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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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Missy Yost

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

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

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. And 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 on how to set financial goals and then actually meet them with ease.

5 Steps to Set Financial Goals

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

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal (let alone financial) 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 is for. It could be anything like kid’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, however small they may be, that you foresee in the future and put a value to it.

2. Keep Them 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 out of the line will definitely hurt your chances of achieving them.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic in nature for 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”. And this quote sums up the best what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore account for inflation whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far away in the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years hence, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is mere 3%. So always account for inflation.

4. Short Term vs Long Term

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

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal, which is due in next 3 years should be termed as 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.

More on this later when we talk about how to achieve financial goals.

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5. To Each to His Own

The journey of setting financial goals is an individualistic affair i.e. your goals are your own goals and are determined by your want to achieve them. A lot of times we get on the bandwagon of goal setting only to realize later on that it was not meant for us.

It is important that your goals are actually your goals and not inspired by someone else. Take a hard look at this step at all the goals you’ve set for after this step, you will be on the way to achieve them.

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

11 Ways to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a 2 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. So let’s get down to ensuring healthy savings.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self realization is the best form of realisation 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 monthly expenses. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you would be surprised to see how small expenses add up to a sizeable amount.

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

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classical mistake which almost everyone of us do. We pay ourselves last!

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 then manage all the expenses from the rest.

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

Taking the automatic route will make us lose control of our money and hence will compel us to manage in what’s left with us thereby increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick with It

Budgeting is the best to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be made.

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Nowadays, several money management apps and wallets can help you do this automatically. It’s easy and who knows, you may just end up doing what people fail to do.

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. Rise Again Even If You Fall

Let’s be realistic. It’s not like the world will come to an end if you made one mistake. This isn’t called leniency but discipline.

If you fail to meet your budget for a month, don’t give up the entire effort just like that. Instead, start again.

Remember that flexible plans are the most realistic plans. So go forward and try to follow your financial goals as planned but if for some reason, the plan gets out of hand for you, do not give up on it just yet. This has a lot to do with your psychology rather than any material commitment.

All you have to do is to stay on the road and vow to stay on it, no matter how much you fall down.

5. 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 counter intuitive to many but there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Usually weekends are expensive. Make it a habit and you would in turn be saving a great deal.

If you are travelling buff, try to travel during off season. Your outlay will be much less.

If you go out for shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

So 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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6. 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. And it would be rather easy to lose the grip over your discipline.

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

7. Maintain a Journal

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

So 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.

Use this journal to write down all essential points such as your short term, mid term and long term goals, your current sources of income, your regular expenses which you are aware of and any committed expenses which are of recurring nature.

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

At this point, you should be ready with your financial goals and would be doing brilliantly with savings; now it’s time to talk about the big daddy – Investments.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However savings when invested wisely can do wonders and we are at that stage where we will talk about making smart investments.

8. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investments doesn’t come naturally to most of us therefore rather than dabbling with it ourselves, it is 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.

9. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about them.

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.

Do you remember we talked about bifurcating financial goals in short term and long term?

It is here where that classification will help.

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So 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 as compared to equity instruments.

10. 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.

So make friends with this wonder kid. And sooner you become friends with it, quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

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

11. 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; taking stock of how our investments are doing.

If there is one single step where everything (so far) can go wrong, it is at this step – Measuring the Progress.

If we don’t measure the progress timely, then we would be shooting in the dark. We wouldn’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not; whether financial advisor is doing a decent job; whether we are moving closer to our target or not.

Do 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

This completes the list of tips for you to set financial goals and actually achieve them with not so great difficulty.

As you can see, all it requires is discipline. But guess that’s the most difficult part!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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