hard for you to think creatively during stressful times you’re not alone. 

Before you dip into your retirement fund, know that there are other options. For those of you who can manage to think outside the box of your garden variety 9-5 day job, here’s a few ways to generate some great income online during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Start a Blog

Starting your own blog is perhaps one of the easiest and cost efficient ways of making money online. You can establish your particular brand of authority in your desired professional space. You can also curate blogs on topics your potential audience will find engaging.

Just make sure to be consistent with your posts by putting them up regularly. You can make money through your blogs via affiliate marketing, influencer marketing, and by directing traffic to your own products such as eBooks, clothing, coffee, music, etc. The possibilities are endless. 

You might want to even start a blog on hacks to make a quick buck.

Logo Designs

If you have a flair for art, you can put it to work by designing logos for businesses and organizations. Never before has it been easier to come up with designs using online software like Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw.

How do you start? You simply approach a small business either in person or online via LinkedIn. Have some samples handy along with a quick bio that demonstrates your talents.

E-Commerce Expert

Lots of people have been selling products online through stores like Amazon long before the pandemic hit. It doesn’t take much money if any to start. All it takes is time and effort on your part. You can either produce your own product, or you can purchase products then resell them.

If you are truly resourceful, you can create your own online store for other E-Commerce experts to utilize for selling their products. You simply take a cut of every product sold.

Content Writer

Says Yourstory.com, so long as there are products to sell and people willing to spend money on them, businesses need to make those products both understandable and attractive to the buying public.

Enter content writers. You don’t need to be Shakespeare to be a content writer. You only need to have appropriate writing ability. If you’re a great writer, all the better since you will likely get through a lot of assignments fast and efficiently. Content marketing tends to be inexpensive, but it generates lots of leads making it a favorite tool among online businesses.

eBook Designer/Editor

Writers/authors who publish eBooks independent of traditional publishers require professional looking covers, skilled editing, and exceptional written content. That is, they expect to build a following. Good eBook designers and editors are said to be worth their weight in gold to authors willing to pay thousands of dollars for their services.

If you know how to copy edit, content edit, and you can manage the ins and outs of Adobe InDesign, you can create great eBooks. If you know how to create illustrations, you will be even more popular among independent authors.

Social Media Marketing Manager

Never before has social media marketing taken center stage than during the pandemic. Since lots of people are still staying home even at this late stage of the pandemic, social media marketing or SMM, has reached new heights of importance. If you’re particularly good with social media marketing, you might as well get paid for it. Perhaps you know of a busy businessperson or author who desperately needs to market online but they just don’t have time for it. Your professional social media marketing manager skills just might be the perfect solution. 

A competent manager will pay attention to the analytical side of the market, while creating reports, and building marketing and influencing campaigns. Just as importantly, they will openly engage with your audience and potential clients.

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July 16, 2021, 7:55 am

Reasons Why Your Credit Score Matters

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Uncategorized

Perhaps you’ve never thought much about your credit score because you haven’t engaged in a process where parties took that aspect into account when making a decision. Alternatively, maybe you haven’t put much effort into positively impacting your score because you’re not sure how to get started. In any case, your credit score can significantly influence your opportunities. 

Your Credit Score Indicates Financial Stability

A credit score is a representation of your financial standing. Once you decide to get a free credit score, that’s the first step to knowing whether there’s room for improvement or you’re already in an excellent position. 

Getting your score also makes it easier to connect past issues to your future score. For example, if you send in credit card or loan payments late, that can negatively impact your credit score.

You also may notice a trend where you frequently get close to your credit limit or otherwise use more than half what your credit card provider indicated. The amount of credit used is called your credit utilization. Sources suggest keeping it at 30% or lower to improve your score. 

Knowing your credit score helps you take positive action. If you’ve accidentally paid bills late before, consider setting a reminder in your phone or marking the due date on a calendar. If using too much of your available credit becomes problematic, take a closer look at why that happens to determine what realistic changes you could make. 

Your Credit Score May Impact Your Housing Options

Your credit score also becomes crucial for potentially influencing where you can live. For example, if you’re looking for places to rent, landlords want indications that their potential tenants will pay reliably every month. A credit score is not the sole indicator of that happening, but it shows whether you’ve been on time with other payment deadlines before. 

Additionally, perhaps you’re thinking about taking out a loan to buy a house. Your credit score typically becomes part of the screening process before approval. Even if you’re not in the market to buy or rent anytime soon, it’s still good practice to know your score and be aware of if you should take steps to make it better before a housing-related milestone occurs. 

Your Credit Score Could Make You a More Appealing Job Candidate

The job market in many cities is intensely competitive, and sometimes dozens or hundreds of people apply for a single open position. Having a strong resume and cover letter, along with the required or preferred experience and background, should help you stand out, but your credit score could play a role, too. 

Some employers will retrieve a truncated version of your credit history while evaluating you as a candidate. They don’t see your score, but having a high one will naturally reflect well on the credit history details they do get to examine. 

You might wonder why a potential employer would care about that aspect. It’s often because they want to know whether you could handle having a company credit card. Having one of those is a privilege that comes with significant responsibility. 

Your Credit Score May Affect Your Insurance Costs

Differences in premium rates given by insurers seem a bit mysterious to outsiders. Companies weigh a variety of factors and use specialized algorithms when calculating an offer for you. One of the things examined during the process could be a credit-based insurance score. 

It’s a specialized version of your score specific to that industry. Of course, having a fantastic credit score alone is not enough to guarantee a low rate for insurance. However, it could make a meaningful difference in what you pay when gauged along with other factors. 

This overview emphasizes why there’s no time like the present to learn your credit score and consider taking steps to improve it. Doing those things could shape your financial future for the better. 

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