Atlanta Mortgage News

Save money during the holidays to buy your dream house in the New Year

The holidays can put a dent in your savings especially if you're planning to buy a home, but there are several ways to cut costs so your finances aren't in the red by New Year's Day. Consider the following money saving tips:

  • In lieu of buying presents for every family member, suggest a gift exchange and draw names out of a hat.
  • Agree on a spending limit for gifts for friends and family and stick to it.
  • Make your holiday meals a potluck and assign each guest an item to bring.   
  • Consider buying a joint gift rather than individual gifts for a family such as a zoo membership or movie tickets. 
  • For young children, half the fun of holidays is often opening the gifts. Hit the dollar stores! Wrap small, inexpensive items separately - trinkets and treats! 
  • Give homemade treats like fudge, truffles, cookies or jams and jellies.
  • To cut down on postage and holiday card costs- mine has run up to nearly $100 per year! Send e-cards, which are usually free.
  • To keep your electricity bill down, use a timer to turn outdoor lights on and off at designated hours.
  • If you know you won't be able to pay your credit card off right away, make sure you use a single low-interest card to make purchases - that way you can easily track them.
  • When traveling during the holidays, try to fly on Christmas Day. It's usually cheaper and there are plenty of seats.
  • Subscribe to receive e-newsletters from your favorite online merchants. They will often e-mail coupons to use for savings on purchases and shipping costs. Or subscribers may receive private sale information.
  • Sometimes buying an item online is cheaper than going to the store since many sites don't charge sales tax and offer free shipping. Use the savings to have the gift mailed directly to the recipient instead of standing in line at the post office. 

Yes, you may feel a bit like a bit of a scrooge, but by keeping things low key, those friends and family might be thrilled to join in your summer cookout at your new home in 2019.

Posted by Elizabeth Washburn on December 5th, 2018 2:01 PM

Quick Reminders of Store Safety

Although we'd like to believe the holidays bring out peace on earth and good will for all, the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day tend to be a prime season for criminals. During this busy time of year, you can take some easy precautions to prevent becoming a victim of theft. Consider the following safety tips:

When holiday shopping this week: 

  • Put your shopping bags in your trunk and move the car if you can. Better yet, take your packages home after a shopping spree and then go back to the new stores.
  • Don't carry large amounts of cash with you, or keep it in your front pocket not in your purse or wallet. Better yet, use your credit card for instant insurance if things are stolen. 
  • Be extra careful when carrying a purse - they are the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas. If you must carry one, make sure it has a strap that can go over the shoulder and be held under the arm, making them more difficult for purse snatchers to grab.
  • Keep your receipts separate from the packages.  If things are taken, it is easy to determine what was taken.
  • Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home and if they get stolen, after you call the card holder, reporting the theft to the three big credit bureaus  can be useful too.  They can put a lock on your credit so the fraud stops before it starts.  This can be very helpful when its time to get a mortgage!
  • Beware of strangers approaching you.  Extended eye contact is your friend and so is the word no. You are allowed to have personal space in a public environment.

At home:

  • When leaving home for an extended time, have a neighbor or family member watch your house and pick up your newspapers and mail.
  • Leave a light on when you leave your home at night or put your lights (including Christmas lights) on an automatic timer.
  • Make sure your holiday gifts are not visible through the windows and doors of your home.
  • Never say you are away from home on the outgoing message on your answering machine or voice mail.

During the holidays, many people can become distracted then vulnerable to theft. These easy steps can protect yourself and your home from potential crime and ensure you have a safe and happy holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Posted in:General and tagged: Safety
Posted by Elizabeth Washburn on November 20th, 2018 5:59 PM

Since the election, the average mortgage rates have increased. The nine-week rise came to a sudden end today with rates decreasing during the first week of 2017. The average mortgage rate for the 30-year note dropped by 12 basis points to 4.20 percent. Rates for the 15-year notes decreased from 3.55 to 3.44 percent. It is still higher than prior to the election, but a new trend always starts with a first day.

This drop is good news for last minute refinancers or purchasers seeking a mortgage. If restructuring your mortgage is rate sensitive, it is likely time to take action since most experts expect rates to continually climb throughout the year, despite the recent drop.

Compared with rates in previous decades, current rates are low for mortgage borrowers. This is set to change, though, with rates having the potential for a rise to 5%+ during the coming year. It means that homebuyers, especially first-time buyers, should attempt to purchase sooner rather than later, or face decreased home price qualifications in the future.

If you're interested in refinancing or making the dream of homeownership a reality, visit www.NewThresholdMortgage.com for more information and achieve your next step.

Posted by Elizabeth Washburn on January 10th, 2017 5:40 PM

Bi-Weekly Mortgage

Did You Know?

Making one extra mortgage payment a year will knock 5 - 7 years off your mortgage and save you thousands of dollars.

Click here to learn more.

If you do an internet search for "bi-weekly mortgage", you will be overwhelmed by the number of companies offering "Bi-weekly Mortgage Reduction Services" or "Bi-weekly Savings Programs." Beware, you are entering expensive waters!

Beware of Bi-Weekly Mortgage Reduction Services and Savings Programs

These companies are charging you fees to basically mail a payment for you. The enticement is that they will save you an impressive amount of money on your mortgage and reduce the number of years you pay on your mortgage. And they will!  There is no false advertising.  The problem is you don't need to pay them to get those savings because I am about to tell you exactly how to do it yourself!

The real story is that they are not actually making bi-weekly payments on your mortgage. They are making bi-weekly deductions from your bank account. These funds are placed into an account from which your monthly mortgage payment is made (which only takes 24 deductions - but during the course of a year 26 deductions will be made from your account). With the extra 2 deductions, the "Service" makes one additional mortgage payment. In other words rather than making 12 mortgage payments, 13 payments are made.

The enticement is that they are providing a special service to you that would either not be possible for you to get on your own or that you won't have the time or discipline to make it happen.

The real story is that you do have the discipline and can easily make an additional mortgage payment each year. An easy way to do this - with no payment shock - is to deduct your mortgage payment automatically from your account each month with an additional 1/12 of your mortgage payment applied to the principal amount each month. 

          New Monthly Payment = (Monthly Payment  + (Monthly Payment/12) . 

At the end of 12 months, you will have made an additional mortgage payment and you won't have to pay any fees to a "Service". Now that just makes cents!

Posted in:General
Posted by Elizabeth Washburn on September 16th, 2016 4:48 PM

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