Thursday, November 9, 2017 / by Alex Clark
Invest or Pay Off Your Mortgage? How to Decide
Should you invest extra cash or use it to pay off your mortgage?
It’s a heated debate that rivals French press versus pour-over coffee and “Star Wars” or “Star Trek.” But while all three topics might get passionate believers on both sides all worked up, investing or paying off your mortgage is a choice with serious financial consequences.
Here’s how to know which way to go.
The six variables to consider
To decide between the two, Justin Goodbread, a certified financial planner in Knoxville, Tennessee, suggests you consider six variables:
Your home’s current market value
Your mortgage interest rate
Home appreciation in your area
Your income tax rate
Expectations for inflation
An assumed rate of investment return
In an analysis on his blog, Financially Simple, Goodbread used national averages for these six parameter ...
Thursday, October 19, 2017 / by Lacey Parker
Portland Home Energy Score Ordinance
Starting January 1, 2018, the city of Portland will require a Home Energy Score be performed prior to publicly listing a home for sale. The Home Energy Score must be provided to all potential buyers, their realtors and the City of Portland while it’s for sale and the score be posted on all listings (MLS, Craigslist, Zillow, Trulia, For Sale By Owner etc.). There is a repeating $500 fine for noncompliance.
The law does not require you do upgrades or meet any level of energy efficiency, you only need to make it available.
For exemptions and waivers see: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/655310
Law only applies to homes within the City of Portland. City boundary map below.
What is a Home Energy Score?
A Home Energy Score is an energy audit that prioritizes energy upgrades and details the cost savings of each upgrade. It's also used as a method of comparing homes based on energy use ...
Thursday, October 12, 2017 / by Alex Clark
Student loan debt has been a huge topic of conversation the past couple years. And it's no wonder. The average 2016 graduated has $37,172 in student loan debt. That's about $9,000 less than you'd need for a down payment on the average existing home in the U.S. at the end of 2016 and the thought of saving all that money while paying off between $219 and $389 on student loans a month can be pretty intimidating. But buying your first home can be about more than having a place to call your own--it's also a great way to build wealth. And there are steps you can take to make your dreams a reality.
Set a goal
Chances are you don't have a huge nest egg right out of college, so the first step in buying a home is setting a goal and then making a plan to achieve it. Search homes on our website to see how much homes in your area cost. Calculate how much you would need for a 20% down payment, then use our mortgage calculator to see what your mm ...
Thursday, October 5, 2017 / by Melissa Nielsen
5 Real Estate Terms You Need to Know
Real estate can be confusing at first, largely due to the many different terms and phrases you have to know and understand. To make it a little easier to grasp, here’s a simple explanation of five common real estate terms.
A pre-approval letter is a statement from the bank that basically estimates how much money they’re willing to loan to a particular buyer. This is extremely helpful to the buyer because it gives them a much clearer idea of what kind of home they can realistically afford.
An appraisal attempts to determine an accurate market value for a property by examining both the actual property and comparable homes that have recently been sold in the area. This process is done by an licensed appraiser and is done for the sake of the bank, who wants to ensure that it is not investing in a property that is overpriced within its market.
Closing costs are a gr ...
Thursday, September 28, 2017 / by Peter Clark
THE GREAT ROLL-OFF BEGINS
Federal Reserve officials wrapped up their latest meeting (which occurs every six weeks) and announced what most market watchers expected them to announce: The Fed will shrink its massive balance sheet. The balance sheet holds mostly Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities (MBS) -- roughly $4.5 trillion of them.
The Fed’s new policy has widespread ramifications. The Fed’s balance sheet correlates positively with base money supply. The larger the balance sheet, the more money the Fed has injected into the economy.
Here’s how it works: Primary dealers (mostly investment banks) buy Treasury securities and MBS and then turn around and sell them to the Fed. The Fed pays with newly minted money. Fed demand for the securities and the influx of new money work to keep interest rates low.
Now the Fed is ready to reverse course.
After massively expanding its balance sheet (and the base money supply ...