2018 Financial Resolutions

It’s not too late to start your 2018 Resolutions!

More than 25% of people who make a New Year’s Resolution include a financial goal on their list.  Here are the four most common finance-related New Year’s Resolutions, and how you can easily follow them throughout the entire year!

 

1) Monitor Your Credit Score

Don’t put yourself in a situation where you apply for a loan and have to hope your credit score is good enough. Monitoring your credit score is easy to do and should be done every few months. Keeping an eye on your credit is not only beneficial when applying for a home mortgage loan or credit card, but you’ll also be able to see if there are any fraudulent accounts opened in your name. Federal law allows you to get a FREE copy of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company to determine if the information on your credit report is accurate and up to date. You can check your credit for free at www.annualcreditreport.com.

2) Track Your Expenses

The best way to manage your money is to know exactly where it is going. You can start tracking your expenses by writing down where you’re spending your money. You may be surprised to find out how much you’re actually spending, and how those Target runs and extra items at the grocery store really do add up. Once you see your spending habits, you’ll be able to find areas you can cut back and set a realistic budget.

3) Cash Diet

 After the holidays, you and your bank account may be feeling a little sluggish. If you’re like me, you’ve indulged in too many cookies and drinks and swiped your card too many times over the last few months. Consider helping your waistline and your budget by going on a cash diet by only paying with cash. When physically handing over cash, you’re seeing the money leaving your possession at that very moment. Unlike when you swipe your card, you generally won’t experience the same feeling until you check your bank statement to see all of the transactions at which point it’s too late.

4) Save

I am fairly sure that there isn’t a single person who hasn’t thought “I wish I would have saved more” at one time in their life. It is never too late to start saving, and it’s ok to start small. The easiest way to start is to set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account every month. Setting a goal will also help you save. It’s great to say, “I’ll save more” but setting a specific goal will make it easier for you to see your progress and achieve your goal.

 

If your New Year’s Resolution is to save for your next home, ask our Twin Cities mortgage team about our low-down home mortgage payment options. You may only have to save 1% of the home’s value to be approved for a home loan! Rainbow Mortgage Inc. is one of the few independent home mortgage companies in Minnesota to offer this unique program. Learn more about our 1% Down Payment program and start your 2018 New Year’s Resolution today!       

Rainbow Mortgage Inc.

3300 Edinborough Way #550

Edina, MN 55435

 NMLS# 345827 || 952-405-2090|| www.rainbowmortgageinc.com|| dave@rainbowmortgageinc.com

Mortgage Myths

Mortgage Myths: Busted!

When you mention you are about to buy a house, there’s a chance that your friends and family will give you their advice on how to get a mortgage or tips they’ve heard before. While some of the advice may be helpful, you should most likely proceed with caution since rules, regulations, and programs change all the time in the mortgage loan world. Here are the top 5 mortgage myths that we hear from our clients.

1) You need excellent credit to qualify.

Typically, a credit score of 670 is “good” and higher scores will generally help keep your interest rates lower- saving you money! Each specific loan program has a different credit requirement; some FHA loans can be done with a 600 or even a 500 credit score. While your credit score is a key factor, lenders look at other items while reviewing your mortgage loan application too. Ask us what programs your score qualifies for, or how to improve it if you’re not satisfied with your current credit score.

2) If you get pre-qualified, you definitely get a loan.

It’s advised that you get a letter of prequalification before you start looking for a home, and you may think this means you’re guaranteed a loan, but that’s not the case. The mortgage pre-qualification process determines the amount of home you’ll be eligible to purchase, based off of your income, credit score and a few other factors. Your pre-qualification letter is not a binding agreement or a specific offer to lend, as you’ll have to provide further documentation once you’re ready to move forward with the loan process and have found a house!

3) You need a significant down payment to purchase a home.

It’s been programmed in our minds that a 20% down payment is needed to purchase a home. It is not a requirement, but is an ideal amount. There are many loan programs out there that work with significantly lower down payments for those who may be strapped for cash, some programs even accept 1% or 3.5% down. The government also offers a few programs that require no down payment. Both the USDA and VA Loans offer mortgage loans without down payments! Keep in mind that if you do not put 20% down, you may be required to pay mortgage insurance. Adding that additional insurance will be important to factor into your monthly mortgage payment.

4) A 30-year loan is the best option.

A loan with a 30 year term may be the best option if you are looking to keep your payments lower, however, lower interest rates are usually offered with lower term mortgages. A 15-year mortgage may be the best option because of the amount of interest you’ll save over the life of the loan, however, your payment will most likely be higher than the 30 year option because of the shorter term of the loan (must be paid off in 15 years versus 30). Another low payment, low interest rate option would be an ARM or an Adjustable Rate Mortgage, where the interest rate periodically changes to reflect the market conditions. The rate may go up, causing your payment to go up, or it may go down, causing your payment to decrease. Consider each of these options when deciding which loan option is best for you! As a local mortgage broker, we’re able to shop around and find the different loan options so you don’t have to.

5) Student debt will prevent you from buying a home.

While it may be true that student loan debt may hinder your ability to purchase a home, new guideline changes have made it a bit easier. The debt-to-income ratio was increased to 50% since many of the first-time mortgage applicants looking to buy a home currently have student loan debt. Before this increase, borrowers had to fit all of their monthly debt obligations (including the presumed mortgage) within 45% of their pre-tax income. Even though the ratio has been increased, consider if it is right for your budget to have approximately 50% of your budget going towards debt.

These mortgage myths just break the surface on all of the free-floating mortgage advice. Have further questions on your situation, give us a call!

 

Rainbow Mortgage Inc.

3300 Edinborough Way #550

Edina, MN 55435

 NMLS# 345827 || 952-405-2090|| www.rainbowmortgageinc.com|| dave@rainbowmortgageinc.com

Three Credit Mistakes to Avoid When Going Through Divorce

Going through a divorce is a very challenging time for most people, parenting plans, splitting of assets, who gets the dog and so on. One area that many divorcing couples overlook is the effects of their divorce on their credit score. Simple things can reduce your score overnight by over 100 points or more if you are not careful. Here are three mistakes to avoid if you are going through a divorce.

  1. Stop paying your bills.

    The number one category for credit scoring is how well you pay your bills. Payment history makes up 35% of the credit score. Many times when couples split up before the divorce is final or they ever meet with an attorney, they will stop making payments on their credit accounts. If you stop paying credit cards, car loans or mortgages it will adversely affect your credit score and can prevent you from refinancing your home, purchasing a new one, renting or even buying a new car.

    A better plan is to freeze all revolving accounts so additional debt cannot be added to the family budget. You must continue to make the minimum monthly payments on the credit cards, and make your payments as usual on your auto loans and home loans. These simple steps will protect your credit score for future use and limit the amount of debt the family will have post decree.

  2. Over Charging/Going over the Limit on your credit cards

    Another large part of the credit score is your available credit.  If you go over the limit, I have seen scores drop over 125 points in one day by just adding $200.00 of debt.  The $200.00 in debt put two credit cards over the limit causing the client to go from a 667 credit score to a 542 credit score, that changed their loan from approved to denied.  Over charging or going over the limit can happen when one of the spouses moves out and uses joint accounts to furnish the new residence or it can occur if you are using your credit card to pay your attorney fees with credit cards.

    A better plan is for each spouse to get their own credit upon one or the other moving out so that all expenses are traceable to each party.  As mentioned in mistake number one, freeze the account so that no additional debt can be incurred. Finally, if you cannot get a new card and you are getting close to a limit, call the credit card company to increase your credit limit.  Credit card companies are more likely to increase credit lines if you are abiding by your contract limits, once you go over the limit they are less likely to assist you.

  3. Closing Accounts

    We see this one a lot!  When couples are faced with divorce, they want to protect themselves from further loss.  Couples either on their own or at the advice of their attorney close all the credit account, sometimes, due to circumstances surrounding the divorce, closing the accounts may be advisable.  However, if the divorce is amicable and there is some trust left, leave the accounts open, at least until you have your housing situation squared away.  I recently had a client that had a 744 credit score, it took them 6 months to complete the divorce.  In the process of the divorce they, paid off all the credit card debt and closed them, sold the house, and paid off the car loans.  You would think with no debt the credit score would be over 800!  The facts of the matter turned out to be the exact opposite.  At the time we needed a 640 credit score to qualify for a home loan, the credit score dropped to an amazingly low 636!

    A better plan would be to again freeze the credit card accounts and active lines of credit so that no additional debt jointly held debt would be obtained.  You can always payoff accounts, you just want to leave them open long enough to obtain your home loan financing.

 

Should you have any questions regarding this article, or any home financing questions, please feel free to contact Dave Jamison at 952-405-2090.

David Jamison is an Accredited Speaker and presenter of Continuing Law Education on the subject of Divorce and Mortgage, A Certified Mortgage Divorce Planning Professional, Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist  and Dave has been featured on 980 am Radio as a Divorce Mortgage Specialist.