Adventures in Homeownership

4 TIPS ON HOW TO GET OUT OF DEBT FOR THE NEW YEAR

couple managing finances, reviewing bank accounts using laptop computer

couple managing finances, reviewing bank accounts using laptop computer

A popular New Year’s resolution is paying off debt. A new year offers people a brand new to start to get their financial situation together. But many people wonder where to start to get themselves out debt. Here are 4 tips to help you get started start on living a debt free lifestyle:

  1. Make A List of All Your Debts- The first step in getting out of debt is to tally up each debt you currently have. Take a look at your credit report to ensure you didn’t miss any. Figuring out your debt grand total will show you exactly how much debt you currently have and how you can make a plan to tackle it.
  2. Pay Off Debt Smallest to Largest- This is also known as the debt snowball. The reason this works with a lot of people is because it gives you momentum. When each debt is paid off you start to see progress and builds momentum to pay off the next debt.
  3. Start A Monthly Budget- Starting a budget is a great way to figure out where your money is going to each month. Do you know where every dollar you spend is going? Most people do not and this will help determine that. If you realize that you are spending a lot on going out to eat or getting lattes every morning, you can make adjustments that can give you more money to pay down your debts.
  4. Live Within Your Means- Spending less than or equal to the money you bring in every month means you are “living within your means”. By spending no more than you bring in each month, it will ensure you do not go into further debt. By making this small change, you can change your financial situation and no longer live paycheck to paycheck.
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4 EASY WAYS TO SAVE THIS NEW YEAR

Plant Growing In Savings Coins - Investment And Interest Concept

4 EASY WAYS TO SAVE THIS NEW YEAR

Plant Growing In Savings Coins - Investment And Interest Concept

Most people want to start the new year by trying to save money and fixing their financial situation. It can be hard to figure out where to start, so our team compiled a list of four easy ways to help you get started in 2018. Take a look at our list to help you in 2018:

  1. Start a Budget- Starting a budget is great way to start saving money. Most people do not know where their money is going every month. Making a budget and following it will help improve your financial situation. There are many free budgeting tools online that can help you get started.
  2. Refinance Your Mortgage- Another easy way to save money is to refinance your mortgage. Refinancing your mortgage with a lower interest rate, can help you save money on your monthly mortgage payment. For more information on refinancing your mortgage, give one of our friendly mortgage specialists a call at (877) 290-9991.
  3. Consolidate Your Debt- Consolidating all your debt into one loan can help you save money because your interest rate will be much lower than credit card rates. This will help you pay off your debt faster because more money will be going to your debt rather than interest. A mortgage refinance can provide you with the lowest interest rates to consolidate your debt. You can give one of our friendly mortgage specialists a call at (877) 290-9991 for more information.
  4. Cancel Unused Subscriptions- Another easy way to save money is to cancel subscriptions that you are no longer using. Do you have a gym membership that you are no longer using? Or perhaps video or music streaming services you do not have a chance to watch or listen to anymore? Cancelling subscriptions that you do not use often can you save you tons of money!
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6 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Winter

Untitled-4

Untitled-4The start of winter is approaching and it is now time to get your home ready for the frigid temperatures. There is no need to panic if you haven’t started winterizing your home! Our team put together a list of 6 ways to prepare your home for the winter. Check out our list below:

  1. Drain Your Sprinkler System – Before temperatures start to drop, it’s necessary to drain your sprinkler system to prevent your pipes from bursting because of lingering frozen water. Draining your sprinkler system can prevent you from paying for costly repairs.
  2. Clean Your Gutters – Cleaning your gutters is must! If your gutters are clogged, water is more likely to freeze, which can cause roof and foundation problems to your home.
  3. Trim Back Trees and Bushes – If you have tree branches that are close to your home, cut them back. Branches that break due to snow and ice can cause major damage to your home.
  4. Check Furnace and Replace Filters – It’s important to get your furnace checked by a professional and get filters replaced before icy winter weather comes. You do not want to take the risk of having heating issues when frigid temperatures occur!
  5. Prevent Frozen Pipes – A great way to prevent frozen pipes is to use insulation around your pipes. Homeowners should also look for any air leaks around pipes and insulation that would bring any cold air.
  6. Check Your Emergency Supply Kit –It’s a good idea to get your emergency supply kit checked for appropriate clothing, expired food, valid medications and enough water. Winter storms can cause emergency situations and doing this can keep your family safe.

By doing these precautionary steps, you can feel more prepared heading into winter this year. These small steps can save you a ton of money on costly repairs and high utility bills. A few hours of doing these pre-winter maintenance tips, can keep your family safe and warm this winter season.

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6 Benefits from a Cash-Out Refi

Young Couple Rennovating Property Together

Young Couple Rennovating Property TogetherIf you’re a homeowner with considerable equity in your home, you might want to consider a cash-out refinancing plan to finance home projects or eliminate high interest debt. In a nutshell, this arrangement allows you to initiate a new mortgage with a larger principle than your existing one – then, you obtain cash on the balance between the two amounts. Used responsibly, there are several advantages to a cash-out mortgage, including these top six benefits.

  1. You may be able to obtain a better interest rate. As compared to other types of property-based loans, a cash-out refinancing usually offers lower interest rates. Home equity, home improvement and business startup loans are typically a few fractions of a percentage higher. A lower interest rate means reduced monthly mortgage payments.
  2. You can improve your on-hand cash flow. You can apply funds from cash-out refinancing to balances due on high-interest debts or credit cards accounts. Eliminating these debts puts you in a better cash liquidity position for unexpected costs or emergencies. You’ll still carry the debt through the refinancing, but you’ll only be making one payment per month on a loan carrying a much lower interest rate.
  3. You’ll get the opportunity to improve your credit score. When you pay off or pay down balances on revolving debt or credit cards, you improve your credit rating. Credit cards that you’ve maxed out have a severe negative impact on your score, as are those where you’re only paying against interest instead of the balance.
  4. There are tax advantages of cash-out refinancing. You’ll take advantage of a couple of tax benefits with a cash-out refinancing. First, the interest you pay is tax deductible; the interest you pay on other types of debt or credit cards is not. Second, some of the closing costs you’ll incur through the refinancing process are also not subject to tax liability.
  5. Fees for refinancing can be minimal under certain circumstances. There are costs related to refinancing your mortgage, including application fees, getting your credit rating, document review expenses, and title insurance and search. However, if you have high equity in your home and a great credit rating, these costs may be reduced. In addition, if you stick with the same lender that issued your original mortgage, some of these fees may not be necessary the second time around.
  6. Cash-out refinancing can help you boost your home’s fair market value. Many homeowners use the proceeds from their cash-out refinancing to fund home improvement projects. These renovations almost always cause the fair market value of the property to increase, whether the projects are interior, exterior or add-ons to the existing square footage.

While homeowners must use caution when arranging a cash-out refinancing plan, the advantages can be significant under appropriate circumstances. If you’d like to know more about whether a cash-out refinance is right for you and qualification requirements, consult with a refinancing professional for details.

*Disclaimer: Paramount Equity Mortgage is not a tax advising company. If you have any questions, please reach out to your CPA for tax advice or other tax related questions.

 

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Fall Home Maintenance Tips

Rain Gutter full of leaves

Rain Gutter full of leaves

7 TIPS TO GET YOUR HOME READY FOR FALL

The fall season is a perfect time to get your home ready before the cold winter months arrive. By taking precautionary steps, you can prevent serious home damages and expensive home repairs from occurring. Our team compiled a list of seven important home maintenance tips you should do during the fall to get home ready for winter.

  1. Get your heater/furnace serviced- Autumn is a great time to have a service technician come out and check to ensure your furnace is working properly. In the winter time, service technicians are more likely to be booked up with service calls, which can cause delays.
  2. Get chimney checked for blockages- Fireplaces are used frequently in the cold winter months. It’s a good idea to make sure your chimney is checked for any blockages as it can result in falling debris or a smoky smell in your home when the fire burns.
  3. Remove window A/C units- We suggest removing your A/C window units during the fall because leaves, dirt and other particles can get inside the unit and potentially can potentially damage the unit.
  4. Clean gutters and downspouts- It’s a good idea to get your gutters and downspouts cleaned because the clogging of leaves and other debris can lead to falling gutters which can cause flooding and foundation issues to your property.
  5. Trim trees and bushes- Trimming trees and bushes around your home in the fall can prevent loose branches and limbs from falling onto your property during winter storms.
  6. Get your roof inspected- It’s important to get your roof inspected for any leaks or loose shingles before winter strikes. Roofers will also charge more for services during peak season (winter months).
  7. Seal any cracks around windows and doors- Sealing cracks around your windows and doors before the cold winter comes, can prevent bugs and rodents from coming inside your home. When its cold outside, these pests are looking for warmth and will try to get inside your warm home.

Once you get these preventative maintenance steps completed, you can be assured your home is prepared for the upcoming colder months. Taking these preventative steps can also save you time and lots of money in repair costs. The cold weather is coming, cozy up and relax knowing you fully prepared your home for the colder months.

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How HARP Can Help You

house near the woods

 

house near the woodsHARP, which stands for the Home Affordable Refinance Program, was created to help struggling homeowners refinance their mortgage. This government program is designed to assist homeowners, who owe more money than what their home is worth, to have the opportunity to refinance their mortgage and lower their monthly payment. Interest rates in today’s market are 30% lower than rates in 2008, which can mean significant monthly savings! Find out if you meet the HARP eligibility requirements below:

Eligibility Requirements

-Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac must own or back your mortgage loan

-The value of your home is less than your current mortgage or your LTV ratio is 80% or higher

-Your home is your primary residence, second home or investment property

-Your mortgage was created on or before May 31, 2009

-You are current on your mortgage payments

 (No more than one late payment in the last 12 months, no 30+ day late payments in the last 6 months)

*Note: There is not a minimum credit score required for this program and closing costs can be bundled into your new loan.

Over 3 million Americans have taken advantage of this program. If you were turned down in the past, you may be eligible now. Several changes have been made since HARP was originally introduced. The guidelines and eligibility requirements are much simpler now. To learn more about the HARP program, give one of our mortgage specialists a call at (877) 788-4564 or receive a free quote here >> https://www.paramountequity.com/loan-options

  • “Freddie Mac and Fannie Mar have adopted changes to the Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) and you make be eligible to take advantage of these changes.”
  • “If your mortgage is owned or guaranteed by either Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, you may be eligible to refinance your mortgage under the enhanced and expanded provisions of HARP.”
  • “You can determine whether your mortgage is owned by either Freddie Mac or Fannie Mar by checking the following websites:
  • www.freddiemac.com/mortgage or http://www.fanniemae.com/loanlookup/.”
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What to Look for During Your Final Walkthrough

Luxury Home Interior

Luxury Home InteriorThe excitement of buying a house and transforming it into a home can sometimes result in the buyer making an irrational decision. Nobody wants to make an investment that they later regret, which is what the purpose of a final walkthrough is. What is a final walk through, you ask? Well, it is essentially the last chance you will have to walk around the premises with your realtor.

Unless you are aware of what to look for, there is a chance you might miss something, such as an underlying problem that could potentially turn into an expensive repair job. With that being said, it is crucial that you use this time wisely to ensure the property condition has not changed in any way since the last time you inspected it.

Here are the main things you must focus on for the final walk through:

  • Check Repairs – Should there be a problem, get an estimate of how long the repairs will take to complete, so that you can move into the house with no worries about the condition. In most cases, the owner of a property will arrange to repair visible and invisible problems prior to the moving in date. This is the time to check if the repairs requested were made. In the event that the repairs are not required until after the moving in date, a home warranty will cover it.
  • Check Appliances – There are several things you should inspect when you attend the final walk through. Failure to do so might result in you spending thousands of dollars for repairs once you finally move in. Flip the light switch on and off when entering every room, test all appliances, and flush the toilet. Heating and air conditioning may encounter a fault if the appliances are not maintained properly, too.
  • Check for Leaks – Did you know that a leak inside a property can cost you a lot of money? In fact, even the smallest of leaks can increase water usage by a lot. If you don’t take the time to listen for hissing noises, check the leak indicator on the water meter, and investigate the average water usage, it will be you who is responsible for funding the repairs, not the seller.
  • Check for General Damage – Make sure there isn’t any damage from when the offer was submitted to time of the final inspection. If the property condition has changed from the first time you walked around it, you have the right to request the property owner to pay for repairs. An insurance policy will come in handy if you notice damages after you have moved in. However, the type of coverage you receive will depend on state laws, so bear this in mind and contact a claim representative if in doubt.

Once you have completed the final walk through and have deemed the condition to be good, a contract will need to be signed. The contract addendum serves as proof that you are satisfied with the property. Furthermore, it confirms the completion of any agreed-upon repairs.

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The Benefits of a Home Warranty

Plumber Fixing Domestic Washing Machine

Plumber Fixing Domestic Washing MachineA home warranty plan is something that every real estate investor ought to be thinking about ahead of buying a property. This type of warranty will protect your finances in the event of something going wrong with the property, whether it is an appliance fault or the wear and tear of a boiler system. Do not get home warranty confused with homeowner’s insurance because an insurance plan does not offer the same kind of coverage.

In fact, if you don’t have warranty in place, you will not be covered for the cost of repairing/replacing home system components. Also known as HSA, home warranty offers a whole host of benefits for both the buyer and the seller.

Let’s look into into the perks associated with this type of coverage:

  1. Protection Against Costly and Unexpected Repairs - Although you will have the chance to inspect the property for any damages or underlying problems during the open house, this does not mean that a problem will not surface in the near future. Wear and tear from using appliances, such as the lights, heating, and air conditioning, is inevitable. Rather than digging deep to fund unexpected repairs, you can rely on home warranty to cover the costs. Most major systems and appliances are covered on the standard plan.
  2. Full Replacement - There may come a time when the technician is unable to resolve the problem and make the appropriate repairs. In the event that this does happen, a full replacement will be provided with the costs covered by the home warranty plan. What’s more, the contractors are guaranteed to be completely professional and licensed to perform the job, so you can feel confident that the end result will be satisfactory.
  3. Small Service Fee – When you have no option but to contact a technician to visit your home and perform a repair or service on your home appliances, the fee will not leave you strapped for cash. Considering you will be paying a monthly fee for warranty coverage, the service fee will be considerably less than it would be if you weren’t investing in coverage.
  4. Annual Renewal - Once your yearly coverage is up, the home warranty plan can be renewed. It is completely up to you whether or not you go ahead and renew the plan, but since you have the opportunity to call for service as many times as you wish, chances are you’ll want to renew the plan before it actually expires.

There are some things you should know before purchasing a home warranty, such as the fact that policy prices vary from $200-$600 annually and when/if you make a claim; you will be required to pay a deductible. Take it upon yourself to find the best possible home warranty plan available by browsing your options first. Generally, service agreements will last for a year or more, but this totally depends on the provider of HSA. For the best protection, consider gaining coverage from a warranty plan and a homeowner’s insurance plan.

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