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Ten Brilliant Ways to Become A Homeowner When You’re Broke

Ten Brilliant Ways to Become A Homeowner When You’re Broke

If you feel stuck in an apartment or a rental house because all your money is going to rent. The good news is that there are awesome programs out there that let you break the chains holding you down as “tenant” and allows you exchange that title for “homeowner”.

Purchase Your Dream House With a USDA Loan

First introduced in 2014, this loans purpose is to “improve the economy and quality of life in rural America” They allow you to borrow the entire purchase price with no money down and USDA loan are not just for areas filled with fields and green pastures. They are available in smaller towns with traditional neighborhoods throughout the United States.

To find out more about where these loans are available in your area, visit the USDA government website. You will find information regarding approved areas based on your city and state. You can also find out specific income eligibility for your area.

An FHA Loan Requires Little Down and Protects You From Buying a Money Pit

Although FHA Loans require an affordable down payment (usually 3.5 to 5 percent down) they do not have area restrictions like the USDA Loan. As long as the house is in good condition, there is a good chance it will qualify for an FHA loan.

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One advantage of an FHA home loan is the FHA inspection. It is more comprehensive than the normal house inspection and can point out defects that must be fixed prior to the loan closing. The thorough inspection can help you avoid buying a money pit.

The VA Loan is Not Just For The Active Military

VA Loans require no money down. You are able to negotiate closing costs by asking the seller to assist by paying these costs for you. This means that you can become a homeowner with virtually no money.

To qualify you must meet certain income and employment guidelines. You also must meet the requirements for military service or be the spouse of someone that qualifies. Talk to a VA-approved lender for more information.

Consider a Loan Assumption

Some loans, such as VA and FHA loans are assumable. Although assuming a loan has not been a popular option for several years, they will gain in popularity in the future. Why? Because right now no one needs to assume a loan due to the low-interest rates. But as interest rates rise in the future, assuming a loan at a 3.5% interest rate when current rates are 6% will be very appealing.

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The downside with this type of mortgage, is that it may require a larger amount to be financed if the seller has a significant amount of equity in the home. Still, they are worth keeping on your radar.

Purchasing the House You Rent (Lease to Own or Land Contract)

If you are renting a house and want to buy it you may want to talk to the owner about a Lease to Own or Land Contract. This type of purchase is perfect for anyone that wants to purchase a house, but doesn’t quite have the downpayment needed, or is in the process of rebuilding credit (such as after a divorce or bankruptcy).

Typically, a Lease to Own requires a small down payment and an agreement regarding how much of the rent payment will go, towards purchasing the home.  You and your landlord will also agree upon how long the rent to own period will last. After that time expires, you apply for a mortgage to complete the purchase. This allows you to apply for a mortgage, when you have more chance of approval, after rebuilding your credit.

A Navy Federal Loan is Not a VA Loan

The Navy Federal Credit Union is similar to the VA Loan, but the funding fee is less than VA funding fees. Typically, all military funding fees can be financed so this is also a 100% financed loan that requires no money down.

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The Navy loan is only available to members of the Navy Federal Credit Union. Admittance to this credit union is more strict than a normal credit union and the most common members are military personnel. However, this membership is extended to some family members of military personnel, some civilian employees of the military and employees in the U.S. Department of Defense.

Mortgage Insurance Makes Up for Missing Downpayment Funds

If you are willing to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), many mortgage brokers work with lenders, that will allow you to put down 10 percent instead of the traditional 20 percent. These loans have advantages and disadvantages.

An advantage is less money down and the ability to drop the PMI once you own 20 percent of your home. The disadvantage is the additional payment that is tacked on to your normal mortgage payment. This amount can be as much as 10 percent of the mortgage payment.

Private Mortgages.

If you know someone that is willing to back you on your home purchase, they can purchase the home on your behalf and then become your lender. This scenario can be a win-win. You get that home you had your eye on and they get paid interest on the amount they let you borrow. You can also avoid PMI when going this route.

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Many first time home buyers, find this type of assistance with parents and grandparents who have the funds to pay cash for the home.

If It’s Your First Home You Are in Luck With First-Time Home Buyer Programs

There are many first time home buyer programs out there. A simple internet search will return a plethora of programs. There are local programs, state programs and federal programs. There are also programs offered by individual banks and mortgage companies.

These programs vary in the amount of assistance they offer. For more information on first time home buyer programs in your area contact a local mortgage broker.

Credit Union Financing is Available to Most

If your local bank says no to a mortgage don’t take that as a final answer. Many credit unions have less stringent guidelines for qualification on a home loan. Credit Unions also often offer home loans with as little as five to ten percent down.

Before giving up, check with your local credit unions for program specifics and eligibility requirements for their home loans. Many credit unions only require a deposit account for membership in their credit union.

To find out more about these programs and other ones that could be an option for you, contact a local mortgage broker. You may be closer to owning a home than you think.

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Last Updated on January 2, 2019

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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How It Leads to Financial Improvement

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

Types of Personal Finance Software

When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

When to Use Personal Finance Software

So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

1. You Have Multiple Accounts

There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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How to Get Started

From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

Final Thoughts

Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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