Sandra Tessier - RE/MAX Property Spec. Grp. Inc.


Every homeowner knows how difficult it is to maintain a household. There are so many things that could go wrong in one’s life that committing to significant home payments may cause trouble.

Those who have been in debt knows that the reality of real estate is that it goes up. The value of your house would increase with the limited inventory and the high demand for homes. 

Refinancing is always a viable option for every homeowner. With that, if you are asking if refinancing is a good step for you, the following should provide an answer:

First, refinancing is not a one size fits all kind of solution. It has different types which would determine if it is the right step for you.

There is a cash-out refinance which allows the homeowner to take advantage of the increase in price and replace the existing mortgage with a new one. Every person should know, however, that taking out cash-out refinancing is not good for those who cannot handle their payments in the first place. It renews your loan and extends it for a period, but it is not always a solution for those who lack self-control.

There is also a rate refinance where you would renegotiate the interest rates that you are paying. This one is a good step for those who are willing to pay off some of the debt through the equity and place it directly on loan.

Second, refinancing is not free. A common mistake that people think is that their refinancing option is open, so they get shocked when they have to pay about a thousand dollars for it. If you are in a position where you can afford a thousand dollar lost for tens of gain, it should be a good step for you.

Third, refinancing extends the term of your loan. You may feel like you get out of debt with refinancing but what you are only doing is reaching the end of your credit, and you are still in debt.

Now that you know some facts about refinancing, you can make a better decision if it is right for you and your mortgage. A financial adviser could advise you, but it is you who ultimately makes the decision.

Keep in mind that in case you need to ask more questions, you should ask a real estate professional and seek help from the experts.


Getting a mortgage is one of those things that everyone seems to have quite a bit of advice about. While people surely have good intentions, it’s not always best to take the buying advice of everyone you meet. Below, you’ll find the wrong kind of mortgage advice and why you should think twice about it. 


Pre-Approvals Are Pointless


Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can give you an upper hand when it comes to putting in offers on a home. Even though a pre-approval isn’t a guarantee, it’s a good step. It shows that you’re a serious buyer and locks you in with a lender so they can process your paperwork a bit more quickly when you do want to put an offer in on a home. 


Use Your Own Bank


While your own bank may be a good place to start when it comes to buying a home, you don’t need to get your mortgage from the place where you already have an account. You need to compare rates at different banks to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal on a mortgage. You’ll also want to check on the mortgage requirements for each bank. Different banks have different standards based on down payment, credit scores and more. You’ll want to get your mortgage from the bank that’s right for you and your own situation. 


The Lowest Interest Rate Is Best


While this could be true, it’s not set in stone. A bank with a slightly higher interest rate could offer you some benefits that you otherwise might not have. If you have a lower credit score, or less downpayment money, a bank offering a higher interest rate could be a better option for you. Low interest rates can have some fine print that might end up costing you a lot more in the long term. Do your research before you sign on with any kind of bank for your mortgage. 


Borrow The Maximum


Just because you’re approved for a certain amount of mortgage doesn’t mean that you need to max out your budget. It’s always best to have a bit of a financial cushion for yourself to keep your budget from being extremely tight. When life throws you a curveball like unexpected medical bills or a job loss, you’ll be glad that you didn’t strain your budget to the end of your means. Even though the bigger, nicer house always looks more attractive, you’re better off financially if you’re sensible about the amount of money you borrow to buy a home.


The cost to attend university continues to rise, putting pressure on students to afford an education. While some universities assist their students, many raise their prices to contend with operating costs. As a result, students leave school with mounds of debt that impede their quality of life. Paying off student loans starts by laying the appropriate groundwork, which gives you the best chance at success. 

Where to Start

Begin by identifying the type of student loans you have. Most often, you have either private or government student loans. The difference between them dictates the various options available to eliminate your debt. Now that you've identified your student loan type start with the government student loan. 

Government Loans

Government loans offer a variety of payment options based on factors such as your income and ability to pay. To more effectively make your student loan payments, request the payment plan that fits your financial situation. When you do receive extra money—like that birthday gift from Great-Aunt Daisy—apply it to your principal balance. You'll speed up the loan elimination process. By using the right payment plan, you balance your debt elimination with financial well being.

Private Loans

The payment plans for private student loans are difficult to adjust. One method to consider is refinancing to a lower interest rate. By refinancing your loan, you may lower your monthly payments. If you continue making more substantial payments on your refinanced note, you'll eliminate the principal balance at a faster rate. 

If you find yourself looking to refinance, shop around. Several companies specialize in student loan refinancing. By lowering your interest rate, you save money and can use that extra money toward principal payments, ultimately eliminating your student loans faster.

Finally, once you set a repayment plan, increase your principal payments through a second job or side-gig. Lyft, eBay, Instacart, and other flexible part-time options make increasing your outside income possible. Eliminating student loan debt is difficult, but certainly possible. With minor tweaks and adjustments, you will find the right path for you. 

Once you clear your student debt, you will have extra income for items such as saving for a down payment on a home. Purchasing a home is arguably the most significant asset for most people. By eliminating student debt, you can focus on home buying. To see if you qualify for a mortgage despite your school debt, reach out to a mortgage broker or loan officer.


If you’re hoping to buy your first home in the near future, you’re likely wondering about the different types of mortgages that you may qualify for. Since the 1930s, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has been insuring home loans for first-time homeowners across America.

This program helps people achieve homeownership who typically wouldn’t be able to afford the down payment or pass the credit score requirements to secure a traditional mortgage.

In today’s post, we’re going to answer some frequently asked questions about FHA loans to help you decide if this is the best option for your first home.

Does the FHA issue loans?

Although they’re called “FHA loans,” mortgages are not actually issued by the FHA. Rather, they’re issued by mortgage lenders across the country and insured by the FHA.

Will I have to make a down payment?

With an FHA loan, your down payment can be as low as 3.5%, significantly lower than traditional loans at 20% down payment. However, you will be required to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) in addition to your monthly mortgage payments until you have paid off 20% of the home. So, the best case scenario would be to save as much as possible for a down payment to reduce the amount of mortgage insurance you have to pay.

What are the benefits of an FHA loan?

The three main reasons to secure an FHA loan are:

  • You can qualify with a low credit score

  • You can make a smaller down payment than traditional mortgages

  • Your closer costs will be less expensive

Where do I apply for an FHA loan?

You can apply for an FHA loan through a mortgage lender. You can also work with a mortgage broker to help choose a lender.

Is an FHA loan the only loan option for low down payments?

There are multiple loan programs offered at the state and federal level to help individuals secure a mortgage with a lower down payment. They can be provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the USDA, or state-sponsored programs. Lenders also often sponsor their own programs to attract potential borrowers. However, always make sure you compare these programs to make sure you’re making the best long-term financial decision.

Do all FHA loans offer the same interest rates and costs?

No. Since the loans are only insured by the FHA, it’s up to the lender to determine your interest rate and fees. So, it’s a good idea to shop around for the best lender.

How high does my credit score have to be to qualify for an FHA loan?

You can secure a mortgage with a down payment as low as 3.5% with a credit score of 580 or higher. However, if you can afford to make a larger down payment, you can secure an FHA loan with a credit score as low as 500.

If your score is in the 500-600 range, it’s typically a better idea to spend a few months building credit before applying for a home loan.

What information will I need to apply?

You’ll need to gather all of the same information that you would for a typical mortgage. This includes W2s from your employer(s), two years of submitted tax forms, your current and former addresses from the past two years, and your gross monthly salary.

I’ve owned a house before, can I still qualify for FHA loans?

Even if you’re not a first-time homebuyer you can still qualify for an FHA loan. However, you cannot qualify if you’ve had a foreclosure within the last three years or have filed for bankruptcy within the last two years.


Buying your first home is a huge financial accomplishment and life milestone. The process is long, and can seem complicated at times. However, if you do your research and manage your money carefully, buying a house can be an excellent financial asset that will serve you for decades to come. 

Many people who hope to own a home in the near future aren’t sure of the best way to start off on their path toward homeownership. This uncertainty leads them to put off their preparations. If you want to stop renting and start building equity, this is time wasted.

In today’s post, I’m going to give you some advice on how to start planning for homeownership, regardless of your current circumstances.

Build credit responsibly

One thing that will help you on nearly all mortgage applications is a good credit score. For those of us who had a difficult time paying off bills or had loans go into default, it can seem like a daunting task to ever raise your credit score into good standing.

However, when your score is low, it is actually easier and faster to raise than if it is already in high standing.

To boost your credit score, make sure your current debt is paid on time each month. If you’re thinking about taking on a new line of credit, consider setting it to auto-pay each month for the full statement balance. This way, you’ll still improve your credit score but can also avoid costly interest payments.

Read up on mortgages and fees

There are many different types of mortgages available to borrowers in the United States. Some, such as USDA and VA loans, are guaranteed by the U.S. government. This means they often have less stringent credit and down payment requirements.

Don’t be afraid to shop around between lenders. You may see different interest rates from similar lenders in your area.

Finally, make sure you’re familiar with the type of closing costs and property taxes you’ll be responsible for. It’s one thing to be able to afford your monthly mortgage payments, but there are other costs to consider when it comes to being a homeowner.

Budget and save

Budgeting and saving are both skills that need to be learned and developed over time. None of us are born with the knowledge of how to best budget their expenses and earnings. However, there are some free tools available in most app stores.

When it comes to saving, remember that the more you save for a down payment, the lower your interest rate can be. The difference may seem small now, but over the lifetime of your mortgage can save you tens of thousands of dollars. Wouldn’t you rather that money end up in your retirement fund than in your lender’s pocket?

Before you apply for a mortgage

If you’ve saved for your down payment and built credit and are ready to take the next step and get preapproved, be aware that opening new lines of credit will temporarily decrease your score.




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