The first step in home buying is getting a mortgage. Many home owners also find themselves in a maze when they start the refinance process. Navigating the mortgage process can be confusing. There is so much to know between rates, types of mortgages and payment schedules. Avoiding making a mistake in the mortgage process can save you a lot of money and headaches. Here is a list of the biggest mortgage mistakes that potential borrowers make. 1. No or Low Down Payment Buying a home with no or a low down payment is not a good idea. A large down payment increases the amount of equity the borrower has in the home. It also reduces the bank’s liability on the home. Research has shown that borrowers that place down a large down payment are much more likely to make their mortgage payments. If they do not they will also lose money. Borrowers who put little to nothing down on their homes find themselves upside down on their mortgage and end up just walking away. They owe more money than the home is worth. The more a borrower owes, the more likely they are to walk away and be subject to credit damaging foreclosure. 2. Adjustable Rate Mortgages or ARMs Adjustable rate mortgages or ARMs sound too good to be true and they can be. The loan starts off with a low interest rate for the first two to five years. This allows the borrower to buy a larger house than they can normally qualify for. After two to five years the low adjustable rate expires and the interest rate resets to a higher market rate. Now the borrowers can no longer make the higher payment not can they refinance to a lower rate because they often do not have the equity in the home to qualify for a refinance. Many borrowers end up with high mortgage payments that are two to three times their original payments. 3. No Documentation Loans No documentation loans or sometimes called “liar loans” were very popular prior to the subprime meltdown. These loans requires little to no documentation. They do not require verification of the borrower's income, assets and/or expenses. Unfortunately borrowers have a tendency to inflate their income so that they can buy a larger house. The problems start once the mortgage payment is due. Because the borrower does not have the income they are unable to make mortgage payments and often end up face bankruptcy and foreclosure. 4. Reverse Mortgages You have seen the commercials and even infomercials devoted to advocating reverse mortgages. A reverse mortgage is a loan available to borrowers age 62 and up. It uses the equity from the borrower’s home. The available equity is paid out in a steady stream of payments or in a lump sum like an annuity. Reverse mortgage have can be dangerous and have many drawbacks. There are many fees associated with reverse mortgages. These includes origination fees, mortgage insurance, title insurance, appraisal fees, attorney fees and many other miscellaneous fees that can quickly eat at the home’s equity. Another drawback; the borrower loses full ownership of their home and the bank now owns the home Avoiding the pitfalls of the mortgage maze will hopefully help you keep in good financial health as a home can be your best investment. .
There is a saying often used in the real estate industry to refer to buyers, it says buyers are liars. That is in fact not case. The perception comes from the fact that buyers often buy on emotion rather than their needs. Buying on emotions often leaves buyers passing over a potential good deal or fit and instead overpaying for their dream home. Here are some common buyer errors and how to avoid making them. 1: Not using the right agent Choose an agent that works in the local market and never go it alone. An agent has the skills to negotiate the best deal for one of the biggest purchases of your life. A local agent has the lay of land and knows the area well and will be able to find you the right fit. 2: There usually isn’t a better deal When buyers keep waiting for a better deal they often miss out. When you find a house that fits your needs go for it. Don’t wait because there is no guarantee that a better deal will come on the market. 3: Overpaying for cosmetics Look at the structure and the function of the home. Paint colors or décor don’t matter in how much the house is ultimately worth. Often buyers will pay for cosmetics and staging in a home and ignore a better deal that isn’t perfectly decorated or match their taste. 4: Not negotiating realistically Who doesn’t want to get the lowest possible price when buying a home? Buyers need to understand there is a big difference between negotiating and lowballing. If a buyer truly wants a chance at a sale it is best to make a fair offer. Lowball offers often immediately get rejected or cause the seller to become agitated which often ends negotiations. Buyers must understand a lowball offer comes with a risk of losing the property.
The housing market has been heating up and lately there seems to be more buyers than homes. So where do you start when house hunting? Many buyers like to start at Open Houses to get a feel for the market. It is always best to try to find a real estate agent to help guide you through the buying process , however, if you want to try to get your feet wet first an Open House might be your best bet. There are some things you will want to know about how to tackle an Open House: 1. How do you find Open Houses? Your best bet is to find a real estate professional that represents buyers and have them help you find Open Houses that are right for you. Agents are familiar with the inventory and could save you an unnecessary trip to a house that isn't right for you. Most open houses take place on Saturday or Sunday, so Thursday is a good day to start your search. 2. Be prepared Plan your route, make sure you have the right directions and have plenty of gas to get where you are going. Take along a pen and paper to make notes on properties. 3. Get to know the area The house may be great; but how is the area? Take the time to drive around the surrounding neighborhoods of homes you like and get to know the area. A real estate professional is a great resource for community information. 4. Check for agency Most agents at an Open House represent the seller. You will want to work with an agent that is able to represent you as the buyer. If you like the agent at the Open House, and have not yet contracted with an agent, make sure to discuss agency and representation. 5. Take notes Take notes and write down a list of quick pros and cons after you have viewed a home. This will help you remember the houses you have viewed. Viewing Open Houses can help you get a sense for what’s out there in the marketplace. It will help you determine if the house you want and your finances match up with the houses that are on the market. It is always best to find a real estate professional to help you find the home of your dreams. Buying a home is no small matter.
There is a lot to know when it comes to senior housing. Thinking about future housing arrangements can be a stressful topic for both you and your family. There are so many options, types of housing and so much to know. In order to find the best fit you will have to learn about the different types of senior housing available, which choices may be best for you, and how to navigate the terminology. A great resource SeniorHousingNet has created a glossary of commonly used terms and the different senior housing and care choices available. You can find it here.
Sunscreen is essential but buying sunscreen can be very confusing. From water resistant sunscreens to SPF to broad spectrum protection, it is hard to know what you need to keep your skin safe this summer. Sunscreens protect you from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching your skin. There are two types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB. They both damage your skin and increase your risk of skin cancer. The difference between UVA and UVB Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is part of the electromagnetic (light) spectrum that reaches the earth from the sun. Ultraviolet A (UVA) is the longer wave UV ray that causes lasting skin damage, skin aging, and can cause skin cancer. Ultraviolet B (UVB) is the shorter wave UV ray that causes sunburns, skin damage, and can cause skin cancer. The definition of SPF SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The SPF number on sunscreen is a measure of a sunscreen's ability to prevent UVB from damaging the skin. The number of the SPF is how long it will take the sun to redden the skin. For example, SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening 15 times longer than no sunscreen at all– about five hours. What is broad spectrum? Sunscreens that have broad-spectrum protect the skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Beginning in December 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will implement new rules for "broad-spectrum" products. New sunscreen rules Here are some of the new rules The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued for labels on sunscreen. • Sunscreens may be labeled “broad- spectrum” if they provide protection against both UVA and UVB radiation according to FDA-sanctioned test methods. • Only broad-spectrum sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher may state that they protect against skin cancer if used as directed with other sun protection measures. • Broad-spectrum sunscreens with SPFs of 2-14 must display a warning that the product has not been shown to help prevent skin cancer or early skin aging. • The terms “sunblock,” “sweatproof” and “waterproof” are no longer allowed on sunscreen labels. • Sunscreens may claim to be “water-resistant,” but must specify whether they protect the skin for 40 or 80 minutes of swimming or sweating, based on standard testing. Sunscreens that are not water-resistant must instruct consumers to use a water-resistant sunscreen if swimming or sweating. • A company cannot claim that its sunscreen products provide sun protection for more than two hours without submitting test results to prove this.