Posted by Anthony Susi on 5/6/2019

Many people shy away from this topic; they think itís something way out of their league. Deciding to buy a home requires a lot of planning and saving, itís not a decision made over the night. Remaining a tenant is not bad especially if you canít afford to buy a house just yet. However, deciding to stay a tenant forever without any plan to get your property is not a great idea.

Buying a house and continuous mortgage payment especially during the first year is capital intensive, but over time, you would begin to enjoy the benefits of the decision to buy. Living as a tenant has its advantages; however, becoming a homeowner has more advantages. Below are reasons why you should buy rather than rent.

Allows You Save Over Time

When you become a homeowner, the word Ďforced to saveí comes to play. For you to be able to make your monthly mortgage payments, you would keep a certain amount aside which would go into your home. Economically, this is a wise decision as it helps you build ROI and equity unlike when you pay for a rented apartment.

Creates Stability

Becoming a homeowner gives you a sense of balance and security. If you decide to get married or if you are already, owning a home eliminates the burden of moving from one location to another. When you become a homeowner, your kids grow up in a stable and secure environment.

Freedom Of Activities

Living in rented apartments limits what you can do. Many landlords have rules they put in place to keep their property running smoothly. When you decide to take a mortgage, it gives you the freedom to customize your space the way you like; it allows you to decorate, you can choose to invite guests over or even get a pet. 

Allows You To Get A Second Stream Of Income 

Deciding to take a mortgage allows you the opportunity of having a second stream of income. The property is yours, and you can choose to let out a room, rent out the garage, rent out a part of your yard or your driveway. The whole idea is that you can monetize your property without having to report to anyone.

The Cost Of Mortgage Remains The Same, Unlike Rent That Increases

Fixed mortgage rates do not increase irrespective of the economic position. Landlords are not bothered about if you got a salary increment or not at your job; they typically tend to increase the cost of your rent yearly. Paying for your mortgage is settling the bulk of your housing payments which helps you attain budget stability. 

If you are in doubt about which decision to make (rent or buy), speak to a real estate agent today to help you assess your readiness to own a home.




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Posted by Anthony Susi on 4/22/2019

It's easy to get stuck without a mortgage approval or with a smaller home loan than you want, just because you don't understand how your credit score works. Most of the things you've done to prepare: budgeting your income, balancing your bank accounts and saving up for a down payment, aren't reflected in your FICO credit score. It doesn't even show how much you can afford.

So whatís the point of your credit score?

It tells your lender what youíve done with your previous credit. Whether anyone has been willing to lend you money, how long youíve kept it and whether you pay it back on time. They keep the actual algorithm at FICO secret, but there are two main factors that you can affect.

Late Payments

These are easy to understand and fix. Ready? Pay them on time. Thatís it. Each time you are late on a debt payment, whether itís a credit card, school loan, mortgage, or car loan it dings your credit score. Thatís the easy part. Now for some finance math.

Debt to Credit Ratio

Surprisingly, you are in complete control of this part of your score too. While it sounds like this is a ratio of how much you owe to how much you make, it's not. The debt-to-credit ratio shows how much you owe based on how much credit you currently have available. That means if you have a $5000 credit card, and your friend has a $2000 credit card, and you both OWE $2000, you will have a higher score than your friend because your ratio ($2000/$5000) is lower than hers ($2000/$2000). The higher this ratio gets, the less likely lenders are to give you more credit. Most professionals suggest you try to keep your usage below 30%. That means your balance on that $5000 credit card should stay below $1500. This practice works better for you as well, keeping some cushion in your accounts for emergencies.

Managing your Debt-to-Credit Ratio

There are a few tricks beyond merely using less of your credit to help keep this number under control. First off, pay off as much of your debt as possible. You want to keep that used debt down as low as possible when trying to apply for new debt. Second, don't close your paid-off accounts. While it may seem like the optimal thing to do, remember that total credit number? You want to keep that number high so that your used credit appears lower. So, you've paid off that credit card? Great! Now chop it up or put it in a hidden drawer and keep that available credit without using it. Lastly, be careful about opening new accounts. While it lowers your debt-to-credit ratio as long as you donít actually spend from them, your score also reflects the age of your accounts. The longer ago you applied for and got credit, the more likely it is you will qualify for new credit. Donít waste that new credit qualification on anything else besides your home loan.

Want to know the best lenders to apply with once you've got the best score? Ask your real estate agent for their top recommendations for your situation and use their expertise to ease the qualification process.





Posted by Anthony Susi on 1/28/2019

Your 401K is a great resource of investing for retirement. Many people use their 401kís as a part of their overall investment strategies, pulling money out of it when itís needed. When youíre ready to buy a house, you may think that pulling money out of your 401k for a down payment is a good idea. But think again. 


Although you should always speak with a financial professional about your money matters, the bottom line is that is probably not the best idea to use your 401k to supply money for a downpayment on a home. 


First, your 401k funds are pre-tax dollars. That means that you havenít paid any taxes on these funds. Your employer will often match the amount of money that you put into your 401k, as an incentive to help you save money for your future. You need to keep your 401k for a certain amount of time before any funds in the 401k become available to you without having to pay any kind of penalty. If you decide to take on the penalty, you can often face a cut to your employerís match programs as well. This is why you must make this decision wisely. 


The Penalties


Anyone under the age of 59.5 pays a penalty of 10 percent to take the money out of the fund. In addition, youíll now need to pay taxes on this money, because it becomes a part of your adjusted gross income. 


Alternative Actions


If you are looking to invest in a property, there may be other options for you rather than pulling money out of your 401k. While some plans allow you to borrow money from it. However, if your only option to get money to invest in a property is to pull money from your retirement account, it may not be the best time to invest in property for you. 


Keep It Separate


If youíre younger (say in your 30ís or 40ís) your best option is to have a completely separate account that is used to save for a downpayment and other expenses that youíll incur when you buy a home. In this sense you arenít spreading yourself too thin as far as investments go. You should compartmentalize your money. Buying a home is a large investment in itself. Home equity can also be a good source of a nest egg in later years when you need it. However, even if a property will be an income property, itís never smart to take from one investment account to provide for another unless youíre shifting your focus. You donít want to reach retirement, only to see that your funds have been depleted and you canít retire as expected.




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Posted by Anthony Susi on 12/5/2016

Buying a home is one of the largest commitments you will make in your life. It's also one of the best. Being a homeowner comes with a sense of independence that renting simply can't match. You can do with your home whatever you like, making it the place you love to go home to at the end of the day. Knowing when you're ready to buy a home is a complicated issue. But it's also a learning process that everyone is new to at some time in their lives. Sure, buying a home can be anxiety-inducing. But†you don't need to add any more nerves to the process because you feel uninformed. In this article, we'll lay out†a basic checklist that will help you determine when and whether you're ready to buy a home so that you can worry less about your credentials and focus more on finding the right home.

The checklist

  • Finances. We hate to put it first, but the reality is your finances are one of the main things that determines your preparedness for becoming a homeowner. Unlike renting, there's a lot more that goes into the home financing process than just your income. Banks will want to see your credit score to ensure you have a history of paying your bills on time. They'll also use your credit information to see how much debt you have and if you'll be able to take on homeowner's expenses on top of that. Another financial impact for buying a house is to determine if you can afford a downpayment. It's one thing to see that you can cover your bills with your income, but unless you have enough money saved for the downpayment (and any emergency expenses that may come up) you should wait a while and save before hopping into the market.
  • What are your longterm plans? Many people are excited at the thought of home ownership to the extent that they forget their life circumstances. If you have a job that might cause you to relocate in the next 5-7 years you might want to consider renting rather than buying. Depending on factors like the price of the home, cost of living in your area, and how long you plan on living in your new home, it may be cheaper to buy or rent in the long run. There are calculators available online that will tell you which option is†probably more cost-effective for you. As a general rule, however, if you plan on living in a new home for under 5-7 years, it might be cheaper to rent.
  • Do you have the time and patience to be a homeowner? Owning a home means you can't call on the landlord to fix your leaks anymore. Similarly, you probably won't be able to depend on someone else to shovel snow or mow the lawn for you. It takes work to be a homeowner, and if your job has you away from home for long periods of time or working very long hours, renting might not be appropriate at this time.
  • Plan for new expenses. If you can comfortably pay rent and you find out your home loan payments will be comparable, you should know that there will likely be new expenses to consider as well. Home insurance, property taxes, and expenses for things like sewer, plumbing and electrical repairs all should be taken into consideration. Additionally, you will likely have new utility bills, including electricity, water, oil, cable, and others depending on the home.




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