Tony Economou - RE/MAX Advantage I



Posted by Tony Economou on 11/23/2017

Adjustable rate mortgages are also known as ďARMĒ loans. These are home loans with monthly payments that move up and down along with interest rates and the market. Thereís different periods that occur throughout the time of the adjustable loan including an initial period where the rate is fixed for a certain amount of time. The rates will change along with preset intervals of change. 


Rates Start Lower Than Fixed Rate Mortgages


Interest rates during the fixed rate period of an adjustable mortgage are usually lower than that of fixed-rate mortgages. The most common type of adjustable rate mortgage is called the 5/1 ARM. This means that the rate is locked for a total of 5 years before it becomes truly adjustable. After the 5 years the rate will change every year. Other forms of ARM loans are the 3/1, the 7/1, and the 10/1.


Rate Indexes And Margins


Following the fixed-rate period, the interest rate adjusts with whatís titled the index interest rate. This rate is set by the market and is released periodically by an independent party. Since there are a variety of indexes, your loan will state which index your adjustable rate mortgage will follow. To set your exact rate, your lender will look at the index and then add a number of percentage points that has already been set in place. This is called the margin. For example, an index rate of 2.5 percent and a margin of 2 will equal an interest rate of 4.5 percent. As the index changes, this number will go up and down.


Adjustable Rate Mortgages Come With Caps


If you do decide to go with an adjustable rate mortgage, you should know that youíre protected from extreme rate increases. These loans come with caps that limit the amount that both rates and payments can change by. There are several different kinds of caps including:


Periodic Rate Cap

This limits the amount that an interest rate can change from one year to the next.


Lifetime Rate Cap

This type of cap limits how much the interest rate can change overall throughout the life of the loan. 


Payment Rate Cap

This limits how much the monthly payments can rise over the life of the loan in a dollar amount. This is different than other caps, since it denotes dollars instead of percentage points.


Is This Type Of Loan For You?

Adjustable rate mortgages can be good, depending on the state of the economy and your own financial situation. Stay educated and shop around in order to get the best rates available for you.





Posted by Tony Economou on 11/9/2017

There are so many factors that go into finding and securing the financing to buy a home.   While lenders require quite a bit of information for you to get a loan, you still need to be aware of your own financial picture. Even if youíre pre-approved for a certain amount of money to buy a home, you still need to dig into your finances a bit deeper than a lender would. The bottom line is that you can't rely solely on a lender to tell you how much you can afford for a monthly payment on a home. Even if youíre approved to borrow the maximum amount of money for your finances to buy a home, it doesnít mean that you actually should use that amount. There are so many other real world things that you need to consider outside of the basic numbers that are plugged into a mortgage formula.   


Run Your Own Numbers


Itís important to sit down and do your own budget when youíre getting ready to buy a home. You have plenty of monthly expenses including student loan debt, car payments, utility bills, and more. Donít forget that you need to eat too! Think about what your lifestyle is like. How much do you spend on food? Do you go out to the movies often or spend a regular amount of cash on clothing? Even if you plan to make adjustments to these habits when buying a home, youíll want to think honestly about all of your needs and spending habits before signing on to buy a home. 


Now, youíll know what your true monthly costs are. Be sure to include things like home insurance, property taxes, monthly utilities, and any other personal monthly expenses in this budget. If you plan to put down a lower amount on the home, youíll also need to include additional insurance costs like private mortgage insurance (PMI).


The magic number that you should remember when it comes to housing costs is 30%. This is the percentage of your monthly income that you should plan to spend on housing. Realistically, this could make your budget tight so this is often thought of as a maximum percentage. By law, a lender canít approve a mortgage that would take up more than 35% of your monthly income. Some lenders have even stricter requirements such as not allowing a borrower to have a mortgage that would be more than 28% of monthly income. This is where the debt-to-income ratio comes into play.


As you can see, itís important to take an earnest look at your finances to avoid larger money issues when you buy a home.  





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Posted by Tony Economou on 8/3/2017

If youíre finding that your finances are a bit tighter these days, you might need to adjust your budget a bit. Have you ever thought about alternatives in helping you to pay your mortgage? Thereís a few things that you might be able to do in your home to save a few bucks and be more comfortable with your budget and finances. 


Share The Space


This might sound crazy, but it works for many people. If youíre willing to share your living space with others, it could help you to make a dent in your mortgage. This works especially well if you have a home with a separate entrance like an in-law apartment or something similar. 


Make Adjustments To Your Expenses


There are many different costs that come along with owning a home. If you reduce some of these expenses, youíll be able to cut your overall spending. You donít need to completely adjust your entire way of living to do this. Some ideas:


  • Cut the cord on cable and install streaming devices
  • Go on a family cell phone plan
  • Skip the gym membership
  • Use public transportation
  • Cook at home instead of eating out
  • Use coupons


Put Tax Refunds To Good Use


If you normally get a tax refund, you can apply that money to your mortgage instead of using it to buy something else. You could also adjust your withholdings. This would allow you to get a bit more money in your paycheck each week. Youíll get less of a refund during tax time, but the extra money may help you to pay down bills throughout the year. 


Pay More Towards The Principal 


To make the most of your hard-earned savings, use your money wisely and pay down the mortgage faster. Just be sure that thereís no penalty for a prepayment of the loan. You can either make an extra loan payment each month or you can pay a bit over what you owe on the mortgage each month. If you pay the mortgage faster, youíll save potentially thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan. Youíll need to check with your mortgage company to see what their process is for paying more towards the principal of the loan. Keep in mind that the first few yearsĎ worth of your mortgage payments will be going towards interest unless you specify extra payments to go elsewhere.


Whether youíd like a little more of a financial cushion or are just looking to get rid of all those pesky monthly bills, itís never a bad idea to focus on paying your mortgage down as quickly as possible.




Tags: Mortgage   finances  
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Posted by Tony Economou on 7/28/2016

One of the requirements of buying a home is for the buyer to provide a down payment equal to somewhere between 3 and 20% of the price of the home being purchased. The reasons behind a down payment may have seemed a bit arbitrary up to this point. Home buyers know they need a down payment, but just how important a down payment is can often be overlooked. Once itís all explained here, it will make a ton of sense to all first-time home buyers. Why Is A Down Payment Important? The larger the amount of the down payment that you can provide, the better it will be for your home loan status. The amount of the down payment provided will affect the type of loan that you get the and amount of the loan that you get for the house you buy. For any down payment that is less than 20% of the purchase price of the home, youíll need to get PMI (private mortgage insurance). A smaller down payment may also mean that less of the closing costs will be covered up front. This is definitely something to look into because long term, it may not be a wise decision financially. Think of the down payment as the foundation of the biggest purchase youíll ever make. Check Your Finances If youíre not able to save up for a down payment, it may not be the best time for you to buy a house. The mortgage process makes you take a step back and really check out your finances. Buying a home is a huge financial commitment. If youíre unable to save properly for a down payment, you may not be ready to commit to buying a home. If you havenít been able to save up enough for a down payment, you may not be financially ready to buy a home. Itís a great way to take a look at your financial health when youíre thinking about acquiring a mortgage. A small down payment means that youíre eligible for fewer types of mortgages. Typically a down payment of 5% or less limits you to only a few different kinds of mortgages. This is important to keep in mind when planing your financial future. Also, keep in mind that the larger the down payment, the more keen lenders will be on actually granting you a loan. Renting Could Help You In The Long Term The thought of continuing to a rent over buy a home could be stressful for you. In the long term, however, itís much better to continue paying rent than to risk losing your home due to foreclosure. Being unable to make mortgage payments is a serious thing. The entire process of buying a home starts in acquiring for the down payment.




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