6 Smart Ways to Raise Money for a Down Payment

How much money do you really need upfront to buy a home? Well, let’s see. Conforming loans require a minimum of 3 percent down. FHA requires 3.5 percent, and VA and USDA loans don’t require a dime. Once down payment is squared away, you have to factor in closing costs and money squirreled away in…

Doing the Math: Determine Your Ideal Home Price

An online mortgage calculator can give you a housing payment snapshot in about 10 seconds. Quick, yes, but this method can pass over important details that leave you window shopping in a price range that’s way over your head. Here’s how to more accurately answer the “how much house can I afford” question. Do the…

Your Debt-to-Income Ratio: What It is and Why It Matters

You may feel like your finances are your business, something you’d prefer to keep on the low. But when you decide to buy a home, financial privacy pretty much goes out the window. Before a lender will give you a loan, he or she needs to have a clear picture of your financial situation: what’s…

The Happy Truth About Down Payments

Coming up with a significant down payment may seem like the absolute worst, and may be the reason why, according to Zillow.com’s first-time home buyers survey, the median down payment is only 10 percent. What down payment is right for you? Only you know how many payments (mortgage, other bills, added expenses of homeownership) you can…

Why You’ll Dig Doing Taxes After You Buy Your First Home

Here’s an insane detail to chew on: Numerous tax breaks will now be available to you that weren’t when you were a renter. In fact, “a $1,200 mortgage payment, with the tax advantages, is the same as an $800 rent payment,” says Tim Magee, president of Magee Mortgage Associates. That’s because Uncle Sam provides Americans…

Getting Real About Mortgage Rates

Some things in life are not fixed and stable. Take, for instance the price of airline tickets. So annoying. And then there’s the rate of interest charged on a mortgage. You may be charged an interest rate that’s much higher or lower than the rate the same lender offers your sister for the exact same…

Loans for First-Time Home Buyers: Your Best Bets

Is there a way to rate loans for first-time home buyers as good, better and off the charts? Probably not, as each person’s financial situation is unique. BUT there are a handful of loans that might be right for you right now. Let’s review them in two categories: low down payment and low monthly cost….

Why Mortgage Insurance May Be Required

You probably know about homeowners insurance because you’re ready to be a homeowner. Besides, you want to insure that nice, new dream home. But mortgage insurance? What and why and how come? And who is it for, anyway? Why a Lender Charges Mortgage Insurance It turns out that mortgage insurance isn’t really for you, at…