Date Archives: August 2013

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August
27

Applying for a mortgage can be a daunting task. It takes many hours, lots of paperwork, and possibly a headache or two. Below are several mistakes to avoid when on the hunt for a mortgage. Not checking your credit. "This should be your first step in applying for a mortgage," says Michael LitznerBroker of Century 21 American Homes. Check your score months before applying for a mortgage so you know where you stand, and have time to make any changes if necessary. Not getting pre-approved. A mortgage pre-approval is one of the best things you can do to ease the home-buying process. During Monthly Payment Chart for Loanspre-approval, your bank checks your credit and examines your income, assets, and employment. "Before shopping for a home, get pre-approved," advises Litzner. "Many sellers won't take you seriously otherwise." Applying for new credit AND a new mortgage. "Do not apply for a new line of credit before or during the mortgage application process – it hints at financial instability, and you're seen as a greater risk," says Litzner. Changing jobs. If you're thinking about switching jobs, then hold off on the mortgage application, or stick out your current position for longer. "While a change in the same field doesn't necessarily mean you will be rejected, a big change - like a brand new career - can be a red flag," notes Litzner. Not seasoning your assets. Uncle John is giving you $10,000 to put toward your mortgage? Terrific. Make sure it's in your account months before you apply for a mortgage. New funds do not equate to financial stability, and your underwriter will catch on. For more information on obtaining a mortgage, please contact Century 21 American Homes at 1-800-270-6318. Century 21 American Homes is one of the fastest growing real estate brokerages serving Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn. To find out more about an exciting career in real estate contact us at careers@c21amhomes.com.
August
21

Buying a home is a hefty task, and with so many things to consider (do I need that extra bedroom? How important is a big yard?), it is easy to get a little lost in the process. There is nothing worse than purchasing a home only to find out you need to sink thousands of unexpected dollars into your new place, all because you weren't sure what to look for. Below are a few tips to make sure you're focusing on the right home features, so you can enjoy your new home AND still be able to afford that new dining room set. Hire a home inspector. "Getting a home inspected is the No. 1 way you can avoid surprises after closing," says Michael Litzner, Broker of Century 21 American Homes. However, it's still important to know what to look for on your own, as it can save you precious time and energy expenditure. For instance, if you know you can't afford a new foundation, then you can skip over making offers on homes that are clearly in need.Detective Check the basement. After you ooh and ah over the walk-in closets, head on down to the basement. Check out the plumbing, examine building materials, and check out insulation. "Can you see daylight peeking through cracks in the walls? That spells high heating bills, as the home may have some insulation issues," suggests Litzner. Scope out the foundation. "Big cracks or corrosion can spell big trouble down the line," notes Litzner. "Foundation is an expensive repair, so make sure the home is sound." Look for water damage. Check for discoloration and rings around pipes, windows and doors, as well as kitchen and bathroom fixtures. Eye the roof. "You definitely aren't going to climb up to the roof while visiting a potential home, but you can scope it from the outside," says Litzner. Can you see any visible missing tiles or discoloration? "And feel free to ask the agent when the roof was last replaced." For more information on buying a home, please contact Century 21 American Homes at 1-800-270-6318. Century 21 American Homes is one of the fastest growing real estate brokerages serving Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn. To find out more about an exciting career in real estate contact us at careers@c21amhomes.com.
August
14

As more Americans make strides towards responsible spending and debt management, there are still ways to improve the control of family finances. According to a recent survey, less than half of cardholders always pay their entire credit card balance. With more than half of individuals carrying credit card debt, there are ways to promote good spending and personal finance habits, such as: Limit Number of Credit Cards Limiting the number of cards you own can help limit your spending and increase the likelihood you can pay above the minimum balance. Before you start cutting up your plastic, remember having more than one credit card can have merits. One idea is to have three cards: one in a safe place at home for emergencies and two with you at all times. money tree for home mortgage Reap the Rewards  Use the rewards programs available to credit card holders to cash in on things your family really needs. Whatever rewards you are seeking, there is likely to be a card suitable for you. Evaluate All Debts Many carry debts beyond credit cards, including student loans, car payments and mortgages. Evaluate your debts and decide which ones have the highest interest rates. Making it a priority to pay down these debts first will save you more money in the long run. Create a Budget It's never too soon to put yourself in control of your money and stop letting it control you. A budget will give you financial peace of mind and it can help you stretch the income you have. Calculate your income and expenses and set your monthly budget. Though you may not be on-point every month, the simple act of tracking your spending will be a huge step forward in your quest towards responsible spending.
August
6

For consumers and borrowers looking to secure a mortgage, locking in to the lowest rate possible is critical to your success. A mortgage rate lock enables borrowers to lock in the original rate that they were quoted when they first applied for a loan from their lender. Not all lenders allow borrowers to lock in their rates, but those who do will usually allow for a rate lock at the beginning, when the loan is filed, or during the application process. Most borrowers prefer to lock in their rates when they first submit the loan, since this will protect them from potential rate or point increases that may occur during the home loan application process. If you've been mortgage shopping, you've probably seen a lot of interest rates – some lower than others. You've probably also been following news reports about the recent increase in rates, and even though rates are still near record lows, it's pretty obvious that now is the time to take out a new mortgage or refinance an existing one. Of course, once you do decide to apply for a mortgage, it takes time – usually a few weeks – before the mortgage will be finalized. At the end of that time, you want to be sure you end up getting the same low rate that was in effect when you submitted your application. The way to do that is by locking in your rate, and maybe even your points. A lock protects you from potential rate increases while your loan is being approved, it can also mean you are unable to take advantage of decreases in the interest rates that may occur while your loan is being processed. In a market where you aren't sure whether rates will fall or not, you might choose to float your rate. That means that although you lock in the rate when you make an application, the lender will adjust the rate to any lower interest rate that occurs while your application is being processed. Of course, if rates rise, in most cases the rate will "float" upward with them. Since points also typically fall with interest rates, some lenders also allow points to rise and fall during the application process. Conducting research on the market and observing mortgage trends is a good way to make sure you can lock in at the best possible rate.

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