Category Archives: Home Finance

How to Make a Down Payment Possible

MORTGAGE CALCULATORSEvery month you pay the rent, you’re probably thinking, “I wish this money was going into my future.” For a lot of would-be first-time home buyers, it’s the down payment which makes home ownership seem impossible. Climbing the “down payment mountain” isn’t impossible. Like any major challenge, it’s all a matter of breaking your big, hairy, audacious goal down into practical steps.

Here are some tips to conquer saving for a down payment:

Find out where your money goes. You can’t start saving if you don’t know where you’re spending. For a month or two, track each expenditure, no matter how small. Get an objective picture of where you’re spending the cash.

Get specific about how much you need to save. Even if you’re not 100% sure what your down payment needs to be yet, it’s good to start doing a little math to figure out how much you need to save. Pick a dollar amount and a timeline to hit that dollar amount. For example, a $25,000 down payment in two years comes to $1,041/month. Sound unrealistic? Either scale down your home desires to something smaller or scale up your timeline. If you can wait three years, that monthly savings goal drops to $694/month.

Determine the big moves you can make. If you’re in a three bedroom apartment and can stomach the idea of scaling down to a one bedroom, how much would you save in rent? What about going from two cars down to one? If you can make it work, these sacrifices will have a huge impact on your savings goals.

Setup a separate savings account. Don’t let your dream home money mingle with your regular checking or savings account. Establish a high-yield savings account with a credit union or money market account to protect and build your stash. It’s important to have a separate account with a “hands off” attitude.

Mind the risky investment schemes. Once you have a little momentum, you might be tempted to take some of that cash and invest it in order to make it grow faster. Be very prudent about this, as investing in stocks, startups, or high-yield funds can easily decimate your savings. Be conservative.

Of course, it’s important to know how much home you want to buy when you’re saving up for your down payment. I’m happy to give you an idea what homes are selling for in your area. Feel free to get in touch any time if you have questions: Teresa Butler, 614-565-8161, Teresa@TeresaButler.com

Why Buyers May Find Mortgages Easier to Get

20838984_webGood news for potential home shoppers: A Mortgage Bankers Association index shows lender requirements regarding credit scores, down payments, and other key terms are finally loosening up. Some lenders are even expanding the types of mortgages they offer. These moves come after years of lenders tightening loan requirements in the aftermath of the housing crisis.

The newly-released MBA index shows that recent improvements in lending are mostly tied to the government’s efforts to ease regulations and improve affordability in the housing market. For example, mortgage financing giant Fannie Mae is now allowing purchases of conventional mortgages that have down payments as low as 3 percent; Freddie Mac is planning to do the same for mortgages closed on or after March 23.

Also, the Federal Housing Administration, which insures loans with down payments as low as 3.5 percent, reduced its upfront mortgage insurance premiums last month, which is expanding eligibility for home purchases to thousands of potential home shoppers.

“Things are looking better for home buyers and refinancers,” not just in the loosening of underwriting requirements but also in the cost of credit, says Brad Blackwell, executive vice president of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, the nation’s largest mortgage originator based on volume.

Blackwell says that Wells Fargo has been gradually opening its credit box as the government has taken steps to clarify its lending policies and penalties against lenders for defaulting loans. That has helped lenders gain confidence to expand lending to a broader range of borrowers, including those who may not have high credit scores or a sizable down payment for their home purchase.

Wells Fargo says it also has relaxed its policy on down payment gifts to borrowers from relatives and friends. Wells Fargo previously required borrowers to contribute at least 5 percent of the total costs on a home purchase from their own finances in order to qualify for a conventional loan with a 5 percent or lower down payment. The bank giant recently reduced that requirement to 3 percent, allowing for greater gift assistance.

Source: “Lenders Begin Easing Requirements to get a Mortgage,” The Los Angeles Times