Frank DiGiorgio's Blog
You can ask any homeowner-buying and owning a home is expensive. Mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, and other bills quickly add up.
If you want to buy a home but don’t have a large down payment saved, odds are you’ve discovered something called private mortgage insurance (PMI).
PMI is an extra monthly payment that you make (on top of your mortgage payment) when you don’t have enough to make a large (20%) down payment on your home.
However, if you want to buy a home and don’t want to tack on an extra monthly payment for PMI, you have options. In today’s post, I’m going to talk about some ways to avoid paying PMI on your mortgage so you can save more money in the long run.
Before we talk about getting rid of PMI, let’s spend a minute on what to expect when you do have to pay it.
PMI typically costs 0.30% to %1.15% of your total loan balance annually. That means that your PMI payments will decrease a moderate amount as you pay off your loan.
Furthermore, once you have paid off 22% of your loan, your PMI will be cancelled and you’ll only be responsible for your regular monthly mortgage payments.
Getting PMI waived early
With conventional loans, you can request to have your PMI cancelled once you’ve paid off 20% of the mortgage. However, many buyers with PMI are using some form of first-time buyer loan, such as an FHA loan.
With an FHA loan, you’ll be stuck with PMI for the lifetime of the loan if you don’t make a down payment of 10% or more. That’s a lot of PMI payments, especially if you take out a 30 year loan, and it can quickly add up.
If you have an FHA loan with FHA insurance, the only way to cancel the insurance is to refinance into a non-FHA insured loan. And remember--refinancing has its own costs and complications.
Making it to the 20% repayment mark
On conventional loans, the best way to get rid of PMI is to reach your 20% repayment mark as soon as possible. That could mean aggressively paying off your mortgage until you reach that point.
This can be achieved by making extra payments, or just paying more each month. However, you don’t want to neglect other debt that could be accruing costly interest in favor of paying off your loans. Make sure you do the math and find out which debt will be more expensive before neglecting other debt.
Once you do reach the 20% repayment mark, you’ll have to remember to apply to have your PMI canceled with your lender. Otherwise, it will be canceled automatically at 22%.
Trying to choose colors for the inside and outside of your home can be awfully tricky. Finding which shades mix in order to decorate your rooms can seem dizzying. With a little confidence and some knowledge, you’ll be able to find colors that you’ll love for a long time to come. Here’s some tips to help you find the right mix for your home’s color scheme.
Look For Inspiration
Whether you’re in your friend’s living room and see a color combo that you really love, or are looking in a magazine and see something unique, make note of it for your own uses.
Find Colors That You Can Live With
While bright green and orange may look cool together, can you really live with these hues in a room? Discover what colors make you feel a certain way. If the room is meant to make you feel calm and collected, you’ll want to find colors that are soothing to you and your soul. If the room is meant to be more energizing, you’ll want to pick a more vibrant, energetic color. Keep in mind that the color in a room affects the mood of the room.
Get Plenty Of Samples
From sample color swatches to small cans of paint samples, there’s plenty of resources at your local hardware store to get you started on finding the perfect colors for a room. Be sure to hold the swatches up in different lighting and see how they look in the space by going around the room from wall to wall. This will help you to see how the color will look once it’s actually painted on the walls in different lighting.
The next question that you’ll have once you get your paint up is what kind of colors will go well in this room. It’s good to have a few ideas in mind. If you already own a sofa, for example, start by working with that color. If the sofa is brown, for example, you may not want brown walls as well. Work with what you have first. If you’re buying new furniture and accessories, you may want to work with what you’re hoping to put in the room. The task of choosing colors for the interior of your home involves thinking about both design and function.
Nature Has Some Answers For You
If you really love the beach, think of the colors that are present there. There’s tan colored sand along with blue skies, blue water, and touches of green from seagrass, trees, and other plants. Nature’s color palette is quite extensive and the good news is that all of the landscapes match! It you look around in nature, you can get a great idea for the beginnings of a fantastic color scheme for any room in your home.
Entering the real estate market and buying your dream home may seem simple at first. However, problems may arise that make it tough to secure your ideal house at a price that matches your budget.
When it comes to finding the right home at the right price, it helps to prepare. Fortunately, we're here to help you get ready to enter the housing market and ensure you can quickly and effortlessly discover your dream residence.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to simplify the homebuying process.
1. Create Homebuying Criteria
Purchasing a house is rarely easy, particularly for a property buyer who has no idea how to kick off a home search. But if you establish homebuying criteria, you can speed up the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.
Allocating time and resources to create homebuying criteria is essential because it forces you to consider where you want to live and what amenities you want to find in your dream residence. Plus, once you have homebuying criteria at your disposal, you can start your home search and move one step closer to acquiring your ideal residence.
2. Obtain Home Financing
Home financing is paramount, particularly for property buyers who want to avoid the risk of spending too much to purchase a house. Thankfully, banks and credit unions can teach you about a variety of mortgage options and help you secure the financing you need to buy a home.
Typically, a lender will meet with you and outline your mortgage options. It also will explain the differences between fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages and respond to any of your mortgage concerns and questions. Then, after you review your mortgage options, a lender will help you make an informed home financing decision.
Don't wait to get home financing, either. If you have home financing in hand when you launch a home search, you may be better equipped than other buyers to quickly submit an offer to purchase a home.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
For those who want to avoid challenges throughout the homebuying journey, it generally is a good idea to collaborate with a real estate agent. In fact, a real estate agent will do everything possible to help you identify and resolve homebuying problems before they escalate.
A real estate agent is a housing market expert and is happy to assist you as you proceed along the homebuying journey. If you are interested in houses in specific cities and towns, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about residences that become available in these areas. Or, if you want to submit an offer to purchase a house, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive homebuying proposal. Best of all, if you have homebuying concerns, a real estate agent will address them right away.
Ultimately, buying a house can be easy. Use the aforementioned tips, and you can streamline the homebuying cycle.
For those who plan to list a condo, it helps to prepare as much as possible. By doing so, you can limit the risk of potential condo selling hurdles, as well as find ways to optimize the value of your property.
Ultimately, there are many factors to consider prior to listing a condo, and these include:
1. Your Condo's Condition
No two condos are exactly alike. As such, it may be beneficial to upgrade your condo before you list it. Because if you perform assorted property upgrades, you may be able to differentiate your property from the competition.
Performing a condo inspection often proves to be a good idea, particularly for a condo seller who is uncertain about the current condition of his or her property. During an inspection, a property expert will examine your condo and identify any structural problems. Then, you can use the inspection results to establish condo improvement priorities.
2. Your Price
What your condo was worth when you initially bought it is unlikely to match what your property is worth today. Fortunately, if you conduct a condo appraisal, you can find out the present value of your condo and price your property accordingly.
After you perform a condo appraisal, you'll receive an appraisal report that includes a property valuation. Next, you can establish a competitive price for your condo, one that increases the likelihood that your property will stir up lots of interest from dozens of potential buyers.
Of course, it helps to consider your condo fees when you set the price for your property too. Include details about any homeowner's association fees when you list your condo. That way, you can help condo buyers make an informed decision about whether your property is the right choice.
3. Your Timeline
You know that you want to sell your condo, but how quickly are you looking to vacate your property? With a timeline in place, you may be better equipped than ever before to enjoy a fast, seamless condo selling experience.
If you want to sell your condo without delay, you may want to set an aggressive initial asking price. On the other hand, if you can afford to be patient, you may want to wait until you receive a competitive offer before you finalize a condo sale.
When it comes to selling a condo on a timeline, it helps to hire a real estate agent as well. In fact, employing a real estate agent who possesses condo selling experience can make a world of difference for any condo seller, at any time.
A real estate agent who understands the ins and outs of selling a condo can help you get your property ready for the real estate market. Furthermore, this real estate agent will make it easy to establish a competitive initial asking price for your condo and ensure that you can sell your property on a timeline.
Want to list your condo? Consider the aforementioned factors, and you can prepare to add your condo to the real estate market.
Magazine styled homes are gorgeous but they’re not quite practical. Especially when you’ve got little ones running about. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still have a stylish home. I’ve got a few tricks for you to today to integrate kid-friendly decor with a grown up touch.
When house shopping keep those with open floor plans at the top of your list. Open floor plans help your family to stay social and connected with each other. It’s also a whole lot easier to keep your eye on your little ones in the living room while you’re making dinner. Additionally, an eat-in kitchen creates a welcoming atmosphere for older kids to hang out around after school while eating snacks or working on homework.
When it comes to furnishing your new home opt for furniture that doubles as storage to tuck away toys. This helps to keep a tidy home while maintaining a welcoming room for children to pull out a few toys and spend time with the family. If you choose to have wall to wall carpeting be sure to choose one designed to withstand heavy traffic. Alternatively, for a statement rug using an outdoor carpet inside adds visual interest and makes for easy cleaning.
Furnishings in heavy duty fabrics like microfiber, acrylics or distressed leather can withstand messes and frequent cleaning. For existing furniture, slip covers are another way to protect sofas while being able to easily wash messes from kiddos and pets. Round shaped tables eliminate sharp corners and the bumps and bruises they create.
It may be tempting to choose dark colors to hide inevitable messes and stains however it’s best to opt for mid-tone colors to keep a bright, welcoming room. Add pops of color with pillow covers in lighter colors. Pillow covers are ideal since not only can they easily be swapped out to give a room a fresh new look but they can also easily be cleaned by throwing them in the wash.
Install shelves that allow books to be propped up with their covers viewable. Children will be more likely to grab them to read and they will also double as an evolving art display in your home. Another great way to add child-friendly art is to frame the paintings and drawings your children bring home. You’ll have a unique one of a kind piece to rival Pollock and Rothko.
A guest bedroom with one or two bunk beds will make your home the sleepover favorite among your child’s friends. You’ll maximize space and provide a much more comfortable sleeping space than a sleeping bag on the floor. Storing snacks in baskets and see through jars out in the open makes it easy for kids to grab and go throughout the day. You’ll have peace of mind visitors aren’t going hungry while creating a welcoming, homey space for all.
When decorating most put their own taste and style first. However, when raising a family the difference between a house and a home is that everyone living under its roof feels at comfortable in its space. Creating a family friendly home doesn’t mean sacrificing style but it does mean a few tweaks that bring everyone closer together.