The Pros and Cons of Paying Your Mortgage off Biweekly Versus Monthly

If you have a mortgage, you’re probably looking for the best option to pay it off. So is a biweekly payment or monthly payment the better option for you? Which payment strategy best fits your individual circumstances? Here’s what you need to know.

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The Pros and Cons of Paying Your Mortgage off Biweekly Versus MonthlyIf you have a mortgage, you’re probably looking for the best option to pay it off. Monthly mortgage payments are an easy-to-manage way to pay for your house – in fact, they’re the most common form of mortgage payment  but now, many homeowners are discovering that biweekly payments offer them better results.

So is a biweekly payment the better option for you? Which payment strategy best fits your individual circumstances? Here’s what you need to know.

Biweekly Payments: Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster and Save on Interest

Biweekly payments are becoming increasingly popular for a variety of reasons. With a biweekly payment, you’ll pay less money in total interest payments over the course of the whole mortgage, and you’ll pay your mortgage off faster. Biweekly payments also make it easier to budget for your mortgage because they coincide with your paycheck, and the biweekly payment system forces you to make extra payments toward your principal.

That said, biweekly payments also have some disadvantages. If you’ve bought a home at the very top tier of what you can afford, you might not have the budget flexibility for extra payments. Your lender may also force you to pay a $300 setup fee or a processing fee for each payment.

Monthly Payments: Easier to Afford for Large Homes

Paying your mortgage off on a monthly basis has long been the standard, for a variety of reasons – for instance, most homeowners are typically more comfortable with monthly payments as they were the norm during the owner’s years as a renter. It may also be easier to manage monthly payments if you work as an independent contractor and don’t always get paid every two weeks.

Monthly mortgage payments are more affordable for owners of larger homes, which typically come with larger mortgages. A monthly payment schedule also means you make one less payment per year, and for those on a strict budget, this can help to make the daily necessities of life more affordable.

Monthly mortgage payments were once the expected norm, but now, a lot of homeowners are choosing to make biweekly payments in order to pay off their mortgages faster and better budget their money. Monthly payments still remain popular, though, for a variety of reasons.

So which one is better for you? A qualified mortgage advisor can help you determine your best course of action. Call your local mortgage professional to learn more about your mortgage payment options.

Worried About Mortgage Rates Going Up? 3 Steps to Prepare Yourself Financially

Mortgage rates have been at record lows for quite some time, making it easy for new homebuyers to finance their dream homes. But what comes down will eventually go back up, and with the world economy expected to rebound in 2016, we’re about to start seeing more expensive mortgages. So what can you do to prepare yourself before mortgage rates start to rise? Here are three strategies that will keep you ahead of the game.

Worried About Mortgage Rates Going Up? 3 Steps to Prepare Yourself FinanciallyMortgage rates have been at record lows for quite some time, making it easy for new homebuyers to finance their dream homes. But what comes down will eventually go back up, and with the world economy expected to rebound in 2016, we’re about to start seeing more expensive mortgages.

So what can you do to prepare yourself before mortgage rates start to rise? Here are three strategies that will keep you ahead of the game.

Start Saving More Money Now

If you have a variable rate mortgage, you’ve benefitted from great interest rates that this world won’t see again for quite some time. Hopefully, you’ve taken advantage of this low-interest period to save up some cash. If so, you’re going to be in a great position for when interest rates rise – and if not, you’ll want to start saving as much as you can now to ensure you can weather the storm.

It’s far easier to save money now, with interest rates low, than it will be when your mortgage payment starts to rise. So start squirreling away as much of your paycheck as you can.

Pay Down as Much of Your Principal as Possible

Another great way to prepare for the rise in interest rates is to pay down your principal amount. The total amount of interest you’ll pay goes up when rates go up, but by paying down your principal, you can take a big bite out of your debt before it has a chance to snowball. So pay down as much of your principal as you can afford – it’s easier to pay down interest on a smaller principal amount.

Switch to a Fixed Rate Mortgage

One of the best ways to take advantage of low rates and ensure you get a great deal is to switch your floating rate mortgage to a fixed rate mortgage. Locking in your low interest rate with a fixed rate mortgage means you’ll pay less interest over the term of the loan, but it also means you’ll only have a set amount of time to pay your mortgage in full. If you’re in a position to predict when you can pay back your mortgage, you’ll save a lot of money by locking in your low rate.

Mortgage rates haven’t been this low in a long time, and likely won’t be this low again for many years to come. That’s why, if you’re a homeowner, you’ll want to do everything you can to prepare for higher interest rates before they get here. Contact your trusted mortgage advisor to learn more about how to manage interest rates and make sure you have the right mortgage for your situation.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 05, 2015

Last week’s economic reports included Pending Home Sales, Construction Spending and several reports on jobs and employment.

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week October 05 2015Last week’s economic reports included Pending Home Sales, Construction Spending and several reports on jobs and employment. The details:

Pending Home Sales Down as Home Prices Rise

Pending home sales dipped in August, which is consistent with the waning spring and summer peak sales period for homes. Pending home sales were down by -1.40 percent as compared to July’s gain of 0.50 percent. Pending home sales indicate future closings and mortgage loan volume.

Home prices rose in July according to the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which reported that home prices for the 20-City Home Price Index rose from June’s reading of 4.90 percent in June to 5.00 in July. Higher home prices contribute to falling home sales as fewer buyers can afford to enter the market.

Construction spending increased in August to a reading of 0.70 percent as compared to expectations of 0.60 percent growth and July’s reading of 0.40 percent growth. Builder confidence readings suggest how builders view housing market conditions and can ultimately impact housing supplies and markets.

Mortgage Rates Tick Downward

Freddie Mac reported that the average mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was one basis point lower at 3.85 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was also one basis point lower at 3.07 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was unchanged at an average rate of 2.91 percent. Average discount points were mixed at 0.70, 0.60 and 0.50 percent respectively.

New Jobless Claims Rise; Unemployment Rate Holds Steady

New unemployment claims increased to 277,000 against expectations of 271,000 new jobless claims and the prior week’s reading of 267,000 new jobless claims. The national unemployment rate held steady at 5.10 percent, which supports analysts’ preference for using monthly data as opposed to volatile weekly readings for identifying and tracking economic trends.

ADP Payrolls reported 200,000 private sector jobs added in September as compared to August’s reading of 186,000 new private sector jobs added. The Commerce Department reported that Non-farm Payrolls grew by 142,000 jobs in September as compared to expectations of 200,000 new jobs and August’s reading of 136,000 jobs added.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include release the minutes of the recent FOMC meeting along with weekly releases of new jobless claims data and Freddie Mac’s mortgage rates.

DIY Home Upgrades: 5 Reasons Why Hardwood Flooring Should Be on Your Renovation List

Whether you’re planning on selling your home soon or you want to do a few minor renovations for your own enjoyment, an ailing hardwood floor may be on your list of things to tackle. Here are five reasons you may want to move it to the top of your renovation list.

DIY Home Upgrades: 5 Reasons Why Hardwood Flooring Should Be on Your Reno ListWhether you’re planning on selling your home soon or you want to do a few minor renovations for your own enjoyment, an ailing hardwood floor may be on your list of things to tackle. While this can be a more difficult renovation to complete than many other household items, here are five reasons you may want to move it to the top of the list.

An Issue with Structure

If there happens to be any glaring structural issues with your hardwood, a complete do-over will be a necessity if you want to sell your house in the future. While this will likely involve fixing the sub-floor under your hardwood, this will dramatically improve the overall health of your home.

Experiencing a Lot of Movement?

A lot of movement in your hardwood floor can be a sign that it’s time for a fix up. If you’re already planning on refinishing your floor for an instantly improved look, this fix-up will need to happen before you can take that necessary next step!

Worn-Out or Over-Sanded Wood

Whether your boards are worn down in spots from excessive use or sanding, this is an issue that will instantly age the look of your living space. If you’re noticing the boards coming apart at the ends or nails jutting out, it’s definitely time for an overhaul.

Upping a Home’s Market Value

There may be a few things a homebuyer will be willing to fix in a new home, but flooring is unlikely to be something they will want to replace right off the bat. By upgrading this before it’s an issue, you can easily make your home a lot more attractive to potential buyers and increase the value of your home.

It’s an Instant Facelift

There are few things that will be as apparent as the look of the floor when entering a room, so having dull, scratched hardwood will instantly downgrade the appearance of your living space. If more than expected wear and tear has occurred, an updated floor can completely shift the look of your place!

If you’re planning on improving your home and tackling a home renovation soon and are not sure where to begin, you may want to assess the quality of life left in your flooring. As this will have a marked impact on the way your home appears, fixing your floors can help to improve the market value of your home. If you’re wondering about other renovation upgrades consider contacting your local mortgage professional for more information about a home refinance loan and what will add the most value for your investment.

Understanding the Jumbo Mortgage and Why Refinancing These Mortgages is Different

So what exactly is a jumbo mortgage? How is it different from a standard mortgage, and what does that mean for your refinancing options? Here’s what you need to know.

Understanding the Jumbo Mortgage and Why Refinancing These Mortgages is DifferentIt seems like everything is getting jumbo sized these days. Jumbo sized soft drinks. Jumbo sized fast food meals. Jumbo sized smartphones. But one thing that nobody thought would get jumbo sized? Is mortgages.

So what exactly is a jumbo mortgage? How is it different from a standard mortgage, and what does that mean for your refinancing options? Here’s what you need to know.

Jumbo Mortgages: Larger Sums For Enterprises And Wealthy Buyers

As the name implies, the main factor that sets jumbo mortgages apart from standard mortgages is the loan limit. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac impose mortgage limits all around the country, limits that vary depending on the cost of living in each individual state. But in situations involving highly valuable real estate – like luxury properties and commercial real estate – standard mortgages simply don’t give buyers the freedom they need.

Jumbo mortgages are also common in areas with high costs of living, where real estate frequently surpasses the standard loan limit in high-cost areas.

How Do You Qualify For A Jumbo Mortgage?

As would be expected when higher sums of money are involved, the eligibility requirements for a jumbo mortgage are much stricter than for a traditional mortgage. Jumbo mortgages aren’t subject to private insurance, which typically means a down payment on a jumbo mortgage will be significantly larger compared to a standard mortgage. That also means people applying for jumbo mortgages must demonstrate to lenders that they have the income and wealth to pay the debt.

Jumbo mortgages also require a higher credit score. While most buyers can get a mortgage with a decent interest rate if their credit score is 660 or higher, buyers applying for a jumbo mortgage need a credit score of at least 700 to even be considered by most lenders.

Jumbo mortgage lenders can require borrowers to have at least 6 months worth of payments set aside in a bank account at the time of closing, while the requirement is typically two months for most mortgages. If you want to qualify for a jumbo mortgage, you’ll also need to prove to your lender that your debt-to-income ratio is below 45 percent.

Larger Sums Make Refinancing More Complicated

When trying to refinance a jumbo mortgage, you’ll face tighter restrictions compared to a standard mortgage. You’ll need to have a significant amount of equity in your home before you’ll be considered for refinancing. And if you’re planning to roll your HELOC debt into the refinancing plan, you’ll have to ensure that you haven’t made any deductions against your home equity for the past 12 months.

Some lenders may also have other special requirements when refinancing a jumbo mortgage. For instance, if you’ve owned your home for less than a year, you might have to opt for a Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae loan – and regardless of what fair market value is for your property at the time you file for the mortgage, it will usualy be assessed at its original purchase price if you’ve owned it for less than a year.

Jumbo mortgages can be a great way to buy a luxury home or commercial investment property. But in order to be issued a jumbo mortgage, you’ll need to meet a strict set of requirements.

If you’re considering a jumbo mortgage, a professional advisor can help you understand your options. Contact your trusted mortgage professional to learn more about refinancing options and how you can qualify for a jumbo mortgage.

Case-Shiller Housing Market Index: Home Prices Rise in July

U.S. home prices rose by 0.10 percent in July according to the S&P Case-Shiller Housing Market Index. San Francisco, California edged past Denver Colorado with a year-over-year price increase of 10.40 percent as compared to Denver’s reading of 10.30 percent. All year-over-readings for the 20-City Home Price Index posted gains, but Washington, D.C. showed the lowest year-over0-year growth rate at 1.70 percent. Chicago, Illinois and New York City followed closely with year-over-year readings of 1.80 percent and 1.90 percent respectively.

Case Shiller Housing Market Index Home Prices Rise in JulyU.S. home prices rose by 0.10 percent in July according to the S&P Case-Shiller Housing Market Index. San Francisco, California edged past Denver Colorado with a year-over-year price increase of 10.40 percent as compared to Denver’s reading of 10.30 percent. All year-over-readings for the 20-City Home Price Index posted gains, but Washington, D.C. showed the lowest year-over0-year growth rate at 1.70 percent. Chicago, Illinois and New York City followed closely with year-over-year readings of 1.80 percent and 1.90 percent respectively.

Seasonally-Adjusted Home Prices Fall

Although seasonally-adjusted home prices typically rise during the peak home selling season during spring and summer, July’s reports indicated that seasonally-adjusted home prices fell by 0.20 percent in July. Factors including tough mortgage approval requirements and low inventories of available homes likely contributed to slower growth in home prices as demand for homes fell.

Would-be home buyers may also have sat on the sidelines awaiting the Federal Reserve’s decision regarding raising rates. The Fed has not raised rates yet, but may do so in October. Mortgage rates are expected to rise when the Fed raises its target federal funds rate, which is currently set at 0.00 to 0.25percent.

Western Cities Lead Home Price Growth

Case-Shiller reported that as of July, the West continues to see the highest rates of home price growth. Over the past 12 months, only San Francisco and Denver have shown double-digit growth in home prices. Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, California have shown the strongest increases in home prices since 2000.

Home prices for cities included in the 20-City Index have risen 35.70 percent since home prices hit their post -recession low in 2012, but remain 13 percent below the housing bubble’s peak prices. All cities in the 20-City Index posted price gains year-over-year as of July and 14 cities posted higher price gains than for the comparable period ending in July 2014.

Trend: Modest Home Price Growth Continues

The Federal Housing Finance Agency recently posted a year-over-year gain of 5.80 percent for home prices associated with mortgages owned or backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This news further supports the trend of moderate gains in U.S home prices; moderate growth in home prices could encourage more moderate-income and first-time home buyers to buy homes, particularly in advance of the anticipated increasein mortgage rates when the Federal Reserve raises interest rates.

FICO Scores 101: How to Shop for a New Mortgage Without Harming Your Credit Score

It’s difficult to begin shopping around for a new mortgage without the facts on how this can affect your FICO score. Thankfully, not all credit checks are created equal and they do not affect FICO scores in the same way.

FICO Scores 101: How to Shop for a New Mortgage Without Harming Your Credit ScoreIt’s difficult to begin shopping around for a new mortgage without the facts on how this can affect your FICO score.

Anybody who is holding off for fear that their credit score will be ruined by multiple credit checks has nothing to worry about. Mortgage brokers require this information to give an accurate quote, so many credit checks by different companies will have a miniscule effect on credit scores.

The system has been designed this way because a mortgage is not considered to be ‘bad debt’ by lenders and consumers should have the right to shop around without fear of their credit being destroyed by it.

Understanding The ‘Tiers’ Of Credit Checks

FICO scores are affected each time a credit inquiry is requested to check a borrower’s credit report. This makes sense, as every time somebody searches for new credit they increase their ability to acquire significant debt.

Thankfully, not all credit checks are created equal and they do not affect FICO scores in the same way. A mortgage loan is not considered remotely close to store credit cards, which allow a person to get into more debt. Debts on mortgages only get lower as time goes on, ranking them very low on the list of things lenders consider bad credit.

The One Thing To Know Before Shopping For A New Mortgage

Every time a credit card company or consumer loan company pulls a credit check, the borrower’s FICO score will fall, but this will not happen when multiple mortgage lenders pull the same person’s credit score.

This is because each credit card has the chance to accumulate debt, whereas only one mortgage will be taken out. So once a mortgage lender pulls your credit score, you will only receive one ‘ding’ even if other lenders pull your score afterwards.

Here is the important part: there is only a 14-day window from the first credit check where all other credit inquiries will be ignored. So it is imperative to plan ahead and shop around within a two week period to limit the impact on your FICO score.

Shopping around when looking for a new mortgage is a necessary step to getting the best possible deal, and thankfully the system is designed around not punishing people for doing this. It can be very intimidating to do alone and working with a professional mortgage specialist can relieve stress and get you the best deal on your new mortgage.

If you have any questions please contact your trusted mortgage professional for advice on the right steps to getting your new mortgage.