Tag Archives: mortgages

The Benefits and Risks of Co-Signing for a Mortgage

 

Thanks to tighter mortgage qualification rules and higher-priced real estateparticularly in the greater Vancouver and Toronto areasit’s not always easy to qualify for a mortgage on your own merits.

You may very well have a great job, a decent income, a husky down payment and perfect credit, but that still may not be enough.

When a lender crunches the numbers, their calculations may indicate too much of your income is needed to service core homeownership expenses such as your mortgage payment, property taxes, heating and condo maintenance fees (if applicable).

In mortgage-speak, this means your debt service ratios are too high and you will need some extra help to qualify. But you do have options.

A co-signer can make all the difference

A mortgage co-signer can come in handy for many reasons, including when applicants have a soft or blemished credit history. But these days, it seems insufficient income supporting the mortgage application is the primary culprit.

We naturally tend to think of co-signers as parents. But there are also instances where children co-sign for their retired/unemployed parents. Siblings and spouses often help out too. It’s also possible for more than one person to co-sign a mortgage. A co-signer is likely to be approved when the lender is satisfied he/she will help lessen the risk associated with loan repayment.

Under the microscope

When you bring a co-signer into the picture, you are also taking their entire personal finances into consideration. It’s not just a simple matter of checking their credit.

Your mortgage lender is going to need a full application from them in order to grasp their financial picture, including information on all properties they own, any debts they are servicing and all of their own housing obligations. Your co-signer will go through the wringer much like you have.

What makes a strong co-signer?

The lender’s focus is mainly centred around a co-signer’s income coupled with a decent credit history. Some people think that if they have tons of equity in their home (high net worth) they will be great co-signers. But if they are primarily relying on CPP and OAS while living mortgage free, this is not going to help you qualify for a mortgage.

The best co-signer will offer strengths you currently lack when filling out a mortgage application on your own. For instance, if your income is preventing you from qualifying, find a co-signer with strong income. Or, if your issue is insufficient credit, bring a co-signer on board who has healthy credit.

Co-signer options

There are typically two different ways a co-signer can take shape:

  1. The co-signer becomes a co-borrower. This is like having a partner or spouse buy the home alongside a primary applicant. This involves adding the support of another person’s credit history and income to the application. The co-signer is placed on the title of the home and the lender considers this person equally responsible for the debtif the mortgage goes into default.
  2. The co-signer becomes a guarantor. In this scenario, he/she is backing the loan and vouching you’ll pay it back on time. The guarantor is responsible for the loan if it goes into default. Not many lenders process applications with guarantors, as they prefer all parties to share in the ownership. But some people want to avoid co-ownership for tax or estate planning purposes (more on this later).

gifting moneyNine things to keep in mind as a co-signee

  1. It is a rare privilege to find someone who is willing to co-sign for you. Make sure you are deserving of their trust and support.
  2. It is NOT your responsibility to co-sign for anyone. Carefully think about the character and stability of the people asking for your help, and if there is any chance you may need your own financial flexibility down the road, think twice before possibly shooting yourself in the foot.
  3. Ask for copies of all paperwork and be sure you fully understand the terms before signing.
  4. If you co-sign or act as a guarantor, you are entrusting your personal credit history to the primary borrowers. Late payments hurt both of you, so I recommend you have full access to all mortgage and tax account information to spot signs of trouble the instant they occur.
  5. Understand your legal, tax and even your estate’s position when considering becoming a co-signer. You are taking on a potentially large obligation that could cripple you financially if the borrower(s) cannot pay.
  6. A prudent co-signer may insist the primary applicants have disability insurance protecting the mortgage payments in the event of an income disruption due to poor health. Some will also insist on life insurance.
  7. Try to understand upfront how many years the co-borrower agreement will be in place, and whether you can change things mid-term if the borrower becomes able to assume the original mortgage on their own.
  8. There can be implications with respect to your personal income taxes. You may accumulate an obligation to pay capital gains taxes down the road. This should be discussed this with your tax accountant.
  9. Co-signing impacts Land Transfer Tax Rebates for first-time homebuyers. The rebate amount is reduced based on the percentage of ownership attributed to the co-signer.

Tips from a real estate lawyer

broker tipsWe spoke with Gord Mohan, an Ontario real estate lawyer, for unique insights based on his 22 years of experience.

“The cleanest way to deal with these situations is for the third party (which is typically a parent) to guarantee the main applicant’s mortgage debt obligation,” Mohan says. “This does not require the guarantor to appear on the title to the property, and so it prevents most later complications.”

Following are five key suggestions from Mohan:

  • Co-signers should seek independent legal advice to ensure they fully understand their obligations and rights.
  • All parties should have updated wills to address their intentions upon death and give their executor clear direction with respect to their ownership.
  • Many co-signers try to minimize future tax impact by opting for 1% ownership and having a private agreement that the borrowers will indemnify them or make them full owners if there is a tax bite down the road.
  • Some co-signers try to avoid future tax consequences completely by having their real estate lawyer draw up a “bare trust agreement”, which spells out that the co-signer has zero beneficial interest in the property.
  • A bare trust agreement can come in handy for the Land Transfer Tax (LTT) rebate,enabling the co-signer to apply for a refund from the Ministry of Finance – LTT bulletin.

Source – Canadian Mortgage Trends – ROSS TAYLOR 

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Everything you need to know about CMHC’s First-Time Home Buyer Incentive

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The federal government wants to make home ownership more affordable for young people and to do that it’s introducing the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive (FTHBI) this September. The $1.25 billion program, announced as part of the March federal budget, involves the government buying equity stakes in homes purchased by qualified home buyers, allowing for smaller mortgages that will keep monthly payments lower.

But how will the plan work? Below, we break down all the key details and take a look at who this new program is right for.

How the FTHBI works

The program will be administered by Canada’s housing agency, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC), which will pay 5% of the purchase price for an existing home, and up to 10% for the value of a new home, in exchange for an equity stake. Once the homeowner sells, they’re obligated to repay the CMHC.

The fine print includes the following:

  • To qualify, you must be a first-time home buyer.
  • Buyers must have a down payment of at least 5% of the total purchase price, up to 20%.
  • The household’s income must be under $120,000, and the mortgage and incentive amount together can’t be more than four times the household income.
  • Only insured mortgages will be eligible, meaning this will be restricted to those with a down payment worth less than 20% of the purchase price.
  • Buyers will not be exempt from federal “stress test” regulations (a mandatory mortgage qualification using the five-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada or the customer’s mortgage interest rate plus 2%)

Who is this for?

The program is for purchasers looking for a starter home but aren’t able to afford the monthly payments needed for a mortgage below $500,000. To qualify for mortgages in the $400,000 – $500,000 range, the household income would have to be close to six figures. Buyers would have to be willing to give up at least 5% of the value of their home to the federal government in exchange for lower monthly payments.

As an example, a couple earning up to the household income cap of $120,000 with a down payment of 5% on a new home would be entitled to an additional $48,000 provided by CMHC, as below:

Couple earning $120,000
$480,000 total purchase
-$24,000 down payment
-$48,000 matched by CMHC (10% for a new home)
= $408,000 mortgage

As both the household income and total purchase price are capped under the program, it’s worth noting that buyers with good credit and low debt might actually be able to borrow more money than the FTHBI would allow.

In this scenario, “the program forces you to buy less home than you otherwise would be able to. Whether consumers are disciplined enough to take part of that or not is the real question,” says Paul Taylor, president and CEO of Mortgage Professionals of Canada.

Buyers in the program will also want to consider the future value of their home over time. Is the neighborhood likely to increase in value? With a 5-10% equity stake in the home, CMHC will be along for the ride, both in the case of depreciation or appreciated value of the home.

“Vancouver North Shore is a great example. Now, it’s very much an outlier but if you bought the home in 1986 for $250,000 it’s probably worth $4 million now,” says Taylor.

Comparing markets

The most expensive home you can buy would be about $565,000 a government official told the CBC, which all but disqualifies purchases of detached homes or upscale condos in downtown Vancouver and Toronto. For example, the average home price in the Greater Toronto Area as of May 2019 was $838,540, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board.

CMHC acknowledged earlier this year that the average home in these markets won’t be within reach.

“It may not be a condo in Yaletown or a house in Riverdale, but there are options in both metropolitan areas to accommodate this program,” CMHC said in a press release in April. “In fact, around 23% of transactions in Toronto are for homes under $500,000 and 10% in Vancouver.”

This means that potential buyers will want to be comfortable living in the outer suburbs like Langley or Surrey in Vancouver, or Brampton and Mississauga in Toronto.

Recent residential listings for $472,000 (the average price for a home in Canada) 
*Compiled using listings found on Realtor.ca during the week of May 26th

Downtown Toronto Less than 30 listings
Downtown Vancouver Less than 100 listings
Calgary More than 600 listings
Winnipeg More than 2,000 listings

The program would seem to favour first-time buyers in smaller cities across Canada, at least when comparing options for buyers that tend to want to live in large cities downtown.

What you get for $490,000-$505,000

While this program can get you property up to $565,000 if you put the maximum down payment allowed for an insured mortgage (about 19.99%), we expect many who use this program will have the minimum 5% down payment and are looking to get into the property market sooner with help from the CMHC.

Based on that idea, we’ve compiled a look at some properties you can get in four major housing markets in Canada in the $490,000 to $505,000 price range. Take a look.

In Toronto: No houses listed but one-bedroom condos are available, typically 600-1,000 sq feet. Condos have more rooms and additional bathrooms as you get away from the city core. There is almost no supply below $300,000.

Here’s an example of what you might be able to get in the downtown core (one bedroom) in that price range.

 

 

In Vancouver: No houses listed but one-bedroom condos are available, typically 600-1,000 sq feet. More rooms and additional bathrooms as you get away from the city core.

Here’s an example of what you might be able to get (one bedroom).

In Calgary: You can find listings for two-bedroom bungalow houses downtown, along with two-bedroom condos over 900 square feet.

Here’s an example.

In Winnipeg: Limited supply at this price range. Detached houses are available however, with two-plus stories and multiple rooms. Large condos over 1,000 sq feet are available closer to a $300,00 price point.

Here’s an example.

Listing photos courtesy of Realtor.ca.

Source – LowestRates.ca –  Mike Winters on June 17, 2019

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Mortgages: A Brief History

Mortgages: A Brief History

​Fun facts on how mortgage loans have evolved through the years.

Taking on a mortgage is the most common way Ontarians can get a piece of the housing market – and has been for a long time. The mortgage industry dates back hundreds of years. But while the purpose of these loans has stayed the same, they’ve evolved from a simple repayment plan to a much more complex financial transaction.
Mortgages originated in England when people did not have the resources to purchase land in one transaction. Buyers would get loans directly from the seller – no banks or outside parties were involved. Unlike today, purchasers were not able to live on the land until the entire amount was paid. And, if they failed to keep up with payments, they would forfeit their right to the land as well as any prior payments they made to the seller.
By the 1900s most mortgages involved long-term loans where only monthly interest was paid while the borrower saved towards repayment of the original sum. Major world events, like the Great Depression of the 1920s and the two World Wars however, led to many borrowers being unable to repay even the interest on a property that was often now worth less than their original loan, and many lenders carrying a loan that was not secured by the value of the property.
This resulted in the introduction of long-term fully amortized mortgages that repaid some of the principal and some of the interest each month in a payment that was fixed for upwards of 25 years.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) was created in 1946 to administer the National Housing Act and today sells mandatory mortgage loan insurance when the buyer is putting less than 20 per cent down on the price of their new home. Mortgage loan insurance compensates lenders when borrowers default on their mortgage loans.
The rise of inflation in the 1970s altered mortgages into the products we know now. As interest rates climbed, lenders and borrowers found themselves locked into fully amortized loans that didn’t reflect interest rate changes. The creation of the partially amortized mortgage, which protects both lenders and borrowers from fluctuations in the market, mean that instead of 20- to 30-year terms, one, three or five-year terms amortized across 20 to 25 years have become a better option. Partially amortized mortgages are now one of the most common mortgage types in Canada.
Making the down payment for a mortgage easier to attain, the Home Buyer’s Plan, which allows Canadians to withdraw money from their Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) on a tax-free basis to buy a home, was introduced by the Canadian government in 1992.
On July 1, 2008, under the Mortgage Brokerages, Lenders and Administrators Act, 2006 [New Window], the Government of Ontario has required all businesses and individuals who conduct mortgage brokering activities in the province to be licensed with the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO). Mortgage brokers and agents play a big role in the mortgage process, with 51 per cent of first-time home buyers using their services according to a 2016 CMHC survey. Under the Act, all mortgage brokers and agents need to meet specific education, experience, and suitability requirements with the goal of increased consumer protection, competition and professionalism in the industry.
Mortgages have evolved from repayments that provided protection and benefits only for the landowner, to a system in which both the borrower and the lender can enter into the transaction with confidence.
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The 7 Most Common Mistakes Home Buyers Make

 

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Not Getting Pre-Approved Before You Shop

The more experience you have with buying real estate, the more you’ll learn about the complicated process. Between the confusing terminology and the logistics of buying a house, it’s all-too-easy to make the wrong move or wind up in an unwise investment. If you’re a first-time home buyer, skip the buyer’s remorse by learning about some of the most common pitfalls and how to avoid them. To find out what not to do, we reached out to Tracie Rigione and Vicki Ihlefeldthis link opens in a new tab, Vice Presidents of Sales at Al Filippone Associates/William Raveis Real Estate in Fairfield, Connecticut, to get their best advice.

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Mortgage Leads From Facebook Messenger? Believe It.

 

Nine out of 10 mortgage professionals can’t generate good quality leads from the web. Are you one of them?

If you want to grow your mortgage business, you have to steadily and consistently generate good quality prospects and leads. However, the landscape is changing rapidly and moving in a direction where conventional marketing is becoming less effective at generating qualified and engaged prospects that you can turn into mortgage deals.

There’s both a huge problem and an even bigger opportunity here, depending on how you look at it. Smart brokerages will capitalize on this change in market behaviour and take advantage of it for significant growth.  Others will ignore it, and continue marketing themselves the way they’ve always done it, and risk being left behind.

With all the powerful tools we implement in our marketing and all the money we spend to get our message in front of the right people, we still fall far short of meeting people where they are and giving them what they need the way they want it.

But there has been no other option up to this point. Text-based email open rates continue to decline as inboxes are flooded with noise. And it isn’t slowing down.

  • Average open rate across industries: 20.8%
  • Average click rate across industries: 2.43%

 

People are shifting how they do everything from accessing music and media to searching for and purchasing products. It’s all going mobile through apps.

People are using their smartphones and tablets more than ever to search for and consume media, information, education, and to search for, research and purchase products and services.

And they’re using apps to do it instead of browsers.

Mobile More Prevalent Than Ever

  • People today have two times more interactions with brands on mobile than anywhere else—including TV, in-store, etc. (Google, 2017)
  • 80% of smartphone users are more likely to purchase from companies with mobile sites or apps that help them easily answer their questions. (Google, 2018)
  • 94% of respondents in a Facebook survey (of one million people) have a smartphone on hand while watching TV. (Facebook, 2018)
  • During TV shows, viewers paid attention to mobile 28% of the time, and during TV ads, they paid attention to mobile more than half the time. People ages 18–24 looked at their smartphones 60% of the time during TV ads, and people ages 45 and over did so 41% of the time (Facebook, 2018)

I hope it’s becoming clear that mobile is the future of the mortgage business and marketing online. Now, let’s look at how people are using their mobile devices.

Spam filters are becoming more strict and almost too good at restricting access, to the point where your content may not be seen by your prospective clients.

The experience is broken. When you click a link you have to leave your email client and move to another application to view the content. On top of that, people have become wise to text-based email marketing and are less responsive to it.

NBC News, 2018

What are They Doing on Their Mobile Devices?

Consumers are using apps on their mobile devices significantly more than web browsers to get things done.  And social media apps and messaging apps are at the top of the list.

It’s clear that people want an instant, seamless, frictionless experience that meets them where they are and gives them the power to do it their way. Apps give them that.

  • Apps account for 89% of mobile media time, with the other 11% spent on websites. (Smart Insights)
  • Users spend on average 69% of their media time on smartphones (Comscore, 2017)
  • In 2017, 95.1% of active Facebook user accounts accessed the social network via a mobile device (Statista, 2018)

Your customers are on Facebook and Facebook Messenger where it’s easier to reach them and get their attention.

What is Facebook Messenger & Why Should I Care?

Messenger is Facebook’s messaging platform and application. Think text messaging, but through Facebook and 100 times more powerful and better.

And 1.2 billion people use it monthly on both desktop through browser and on mobile through dedicated apps.

And everyone who interacts through Facebook Messenger has a Facebook profile, which means they can be targeted by ads.

Most importantly, this is a messaging app that people use to communicate with friends and family regularly so they’re very comfortable using it.  And it’s how they want to communicate.

So if that’s the case, wouldn’t it make sense to tap into that channel if you could?

Well you can, and it’s one of the best marketing decisions you can make, if you make it soon.

Why Use Facebook Messenger as a Marketing Channel?

Statistics show Facebook Messenger is a channel you should pay attention to.

  • Over 2 billion messages are sent each month between people and businesses. If you think Facebook Messenger is only for people and not brands, you’re wrong. (Inc)
  • 260 million new conversations are started daily. These are not just new threads between people, but between people and businesses too. This number will only grow. (Inc)
  • Messaging apps surpassed social networks in monthly active users sometime in 2015 according to a report on Business Insider.
  • Facebook Messenger has 1.3 billion users. That is more users than Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram combined. (Inc)
  • Messenger adds 100 million new users every five to six months. Facebook Messenger hit 1.3 billion users in September 2018. (Inc)
  • 64% of monthly Facebook users use messenger. (DMR, 2018)
  • Users have 7 billion conversations on Messenger every day. That’s over 2.5 trillion conversations every year. For comparison, Snapchat users send 3 billion photos per day. (Inc)

One of the Best Marketing Opportunities

By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships with businesses without interacting with a human (Gartner).

Commerce is moving that way, whether you adopt it or not.

This tool and channel allows you to communicate with customers the way THEY want: one-to-one, on their phones or tablets, whenever is convenient for them.

It keeps your customers within the safety of Facebook and removes friction and barriers from the process, making it easier to move the relationship forward faster.

And, most importantly, Facebook Messenger marketing creates conversations, not leads. You don’t need a complex funnel when you interact with customers the way they want.

The result is a better experience for the customer and that translates to a better first impression of your brand, which leads to a whole host of benefits for both you and your clients in the long term.

So… let’s talk about what you would actually get out of Facebook Messenger marketing if you decided to implement it for your mortgage business.

Messenger Marketing – What’s in it for My Mortgage Business?

(Search Engine Journal, 2018)

1) Generates a conversation, not a lead.

In every other type of marketing you can do for your mortgage business, you’re never in an active conversation with the prospect in real time throughout the marketing process.

Marketing is meant to drive people to the conversation and make that conversation happen. Although, it can take a while. It’s never instant. Facebook Messenger makes this possible.

Now imagine this scene for a minute:

What if when you were watching a TV commercial, you could just walk up and press a button on the screen during the commercial and a conversation started right there between you and a person from that company?

That is exactly what happens with Facebook Messenger marketing. The customer clicks the ad and the conversation starts. The moment they click, they’re in an active dialogue with you and your brand.

That means you get to talk to them the moment they’re most interested in what you’re offering.

2) It gives the customer the simplest path to getting their problem solved without confusion.

It feels natural to them, so their guard comes down. Every time you have to leave one app for another to get something done, the friction reduces the likelihood you will turn them into a customer.

Most sales and marketing funnels are comprised of landing pages in one tool, a website on another platform, text-based email marketing in another tool, analytics in another tool…you get the picture.

That means that the user is going to have to figure out how to navigate through landing pages and multiple emails and website pages to finally get to the point where they can take the next step.

The image below is a comparison of a customer’s experience through a conventional landing-page funnel versus a Facebook Messenger funnel experience.

  • Each dot represents a touch.
  • Each red arrow represents a change from one software, app or device to another throughout the process.

The entire conversion process can take place almost entirely within Messenger. It’s a straight path to a solution.

That means prospects trust your brand faster and convert into a qualified lead and customer faster.

3) It’s automated, but not too much.

Once the user clicks the ad, they go directly to Facebook Messenger where the conversation is handled automatically by a Messenger bot.

A “bot” is simply a software version of a robot that you program to converse with users through Facebook Messenger just like a person…well, almost.

This means that your virtual assistant (the bot) is having a conversation behind the scenes with your prospective client, qualifying them, giving them more resources, gathering information about them, getting them interested and ready to talk to someone.

Then that prospect is handed over to the business to take over by phone or a scheduled appointment.

All of the lead generation and prequalification happens automatically.

4) Open up a channel four times more effective than email to communicate with your prospective customer whenever you want.

For someone to get value from what you send them, they have to consume it/access it/find it.

Facebook Messenger has an 80% open rate compared to text-based email with only 24%. Facebook Messenger has a 56% response rate compared to text-based email with less than 3%

Using Messenger Marketing in your Mortgage Business

Marketing is becoming harder and more expensive. People aren’t listening to channels like email and phone calls like they used to. They’re migrating to apps on their mobile devices to search for your services and products and do everything else.

With this huge shift in consumers to mobile, you need to have a strategy that focuses on reaching them there and engaging with them the way they want to do it – through apps like Facebook Messenger.

Let me ask you two quick questions.

1) Is your mortgage business positioned to take advantage of the mobile channel and channels like Facebook Messenger marketing rather than get left behind?

And…

2) Do you want to continue to generate leads that are getting more and more expensive by the day that hardly ever turn into conversations, let alone customers?

If your answer is “No” to either or both of the above questions, Facebook Messenger marketing could be the solution you need. If you want to explore this form of marketing for your mortgage business, or you have some questions, let’s connect and talk. Feel free to email me directly at javed@empression.ca

Source: Canadian Mortgage Trends – Javed S. Khan 

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How couples can save for a downpayment and stop arguing about money

According to a poll by the Bank of Montreal, 68 percent of Canadian couples surveyed cited fighting over money as a top reason for divorce, ahead of infidelity. Buying a home together only raises the stakes — bank accounts are merged, couples are collectively preparing for the biggest purchase of their lives and are budgeting together to chip away at a downpayment.

Octavia Ramirez is the founder of Paper & Coin — a financial coaching company that helps Millennials reach their personal finance goals. “Money can be a huge stressor in relationships. So why not get ahead of the problem?” she says.

Photo: Paper and Coin 

The finance pro is uniquely qualified to help couples. Since getting married, Ramirez has never once fought about money with her husband. “Obviously, I enjoy finances but it’s taken years of practice to get here,” she tells Livabl.

It all comes down to communication and understanding your partner’s unique worldview — especially when it comes to money. Dr. Katelyn Gomes (Ph.D., C.Psych), a clinical psychologist with CBT Associates, echoes this: “We each have unique personal histories that define our values, rules, dislikes and assumptions for living in and viewing the world — including how we spend money, save money, even what’s important in the home you purchase.”

Octavia Ramirez and Dr. Katelyn Gomes spill their tips for communicating about finances and, in turn, making your partnership even stronger.

Photo: James Bombales

1. Work together as a team by joining your accounts

“I often see couples not working together as a team by splitting their expenses. This divides your efforts and can interfere with what you’re trying to accomplish,” Ramirez explains.

When it comes to buying a home, Ramirez makes a case for joining your bank accounts, “When my husband and I get paid, it all goes into the same checking account and we move the money accordingly. We don’t treat it as my money, your money. Consider that both of your incomes together are the grand total.”

When couples put their savings into separate accounts, they also diminish their returns. “Splitting your accounts is a democratic way of doing things, but you won’t get as much bang for your buck that way,” she says.

Ultimately, if you’re in a serious committed relationship, be in a serious committed relationship. “If you divide things based on your separate incomes, it gives the person who makes more a leg-up versus feeling like you’re equally respected in the relationship,” says Ramirez.

Ultimately, you will both be living in the house together. If one person makes considerably less, going 50/50 can potentially lead to selling yourself short — and building resentment long-term.

Photo: Paper and Coin

2. Agree on your collective goals, then make a transparent budget

Ramirez often hears her clients explain that they have budgets — in their head. “It’s important to have a shared document that communicates your budget and spending at a glance.”

Before putting numbers into a Google spreadsheet, agree on your short-term and long-term financial goals with your partner. Working towards homeownership? Start by determining the cost of the house you want to buy, then work backwards to see how much you will need to save each year to make it happen.

“Once you know how much you’ll have to save in the year ahead, go back month-by-month and see what areas of your budget can be cut or if you can increase your income to reach that goal,” explains Ramirez.

Even if it means passing on your yearly vacation and doing a staycation, instead.

Octavia and Will Ramirez. Photo: Paper and Coin

3. Have regular budget meetings with your partner

Once you’ve set your budget and are tracking your expenses and spending, set monthly or bi-monthly meetings to stay on track.

“Getting a downpayment together is a huge accomplishment. It’s a long-term process and there are occasionally going to be slip-ups in your savings efforts. It’s important to come back together regularly to remind yourself of your ‘why’. Maybe you didn’t reach your goal one month. Don’t dwell on it for too long, and instead decide together to get back on the saddle,” says Ramirez.

Dr. Katelyn Gomes explains, “We have this tendency to incorporate comments from our partners using faulty or unhelpful interpretations. These are known as cognitive distortion and it includes things like mindreading, jumping to conclusions, catastrophizing or thinking of the worst-case scenario. When we think our partners opinion, wants or needs don’t align with our lens it can lead to difficulties in communication, clashes or arguments.”

When you keep the lines of communication open over your spending habits, it creates an opportunity to have the necessary dialogue to avoid miscommunications or jumping to conclusions.

“Whether it’s contentious or not, just showing up to have that conversation is really important to keep couples on the same page,” explains Ramirez.

Photo: Paper and Coin

4. Save for an emergency fund

To avoid major money stress down the line, Ramirez recommends having an emergency fund in place: “Before you buy a house, prioritize saving three to six months of expenses in advance. If you break up or someone loses a job, you won’t risk going into extreme debt while you figure out your next move.”

5. Stay in the loop, even if you aren’t handling the finances

If you’re the one to handle the finances, Ramirez recommends letting your partner in on exactly what’s going on — whether it’s your insurance policy, the status of the car payments, how much interest you’re paying on the mortgage, or how much credit card debt each person has brought into the relationship.

“Because I enjoy finances, there’s a temptation to not keep my husband in the loop,” says Ramirez. “But even when I handle everything, I always debrief him after. He knows the passwords for the bank accounts and where things go, so he can take over at any point. Having everything on the table encourages you to trust each other.”

Source: Livabl.com –  

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12 most affordable cities for millennial first-time homebuyers

Affordability stands in the way for millennials as one of the main barriers to homeownership.

But not all housing markets are created equal, and many cities offer this generation plenty of options within a price range they can afford.

“Millennials who dream of owning a home will have better luck if they move inland to places like St. Louis, Columbus and Pittsburgh,” Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather said in a press release. “These cities used to have economies that relied heavily on manufacturing, and during the recession a lot of young people moved away in search of jobs.”

With home price growth currently plateauing, the time for millennial buyers to strike could be now before that changes.

“However, now these cities have more diverse economies based on education, healthcare and technology, and there are open jobs with salaries that are high relative to cost of living. But millennials may want to move as quickly as possible because even in most inland cities the share of homes affordable to the typical millennial is shrinking as housing prices go up,” Fairweather said.

From just below the Mason-Dixon Line to the gateway to the West, here’s a look at the 12 housing markets with the highest percentage of homes affordable to millennial purchasers with median incomes.

Redfin calculated the share of homes in each housing market that were affordable during 2018 to households making the median income for millennials in that metro area, assuming a 20% down payment, an interest rate of 4.64% and a monthly mortgage payment no more than 30% of gross income.

 

12. Baltimore, Md.

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Median list price: $308,595
Median millennial salary: $85,562
Homes affordable to millennials: 81.3%

11. Raleigh, N.C.

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Median list price: $298,081
Median millennial salary: $76,729
Homes affordable to millennials: 81.4%

 

10. Oklahoma City, Okla.

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Median list price: $198,000
Median millennial salary: $60,462
Homes affordable to millennials: 82.8%

9. Indianapolis, Ind.

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Median list price: $190,000
Median millennial salary: $62,054
Homes affordable to millennials: 83.5%

 

8. Cleveland, Ohio

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Median list price: $164,900
Median millennial salary: $56,151
Homes affordable to millennials: 84%

7. Minneapolis, Minn.

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Median list price: $284,900
Median millennial salary: $83,933
Homes affordable to millennials: 85.1%

 

6. Kansas City, Mo.

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Median list price: $225,000
Median millennial salary: $71,313
Homes affordable to millennials: 85.2%

5. Hartford, Conn.

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Median list price: $249,900
Median millennial salary: $76,235
Homes affordable to millennials: 85.7%

 

4. Cincinnati, Ohio

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Median list price: $199,900
Median millennial salary: $68,511
Homes affordable to millennials: 85.9%

3. Columbus, Ohio

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Median list price: $215,500
Median millennial salary: $71,181
Homes affordable to millennials: 87.1%

 

2. Pittsburgh, Pa.

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Median list price: $179,900
Median millennial salary: $70,169
Homes affordable to millennials: 87.5%

1. St. Louis, Mo.

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Median list price: $189,900
Median millennial salary: $68,805
Homes affordable to millennials: 88.1%
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Source; National Mortgage News – Paul Centopani February 12 2019
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