Refinancing your mortgage is a great way to reduce your monthly payments or take out some of the equity in your home to reinvest in renovations, upgrades or in other areas in your financial portfolio.
Let’s take a quick look at a few questions that you can ask yourself in order to determine whether you should refinance now or wait until sometime in the future.
Can You Lock In A Lower Interest Rate?
Depending on when you first purchased your home and took out your mortgage, you may find that by refinancing now you can lock in a lower interest rate.
Getting a lower rate can end up saving you thousands of dollars a year in interest, but you’ll need to weigh the closing costs of the refinancing against the savings you’ll obtain to ensure that refinancing is worthwhile.
How Much Do You Owe On The Home?
If you still owe a significant amount on your home you may find that it’s worth refinancing, especially if you’re confident that you won’t be selling the home any time soon. Conversely, if you’re very close to having your mortgage paid off you may find that refinancing has little benefit.
Do You Need To Tap Into Your Home Equity?
If you feel that now is the time to tap into the equity you’ve built up in your home over time in order to cover renovation or upgrade costs you may want to consider refinancing. This will allow you to take out a large chunk of cash without having to open a new loan or line of credit. If possible, try to secure a lower interest rate for added benefit.
Do You Plan On Moving?
If you’re planning on moving in the next couple of years then you may want to hold off on refinancing your mortgage. As mentioned above, there are closing costs attached with a refinancing deal and these must be factored in when assessing whether or not you stand to gain or lose.
If you’re staying in your home for the near future there’s a far better chance that the costs of a refinancing will be covered by the amount that you save.
Every financial situation is unique, and you may find that you have other questions about refinancing that aren’t listed above. Don’t hesitate to contact your mortgage professional as they’ve worked with all sorts of refinancing clients and can share helpful advice that is relevant to your situation.
As economic influences affect the housing market in the United States, there has been the introduction and development of programs to assist with the downturn.
During the 2009 economic crisis in the United States that resulted in home prices and values falling, a program named HARP was introduced to assist the many affected homeowners.
Harp has since developed and a 3.0 version has been introduced. As a result, many homeowners are beginning to wonder: What will Harp 3.0 mean for homeowners after 2014?
The Economic Crisis: Harp 1.0 In 2009
In 2009, HARP 1.0 was introduced. The program was designed to help homebuyers who couldn’t refinance their homes because of the sudden and significant dip in home values.
It was open to borrowers with loans that were taken out prior to May 31, 2009, and other requirements made the program available only to homebuyers with a good payment history and a loan-to-value ration of 125 percent, meaning that the borrower could not receive a loan of over 25 percent of the home’s total value.
This program came to help some homeowners who were affected by the economic downturn, but wasn’t available to those in the foreclosure centers in particular areas of California, Nevada, and Arizona.
Harp 2.0: Redefined Assistance
In October of 2011, Harp 2.0 was introduced with changes that helped to make the program more helpful to homeowners who were in trouble as a result of the financial and housing downturn.
The 125 percent limit on the loan-to-value of the Harp 1.0 program was removed, allowing those with significant value drops in their homes to receive help as well. Changes were also added to allow borrowers to refinance investment properties, and borrowers were allowed to switch lenders to shop around for a refinance under the Harp 2.0 program.
Harp 3.0 For Homeowners In 2014
Though the previous Harp programs have assisted over three million homeowners since the financial downturn, there are still many homeowners in need of assistance. With nine million homeowners in a financial crisis after the 2009 economic downturn, there is still much that can be improved upon to help assist in these circumstances.
The Responsible Homeowner Refinancing Act of 2013, which is widely referred to as Harp 3.0, is one approach to solving the problem.
The Harp 3.0 program has been presented, and, if passed, will lower the fees involved. This means that need for appraisals will be lessened, making the program more widely available to homeowners experiencing financial difficulties, and there will be greater ease in the underwriting process.
The Harp 3.0 program, if passed, would also not be constrained to only loans owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, as restricted in Harp 1.0 and 2.0. The new version of the Harp refinance program means that homeowners with sub-prime mortgages may become eligible, too.
With the media covering the possibility of Harp 3.0 in 2014 and many homeowners anticipating its availability, which might finally mean their eligibility for refinancing, there is a great chance of significant financial improvement and progress for homeowners. Getting refinanced is exactly the progress many homeowners have been awaiting.
For more information on the Harp 3.0 program, talk to your mortgage professional today.
Can you believe that autumn is already here? Autumn is not only a great time to enjoy some cooler weather, but it is also a perfect time to sell a home. If you want to sell your house this autumn, these home staging tips will have buyers pounding down your door.
Improve Your Curb Appeal
Curb appeal is easily the most important factor when it comes to selling a home, and it is even more important in the autumn. Maintaining great curb appeal can be difficult in autumn because of all the falling leaves.
Raking the leaves and planting some autumn flowers will make your home inviting to buyers. You can even add some pumpkins around the porch, if you desire.
Brighten Up The House
The shorter days of autumn make lighting more important when staging a home, because nobody wants to walk into a dark and depressing house. The best way to brighten up any house is by opening the blinds and turning on every light.
While it may not be great for the electric bill, the extra lighting will help the home sell quicker. You can even place some spotlights on the floor behind furniture to brighten up the darker rooms.
Make It Feel Comfortable
There is something about the cooling weather of autumn that makes people want to stay inside. Showing off how comfortable your home is will definitely pique buyers’ interest. A great way to make your home more cozy during a showing is by playing seasonal music and handing out some fresh baked cookies – it adds a personal touch and a subtle sense of coziness.
Accent The Home With Autumn Colors
While it is impossible to change the color scheme of your home to fit the season, you can add some accent colors throughout the house. If you have a neutral colored couch, then you can easily throw some red or orange pillows on it to make it really stand out. Adding some autumn decorations to each room is also a great way to accent your home with autumn colors.
Autumn is an extremely popular time to buy or sell a house, and for good reason. Taking advantage of autumn’s vibrant colors when you stage your home will give your house an irresistible appeal. For more information about how to sell your home in the autumn, or if you’d like to list your home for sale, contact an experienced real estate professional today.
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