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How Important is the Interest Rate You Pay?

In an ideal world of low housing prices, combined with low mortgage interest rates, it can be simpler to determine how much house you can afford. Today’s real estate market that presents skyrocketing housing prices, however, means that the interest rate you pay is extremely important for a number of reasons. 

In general, the interest rate you secure will affect the total cost over the lifetime of the mortgage. A mortgage with a fixed interest rate locks in the amount you’ll pay in interest for borrowing the money. However, opting for this type of mortgage could wind up costing more at the beginning of the home buying process. 

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Is a Home Equity Loan Right for You?

Building up equity in your home could provide you with flexible financial options in the future. A home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC) is a possibility after you’ve built up at least 20 percent equity. You also typically need to have good credit and a steady, variable source of income in order to qualify. 

Advantages of a HELOC

A HELOC works in some ways like a credit card. There is a set amount that you can spend against it, and you’ll need to make monthly payments on the balance. 

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How Does Inflation Affect the Real Estate Market?

Whether people think about it in these terms or not, entering the real estate market as a buyer means you’re making an investment. In general, people think of inflation as being something that is negative and to be avoided. When inflation is approached in the context of being a homeowner, however, its presence could provide them with some positives that might not be obvious at first. 

Real Estate as an Inflationary Hedge

In times of rising inflation, rents nearly always increase. Similarly, wages also increase, as well as the costs of labor and building materials. This makes building new homes less attractive. 

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Can You Afford to Purchase a Home Right Now?

The real estate market, like much of the world, has undergone significant changes over a short period of time. With home prices increasing and a continued shortage of houses for sale, bidding wars are a common situation. 

With all these uncertainties and challenges do you know if you can really afford to purchase a home right now? Here are a few things to keep in mind as you mull over this decision. 

1. Consider the total cost of homeownership

Owning a home cost more than just a monthly mortgage payment. There’s also property taxes, HOA fees, homeowner’s insurance, regular maintenance, utilities and private mortgage insurance (PMI). While some of these costs — homeowner’s insurance and property taxes, for example — could be rolled into your loan, keep in mind that doing so still leaves items such as utilities and maintenance that will need to be budgeted for. 

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How Getting a Rate Quote Helps You Realize Your Dream of Homeownership

For many people, the sale price of a particular home is the number that is most important to them. While knowing the cost of a house is crucial during the entire process of home buying in order to stay within budget, it is only one aspect that needs to be considered. 

Knowing the interest rate — and shopping around for the best one — is another valuable factor. In fact, a home that offers a selling price that seems affordable could quickly balloon in cost so much that it is no longer within budget. 

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6 Tips to Improve Your Credit Score

Credit score concept. businessman pulling scale changing credit information from poor to good, excellent. Payment history data meter. Vector illustration in flat style.

One of the best ways to ensure that you get the best mortgage interest rate possible when you’re in the market for a new home is to improve your credit score. By taking the time to evaluate your credit score and increasing it, you’ll be more likely to be offered a favorable interest rate. 

1. Evaluate Your Credit

Start by getting a credit report from each of the primary credit agencies: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. You are entitled to a free credit report from each of them once per year.

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Is Now the Right Time to Refinance Your Home?

As your largest financial obligation, your mortgage loan is an area where it’s a good ideat to attempt to save money.  Due to the coronavirus and the effects that it has had on the economy, the Federal Reserve Bank has lowered interest rates to their lowest in history. But does this mean that it’s a good time for you to refinance your home’s mortgage? 

Why Refinancing Now is a Good Idea

The first thing you probably think about when you are considering refinancing your current mortgage is the money you can save over the lifetime of your loan. In addition, you could also significantly lower your monthly payments. This could free up more money for everyday expenses, home improvement projects or even doubling up on mortgage on occasion so you can pay off that debt even faster. 

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Important Costs You Need to Know When Shopping for a Mortgage

When you’re shopping for a mortgage loan, there are several important costs that you’ll want to be aware of. By gathering this information from each of the lenders that you are considering, you’ll be able to make an informed choice regarding which one is offering the best terms for your particular circumstances. 

Costs You Probably Already Thought Of

There are several costs that you have probably already thought of or that you already know. These include the amount of a down payment you can afford. You’ll also probably know the interest rate that is charged by each lender as well as the monthly payment. While these are important costs that you’ll need to know when making a decision regarding a lender to use, they are not the only information you’ll want to know. 

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The Fed Cuts Interest Rates Again. What Does It Mean for Mortgages?

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) slashed interest rates again by 25 basis points on October 30, 2019. This is the rate that sets what banks charge other financial institutions for lending overnight. Additionally, it’s also linked to nearly all types of revolving consumer debt. 

Is This the Last Interest Rate Reduction? 

This cut, though widely expected by the nation’s financial markets, might be the last one for some time if the Fed’s indications are accurate. Though it was the third time in 2019 the Fed dropped the rate, Chairman Jerome Powell noted that the nation’s economic expansion is maturing and that the cut was an adjustment within that cycle. 

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Possible Changes in Debt-to-Income Ratios Could Help Home Buyers

The debt-to-income (DTL) ratio is a standard yardstick that many lenders use to determine the soundness of the mortgage applications that come across their desks. In fact, one of the most common reasons for denying a loan is because the potential borrower has monthly payments that exceed the standard limit of 43 percent. Possible reform that could go into effect in 2021 could ease these standards and make it easier for some to qualify for a mortgage. 

How DTL Ratios Work

While lenders look at a number of factors when scrutinizing an application for a mortgage, the DTL ratio is one of the most important. It’s determined by comparing the borrower’s gross monthly income with their recurring monthly debts.

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