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

Which personal finance best practices yield the best results?

Which personal finance best practices yield the best results?

When people are looking to buy investment homes, they will typically need plenty of capital to start turning their dreams of a personal real estate empire into reality. And because investment buyers typically face a much different mortgage process than those who are purchasing a property simply to live there, it's vital that they have their finances in order.

Perhaps the biggest impediment to buying a home that anyone – resident or investment buyer – will face is the amount of debt they carry apart from the mortgages they're hoping to obtain, according to Refinery29. People typically have student loans, auto financing and credit card debt, and altogether these balances can create a major impediment to building savings and meeting lenders' stringent debt-to-income ratio requirements. As such, paying down high-interest balances should be at the top of any would-be mortgage borrower's to-do list.

What's the benefit?
When consumers tackle high-interest debt first, they free up potentially lots of money each month, the report said. It may take some time, but cutting into balances means lower monthly minimum payments. That progress, in turn, frees up even more money to be devoted to paying down that debt, and so on. In the end, people may be able to reduce their monthly payment requirements by hundreds of dollars or more, all of which can go toward building savings for down payments and other financial concerns.

In addition, anyone looking to make an investment home purchase might want to consider the benefits of looking at their monthly budgets to make sure they're spending money on the right things, according to Experian. After all, when people take the time to evaluate where their money goes each month, they may be able to find inefficiencies that will allow them to free up even more money that can improve their mortgage applications.

Focusing on the key issues
It may also be wise for those looking to buy an investment property to think about the ways in which that first step will only help them grow their finances and keep them moving forward consistently, according to Go Banking Rates. Of course, not all investments work out, so it's wise for would-be buyers to do as much research as possible into their options, the markets in which they're looking to buy and what will be required of them on an ongoing basis as the owner of such a property. Those just getting their start in this portion of the housing market will probably need a bit of direction they can't always glean themselves.

As with anything else in the mortgage process, the more homework people can do before getting involved, the better off they will be when it comes to facilitating and finding a deal that will work well for them in the long term. Talking with real estate or financial professionals will often help to elucidate the best steps to take toward successful rental ownership.

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