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How to's and money-saving tips from resident homeowner and mortgage professional, Cathy West

Why pre-approval for a first-time homebuyer is important

,  Posted in - ( The Mortgage Process )

Why pre-approval is important
Deciding that you're ready to stop renting and finally purchase your first home is exhilarating, and can be a little scary. From mortgages to homeowners associations, first time home buyers have a lot to consider before making that big purchase. In a competitive housing market, it's important that your mortgage application be one of your top concerns. This will impact how you can make your offer as good as possible so that you can buy your dream home.The best way to do that is by getting pre-approval for a home loan, which tells sellers that you're serious about home shopping. Just why is pre-approval so important? There are ...

Simple steps to improve credit

,  Posted in - ( Money-Saving Tips )

Simple steps to improve credit
For homeowners looking to get into the housing market, perhaps the most important part of making sure they're ready for the mortgage process is having a strong credit score. A good rating will not only help them get approved more easily by lenders as they shop around for the right home loan, but also unlock potentially massive savings in the form of lower mortgage rates.Unfortunately, many would-be buyers may not know what goes into their credit scores in the first place, and therefore probably have little idea of how to deal with any issues that might have arisen, according to the Fair Isaac Corp., which pioneered credit scorin...

When buying a home beats renting in the long term

,  Posted in - ( Purchasing a Home )

Renting vs. buying a home
Fifty years ago, buying a home wasn't just an option; it was the norm. Renting homes for anything other than a very short-term arrangement was seldom thought of as a housing goal. Today, almost the exact opposite is true.Millennials are renting instead of buying in great numbers, favoring the ability to travel, move, and be more flexible in their living arrangements over the stability of a single, owned residence for three or four decades. The question is, though, whether renting actually is the better choice. Studies show that owning can improve homeowners' lives in ways that renting doesn't, and surprisingly, those benefits...

How to improve your mortgage applications

,  Posted in - ( The Mortgage Process )

How to improve your mortgage applications
When consumers are approaching the mortgage process - especially when they're doing so for the first time - they may need to put in plenty of legwork to make sure they're able to qualify. That often means doing plenty of homework and putting in a few months' worth of effort to improve credit standings and other aspects of their personal finances.Perhaps the most important thing for people to keep in mind about the mortgage process, though, is that they should be prepared to go to a number of different lenders rather than just working with the first one that approves their applications, according to Money Saving Expert. Even p...

How to finance a second home

,  Posted in - ( Purchasing a Home )

How to finance a second home
A number of Americans may have the financial means and desire to buy a second home, and may have many reasons for wanting to do so. However, the process for financing that purchase is often quite different from the standard mortgage process, and as such may require would-be second-time buyer to approach the mortgage process here with all due caution.Often, those seeking a second mortgage will face significantly higher costs, both up front and in the long term, if they don't have a sound strategy in place, according to HGTV. Typically, the interest rates on second homes are much higher than those for a primary residence, and lenders often ...

The benefits of VA loans and how to qualify

,  Posted in - ( The Mortgage Process )

The benefit of VA loans and how to qualify
When consumers are looking for ways to apply for and find an affordable mortgage, one type of home loan they may come across comes from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Often referred to as VA loans, they can provide borrowers with significant benefits - such as no down payment requirement - as long as consumers meet a number of qualification standards.First and most obviously, the vast majority of military members past and present - including reservists and those in the National Guard - are able to get loans through the VA, according to Bankrate. This allowance is also extended to spouses of military members who died on active duty o...

Tips for complying with rental laws

,  Posted in - ( Helpful Homeowner Hints )

How to comply with rental laws
Rental properties are a great option for a passive income stream that can lead to long-term payoffs. With a great property manager on board, rental units can be easy to keep up with and relatively low-stress for years. With every investment, there is risk and with rentals that is introduced through state and federal law compliance.Differences from state to stateRental laws can be vastly different across regions, according to Legal Zoom, so it's vital that you understand exactly what laws affect your property. Most of these are designed to provide some level of legal protection for both the landlord and renter, but in differ...

Speed up your mortgage application

,  Posted in - ( The Mortgage Process )

Speed up your mortgage application
When people want to buy a home, they should typically start by applying for a mortgage so they can pre-qualify and get a sale completed as quickly as possible. But in today's busy market, waiting even a little while to get a deal locked in can create serious issues when it comes to people being able to buy they homes they really want.This issue may be especially important for those who are self-employed, because their mortgage application process can be a little more muddled if they're not fully prepared, according to Mortgage 101. So what can they do to make sure they're adequately prepared to not only qualify for a mortgage...

Tips for finding the perfect neighborhood

,  Posted in - ( Purchasing a Home )

Finding the perfect neighborhood
When buying a new home, location is just as important as the property itself. Not only do you want to find something with a reasonable commute and neighbors you'll like, but you'll also want to make sure the surrounding area fits well with your lifestyle and needs. Make sure to think about these subjects before making any final offers.  Is it safe? Especially for homeowners with families, safety is of the utmost importance. Realtor Mag suggested contacting the local police department to inquire about crime trends. Verify what type of crime is most common and if rates are going up or down. For example, an area with a sma...

What do I need to know about a cash-out refinance?

,  Posted in - ( The Mortgage Process )

What do I need to know about a cash-out refinance?
These days, there are still plenty of homeowners who can benefit from refinancing their existing mortgage, even after rates have risen sharply over the past several months and millions already sought to refinance when rates were at or near their lowest points. Many who did so may have also taken advantage of the sky-high affordability at the time to engage in a cash-out refinance, but those who have yet to go through the process might not know what their options are here.First and foremost, it's vital to understand what a cash-out refinance actually is. Simply put, it's a refinance that gives owners more money than they owe on their e...