Cindy Gordon
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage | 774-249-4824 | [email protected]


Posted by Cindy Gordon on 11/18/2018

Itís a difficult time to be a first-time home buyer. Post-recession buyers are wary--and for good reason--of how and when to save money for a down payment on a house. One thing to remember, however, is that itís always a good time to start saving.

In this article, weíre going to cover the four most useful methods of saving for a down payment on your first home. That way you can feel confident in taking the first and most important step toward homeownership.

Choosing the right savings account


Unlike riskier investments, a savings account is a safe and proven way of building interest and saving for a home. However, not all savings accounts are created equal.

Typically, brick and mortar banks offer interest rates that are low--the current national average is only about 0.06% annually. While these banks offer conveniences such as in-network ATMs and check-cashing, their physical locations make them expensive to run.

Enter the online bank. Since online banks donít have all of the costs associated with running branches, they can afford to offer better rewards--namely, high-interest returns on your savings accounts.

So, should you take all of your money out of your current savings account and transfer it to an online bank? Maybe. But letís talk about the benefits of having multiple savings accounts.

Open a dedicated account with automatic deposits

Saving isnít just difficult due to financial reasons. Managing money also takes time and effort. To simplify this process, itís preferable to direct deposit or automatically transfer a percentage of your weekly income into your down payment savings account.

While it may seem like pinching pennies at first, even small weekly deposits add up, and within a few years the compounding interest can earn you enough for a higher down payment than you thought possible.

Prioritize high-interest debt now

Have student debt or a car loan thatís keeping you from focusing on saving for a down payment? Oftentimes the best coarse of action is to aggressively pay off high-interest loans. In the long term, this will save you money that can then be used toward a down payment.

For debt that will take several years to pay off, consider refinancing for a lower interest rate, or consolidating your student loans. Speaking with a student loan adviser or financial planner is a good first step to take toward managing your debt.

Make a real budget

Most of us think of a verb when we hear the word ďbudget.Ē However, itís more useful as a noun.

Creating a real budget, whether itís in Excel, Google Sheets, or with the help of an app, having a budget you can refer to once a week is vital to making good savings decisions. It will help you monitor your spending and stay on top of your savings goals.





Posted by Cindy Gordon on 10/15/2017

One of the first and most important things that you should do when you buy a home is to be sure that youíre on top of your finances. Before you even begin the home search, youíll need to be sure that you have money in the bank and know your credit score. What you really need is a plan. 


Set Up A Savings Account For Your Future Home


Having a separate account set up just to help you save for your down payment and other home costs can be very helpful. Find a bank with a bit of a higher interest rate. Often, online banks are your best bet. If youíre able, set up automatic transfers from one account to another for a set amount each month. Youíll be saving before you know it! 


Set Goals


If you have no idea of what you want, it will be difficult to understand what you need to do to get there. Typically, itís a good idea to have 20% of a homeís purchase price saved for your down payment. Putting 20% down also helps you to avoid the additional cost of PMI, also known as private mortgage insurance. Once you have a goal, donít look at the big picture. Break down your big goal for savings into smaller bits to make it less overwhelming. 


Make Savings Automatic


Weíve already mentioned the idea of setting up an automatic transfer, but you can do even more. When you are gifted money, instead of spending it, put it in your home savings account. If you get a bonus from work, save it. If you get a raise, live off of your previous income and use the additional income for savings. All of these little actions add up fast. When you make savings habit, itís easier to reach your goals. 


See Where You Can Cut Costs


Thereís probably plenty of places that you can cut costs in your budget. Sit down and see how much your expenses actually are compared to how much you actually do spend. Can you opt out of cable TV? Maybe you can reduce the speed of your internet connection, or find a cheaper cell phone plan. If you take a close look at your expenses, thereís probably plenty of ways for you to  cut back and save.


Sell Your Stuff


Weíre not talking about selling your essentials, but if you have things around your home that youíre not using, thereís a better use for them. You can probably get some extra cash for these items by selling them. Itís so simple to sell things on the Internet these days that you can make some money and get rid of unwanted things pretty easily.  


Focus

With a bit of focus, hard work and diligence, you can save up enough money for a down payment on a home. Donít forget to keep all of the other aspects of your financial life in order such as paying your bills on time and not opening new credit accounts. Good luck with your savings goals!





Posted by Cindy Gordon on 12/20/2015

If you are thinking about buying a new home you are probably hoping to get the best value for your money on a house, but what about your home loan? The rate and terms of your mortgage can have a big impact on your wallet. This is why it is so important to shop for just the right home loan. There are two main factors to consider when shopping for a loan: the type of loan and the terms of the loan. Do your homework before looking at home loans. Even one half of a percentage point makes a big difference over the full term of the loan. A 30 year loan of†$200,000 at a 5% fixed-rate, will cost you about $22,000 more in interest than if the interest rate was set at 4.5%. Other things to look at when shopping for a home loan are closing costs. Mortgage companies charge additional fees such as origination fees, title charges, appraisals and even credit checks. Make sure to consider these additional expenses when shopping for a home loan. You can also save money by not maxing out your budget. Just because you are pre-qualified for a loan doesn't mean you should spend the maximum loan amount on a home. Don't allow your†total house payment (principal, interest, taxes and insurance) to exceed 28% of your gross monthly income.





Posted by Cindy Gordon on 10/11/2015

If you are planning a move you are probably busy thinking about the new costs of living, how much the rental truck will cost, packing and how you will get there. What you may not be considering is the hidden costs of moving. Here just a few of the surprise costs of moving and some ideas on how to avoid them: Late Fees When you are moving things get lost in the mail or are slow to be forwarded to your new address. If you miss paying your bills on it can add up in unnecessary late fees. Switch all of your bills to online billing that way you are sure not to miss a payment that is lost in the mail. Overdraft Fees Don't close that bank account just yet. You may have checks or bills still being drawn on that bank account. Leave your bank account open for approximately three months to allow all checks to clear. Doing this will help you avoid any overdraft fees. Contract penalties All of those contracts you have signed may come back to haunt you. Memberships at the gym, country club, day care facility, community association, etc. can cost you. Typically there is some type of annual or monthly contract†associated with membership and cancelling early will usually cost you. †Some of these contracts will have an exception for a move so read the terms and conditions before you pay a hefty cancellation fee. Auto insurance Part of the cost of your auto insurance is determined by your address. For example, moving from an area with less population, to a more highly populated area will cost you more in auto insurance. Different states also have different laws regarding†insurance coverage. States have different minimum liability requirements so in some states you will need to purchase personal injury protection and uninsured motorist coverage and in others you will not. Health insurance Health insurance can also change when you switch states. Just like auto insurance, health insurance mandates vary among states, too. †Some states require some types of medical procedures are covered while another has not mandated coverage. †Be sure to comparison-shop for your health insurance. While adding up the normal costs of moving expenses like boxes and storage also be sure to check for these hidden costs and try to avoid losing money in your next move.  





Posted by Cindy Gordon on 9/27/2015

Imagine if you could make your student loan disappear. According to American Student Assistance, a non-profit that aims to educate young people about money say it is possible. Both the federal and state government, as well as some non-profit organizations offer loan "forgiveness" programs. Do the right paperwork and you could be loan free. While there is no single comprehensive listing of loan forgiveness programs, there are programs for some specific professions. Here are a few of those: Law school graduates who become a district attorney or a public defender are eligible to apply for the John R. Justice student loan repayment program. This program pays up to $4,000 a year towards an eligible applicant's debt up to the maximum of $60,000 per graduate. The National Health Service Corps offers an even more generous program for health professionals. This program repays up to $60,000 in debt in just two years for students working in medicine, dentistry or mental health in underserved communities. Graduates who are†willing to work part-time on medical research†could eliminate up to $35,000 in debt per year with a program funded by†The National Institutes of Health. If you are willing to trade a few years of service for loan forgiveness you are in luck. There are various federally funded loan repayment programs†for fire fighters, teachers, nurses, librarians, speech pathologists and employees of non-profits. †The programs don't typically ask graduates to work for free but they might receive less pay in order to repay the loan. The value of the loan repayment is likely to more than compensate for the lost wages. Because there is no comprehensive list of forgiveness programs it pays to do your research. There are many organization's websites that can help students find the right fit.