Sharon Simmons' Blog
Many people own homes through a mortgage agreement. Traditional mortgages are primarily fully amortized or gradually paid off with regular payments over the lifetime of the loan. Each payment contributes to both the principal and the interest.
A balloon mortgage is a short-term home loan with fixed-rate monthly payments that only take care of accrued interest on the loan for a set period. It also has a large “balloon” payment to cover the rest of the principal.
The payment plan is based mainly on a fifteen- or thirty-year mortgage, with small monthly payments until the due date for the balloon payment. These low regular payments partly cover the loan but require paying the remainder of the unpaid principal as a lump sum. Selling the house or refinancing the balloon loan before the payment is due is how most buyers approach this situation.
Key Issues with Balloon Mortgages
Lenders present a deadline by which the balloon payment is due (three- to seven-year period). The enormous amount is often more than borrowers can easily handle at once.
Paying only interest on a loan does not allow equity to build. Many homeowners use equity as a means to complete home improvements or other projects. Building equity also helps homeowners when it comes time to sell their home because a traditional mortgage reduces over time.
Why People Opt for Balloon Loans
It is possible to refinance a balloon mortgage or sell the property before the balloon payment is due but it can be difficult to do so. A dry housing market, job loss, or low credit score are potential obstacles. Lay-offs and depressed home values can trap buyers in their balloon loans. Without the option to sell, refinance, or fulfill their balloon payments, borrowers may end up in foreclosure.
The One True Strategy
Traditional loans are generally safer than balloon mortgages. To keep housing costs at a minimum, use a balloon mortgage if you are sure you can exit before the balloon payment comes due. Otherwise, it is best to remain in the realm of traditional loans.
Review the pros and cons of taking a balloon loan before committing to it. Speak to your financial planner or realtor for professional guidance.
The last thing you want to experience after purchasing a new home is "buyer's remorse!" With that in mind, it pays to look at all angles when house shopping. Although emotions and first impressions are going to play a big role in your home-buying decisions, a thoughtful analysis of the pros and cons of every home that appeals to you will help ensure you're making the best decision for you and your family.
While your real estate agent will help you find houses for sale that have the necessary number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage, you'll need to make sure they're fully aware of your "wish list," your desired lifestyle, and your personal preferences. Here a few examples:
Commuting distance: Unless you've found your dream home that's absolutely perfect in every way (if such a thing exists), a long commute to work, every day, could dampen your enthusiasm about an otherwise great house. Since everyone has a difference tolerance for long commutes, there's no hard-and-fast rule for that facet of home buying. Having a comfortable vehicle, listening to books on tape, or streaming your favorite music or radio programs can help make a long commute more acceptable -- even enjoyable. If you take a train to work, every day, you also have the option of catching up on your reading, preparing for meetings, or even meditating. So while a long commute does not have to be a "deal breaker," it is an important factor worth pondering.
Privacy level: This is another aspect of home ownership that's based on personal preferences. However, if you realize -- after the fact -- that you don't have enough privacy from neighbors or passersby, then you might end up feeling less-than-satisfied with your new home. Fortunately, you can compensate for lack of privacy by installing fences or planting privacy hedges, but the best laid plans are generally formulated before you make a purchase offer. If you consider privacy to be a high priority, always take notice of a house's distance from neighbors and streets.
Leaky basements: Although there are solutions for wet basements, there's a lot of expense and inconvenience associated with having to implement them. Excessive moisture can not only damage stored furniture, books, and other belongings, but it's also a fertile breeding ground for mold and mildew. A qualified home inspector will generally point out issues like that, but it's much better to notice them before you get to that advanced stage in the home-buying process.
An experienced real estate agent who represents your interests can provide valuable guidance and help you notice potential "red flags" that could adversely affect your future enjoyment of a home. A buyers' agent can offer you the expertise, professional insights, and objective point of view you might not otherwise have.
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Believe it or not, home sellers may encounter many expenses after they list their residences. These costs include:
1. Home Cleaning and Maintenance Costs
Before you start showing your residence to prospective buyers, it often is beneficial to clean your house. As such, you may need to purchase assorted cleaning supplies. Or, you can always hire a professional home cleaning company to help you enhance your house's overall appearance.
Don't forget about home maintenance expenses too. Remember, you'll want to do everything possible to improve your house's curb appeal to ensure your residence stands out to potential buyers. And if you budget for the costs associated with fixing damaged home siding or performing lawn care tasks, you may be better equipped than ever before to find cost-effective ways to bolster your home's curb appeal.
2. Home Repair Costs
After you accept a buyer's offer to purchase your home, the buyer likely will request a property inspection. And if an inspection reveals myriad home repairs are necessary, you may be required to spend money to complete these repairs. Otherwise, you could put your home sale in jeopardy.
Oftentimes, it is helpful to conduct a property inspection before you list your residence. This will enable you to assess your home with a professional inspector and identify any problems. Then, you can perform home repairs prior to listing your residence and reduce the risk of possible home selling delays down the line.
3. Moving Costs
Once you sell your home, you will need to relocate your belongings from your current address to a new location. Thus, you should consider the costs associated with moving boxes and packing supplies and budget accordingly.
Furthermore, you may want to hire a professional moving company to help you transport your belongings from Point A to Point B. If you review the prices of local moving companies, you can find an affordable option that matches your budget.
There are many costs that you may encounter as you proceed along the home selling journey. But if you work with a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive property selling support. And as a result, you may be able to cut down on potential costs throughout the home selling cycle.
A real estate agent is committed to doing everything possible to help a seller achieve the best-possible results. Therefore, a real estate agent will learn about your home selling goals and create a personalized property selling strategy for you.
Plus, a real estate agent is happy to respond to any home selling concerns or questions. This housing market professional will go the extra mile to guarantee you can enjoy a seamless property selling experience. With assistance from a real estate agent, you can handle any potential problems that may arise during the house selling journey.
For home sellers, it usually is a good idea to budget for potential property selling expenses. If you put together a budget, you could boost the likelihood of enjoying a fast, profitable property selling experience.
If budgeting isn’t your thing, you’ll be glad to discover that it’s quite simple. There’s a way to categorize your spending and save money easily. If you learn the rule, it will become so automatic that you won’t even think about it. If you’re saving money for a home, this practice will be essential. Break your budget down into three categories:
- Living expenses
- Financial goals
- Personal spending
Half of your budget should go towards living expenses. This number includes all of the essentials like rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, commute costs, and insurances.
20 percent of your income should go towards other financial goals like savings, investments, or paying down debt. Credit card bills, student loans, and other bills would fall under this category. This category is also where you’d save for your down payment, closing costs, and other expenses. This percentage can be adjustable depending on how much debt you have or how much you need to save for retirement.
The remaining 30 percent of your income can go towards personal spending. This category includes everything that you use your money for but isn’t a necessity. This percentage is also flexible. If your lifestyle doesn’t require you to use all 30 percent each month, you can indeed save more money.
A Clear Plan
These categories simplify your budget. Even if you make some adjustments to the numbers, the outline truly makes budgeting easy even for the most scatterbrained among us. It allows you to see where your money goes clearly. It also works no matter what kind of living situation you have.
The great thing about this budgeting plan is that you have some future needs built into it. Many times, when we budget, we think of our immediate needs and our shorter term goals. Saving for any occasion can never happen too early. You are able to not only focus on your current goals and the future.
First, determine your monthly income. This number is how much money you take home after taxes. From here, you’ll be able to split your money into categories by percentages. If your income fluctuates frequently, you’ll need to take an average of your monthly income to determine your numbers.
Next, you should take a look at your spending habits. These include everything from your morning latte to your monthly rent payment. From here you can make adjustments. Perhaps you need to look for a less expensive apartment. Maybe you need to cut down your weekly pizza to a bi-monthly purchase. Whatever you see in your finances, a simple percentage rule gives you the tools you need to become a saver and be well on your way to the purchase of your first home.