Options for refinancing with credit card debt

If you are thinking about refinancing your home, but concerned about your credit card debt, know that you do have options, but your situation needs to be clarified.

You’ll need to qualify for the new mortgage and that means your credit should be in order. You’ll have to document your income, assets and debts and prove you can make the payments on the new loan.

You must have enough equity in your house to refinance your mortgage and cover your outstanding credit card debt.

If you have owned your home for some years, you might have some happy news about your home value. Home prices have been rising in many locales and homeowners often find they have more equity than they thought.

If you have sufficient equity, then you could do a cash-out refinance. That means you refinance your mortgage for more than you owe and take the difference in cash.
You’ll need at least 20 percent equity to do a cash-out refinance.

It is likely that your new interest rate on a cash-out refinance will be higher than your current one, since interest rates are rising. If that is the case, then you might consider a home equity loan or a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC).

A home equity loan has a fixed interest rate on a lump sum of cash.

A HELOC works like a credit card secured by your house. Like a credit card, you have a credit limit that you can spend up to. The interest rate on a HELOC moves up and down with the prime rate.

Most experts agree that for short-term purposes, such as paying off credit cards, a home equity loan or HELOC can be better. That’s because you will pay off those loans faster and not be locked into a higher interest rate for 20 years (or whatever the life of your mortgage is).

The seller’s inspection: Inspecting a home before listing can be a good move

You take good care of your home and when you are ready to sell, why have it inspected? After all, the buyer will have an inspection before the deal.
Should you save the $350 to $500 it costs to have an inspection and hope for the best?

Maybe not. It might well pay for a seller have a home inspection before they list.

Sellers who have owned a home for some years might not recognize problems that have cropped up. If they were to keep their home, they would eventually discover and fix these issues. But, during the sale process, home issues can be a nasty surprise and delay or even kill a deal.

The business of selling a home and buying a new one is tricky enough but when a good offer is on the table, at just the time they are buying a new home, sellers don’t want the deal to fall through. Since most deals are contingent on inspection, a potential buyer can always opt out if their own inspection uncovers issues. That starts the sale process over in a big way, with the seller being forced to address problems and the buyer potentially moving on.

Inspectors take a close look at the home’s inner health in 10 areas: Interior and exterior, structure, roofing, plumbing, electrical, heating, air conditioning, ventilation, and fireplaces.

These detailed evaluations can identify the kind of problems that are easily fixed, but might cost the seller money and delays after the buyer’s inspection.

On roofs, for example, inspectors study shingles, flashings, roof drainage, skylights and chimneys. A seller might not want to put on a new roof, but repairing the flashings and roof gutters puts your house in a solid light. Buyers might not expect a new roof, but they don’t want to find leaks.

There are a variety of specific things that a home inspection can look for, depending on individual concerns. For example, a radon inspection checks a home for levels of radioactive gas and takes between two and seven days to complete. Termite inspection looks for damage to the wood structures of a home. With homes that have a well for water, well water testing is another option; for homes with a septic or oil tank, examination of those structures may be part of an inspection as well.

A general inspection should consider the condition of the roof, the water pressure and plumbing, electrical outlets and switches, and the crawl space and attic, according to HGTV.

How and why mortgage interest rates rise (or fall)  

The rate on a mortgage loan is often the most significant factor in how much an owner will ultimately pay for their home.  Monetary policy, market inflation, and the overall economy all play apart in determining when it rises and falls, according to Nerd Wallet. Currently, the United States is experiencing remarkably low rates by historical standards, below five percent in most cases, that contrast harshly with those in the high teens during the early 1980’s. In this country, the Federal Reserve is the foundation of most of the traditional lending system due to their setting of the federal funds rate – the interest rate that banks must charge each other for short-term loans. This base rate then influences longer-term rates between banks, businesses, and personal borrowers like those looking for a 30-year mortgage. During times of expected inflation, the Federal Reserve is likely to raise these rates to protect the value of the dollar by keeping prices in check at the expense of increasing the cost of borrowing money for everyone. These rates can have a compounding ripple effect throughout the economy as well, as businesses will be less likely to want to borrow money for investment when their interest payments become larger than the potential payoff. Slowing business can mean layoffs, suspended raises, and make potential home purchasers less sure about their financial future and ability to afford payments. Often, the housing market and overall economy will move through cycles of low-to-high interest rates that can be impacted by political changes, global events, and natural scarcity of resources. Anyone in the market for a new home should be paying attention to the current mortgage rates as even a fraction of a percentage point can have a dramatic impact on how much they will pay over the life of the loan. Using a 30-year, $300,000 loan as an example, someone with a four percent interest rate will pay a total of $515,609 while someone with a five percent loan will pay $579,767.

What expenses to expect when you sell your house

Selling a house has hidden costs, but planning ahead can eliminate last minute worries.

According to a new study by real estate research firm Zillow and Thumbtack, an online site matching local professionals to customers, the average cost of covering basic projects – painting, staging your home, carpet cleaning, lawn care and gardening, and local moving costs – was $4,985 for sellers who hire professional help.

The analysis showed a range of an average high of $6,580 in San Jose and a low of $3,720 in Dallas, according to USA Today.

Before you spend money on updating the look of a home, review the foundational elements that make or break a house to see how much you really need to spend.

First look at smaller things. The faucets shouldn’t drip, and all fixtures should be in working order. Windows should not be broken or cracked. Fans should not wobble or make noise.

Next, look at higher price items. The heating and air conditioning should work. Walls and ceilings should be presentable. Appliances should all work. If you can, gather information about the age and repair history of these items.

Then there is the roof. In some hot markets, real estate agents say properties can sell sight unseen. Yet, the roof condition is crucial to getting the best price. Problem is that a new roof is expensive.

If it costs $10,000 to put on a new roof, it could be money well spent. If a buyer has options for similar houses at a similar price with a good roof, it’s unlikely they’ll choose a house they have to re-roof. Even if the house sells with three layers of shingles, chances are the selling price could take a hit for more than the cost of the roof. To your list of repairs, add the cost of decluttering.

Plan yard sales and eBay sales for items of value. These sales might add some cash to your sales budget, but as for bulk clutter removal, they often won’t do much good.

For serious bulk removal, call a trash hauling company. You can usually hire a man and a truck who will take every last item out of a storage area.

Naturally, you will need to pick out the items that you genuinely want to move. You could repair those three old string trimmers. You could use those 2x4s somewhere, but the question is do you really want to move them?

A decluttered property and outbuildings are crucial to a good sales price.

Experts usually recommend neutral paint throughout the inside, although many homeowners ignore this expense.

Carpet cleaning can often suffice, in lieu of replacement, but be sure to add the cost to your estimate.

Don’t overlook yard work and house cleaners, both of which put your house in a good light.

What Are the Benefits of Having a Security or Landscape Lighting System?

Landscape and lighting go hand in hand when you are trying to beautify, as well as protect, your home. In Cypress, TX, the agents of InsureUs are constantly working with their clients to make sure they understand the many ways they can minimize their potential risk and improve their home security.

Landscape Lighting

Landscape designers use ambient lighting to spotlight focal points. In the process of illuminating your landscaping, it also sheds enough light to be able to identify possible intruders that may be lurking around your property. When landscaping is placed directly beneath or adjacent to windows or other entryways, the additional lighting is a deterrent for potential criminals who may be looking for a way into your home. The lighting doesn’t have to be overpowering to be effective and can be set up to turn on and off through the use of a motion sensor.

Increased Security

The type of materials and foliage you include in your landscaping can also make it difficult for intruders to gain access to your home. Trellises, thorny bushes or prickly succulents are ideal if you want an added layer of protection. When coupled with the benefits of ambient lighting, both can be extremely effective at turning away intruders. Landscape designers work to help homeowners create beautiful, landscaped areas that double as protective barriers against both human and animal intruders.

If you live in the Cypress, TX area and are interested in learning about more about ways to increase your home security, call the agents of InsureUS. They can help you to identify different ways that you can use to protect your home and family from financial loss. Call their office today to schedule an insurance evaluation.

Buying your first house

Buying a new house is easy: Dive into some websites. Pick a house you like. Press “Add to Cart” and 10 minutes later you’re picking new furniture.
…Nah. Doesn’t work that way.

Like all pivotal decisions in life, the fun part is rarely the most important.

The best way to buy a home is to start answering the dull questions first.

Start by building a basic financial profile about yourself: First, pull your credit report and get your credit score. You can do this at freecreditreport.com or at other sites, such as creditkarma.com. If your score is under 620, you’ve got some work to do on your credit. Start by making absolutely sure every account is paid on time, every time, not one day late. During your credit building period, make sure you don’t apply for loans on cars or anything else. Do everything you can to pay off any loans or credit cards you may have.
With a credit score of at least 620 in hand, start gathering documents that show how much money you make and what your expenses are. You’ll need pay stubs and a list of your bills.
You will also need cash.

A good rule to remember: The more cash you have, the better the terms of any deal you make. You’ll have more flexibility and loans will cost you less, especially if you also have a high credit score.
But how much is enough? Down payments vary depending on the type of loan. With an FHA loan, for example, you might need no more than 3.5 percent of the selling price. But you’ll also need some cash available for closing costs — maybe up to 2.5 percent or more.

One of the best places to start the process is with a lender. Gather your financial information and chat with your bank or credit union to find out how much house you could possibly afford. They will tell you how much cash you will need. Once you have the cash, get a pre-approval from your lender. Then the fun part begins. Visit some websites and find your best home.

Good idea: Start small with a home, buying one that is easy to afford with a short mortgage. Then, add some elbow grease to fix it up to increase its value, while paying off the mortgage. Soon, you’ll have value in the house and you can sell with more money to put down on your next house. This is the way wealth is built over time.

Ask the expert: What is a USDA loan?

Many people are currently hoping to live the American Dream of becoming a homeowner, and according to Nerd Wallet, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s special home loan might just be the ticket they are seeking.

While this department might seem an unlikely place to find a loan for a new house, the point of the program is to help growth in the more rural parts of the country where incomes are typically lower than their urban counterparts. To spur that growth, USDA loans come with excellent benefits.

One of the most significant incentives for going after a USDA loan is that they require no money down at all to secure the loan and it guarantees lower interest rates. This will help young buyers or families that otherwise struggle to save up for a down payment on a traditional loan. Nearly 140,000 families were able to take advantage of this in 2014 alone.

The loans work in a couple of ways: loan guarantees and direct loans. With a loan guarantee, a buyer will use a local lender affiliated with the program. Then, the government will act as the guarantor on that loan so that the buyer will have access to better terms, much like how it would work using a co-signer. A direct loan is one issued straight from the USDA, and these are found among the low- and very low-income applicants to the program. Subsidies with direct loans can bring the interest rate down to as little as one percent.

The supply of houses that are eligible for the loan are located in rural areas. There are, however, some options in more suburban locations that could strike a right balance for daily commuters.

Applicants must also fall within some specific income, debt, and credit score thresholds and these vary from location to location. Typically, the monthly payment on the home cannot exceed 29 percent and credit scores should be at or above 660. USDA mortgage lenders will also be looking for a good payment history to other creditors, and applicants with a score under 580 will have to undergo a more thorough review.

Does Home Insurance Cover Storm Damage?

One of the most important aspects of understanding the limits of coverage on your homeowners’ insurance is the ability to cover storm damage. Many people assume any storm damage is covered by their homeowners’ insurance, which is not true.

What Damage Is Covered?

In the event of a natural disaster or storm, you should know what the limits of coverage are for your home. If your home insurance does not cover certain aspects of damage that you are vulnerable to, you should purchase additional insurance so you are not left unprotected. For example, you are not covered if you experience a flood either from a storm or because of mechanical failure in the home. However, wind, hail, and lightning are usually covered by a homeowners’ insurance policy. Ask your agent for specifics when choosing your insurance, and ask them to help you determine what other types of insurance you may need to cover yourself completely based on the area you live in, and the risks associated with your location.

Amount Of Coverage

Determining the amount of coverage you need to protect you from storm damage is based on the value of your home and other factors such as contents and additional structures. Gather all of your information and receipts and get an accurate total of the value of your home and let your agent help you get the right coverage amount. For more information about storm coverage and coverage amounts, call or stop by Cypress, TX, InsureUS.

Our professional insurance agents can get you the insurance you need so you can be fully protected from storms and other covered events. Don’t leave your financial well-being to chance. Get the right coverage you need today.

 

Hurricanes and Home Insurance: What You Need to Know

Hurricanes have been all over the news lately, and Texas was particularly hard hit by recent Hurricane Harvey. If you live in Cypress, TX, you may have found out too late that your home insurance didn’t cover enough when you were hit with hurricane damage. With more hurricanes continuing to hit the United States, it’s time to learn more about hurricanes and home insurance so you make sure you’re covered.

Does Home Insurance Cover Hurricanes?

There’s no one policy that is going to cover all the damage a hurricane has the potential to do to your home. You may need to consider a mixture of several policies from InsureUS, such as home insurance, flood insurance, and wind insurance. Keep in mind, if you’re living near the coast, it’s possible that you may need to have a special windstorm policy along with your home insurance.

Do I Need Flood Insurance?

If you think you may need coverage for water that enters the home as a result of a hurricane, such as pooling water from heavy rains or water damage from storm surge, then you probably do need flood insurance along with your home insurance. Many homeowners think that their home insurance will cover them, but you’ll probably need a good flood insurance policy to ensure you’re well covered.

Will I Need to Pay Special Deductibles?

Living in a hurricane-prone area may mean that you do pay some special, higher deductibles. You may be asked to pay a percentage deductible when dealing with hurricane damage. When buying insurance to keep you covered during a hurricane, make sure you find out the deductible information.

What to Do After a Hurricane Hits

If a hurricane does hit your home in Cypress, TX, make sure that you document your damage with video or photos and work to prevent further damage to your home. Make sure you keep track of temporary repairs that are made. You’ll also need to make sure that you notify the insurance company immediately.

Don’t wait until another hurricane hits to make sure you’re well covered. Contact InsureUS to learn more about your options and the coverage you need. 

Besides Insurance, How Can a Business Prepare for a Hurricane?

Besides Insurance, How Can a Business Prepare for a Hurricane?
By M Wyzanski

Any insurance professional will stress the importance of a good commercial policy that includes wind and hail as well as flood coverage in relation to protecting your business from the elements. Case in point is the fact that many stricken by current hurricanes do not even own flood insurance.

We won’t get into the implications of damages and losses recovery in regard to this unfortunate set of circumstances. Suffice it to say, in wake of the destruction, these home and business owners have to deal with the financial stress on their own, save for whatever government assistance they can get.

Besides having a proper insurance plan in place, businesses can prepare for the worst weather scenarios by doing the following.

Review your company’s impact study:
• Make a tally of what type of losses you may incur.
• Consider the amount of risk loss and severity probability that may impact your business.
• Look over your business process flow agenda: Should one portion of your company become unworkable, assign another unit to take over.
• Choose which operations are vital for continued survival and recovery.
• Ensure all records of sales and customer-base, as well as tax data and documents are stored in a secure off-site location.
• Assign others to take over executive management if those in place are not able to carry out duties.

Partner with Other Businesses
• Have vendors ready to outsource services in case of a hurricane disaster.
• Mark down important vendor and business partners and store this info in an off-site multiple employee-accessible location.

Make Alternate Plans for your Facility
• Contemplate the use of other locations in the event your main office is rendered inaccessible or inoperable.
• Plan for security of people and property.

Ensure Payroll Efficiency
• If it is pertinent, ensure the vendors you will deal with understand how to continue with payroll.
• Partner with your vendors to ensure employee info is stored securely in an off-site location.

Team up with Other Operations
• Group together with other corporations at your building site to prepare for continued business in a weather-induced crisis.
• Reach out to emergency personnel and power companies to show them how your operations are conducted.
• Devise a plan together with your suppliers, shippers and others you rely on so that you will know how to carry on in the event of an emergency.

Keep Up with Your Protection Plans
• Review your plans on how to deal with an emergency situation yearly. Revise them if you feel changes need to be made.
• Conduct consistent emergency drills.
Risk control is part of any major insurance company’s policyholder’s benefits. Contact an independent agency that does direct business with many of the leading providers for more information on how your company can protect itself from a hurricane or other natural disaster.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/M_Wyzanski/2158115