When you save on energy, you also save money.  As a homeowner, there are a number of ways that you can do both and still have the energy to enjoy your everyday life.

The Buzz On Bulbs

One of the most obvious ways to save energy in your home is to turn off the television when nobody is watching or when the room is empty.  Additionally, avoid leaving lights on that aren't necessary.  Speaking of lights, your choice of light bulbs may also have an impact on your energy bill as certain types require more electricity than others resulting in higher energy costs.

Keep It Cool

During the warm spring and summer months, it's best to keep all appliances that give off a lot of heat away from the thermostat.  Otherwise, your home may appear hotter than it actually is and the air conditioner will then be made to work harder.  This, in turn, equals more energy being used and more money being spent on energy costs.

Speaking of heat, it's a good idea to avoid excessive use of the oven when it's hot outside.  During the warm weather months, the oven can quickly cause your home's interior to heat up.  This means the air conditioner will once again be working harder to cool your home's interior, which increases your energy consumption.  One popular alternative is to use the microwave.

Shop Smart

Whether you have outdated appliances or are simply looking to furnish a new home, it's a good idea to keep energy efficiency in mind while shopping for new models.  Although energy-efficient appliances may be more expensive, they can save you money in the long run by cutting your energy costs every month.

Heating & Cooling

If you want to save a substantial amount of money, take a close look at your heating and cooling costs, which often make up over 50 percent of a family's energy bill.  When it comes to heating or cooling, make sure that the thermostat is adjusted at night and when the home is empty.  Otherwise, you are simply wasting energy.  Make sure that filters for both heating and cooling units are replaced regularly.

Sun Sense

In the summer, leave your curtains and/or blinds closed in order to minimize the sun's heat from entering your home as this could cause your air conditioner to work harder.  After all, your air conditioner is designed to cool your home and the sun's heat only makes the temperature rise.  In the winter, however, open your curtains in order to get the most out of the sun's warm rays.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to call me at (916) 668-6568

Understanding Interest Rates

Understanding Interest Rates

If you are in the market for a new home, or it is time to refinance your mortgage, there is no doubt you have been looking at the current interest rates.  But with all the financial jargon and the multitude of lenders and mortgages available, understanding your options can really be confusing.  Here are some simple facts about interest rates and how they affect your bottom line.

Do Your Research

As with any major decision, knowing the facts about the housing and financial markets before making any major decision is of vital importance to protecting your investment.  Review online the national mortgage rates for different types of loans.  There are a number of sites where you can find this information, or you can ask your REALTOR® to point you in the right direction.  In general, fixed rates will be higher, but as they don't fluctuate over the term of your loan they may be a better choice for those who need the stability of fixed payments.  Also when comparing interest rates, be sure you are comparing the APR, or Annual Interest Rate, to ensure that your comparisons are on equal ground.

 

Also keep yourself informed on some of the riskier options that may be out there.  ARMs, interest-only mortgages, no-doc loans, and 100 percent mortgages are some of the more aggressive loan types out there.  They may be appropriate for your situation, but they present more risk for the lender, and are not always a wise financial choice.  They also often come with higher interest rates that may return to haunt you later.

Preparing Yourself To Get The Best Rates

Understood or not, ultimately we all want to get the best interest rates for our mortgage in order to save money.  No matter what type of mortgage you choose, there are a few steps you can take to get the best rates.  You can reduce your rates by:

Saving a sizable down payment

Establishing a pattern of paying your bills on time

Reviewing your credit report and correcting any errors

Shopping around with multiple institutions and different types of lenders

Armed with these simple facts, you can protect yourself from bad financial choices and remain aware of the steps you should take to get the best interest rates.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to call me at (916) 668-6568

Buying A Home With Bad Credit

When it comes to buying a home, having bad credit is not the end of the world.  Your future doesn't have to be defined by your past.  Whether you have suffered from a bankruptcy, foreclosure or some type of financial hardship that resulted in late or missed payments, there are lenders who specialize in financing for those with less-than-perfect credit.  You will likely have to produce a larger down payment and/or pay higher interest rates than someone who has good credit, but the important thing to know is that buying a home is an option for you.

Bankruptcy & Foreclosure

If either a bankruptcy or foreclosure is on your credit report, it could take some time before you can qualify for a good interest rate on a mortgage.  FHA loans, which are especially desirable for those with past credit problems and first-time home buyers, are backed by the government and offer a low down payment and interest rate option for those who qualify.  Although the notation remains for up to 10 years, individuals with a bankruptcy or foreclosure on their credit report may qualify for an FHA loan after two years.  Some mortgage lenders may approve a loan sooner, but the interest rates will be higher and the required down payment may be as much as 35 percent of the purchase price of the home.

Cleaning Up Your Credit

Even if you have bad credit, it's important to check your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies - TransUnion, Equifax and Experian - before applying for a loan.  If anything is inaccurate, file a dispute with the reporting agency and request a correction.  You can request a free copy of your credit report every 12 months.

In addition to correcting any inaccuracies on your credit report, it's important that you know what can help or hurt your chances of obtaining a loan.  You can start improving your credit by avoiding the temptation to apply for new credit right before submitting a mortgage application.  Multiple inquiries will cause your FICO score to drop, and lenders will rely on this information when deciding whether or not to issue your loan and how to calculate your interest rates.  With past credit problems, most lenders will want to see that you have rebuilt your credit history with 1-3 major credit cards and timely payments over a two-year period.

Money Matters

When it comes to obtaining a home loan, a healthy bottom line will help the lender to see you as being creditworthy.  It's important that you have sufficient income, along with the ability to prove steady employment for at least one year (longer is better) preceding your loan application.  Most lenders will request a copy of your tax returns for the two most recent years, along with current pay stubs.  If you have money for a down payment, this will also work in your favor.

Creative Financing

In some cases, a conventional mortgage loan may not be available no matter how hard you try.  Owner financing is one way that individuals, who may not otherwise qualify for a traditional mortgage loan, can purchase a home.  This type of financing is offered by the owner and may include interest rates comparable to other loans, flexible down payment options and no credit check.  Your REALTOR® can assist you in finding homes that offer alternative financing options.