Bo Lee - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

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Posted by Bo Lee on 9/13/2020

Photo by ESB Professional via Shutterstock

If the thought of getting a mortgage and being in that much debt is stopping you from buying a home, plan to pay it off. Hereís how you can do it in just five to 10 years.

  • Live well below your means. If you can keep your mortgage payment to below twenty percent of your take-home pay, youíre on your way. That means that instead of buying a larger house in an upscale community, buy the nicest one you can in the neighborhood you can afford. When you do this, youíll not only save on the payment but your energy and maintenance costs will be lower, as well.
  • Take a 15-year mortgage. Instead of the typical 30-year loan, opt for the 15-year choice. Your payments will be slightly higher, but they wonít be double. Use an online mortgage calculator to see the difference in the payment. Youíll be surprised at how much more affordable cutting the loan length in half can be.
  • Use an early mortgage pay-off calculator. Try plugging in different payment amounts to see how quickly you can pay it off. Adding as little as $100 extra each month can massively reduce the years to completion.
  • This next idea is easy if you get paid weekly or bi-weekly. Instead of making your mortgage payment once a month, pay half of it every two weeks. Using this trick allows you to make an entire extra payment each year, cutting months and years off your mortgage. If you do it to match your bi-weekly payments, you wonít even notice the additional payment out of your household budget.

Your Agent Can Help

When youíre looking for just the right house to put your plan into action, your knowledgeable real estate agent can find you the perfect one. Let them know what youíre trying to accomplish so that they match you to the right house at the right time.




Categories: homebuyers   homeowners  


Posted by Bo Lee on 3/1/2020

Photo by Nattanan Kanchanaprat via Pixabay

If you’re in the market to purchase a home, it can be a confusing process. Interest rates, types of loans and what may apply to you can all sound like a foreign language. It’s always best to have some background knowledge before going to see a mortgage broker to make sure you’re on the same page. Although there are many components to the process, one of the main elements that directly affects you is the type of loan you qualify for. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Land Purchase

You may want to build a home on a specific piece of land. Most banks offer up to 85% of the price of the land for residential and investment purposes.

  • Home Purchase

These loans finance the purchase of a new residential property or home from previous owners. There are many categories: fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, conventional, jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA and bridge. Each one has elements that mortgage brokers use to determine whether you would be a good candidate for that type of loan.

  • Home Construction

If you’re looking to construct your home from the ground up, this is the type of loan you will be considered for. The loan and application process is a little different from a standard home purchase loan. If you want the loan to be included as a part of the total price of the house, the land should have been bought within a year.

  • Home Expansion/Extension

Even if you’re purchasing a home, you may decide you need to expand it. These types of loans work differently if you are purchasing the home, so working with a mortgage broker will provide more insight.

These four loan options may directly impact your decision and ability to purchase. When considering the type of loan you are seeking, you should also think about where you want to live and how long you plan to stay there. Each specific type of mortgage loan may require different amounts for a down payment, have different standards, require mortgage insurance and interest.

The type of mortgage loan and interest rate will also affect your monthly payment. A mortgage broker should be able to help choose wisely to save money in a number of areas. The most important thing to remember when searching for a home loan: they are not one size fits all. Every home loan is dependent on your current circumstances, credit rating and income level.

Everything may sound confusing right now, but you have a good foundation to work from. As your mortgage broker walks you through the process, you'll be able to identify those loans that may be mentioned without feeling like you're lost. Being educated on what's out there can also help ask the right questions. Although a mortgage broker is designed to help you get the loan you want, they also want to make money too. Working with one that appreciates your knowledge (even if limited) is key. Good luck!




Tags: Mortgage   loan   Homebuying  
Categories: Buying  


Posted by Bo Lee on 7/14/2019

Buying a home will likely be one of the largest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime. While this may seem scary at first, itís worth noting that buying a home can also be a valuable financial investment.

When it comes to preparing to buy a home, many people just wait until they run out of room in their apartment before deciding that they need to upgrade to a home. A better approach, however, would be to start planning for your first home a year or more in advance.

Saving for a down payment is a vital step to making the best long-term financial decision. A larger down payment can help you pay off your home sooner, pay thousands or tens of thousands less in interest, and start using your home equity as an asset.

But, saving for a down payment is easier said than done. So, in this post, weíre going to talk about some of the ways you can aggressively save for a down payment so that, when the time comes, you can achieve long-term financial security from your investment.

Setting your savings goals

The first thing you should be thinking about when saving for a down payment is what your goals are in a home. Setting realistic goals in this phase will make saving for your down payment more feasible and less discouraging.

Think about what you really need from a home at this point in your life and compromise where you can.

Remember that on top of your monthly mortgage payments, youíll likely also be paying for taxes, insurance, utilities, homeowners association fees, and more.

Save on a timeline

When setting your savings goal, make sure youíre aware of the timeframe youíre working with. If you want to buy a home next year, youíll need to focus on short-term savings options. However, if youíre okay with renting for the next 5 years, investing your money could be a better option.

Lock away your savings

Treat your down payment savings like an emergency fund. Open a separate account, automatically deposit a portion of your pay into the account, and never withdraw from it. To do this, you will, of course, need to already have an emergency fund with a monthís expenses in it.

However, once youíve established your emergency fund, start immediately depositing into your savings account.

Pay off credit cards

It may seem like saving for a down payment is more pressing than paying off old debt. However, the numbers will show that making interest payments on your credit cards is essentially throwing away money that could have been used toward your down payment savings.

Adjust your spending habits

While it isnít easy to start spending less once youíve built a standard of living, there are ways to spend less money and still lead a fulfilling life. Think about where your money goes each month, including bills and services you might pay for.

Now could be the best time to cut the cord and start using a service like Hulu to save $50 or more each month.

Time for a raise?

If itís been some time since your last pay raise, now could be an ideal time to speak with your employer. To improve your chances of success, donít discuss reasons outside of work that might be influencing your decision to ask for a raise (such as saving for a down payment). Rather, back up your request with evidence of your accomplishments at work.





Posted by Bo Lee on 3/3/2019

There are so many factors that go into finding and securing the financing to buy a home.   While lenders require quite a bit of information for you to get a loan, you still need to be aware of your own financial picture. Even if youíre pre-approved for a certain amount of money to buy a home, you still need to dig into your finances a bit deeper than a lender would. The bottom line is that you can't rely solely on a lender to tell you how much you can afford for a monthly payment on a home. Even if youíre approved to borrow the maximum amount of money for your finances to buy a home, it doesnít mean that you actually should use that amount. There are so many other real world things that you need to consider outside of the basic numbers that are plugged into a mortgage formula.   


Run Your Own Numbers


Itís important to sit down and do your own budget when youíre getting ready to buy a home. You have plenty of monthly expenses including student loan debt, car payments, utility bills, and more. Donít forget that you need to eat too! Think about what your lifestyle is like. How much do you spend on food? Do you go out to the movies often or spend a regular amount of cash on clothing? Even if you plan to make adjustments to these habits when buying a home, youíll want to think honestly about all of your needs and spending habits before signing on to buy a home. 


Now, youíll know what your true monthly costs are. Be sure to include things like home insurance, property taxes, monthly utilities, and any other personal monthly expenses in this budget. If you plan to put down a lower amount on the home, youíll also need to include additional insurance costs like private mortgage insurance (PMI).


The magic number that you should remember when it comes to housing costs is 30%. This is the percentage of your monthly income that you should plan to spend on housing. Realistically, this could make your budget tight so this is often thought of as a maximum percentage. By law, a lender canít approve a mortgage that would take up more than 35% of your monthly income. Some lenders have even stricter requirements such as not allowing a borrower to have a mortgage that would be more than 28% of monthly income. This is where the debt-to-income ratio comes into play.


As you can see, itís important to take an earnest look at your finances to avoid larger money issues when you buy a home.  





Categories: Buying a Home   budgeting  


Posted by Bo Lee on 1/27/2019

Many Americans who purchased their home when they had lower credit, a shorter employment history, and less money stand to gain from refinancing their mortgages. However, most miss out on this opportunity or donít realize it in time to save potentially thousands in interest payments.

According to recent data, 5.2 million Americans could save, on average, $215 per month if they refinanced their loan. But many homeowners are hesitant to refinance.

Whether itís because of the inconvenience, the cost of refinancing, the worries about something going wrong, or uncertainty about whether theyíll actually save money if they go through the process, millions of homeowners are missing out.

So, in this article, weíre going to talk about some reasons it may be a good idea for you to refinance. If youíre one of the millions of Americans with a mortgage who are thinking about refinancing, this post is for you.

Riding the wave of the economy

Interest rates on home loans are historically low right now. As a result, homeowners can save by refinancing simply due to changing tides of the real estate market. Although mortgage rates have increased slightly over the past two years, theyíre still on the low end, so this could be your last chance to save.

To consolidate your debt

Credit cards, auto loans, and other forms of debt can add up quickly. If you have a high-interest rate on your other debts, refinancing could be a good way to consolidate and save.

This can be achieved through a home equity loan or by refinancing with a cash-out option. This means you refinance your mortgage for more than you currently owe and take the remainder in cash to pay off your other debts with high-interest payments.

Typically, you need to have at least 20% equity (or have paid off 20% of your mortgage) to be eligible for this option.

Small percentages count for more now

It was once said that refinancing only made sense if you would receive a lower interest rate of at least 1-2%. However, with the prices of homes increasing over the years, sometimes even a small change, such as .75% is enough to save you substantial money on your repayment.

Youíre able to repay early

One of the best ways to save on a home loan is by refinancing to a shorter term. Going from a 30-year loan to a 15-year loan can save you thousands. There are several calculators available for free online that will enable you to estimate how much you could save by refinancing to a 15-year mortgage.

You got a raise

One of the best times to refinance is when you can be certain that you can afford to pay off your loan sooner. As people progress in their career, it isnít uncommon for them to refinance their loan so that they can spend more each month but save in the long run.

Since you have a higher income, and likely higher credit, you can also refinance a variable rate loan to lock in a lower fixed rate.








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