Pamela Bailey
RE/MAX On the Move | Insight | Advantage | 603-770-0369 | [email protected]


Posted by Pamela Bailey on 5/12/2021

Photo by GaudiLab via Shutterstock

In the rush and excitement to find the perfect home and make it yours, there are some things best learned beforehand rather than through hindsight. Here are some suggestions from first-time homebuyers that would have made the entire process less challenging.

Know where you stand.

If you plan to buy a home, even if it’s a couple years out, you need to assess your current creditworthiness so that you can move the needle to improve your credit score. Making sure that your credit reports show the correct information is not something to leave to chance.

  • Order your credit reports from each of the three major reporting agencies (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian).
  • Review all the entries carefully. Sometimes, credit card accounts have different names on the credit report than on your card, so review your statements to match up accounts with their identifiers.
  • If you find mistakes, request a review with the credit agency. All three have error mitigation instructions on their websites. Follow the instructions carefully.
  • Review any slow pays and rearrange your payment schedules so that you’re up-to-date and on-time for everything.

Create your budget.

While this doesn’t work for everyone, a good rule of thumb is to keep your home price within two and a half times your annual income. That means if you make $80,000 per year, set your budget at $200,000 or less. If your income calculation includes dual partners or spouses, but you intend to add children to the household, consider how you might eliminate that second income. If you calculate your purchase based on one income your budget is more secure.

Determine your down payment.

First-time homebuyers typically qualify for FHA loans with just a 3.5% down payment. Others may be eligible for VA, USDA or Conventional 97 LTV programs too. But with less paid down, your mortgage payments increase because the loan is higher and includes the added cost of Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). If you can put more down to get a better rate and reduce your mortgage payment, consider it. Conventional loans usually ask for a 20% down payment, but you’ll often get better interest rates and lower payments.

Decide on a loan term.

A fix-rate mortgage for 30 years is the norm, but not the only option. You can find loan terms for 8 or 15 years too. If an adjustable rate works for you in the short term, you’ll find those as well, but if you choose an adjustable-rate only because you couldn’t otherwise afford the home, you might want to wait or adjust your budget.

Get pre-approval from your lender.

Your bank looks at all your income, assets, credit history and other aspects. Getting the lender to give you an informal approval helps you determine if you’ll be able to borrow a specified amount of money to buy a home. Use the numbers your lender gives you to refine your budget.

When you’re ready, find a buyer’s agent to represent you in your home search and let the games begin.




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Posted by Pamela Bailey on 6/28/2017

Keeping up with household expenses can be a daunting task. Service providers are making it easier than ever to set up auto-pay features for their products. Furthermore, playing with credit cards makes it seem like you hardly ever have to look at your account balances. Unfortunately, that can make it easy to go over your allotted budget each month. That’s where the home budget app comes in.

In recent years, a growing number of budgeting apps have hit the app stores. You could scroll for hours through all of the various apps, comparing their needs. Fortunately, we’ve done the hard work for you.

Some apps are geared towards families, where others are designed for a single user. Some sync with bank accounts and others depend on your own input to keep track of your expenses. In this article, we’re going to break down some of the best budgeting apps for keeping up with your household and living expenses.

HomeBudget

If you’re hoping to split expenses and plan your budget with your spouse, family, or roommates, HomeBudget is a good place to start. With HomeBudget you can assign one person to be the payee, making it easy to determine who pays certain bills.

You and your family members can also assign expenses and attach images of your receipts to see who paid which bill.

At the end of the month, you can view reports that will tell you if you stayed under budget. You can then compare the month’s budget to the previous six months and decide if you need to increase your budget or try to cut some expenses.

YNAB: You Need A Budget

If you’re new to budgeting or are having trouble paying off debt, YNAB is the budgeting tool you need. Aside from keeping track of your spending, YNAB is also a learning resource. Signing up gives you access to budgeting tips and information that you may not be familiar with.

YNAB links up with your bank accounts to tell you just how much you need to save each month in order to keep up with everyday expenses like mortgage payments and utilities, and get out of debt.

Mint

Mint is designed to be your one-stop shop for all things financial. It combines your bills, bank accounts, student loans, credit cards, and more all in one place.

Mint enables you to track your spending, plan a budget, and gain access to resources like free monthly credit scores.

Unsplurge

Having an organized budget is a reward of its own. But, if you need even more of an incentive, Unsplurge is here to help. With Unsplurge, you can focus on saving up for a goal. You’ll get updates when you save enough to “splurge” on your goal.

It’s a great tool for people who like to see their progress and feel the sense of accomplishment when they meet their objective.


Now pick the app that sounds right for your needs and get started with saving money and managing your household budget today.




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