Steve Zippin, ABR, CRS, M.Ed.
Keller Williams Realty Boston Northwest | 978-580-9140 | team@stevezippin.com


Posted by Steve Zippin, ABR, CRS, M.Ed. on 2/4/2016

 
 









   Owning a house gives you a sense of fulfillment, and helps boost your self-esteem. It is a long term investment and should not be taken lightly. The present state of your finances is possibly the single most important factor when contemplating home ownership.  

   Before you start shopping for a house, take into consideration the following factors:


  • Have you set aside enough money for the down payment? The amount you need varies based on the price of the home and percentage required by your lender.  Zero down mortgages are possible, however the interest rate is typically very high increasing the amount paid out over the life of the loan. Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is typically required for this type of loan, again increasing your monthly payment.
  • How high of a mortgage payment can you afford to make?  If you opt for a fixed rate, your payment would remain consistent throughout the period of the loan. This type of loan is favorable for future financial planning. Adjustable rate mortgages make it a bit trickier to predict your monthly payments based on the fluctuating interest rate throughout the duration of the loan.  This type of loan could be risky if interest rates rise and your payments increase significantly higher than anticipated.The security of your financial future is paramount when acquiring a mortgage loan.  
  • How is your job stability and/or your career path? You would not want to enter into this long term investment without stable employment and a definite career path.  Most banks and lending companies require a borrower to have been with the same employer for at least 2 years before considering a loan of this nature. 
  • Have you checked your credit score lately? Secure financial footing is key when applying for a mortgage loan.When determining your readiness to purchase a home, your credit score is as important as your finances. If you have a low credit score, you’ll attract a higher lending rate. This implies an increase in the amount paid back to the lender over the duration of the loan. An excellent credit score of 720 or above attracts the best interest rates and repayment terms. 
         If your credit score is too low, improve it by:
    • Becoming Debt Free
    • Removing all inaccuracies from your credit report
    • Making all monthly payments in a timely manner -- eliminating late payments
    • Avoid applying for new loans and opening credit accounts

   The commitment of home ownership comes with financial responsibilities beyond the monthly mortgage payment. Be certain to consider additional expenses such as property tax, utility bills, and home maintenance costs when calculating your budget.  Carefully weigh out all the factors to ensure you will be comfortable with your monthly payments allowing you to enjoy your new home for years to come.


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Posted by Steve Zippin, ABR, CRS, M.Ed. on 1/23/2015

Who wouldn't like to pay off the mortgage early? Getting rid of mortgage debt will allow you the security and the psychological benefit of owning your home free and clear. There are lots of ways to accomplish these goals. Here are some suggestions on ways to get rid of your mortgage debt. Compare the options and do what works best for you. 1. Add more money to your monthly payment. This will help pay down the principal balance shortening the length of your loan. When you pay more on your principal is gets lower, and the lower your principal gets, the more every payment from then on is applied to principal, as less goes to cover interest expense. 2. Refinance. Refinance your mortgage to 10, 15 or 20 years. Your payments will be higher on a 15-year loan, but often the rate is lower and the loan is paid off much quicker. If you are afraid to take out a 15- year loan take out a 30-year loan, but make payments as if you had a 15-year loan. 3. Make biweekly payments. Most banks have a biweekly payment plan. Since there are 52 weeks in the year if you pay half your regular mortgage payment every other week, you'll have made 26 half-payments, or 13 payments. There are options when it comes to owning your home free and clear. Just decide which one works for you and be on your way to being mortgage free.





Posted by Steve Zippin, ABR, CRS, M.Ed. on 3/14/2014

If you are looking to buy a home you may be wondering how you will be able to come up with the down payment. One way that many buyers come up with down payment money is from gifts.  If you are planning on using gift money to help buy a home there are some guidelines you will need to follow. Here are some simple rules: 1. Get a Gift Letter If you are getting gift money to help you buy a house you will need a gift letter. The letter has a few requirements:

  • Have the letter hand-signed by you and the gift-giver
  • State the relationship between the buyer and the gift-giver.
  • State the amount of the gift.
  • State the address of the home being purchased.
  • A statement that the money is a gift and not a loan that must be paid back.
  • A statement that says: “Will wire the gift directly to escrow at time of closing.”
2. Document a paper trail Mortgage underwriters want proof of where the money came from and where it went. Get copies of transactions showing the withdrawals and deposits. You will also need to make sure that the transaction is for the exact amount of the gift. Following these simple guidelines will get you to the closing table hassle free.    





Posted by Steve Zippin, ABR, CRS, M.Ed. on 7/26/2013

When it comes to mortgages there is a lot to know and a lot of choices. One loan that was popular before the housing crisis was the interest-only loan. An interest-only loan is an adjustable-rate loan with an initial fixed period when only interest is due. They are typically available in 5-, 7- or 10-year terms. Economists blame interest-only loans for the foreclosure crisis citing they were issued too freely. Today, interest-only loans are more difficult to obtain. Borrowers were using interest-only loans to qualify for a more expensive home and when the interest-only term ended the payment went up leaving many homeowners unable to afford the mortgage payment. Interest-only loans are now being used by wealthy borrowers as a financial tool to help them manage irregular cash flow, reap a tax benefit, or free up cash for investment elsewhere. Lenders that offer interest-only loans have strict qualifying standards. They generally require 30 percent equity in a property, and a minimum FICO score of 720. Lenders also look at the ability to pay back the loan is based on the fully amortized payment, not the interest-only payment.    





Posted by Steve Zippin, ABR, CRS, M.Ed. on 4/19/2013

There are lots of different types of mortgages out there but the most popular mortgage is a fixed-rate mortgage. A fixed-rate mortgage has a fixed interest rate for the entire term of the loan. The interest rate is determined at the loan's origination. One of the main advantages of a fixed-rate mortgage is that the loan payment amounts will stay the same for the life of the loan and will not fluctuate with interest rate movements. Lenders offer 50, 30, 20, and 10-year fixed loans. The two most popular are the 30 and 15 year fixed loan. A 30-year fixed loan amortizes over thirty years, with the majority of early payments going toward interest, later payments go mostly toward the principal. A 15-year fixed loan, amortizes over fifteen years, and significantly reduces the amount of interest paid on the loan. When considering a mortgage understand and measure risks of all the different types of mortgages.







Steve Zippin, ABR, CRS, M.Ed.