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by Rachel Maroon
There are both pros and cons to buying a house. Days and weeks go into looking for the right house, the perfect place for your family to move to, and then once you find the right one, you still need to get approved for a loan. The process is long, the stress is high, but once you sign those closing papers, the feeling of relief and the overwhelming excitement is all worth it! But that’s only if you feel confident in your decision. How do you know if it’s the right time to buy a house? Here are some helpful hints:
Reasons to Buy a House:
Mortgage payments are typically around the same as rental payments, especially in today’s economy –
The cost of renting is getting to be so much greater that now the monthly mortgage payments when you buy a home are around the same as the monthly rental payments. If you buy instead of rent, the money that you are putting into your monthly payments is going to paying off your mortgage instead of paying off someone else’s mortgage, which will help you in the long run.
Once you pay off your monthly payments, you no longer have any payments –
When your monthly payments are officially paid off, you no longer have any payments left on your house. Unlike renting, where you’re stuck in a contract for as long as you live in the house or apartment, there is an end date for when you no longer are required to pay monthly mortgages.
You can keep the increased property value –
Over time, when the value of your home increases, which it tends to do over the years you own your home, you get to keep the increase. If/when you sell your house, you keep any return on your investment.
You get to customize your house –
You can change your house however you would like. You can take down or add walls, paint with whatever colors you choose, or even put in a garden with a beautiful fence around it. If you rent, you need to make sure that all changes are approved by your landlord.
Reasons to Wait on Buying a House:
Extra costs associated with buying –
There are some fees that go beyond the down payment to a house. There’s the appraisal fee, the closing costs, plus some other fees that are often not considered when buying a house.
More difficult to travel –
Buying a house makes it more difficult to move. You need to make sure that your house is taken care of when you leave. If you plan to move, you need to rent or sell your house, which takes upkeep of its own. It takes between three to five years to recoup the initial purchase costs of the house (around 2-5% of the purchase price), so you should plan to stay put for at least three to five years. If you’re not planning to stay put for a little while, think about renting until you’re ready.
Owning a home takes maintenance. Things break, and when things break, as a homeowner it’s your responsibility to fix them, especially big fixes that influence the way your household runs daily. Those fixes increase your costs which needs to be accounted for when coming up with your yearly budget.
The thought of buying a home can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! With a team of experts behind you, we can get you into your new home as soon as possible. Contact us today at (207) 885-5070.
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Standard new construction financing has always meant two loans for the buyer or builder with separate qualifications and closing costs. Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc. specializes in a True FHA One-Time Close Construction Product. This program is identical to a regular FHA loan in almost every way except; the home is not built yet. See the information below for highlights or contact Mark Violette for more info. Wow!
Searching for property? Check here
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by: Mark J. Maroon
"Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views of my employer."
Even the divorces and breakups that start out friendly sometimes get tenuous before they are final. Regardless of who was wronged, who was innocent, how the blame is divided, or whether the union simply soured, it is the end of a relationship. It can be perceived as a time to mourn, but it is also a new beginning.
Even though that spouse may be a thing of the past, always remember that your finances will follow you for a long, long time. Here are a few things you need to know.
Steps You Can Take to Protect Your Credit
1. Get a copy of your credit report. Just notify each of the credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) or obtain a free copy of each report online here.
2. Take an inventory of your credit. Make a list of all creditors. Secured creditors are those that attach an asset as security for the debt. If your home is mortgages or you have a loan on your car, for example, your home and car are assets used as security or collateral. Unsecured creditors are those that lend you money based solely on your promise for repayment.
3. Separate joint accounts from individual accounts. Joint accounts are those containing both names, and each of you is responsible for the debt. Individual accounts are those opened solely in your name.
4. Call joint credit card lenders. Find out if the credit extended is based on your credit or your partner’s credit. If the credit is based on your credit, but your partner has a card, ask to have your partner removed. If the credit is based on your partner’s credit, as to have your name removed.
If the lender refuses to remove a name from the account, close the account and open a new account. If you have a balance on your credit card, the creditor will not close the account unless you pay off the balance. But you can prevent further charges on the account by asking for the account to be frozen.
5. Sell or refinance secured assets. It is important to separate the liability for secured assets. If a car is financed in both names, regardless of whose name is on the titles, both of you are responsible for the loan. If a mortgage is held in both names regardless of whose name is on the deed, both of you are responsible for the mortgage.
Even if your divorce decree assigns possession of those assets to one party , or if one of you voluntarily transfers title to the other, the liability for the loan will remain if you do not sell or refinance the asset.
Refinancing Your House
Should you reach an agreement whereby one person will remain in possession of the home, then the best thing to do is to remove the existing loan and replace it with a new loan.
Record a New Deed
Ask your lawyer or title company to draw up a deed that transfers title from one person to the other. Commonly used deeds for this purpose are quitclaim deeds, but your lawyer may prefer to use a warranty deed or a grant deed.
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Buying your first home can we intimidating, that is why doing some research before you buy or start the process in imperative.
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According to the National Association of Realtors, 65 percent of homebuyers use their savings accounts to fund a down payment. Though having a down payment is important, depleting your savings is not always the best move. There are several ways to acquire a down payment without depleting your savings, including selling stocks or bonds, gifts from friends or relatives, retirement funds or using the proceeds from another home sale.
If you don’t have the luxury of generous friends or family, or own any stocks and bonds, consider some of the following options to help you budget and save for your future home.
There are a few additional expenses that you will need to save for when buying a home, including your funds to close, ask your loan officer about those.
Before you go ahead and pick out your next home, you should speak with a loan specialist to identify how much you need to save up. And there are more variables than you can count on one hand that will determine the funds you need to close. If you don’t have a loan officer, give us a call, we are happy to give you a no obligation consultation on the process and when you’re ready work on getting you pre-qualified.
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4 Tips to Help Ease Vacation Work Stress
When your work follows you on vacation, these tips will help you enjoy your time with less stress and office distraction:
Set Up Smarter Out-Of-Office Messages
Want to avoid the email and voicemail backlog upon your return? Inform your contacts of your return date, your limited phone and email access, and that you'll get back to them when you return. Also provide a back-up person's contact details for urgent requests.
Leave the Work Devices...At Work
This will help you avoid the temptation to stay plugged in. But what if your office laptop and work cell phone double as your personal devices? For your cell phone: get a pay-as-you go SIM card from your carrier and swap it out during the trip. For your laptop: create a separate user ID that only gives you access to personal applications.
Block Out Time To Check-In
If you must check work email or voicemail during your trip, schedule it once a day. Take 15 minutes in the morning or evening to check email and catch up. Just inform your family and traveling companions so they know you'll be in work-mode during this time only.
Turn Off Notifications
Disable work-related notifications on your phone and computer for the length of your vacation. Mac or iOS: Disable notifications app-by-app or use the Do Not Disturb feature; Android: turn off notifications app-by-app or turn off notifications globally. Windows: use an alternate user account or turn off reminders app-by-app, such as in Outlook.
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Just as a suit isn’t “one size fits all”, the mortgage loan process is not going to be exactly the same for everyone who applies. Some people have had events or circumstances in life that have tarnished their credit. It is not uncommon for a mortgage lender to request a letter of explanation to describe these events or circumstances when they are less cut and dry. Letters of explanation move with the file from processing to underwriting and then to investor and help paint a picture of your exact situation so there is no wondering what the circumstance might be. It is all documented. When your mortgage lender does ask you for a letter of explanation or additional documentation, it is always in an effort to assist you in polishing up the credit situation and making it as clear as possible for those working on the file to understand.
What to Expect:
· If you receive a request to write a letter of explanation, make sure that you understand, completely, what you are being asked to explain.
· Be as specific as possible while providing a straightforward explanation. Include timelines with dates. Explain what happened; why it happened; and how your situation has changed or how you have re-established your credit history.
· Provide all supporting documentation. You may be asked to provide evidence that supports your circumstance, such as tax returns, letters from employers, copies of death certificates or divorce paperwork, to name a few.
· Don’t forget to sign and date your letter! As foolish as this may sound, many letters are rejected because they are not signed.
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Whether you are a first-time homeowner or have owned your own home for many years, winter in the Northeast brings a new "To-Do" list out!
1. Clean out medicine cabinets. The new year is a great time to go through your bathroom medicine cabinets and get rid of any unwanted or expired medications. Take them to a local medication disposal program, police department drop-box or local medication take-back event. Disposal locations can be found here!
2. Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Checking and maintaining smoke detectors takes only a few minutes. Changing the batteries twice a year and testing both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every month can help protect both your home and your family. Additionally, vacuuming and dusting will keep the alarm clear of dirt and insects.
3. Protect your pipes from freezing. For trips away from home during winter months, leave your thermostat turned up enough to keep the house from freezing. The American Red Cross recommends setting the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees and leaving bathroom and kitchen cabinet doors open to warm exposed pipes. For longer trips away when the weather is expected to dip below freezing, have a friend or neighbor check on your home regularly, and show the person where the water shutoff valve is, just in case.
4. Inspect your home after winter storms. Make a habit of taking a walk around your property after big winter storms to check for damage from fallen tree limbs, ice and snow.
5. Create an emergency kit for your car. Because winters can be unpredictable here in the Northeast, it is wise to create an emergency kit for your car. It could save your life or the lives or your passengers if you are stranded during harsh conditions. Keep an extra cell phone charger in your car as well for emergencies. Here is a helpful, printable Winter Survival Car Kit checklist!
6. Create an emergency kit for your home. One of the primary concerns is the winter weather's ability to knock out heat, power and communications services to your home....sometimes for days at a time. Heavy snowfall and extreme cold can immobilize an entire region. More information on creating an emergency kit for your home can be found here.
7. Check on your elderly neighbors. Colder temperatures keep many senior adults housebound. This time of year is a wonderful time to connect with your neighbors - especially your elderly neighbors and friends! Bring over a warm meal; give a call to see if they need anything at the store if you are making a trip out yourself; check to see if walkways and driveways are clear of ice and snow for someone; go visit and provide some companionship.
8. Feed the birds. Non-migrating birds have it tough during winter months. Keep your bird feeders filled with seed and set out water regularly to provide a water source when most of the water they would normally have access to is frozen. Winter bird watching can be a great pastime.
9. Plan your Spring garden and dream of Spring. Request a bunch of see catalogs, grab a notepad and a pencil and pour yourself a mug of tea - it is time to sketch out ideas for your Spring garden. Pinterest has some great ideas for you to check out and keep you dreaming of Spring.
10. Enjoy the winter beauty of Maine! There is a lot to do during the winter months. You could get cozy at home and embrace the simple pleasures of reading a good book, making a big pot of soup or indulging in an afternoon nap. But you could also get outside and enjoy the beauty of Maine. There are more than 10,000 miles of snowmobile trails scattered throughout the state, as well as skiing, outdoor winter festivals, snowshoeing, ice fishing and more!
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President Obama will announce in Phoenix today that the FHA will reduce mortgage insurance premiums for borrowers who make down payments of as little as 3.5% from 1.35% to 0.85%, the White House has confirmed after reports in the Wall Street Journal and other media outlets. The FHA recently released a report showing its insurance fund had a value of $4.8 billion at the end of September and its capital reserve ratio at 0.41%. Since the report, HUD Secretary Julian Castro and FHA Commissioner Biniam Gebre have been urged to lower the insurance premiums that the FHA charges.
Dave Stevens, CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, told CNBC, “It couldn’t come at a better time … I think it will have a definitive impact particularly in the first-time homebuyer market.”
In addition, the White House has released a “Making Homeownership More Accessible and Sustainable” fact sheet.
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By Max Ufberg
Last New Year’s Eve, I said I was going to start running more. Twice a week, to be exact. Now, 12 months and 12 jogs later—four or five of which came within the first few weeks of 2014—it’s safe to add this last New Year’s pledge to my tally of failed celebratory resolutions.
That inability to follow through on New Year’s resolutions is pretty typical of Americans, according to one 2014 poll by the University of Scranton psychology department. Based on their results, it seems that while a good majority of people—71 percent, to be exact—hold to these annual promises for the first two weeks, six months later, less than 50 percent of those surveyed actually upheld the resolutions.
Why do we break these promises? And what strategies might help us to be more successful? For answers, we can look back to one decades-old report, published again by the University of Scranton, in 1989. (No word yet on how Scranton tackled the market on New Year’s resolutions.) Under professor John Norcross, researchers tracked the self-change efforts of 213 ambitious New Year’s resolution-makers—ranging from 16 to 75 in age—over a two-year period. To do so, Norcross simply polled the individuals on their resolutions, and tracked progress intermittently through self-reported evaluations.
Similar to the updated 2014 survey, Norcross found that over three-quarters of the testers kept their pledges … for the first week. Those rates steadily went down; two years later, only 19 percent kept the resolution. Also of note: Gender and age bore no significance on the success rates. Mostly, those who failed to follow through on their resolution fell into self-blame and wishful thinking (i.e. wanting the resolution to just “go away”).
What can we learn from those who were successful in their New Year’s resolutions? Alongside the obvious self-reported resolution strategies like willpower and stimulus control, the “fading” tactic—gradual reduction of a vice, as opposed to the “cold turkey” method—and counter-conditioning proved to be the most effective ways of keeping one’s New Year’s plans, say, to lose weight.
And it’s not like these successful testers went all Superman on their plans either; 53 percent of the successful group experienced at least one slip, with each member committing 14 total slips on average over that two-year span. That’s really encouraging for someone like me, because it means that, even if I falter with my running routine, I can take solace in the fact that my peers who do keep on running might slip up as well. How’s that for camaraderie?
Modern Westerners aren’t the first to make New Year’s resolutions—the Babylonians, Romans, and Medieval knights all made vows when the ball dropped too. While we don’t know our forebears’ success rates, if they were anything like us, we can assume there was a good amount of the “I’ll start tomorrow” philosophy. And if that’s the case, at least we’re not alone in our failures.