Save Money Making Biweekly Mortgage Payments

April 19th, 2010

It’s important to understand the benefits of biweekly mortgage payments because the savings are significant.

A lender will collect about 3 times the amount of the mortgage loan you borrowed from the interest.  This can equate to hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest you pay.  Ouch!  The best way to eliminate a lot of the interest you pay to your lender is by setting up your mortgage payments on a biweekly schedule.

Here is a real example of the savings when paying your mortgage biweekly:

Loan amount is $200,000 and the interest rate is 5% on a 30 year loan.  The total amount of interest saved is $34,356.58 and the term is reduced by 4 years and 9 months.

Here is a biweekly mortgage calculator you can use to see the savings on your personal mortgage loan:  Biweekly Mortgage Calculator.

One of the best things about a biweekly payments is that you can start at anytime.  Even if you have 10 years left on your mortgage, the amount of interest you save in 10 years is still very significant.

Here is a site to educate yourself about the benefits of biweekly payments and see what industry experts have to say.

New Home Owner Energy Rebate Bill Proposed

December 11th, 2009

In an effort to further stimulate the economy while also working toward his goal of making the country more energy-efficient, President Obama proposed a new program this past Tuesday.

Although details remain unclear in regards to the new proposal, Steve Nadel, who is the director at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and who helped write the bill, reports that homeowners could receive up to $12,000 in rebates if they install energy-efficient appliances and insulation in their homes. Companies that specialize in renewable energy will also be eligible to receive funding through the program.

“[Energy efficiency] creates jobs, saves money for families, and reduces the pollution that threatens our environment,” President Obama is quoted as saying in a CNN Money article. http://money.cnn.com/2009/12/08/news/economy/president_energy/index.htm “With additional resources, in areas like advanced manufacturing of wind turbines and solar panels, for instance, we can help turn good ideas into good private-sector jobs.”

Not only is the bill intended to help stimulate the economy by encouraging homeowners to make new purchases, it will also create jobs for private contractors who will be responsible for conducting home energy audits and installing the necessary equipment to make the homes more energy-efficient. According to the details that have been released so far, homeowners would be eligible to receive up to a 50% rebate on the purchase of big-ticket items such as heating systems, air conditioners, refrigerators, windows, washing machines and insulation. They will also be able to receive a rebate of up to 50% on the cost of installation, with the maximum allowable rebate for equipment and installation being $12,000.

At this point, no income restrictions have been placed on the bill, but some critics are concerned that the bill could potentially have the opposite effect of its intentions on the economy. For example, consumers who are already struggling to make their monthly bill payments may try to take advantage of the rebates, only to find themselves in even more debt. Or, they may simply choose not to pursue energy-efficient purchases, which means the bill will do nothing to help spur the economy. Nonetheless, supporters of the $10 billion bill maintain that the bill will help to further move the economy in the right direction while also helping homeowners decrease their energy bills by as much as 20%.

Details regarding how the bill would be administered are still unclear. Potential methods include assigning state agencies to oversee the program, providing the rebates directly to consumers or providing reimbursement through a tax credit.

About the Author:
Eric Bramlett is the broker & co-owner of One Source Realty. He helps people find Austin Homes for Sale, Austin Condos, and Steiner Ranch Homes for Sale. Eric actively blogs & guest blogs on a number of sites.

Does Refinancing Make Sense?

February 27th, 2009

In the current market, if you can refinance, you probably should be. Refinancing is the process of obtaining a new loan that pays off your existing home loan. There are several reasons for wanting to do this, but the most important is to get a lower interest rate so you save money on your home loan. FHA loans can help you to refinance, as can other conventional lenders. The key here is to know when it makes sense to refinancing.

What’s Your Rate?

The first step in knowing if it makes sense to refinance is to know what your interest rate currently is. According to Bankrate.com, current 30-year mortgages are available at about 5 percent, which is a very low number. Those who wish to obtain a 15-year loan may even be able to pick up a home loan that is under five percent. If your current mortgage is at an interest rate that is higher than this, you could save money by refinancing.

Here is an example. Let us say you currently have a mortgage loan payment of $1400 per month and you owe $175,000 on your home and have another 28 years to pay on it. You are currently paying about 9 percent for the mortgage. If you keep this loan for the next 28 years, you will end up paying a total of $304,984 in interest alone, on top of the purchase price of the home.

Now, let us say you refinancing your home loan to a loan for 30 more years and pay 5.5 percent on the loan. Your mortgage payment is now under $1000 a month. At the end of your payments, you will have paid just $182,707 in interest payments towards the loan. As you can see, this is much more affordable than holding onto the loan you currently own.

You will likely need to pay closing costs and your homes appraised value still needs to be high enough to cover the mortgaged amount to qualify for a refinance. There are other qualifications you may need to make, too.

To find out if this is an option for you, get a quote from a lender. You may even qualify for an FHA loan through the refinance process. This can further lower your interest rate and make it even more affordable to buy your home.

Stimulus Bill and FHA

February 19th, 2009

The stimulus bill, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed Congress on Friday and is to be signed by President Obama on Tuesday, February 17th.  The Bill does mention the FHA, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the government lending bodies. One of the things the Bill does for these organizations is to raise their lending limits. In 2008, lending limits were raised significantly to allow the FHA to step in and help more people facing foreclosure. Those levels reverted back in 2009. The Bill pushes the limits back to the 2008 level. This means more funds are available for these banks to aid those purchasing homes.

What Do New Limits Do?

There are several things that this new higher limit offers to the mortgage industry. First, by raising the limit, there is more money available to these organizations to purchase loans. This means that when Joe Smith comes to purchase a home, and would like FHA backing on that loan, he can get it because the funds are available to allow for this.

As you know, the FHA allows individuals to get a lower interest rate when borrowing money because it gives the lenders an added insurance that the loan is secure to them. If the borrower with an FHA loan fails to make payment, the property is foreclosed on, but the loan holder can file a claim with the FHA to be reimbursed some money. It works very much like an insurance policy for the lender. Because of the lessoned risk, the lender offers a lower interest rate to the borrower. In short, it aids each body involved.

There are other ways this new higher limit on Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will. Because it does free up some of this money, more people will qualify in all likelihood for these home loans. With better qualification numbers, more homes can be purchased. People can afford to purchase a home again with the lower interest rate. In turn, more properties that have been sitting on the market or even vacant can be sold. In other words, by raising these limits, the government is aiding in reducing inventory of available housing. This will give cities back their property taxes and aids in boosting other home values throughout the area.

The overall process improves the liquidity of the mortgage market as a whole. Many economists blame at least part of the economic downturn on the failure within the housing market. By restoring some stability here, it could also help to restore some of the value in housing and the markets as a whole.

What Does It Mean To You?

As you consider the Bill and what is included in it, one thing you may want to consider is your own ability to obtain a mortgage and to purchase one of these homes. Not everyone will qualify for a home loan through this program, but far more money is available to help more people to qualify. If you have been considering purchasing a home, but where not sure if you could, or should do so, there benefits of these increased limits makes now an ideal time.

The benefits of having an FHA loan are immense and it should not be overlooked by anyone who is looking for an opportunity to buy a home. Keep in mind that you will still need to meet income and credit qualifications to obtain an FHA loan. If you have been thinking about this type of loan opportunity, take the time to talk to an FHA loan specialist to find out if you qualify for the loan.

The New Tax Benefit Of Buying A Home

February 17th, 2009

If you are ready to purchase your FHA backed home mortgage, now may be a great time. In the recent Bill to pass Congress, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill, Congress has put into place a substantial benefit to individuals who purchase a home this year. Those who are ready to buy will find that this benefit is sizable and lucrative, making it an ideal time to buy.

What Do You Get

The stimulus bill gives individuals who purchase a home in 2009 a sizable tax break. The Senate’s version of the bill called for much more than actually passed, but for first time homebuyers, this new benefit is still very enticing. For those who purchase a property in 2009, a onetime $8000 tax credit will be available to them. This tax credit does not have to be repaid as similar opportunities in previous years have required. Rather, as long as you make under $75,000 as an individual or $150,000 jointly, you will qualify for this tax break.

Anyone that has not owned a home in the last three years is technically qualified as a first time homebuyer. This means that millions of people may have these funds available to them currently. This particular element in the stimulus bill costs $6.63 billion, but may be well worth it for several reasons.

#1: It gives individuals more of a benefit to purchase a home even if they thought now was not the time. For example, if you were unsure if the bottom of the market had hit, and you wanted to get the best deal available, buying in 2009 is likely to be a good opportunity to save money in the form of a tax credit.

#2: It helps to clean up some of the inventory that is sitting open on the real estate market right now. This will help to boost the property values of homes in the neighborhoods. In addition, it allows cities to get back some of their property tax dollars they have lost. Many cities throughout the country are cutting jobs and services because they do not have the property tax income they need to pay for such services. Getting people back into those homes may be particularly beneficial to the cities.

#3: Those who may have needed that extra reassurance that now is the right time to buy a home can get it. Credit standards are still tight, but with this added benefit, more people will see that now is a great time to own property.

What To Keep In Mind

One of the problems with tax breaks like this is that people often think of it as free money. It is important to note that while you do not have to pay this money back, you still have to qualify for the mortgage to obtain the house in the first place. It is highly recommended that you have some money to put down to buy the home and have a good or better credit score. With these qualifications, you may be able to obtain a home loan through FHA.

Do not overlook the benefits of FHA loans. These loans can sweeten the deal even more so by giving you an added benefit of a low interest rate on the home you buy. You will pay less tax and you will pay less in terms of interest over the lifetime of your loan.

To find out if you qualify for an FHA loan, contact an FHA loan specialist. Ask them about how this tax break can help you to save money while buying a home.

Foreclosure Moratorium: Lenders Have Agreed

February 15th, 2009

As the Congress and President work to find a solution to the ever-growing problems of the average American citizen, one thing is certain. Foreclosures need to stop or find help. Even with FHA loans available, so many homes foreclosed on each month. The good news is that lenders are listening. Several lenders have agreed to moratoriums on foreclosures. If you own a home and feel threatened by foreclosure, by one of these lenders, you may have some breathing room:

*JPMorgan Chase & Co
*Citigroup Inc
*Bank of America Corp
*Wells Fargo & Co

Each of these lenders have agreed to temporarily stop foreclosures in the hopes that the government has help on the way for them and those homeowners who are struggling to stay in their homes. The stimulus programs being put into place have billions of dollars in them to help Americans to stay in their homes. This applies to ne foreclosure actions.

It’s Not Too Long

Keep in mind that this freeze is not a long-term process. Rather, according to Jamie Dimon who is JPMorgan Chase’s chief executive, as reported by Cnn.com there is limited time. He said, “We believe three weeks is adequate time for the Treasury to announce- and for use to implement- a new plan.” Bank of America’s freeze will last through March 6th. Citigroup has promised to hold off on foreclosures through March 12th. Wells Fargo has not set a specific date, but says that they will halt foreclosures until the government’s plan is announced.

What To Do

Are you likely to be affected by a foreclosure in the coming weeks? If so, you may want to use this time to secure different financing options. There is no immediate information available in terms of what President Obama will be outlining in his plan to stop foreclosures. Therefore, if you are at risk of losing your home, do not waste this time.

Keep in mind that there are already several types of programs in place to aid individuals in refinancing their current home loans to get into new ones to avoid foreclosure. FHA lenders can help you to determine if you qualify for this type of loan. While President Obama’s plan is on schedule for review in the coming weeks, do not wait that long to find out if you qualify.

The Only Low Down Program in Town

January 20th, 2009

CNN Money.com published an article today about why FHA loans are gaining popularity.  You probably already know the reasons but to sum it up: 3.5% down (try finding less than that these days), low rates, and attractive loan limits.  I highly recommend taking a look their article because it has some great FHA info and good examples as well.

What Is The Federal Housing Administration?

December 23rd, 2008

You are likely hearing a lot about the FHA, or Federal Housing Administration. They have become the backbone of the housing market currently and likely will continue to play a significant role until the economic crisis and financial markets free up. This is a good thing since the FHA has a long history of providing stability in the American housing market. They could be the resource you need to get into a home loan.

While this blog is about the FHA and loan available through it, it may be important to take a step back and find out who this organization is and why they are even around.

The FHA was created by the National Housing Act of 1934. It was created during the Great Depression, as a way of helping to support the American people in finding loans to borrow money to buy homes. The goals of the organization are specific:

• Improve housing standards and conditions
• Provide home loan financing through an insurance program for mortgage lenders
• Stabilize the mortgage market

During the Great Depression, the banking system had fallen and home loans availability was next to nothing. People could not afford their homes. When the banks failed, any mortgages out during that time (which ere shorter term and had no amortization) were called due. This caused many homeowners to foreclose on their homes for lack of funds to pay back the loans. When the Federal Housing Administration was created, its initial goal was to help regulate the interest and terms of the mortgages. Now, more people could afford a down payment and the monthly payment of their loan.

Over the last 70 plus years, the job of the Federal Housing Administration has changed somewhat, but in most terms, it still has the same job of stabilizing the housing market, specifically in terms of the availability of loans to buy homes.

Today’s Job

The FHA provides a level of insurance protection for the commercial lender. You borrow an FHA approved loan through these commercial lenders. They agree to charge you a lower rate of interest for this protection. If you default on the loan, the lender is able to get a payout for your loan.

The FHA has become one of the backbones in the housing market right now and will continue to be so. Home ownership is one of the most important factors of success in an economy. This is why so much attention is being placed on this department of the government right now. To right the economy, the housing market has to stabilize.

If you are interested in getting a home loan, find out what FHA loans are available to help you accomplish this.

New Administration: What This Means For HUD

December 20th, 2008

President-Elect Obama announced that he would appoint Shaun Donovan to head up Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD. HUD is an important part of the mortgage industry, indirectly. This department is responsible for the housing within the country. In this administration, during this economy, this new Secretary will need to find ways to jumpstart the housing market to help individuals find the homes they need.

In his radio address on December 13th, Mr. Obama said this about the housing market: “To end this economic crisis, we must end the mortgage crisis where it began.” He continued, “This all started when Americans took out mortgages they couldn’t afford. Some were reckless, aware of the risks they were accepting. But many were innocent, tricked by lenders out to make a quick buck.” Later, he added, “This is deeply troubling. It not only shakes the foundation of our economy, but the foundation of the American Dream.”

Later in his broadcast, he mentioned that one in ten homeowners face some level of stress in regards to their homeownership.

What This Means To You

Depending on who you are and what your circumstances are, there is hope available. While the new administration will likely put in place programs to continue to support the housing within the country, there are many programs already in place to help struggling homeowners. Those facing foreclosure or the risk of getting behind on their mortgage should take the time now to contact an FHA loan specialist. Determine what your options are, including programs like HOPE for Homeowners and easy refinancing options already in place.

What about those who are looking for a home to purchase? Are they safe to buy? Many of the predator lenders are gone. They have lost their funding since investors are no longer willing to gamble with high risk mortgages. It is safe to borrow money. Commercial lenders are actively seeking borrowers who are qualified to borrow. Interest rates are very low and FHA loans are readily available to help those who are able to make payments to get into homes.

While you may not be able to improve the economic crisis fully, you can improve your financial security by considering new loans now. Home prices are low. Home interest rates on loans are low. Programs are in place for refinancing quickly and affordably. Determine if you qualify for a home loan through an FHA specialist. You may be happy to learn there are so many options available.

Can FHA Loans Help You Qualify For A Home?

December 18th, 2008

As a potential homeowner may find it difficult to qualify for a home loan in the current real estate mortgage market. With credit markets moving in every direction, it becomes very important for those who may want to buy a home to make wise decisions. FHA loans could be the way that people get into the homes of their dream homes, safely.

Today, the FHA helps to provide insurance backing for more than one third of all homes in the United States. Just a handful of years ago, few people took advantage of these loan programs. Many saw them as something for people who were non-creditworthy. Yet, this is no longer the case. In fact, it is safer to get your home mortgage loan through these FHA programs than it is to get your loan from other methods. In addition, it may even be less expensive.

Are FHA Loans The Only Option?

Much of the credit market’s liquidity has dried up. In many situations, it has become difficult to obtain these loans. Regardless of what is happening to help encourage banks to lend, it will still be likely that only well qualified individuals will be able to get affordable home loans through conventional loans. These loans are available, but there are fewer of them receiving approval than ever before.

FHA loans are more readily available. While they are not the only game in town, they definitely are becoming the most accessible option. In some markets, 60 to 80 percent of home loans are now FHA loans. These government backed loans are simply safer for the investor. They provide a bit of extra leverage for the investor to get back some of his money should you default on your home loan. Many of these investors have been burned by the recent foreclosure mess. They want protection for their investment. FHA loans provide this type of protection.

It is important to note that FHA loans are not government loans specifically. The government does not lend to borrowers. Rather, they provide a level of insurance to the commercial lender. You will still get your loan through a commercial bank. The only difference is that there is an insurance protection for the lender. If you default, the government will refund the lender up to a certain point for their loss. This reduces the risk of the lender.

FHA loans are a good option for many homeowners because of lower interest rates. Yet, until the housing market strengthens and the credit markets thaw, these loans are going t be the biggest game in town.