Loading
Tap on the profile icon to edit
your financial details.

Mortgage

Jul 23, 2019 If you’re young and you're looking to purchase a new home to live in, maybe you should consider turning your first home into an investment property. While most people wait until after they've bought their first or second home to begin investing in real estate, you could start much sooner than you think. We'll explain why jumping into the real estate investing game might be a good idea. Read More...

Jul 18, 2019 Paying off your mortgage ahead of schedule could be a good idea if you want to save money on interest. In the process of getting rid of your home loan just one or two years early, you could potentially save hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars. But if you're planning to take that approach, it's important to avoid the pitfalls that some homeowners run into. Read More...

Sep 25, 2019 First-time homebuyer programs throughout the country help hopeful homeowners even if they are low- to moderate-income individuals. These programs also assist Americans in securing  mortgages when they don't have the best credit scores. Some even cater to specific professions like those in law enforcement, education and the military. Read More...

Feb 13, 2019 The  debt-to-income ratio is one of the most important factors mortgage lenders use to evaluate the creditworthiness of borrowers. It measures the size of your monthly debt burden relative to the size of your monthly pay. And in addition to your credit score and other financial information, it helps lenders decide whether you're capable of taking on another loan. Worried that you have too much debt to buy a house? Let's look at what lenders have to say about the ideal debt-to-income ratio for mortgages. Read More...

May 29, 2019 It’s no secret that living in New York City is expensive. Before the average NYC resident’s paycheck even reaches the bank, they're shelling out some of the highest income taxes in the country, with high taxes on both the state and local level. Beyond that, prospective residents face some of the least affordable housing in the country. That's particularly true for NYC residents who want to be in the heart of it all and live in Manhattan. Read More...

Sep 20, 2018 Big-city living comes with quite a few perks. Grocery stores and shopping centers are often in walking distance and there are usually plenty of restaurants, bars and activities close by. But when you live in a city with a high cost of living, you have less purchasing power. You might spend a lot more on housing, food and healthcare than you would if you lived somewhere else. Read More...

May 27, 2016 Though the U.S. doesn't rank as the happiest country in the world (that honor goes to Denmark) Americans report high levels of life satisfaction. The U.S. ranked 13th in a recent World Happiness Report that looked at 156 countries. But how do individual counties within the U.S. stack up in the happiness stakes? Let's take a look. Read More...

Jun 19, 2018 Feeling the lure of the Windy City? Ready to make your home in the Jewel of the Midwest? We don't blame you. Chicago combines the features of a major city with a small-town feel and Midwestern friendliness. Here are 13 tips for anyone considering moving to Chicago.  Read More...

Jul 10, 2019 Alaska, also known as the Last Frontier, is on many Americans' travel bucket list. If you visit Alaska and fall in love with it, you may decide you want to move to there. While Alaska famously offers an annual check to each of the state's residents, the somewhat high cost of living may offset this perk. Despite some of its more exorbitant costs, there are no state income or sales taxes. Read More...

Apr 05, 2017 In the wake of the housing crisis last decade, homeownership rates declined markedly. In 2005, more than 69% of American households owned the home they lived in. Today that rate is just 64%. The decline has been especially steep among young homeowners. At the end of 2015, less than 35% of adults under the age of 35 owned their home. Read More...

Feb 03, 2017 After reaching historic lows, mortgage rates are once again on the rise. But homeowners who are looking to refinance can still get a great deal. A mortgage refinance can certainly help you keep more cash in your pocket but you need to weigh the pros and cons before you sign on the dotted line. If you're wondering whether now's the time to take out a new home loan, here are three reasons why it makes good financial sense. Read More...

Aug 01, 2019 When you owe more money on your mortgage than your home is worth, your mortgage is considered to be underwater. No homeowner wants to be underwater. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to earn a profit when trying to sell an underwater home. Few buyers will spend more than $200,000 on your home if that’s all it’s worth today. These buyers don’t care that you owe $250,000 on a mortgage loan that you took out six years ago. What can you do if you owe more on your mortgage loan than what your house is worth? You have several options, though not all of them are particularly pleasant. Stay Put The best choice is to stay put. You can’t lose money on an underwater sale if you don’t sell your home. This is a good choice if you like your home and your neighborhood. Unfortunately, life has a way of… Read More...

Dec 06, 2019 Owning a home is an important goal for many people. But with mortgage, downpayment and credit requirements, many can't yet afford to buy as soon as they'd like. For some  in this situation, rent-to-own homes are an attractive option. It can give motivated people a means to assume ownership in stages, although like many loan arrangements it carries some risks. We'll explore the pros and cons of rent-to-own homes here, but consider a  consultation with a financial advisor to learn how home ownerships can benefit your long-term plans. Read More...

Dec 04, 2019 When choosing where in the U.S. to settle down and take out a mortgage, people consider a variety of factors like housing costs, cost of living, safety and dining and entertainment options. It is possible to measure livability by evaluating how cities rank on these fronts. Read More...

Dec 04, 2019 As the 2020 presidential race heats up, it's important to remember there are significant political contests within the legislative branch, along with state and local elections, that can impact the political future of the U.S. For those who are most passionate about making an impact, voting in swing districts could be more appealing. And no matter where on the political spectrum they fall, voters who are considering moving to those places will be looking at livability as an important factor for where they decide to settle. At the federal level, all 435 seats of the House of Representatives and 35 of the total 100 seats in the Senate are up for election. State executive offices up for election in 2020 include 11 gubernatorial seats, nine lieutenant gubernatorial seats, 10 attorney general seats and… Read More...

Dec 05, 2019 Boomtowns, characterized by prosperity and robust development, are often desirable places to put down roots and take out a mortgage. Economic growth provides employment opportunities and draws new residents. Some places, however, are growing faster than others. That’s why SmartAsset decided to find the cities in America where populations and job opportunities are rising rapidly. Read More...

Dec 06, 2019 Raising children requires substantial financial preparedness. One’s ability to save enough to house and support a growing family can depend on a variety of factors. Residents in some locations, however, are having more kids than in others. That’s why SmartAsset analyzed the data to uncover the places across the 100 largest U.S. cities where families are having more children. Read More...

Nov 19, 2019 In 2018, the median household income in the U.S. was $61,937 while the median home value was $229,700. But because median household incomes and home values differ greatly by place, home affordability can vary drastically. With this in mind, SmartAsset decided to take a closer look at home affordability in the U.S. Read More...

Nov 14, 2019 Safety is often at the top of most people’s list when they're picking a place to live. Choosing the right city allows them the peace of mind to work and raise a family. Given those considerations, SmartAsset decided to find the safest cities in America. Read More...

Nov 18, 2019 The middle class is feeling the squeeze, as financial gains for this cohort have not kept pace with those of upper-income households. The median income of upper-income households in 1970 was 2.2 times the income of middle-income households, but by 2016, that ratio had increased to 2.4, according to Pew Research Center. Middle class families, who typically dream of taking out a  mortgage to buy a home and elevating their station in life, are the backbone of America. With this in mind, SmartAsset decided to look at some of the states in America where the middle class is… Read More...

Nov 14, 2019 According to a recent report from the National Council of Nonprofits, U.S. nonprofits employ more than 10% of the total private workforce in the U.S., a higher percentage than in many other industries, including construction, transportation and finance. All told, of the 122 million workers employed by private establishments in America in 2017, almost 12.5 million worked for 501(c)(3) nonprofit establishments, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The varying health of this sector in different areas may affect workers’ decisions on where to rent or take out a mortgage. Read More...

Oct 17, 2019 Lack of investment in infrastructure within a state can have tangible effects on its residents' finances. The American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2016 report “Failure to Act” quantifies these effects, stating that on a national level, American families lose $3,400 in disposable income every year - $9 a day - due to infrastructure deficiencies, which could be money they could otherwise be using toward  paying off their mortgages faster. In addition to increasing housing and utilities costs as well as the cost of personal transportation, deteriorating infrastructure increases costs incurred by businesses in terms of services and efficiency, which ultimately leads to higher prices for individuals. Some states have stepped in to address infrastructure shortfalls themselves. For instance, the… Read More...

Oct 15, 2019 As soon as the air turns crisp and the leaves start to change color, trick-or-treaters all over America start to count down to Halloween. They look forward to donning inventive costumes and hitting the streets, and the experience is all the more exciting when the houses they’re visiting are prepared to reward them with candy. Factors like safety and weather make some places more trick-or-treater friendly than others. That’s why SmartAsset crunched the numbers to find the best places in the U.S. to go trick-or-treating. Read More...

Oct 17, 2019 State energy efficiency and renewable energy programs may produce significant benefits for residents including lower fuel and electricity costs, increased grid reliability, better air quality and more job opportunities, according to a 2018 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report called “Quantifying the Multiple Benefits of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.” Some states have transitioned to clean energy more quickly than others. For instance, between 2013 and 2017, Utah increased its renewable energy production by 212.29% while West Virginia’s renewable energy production decreased by 22.14%. This can be an important consideration for people when deciding where to buy a home. Read More...

Oct 15, 2019 Jobs in STEM fields - related to science, technology, engineering and math - are among the fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs in America. But there remains tremendous inequality in the field along racial and gender lines, which can affect where potential employees can choose to relocate. Read More...

Sep 30, 2019 High-performing public schools and robust public education spending are often correlated with high home values. According to a 2002 report published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), “Using Market Valuation to Assess Public School Spending,” every dollar spent on public schools in a community increases home values by $20. While the three factors - school performance, school expenditures and home values - are generally intertwined, there is some variance. As a result of inefficient spending, for example, school expenditures may not necessarily imply better school performance and student outcomes. Similarly, the performance of public schools may not be reflected in the residential housing market, according to the NBER, creating an opportunity for people with school-aged children to… Read More...

Sep 29, 2019 The cost differential between renting and buying varies by the amount of time a person expects to stay in a home. Accounting for location, monthly rent and a target home price, SmartAsset's  rent vs. buy calculator determines the amount of time for which buying a home makes more sense than renting. Of course, the amount of time it takes for a renter to save up for the upfront costs of a home is another important consideration. Specifically for people who have their heart set on homeownership, we determined the cities in the U.S. where it takes the least amount of time for renters to become homeowners. Read More...

Sep 25, 2019 People working in the same profession can have vastly different incomes, often related to where they live. After all the cost of living in a place can have a significant impact on pay. Waiters and waitresses, for example, may be paid more in New York, New York than they are in Minneapolis, Minnesota simply because many expenses such as food, transportation and housing are higher in the Big Apple than they are in the Mini-Apple. Additionally, workers’ earnings are subject to supply and demand curves in each place, and as a result, the prevalence of certain industries in a place may skew earnings up or down. Read More...

Sep 04, 2019 A good deal can make a significant difference for any purchase you make, but especially when you’re investing your hard-earned money in property like a home. As a result, it’s important not to overlook the fact that the asking price is negotiable - it could save you hundreds or thousands down the line that you could use for home improvements or mortgage payments instead. That’s why SmartAsset crunched the numbers to find out where in the U.S. a little extra strategizing can pay off the most. Read More...

Aug 29, 2019 Family and general practitioners cover the primary care needs of many people in the U.S. and generally serve as the first point of contact for patients seeking medical help. While family and general practitioners focus on a wide range of preventative health measures such as healthy eating and regular exercise, they also diagnose and treat a multitude of sicknesses and injuries. Additionally, should patients require more intensive or extended care, family and general practitioners may refer them to specialists. Read More...

Aug 30, 2019 Putting money down for a mortgage on a home is a great investment for many Americans. Sometimes, of course, the daunting up-front costs might deter potential buyers from taking the leap altogether, and that can leave them wondering where it’s possible to purchase a home with less cash up front. SmartAsset ran the numbers to take a closer look. Read More...

Aug 27, 2019 Taxes and rent are unavoidable expenses for those who don’t own their home, and though there are other necessities like food, that category and others allow for more flexibility in how consumers budget. For renters, the yearly fixed cost of taxes and rent can greatly affect how much money they have left over to spend and save, especially for those looking to put money down on a mortgage. Read More...

Aug 20, 2019 Not to be confused with the appraised value of your home, the assessed value is what the government uses to calculate property taxes. Meant to be utilized regardless of market conditions, the assessed value is generally 20% to 40% lower than the fair market value. For that reason, prospective homebuyers won’t get far trying to bid an asking price down just on the basis of the lower assessed value. Instead, to afford the home of your dreams, consider working with a financial advisor who can help you grow your savings. Read More...

Aug 20, 2019 If you’re planning on having a wedding to celebrate your union, expenses can add up fast. And, depending on where you live, nuptials can be extremely stressful to plan, since they involve finding vendors for a seemingly endless number of needs. There are some cities, though, where it is better and cheaper to plan a wedding than others. SmartAsset collected and analyzed data to find the best cities in the U.S. to hold your affordable matrimonial festivities. Read More...

Aug 20, 2019 Lawyers work in a variety of capacities. While many work in private and corporate legal offices, others work for federal, state and local governments. The particular specialties lawyers have may determine the place best for them to live to suit their professional needs. However, other location-based factors may also play into decisions on where lawyers choose to look for a job and make a home for themselves. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Owning a pet is an investment, and choosing an affordable and pet-friendly city is an important consideration for renters or people looking to buy a home. Dogs are one of the more expensive pets to have since they often require more care than other animals. In order to discover where owners could best raise their pooches, SmartAsset looked more into the most dog-friendly cities in America. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 There comes a time in most people’s lives when they realize it is time to ditch the fifth-floor walkup studio apartment and move into a home big enough to raise a family in. You have to balance finding a home with enough room to accommodate your growing family, with living someplace close to employment and other opportunities. To that end, SmartAsset decided to find which cities are the best place in America to find a home big enough to raise a family in. Read More...

Aug 01, 2019 Teachers are some of the most important people in our society, educating young people and molding the leaders of tomorrow. While being a teacher is certainly rewarding, it isn’t always the most lucrative of professions. But various considerations such as housing costs, income and union support can make certain metro areas more attractive than others for teachers. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 In 2016 at 56 million strong, millennials became the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, according to Pew Research. This means that millennials make up more than a third (35%) of labor force participants in the U.S. Their success as young professionals can have an outsize effect on their finances throughout their lives. Having a steady income is one way to be able to afford a home as well as begin saving for retirement. Read More...

Jul 25, 2019 Making a decision to move to a particular place involves taking into account many factors, including career opportunities and what mortgage payments might look like. But does the choice of a particular locale say anything about trends across a specific socioeconomic class and generation? While wealthy people of Generation X, for example, are headed down South in general, Florida is the most popular state for them in particular, with a net inflow of approximately 9,000 from 2015 to 2016. Meanwhile, New York saw almost as many wealthy Gen Xers leave within that same time span. Read More...

Jul 29, 2019 For those who don’t own a house, rent is one of the most important expenses to account for in a household budget. Keeping your rent-to-income ratio at a reasonable level allows you to use your money for other things, like saving for retirement and stockpiling enough cash to make a mortgage down payment. But because rent levels vary based on where in the country you live, the amount of income you need to afford rent varies as well. Read More...

Jul 24, 2019 When buying a home, there are a lot of considerations to weigh. One of them is how the value of your home is likely to change in the years you own it. This involves two major factors - growth and stability. Growth is a measure of how much the value of your home is likely to go up over the years. A home that grows in value can present a tidy payday for you in the event you decide to move. The other is stability, which measures how likely it is that your home will take a major dip in value. A fall in the value of your home can leave you underwater on your mortgage, which is a position no one wants to be in. You can predict a lot of these factors based on the location of your home. Read More...

Jul 18, 2019 Some places are more family friendly than others. When deciding where to take out a mortgage and raise your children, it is important to consider not only an area’s cost of living, but also the benefits an area can provide in terms of education, health and entertainment. Read More...

Jul 17, 2019 The millennial generation has come of age. This cohort is working in a variety of jobs and relocating to different cities. Some cities and states, though, are more popular spots for millennials to move to than others. They could be moving for a variety of reasons. Job opportunities, affordable housing (whether it involves renting or making mortgage payments) and quality of life could all be factors determining where millennials are moving. Read More...

Jul 10, 2019 Real estate agents are paid on commission. The median gross income earned by real estate agents and brokers was $39,800 in 2017, according to the National Association of Realtors. The main source of that income is commissions on real estate sales. If you're buying a home, it's important to understand how any agents you work with earn their commission. If you want more holistic insight into how commissions could reduce your real estate earnings and what that means for your overall financial picture, consider consulting a financial advisor. Read More...

Jul 10, 2019 An open-end mortgage allows you to borrow additional money on the same loan at a later date. An open-end mortgage blends some qualities of a traditional mortgage with some features of a home equity line of credit, or HELOC. It lets you turn the value of the equity in your home into cash by later increasing the original balance of your loan. If you need hands-on guidance figuring out how an open-end mortgage could play into your overall financial life, consider finding a financial advisor tailored to your particular needs. Read More...

Nov 20, 2019 A home equity loan is a type of secured loan. Your home and the equity you've built up in it (by making a down payment and  mortgage payments) is used as collateral. Borrowing against the equity in your home can be a great way to get a low-cost loan. There are two types of home equity loans: home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and fixed-rate loans. Each of these have their pros and cons, so be sure to pick the one that's best aligned with your needs. And if you need some hands-on guidance, consider enlisting the help of a Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Besides the responsibilities of securing and maintaining a functioning property, homeowners need to be aware of another tremendous burden of homeownership: costs. Whether it’s tackling mortgage payments and property taxes or handling interest and insurance, the weight of these housing expenses never really lessens. That’s why it’s important to understand how much you might be spending on housing relative to other locations around the country, and then use that information as a starting point to maximize your budget. Read More...

Jul 09, 2019 A subordinated loan is debt that's only paid off after all primary loans are paid off, if there's any money left. It's also known as subordinated debt, junior debt or a junior security, while primary loans are also known as senior or unsubordinated debt. Primary loans are the first loans to get paid back if a company faces bankruptcy. They're more likely to be paid back because they're often secured. On the other hand, subordinated loans are not secured and more of a risk. A subordinated loan can also refer to a second mortgage. Here's everything you need to know about subordinated loans and what they mean for lenders, businesses and homeowners. Read More...

Jun 25, 2019 Sometimes it feels like a good deal is hard to find, whether you’re buying a car or going out to dinner. That doesn’t change when you are considering where to live. Some towns just give you more bang for your buck, from the quality of life you’ll experience to the living costs you’ll incur. And especially if you’re taking out a mortgage on a house, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the best value you can. But getting good value from your city doesn’t always have to be difficult to attain. With some patience and information, a smart investment in an undervalued property now could mean that your home becomes worth significantly more and nets you a tidy sum if you decide to sell it. For those who aren’t experts in real estate, it can be difficult to figure out which parts of the country offer the… Read More...

Jun 18, 2019 If you’re still saving up for a mortgage on your first home, it’s likely that you’re paying rent. But what if you could optimize your situation as a renter in order to build up those funds for a down payment more quickly? As you’ve probably guessed, there are some cities where renting is easier than in others. That’s why SmartAsset considered factors such as rental costs, commute times, the possibility of eviction and other information to figure out the best cities in America to find a place to rent. Read More...

Jun 12, 2019 Tech jobs are in high demand across the country. The positions pay well, the companies often offer great benefits and your work helps to create products and services that run the world. While you might think that you have to live in New York or the Bay Area to work in tech, there are actually a lot of cities with great career opportunities for tech workers without the high cost of living that comes with being a resident of those major coastal cities. Snagging a job in a place with a more affordable mortgage can be a strategic way to help your tech salary go further. So for the sixth year in a row, SmartAsset takes a look at the best American cities to work in tech. Read More...

Jun 12, 2019 House auctions generally involve the sale of foreclosed homes at possibly below market value. They can serve as a low-cost gateway to homeownership. But home auctions also involve plenty of risk. Many times, you won’t actually get to step inside the home before bidding on it. You also may be hit with hidden auction fees. But this guide will help you navigate these auctions like a pro. We’ll cover how real estate auctions work, where to find them and what you need to know before putting in a bid. When you're ready to buy, a  financial advisor can help you determine how much house you… Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 For a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan to be approved, the home must pass an FHA inspection and appraisal. That means it must be worth the purchase price and have such basics as electricity, drinkable water, adequate heat, a stable roof, fire exits and more. This guide will provide an FHA inspection checklist and walk you through the whole process, so you know what to expect. If you are preparing for the other major financial decisions in your life, a financial advisor can be really helpful. Read More...

Jun 12, 2019 Renting out your house can open up a new stream of income and tax breaks. But it also adds another layer of responsibility. You’ll need to stay on top of repairs, maintenance and rent collection. But don’t fret. We’ll cover the top tips for renting out your house through this beginner’s guide. Because of complex tax laws facing landlords, it would also behoove you to work with a financial advisor to boost your chances of enjoying tax cuts and making a profit out of this business venture. Read More...

Jun 12, 2019 Last year, the average gross profit for house flipping was $65,000, according to property research firm ATTOM Data Solutions. This translates to an average 44.8% return on investment (ROI), which has been falling since the all-time average high of 51% in 2016.  To net out a maximum profit, you can do such things as buy in the right neighborhood and choose only cost-effective renovations. This beginner’s guide on house flipping will walk you through all of this. A financial advisor can also help you explore and identify other investments with good ROI. Read More...

Oct 09, 2019 Owning a home is a big milestone for many. Despite the costs and maintenance associated with homeownership, it can represent security, achievement and success. There are some states, though, where it is better to own a home than in others. Things like value-to-income ratios, foreclosure rates and the average cost of owning a home all play into how good a state is for homeowners. Those factors and others are important to review with a trusted financial advisor before you make any final decisions. Read More...

Jun 24, 2019 Deciding where the best place is for you to live involves balancing a number of factors, including the ease of your commute. Not only does getting to and from work take up a lot of time, but it can also heavily affect your budget. Proximity to the city center, where many people work, is often a major consideration. Sometimes you’ll want to live extremely close to the downtown area so that you don’t have a long commute. Other times, though, it will make sense to commute a farther distance and live in a more affordable suburban or exurban area where it is possible to save more money to pay off your mortgage. You’ll need to compare things like cost of living, commuting cost and the difficulty of the commute. That’s why SmartAsset has assembled a list of the best places in America for those who want to… Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 A number of factors can influence your decision to move to a new place, including where your peers are headed. While some older generations like rich retirees and rich Gen Xers are moving to Florida, wealthy millennials are still seeking out sunny locales, but in other states. Moving and taking out a mortgage in a new state are big decisions often best discussed with a trusted financial advisor, but in recent years, California, home of Silicon Valley, has been a relatively popular… Read More...

Jul 31, 2019 The best active retirement communities for adults age 55 years or older offer world-class amenities like luxury golf courses and indoor pools, along with plenty of opportunities to socialize with your neighbors. We examined the best adult communities America has to offer by taking a close look at factors like features and home prices. Our list covers some of the best retirement communities for those who love nature, athletic activities, continuing education and more. Depending on what you've saved, a retirement-focused financial advisor can help you make the most out… Read More...

Aug 01, 2019 Mortgage insurance premiums (MIPs) pay for insurance to protect mortgage lenders against the risk that borrowers won’t pay them back. MIPs add to a borrower's costs, but they allow you buy a house with a lower down payment than the usual 20%. There are different kinds of mortgage insurance premiums, which differ in amount, timing and other rules. Read More...

May 16, 2019 Living the American Dream can mean different things to different people when it comes to their material situation. For some, it might mean a white picket fence. For others, it might mean a gilded penthouse high above a big city. Generally, though, most people agree that the American Dream is about living a full and fulfilling life, surrounded by a community of people doing the same. It means having economic opportunity, having the ability to save enough to own the place where you lay your head at night and living someplace where people from all walks of life can live comfortably. SmartAsset combed through data to find the cities where the American Dream is most achievable. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Mortgage fraud occurs when a potential homebuyer or mortgage lender provides false information or omits certain details in order to complete a mortgage transaction. As a homebuyer, you may encounter predatory lenders who want to scam you. And if you’re in a tight spot, you may be tempted to do whatever it takes to secure a loan. But know that the penalties for mortgage fraud are severe. We can show you how to avoid these schemes. And if you’re financial situation needs improvement, we can help you find a financial advisor who will work with you to improve your credit report so you can land a decent mortgage with favorable rates and terms. Read More...

Apr 30, 2019 A commercial real estate loan, also known as a business mortgage, is a loan for property used for commercial purposes. The collateral for the mortgage can partially be the building itself, whether that's an office, retail space, apartment building, warehouse or other development. As you take a closer look at what commercial real estate loans are, how they work and what types you can get, you might also consider finding a financial advisor who can provide you with hands-on guidance throughout the process. Read More...

Apr 30, 2019 A quitclaim deed, sometimes referred to as a non-warranty deed, is a document used to transfer interest in a property. Common terms utilized alongside quitclaim deeds are "grantor" and "grantee." In this context, a grantor is the one transferring the interest and a grantee is the one receiving the interest. For the most part, family members use quitclaim deeds in real estate transfers. They are also often included in wills. If you need help drafting a quitclaim deed or managing other matters that involve the transfer of assets, consider finding a financial advisor in your area for hands-on guidance. Read More...

Apr 30, 2019 Mortgage points are fees that you pay your mortgage lender up-front in order to reduce the interest rate on your loan and your monthly payments. A single mortgage point equals 1% of your mortgage amount. So if you take out a $200,000 mortgage, a point equals $2,000. So if you can afford to make these payments now, you can reduce what you’ll pay in the long-run. But it’s not the right move for everyone. As you decide if paying mortgage points makes sense for you, you may also want to  find a financial advisor who can guide you in making the home-buying process easy and rewarding. Read More...

Apr 29, 2019 A short sale occurs when you sell your home for less than what you still owe on your mortgage. It can prevent you from seeing your home foreclosed and undergoing bankruptcy. However, your mortgage lender must approve the short sale. The process can also be complex and risky. As you consider whether or not a short sale is for you, you might do well to  work with a financial advisor who can help guide you through the process. Read More...

Apr 26, 2019 When you finance a home with a mortgage loan, you and your lender do business on the primary mortgage market. But there is a secondary market by which the lender recoups the entirety of the funds it lent you by going through outside investors. These investors drive interest rates and underwriting standards to an even greater degree than the initial lender does. A basic understanding of secondary markets can help anyone considering a mortgage. And if you're looking for a trusted guide to help you through the process, use SmartAsset's financial advisor matching… Read More...

Apr 25, 2019 A VA loan could be a great financing option for a veteran looking to become a homeowner. These loans often give active and former service members the opportunity to buy homes without making a down payment or paying for mortgage insurance. The VA limits how much veterans can contribute to closing costs. But one cost most VA borrowers can’t avoid is the VA funding fee. This is a one-time fee for VA loan borrowers that must be paid before a veteran can close on a home. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 A jumbo loan is a type of mortgage designed to finance luxury homes or those in highly competitive real estate markets. Limits for these loans vary by location but it typically hovers around $484,350 for most of the country. However, you can’t get these loans through government-sponsored entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But don’t worry. As you go about securing a jumbo loan, also known as a jumbo mortgage, consider connecting with a financial advisor for hands-on guidance throughout the process. Read More...

Apr 24, 2019 Low- and middle-income families who want to buy homes may be able to get a bond loan. State and local authorities issue bond loans to subsidize the cost of becoming a homeowner for those who meet certain income requirements, either by lowering interest rates or offering cash assistance. Curious about how bond loans work? We've got you covered. We can also help you find a financial advisor to work with if you want to improve your finances to secure a conventional mortgage with favorable terms and rates.  Read More...

Apr 24, 2019 Scrounging up the money for a standard 20% down payment on a home can be a challenge for some. If you fall short of this prespecified amount, you will likely encounter private mortgage insurance, or PMI. PMI is there to safeguard lenders from the possible perils that a mortgage with a low down payment could induce. For those that prefer small down payments, though, PMI is virtually unavoidable. Below, we take a closer look at what PMI is, how much it'll cost you and how to cancel it. Read More...

Apr 24, 2019 Choosing a mortgage is an integral part of the home buying process. Opting for a 15-year mortgage term instead of the traditional 30-year term seems like a smart move, right? Not necessarily. Going with a shorter mortgage term does have some interest-saving benefits. However, if your income is too low for a 15-year term, a 30-year mortgage will be cheaper on a monthly basis. If you're on the fence about which type of mortgage you should choose, take a look below to figure out which one is right for you. Read More...

Apr 24, 2019 When you refinance a mortgage, you take out a new loan to pay off the old one. This time, you aim for a lower interest rate and better terms. However, refinancing a mortgage can be a risky process. It's important to be informed so you can make intelligent decisions throughout the process. It may also be a good decision to  find a financial advisor who can guide you through the entire refi journey. Read More...

Jul 09, 2019 To get preapproved for a mortgage, you'll need a few documents detailing your income, assets and debt obligations. This helps banks and other mortgagees determine exactly how much they're willing to lend you. Getting mortgage preapproval also helps you understand how much house you can afford, so you won't get your heart set on a home outside your budget. We'll walk you through this checklist. We can also assist you with  finding a financial advisor who can guide you through the entire home-buying process. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 A subprime mortgage is a type of home loan issued to borrowers with low credit scores (often below 600) who wouldn’t qualify for conventional mortgages. They usually come with much higher interest rates and down payments than conventional options. Taking out a subprime mortgage is rarely a good idea. You may be better off working with a financial advisor to rebuild your credit before applying for a subprime mortgage. But if it’s your only option, there are some points you need to know. Read More...

Apr 23, 2019 Saving for a home can take years, which sometimes makes the idea of switching from renting to buying a daunting one even if you have some help. But if you’re on your own, buying a home can be even more challenging. Not only do you need to have enough money to make a down payment by yourself, but you need to make enough each month to afford  mortgage payments as well. That doesn’t mean you need to set aside this dream. With some thoughtful planning and detailed information, residents in many cities are successfully making the leap. Below, we look at the latest data to find the cities with the highest single homeownership rate. Read More...

Apr 11, 2019 With shows like "Flip or Flop" and "Property Wars" attracting TV viewers, Americans have become more interested than ever in how to buy a foreclosed home. If you can purchase an inexpensive home, your mortgage payments will be low for the life of the loan. Buying a foreclosure can seem like a complicated and potentially expensive process. But it's actually not so different from buying a regular home. Read More...

Apr 11, 2019 When you're buying a home, there are multiple ways that you can go about paying for it. You can secure a mortgage by finding a bank or credit union in your area that offers home loans. There are also plenty of online lenders, like Rocket Mortgage and SoFi. You also have the option of getting a loan through a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE), such as Fannie Mae. Read More...

Apr 09, 2019 In a perfect world, you wouldn't have to borrow any money because you'd always have enough. In reality, there are times when you don't have the cash for your child's tuition bill, your own  student loan payments or other bills. To get some relief, it's possible to leverage the equity you've already built up in your home through your down payment and mortgage payments to secure a loan. That's called taking a home equity line of credit (HELOC), and to secure this loan from a lender, you are using your house as collateral.  Read More...

Apr 11, 2019 Buying a home can be both an amazing and stressful process at the same time. But tackling the huge expense of a home in one fell swoop is often difficult for an individual or family to handle. That's where mortgages come in. Typically in exchange for a down payment, a lender will grant you a mortgage loan to allow you to finance your home with an interest rate attached.  Read More...

Apr 30, 2019 Searching for the best rates and terms for your mortgage can be hard to do on your own. That's why some homebuyers opt to work with a mortgage broker, the middleman of the home loan market. Instead of going to each lender for a rate quote yourself, a mortgage broker does the legwork for you. Brokers generally receive compensation from the lender you end up working with or from fees you pay. If you decide to go with a particular mortgage broker, always be sure to calculate your prospective  mortgage costs to have a full understanding of what it could run you. Read More...

Apr 09, 2019 Owning a home is an important financial goal for many Americans. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that at the end of 2018, approximately 64% of people owned their homes. Whether homeownership is affordable for you is the first question to consider, and it’s often a tough one. That’s especially true for buyers in some of America’s biggest cities. While the costs of homeownership may make realizing this dream seem aspirational, it doesn’t have to be. With more information and some sound planning, you may be able to achieve homeownership sooner than you think. Using a down payment of 20% as a benchmark, we investigated where you would need to save the longest to afford a down payment. Read More...

Apr 08, 2019 Qualifying for a mortgage isn't easy. Some lenders have strict requirements and weed out applicants with poor credit or too much debt. A possible alternative for those determined to buy a house is something called "seller financing." This process, as its name implies, means the home's owner will finance the purchase for the buyer. But whether this is a good idea is something you'll need to consider carefully.  Read More...

Apr 08, 2019 Your balloon mortgage loan might have seemed like a good idea when you first applied for it. Maybe it meant that your monthly mortgage payments have been lower so they fit into your budget. But now your mortgage balloon payment is due and you can't afford to make it. Before you start panicking, it's important to keep in mind that you do have some options. Read More...

Mar 27, 2019 A mortgagee is a lending institution that issues mortgages. In most cases, the mortgagee is a bank or credit union. The mortgagee has special legal rights on the real estate that mortgages are tied to. This article will explain what a mortgagee does and how your mortgage works. We can also help you find a financial advisor in your area who can guide you through the entire home buying process. Read More...

Feb 28, 2019 Imagine this scenario: You work hard every day for years at a job you love. You put as much money as you can away for retirement, you support your family and live comfortably. After years of responsible behavior and sound financial planning, you decide to buy a dream vacation home. Maybe it’s nestled on some white sand or sitting atop a mountain in the Adirondacks. To make this all happen, you approach your bank to take out a mortgage on a second home. Before you make any major decisions however, make sure you break down the pros and cons of such an investment. Below, we'll explain some key factors you'd want to consider before buying a second home. Read More...

Nov 12, 2018 Providing your Social Security Number (SSN) is a unique, secure method of identifying yourself. However, even this method is susceptible to fraud, especially if your SSN falls into the wrong hands. In situations where you need to prove that the SSN you’re providing is the number assigned to you, you can use Form SSA-89. In this guide, we’ll discuss what the form is, who should use it, how to fill it out and how to send it in. Read More...

Sep 25, 2019 Between vibrant cities like Nashville and quiet towns deep in the Appalachians, Tennessee has something for everyone. Life in the Volunteer State means steeping yourself in history, culture and natural beauty. This all while enjoying below-average mortgage rates and some of the country’s lowest property taxes. Still, buying a home is likely the biggest purchase you’ll make in your life. That’s why the federal government and Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) offer first-time homebuyer programs to help you navigate the process. Check out the below options and consider enlisting a Read More...

Sep 25, 2019 No matter where you hope to live in Louisiana, you’ll never be far from great music, delicious food and exciting activities. Unfortunately, picking a mortgage is much harder than picking a neighborhood, but  first-time homebuyer program could help. Both the federal and Louisiana state governments sponsor several first-time homebuyer programs that make home ownership easier and more affordable for all kinds of would-be borrowers. If you need help deciding, use the SmartAsset… Read More...

Sep 25, 2019 With expansive plains, bustling river towns and below-average mortgage rates, we don’t blame you for wanting to plant your own roots in the Missouri. The purchase of buying your first home can be intimidating, though. You will likely face several financial situations and big-ticket price tags you have never encountered. That’s why the federal and Missouri state governments created first-time homebuyer programs. There are options for every type of borrower, but each one makes homeownership more accessible and affordable. The  Read More...

Dec 05, 2019 Nevada is so much more than 24-hour parties in Las Vegas. In fact, it's one of the fastest-growing states in the country. But if getting a mortgage or paying a down payment is holding you back, check out the state and federal first-time home buyer programs that are available. Sponsored by the federal government and Nevada Housing Division, each one makes it easier and more affordable to achieve the American Dream. Best of all, they’re available to all kinds of Americans with different lifestyle and financial situations. Read up on your options, then consult a financial advisor through the  SmartAsset advisor matching tool to help… Read More...

Sep 25, 2019 Thanks to beautiful scenery, relatively affordable mortgage rates and robust economy, Idaho is an great destination for new homeowners. If you're thinking about settling in the Gem State, check out first-time homebuyer programs from the the federal and Idaho state governments. There are down payment assistance and tax credit programs in addition to homebuyer education and discounted mortgages. Best of all, nearly every would-be borrower will qualify for something. If all the options are overwhelming, consider working with a financial advisor to nail things down. The  SmartAsset financial advisor matching tool … Read More...

Sep 25, 2019 The federal government and the state of Montana run several programs for first-time homebuyers in Big Sky Country. Depending on your exact needs and circumstances, there are multiple types of loans that you have access to. Some loans require a cheap down payment and low credit score minimums. Some loans target specific demographics such as veterans and school teachers. In addition, a financial advisor can help you find the best Montana first-time homebuyer programs for you. An advisor is a professional who can examine your individual situation and goals to help you make informed financial decisions. Finding an advisor doesn't have to be a challenge. SmartAsset's  free financial advisor matching tool quickly links you to advisors in your area. Read More...

Sep 25, 2019 The South Dakota state government and the federal government both offer special programs for first-time homebuyers who need loans to purchase a home. Which loans you have access to will depend on your exact needs and circumstances, but there are many types of loans out there. For example, you can find loans that only require a small down payment or low credit score minimums. You can also find demographic-specific loans, such as those for veterans. If you want more personalized help throughout the home buying process, it may be worth talking to a financial advisor. Read More...

Mar 05, 2019 No matter where you hope to settle in Georgia, housing costs usually will be relatively affordable. Buying your first home can still be intimidating, of course. Georgia's Department of Community Affairs and the federal government have created  first-time homebuyer programs to help, though. Between sponsored mortgages and down payment assistance, Peach State settlers could save thousands. Since the options can be overwhelming, consider using the SmartAsset Read More...

Mar 05, 2019 According to some studies, Indiana is one of the most affordable states to buy a home. But buying your first home in the Hoosier State could be an intimidating process. Between the inspections and mortgage, it will likely include many financial situations you’ve never encountered. After all, this is probably the biggest purchase you'll make in your life. Luckily, the federal and Indiana state governments have created programs specifically for first-time homebuyers. Some cater to low-income individuals with less-than-ideal credit scores. Others are designed specifically for public servants like firefighters and teachers. No matter what your financial situation, they’re worth looking into. If you want some help deciding which of the below programs is right for you, the Read More...

Mar 05, 2019 Purchasing your first home in the Hawkeye State can be intimidating and expensive. It will likely include financial situations and conversations you’ve never encountered before. Luckily, the federal and Iowa state governments have created first-time homebuyer programs just for borrowers like you. Even if you don’t have much to put toward a down payment or can’t afford the interest rates your friends and colleagues pay, these loans and mortgage programs can make home ownership more accessible. And if you need help assessing your options, the Read More...

Sep 25, 2019 Maine is a state of fresh lobster, beautiful fall foliage and 3,478 miles of coastline. If you're considering buying a home in the Pine Tree State, you should be aware of the special programs - from both the federal and Maine state governments - that make homeownership more attainable. You should also consider finding a financial advisor who can help guide you through the big financial decisions headed your way. Read More...

Sep 25, 2019 With just plenty of historic charm and seaside beauty, Delaware cracks SmartAsset's top 10 states for the middle class. If you’re hoping to buy a home there, be sure to check out the various homebuyer programs offered by both the federal government the state of Delaware. These include programs that provide down payment assistance and tax credits available to Delaware residents.  Read More...

More articles...

About Our Home Buying Expert

Have a question? Ask our Home Buying expert.