Stephanie A. Rizzuto

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When thinking of retiring and using real estate to help aid that retirement, many people believe their options are to pay off their house, or to even borrow against their home equity if they need money. However, an even better option is to invest in real estate in order to build your retirement income. If you purchase an investment property now, you can use the rental income to help pay the mortgage. Depending on how old you currently are, and what mortgage term you choose, it’s best to select one that would help you to pay the loan in full by the time you want to retire. If the mortgage is paid in full, you then have the choice of keeping the property and continuing to receive the net rental income, or you can sell your mortgage-free property and keep the earnings. Rather than try risky investments, or even house flipping, a rental income retirement strategy allows you a steady and secure income. You’re generating cash flow every month with the rent your tenants pay, and often your return on investment for rental income is in the 5-10% range, depending on the investment. There are also many other advantages for investing in real estate and using it towards your retirement income. When investing, it’s always smarter and safer to have a diverse portfolio. Instead of just relying on stocks, real estate is a great alternative source of income. Appreciation is also key in real estate investing, as long-term rental properties tend to appreciate over time. Also, if you plan on keeping the property long-term, rent prices have shown that they generally rise over time alongside inflation. You can also benefit from many tax advantages. Real estate ...

The fall market is currently playing in favor to buyers, as the sell-off in the stock market has rates going lower than what we saw in September. At the end of September, the average rate on the more-common 30-year fixed mortgage was at 3.7%, but we then saw a drop to 3.62% by the first week of October, according to the Mortgage News Daily . In a larger scheme, rates are also about 1.25% lower than they were at this time last year. In order to give you a perspective on savings, that means the average borrower taking out at $300,000 mortgage is saving about $225 on their monthly payment, or $2,700 per year, or $81,000 over the life of the mortgage. What does that all mean for buyers? More buying power! Not only has the lower interest rates improved a buyer’s affordability, but compared to last year, the market for new homes is greater as well. So, not only is there more inventory for a buyer to look at, but now they can possibly search at a higher price point. Many renters are finding this is a great time to stop throwing away their money each month, and to instead buy a home. Although home prices are still rising, the gains have been cooling, and it’s an important time to take advantage of the low rates.

In addition to the price of your home, closing costs are the extra fees and expenses you might have to pay during the closing process. This can range anywhere between 2-4% of the purchase price of the new home you are looking at. It is important to know this before you go out with a real estate agent on tours of different homes so you understand what you will be asked to bring to the table. You can prepare for these closing costs by simply setting up a meeting with the lender you choose and they will give you a run-down of how much you could be qualified to borrow based on all your financials. Another good idea would be to start putting away as much money as possible and as early as possible to prepare yourself for the down payment on the house and any other unexpected fees and expenses that may come up. Here are some of the most common closing costs you will probably run into during the closing process: Home Inspection: This is super important and a major component of the process since a home inspector will come and provide a detailed report of all the good and bad things in and around the home. When finding a home inspector, it is also crucial that the person you hire is one who is reliable and does not let things slide. They should be looking for foundation issues, any damaged pipes, any roof problems and other major issues that can cause problems in the future.   Attorney Fees: Getting an attorney to help with closing the deal is NOT mandatory, but is suggested during the process. If you do choose to get one you should budget for their hourly rate.   Lender Fees: These fees include getting the house appraised, putting all the ...

7 Tips For Building Home Equity

Sep 17
9:51
AM
Category | Blog
Are you wondering how you can build home equity? Take a look at our 7 tips for doing so… When Home Prices Rise This is an easy one. When home prices climb, you’re obviously gaining more equity because your property will now be worth more money.   Reduce Your Mortgage Balance Every time you make a mortgage payment you’re gaining more home equity. Every month, as you pay it off, you’re also paying off some interest and principal, which helps as well.   Larger or Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payments The larger or more frequent payment you make each month will help you pay off your mortgage and gain home equity at a much faster rate. If you increase the amount you’re paying per month, a portion of that will go towards the principal and help you pay off the mortgage quicker. You also have the option of doing a bi-weekly mortgage payment plan, which includes making 26 half payments during the year. In return, it shaves down your mortgage term, helps you to save interest, and builds you home equity faster.   Shorter Mortgage Term Maybe you started with a 30-year-fixed mortgage, but now feel like you can pay off your home at a faster rate. If so, you have the option of refinancing into a shorter-term mortgage with a lower mortgage rate like a 15-year-fixed. It will in fact increase your payment amount, but you can build your equity much faster.   Don’t Refinance This one goes against the last one, but if you don’t have to refinance or pull any cash out at all, this obviously helps you keep equity in your home.   Maintain & Keep Up with Your Home & ...

A good credit score is crucial during the mortgage process, as it usually helps you to get better interest rates and terms, as well as lower fees on your home mortgage loan. Another reason a solid credit score is important is because it’s a direct reflection of your ability to pay, and it informs the lender if there is any possible risk when lending to you. Curious how your credit score is determined? The credit bureaus determine your credit score based on five different factors. These factors include… Payment History – Are you making your payments on time, or do you have late/missed payments? Length of Credit – How long have you had your accounts and how often are you using them? Amount Owed – How many total accounts do you have, and how much do you owe on each one? New Credit – Have you opened any new accounts recently? Types of Credit – Do you have any debt? This could include credit cards, student loans, auto loans, and more. So, are there any consequences to closing a credit card? The answer is YES . If you close a credit card account, you lose the payment history from it that shows lenders your ability to pay. If you make your payments on time, and that history is a positive thing, you’ve now taken that away from lenders to look at, which can impact your overall credit score. So, how do you keep that account history? Try to avoid closing a credit card, and instead, just stop using it. That way, you can keep the credit history intact, plus you still have the card available to you should you need it for any emergencies. If you truly feel like you need to close an ...

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