First-time home buyers finding options

Posted by at 4:06 pm

According to a study by the National Association of Realtors, more than 70 percent of non-cash, first-time home buyers – and 54 percent of all buyers – made down payments of less than 20 percent over the last five years.

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Freeze and thaw credit report for secure home buy

Posted by at 12:35 pm

In response to many high-profile data heists over the last decade, many people now choose to lock up access to their credit history with a PIN-controlled “credit report freeze.” Once widely considered the province of the paranoid, personal digital security is now the calling card of the credit savvy. After a 2017 breach at Equifax exposed the information of 500 million people, the federal government passed legislation requiring all three credit bureaus to allow people to freeze their credit reports quickly. Credit reporting agencies must respond to online or phoned-in freeze requests within one business day (they get three days for snail mail). A freeze effectively closes access to your credit report, and since new credit can’t be issued without a credit check, hackers theoretically can’t get it for their own nefarious purposes, either. This is a great new piece...
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Cash-out refi can be a financial solution

Posted by at 8:05 am

Do you need money to pay off student loans, cover bills and expenses, or start a new business? With homes prices skyrocketing across the nation the last few years, maybe you are one of the many homeowners who could tap your increased home equity for a significant sum through a cash-out refinance. At Bay Equity Home Loans, our experienced loan officers can help you figure out if refinancing your current mortgage makes good financial sense. Home equity is the difference between a home’s fair market value and the outstanding balance of all liens on the property. It all comes down to how much your home is worth, your current mortgage balance and how much you want to borrow. Say you paid $200,000 for your house. You’ve been in the home for a while and have paid the principal down to...
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January 11th, 2019

Saving for retirement takes careful planning

Posted by at 12:12 pm

Remember the story of the grasshopper and the ant? In times of plenty, the grasshopper played and played, while the ant stashed and stored for the hard winter ahead. When it comes to retirement, you should be thinking like an ant, not a grasshopper. In 2018, long-stagnant wages are finally on the rise, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Earnings are up more than 83 cents an hour year-over-year, the largest such increase since 2009. The human – and grasshopper –  response to extra money in a paycheck is an accompanying increase in personal spending. Instead, experts recommend small sacrifices today to set up a better tomorrow. While everyone has at least some degree of control over income, they have a great deal of control over spending. Top areas of compromise are: Driving older vehicles Taking fewer and less...
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A New Year’s path to homeownership

Posted by at 12:44 pm

The New Year always begins with New Year’s resolutions – with a list nearly always topped by getting fit (i.e. giving up fatty food, alcohol or smoking), getting organized or taking better care of finances. Our Bay Equity Loan Officers are experts in helping customers make a similar list of resolutions. Let us help you make it a happy New Homeowner’s Year, too. Ready to get started? Credit Check:  Good credit is key to getting a mortgage but it takes discipline and planning. First, find out what your score is. Pay bills on time, and work to improve your credit establish it independently by opening up checking/savings accounts and using credit cards carefully. How much? Figure out how much you can spend with a handy mortgage calculator. Don’t forget to consider closing costs, ongoing maintenance and insurance, too. Experts recommend...
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Refinancing student loan requires careful consideration

Posted by at 12:03 pm

With untapped home equity at an all-time high of $14.4 trillion, homeowners could be poised to start cashing in. One way you can do that is to roll other debt into your mortgage. In 2017, Fannie Mae added the Student Loan Cash-out refinance option. With Fannie Mae adjusting the loan level depending on risk, some borrowers may pay as little as 1 percent of the loan for this arrangement. As of 2018, student debt in the U.S. totals a staggering $1.5 trillion. For many, rolling it into their mortgage seems like a viable option. Also referred to as debt reshuffling, paying one loan with another may seem amazing – after all, you have seemingly made a big chunk of debt “disappear.” But it’s no magic trick. You still owe the money, you’ve just changed the terms. Attaching student debt to...
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Bidet making headway in America’s bathrooms

Posted by at 8:44 am

Surveys today show Americans are open to all kinds of home innovation, and the bathroom is no exception. But acceptance of the bidet – the common personal cleaning fixture that graces commodes throughout much of Europe and Asia – has been a bit of a tough sell. It’s unquestioned that the quality of cleaning with a bidet fixture is superior to toilet paper alone, so why the American reluctance? One of the keys to selling a better toilet is marketing. And in America, talking about the best ways to clean up after the loo has always been a bit taboo. Many anthropologists believe American GIs coming back from World War II associated the bidet with bordellos visited overseas. Given America’s puritanical past, they may have been uncomfortable introducing the bidet to neighbors, afraid they might have to explain exactly where...
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Is a home warranty for you?

Posted by at 3:46 pm

Spend any amount of time watching television, and you’re likely to encounter a barrage of advertisements for home warranties. Well-written and engaging, the ads play on consumers’ well-founded fears of suddenly being faced with a major repair bill on an appliance or vital home system. Right after purchasing a home, a nominal monthly fee in exchange for peace of mind can be very enticing. Maybe you even know someone who saved plenty when their home warranty covered multiple breakdowns. Trouble is, home warranties often don’t deliver what’s expected. These “service contracts” cost $350 to $500 in premiums a year, but unlike insurance policies, don’t cover losses from theft, or catastrophes like floods or fires. The basic package usually covers breakdown of your plumbing, most kitchen appliances, water heater, heating and electrical components, sump pump and fans. Optional coverage is available...
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Escalating the situation

Posted by at 11:58 pm

In the increasingly vigorous – and competitive – real estate market, motivated homebuyers may want to consider an “automated” method for making bids on a property of particular interest. You can often match or beat offers that come in later than your own by including an “escalation clause.” Here’s how it works: Say you put in an offer of $260,000, and someone comes along later and offers $265,000. Your escalation clause might come with instructions to match it, or to offer $5,000 more than the highest offer, so your offer automatically goes up to $270,000. The escalation clause can also include a “cutoff” or a maximum amount you are willing to pay – say $275,000. If someone comes along and bids $280,000, you’re not going that high. In situations where a property is likely to see multiple offers and even...
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E-cycle to recycle your tech waste

Posted by at 3:17 pm

According to the Consumer Technology Association, the average American household owns 24 consumer electronics products at any given time. Replaced for upgrades on a regular basis, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warns these products are also the fastest-growing component filling our nation’s landfills. And it’s like throwing away a gold mine. Seriously. Products like computers, TVs and cell phones contain precious metals like silver and gold, rare earth elements and other valuable materials like aluminum, copper and steel that could be extracted and reused. Cellphones by themselves represent a mountain of wasted resources. Only about 10 percent of discarded cell phones are actually recycled out of millions replaced each year. For every one million phones thrown away, 75 pounds of gold, 772 pounds of silver, 33 pounds of palladium and more than 35,000 pounds of copper goes in the trash...
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