Explore our blog for insights on buying, financing, remodeling, and taking care of your home.
Home insurance premiums can make up a big chunk of the annual expenses of a family. Insurance rates change every year, and in many cases the premiums go up. We all know that there are several variables that determine which banks will lend us money, how much insurance companies will charge us for coverage, and what qualifies a buyer. There are four main variables that may affect your home insurance rate:
Sure, spring cleaning sounds great. However, in reality, tackling a long home maintenance checklist all at once can be overwhelming. Rather than letting it all add up, what if you tackled home maintenance a little each season? Here are some ideas for taking care of your home during the winter months.
There are several ways to pay off your mortgage faster and save on interest payments. Even better, not all methods require spending a lot of extra money! Take a look at the list below: Make extra principal payments. You can pay extra money toward your mortgage balance each month or make a larger, lump sum payment on your principal each year. This reduces the amount due on the mortgage as well as reducing the amount of interest that will accrue. Extra money can also be added to the principal payment from bonuses, gifts, savings and extra earnings. Just remember to make a note on the check for the money to go towards the principal! Make one extra mortgage payment per year. One of the easiest ways to make an extra payment each year is to pay half your mortgage payment every other week instead of paying the full amount once a month, otherwise known as “bi-weekly payments.” With these payments, an extra payment is made so that the total number of payments that one makes adds up to 13 payments in a year rather than the 12 that would have been made with monthly payments. This adds up to significant interest savings over the duration of a mortgage. You also want to make sure that if your lender accepts this kind of payment they will not charge you a prepayment penalty. Also verify that the bi-weekly payments are being applied to the principal amount and not the interest. Otherwise, you won't notice the savings. Reduce your balance with a lump-sum payment. Have you inherited money, earned a bonus or commission, or sold a large item? You could apply that amount to your mortgage’s principal balance. Another option is any time you have a month where you have that third paycheck, apply that to the principal on your mortgage. This will happen twice a year, adding an extra principal payment to your mortgage loan. While paying down a large debt is nice, it's not a requirement. Consider making sure you have enough to work toward other financial goals, such as an emergency fund, before paying more on your mortgage. However, there are many options you can explore that best fit your budget. You can learn more about buying your first home with our Get Mortgage Ready Guide below.
You've seen the headlines and heard the chatter - mortgage interest rates have gone up. How long will this last? Will this be a return to renting for people who were thinking of buying a home? Or is it just a small adjustment in the overall scheme of things?
As fall moves in, do you know what home maintenance you should have completed by now? Are you simply raking leaves and checking gutters, and calling it good? If you're like the rest of us, you may already feel behind when it comes to getting ready for the next season. Instead of wondering what's being left out, let's take a look at the top things you can do this season to stay ahead of the game when it comes to taking care of your home.
Is there a gap between the home you want and the home you can afford? If so, you might consider buying a home that needs some love with a renovation loan. These loans allow you to buy a home and get the funds you need to cover the costs of repairs, remodeling or renovations to the property - all with one loan.
Many homeowners put off backyard projects until the very end of the summer season for a variety of reasons. Some projects take a lot of planning, too much time, or it might feel like summer will never end. But before you know it, the air is cooler, and fall is around the corner. Fall and winter both change the soil as well, which can cause trouble when it comes to unfinished projects. Listed below are five backyard projects you should finish in fall.