Taking out a mortgage is a costly enterprise, with fees you probably don’t expect. It pays to know what you are in for when applying. Since the housing bust, many lenders tightened their standards, which means more hurdles for you.
Spring – a time for fresh starts and, for some, a new home. Before you head out to open houses, your first question should be: Should I own a home at this time? Your second: Or should I remain a renter?
Should you invest with your spare cash or pay off your mortgage early? As with most financial planning decisions, the answer is not black and white.
Interest rates on home loans are historically low. That means now is the time to dig out your mortgage loan paperwork and consider whether refinancing is right for you.
How often do you make mistakes? Well, “the intelligent investor must focus not just on getting the analysis right. You must also ensure against loss if your analysis turns out to be wrong,” says Jason Zweig, Wall Street Journal columnist and author of Your Money and Your Brain. How can you guard against your own goofs?
Conventional wisdom says that making extra payments toward your mortgage saves interest. True, but that’s not all. Increasing your mortgage payment also means larger equity value and more money in your pocket when you’re older.
In a still-tight credit market, if the seller finances the buyer, home sales can happen faster. But in the long term, it is unlikely to be to your advantage as a seller.
Growing up with their parents’ scary tales of Depression hardship, the generation now approaching retirement age grew up to be wary of investing and owning debts. This means missing out on returns and losing the value of savings to inflation.
The squirrels brought this lesson home for me. Like many others in suburbia, my wife and I had a squirrel problem. We tried various things to keep the creatures out of our garbage cans, with no success. They ate through the covers. Even after we built a wooden shed to house the garbage cans, they got in there, as well.
How often do you think about paying off the mortgage? Retirement may be harder if you still have debt. Ideally, you should enter retirement as free from a mortgage as possible. Here’s why and how.
Not having a mortgage reduces your overhead. That is to say, you need less money to live. You lower your personal break-even point. With limited income in retirement, this is always a good thing. Say your mortgage is $1,500 per month. If you pay it off before you retire, you have $18,000 more per year in your pocket.
Wondering if it’s better to buy or rent? You’re not alone. We have long been conditioned to view homeownership as an uncontested good, but the housing market took a serious hit during the Great Recession. Now that home values are recovering, will the American Dream of homeownership regain its luster?