Financial Planning

How to Buy Your First 'Together' Home

Buying a Home as a Married CoupleIt's no coincidence that people often start thinking about buying a home around the time they get married or establish a long-term relationship. Buying a home often requires a higher income, which is typically easier to get with two people working full-time. With these tips, couples who are looking to combine their investment goals with viable housing can make buying a home easier and more productive for the future.

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There aren't too many financial decisions that are as complicated as buying a home, but ...

Getting a Mortgage Together: What Married Couples Need to Know

How to Buy a Home as a Married CoupleWhen people get married, they often start to think about buying a home together. Although there are many instances in which one part of a married couple may purchase a home individually, there are benefits to applying as a couple. Younger pairs can usually qualify more quickly when they pool their funds together and transition more smoothly from renter to owner. These considerations help people discover the aspects about married home buying that are unique to buying a home alone.

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Don't Fear the Down Payment: Low Down Payment Options to Consider

How to Save For a Down PaymentAfter the housing crisis, it might feel like the whole country went into a panic that lasted for several years. Fears that they had been too lenient in mortgage lending led some institutions to raise the bar significantly, reasserting the dominance of the 20 percent down payment. Since that sort of knee-jerk reaction rarely bodes well in any area of finance, the standards were gradually relaxed once again. The trouble is that the media is still working to catch up. People who hear that first-time home buyers, and particularly people in their 20s and 30s, cannot get a mortgage without 20 percent down, might think that their...

Home Buying Myths and Facts: Debunking Commonly Held Misconceptions

Common Home-Buying MisconceptionsMisinformation about home buying is about as American as apple pie. Standards change from one decade to the next, which leads the experienced to provide a different and often inaccurate vision of homeownership to people looking to break into the market. With an ability to distinguish between myths and facts, would-be home buyers can get ahead of their peers with real estate if they realize that buying a home is far more accessible than a lot of people make it seem.

Myth: I Need a Huge Down Payment

The rule that buyers need a 20 percent down...

How Does a Real Estate Agent Help Home Buyers?

What Does a Real Estate Agent Do?Buying a property is a big expense. Like all major purchases, it's nice to have an expert who is trained to handle all the details and is there to make sure the buyer gets fair treatment. A real estate agent hired to serve buyers will work with them through every stage of the process—from identifying their initial needs to explaining all the paperwork on the day the sale is completed. The benefits of homeownership for Millennials can be maximized with a real estate agent on your team to help you succeed.

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Starting...

How to Pick the Right Property for Your Needs

How to Choose the Right HomeThinking about the perfect kind of home can be a fun and engaging part of the home buying process. It is an excellent time to talk to others about what worked for them and what they wish they had done differently. However, it's vital to keep in mind that a buyer's priorities are unique. By putting needs first and being willing to compromise on things that aren't as important, buyers have a better chance of selecting a home that will be satisfying for the long haul so they can reap the benefits of homeownership for Millennials and ...

What is the Debt-to-Income Ratio and Why Does it Matter?

How the Debt-to-Income Ratio Affects Your Home-Buying ProspectsDebt-to-income ratio is the seemingly ‘magical’ formula lenders use to determine if an individual’s monthly income is adequate to live somewhat comfortably, to pay his/her current debts, and to assume a mortgage payment. In other words, DTI determines if you are a safe bet when it comes to loaning you money and if you’re ready to buy a home.

Buying a home is the first step towards getting ahead of peers with real estate, and the first step towards buying...

The Benefits of Homeownership for Millennials

What are the Benefits of Homeownership for Millennials?We are now a decade beyond the housing bubble that burst between 2007 and 2008. However, there are still some issues that mitigate home buying accessibility for millennials and Gen Z’ers. Affordability, coupled with the 20% down payment required in the mortgage process by traditional banking institutions, are the primary prohibitive factors for the younger generations deciding whether they’re ready to buy their first home.

How Student Loans Affect Home Buying

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Can Student Loans Affect Your Ability to Buy a Home?

Can Student Loans Affect Your Ability to Buy a Home?Getting a good education to land a solid, well-paying job with benefits is expensive and getting costlier every year. Students enrolling in a four-year institution can expect to pay at least $37,000 a year for tuition, fees, room, and board. People are put in the awkward paradox of needing a decent annual income just to get the education for a job with a decent annual income. Since scholarships and grants are restricted and can only go so far, student loans are a popular alternative for college financing. Used wisely alongside careful budgeting, student loans...

Still Paying Off Student Loans? Can You Buy a Home? Should You?

How to Pay Student Loans While Buying a HomeWhether you are a recent grad or have been in the workforce for a few years, the reality of still paying off your student loan debts can be intimidating, if not downright scary, when you think about assuming a mortgage payment. When you feel like you’ll never be able to buy a home because of your student loans, compounding your trepidation are other debts you might have—things such as a car payment and credit cards. Most of all, for recently graduated students, you may think your student loans disqualify you from buying a home—but this is just a common misconception.

Like with anything, there are...

How to Get Ahead of Peers With Real Estate Investing

How to Get Ahead of Your Peers With Real EstateBuying a home seems like such a common act, that it may not seem obvious what a good investment real estate can be. Everyone needs some form of housing, which means that access to affordable real estate will always be in some sort of demand. The benefits of homeownership are many, and people who tap into real estate investment when they are young adults have the opportunity to build great wealth, often without a ton of maintenance to keep the investment going. Investors who can make the monetary investment and buy properties with growth potential may find that their futures...

Tax Tips to Save More of What You Earn

Tax Tips for Saving the Money You EarnIt's often said that corporations don't pay anywhere near as much in taxes as individuals, and that the rich often have access to tax shelters that the working and middle classes can only dream of. How is this even possible? With the complications and intricacies of the United States tax code, there are many ways that high earners can reduce their tax liability and keep more of their income each year. These tips make it easier for people with moderate or higher incomes to maximize their tax deductions and find ways to get ahead financially.

Planning for Future...

Common Steps in the Mortgage Process

Common Steps in the Mortgage ProcessApplying for and receiving a mortgage is a complicated process with many steps behind the scenes, but it can help you get ahead of your peers using real estate for financial security. With a better knowledge of what to expect, buyers can understand why this process takes time, and make individual stages run more smoothly.

The benefits of homeownership for millennials are vast, but a better understanding of the process is critical before starting.

Pre-Qualification vs Pre-Approval

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Don't Become House Poor! Buying a Home Within Your Means

How to Buy a Home Within Your MeansNo matter how much you absolutely love a home or particular style of the house, there are criteria that will go a long way in defining how happy you will be in it—starting with being able to comfortably afford it.  

What’s really important in determining if you’re ready to buy a home is that you budget not just for a home, but for all your priorities. This means taking into account more than your current debt structure and the costs of a loan before filling-out...

The Hidden Costs of Buying and Owning a Home

The Hidden Costs of Buying a HomeResearch data and industry general agreement is that Americans pay, on the average, about $9,000 a year in extra home ownership costs. These costs run the gamut from initial closing costs to yearly insurance, taxes, home maintenance and various utility bills. 

This article is intended to help you determine if you’re ready to buy a home, estimate what the real costs of buying and living in your new home will be, and to share some hints on how to decrease...

7 Signs You're Ready to Buy a Home

Signs You're Ready to Buy a HomeHave you found yourself checking out all the “For Sale” signs on properties in neighborhoods you like and fantasizing about the possibility of homeownership? Or every month wondering why you continue to pay rent when buying a home seems more logical?  

Buying a home can be an intimidating process so finding a good real estate agent is important. You need to trust your agent to help make major decisions – so talk to more than one.  Along with finding a real estate professional you trust and are comfortable with, talk to a financial advisor.  Before you fall in...

A Breakdown of the Monthly Mortgage Payment

Breaking Down the Monthly Mortgage PaymentWhen the possibility of homeownership comes up, it’s natural to want to know more about the home buying and mortgage processes. Your mortgage payment is made up of four very distinct and separate parts. The loan principal and interest; property taxes; home owners insurance, and mortgage insurance. This article is intended to be a short guide into what comprises a mortgage and how to understand what lenders are saying.

What Exactly is a Mortgage?

Briefly explained, a mortgage is a long-term loan designed to allow the borrower to purchase a home. By taking out a mortgage loan,...

Options For Paying A Reduced Down Payment

How to Pay a Reduced Down Payment When Buying a HomeA huge part of the difficulty in realizing the possibility of buying a home is coming up with the requisite down payment. Did you know there are actually more than 2,400 programs nationally that can help?  Finding them, determining which ones are applicable to you, and then understanding these programs parameters can be a challenge. This article is intended to discuss the major programs; share some insight into the lesser known programs; suggest sources to find highly specific programs you might be eligible for, and to give you the core elements into the most crucial things to look...

Don't Think You Can Own a Home? Homeownership is a Possibility for Everyone

Do You Have the Possibility of Owning a Home?Are you ready to buy a home? You might not be right now, but you can be with some work on your finances. Financial troubles can be rectified and you can own a home. By taking the necessary steps, your dream will become a reality. It might take some time and considerable effort, but achieving the financial security that comes with being ready to buy a home is worth it. In reality, even if you decide not to buy, you will be in a much better financial situation - before the application process.

The...

How to Manage Your Finances as a Married Couple

How to Tackle Your Finances as a Married CoupleOnce the anxiety of wedding planning starts to fade into memory, a new possible source of conflict arises: finances as a married couple. Fortunately, by taking charge at the very beginning, couples can minimize a lot of the difficulties that can come when people have to make joint decisions about their financial future. The investment of time and plenty of communication over the years can help married people to build a financial arrangement that will suit them both.

Get Comfortable Talking About Money

For a lot of people, trying to gain a little familiarity with another's financial situation can feel like they are prying unnecessarily. From a young...

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