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1st Home Buyers’ Guide To Choosing The Right Mortgage February 19, 2009

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Selecting the right mortgage package as a Minnesota first time home buyer can be a confusing process, and working with a mortgage loan officer isn’t always the best way to get the mortgage loan that you can afford. One of the biggest mistakes that first time is to sign on the loan that they qualify for, instead of taking a smaller loan that they can actually afford.

After the loan officer had assessed your qualifications based from your income ratio, evaluate first your readiness in terms of your monthly payment or budget. People who fall into the trap of borrowing the entire loan amount they qualified for may find their monthly budget exhausted and can end up regretful.

Setting your own limits for the loan will help you resist the temptation to just borrow up to the limit that your loan officers offer s and help you stay within a comfortable housing expense range based on your income level. Here are some more tips for selecting the mortgage for your new home purchase:

1. Be informed about the tax benefits. ‘Interest only’ loans are those that allow deducting the entire payment from your taxes on a particular year. There are also other loans with negative amortization that won’t permit deduction of interest from the monthly payment.

2. Think long-term. If you’re planning on staying in the home for 30 years or more, you will be a good candidate for a fixed-interest rate loan. While these types of loans may have a slightly higher interest rate than ARM loans and other loan products, they will protect you from changing market conditions. Still, there are some drawbacks of the fixed interest-rate loan. Barron’s Smart Consumer’s Guide to Home Buying points out that the demands of the escrow account associated with the fixed interest-rate loan may cause your payments to increase.

3. Ask about other home payment options. Flexibility in your mortgage loan’s payment can help you maximize your funds. For instance, there are mortgage loans that allow making extra payments toward the principal balance without worrying about a penalty. You may inquire about this type of loan so that you would not be problematic of your debts in the future.

4. Look for ways to keep payments low. Even when the lender offers you a large loan, consider cutting back on the loan amount so that you can keep the payments within an affordable range. A low interest rate, long loan term, and the ability to make interest-only payments are a few ways to keep payments as low as possible and within your budget range.

5. Avail yourself of mortgage insurance. Not all first time homebuyers have available funds to serve as down payment, though it can create a difference to your monthly payments and loan amount. When you have mortgage insurance, you can have funds for your down payment. In some instances, mortgage insurance can help you apply for an attractive product minus any down payment.

The Power Of Real Estate Leverage February 11, 2009

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Do you want to know the best way to use your money? Would you like to learn the basics of MN real estate investment? Fret no more because you will discover valuable pointers in using leverage and OPM (other people’s money) that makes real estate an excellent tool in investing!

First of all, always make a qualified mortgage professional part of your team of experts; the examples that follow may not be appropriate or even possible for your particular situation. Some people have the goal of receiving cashflow every month to supplement their incomes while others want long-term financial success through investment appreciation.

To vitalize your financial goal, look closely into your options. What’s amazing in the real estate market is the assurance that you are in control. For instance, you have $20,000 to start with. With this amount, you can have either a 10 percent down payment on a $20,000 worth of property or a 20 percent down payment on a $10,000 property. Of course, you will be the one to decide which is better.

There is no right or wrong answer; again, it depends on your goals, but let’s look at the differences. Whenever you make a large down payment it is more likely that you will be able to get cashflow because your mortgage payments will be lower and at the 20% mark you do not need mortgage insurance. So if cashflow is what you desire, larger down payments help you achieve that.

Assuming that for the $100,000 and $200,000 properties, the appreciation is set at 6 percent (Please note that the appreciation rate actually varies depending on their locations, type of property, etc..but for this article, you can well disregard these differences). That translates to these figures: the $100,000 will be worth $106,000 after a year of appreciation and the $200,000 becomes $212,000.

The amount of appreciation for both properties ($100,000 and $200,000) obviously doubles itself year after year. All these and more, but you would not be spending any thereby saving yourself some serious bucks!

In a relatively shorter time, your gain will be sufficient to obtain equity and purchase another PROPERTY so you actually have doubled your properties and compounded their appreciation. On another hand, the cashflow might not be present in the $200,000 property and perhaps there will be times when you have to expend for maintenance costs but look at the greater appreciation and long-term benefits.

Moreover, you get more advantage since debt payments and maintenance costs are tax deductions (using leverage or OPM and getting less monthly cashflow) unlike cashflow that is taxable. In the case of some people who needed monthly cashflow – the solution is simple, your approach can be modified to get what you really wanted. Besides, most people would agree that extra payment every month realizes wealth building benefits in the future!

With these in mind, its not surprising that you chose the better one. Start pooling your team of experts now and make the right choice!

Alexandria P. Anderson is a licensed Minnesota Realtor that uses the Minnetonka Listings to help her clients to find and purchase Minnetonka Realty and other Twin Cities properties.

In Today’s Economy – Should You Buy Or Rent Your Home? February 4, 2009

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Those of us who are conscious of the current economic conditions would say that choosing between owning and renting a MN house at this time poses quite a challenge. It is very easy to fall prey to others whose opinion seemingly sound “good.” However, we cannot deny that this requires expertise on the part of the information source. In so doing, we can possibly avoid costly or unnecessary mistakes. Preferring the right information source with reference to owning or renting also affords us the chance to anchor our decisions from an authority on the matter.

A good adviser takes into account several factors to help you come up with sound financial decision. One, he must consider your individual situation; and two, he must be experienced enough to back his claims with solid evidence. Since no two people have exactly the same predicament and your case is unique from the others – it is crucial to weigh the costs and benefits of buying versus renting. As the co – author of the book Equity Happens (Russell Gray) puts it, “Do the math!”

Intelligent decision arises when you do careful examination of both buying and renting. Having said that, I will spell out some considerations here, which you might find useful. Moreover, since I am not aware of your current financial condition – I will not belabor you with countless rhetoric anymore. In renting, all you need to add up are the costs of your rent, some additional fees, and other utilities.

For ownership expenses it’s a little trickier. You must add together more items and might need the help of professionals to determine what the expenses will be. The main expenses are commonly abbreviated with the acronym PITI. This stands for Principal (the amount of money you pay toward the principal of your loan), Interest (the amount you pay toward the interest of the loan), Taxes (property taxes you must pay), and Insurance (both property insurance and mortgage insurance, if applicable).

Owning a home also covers utility expenses plus other maintenance outlay aside from the PITI. In the case of renting, while it is compelling that you only pay the same amount on a monthly basis; you can go back and determine what your previous payments could buy you a home for. Monthly monetary costs are important aspects in deciding what to choose between owning and renting but it is also equally significant to look at the long-term benefits.

In this case, ownership seems to be where the long-range financial rewards are. Renting a house does not guarantee a title even after years of investment. You will also notice that your rent increases as time goes by. On the other hand, the payment or main cost allotted to buying a house practically stays the same even through the years except for some such as utilities, insurance, etc. The good news is that there is a promise of equity from all the payments you have made towards the ownership of your house. In an appreciating market like ours – a wise choice can go a long way in as far as the value of appreciating our home is concerned!

There is a good chance your choice shifts according to your personal feelings and opinion. Simply put, making the best decision towards renting or owning a home involves your subjective feeling. What can be more fun than having a house you can call your own, and enjoying the independence in creating changes with it however you like it! On one hand, you might favor the side of renting if you will give emphasis on other concerns such as having no lawn to mow, or other maintenance issues.

Often, financial consideration plays a big role but also brings into mind subjective feelings over the argument: to buy or to rent a house? To be more specific, purchasing expensive appliances no longer bothers you when you have huge savings from renting instead of owning. Or maybe, the freedom to do whatever you want with your own house appears inconsequential if you will note the massive expenses you shed off just to purchase your home. Either way, the dictum “numbers do not lie” proves that the former is still weightier than the other.

Conversely, this piece wants to point out two important concerns relative to renting and buying a house. One is to seek advice from the right authority to help you identify the best course of action. Next is to examine carefully both the financial and subjective considerations. The gains or benefits usually become apparent on a long term basis. Finally, it would help to bear in mind that we are in a buyer’s market where ownership is deemed favorable over renting.

Alexandria P. Anderson is a licensed Minnesota Realtor that helps people to find and purchase Bloomington houses and other Bloomington properties for her clients’ needs.