Saving money: Tips and Tricks that are almost too Easy

Saving money is hard, actually the only hard part is allowing time for your money-saving tips to take effect. Many money-saving tips and tricks are so simple and easy, you should not have a problem implementing them into your daily life. The problems arise when those tips are not followed regularly. The biggest, and best money-saving tip anyone can give is this, choose one or two money-saving methods that you are going to use, and make habits out of them. In other words, keep it up and keep it regular. Now here are those, ‘almost too easy’ saving money tips and tricks:

Use Cash When you Shop

Instead of pulling out your debit cards and credit cards when you go shopping for groceries, clothing, or anything else, use cash instead. Set aside a certain amount of money for everything you have to buy for the month/week. Why? Because it is harder to spend money when you have to physically count it out and hand it to someone. Swiping a piece of plastic is much easier, and makes it harder to save money. Use cash and save your money in the long run.

Donate to Savings Every Week

This is a very simple tip, but it can be hard to turn it into a habit. Simply donate a small amount (the same amount) to your savings account each week. Choose a day, at the beginning or the end of the week, and make it a part of your weekly routine to transfer $5, $10, $15, or more into your savings account. Make sure you donate the same amount each week, unless you donate more – never donate less.

Use a Piggy Bank

This may seem childish, but saving your pennies can add up over time. Even if you only save $10, you can put that amount in your savings that week, and then you have an extra $10 for fun. This is also an easy tip because you can simply empty your pockets every day into your at-home bank. It may not be a get-rich-quick solution, but it can help you to save money.

If you would like to learn more about ways you can save money, please contact us today.


What is happening to the Home Loans Market?

A 2013 survey (Belden and Russonello, America-in-2013-Final Report.PDF) showed that the demand for home ownership is very high, in spite of various difficulties experienced by the housing market. Most believe that home ownership is a good investment for them. Seventy percent of renters hope to buy homes within five years. Many people who own homes are looking for larger homes.

Demand for homes:

Qualifying for a home loan is part of the life cycle of Americans. The youngest generation (age 28 to 34) show the strongest preference for mixed use urban communities in the city. They want walkable communities and public transit. When people move into the 35 to 47 age group (the married and child-rearing phase), they begin to prefer to buy single-family homes. The older baby-boomer generation have diversified into a wide range of housing sizes and communities. They generally feel settled, except that some want to move into smaller homes with shorter transportation demand, close to parks and far from neighbors.

The need for home loans is a constant through all the varieties of location and need. According to the survey,

Living in a single-family house is…related…to their stage of in life. It is a goal that Americans move closer to as the age, marry, and earn more.”

Young adults in the millennial generation are heavily burdened by student loan debt.  A Wells-Fargo survey found that a majority of millennials (54 percent) describe debt as their biggest financial concern. Forty-two percent of millennials say their debt is “overwhelming.” Of the millennial generation 64 percent financed their education with student loans. This contrasts with baby boomers, of whom only 29 percent financed their education with loans, during a period when tuition costs and fees were much lower.

Millennials in the marketplace:

When millennials are ready to finance a home, what is the home finance market like for them? In 2013, 30 year-olds were as likely to be stuck in their childhood bedrooms as they were to own their own home. The job market was especially hard on millennials with unemployment rates at 14 percent for that group between 2007 and 2010. For many, saving and handling student debt were very hard.

With  the gradual recovery of the job market, the “household formation rates” (how many new household units–home buying units–are being formed) has reached close to normal levels. Normally this would signal a normalizing housing market. However, the people forming new households are disproportionally not millennials.

Surprisingly, even with improving conditions, the share of adults in the millennial age range living with their parents has continued to rise. The rate at which millennials get married or live with a partner has been decreasing for many years now, independent of the recession. Millennials, employed or not, are more likely than ever to live with parents and not form independent households. The increases in household formation is coming from older adults. Many feel that fewer households entering the home buying market is due to later marriages and not-good-enough jobs, as well as student debt.

Preparing Better Mortgages to Tempt Millennials:

The worry felt by many borrowers has to do in part with hidden costs of the mortgage. Over the last few years, the household lending industry has been borrowing the practice of Total Cost of Ownership from industrial management practice. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) was popularized for business in 1987. The Total cost analysis in mortgage lending enables lenders to explore what their resources can afford in a home mortgage. This analysis treats home ownership as a cost-benefit proposition.

Looking at all the factors that go into mortgage cost gives purchasers a sense of closure and allays fears of the unknown. As will any Total Cost of Ownership calculation, the total mortgage cost analysis begins looking at all the factors that go into the cost of the mortgage:

  • Mortgage attributes–for a fixed rate mortgage: loan amount, loan term, and interest rates. For a variable rate mortgage: periodic rate cap, lifetime rate cap, months between rate adjustment, etc..
  • Down payment–the larger the down payment, the smaller the total mortgage costs. Recent government regulations permit down payments of 1 percent. What would such a small down payment mean for total cost?
  • Discount points–upfront fees paid to the lender.
  • Other closing costs–a multitude of upfront expenses for inspections, legal and document fees, surveys, etc..
  • Private mortgage insurance–usually around $55 per month for every $100,000 borrowed, until the remaining principle falls below 80 percent of the home’s fair market value.
  • Income tax ramifications–some mortgage expenses may be tax-deductible.

Pacific Mortgage Group makes it easy and stress-free for you to find a mortgage option that truly fits your needs. Our mission is to match you with the best possible home loan package so you can achieve your financial goals. Please contact us to learn more.


What is a reverse mortgage? What are some of the pros and cons?

You’ve probably seen one of the many commercials on TV for a reverse mortgage, and you’re probably wondering if you should get one for yourself or, for your older loved one. In this short article, we’re going to talk about what exactly a reverse mortgage is, and what are some of the pros and cons of getting a reverse mortgage so you or your loved one can make an informed decision about getting one.

A reverse mortgage is sometimes called a home equity conversion mortgage (HECM). This type of loan doesn’t require the homeowner to make monthly mortgage payments (though they are still responsible for the property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and HOA fees if any),  but it allows the homeowner to access the equity they’ve built up in their home.

Here are some of the pros of a reverse home mortgage:

  • It allows people on a fixed income to remain in their homes until their death, without worrying about the financial burden of a mortgage.
  • The homeowner keeps their home, regardless of their financial straits.
  • The money can be disbursed in a variety of ways (such as a lump sum cash payment, or a monthly payment of funds).

Here are some of the cons of a reverse home mortgage:

  • The interest rate on a HECM is higher than on a traditional home equity loan.
  • When you die, your heirs are responsible for either paying off the balance of the reverse mortgage or selling the home in order to cover the balance.
  • If you haven’t lived in the home for a year or more, you may not qualify to get the reverse mortgage.

Contact us today to see if a reverse mortgage is right for you or your loved one.


When Does Cash-Out Refinancing Make Sense?

Cash-out refinancing is a good option for you if you want a lump sum of money financed at a relatively low-interest rate. You’ll probably qualify for this type of refinancing if you have already paid off a significant portion of your mortgage.

For instance, if you still owed $50,000 on a home that’s worth $150,000, you could ask the bank to refinance $70,000. They’d pay off the $50,000 left and give you a check for $20,000, then you’re responsible for paying off the $70,000 mortgage according to the terms. This is a great deal when you need money, but it isn’t the right move for everyone.

Lower Interest Rates

Cash-out financing makes sense if you can get lower interest rates. When you get a quote from the bank, compare this offer to the current rate on your mortgage as well as the rate you’d receive if you were to finance the extra money a different way, such as with credit cards or a home equity loan. If the rate is higher, though, you’ll end up paying more money in the end.

Lower Payments, Longer Term

When you refinance your mortgage, you can sometimes lower your monthly payment, which is a good move for those who are feeling a financial pinch. The lump sum you receive can pay off debt so that you only have to focus your efforts on the new mortgage. However, you’re also taking on a new 15- or 30-year mortgage. If you have 10 years or less on your original mortgage, the refinance isn’t worth it, since a larger percentage of your current payment is going toward the principal balance. Taking on a new mortgage is like starting over.

Other Things to Note

When you refinance your mortgage, you’ll have to pay closing costs. This can put a dent in the money you were hoping to receive. Home equity loans don’t have these charges. You should also pay attention to whether you’re getting a fixed or adjustable rate mortgage, as this affects how much your monthly payment is over time.

Preparing to Apply

Ultimately, cash-out refinancing makes sense for some people, while others might benefit from a home equity loan instead. A qualified loan adviser can take a look at your personal situation to help you decide which method is right for you. Gather up your financial documents like tax returns and pay stubs and contact us to speak with a loan adviser.


What is an Adjustable Rate Mortgage and What Are the Benefits?

If you’re trying to find a loan, especially to purchase real estate, you’ve probably heard of the adjustable rate mortgage. You may be wondering why it would be good for you, or maybe even what it is. Let’s answer a few of your questions here.

What is an adjustable rate mortgage?

An adjustable rate mortgage is actually almost as simple as it sounds. The bank will give you an initial interest rate for your loan, but as time goes on, this rate will probably change. Of course, it’s not just up to the banks to choose whatever mortgage rate they want. The rate will depend on one of several indexes, so the rate can go up or down. Most of these indexes are similar, so it doesn’t make much difference which one the bank chooses, but you should still find out which one your loan will follow and why the bank chose that one.

The benefits

Using an adjustable rate for your mortgage can be very helpful to you. For example, because the bank considers you to be taking the risk when you accept an adjustable rate loan, it will often give you a lower initial interest rate. An adjustable rate loan is great if you think that interest rates are likely to go down, or even stay about the same, over the course of the loan. It also might be a good choice if you don’t plan to hold onto the property for very long.

Are you considering an adjusted rate mortgage? Contact us. We’re experts and can help you with everything that you need.


FHA Mortgage

The Federal Housing Administration provides mortgage insurance on loans granted by FHA-approved lenders. A FHA mortgage insurance policy gives lenders protection against losses that result from homeowner default. The benefits of this type of loan are:

Lower Down Payment: FHA loans require a low down payment. You can deposit as little as 3.5 percent. A bonus is this allows you to start building equity sooner.

Lower Mortgage Insurance: The insurance fee is lower than the fee you would pay on a conventional mortgage. The overall monthly payment is also lower.

Better Interest Rate: FHA offers the same low-interest rate to all borrowers. If you qualify for a loan, you get the current rate and the guidelines do not require a minimum credit score.

Higher Seller Contribution: This type of loan has a higher allowable seller contribution and you can negotiate to have the seller pay most of the closing costs.

The FHA approval process involves the following 5 steps:

  • Pre-approval during which the lender reviews your financial circumstances.
  • A standard Loan Application also known as a Uniform Residential Loan Application. You must give them information about the type of loan you want and the property address.
  • A property Appraisal which involves having a licensed home appraiser determine the true market value of the property based on sales prices and the condition and unique features of the property.
  • An underwriting and documentation review that involves an analysis of your income, paperwork, and credit score.
  • FHA loan approval if the underwriter is satisfied you meet all of the lender’s guides and FHA guidelines.

A mortgage group can help you find the best possible home loan at the lowest interest rate available. For more information please contact us.