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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 $1000 loan today . 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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February 2, 2021, 9:41 am

Ways to Save Money on Heating and AC Energy Costs

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Personal Finance

If you want to reduce your energy usage, stop worrying about the light bulb hanging from the ceiling and look at the air conditioner instead. Heating and cooling your home consumes a third of the energy used by the average family. That’s why you should invest your time and effort into getting more out of your AC or heat pump. Here are a few ways to save money on heating and AC energy costs.

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Replace Your Air Filters

Odds are that your home’s air filters should have been replaced weeks or months ago. A dirty air filter is clogged. The AC has to work longer and harder to bring in the fresh air it needs. This accelerates wear and tear on the system. It also forces it to use more energy to get your home as cool as it would if you had fresh air filters in place. Note that replacing your air filters in the fall will also reduce your heating bills. You also need to clear away fallen leaves and other debris from around the air intake vents before winter comes.

Have Your AC Repaired As Soon as Issues Arise

If your air conditioner is leaking refrigerant, you may notice the unit having to work longer and harder to get your home as cool before it stops working outright. This results in increased energy consumption as great as if you had turned the thermostat down a couple of degrees. If the unit is repaired early on, you won’t have to replace the motors or add as much refrigerant. Work with a good AC repair San Antonio based firm, so that your HVAC system can be regularly maintained and quickly repaired when necessary.

Insulate

One of the best ways to save on your energy bills is to insulate your home. What can you do if your home already has thick insulation? You might want to arrange an energy audit to look for gaps in the insulation. There might be cold spots in the walls because of leaking pipes, too. You can add more insulation to your home, too. You could hang insulated drapes in the windows, reducing your heating and cooling bills. Put draft stoppers under doors. In some older homes, you might want to consider replacing the front door with a more solid, insulated one. Put another blanket on the bed before you turn up the thermostat at night. 

Find More Energy Efficient Ways to Stay Cool

How can you keep cool without turning down the thermostat and driving up your electric bills? Turn on the ceiling fans or portable fans instead. You don’t have to go for a swim, but you might feel better after taking a cold shower. Or give everyone cool drinks. Tricks like these may be what you need to get through the hottest part of the day without cranking up the AC. You may also need to eliminate heat sources that offset the cooling effect of your air conditioner. Don’t bake or take hot steaming showers when your AC is struggling to keep your home cool. Close the blinds on the side of the house being hit with the summer sun. Wait until the evening or early morning before you turn on the clothes dryer.

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November 17, 2020, 10:22 am

How much will my house be worth in 5 years?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Personal Finance

There’s no purchase as dreaded and as expensive as buying your first home.  Most homeowners have a lot of trepidation, considering the immediate future and the distant one.  Starting with what their new property will be worth in five years, they try to work out from there.  Unfortunately, it’s not that simple since most homes have a price that fluctuates on the house by house basis.  If you still want to figure out whether you’ll be losing or gaining money, here are some simple things to consider.

Current Condition

What condition is your home currently in?  Is there damage to any of the siding?  How recently was the roof replaced?  Go through your new home with a critical eye, and try to see what parts of your home will depreciate.  If you’re unsure, you can hire a professional to walk through and tell you what needs repairs.  Generally, there aren’t any huge issues with most homes, but small changes and updates can make a world of difference.

How Well Can You Maintain A Home?

Do you think you’ll be able to maintain your home or keep up its current value?  Before asking yourself, “What is my home worth?” consider if you’re willing to put in the work to at least keep it at the current price.  To best maintain your home, clean your gutters often, paint your home when needed, clean inside and out, and pat attention to any changes like shifting or smells that could warn of mold.

Are You Doing Updates?

Updates add a ton of value to homes, as long as they’re carried through intelligently.  Don’t waste your time updating a basement or bathroom since studies show that these updates lose money.  The best updates to bring cash back into your pockets at the sale are bedrooms and kitchens.  Although the kitchen is expensive to update, it’s a sacrifice that will raise your entire home’s property value.   

Do You Have a Plan If The Market Fails?

Although the housing market is running on a giant cyclical loop, and houses ride that wave going up and down in price, you need to have a plan for if the market fails when you’re trying to sell.  Unfortunately, we can’t always help the circumstances that make us sell, and we may get trapped in a buyers market.  A buyers’ market can be stressful for homeowners because the control is outside of their hands.  Buyers can barter, argue, and grift homeowners into losing money on a home so they can save some cash.  Make a plan ahead of time to get stuck trying to sell in this situation accidentally.

To figure out how much your home will be worth in five years, calculate these numbers together, and decide what your home will look like in both a good and a bad market.  After five years, the average home’s price shift isn’t that large without an update, so don’t be afraid to put in a little elbow grease!

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October 14, 2020, 9:32 am

5 Things to Consider Before Taking Out a Business Loan

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Personal Finance

If you are about to launch a business, there are all sorts of issues that can arise when getting your venture off the ground. Whether it’s buying equipment, finding office space, taking on employees, or cash flow issues, many entrepreneurs decide that a business loan is the right option to take.

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But, while a business loan can help turn your dreams into a reality, you should never take one out before thoroughly analyzing your situation. To help, here are five things to consider before taking the next step.

Establish the Purpose of the loan

The first thing to consider before taking out a business loan is defining why you need it. If you’re a small startup, you may not have a lot of money in the bank. So, taking out a business loan may saddle you with more debt than you can take on. Once you’ve established the purpose of your loan, you need to be realistic with how much you need. It can be all too tempting to borrow more, but when you factor in the fees on top, you could end up in a mountain of debt.

Know Your Credit Score

To be accepted for a business loan, your credit score will be a primary factor that lenders look at. Understandably, the healthier your credit is, the more chance you have of everything running smoothly. Before you even apply for a business loan, it’s wise to get a copy of your credit report. That way you can check to make sure it’s accurate and take further steps to improve your score.

Determine When You Need the Loan

Once you’ve decided how much you need and have checked your credit score, you need to establish when you need your business loan. The less urgent the need, the better your options will be. If you have lots of time before applying for a business loan, you may be able to boost your credit score, as well as look around at different lenders. If you’re in desperate need of cash, you may make the wrong decision that could come back to bite you later on.

Shop Around

If you are looking for funding for your startup, there are various types of business loans that you should look into. Visiting https://advancepointcap.com/sba-vs-conventional-loan/ will give you a better idea of the types of options you have available. There are pros and cons to every kind of business loan. So, make sure you examine every option and look into business loan alternatives if need be.

Read the Fine Print

No matter what business loan you take out, there will be terms and conditions attached that you must understand. If you don’t take the time to read the fine print, you may sign something that could haunt you in years to come. Be aware of the payment structure and if there are payment penalties.

Launching a new business can be daunting. With so many factors to address, it’s vital that you have the funds required to get up and running. If you’ve decided that a business loan is right for you, the factors above will make the decision process easier and help you stay in control of your finances.

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October 8, 2020, 3:14 pm

Do You Know How Much Smoking is Affecting Your Finances?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Personal Finance

Smoking is a dangerous and destructive habit, it’s true; but do you have any idea of how much the habit is affecting your finances? Smoking is expensive, and tobacco prices seem to be continuously rising as the years go by. If you’ve been smoking for a number of years, you’ve probably noticed your costs slowly climbing the longer you smoke or dip.

Let’s take a closer look at what kind of damage you might be doing to your finances by smoking. There’s never been a better time to quit, and you’re about to learn all of the reasons your wallet wants you to leave smoking behind!

Trying To Quit

Before we even dive into the expenses of the act of smoking, let’s look at how much it costs to try to quit. While there are affordable options like tobaccoless alternatives from https://blackbuffalo.com/ and CBD gummies/tinctures, most cessation options are costly.

Nicotine gum and nicotine replacement therapy can cost hundreds of dollars per month. And nicotine withdrawal is incredibly unpleasant. The symptoms can range from sweating and headaches to irritation, mood swings, and even digestive issues. You’ll likely spend money on OTC medications to alleviate these symptoms, furthering the cost of your cessation journey.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t try to quit; this is more for people who have only just started smoking or might start in the future. The best thing to do is to never pick up the habit at all.

The Cost Of Cigarettes

Now let’s look at the cost of buying cigarettes on a daily or weekly basis. For the sake of argument, let’s say you’re a heavy smoker. A “heavy smoker” is defined as someone who smokes as many as or more than 25 cigarettes per day. Heavy smokers make up about 26% of the total population of smokers in the US, so while they’re not the majority, they still represent nearly a third of all smokers.

A pack of cigarettes contains about 20 cigarettes. If you’re smoking 2-3 packs per day, you’re spending quite a bit of money on the habit. The average cost of cigarettes varies from state to state, ranging from about $4-$5 in some places to well over $8-$10 in others. Let’s put out average at $7.50 a pack, right in the middle. If you’re smoking two packs per day, you’re spending $15 per day on cigarettes. Multiplied by seven, this comes to $105 per week, $450 per month, or about $5,400 per year.

How much could you get done with an extra $5,000 per year? An extra $450 per month? You could probably pay off your car or house quicker, upgrade your living situation, or even help fund your higher education.

Healthcare Costs

Smoking carries with it the inevitability of health complications. There’s no possible way to be a heavy smoker (or even a light smoker, for that matter) and not develop health problems. Smoking is a direct cause of lung disease, cancer, heart disease, hypertension, and more. There’s no way to escape it; you will develop health problems, and in some cases, your insurance won’t cover the expenses entirely.

The US spends about $170 billion in direct healthcare costs for smokers every year. Cancer is an especially costly health complication, with treatments reaching well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of their lifetime. Treatments can last for years with aggressive cancers, and heart complications often require expensive surgeries to remedy.

You could also incur costs that stick with you for the rest of your life, such as oxygen tanks or other medical equipment to help you breathe. The cost of smoking goes well beyond just wasting money on cigarettes. It could potentially put you into crippling medical debt, as well.

Your Home

Did you know that smoking inside of a home can reduce its potential value by nearly a third? That’s right. Smoking damages the interior of your home, pollutes the air, and can compromise your ventilation systems and furnace. Not to mention, it’s nearly impossible to get the smell out of carpets and walls without replacing them, and smoking damages hard surfaces, as well.

Your Vehicle

You didn’t think your car was safe, did you? The same effects that smoking has on the home it will also have on your vehicle. Hard surfaces, upholstery, and the very quality of the air in your vehicle are compromised when you’re a smoker. This can significantly reduce your vehicle’s value, which undermines your investment in the vehicle itself.

The Bottom Line

Smoking is something you’d do well to stay away from if you want any kind of financial security in the future. It’s difficult enough to build a sustainable financial future with today’s wages without the added difficulty of a habit like smoking!

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