3 Great Online Tools for Money Management

In our search to bring you the very best sites online to help you with your money management, we turned to the experts themselves. The following three sites have helped millions of people to get a handle on their financial ‘big picture’, make a budget they can live with, and even get out of debt. Best of all, each one of these sites come highly recommended by experts in the field of money.

Mint.com

This site comes with a hearty recommendation from Kiplinger and boasts of helping more than 20 million people with their finances. It’s free to sign up, although it is unclear as to whether or not there may be fees for certain services once you get started.

What Mint does best is help you get all your financial information together in one place. Yes, you have to give them access to your bank accounts, credit cards, bills, and any other information you want help in tracking, but rest assured that they offer bank-level security. Your information is safe with them in what Kiplinger refers to as ‘bond-movie-like fashion”.

Once they have all of your information in one place, they can help you finally get a handle on exactly where your money is going. Then they can offer ideas and help to get that same income to go even farther.

Readyforzero.com

This site is another that comes with a Kiplinger recommendation. The goal of this site is a simple one: to help you become debt free. Once again, you begin by giving them access to your finances. They then help you make a customized plan to pay off your debt, and easily track your progress. They even give you access to a free credit score and the ability to watch your score improve as you follow your plan. Best of all, this site is very upfront about being totally free to join and use.

FlexScore.com

This site’s recommendation comes from Forbes. Probably the easiest of the three sites to use, you simply complete a profile with them (the more information you give them the more accurate your financial picture). Once your profile is complete, they will give you a FlexScore and then give you some actionable steps to take to improve that score to get more out of your financial life.

Any one of these three great online tools for money management will help you get a grasp on your finances, so why not start with one of them today? Whether you are saving for a new house or just wanting to get the freedom of being out of debt, managing your money is the key. Of course, if the new house is your goal, we hope you’ll contact us when you are ready to take that step.

Disclaimer: The material provided on this website is not intended to be your only source of information when you are making financial decisions. Pacific Mortgage Group is not a financial advisor. The information provided should be treated as a guide only and it not a substitute for independent professional advice. You should seek independent professional advice relevant to your particular circumstances.


Four Benefits of a FHA Loan

FHA loans are government-issued loans by the Federal Housing Authority. Actually, you will still get loans through private lenders but, you will be protected by the government, if you should default on your loan.

Here are some of the benefits of getting a FHA loan.

  • Lower down payments required to get a mortgage. Most loans require at least five to ten percent of the cost of the house as a down payment. Some require even more. With a FHA loan, you only need 3.5% down! Closing costs can be even more expensive and that can be added to your mortgage.
  • Lower mortgage insurance. Mortgage insurance is expensive and is included in your monthly costs. With a FHA loan, you might be able to pay less, essentially paying less money each month with your mortgage payment.
  • Competitive interest rates. When you get a FHA loan, you will get a competitive interest rate, no matter what your credit score is. This allows people who have less than desirable credit to own homes.
  • Higher debt ratio. When figuring out your debt ratio, you are allowed to have more debt with a FHA loan than you can with a conventional loan. If you have a car payment or two, along with credit card debt, you might be better off looking at a FHA loan!

FHA loans are helpful when you are just starting out and you don’t have a lot of money for a down payment. They are also helpful if you don’t have the best credit. They are also helpful when you have a little bit of debt. However, make sure that you can afford your house or you will end up losing your home!

Contact us to see if you qualify for a FHA loan!


FHA Loans

The trick with Federal Housing Administration (FHA) financing is that it’s a mortgage insured by the federal government. The way the FHA manages to ensure the loan is that they require the borrower to pay for mortgage insurance. The mortgage insurance protects the lender in case if the borrower defaults on the loan.

FHA mortgages must be obtained from FHA-approved lenders. The FHA has standards that have to be met before the FHA is willing to insure the mortgages.

Because the FHA is behind the loan and the risk to the lender is less, interest rates can be very favorable and less down payment may be required. Because the lender is protected by the insurance, the lender is less cautious about making loans to riskier customers and those with lower credit ratings. For many people, the FHA loan offers the only way they can obtain a mortgage in today’s market. Many first-time home buyers take advantage of FHA loans.

To get a mortgage with a down payment as low as 3.5%, the borrower needs a FICO credit score of at least 580. Those with credit scores of 500 to 579 must make down payments of at least 10%. People with credit scores below 500 are generally ineligible for FHA loans except for special circumstances. The low 3.5% down payment floor is a major attraction for many home buyers. Some special minimum down payments of as low as 3% are also sometimes available.

FHA borrowers pay for their down payments out of their own savings. However, gifts from family members can also be used. Grants from state or local governments down-payment assistance programs are also sometimes available. Closing costs can also be covered by lenders, builders or lenders as an inducement to purchase.

The borrower can use a relative as a non-resident co-borrower to help support qualification for the loan using blended debt-to-income ratios that equally blend the borrower’s and non-occupant co-borrower’s income and monthly payments to qualify for the loan.

Because the government is involved, lenders do find some additional paperwork involved. The appraiser has the additional duty to evaluate and report any health or safety hazards that could affect the insurance. They can require that concerns be repaired before the loan is closed.

The FHA mortgage insurance consists of two payments. The “upfront premium” is paid as part of the down payment. It is 1.75% of the loan amount (a $100,000 loan would cost $1,750 upfront). The annual premium (paid monthly) vary by the size of the down payment and the length of the mortgage.

  • If you take a 15-year mortgage with a down payment of less than 10%, the insurance would cost .7% annually. On a $100,000 mortgage, this would mean $7,000 per year or $583 monthly added to your mortgage payment.
  • On a 15 year mortgage with a down payment larger than 10%, the insurance may cost only .45% or $375 monthly.

On longer mortgages, risks are greater and the insurance premiums are slightly higher.

  • On a 30 year $100,000 mortgage with very low down payments (less than 5%) the annual insurance premium would be $8,500 or $708 per month.
  • If the 30 year $100,000 mortgage were started with a down payment of 5% or more, the annual premium would be at $667 per month.

In addition, for those with credit scores above 639, the FHA supports a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) lending program called a 203k. This program guarantees loans to renovate or repair homes.

  • The loan must be made by an FHA lender.
  • You have to have at least a 3.5% down payment on the home.
  • You can have no other FHA-approved loans outstanding.
  • The loans can range from $5,000 for minor repairs to sufficient coverage to virtually reconstruct the home.
  • The loan is based on the value of the home after the repair or improvement is made.
  • The loans are subject to certain basic energy efficiency and structural standards.

Pacific Mortgage Group can help you lock in the most competitive rates. If you are ready to start looking for a home loan or home quotes give us a call and we can help you every step of the way. Please contact us to learn more.