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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.

More by this author

Missy Yost

Missy is a business owner and writes about everyday lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 2, 2020

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

2. Keep Goals Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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4. Short Term Vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

  • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
  • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
  • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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5. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

6. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

1. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

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3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding:

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

Use compound interest when setting financial goals

    Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

    Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

    4. Measure, Measure, Measure

    All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

    If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

    Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

    The Bottom Line

    Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

    and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

    More Tips on Financial Goals

    Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

    Reference

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