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First Time Home Buying - Buying a home is a huge step for anyone and there is much to learn. You can either learn smartly, or learn the hard way by making costly and regrettable mistakes.
Consider the type of area you want to live in, and the amount you can afford. You may also want to consider if the homes in that area will be more likely to increase or decrease in value, due to issues such as new businesses or poor road maintance.
Get mortgage education. Learn the industry jargon, know the different types of home loans, and learn about related issues such as home insurance.
To help you determine how much house you can afford, consider getting a Mortgage Pre-Approval. Lenders offer borrowers a pre-qualification letter or a pre-approval letter. A pre-qualification letter states the amount a lender thinks you’ll be able to borrow; but isn't guaranteed.
First Time Home Buyer Programs - There are numerous opportunities for mortgage financing for first time home buyers. Most states have programs tailored for first timers, many of which involve little or no money down, limited credit reference requirements, and free mortgage information to help new buyers navigate the process with success. So called “government loans” can also be a perfect choice. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Veterans' Administration (VA) offer mortgage programs that have helped millions of people own their first home. FHA programs allow down payments as low as 3% and also allow many buyers to include most of their closing costs in their new loan. For many first timers, having sufficient cash is a major problem, but FHA loans can eliminate this issue. If you are an active or retired military person, you can obtain a certificate of eligibility for a VA loan, which may qualify people for a no money down loan. The VA also provides pre-purchase counseling to give a new buyer valuable information to help simplify the mortgage process.
A government mortgage may be an excellent choice for a first time home buyer. The big advantage is the ability to get a mortgage loan with very little or no money down, as lack of a sufficient down payment is the most common problem for many first time buyers. There are two primary categories of loans commonly referred to as government mortgages:
* Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, usually known as HUD.
* U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), offering mortgage loans to active and retired members of the armed forces.
A major feature of an FHA loan, your down payment can be as low as 3% which helps buyers short of cash. In addition, FHA allows you to include your closing costs into your new loan.
The VA, like the FHA, does not actually make loans directly, but guarantees part of the loan to the lender who makes the actual loan. Veterans of military service can obtain an eligibility certificate which is their passport to be able to get a VA loan. Most VA loans require no money down.
The only disadvantage of either of these two programs is a mortgage insurance fee (FHA) and a funding fee (VA). The VA funding fee is two per cent of the mortgage amount (two and three-quarters per cent for reservists), but may be included in the loan at closing. The FHA mortgage insurance costs about one per cent of the mortgage amount. For a first time home buyer, these government mortgage loan programs can be a lifesaver.
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Guaranteed loan for Veterans: Are you a
US veteran? Get a VA guaranteed loan. VA guaranteed loans are made by private lenders, such as banks, savings & loans, or mortgage companies to eligible veterans for the purchase of a home which must be for their own personal occupancy. To get a loan, a veteran must apply to a lender. If the loan is approved, VA will guarantee a portion of it to the lender. This guaranty protects the lender against loss up to the amount guaranteed and allows a veteran to obtain favorable financing terms. There is no maximum VA loan but lenders will generally limit VA loans to $240,000. This is because lenders sell VA loans in the secondary market, which currently places a $240,000 limit on the loans. For loans up to this amount, it is usually possible for qualified veterans to obtain no down payment financing. A veteran's basic entitlement is $36,000 (or up to $60,000 for certain loans over $144,000). Lenders will generally loan up to 4 times a veteran's available entitlement without a down payment, provided the veteran is income and credit qualified and the property appraises for the asking price.
Why should you apply for a new
home loan: Do you pay rent? Invest your rent money into the ownership of your own home. Not only can you have a place to call your own, being a home owner can also open more financial doors for you. As the equity in your home increases, you can refinance and use the money to pay off bills, send a child to college, go on vacation or use the money for any reason. Owning your own home is a wise investment. Also, you won't have to worry any longer about rent increases. A home can bring stability to a family.
Owning your own home is easier than you think. Before you start browsing real estate listings, apply for a new home loan quote to see how much money your credit rating will allow you to borrow. This can help you narrow down the choices.
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Christmas Holidays Financial Mistakes to Avoid: Tis the season when normal credit card rules and safe spending habits are forgotten. Instead, the holiday season is often an excuse to splurge, charging up credit card balances that take an entire year to repay, if not more. That's not the only mistake people make with their credit cards during the holidays. Here is a list of 10 common holiday credit card mistakes.
1. Maxing out your credit card on gifts. If you max out your credit card during holiday shopping, you risk going over your credit limit once finance charges kick it. Plus there's a negative impact to your credit score whenever your balance exceeds around 10% to 30% of your credit limit. You face an over-the-limit fee and you could trigger the default interest rate if you go over your credit limit while you're holiday shopping.
2. Buying more gifts than you can afford. Racking up more debt than you can repay will lead to trouble in the New Year as you struggle to figure out how to pay for those charges. Save yourself some future stress by only purchasing what you can repay in full when your bill comes.
3. Gift shopping without a budget. Without a predetermined spending limit, you can easily max out your credit card or charge more than you can afford. Before you hit the mall, figure out how much you can reasonably spend and keep that amount in mind as you shop.
4. Spending without tracking your balance. A budget does no good if you don't make sure you're keeping up with it. Keep track of your receipts and periodically check to make sure you're not spending too much. You may even be able to call your card's automated line to double check your balance.
5. Opening or applying for new accounts just for the discount. Retail stores will encourage you to sign up for their store credit cards and even offer a discount on your purchase. Resist the temptation to apply for new accounts just to purchase more gifts. The inquiries affect your credit score and you risk charging more than you can afford.
6. Letting someone holiday shop with your credit card. If you loan your credit card to someone else, you have no control over how much they're spending on gifts. Be prepared to repay the balance of those gifts if your card borrower doesn't pay up.
7. Leaving your card unattended while you shop, eat, etc. There is a lot going on during the holiday season. Your credit card is targeted more during this time of year than any other time. Keep your credit card close to you and never let it out of your sight. Granted, you have limited (sometimes $0) liability for charges on a stolen credit card, but dealing with a stolen credit card can dampen your holiday spirit. Put credit card safety first.
8. Using your credit card to buy gifts because you don't have cash. If you don't have cash to buy gifts this holiday season, chances are you can't really afford the gifts anyway. If you don't have money for gifts, don't resort to credit. Instead, consider regifting items you've receive, find deals at a thrift store or yard sale, or give homemade gifts. (Not giving a gift at all is also an option.)
9. Charging gifts for yourself because you "deserve" them. It can be hard perusing the stores for weeks without getting anything for yourself. While you're going to see things you want to buy, but practice self-discipline. Remember that while you're out getting gifts for others, there are people buying gifts for you.
10. Ignoring your post-holiday billing statement. If you kept track of how much you spent, you can already guess that your first credit card billing statement will be higher than normal. Facing it sooner rather than later will help you get rid of that high balance sooner rather than later. Another reason to check your billing statement: to catch any fraudulent holiday charges made by rogue elves.
Retail Store Christmas Layaway Plans - One way to avoid high interest credit card debt is to place purchases on layaway. Below is a listing of retailer programs:
Bed Bath & Beyond Layaway - Currently Bed Bath & Beyond does not offer a layaway program.
Hallmark Layaway - Currently Hallmark does not offer a layaway program.
J C Penney Layaway - Currently J C Penney does not offer a layaway program.
Kmart Layaway, offer valid only on new Kmart Layaway contracts initiated from 10/19 through 11/01.
$10 down due at contract initiation. All fees nonrefundable. Cancellation fees apply. No cancellation fees in Ohio. Requires biweekly payments. Total layaway contract amount spread over 4 biweekly payments for an 8 week contract and 6 biweekly payments for a 12 week contract. Maryland, Washington D.C. and online offer 8 week contracts only. 12-week Layaway option available on purchases of $300 or more. Not available at all stores. Exclusions apply. See store for further details.
Online and In-Store ONLY (with a total purchase of $300 or more).
Payment Option: 8 weeks
Service fee* $5.00
Down Payment* $15 or 10% (whichever is greater)
Biweekly Payments: 4 easy payments (of balance due after down payment)
Payment Option: 12 weeks:
Service fee* $10.00
Cancellation fee* $20.00
Down Payment* $30 or $10% (whichever is greater)
Biweekly Payments: 6 easy payments (of balance due after down payment)
In-Store layaway: Offer valid only on Layaway purchases made from 10/19 through 11/01. Not combinable with any other offer. Discount given on clothing, shoes and jewelry at time of new in-store layaway purchase. Purchase requirement calculated before taxes and after other discounts have been applied and must be made in a single transaction. Excludes clearance merchandise, Everyday Great Price items, Deal Flash, red-tag special buys, incredible buys, introductory offers, gold-filled jewelry, family jewelry and class rings. Savings applied and pro-rated across all qualifying items purchased in addition to the minimum requirements and will be deducted from any refund. Members earn points on qualifying purchases, excluding sales taxes and other fees. Subject to full program terms available at www.shopyourway.com.
In-Store Layaways: 4 Easy steps to get what you want.
1.Shop what you want. Add your items to cart and go to checkout
2.Make a down payment.† This includes the Service Fee and is due when you initiate your contract.
3.Make payments every two weeks. Online or at any in-store register with cash, check or debit/credit card.
4.Pick up your items. Once your last payment is made, or schedule your pickup online.
In-Store Layaway FAQs:
How long is a Kmart layaway contract?
Layaway contracts are 8 weeks. For purchases of $300 or more, a 12-week option is available in-store.
Are there any fees? Except where prohibited by law, an 8 week contract requires a $5 Service Fee and a 12-week layaway contract requires a $10 Service Fee.*
Can I cancel a layaway contract? Yes, you can cancel any layaway contract. You will receive a refund of your payments made to date minus the Service and Cancellation Fees.*
Are all items online available for layaway? Items that are available for online layaway will be identified as "Available for Layaway" on the individual product page.
What are my payments? 4 easy payments of balance due are required after down payment for an 8 week contract and 6 easy payments of balance due are required for a 12-week contract.
What if I miss a layaway payment? You have a 7-day grace* period after your payment due date before your contract is cancelled and items are returned to stock. A nonrefundable Cancellation Fee will apply.*
Where can I make my payments? You can make a payment at any register in the store that holds your contract or online at kmart.com/layaway.
Macys Layaway - Currently Macys does not offer a layaway program.
Old Navy Layaway - Currently Old Navy does not offer a layaway program.
RadioShack Layaway - Currently RadioShack does not offer a layaway program.
Sears No Money Down Layaway* Offer valid on new layaway purchases made in-store and online. Service fees and exclusions apply. See associate for details.*
Pay nothing today! 4 or 6 equal payments, Lock in today's prices. Sears layaway overview, 4 Easy steps to get what you want.
1.Shop for virtually anything. Bring your items to any register in the store or add to your shopping cart online.
2.Make your down payment. View sample payment table
3.Make payments every two weeks online or at any Sears register. Use cash, check or debit/credit card.
4.Pick up your items if they are held at the store. For items held at the warehouse, schedule a pick-up or delivery time.
8-week option layaway facts:
Service Fee is $5 for all new layaway contracts.*
Cancellation Fee is $15 for all new layaway contracts.*
Down Payment is $20 or 20% (whichever is greater) and is collected when merchandise is put on layaway.*
4 Easy Payments of balance due are required after down payment for an 8-week layaway contract.
12-week option layaway, In-Store Only (with a total purchase of $400 or more )
Service Fee * $10
Cancellation Fee * $25
Down Payment* $35 or 20% whichever is greater
Bi-Weekly Payments 6 easy payments (16.7% of balance due after down payment)
* Except where prohibited by law, in which case the payment would be less than that amount.
See stores for state specific fee limitations. Down payment includes $5 Service Fee for an 8-week contract
and a $10 Service Fee for a 12-week contract. No partial cancellations are permitted. Cancellations
can be made only in the store where you opened your contract.
Offer valid only on new Sears Layaway contracts initiated. No down payment required in store at contract initiation. One penny required down online. Service fees apply. All fees nonrefundable. Cancellation fees apply. No cancellation fee in Ohio. Requires biweekly payments. Total Layaway contract amount spread over 4 biweekly payments for an 8 week contract and 6 biweekly payments for a 12 week contract. 12 week Layaway option available in-store only for purchases of $400 or more.
Buy it your way with Sears Layaway. Get what you want and pay over time. Shop your favorite items, such as clothing, toys and games, electronics, and much more. Then pay on an affordable schedule that fits your budget. Before you know it, you'll be taking your items home, free and clear. But it your way with Sears Layaway provides you with more shopping options. Need more information? Go to Sears.com/Layaway.
How long is a Sears layaway contract? Layaway contracts are 8 weeks. For purchases of $400 or more, a 12-week option is available in-store.
Are there any fees? Except where prohibited by law, an 8-week contract requires a $5 Service Fee and a 12-week layaway contract requires a $10 Service Fee.*
Can I cancel a layaway contract? Yes, you can cancel any layaway contract. You will receive a refund of your payments made to date minus the Service and Cancellation Fees.*
Are all items online available for layaway? Items that are eligible for online layaway will be identified as "Available for Layaway" on the individual product page.
What are my payments? 4 easy payments of balance due are required after down payment for an 8-week contract and 6 easy payments of balance due are required for a 12-week contract.
What if I miss a layaway payment? You have a 7 day grace period after your payment due date before your contract is cancelled and items are returned to stock. A nonrefundable Cancellation Fee will apply.*
Where can I make my payments? You can make a payment at the store that holds your contract or online at sears.com/layaway.
Target Layaway - Currently Target does not offer a layaway program.
Toys R Us FREE Layaway In Store with No upfront fees!
1 Simply deposit 10% of the total cost. There is no service fee!
2 All payments can be made at any register or online, 24 hours a day.
3 Make your final payment in store, and take your item home right away. Or, if you make your final payment online, you will be notified of the earliest time you can pick up your item.
Need to cancel your Layaway order? Item(s) will be returned to the shelves and payments will be refunded, minus a $10 cancellation fee.
*Available at all stores except Toys "R"Us Times Square. Excludes Special Orders, food, formula and clothing.
Toys R Us Free Online Layaway - Get it shipped to your home or pick up in store!
Layaway is available on gym sets, video game systems, bikes, ride-ons & so much more!
Enjoy the convenience of making additional payments over time online or in store!
Pick it up or ship it. After your final payment, we'll let you know when to pick up your item, or you can choose to have it shipped!
T J Maxx Layaway - Currently T J Maxx does not offer a layaway program.
Walmart Layaway: Start today. Take More Time To Pay. Christmas Layaway runs from Sept 12 to Dec 15. Place electronics, auto electronics, large furniture, infant furniture, toys, select sporting goods, small applicances and jewelry.
No Opening Fee.
Down payment $10 or 10% whichever is greater.
Program is for in stores only.
Layaway is available in stores this holiday season from September 12 through December 15. Certain store locations offer layaway year round for jewelry purchases only. Layaway is not offered for online purchases.
* Minimums – Individual items must be $15 or greater. Total purchases must be $50 or greater
* Terms – Final payment and pickup must be made on or before December 15 at the same store layaway was initiated (or order will be canceled).
* Cancellation – If account is canceled, items will be returned to inventory. Down payment and payments made will be refunded, less a $10 cancellation fee.
* Returns – Walmart Returns Policy applies to all layaway transactions.
Pickup & pay:
* Location – Layaway is initiated and picked up at the Service Desk. Payments can be made at any register.
* Timing – Some layaway items may be stored at a location other than where the layaway account was opened. All items stored remotely will be available for pickup within 10 days of paying the balance due, but no later than December 15.
* In stores only (not available for online purchases)
* Available for electronics, toys, select sporting goods, small appliances and jewelry
* Excludes wireless phones that require contracts.
* Layaway not available on Friday, November 28th.
See your local Walmart store’s service desk for more details.
Zales Layaway Policy - EXCLUSIVE TEN FOR TEN LAYAWAY PLAN: Put 10% down and pay the rest in ten equal monthly payments. Jewelry buying made easy. See store for details.
interest loan to buy Christmas gifts. If you are a homeowner, you may qualify
for a large amount personal loan to buy Christmas presents without needing to
place charges on a credit card. A homeowner long term personal loan has an interest rate lower than your credit card interest rates, but it may still be relatively high if you have a very low credit score. Contact your bank to ask about a
Christmas personal loan. A home refinance or home equity loan is your best option, because the loan is secured by your
home the interest rate is lower than you would find with a credit card or an unsecured personal loan. If you have bad credit, the rate won't be the lowest possible. Tax deductions are another advantage to taking home equity loans. Mortgage interest and most interest for home equity loans or lines of credit are tax deductible, which will free up a little extra cash for paying those bills.
Home for the Holidays: Part of the American dream to own a home is more than mere property ownership. It's living. It's raising a family. And it's quite comforting to think of living in a home you can decorate for the Christmas holidays. First time home buyers may find it best to start with a prior ownership home versus one just built and never had occupants. The reason is because those homes may be far less costly than newly built ones. Whether you want to buy a pre-owned home or a brand new house built for you, prepare your credit and apply for free mortgage loan quotes.
Getting a mortgage loan after foreclosure
Buying a home is a challenging goal for most hopeful homeowners. But for those who have experienced a bankruptcy, foreclosure or short sale, the hurdles are even higher.
Still, it's not impossible to buy a home after an adverse financial event, says Dan Keller, a mortgage banker with Hometown Lending in Everett, Wash. In fact, Keller says, people who have cleaned up their credit and are otherwise qualified to get a mortgage can buy a home as soon as they have outlasted a prescribed waiting period after the bankruptcy, foreclosure or short sale.
Be patient a while: The waiting period can last one to seven years, says Kirk Chivas, chief operating officer at First Commerce Financial in Wixom, Mich. The one-year requirement applies to buyers who completed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, have a spotless subsequent credit history and want to get a new loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration, or FHA, or guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The seven-year requirement applies to buyers who experienced a foreclosure and want to get a new conventional loan that can be sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac
Home loan borrowers must have very clean or perfect credit histories before they can buy homes after bankruptcy, foreclosure or short sale. A slip-up as small as one late credit card payment could disqualify a post-bankruptcy buyer from some loan programs, even if the waiting period has been completed.
Save money for a down payment. People looking for home loans after a foreclosure will likely need to make larger down payments. For this reason, you must save every penny you can. If you have any "toys" like boats or four wheelers, you may want to consider selling them. People looking for home loans after foreclosure will need to prioritize. What is more important, a new house or the toy? For many people that want a home loan after a foreclosure, it's an easy choice. If you cannot part with these items, plan to put away as much money as you can into your savings account each and every month.
Improve your credit score. Home loans for people after a foreclosure are much easier to get when you have made improvements in your credit score. For many, this is a long-term proposition. Keep in mind that there are some things you can do today that can make a big improvement in your score. If you request a copy of your report, you can pay off all accounts in collections. In addition, you can dispute any errors you find. People can often get home loans after a foreclosure by making the needed improvements in their rating. Sometimes, the boost you get using these methods may be enough to get approved.
Shop around for lenders. People can get home loans after a foreclosure this way. Just because one the lenders won't approve you for a new house, doesn't mean none of them will. Consider checking out online house lenders. You'll find that many online house lenders have much looser funding requirements. People looking for a home loan after a foreclosure will need to keep their options open. Don't be afraid to check out many lenders; you only need one to say yes to get your new house.
Meet with local banks to show them the improvements you've made. If you have maintained a good relationship with your bank, likely not the one that took your house, you may be able to pull it off fairly quickly. Show what you've done to improve your situation. This could include the improvements in your credit ranking, the money you've saved and the bills you've paid.