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Applying for a mortgage can be a lengthy and difficult process. Lenders want to know that they are going to get a return on their investment.
To ensure that they’ll see that positive return they will take a number of things into consideration, such as your income, credit score, employment history, and financial capital.
First-time homeowners often struggle when it comes to these prerequisites since they have fewer years of numbers for lenders to consider. If you’re one of those people, don’t worry--you can still purchase a home.
First-time homeowner loans, which are guaranteed by the U.S. government, and a number of private loans enable people to borrow money for a home without paying a huge down payment or having a vast credit history.
One downfall of said loans is private mortgage insurance, or “PMI.”
In this article, we’re going to talk about what private mortgage insurance is, how to avoid it, and how to get rid of it.
What is PMI?
If you make a down payment on a mortgage that is less than 20% of the loan amount, you will most likely have to pay private mortgage insurance.
PMI exists as a way for lenders to help guarantee they won’t lose money off of your loan. If you make a down payment of 20% or more, then lenders are typically satisfied that they won’t lose money from doing business with you.
PMI is not to be confused with home insurance, which protects you against damage and theft. Rather, it is an additional fee you’ll pay to your lender each month that is added to your mortgage payment.
PMI is calculated based on a few considerations. Lenders will take into account your down payment amount, the value of the mortgage, and your credit score.
In terms of costs, PMI typically costs between .5 and 1% of the total mortgage amount each year.
Naturally, it’s best to avoid paying private mortgage insurance altogether. Private mortgage insurance has no future value for you and your family since it doesn’t count towards building equity and doesn’t protect you from any potential financial harm (your lender is the sole beneficiary of PMI).
Saving for a down payment can take time, and sometimes you’ll need to rent or cut costs while you save. However, if you do take on a loan with PMI, you can still cancel it at a later point.
Canceling your private mortgage insurance
The first thing you should know about canceling PMI is that it usually isn’t easy. You’ll need pay off at least 20% of the home, write a letter to your lender, and wait for an appraisal of the home. Once you’ve done this, you still have to wait while your lender considers your request. In all, this process could take months--months that you’re still required to pay PMI.
Once common way to get out of PMI is to refinance. If the value of your home has increased since the time of you taking on the loan, the new lender likely won’t require PMI. However, you’ll want to make sure that refinancing will get you a lower interest rate and cover the costs of refinancing.
If you plan to buy a home in the immediate future, there are several concerns that you should address before you embark on your house search. In fact, some of the most common homebuying concerns include:
1. Lack of Home Financing
You know you want to purchase a house, but obtaining financing sometimes is difficult. Fortunately, if you meet with various banks and credit unions, you can review all of the home financing options at your disposal and map out your home search accordingly.
Remember, there is no such thing as a "bad" question to ask a bank or credit union relative to home financing. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, knowledgeable home financing specialists who are happy to assist you in any way possible. These specialists can respond to your home financing concerns, and as a result, help you make an informed mortgage selection.
2. Tight Homebuying Timeline
If you are tasked with relocating to a new home as quickly as possible, you may have to conduct a fast house search. But if you explore ways to maximize your time and resources, you could boost the likelihood of conducting a successful home search, regardless of your homebuying timeline.
Oftentimes, it helps to make a list of homebuying tasks that you need to complete. You then can establish goals designed to help you stay on track with your homebuying timeline.
You also should keep a close eye on the housing sector in your preferred cities and towns. That way, if a great home at a budget-friendly price becomes available, you can instantly pounce at this homebuying opportunity.
3. Establishing Realistic Homebuying Expectations
The homebuying journey offers no guarantees. If you enter the housing market with realistic expectations, however, you can avoid potential disappointments during your home search.
To establish realistic homebuying expectations, it generally is a good idea to make a list of home must-haves and wants. This list will allow you to hone your house search to residences that meet your criteria. It also can help focus on available residences that fall within your price range.
In addition, it often helps to hire a real estate agent before you conduct a house search. A real estate agent can teach you everything you need to know about finding and purchasing a house. Plus, he or she can provide expert insights at each stage of the homebuying journey.
Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides when you are ready to submit an offer to purchase a home, either. At this point, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive homebuying proposal and submit it to a seller. If a seller accepts your offer, a real estate agent then will help you finalize your house purchase.
Ready to embark on the homebuying journey? Address your homebuying concerns, and you can minimize risk as you begin your search for your ideal residence.
As a home seller, it is important to do everything possible to transform an ordinary kitchen into a comfortable, attractive setting. With an awe-inspiring kitchen, you may be able to differentiate your house from others that are available in a competitive real estate market. Plus, your house's kitchen might even lead some homebuyers to submit offers immediately following a home showing.
Clearly, a top-notch kitchen can make a world of difference when you sell your house. But how can you determine whether a kitchen overhaul is necessary?
Here are three questions to consider before you embark on a kitchen renovation.
1. When do I plan to sell my house?
If you intend to sell your home quickly, you may have limited time at your disposal. Therefore, a complete kitchen overhaul may not be an option.
On the other hand, if you have several weeks or months to plan ahead, it may be worthwhile to evaluate your kitchen and find ways to improve it.
Consider your home selling timeline closely. That way, you can examine various home improvement projects and determine whether a kitchen renovation is a priority.
2. How much money do I have to complete a kitchen renovation?
A kitchen renovation can include everything from simple upgrades to a massive overhaul. As such, the costs associated with a kitchen renovation may vary.
Assess your home improvement budget and plan accordingly. If you have the funds available, you may be able to revamp your entire kitchen. However, if your financial resources are limited, you may need to consider cost-effective measures to enhance your kitchen.
Remember, there are many quick, easy ways to bolster your kitchen. Wiping down the walls and ceiling can help your kitchen dazzle. Meanwhile, repainting the kitchen walls and mopping the floors also provide simple, effective ways to improve your kitchen's appearance without breaking your budget.
3. Is a kitchen renovation worth my time?
A home appraisal may prove to be exceedingly valuable, particularly for home sellers who are on the fence about completing a kitchen renovation.
During a home appraisal, a property inspector will examine your residence and provide a report that highlights your house's strengths and weaknesses. This report can help you establish a price range for your home. In addition, the report may provide you with insights into whether a kitchen renovation may enable you to boost your home's value.
Lastly, if you're still uncertain about a kitchen renovation after a home appraisal, a real estate agent may be able to provide extra support.
A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of selling a home. Thus, he or she can evaluate your residence and help you decide whether a kitchen renovation is worth your time.
When it comes to a kitchen renovation, it is essential for home sellers to examine all of their options. Consider the aforementioned questions, and you should have no trouble determining if a kitchen renovation is right for you.
Making a flip profitable starts with one straightforward requirement: find a great deal. These tips are straightforward but crucial if you want to nail your first flip or your tenth.
1. Spread the Word that You're In The Market
By this point you should have a rock star team nailed down--a few professionals you can trust to help you make your flip a success. But you also want to get the word out to family, friends, and any connections that keep an eye on the market for any reason. They'll be able to keep their eyes open for newly-listed properties that might be right up your alley. Some of the best deals are landed this way, well before homes even hit the MLS.
2. Learn to Identify Big Issues
As you gain experience, you'll develop an eye for projects that are going to be too extensive to take on--and how much the bigger projects will cost you. If at all possible, walk through the potential property with your contractor by your side; they'll be able to keep an eye out for major issues and give you an idea of what you're looking for.
A good rule of thumb? Always look at the roofline first: does it look stable? Weak? Awkwardly added-on? A roofline can reveal either structural integrity or burgeoning foundation issues. Other red flags include evidence of extensive water damage, additions that aren't up to code, and evidence of extensive termite damage.
3. Don't Let Ugliness Put You Off
When you purchase a property to flip, you're purchasing someone else's problem--something they don't want to deal with. That usually mean the property's going to be a train wreck in terms of curb appeal and interior finishes. That's what you want. Aesthetic upgrades are the easiest--and least expensive--to add. Find a structurally-sound home at a great price that just needs a facelift, and you're golden.
4. Remember the 70% Rule
Many pros use this formula to determine whether a home is worth your effort. What do you expect the market value of your home to be after your repairs and upgrades? Ideally, you should pay no more than 70% of that number, minus the cost of repairs you're putting into the home.
So for a home you expect to be worth $300,000 after you put $45,000 worth of repairs and upgrades into it, you'd pay no more than $165,000:
$300,000 (retail value) x 0.70 = $210,000 - $45,000 (repair costs) = $165,000
By spreading the word far and wide that you're looking, knowing what you're looking for, and having a method to run the numbers before you dive in, you'll set yourself up for success. Next step? Plan your renovations like the brilliant project manager you are.