Should I Pay Off My Mortgage Or Invest the Money?

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 25th, 2020

Should I Pay Off My Mortgage Or Invest the MoneyTo understand what to do with a windfall or extra disposable income when it comes to paying down a mortgage or investing the money, we need to discuss and understand the concept of opportunity cost.

What Is Opportunity Cost?

The concept of opportunity cost takes into consideration the total financial impact of the use of funds when applied in different ways, to be able to compare the effectiveness of how it is best to use them. The opportunity cost considers the risks involved, the potential reward, as well as the tax implications of the choices.

Risk Versus Reward Evaluation

All investments have risks. When comparing the potential earnings from an investment against the savings of mortgage interest, only the investment side has any downside risk. If you pay down the mortgage, there is a 100% certainty that the loan will reduce and the interest paid will go down. You can calculate the saving on the interest and know the exact amount.

If you invest those same funds, there is always a risk that the investment money can be lost or the investment returns are lower than expected. Moneywise did a comparison of using money to lower a mortgage versus investing in the S&P 500 stock market index over 43 years from 1971 to 2013. For 26 of those 43 years (60% of the time), paying down the mortgage was a better financial move.

Tax Implications

The tax implications involve the impact of the mortgage interest deduction, and its effect on reducing federal income taxes, and the cost of paying capital gains tax on investment profits.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 reduced the possibility for many people of benefiting from an itemized mortgage interest deduction because the standard deduction increased. For comparative purposes, most Americans pay capital gains at the current rate of 15%.

Take the tax savings from the mortgage deduction, if you can use it, and compare this to the investment income, less the applicable capital gains taxes. Ask your tax accountant to do the calculation for you if you cannot do this yourself.

Summary

For some, paying down a mortgage is more beneficial than investing. Paying down a mortgage certainly has less risk. Be sure to consider paying down high-interest credit card bills first. That is always a wise idea because the interest rate charged on credit cards is so high.

Every person’s financial circumstances are somewhat different so there is no standard answer when comparing paying down a mortgage to investing the same amount of money. Each person needs to do this calculation of the opportunity costs, to be able to apply their extra funds in ways that are most beneficial for them.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional to discuss current financing options.

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The Long-Term Toll Of College Costs

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 20th, 2020

The Long-Term Toll Of College CostsTaking out enormous student loans to get a college degree may be a terrible idea for some. The burden of paying off this debt can make it far more challenging to do other important things like buying a home.

Here are some common problems that come from taking out large student loans:

  • Not Worth It: The college degree may not help you land a high-paying job. Even high-paying jobs like being a dentist have extremely high educational costs as well. Aspiring dentists borrow, on average, over $500,000 to go to dental school and spend multiple decades paying it back.
  • Tuition Hyper-Inflation: Colleges and universities saw the easy money from student loans as a great reason to increase tuition. In many institutions, tuition increases, over the past 42 years, went out of control, especially for trade schools and private universities. College costs rose by 1,400% since 1978. That is five times more than the inflation rate over the same period.
  • OverBorrowing: The easy ability that students have in many cases to over-borrow for living expenses on top of college costs means that they take bigger loans than they need and wastefully spend the money.

In the olden days, they had a phrase for a person who sold themselves into a kind of work-slavery. They called these people “indentured servants.” By taking out student loan debt that may take decades to pay back, this is a form of indentured servitude, especially because it is difficult, if not impossible to get out of paying the student loans back. Even bankruptcy does not discharge student loan debt.

If your student loan goes into default, there is the possibility of a wage garnishment, which means up to 25% of your take-home pay will be deducted from your checks and used to pay off the student loan debt. This is like a modern version of being an indentured servant.

But You Need A College Degree To Succeed, Right?

For many, earning a college degree that teaches skills and knowledge, which help get a high-paying job, is a reasonable idea. However, not all degrees are equal in their influence over getting a job. Many degree certificates are not worth the paper they are printed on. Moreover, some do better than those who have degrees.

Conclusion

What do Bill Gates, Coco Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Rachel Ray, Mark Zuckerberg, Sean “Diddy” Combs, James Cameron, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Richard Branson, Simon Cowell, Larry Ellison, Ted Turner, and Wolfgang Puck all have in common? They all do NOT have a college degree and still became immensely successful. Many are billionaires, who simply started their businesses and did not have time to finish college, so they dropped out.

Before you saddle yourself with student debt for a huge portion of the rest of your life, think carefully about the ramifications. Then, if you must borrow, borrow as little as possible and make sure you get a degree that helps get a high-paying job.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted real estate professional.

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Millions Now Qualify For Home Refinancing To Save Money

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 19th, 2020

Millions Now Qualify For Home Refinancing To Save MoneyTo refinance or not to refinance, that is the question. How do you know when it is an appropriate time to refinance? Many factors influence this decision, besides just the cost of the mortgage loan. Here is a checklist to follow when considering a refinancing opportunity.

Check Your Credit Score

Refinancing is similar to getting the original home loan. The lenders will run a credit check and verify your current income. Your total debt level and your credit history are both important. If you have some “dings” on your credit record, you may be better off staying with the existing mortgage rather than attempting refinancing.

The opposite is also true. If your credit score has significantly improved since the time when you took out a mortgage, you may benefit from refinancing.

Be aware that every time you ask a lender for loan approval, and the lender runs a credit check, the credit inquiry will lower your credit score. It is highly advisable to check your credit history first before applying for any mortgage financing. If there is anything that is not correct in your credit file, then dispute the bad information to improve your credit score.

To get the best rates on mortgage financing, aim for a credit score of above 740, with a debt-to-income ratio of below 75%. The rule of thumb is that for every 20 points that your credit score goes up you will benefit from lower rates.

Private Mortgage Insurance

Another consideration on the checklist is whether you pay private mortgage insurance (PMI). PMI is usually a requirement for a low down payment loan. If the equity value that you have in the home increased significantly since the time you bought it, the PMI may no longer be necessary. Sometimes a lender will accept a new appraisal of the home and recalculate the PMI requirements. Ask your lender if they allow this. If they do, you may be able to get rid of the PMI without refinancing.

If a lender will not remove the PMI requirement, and the equity value of the home is substantially higher, then refinancing may be beneficial, if the new loan does not require PMI.

Closing Costs

Covering the closing costs is a mathematical calculation. The amount saved on the monthly mortgage payment needs to be larger than the closing costs on a refinancing loan. The amount of savings depends on how long you plan to own the property. For example, if the closing costs are $3,600 and your monthly saving on the mortgage is $200, the break-even, where you save more than the closing costs, is 18 months later. You should plan to own the property for at least 18 months for this refinance to make financial sense.

Cash Out

Sometimes the benefits of refinancing also include the possibility of taking cash out from the refinancing loan to use for other purposes. If this is the case, consider the savings on the cost of those funds if borrowed elsewhere.

Summary

Those are the things to think about when considering refinancing. Work with a qualified real mortgage broker to get advice if you are not certain about the best thing to do.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

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What Is Pooled-Funds Investing?

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 18th, 2020

What Is Pooled-Funds InvestingUnder the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, which was signed into law by President Obama on April 5, 2012, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) relaxed the rules about advertising investments. This allowed the trend of crowdfunding to expand dramatically giving real estate investors more opportunities for pooled-funds investing.

What Is Polled-Funds Investing?

A pooled investment fund takes in money from a group of investors to use to acquire real estate for larger amounts than each investor’s money would support. Prior to the passage of the JOBS Act, these pooled investment funds were only accessible by large investors through private placements and private real estate investment trusts (REITs). The minimum investment might be up to $250,000 or more. High-net-worth individual investors and institutions were the only investors capable of the buy-in to gain access to these investments, which usually offered better and more stable returns.

After the JOBS Act came into being, the advertising of these pooled investment funds was possible under the new law. The phenomena of crowdfunding came out of this. Money from many investors creates a larger investment fund managed by a professional team, intending to obtain strong performance results.

Better Investment Opportunities For The Smaller Investor

These new investment opportunities allow the smaller investor to participate in a greater diversity of real estate than they could achieve on their own. Moreover, an investor can create a pooled fund to acquire a property with the help of other investors. To use this technique to buy real estate, it is helpful to work with a qualified real estate agent or broker who understands this concept of pooled investment funds.

Due Diligence Required

Not all investment pools succeed in producing decent returns for investors. The SEC is no longer regulating these polled investments carefully. This means that the challenge of due diligence falls on the individual investor. Before investing, it pays to conduct exhaustive research about the pooled investment fund, the cost of the fund management fees, the expertise of the fund’s management, and their past investment-performance history. Always remember past results are no guarantee of future performance and never invest any funds that you cannot afford to lose.

Summary

The relaxing of SEC regulations in 2012 allowed many opportunities for pooled investments to flourish. While there is the possibility of strong returns on investment, there is also some risk. Investors considering a pooled investment fund, such as a crowdfunding deal, should conduct thorough due diligence and get advice from a qualified REALTORS® in the market where the property will be located before making any investment.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted real estate professional.

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Considering A Reverse Mortgage? Understand These Important Points First

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 11th, 2020

Considering A Reverse Mortgage Understand These Important Points FirstThere are many individuals who end up on a fixed income once they reach a certain age; however, their expenses aren’t always fixed. Sometimes, there is a large medical expense. In other cases, someone might need money for a new car or a home repair. In the event that someone needs cash quickly, one option is called a reverse mortgage.

Those who have equity built up in their home can draw upon this to help with unexpected expenses. This is a quick source of cash that many people overlook. At the same time, it is important to think about the pros and cons of a reverse mortgage.

The Pros Of A Reverse Mortgage

Taking out a reverse mortgage does have several benefits that everyone should know. First, there are no required monthly payments for any reverse mortgage loan. In addition, the money that people get from a reverse mortgage is not taxable. For many, this acts as a tax shield against any income that results from a reverse mortgage.

Next, nobody can ever owe more money than the value of the home when the building is sold. This prevents people from getting buried by potential interest payments. Finally, nobody will ever have to leave their home with a reverse mortgage. The owners retain the rights to the property.

The Cons Of A Reverse Mortgage

On the other hand, there are a few cons that people need to keep in mind as well. First, reverse mortgages are regulated by the federal government, which means that everyone needs to read the rules and regulations carefully. In addition, not everyone who owns a home will qualify for a reverse mortgage. They need to have enough equity built up in the home before the lender will consider it.

In order for someone to take out a reverse mortgage, a lien is going to be placed against the property. In the eyes of some, a lien must be paid off in the event the property is to be sold. Finally, in order to prevent a reverse mortgage from resulting in foreclosure, the building needs to be both maintained and insured.

Thinking about the pros and cons carefully can help someone decide if a reverse mortgage is right for them. 

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

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4 Things To Do Before Co-Signing A Mortgage For Your Child

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 12th, 2020

4 Things To Do Before Co-Signing A Mortgage For Your ChildIt can be hard to convince a lender that a young person is ready to buy a house. There may not be a long credit history, a lack of assets might make it hard to fund a down payment, and the buyer’s age can cause banks to hesitate. One of the ways for parents to help with this process is to co-sign on the mortgage. Before doing this, there are a few important steps to keep in mind.

Look At Your Own Qualifications

Remember that co-signers are going to go through the same vetting process as the primary borrower. This includes someone’s income, credit history, assets, debts, and credit score are all going to be scrutinized. It might be a while since the co-signer has had to go through this process. Be sure to take a look at one’s own qualifications. Remember that any mortgage, including acting as a co-signer, will act as an outstanding debt. This might make it hard to refinance in the future.

Think About Paying The Loan

While nobody wants to think about their child being unable to pay back the loan, there is always the chance that this may happen. Therefore, think about what would happen if you need to step in and make these payments. If you cannot handle the burden of having that additional co-payment, you may want to think twice about co-signing. Failing to make these payments will not only hurt your child’s credit score but yours as well.

Protect Yourself

As a co-signer, it will be important to protect yourself before signing on the dotted line. First, be sure to do some estate planning with your child. You should encourage your child to take out a life insurance policy. While no parent wants to think about burying their child, if something happens to him or her, the co-signers are going to be on the hook for the rest of the loan. Furthermore, be sure to monitor the loan payments as well. Sign up for email or text alerts to make sure payments are being made on time.

Plan Ahead

Many parents are going to reflexively act as a co-signer for their child; however, it is important to plan ahead. Be sure to think about all possibilities and make sure that both you and your child are ready to handle an added loan payment.  

If you are interested in buying a new home or listing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted real estate professional.

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How A Reverse Mortgage Can Help With Long-Term Care

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 28th, 2020

How A Reverse Mortgage Can Help With Long-Term CareAnyone who has paid attention to the TV recently has likely seen a lot of commercials for something called a reverse mortgage. For those who might not know, a reverse mortgage is exactly that. In this option, people receive monthly payments from a lender in exchange for equity in their homes. In essence, this functions as an annuity.

One of the major benefits of a reverse mortgage is that it can be used to cover the costs associated with long-term care. Over the next few decades, the number of elderly individuals in the United States is projected to double. For this reason, long-term care is projected to become a major expense.

How Can A Reverse Mortgage Pay For Long-Term Care?

Long-term care is one of the biggest unexpected expenses encountered by the elderly. Often, coinsurance associated with a health insurance policy, combined with the lifetime caps on many policies, can shift significant medical costs to the individual. This leaves many elderly individuals looking for an immediate for some cash. Because many elderly individuals and families are on a fixed income, there are not a lot of options. 

This is where a reverse mortgage can come in handy. Many elderly individuals have paid off their houses entirely. This can act as an immediate source of equity, providing seniors with a much-needed cash infusion to cover the costs associated with long-term care.

Improving On Reverse Mortgages And Long-Term Care

With long-term care expected to become a bigger issue as a larger percentage of the US population reaches retirement, suggestions have been offered to address these costs. One of these suggestions has been to marry long-term care and reverse mortgages with improved social services.

Many experts have been suggesting ways to tie the equity in someone’s home to Medicare and Social Security. This could be used to create a nice safety net that might support seniors by covering the costs of long-term care. Given the stress that an unexpected medical expense can create, this can offer a much-needed respite for seniors and caregivers alike.

Taking Advantage Of A Reverse Mortgage

In the meantime, it is important for seniors to note that a reverse mortgage can offer an immediate cash infusion. This can be used to cover an unexpected cost, such as a medical bill. It will be interesting to see how reverse mortgages evolve in the future.

If you are interested in purchasing a new home or listing your current property, be sure to set up an appointment with your trusted real estate professional.

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3 Crucial Questions To Ask Before You Co-Sign A Mortgage

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 17th, 2020

3 Crucial Questions To Ask Before You Co-Sign A MortgageA mortgage is a significant responsibility. For this reason, many people have someone co-sign with them on their mortgage. Before agreeing to co-sign on any mortgage, it is important to ask the right questions. There are several crucial questions that everyone should ask before they co-sign on someone else’s mortgage.

What Does It Mean To Co-Sign On A Mortgage?

Before signing that piece of paper, it is important to understand the responsibilities involved. Co-signing on a mortgage is a little bit different than co-signing for a credit card.

The person who is buying the home, the primary signer, lives in the property in question. The co-signer, typically, does not. On the other hand, both people signing the mortgage take on the financial risk of the mortgage. Before co-signing, understand the financial risk involved.

Is It Smart To Trust The Borrower?

One of the most important questions to ask is whether or not the borrower can be trusted. Remember, if the primary signer cannot make the payments on the mortgage, the co-signer is on the hook for those payments. Before placing any financial assets on the line, make sure the borrower can be trusted to maintain gainful employment, make smart financial decisions, and keep up with the mortgage payments.

What Are The Risks Involved?

There are a few risks that people need to think about when it comes to co-signing a mortgage. First, think about the risk to the credit score. If the primary signer makes late payments, these can impact the co-signer’s financial health and credit score as well.

In addition, there are relationship risks that everyone should think about. Most people co-sign a mortgage for a family member or friend. Having this type of financial arrangement can complicate relationships among loved ones.

Understanding The Process Of Co-Signing A Mortgage

These are only a few of the many questions that people need to ask when they are thinking about co-signing on a mortgage. Everyone who is considering co-signing must consider the financial health and responsibility of the primary signer in addition to the risks they will be taking on. Co-signing on someone else’s mortgage is a big decision. Consider the various factors involved in this decision.

As always, speak with your trusted real estate and mortgage finance professional for advice on your personal situation.

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Can A Reverse Mortgage Impact Your Social Security Or Medicare Benefits?

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 8th, 2020

Can A Reverse Mortgage Impact Your Social Security Or Medicare BenefitsOne of the most common worries that people have is money. When it comes to those golden retirement years, many people worry about running out of money. At the same time, most people who reach their retirement years have a lot of equity in their home.

Therefore, many people think about drawing on the equity in their home as a source of income. A reverse mortgage will allow someone to do exactly that. On the other hand, can receiving payments from a reverse mortgage impact the benefits that someone can receive from Social Security or Medicare?

The Basics Of A Reverse Mortgage

First, people need to think about what a reverse mortgage truly means. When someone takes out a mortgage loan to purchase a home, they make regular monthly payments to the lender to repay this loan. A reverse mortgage is exactly that: a mortgage in reverse.

Instead, the bank pays the borrower. People withdraw money from the bank against the equity of the home. Then, this money doesn’t have to be repaid until someone sells the home, moves out of the house, or dies. Some of the fees that people may need to pay that are associated with a reverse mortgage include closing costs, origination fees, and insurance premiums.

Impact On Social Security And Medicare

First, people can rest easy. In general, a reverse mortgage is not going to have any impacts on someone’s Social Security benefits. The amount of income someone brings in from a reverse mortgage will not impact someone’s monthly benefits.

In addition, a reverse mortgage is not going to impact the benefits that someone receives from Medicare. On the other hand, it might impact someone’s Medicaid and SSI benefits (supplemental security income). Those who need clarification regarding this should speak with a trained and experienced attorney.

Is A Reverse Mortgage The Right Move?

Some people might be thinking about whether or not a reverse mortgage is right for them. It is important for everyone to think about their own individual financial situation because what is right for one person might not be right for the next. A reverse mortgage has the potential to provide someone with added financial security.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

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What To Know About Specialty Mortgages

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 24th, 2019

What To Know About Specialty MortgagesRecent medical school graduates, saddled by high student loan debt, sometimes have a hard time qualifying for a first mortgage. Now, however, a growing number of lenders will consider future earnings potential of high earners in the medical profession as a way to offset high debt ratios. But specialty mortgages for young physicians aren’t the only unique loans available today.

Nationwide, there are a number of unique programs designed to help first-time buyers qualify for a mortgage loan. While some target specific professions, others are open to a wider range of applicants. They are definitely worth exploring if you’re interested in buying a home, but are not able to qualify for a standard home loan.

Here are some of the better known, widely-available options:

Good Neighbor Next Door

A HUD-sponsored program, this not-so-well-known option is available to firefighters and law enforcement officers, emergency medical technicians and teachers. The loans provide a discount of up to 50 percent of the asking price in select zones in the country known as revitalization areas. One stipulation is that the borrower must agree to live in the home for at least three years.

VA Loans — Zero Down

For anyone who has served in the military, and certain authorized civilian employees of the government, the zero down VA loan is one of the best specialty mortgages available.

Home Path

Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac programs offered to low and moderate-income families also provide guidance and home-ownership information that can be invaluable for first-time borrowers. The education programs are specifically designed to address the common misconceptions about buying as well as providing education about property maintenance and financial responsibility.

Energy-Efficient Mortgage (EEM)

This specialty mortgage allows homebuyers to add green features to a home without making a larger down payment or paying a higher interest rate. The cost of energy-efficient improvements is simply rolled into the primary FHA or VA mortgage. It can be a cost-effective, simple way to add desirable improvements as well as value to a home.

FHA Rehabilitation Program

If a fixer-upper seems like the way to go for your specific situation, the FHA 203(k) program offers a loan option that might be a good fit. Basically, this mortgage is based on the value of the home after improvements are completed, and carries a down payment requirement as low as three percent. The funds needed for rehabilitation are included in the primary loan.

Native American Direct Loan

Essentially a VA loan for Native American veterans, this mortgage program is for homes on federal trust lands; it is a zero down 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a low interest rate.

State And Municipal Programs

Many states and cities have grants or specialty programs available. It is always worth checking with local jurisdictions to what is offered that you might qualify for.

Interest Only Or Extended Term

Two other types of mortgage that are available to serve special needs borrowers are interest only loans and mortgages with terms up to 40 years.

Be sure to ask your mortgage broker or lender for specifics about which financing option may be best for you.

With your financing pre-approved, you are now ready to contact your trusted real estate professional to help you find your new home.

 

 

 

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