October 31, 2014

Tips for Finding the Right House

So you’re thinking about hunting for a home. Congratulations! How do you plan on finding the home you want? It’s surprising how few people can answer this question. Most people say: “Well, I guess I’d look online and maybe contact a real estate agent.” Sure, that’s a fine place to start... but if you want to hunt for a home like a pro, here are some simple tactics that will make your experience much more efficient, pleasurable, and likely to land you a home you want to buy.

October 24, 2014

Is a home warranty right for you?

The idea of a home warranty can sound great. According to the National Association of Realtors, a home warranty is defined as, “a service contract, normally for one year, which helps protect home owners against the cost of unexpected covered repairs or replacement on their major systems and appliances that break down due to normal wear and tear. Coverage is for systems and appliances in good working order at the start of the contract.”

October 3, 2014

What’s a HELOC?

Part of the financial power of home ownership resides in your home’s equity. Unlike rent, which goes into a landlord’s pocket, the equity you build in your home can be a useful financial tool when the time is right. Home equity is defined as, “a homeowner's unencumbered interest in their real property—that is, the difference between the home's fair market value and the outstanding balance of all liens on the property.” (Source: Wikipedia)

A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is a useful way to access the equity in your home. Unlike a home equity loan (HEL), the HELOC operates more like a credit card. Rather than draw a fixed amount at one time, you’re able to draw on the line as-needed. Like a credit card, though, a HELOC can be risky. Since your home secures the line of credit, a failure to keep up with the payments can put your home on the line.

A typical HELOC allows you to access up to 85% of your home’s value, minus the outstanding balance on your mortgage. This can be a huge pool of credit to work with, depending on your equity position.