When delving into the world of real estate and investment property, there are many terms that will come up that require further explanation. Whether you’ve never heard the phrase ‘home equity’ before or you have a little familiarity, here are the ins and out of what it means and how this asset can help your financial outlook.
All About Home Equity
Essentially, home equity refers to your portion of the value of your home, and the amount of this figure is important because it is included among your assets when determining your net worth. If this sounds confusing, think of it this way: if you have completely paid off the cost of your home, the value of your home equity is this total amount. Of course, because most people seek a lender to borrow money from when they purchase a home, their home equity would consist of their down payment and whatever amount they’ve paid down on the mortgage since purchase.
An Example Of Home Equity
To provide further clarification, let’s use the example of a house that has been purchased for $300,000. In the case that a down payment of 20% has been provided at the time of purchase, the equity in the home would be $60,000. Since this amount is the percentage and cost of the house that’s been paid down, this is the amount of the house that is actually owned and this will be figured among an individual’s assets.
How Home Equity Works
As you pay the amount that you owe on your home each month, you are paying off your total debt and thereby increasing your equity. Since this amount of money is considered an asset that belongs to you, it can be used down the road to buy another home or invest in other important things like education or retirement. While paying off the amount owed on a home is a considerable investment, if the value of your home increases, this means that you’ll still owe the same on it but your home equity will have automatically increased.
As an asset that is part of your financial net worth and can be used down the road to fund other investments, home equity is a very useful term to know when it comes to purchasing a home. If you’re on the market for a home and are considering your options, you may want to contact one of our local real estate professionals for more information.
If you’re worried about your bad credit, you’ll want to do everything in your power to improve your rating as quickly as possible – especially if you have a major purchase coming up. Improving your credit rating can give you access to better interest rates on mortgages or even help you to get that job you’re after.
IMPORTANT! If you are currently involved in a home loan transaction, speak with your trusted real estate advisor before taking any action regarding your credit!
So how can you boost your FICO score quickly and easily? Here’s what you need to know.
Get Your Credit Report And Dispute Any Errors
Credit reporting agencies don’t always keep 100% perfect records, and there’s a good chance that your credit report contains at least one error. One recent FTC study found that 25% of consumers have an error on their credit report, and that in 5% of cases, the errors were actually severe enough to impact the loan terms that borrowers were able to negotiate.
You can get your annual credit report from all three credit reporting agencies for free. Carefully read over it. If you see any errors – if your name is misspelled, if they have the wrong address on file, or if there are late or unpaid charges that you didn’t make – you can dispute the items in question.
Still Overdue? Negotiate Payment Terms With Your Creditors
If you’re overdue on a payment, it will weigh heavily on your credit score. As your payment history makes up a full 35% of your FICO score, this is one area where you’ll want to invest a great deal of time and effort.
Contact any creditors you owe money to and ask if you can negotiate your bill. The ideal outcome for you is to have the creditor report your debt as paid in full, so see if you can secure that promise in writing in exchange for an accelerated payment schedule.
Try Maintaining A Lower Utilization Ratio
Your utilization ratio refers to the amount of credit you use at any given time. If this number goes beyond 30 percent, you’ll start to see your credit score drop. Ideally, you should aim for a utilization ratio below 10 percent – this will prove to your lender that you can responsibly pay for the credit you use.
Have Recurring Bills? Automate Your Payments
Automating your monthly payments can be a great way to boost your credit score. Whether it’s your mortgage, your credit card, or your student loan, a pre-authorized monthly payment will ensure that everything gets paid on time and give you a great credit history.
Your FICO score is a number that will determine your eligibility for mortgages and other loans. These are general tips to help with your credit score and improve the overall reporting of your credit.
Are you the type of person that struggles with remembering to pay their bills on time? You’re not alone. People across the country regularly submit late monthly payments, inflicting terrible damage to their credit. Let’s take a quick look at how paying your loan or other monthly payments late can have a negative impact on your mortgage.
Your Credit Score Is At Risk
As you already know, almost all banks, credit cards, mortgage companies and other lenders rely on your credit score to help assess the risk of lending money to you. Paying any of your payments late – even something as small as your mobile phone bill or a department store credit card – can result in negative marks showing up on your credit report. If you are late enough times or fail to repay the late payment in full, then your score will start to drop.
Refinancing Can Be Affected
If you already have a mortgage, then a lower credit score can be a problem when you try to refinance. The process of refinancing involves taking out a new mortgage, in which your lender will reassess your risk using your credit score as one of the indicators. If you have been making late payments, you might end up having to settle for a higher interest rate or you may even be declined for the new mortgage.
Making A Late Payment? Contact Your Lender
If you are caught in a bind and have to make a late payment, it is best to get a call in to your lender as soon as possible. First, there may be a grace period in which you can be a few days late without any penalty. If that little bit of breathing room is all you need to get caught up, you’re set. If not, you can let them know your circumstances and discuss what options you have.
It is essential to pay your monthly payments on time, even if it means making some small sacrifices in other areas. The better your credit score looks, the more opportunities you will have to make positive financial moves in the future. To learn more about monthly mortgage payments or to take out a mortgage on a new home, contact us today. Our team of mortgage professionals is here to help you find a mortgage to buy the home of your dreams.
Do you have an empty basement or separated suite in your home? If you have a suite sitting empty, you are missing out on collecting some extra monthly income in the form of rent. Let’s take a look at a quick four-step process that will help you find the perfect tenant to rent out your basement suite.
Step 1: Play By The Rules
Is this your first time renting out a home or suite to a tenant? If so, you will want to do a bit of research first. Read up on Fair Housing Rules and other regulations as these will inform you of your responsibilities as a landlord. Keep in mind that you cannot discriminate in any way when it comes to race, religion, gender, family status or disability. Anyone who applies must be given a fair chance.
Step 2: Be Specific In Your Advertising
When you place a rental listing, be as specific as possible in what you are looking for in a tenant. If you are a single, quiet person, you may want someone similar as you will be compatible. Conversely, if you are a young couple, you may clash with a retired senior or someone older. Be as specific as possible but remember that you cannot be discriminatory.
Step 3: Meet Potential Tenants In Person
Be sure to take the time to meet with every short-listed applicant in person. If you are not comfortable with having so many strangers over to your home, consider meeting at a local coffee shop. An in-person meeting will allow you to visually assess the person and determine if your personalities are a fit for living in the same home.
Step 4: Don’t Skip The Checks
Finally, don’t take any shortcuts when performing background, credit and other checks. Ask your tenant for at least one or two references that you can call to verify their rental history. Investing in a credit check will help to assess their risk of missing monthly rent payments. And if necessary, a criminal records check can let you know if they have been in trouble with the law.
As long as you are well-prepared and diligent, finding a suitable tenant for your basement suite can be a painless process. To learn more about mortgage products are perfect for rentals, contact us today. Our mortgage team will be happy to help you!
Last week, consumers were treated to several indicators on inflation that not only paint a picture of the economy’s health but also give the Fed more information to work with as it continues to aim for a soft landing.
August Sees a Slight Upward Trend in Inflation
This week, the personal consumption expenditures price index, which excludes more volatile commodities like food and energy, increased 0.1 percent for the month. This is lower than the expected value of 0.2 percent, which indicates that the rising interest rates are starting to have an impact on the economy as the Fed continues to work to bring down inflation.
When compared to the previous 12 months, the price index was up 3.9 percent. This matched expectations and shows that inflation could finally be turning a corner. In addition, consumer spending rose 0.4 percent in August, which is down sharply from 0.9 percent in July. This is another indicator that higher interest rates are having an impact on consumers, who are finally pulling back on their spending.
As the month continues to progress, a lot of people will wait and see how the Fed’s decision to hold interest rates steady will impact the economy. Those looking for houses will probably be excited that interest rates were held steady, but it will be interesting to see how this decision impacts the fight against inflation.
Mortgage Rates Continue To Rise
This week, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate sits at around 7.59 percent on average, which remains one of the highest rates in decades. In August, the average rate was 7.18 percent, indicating that rates have gone up sharply. This is also up slightly from the previous week, where the average 30-year fixed rate was 7.51 percent.
In addition, 15-year fixed mortgage rates have gone up as well, with the national average sitting at around 6.82 percent. This is up from last week, when the average 15-year fixed was 6.51 percent. This is also up slightly from August, where the rates hovered around 5.84 percent.
Because the Federal Reserve decided to hold interest rates study, many home buyers are hoping that mortgage rates will stabilize for a couple of months. It remains to be seen if that will happen.
Consumer Sentiment Might Be Stabilizing
The consumer sentiment report from the University of Michigan is stabilizing, with numbers for September coming in at around 68.1. While this is a slight dip from August’s average numbers, the numbers for September are starting to rise.
Consumers might be starting to relax a little bit because inflationary numbers are starting to come down. For consumer sentiment to rise further, mortgage rates might have to come down without contributing to a spike in inflation or home prices.
This dip implies that despite the decreasing inflation rates, there remains a cloud of uncertainty amongst consumers. This could be attributed to potential interest rate hikes and a subtle slowing down of the job market. The prevailing mood is still optimistic, but the trend is shifting.
Looking To Next Week
Next week, the unemployment data is going to be released, as initial jobless numbers are going to come in. This is a key indicator because rising interest rates generally lead to more layoffs, which could jeopardize the Fed’s goal of a soft landing.