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Posted by MDM Realty, Inc on 8/4/2020

Saving for a down payment on a home is a long process that requires discipline and organization. But we all know that with so many other things going on in our lives it can be hard to spend enough time focusing on your budget.

Fortunately, there are several tools available to soon-to-be homeowners who want to keep track of their spending and make sure they meet their down payment goals. In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the best budgeting apps, websites, and other tools to help you keep yourself accountable so you can be living in your new home as soon as possible.

Why budget for a down payment?

If you’ve saved money in the past for a purchase without a budget you might be wondering why you should go through the effort of creating one now.

However, there are many reasons to have a budget, especially if you’re planning on making an investment as large as a home. Here are just a few:

  • Keeping an accurate budget will let you know almost exactly how much you can expect to save for a down payment

  • Budgeting helps you locate and cut out expenses that would be better used in your savings account

  • Budgeting will give you peace of mind along the road to saving for your down payment

Now that we’ve talked about the importance of making a budget, let’s talk about some of the best ways to get it done.

YNAB

You Need a Budget, often shortened to YNAB, is one of the most useful tools for learning about and creating a budget. I don’t know about you, but I was never formally taught how to budget in school. But, it would have been a useful class to have!

YNAB combines budgeting tools with educational materials to help you save while you learn more about managing money. It can be easy to feel lost when it comes to learning about personal finance--that’s what makes YNAB so great.

Their basic precept is that you “give every dollar a job,” meaning there won’t be any money in any of your accounts or in your paycheck that doesn’t have a purpose. That doesn’t mean you can’t spend money on yourself every once in awhile, just that you’ll have planned ahead for moments so you can manage them.

You Need A Budget is available for Apple, Android, on Alexa and in your browser.

Saving with your spouse

Planning a budget yourself is complicated as it is. But planning together with a spouse can be even more confusing. However, there are ways to effectively make a family budget to save for a down payment.

First, you should both make sure you have individual budgets to make sure you know how much money from each of your incomes can go into savings. Opening a joint savings account and having a certain percentage of your paycheck direct deposited into that account is a good place to start.


From there, monitor your savings for a month to see if you need to alter this number, and try to stick to your monthly savings goal.




Tags: budgeting   down payment  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by MDM Realty, Inc on 7/28/2020

Image by June Hanabi from Pixabay

Buying a home is never easy, but it can be especially challenging if you're making your purchase from a remote location, like when you're buying a vacation home. If you're purchasing a second home or a vacation property in the next few months, these tips can help you through the process. By doing your homework, working with the right real estate professional, and by making decisions in advance, you can make the purchasing process easier on yourself. Here's what you need to know.  

Understand the Tax & Loan Implications

Mortgages for vacation homes often require a larger down payment than primary residences. In addition, some loans that can be used to purchase primary residences cannot be used to buy vacation homes. For example, you can't pay for a vacation home with an FHA loan. 

You may be able to deduct the mortgage interest from your taxes, but only up to a certain amount. Your accountant can help you understand how the mortgage deduction will work before you buy the house. Call your accountant before getting into the home purchase process, so you can be fully aware of the tax implications before finalizing the purchase.

Know What You Want

Sit down with your family before you start shopping for a home. Have discussions that will focus your search. Ask questions like: Where do we want to buy? How big will the house be? How large should the lot be? Answering these questions in advance will help you narrow your search and keep it focused on houses that are likely to make you happy.  

Research the Real Estate Market

Are homes competitive in the area where you'd like to buy? Do they go fast? Must you act quickly? What's the price range of homes you'd like to buy? What's the forecast for real estate in the area? Having answers to these questions will help you make decisions that will inform your home buying process. Some of this information can be found online, but the best and most accurate way to get a lot of this information is to work with a reputable real estate professional.  

Plan at Least One or Two Trips

Much of the home buying process can be done remotely. PDF document signing technology has made it easy to make offers and send documents to home buyers from out of state or even out of the country. However, it's still advisable to make at least one trip to the area and see the house you'd like to buy in-person before making an offer. 

Very likely, you won't find the house you want to buy in the first trip. Plan to make at least one (and possibly two or more) trips to the area where you'd like to purchase. Plan your trips carefully to ensure each trip is productive. Make a list of properties to see before leaving. Communicate your list of properties with your real estate agent in advance, so your real estate professional can make appointments to see homes before you arrive.  

Find the Right Real Estate Professional

Work with a real estate agent who has facilitated long distance purchases in the past, and who has strategies for helping out of town buyers. To find a real estate agent, interview reputable candidates before settling on the right one for you. The real estate professional you choose should be friendly, communicative and confident in their ability to help. Working with the right real estate agent, you'll be able to get the job done, even when you're not in town.  




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by MDM Realty, Inc on 7/21/2020

Photo by Sussi Hj via Shutterstock

Your home is on the market, but you still live there. Now your agent called to see if a potential buyer can look at it in an hour. What do you do?

You Don’t Need to Panic

Instead of holding your head in despair, grab some tools, and clean the most visible areas of your home.

  • Sweep the front porch, steps and any cobwebs lurking in the corners. This is the first place your buyer sees, so it gives them an impression they’ll carry into the rest of the house.
  • While you’re at it, use the broom to give the front door a once over. If you have a cloth handy, use that too. If your door is glass, remove smudges from the kids and dogs. You can use vinegar and water, glass cleaner or simply warm water.
  • Grab a laundry basket and clear clutter from your entryway. Grab stray boots and shoes, hats and coats, school bags and anything else that gets dropped there. Put the basket in your car. You can organize it where it belongs later. Pick up any mail too and stick it in a drawer.
  • Sweep your kitchen floor and run a damp mop over it in the high traffic areas. To simplify this for the future, invest in a mop with a bottle of cleaner attached — no need for buckets.
  • Light a candle or diffuse essential oils in the kitchen to remove any odors from last night’s dinner.
  • Replace all the towels in the kitchen and baths. Set aside towels just for this purpose so that you always have a clean, matching set.
  • While you’re in the bathrooms, run a damp paper towel over the faucets and fixtures, wipe out the sink, and run a quick brush around the waterline of the toilet, then flush it.
  • Grab all the trash from your trash cans in the kitchen, bathroom, office, bedrooms, and laundry room. If you have a container in your garage, put it in there. Otherwise, throw it in a nearby dumpster(law permitting). Just because you can’t smell it doesn’t mean your visitor won’t notice.
  • If you have time, take a feather duster to dark, visible surfaces, light fixtures and art frames.

Finally, grab your family and the pets, hop in the car and head to the park. You don’t want to be near your home while the agent is showing it to buyers. When you’re nearby, the folks visiting might not feel free to ask the questions they need to. When they’ve gone, head back home and reach out to your agent for feedback. 




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by MDM Realty, Inc on 7/14/2020

We all know that buying a home is a significant decision that comes with a great deal of financial planning and preparation. However, few of us are taught the ins and outs of actually obtaining a mortgage to make your dream of homeownership come true.

Mortgages are a complicated business that is always changing, both with fluctuations in market rates and with policy decisions.

But, if you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future, it’s important to understand all of your options when it comes to mortgages.

In today’s post, we’re going to address the 20% down payment myth, where that number comes from, and what your options are when it comes to applying for a mortgage.

Where does the 20% down payment number come from?

For most people, 20% of a house is a serious amount of money that would take years to save up. If you’re a first-time homebuyer and don’t have any equity to use from selling another house, 20% may seem like an impossible amount to save within the time you want to buy a home. Fortunately, there are several ways to buy a home without having 20% in cash saved up.

But first, let’s understand where that number comes from.

Most mortgage lenders will want to ensure that lending to you is a safe investment of their money. They want to know that they’ll earn back what they’re spending. To do this, they use several methods.

First, they’ll check your credit history to see how often you pay your bills in time. Then, they’ll want proof if your income and financial stability. Finally, they’ll ask for either a down payment or a guarantee that you will pay them back. Here’s where that 20% comes in.

If you don’t have 20% of the mortgage amount saved for a down payment, you will typically have to pay something called private mortgage insurance. This is an extra monthly fee, on top of your mortgage payments with interest, that you pay to ensure the lender that they’re seeing a return on their investment.

Most homeowners put much less than 20% down

If you’re feeling bad about the amount of money you have saved for a down payment, don’t be! In fact, most first-time homebuyers put, on average, just 6% down on their first home.

Since first-time homeowners don’t have the benefit of equity they’ve accumulated by making payments on their previous mortgage, they often have to come up with down payments out of pocket.

Other options besides a 20% down payment

There are several ways to secure a mortgage without putting 20% down on the home. First, check to see if you are eligible for any loans that are guaranteed by the government. These can come from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), or the USDA single-family home program.

The third option is to take on private mortgage insurance until you’ve paid 20% of your mortgage payment.

Private mortgage insurance can be paid to an insurance company or to the federal government in the case of FHA loans, you can put down as low as 3.5%.


Between these three options, you should be able to find a mortgage that you can afford and one that will give you the best possible financial stability in the long-term.





Posted by MDM Realty, Inc on 7/7/2020

Photo by F. Muhammad via Pixabay

Whether you're about to sign on your first rental property or already possess a portfolio full of properties that are cash-flowing like crazy, you need this. Time to reframe your mindset, step above the minutiae, and get a panoramic view of the path you're choosing. 

Why Set Goals?

It's easy to get caught up in chasing shiny new investments--especially as you gain experience investing and managing properties. But chasing every fabulous deal that pops up can take you on more than a few rabbit trails that won't get you any closer to your end goal. 

  • Maybe you want to semi-retire at 40 and travel the world with your family. 
  • Maybe you want to build your net worth so you'll be able to unload most of your properties once you retire and reinvest into building your own dream home. 
  • Maybe you want to focus on building sustainable positive month-to-month cash flow so you can pursue non-real-estate-related goals. 

You might stumble across a slew of excellent deals and solid investments that don't fully push you toward your goals. They're good. Great, even. But maybe they require more in-depth vetting of tenants than you're willing to take on right now, or a complete rehab that you don't have enough hours in the day to pull off. 

Zoom out. Secure your vision. Grab a pen. And set some goals. 

Characteristics of Great Goals

  • Excellent goals are specific and measurable. You'll know beyond a shadow of a doubt when you've arrived at them. Maybe it's a certain number in terms of cash flow or net worth. Maybe it's the point at which you can quit your day job. Maybe it's something else. If you can't measure it, it's probably not specific enough. 
  • The best goals are realistically achievable. Anyone can set a goal to become a billionare in the next 12 months. Unless it's realistic for you, keep dreaming about it and working toward more achievable chunks of that dream. 
  • The best goals involve other people. This one might surprise you, but a team/community/network mentality is staggeringly important for real estate investors. You'll need a team you can rely on, and your long-term goals should involve deepening your network with investors, real estate agents, and other industry professionals that are rock stars in their fields.