Category Archives: Finance

House under renovation

What to Keep in Mind when Buying an Old House

House under renovationOld houses and other real estate properties have their own distinct charm. However, they also bring with them a couple of issues that buyers need to look out for. Like in any other investment, it pays to do your research if you’re planning to buy a nifty yet affordable piece of history.

Investment value

An old wreck may gain you more profit than a property in an excellent condition. Though it may take longer and you’ll have to shell out money to hire a professional and renovate it, you’ll be adding more value to it as compared to something in a reasonable condition.


Insulation is one of the basic things that are often taken for granted, especially when buying an old property. Insulation in old houses is different from new house insulation, so you have to inspect its current state. Finding out whether the property uses external insulation or dry lining will help you decide on what course of action to take. Remember that a carefully executed insulation helps reduce utility bills, provides comfort during extreme weather conditions, and makes the house lasts longer.

Electrical works

Rewiring can be expensive. That’s why most old houses still have their outdated wiring systems, which could be hazardous. Such electrical systems can’t keep up with modern usage, so make sure that it can sustain your needs if your lifestyle uses a variety of electronics. Look out for knob and tube wiring, as they cannot meet today’s electrical demands.

Foundations and structural conditions

Even the most solidly built house can’t weather time and can form cracks or unevenness. Everything on the house sits on the foundation, so you have to keep an eye out for any cracked, leaning, sunken or damaged parts.


Corroded pipes not only results in weak water flow but also leaks, which are the main reason for the presence of mould. Mould remediation can be expensive, so check for any leaks or update your pipes if necessary.

Purchasing an older property can be a great investment especially for first-time buyers, just make sure that you do your due diligence before signing a contract with your realtor.

3 Ways to Start Planning for Your Retirement Budget

Retirement budgetThey say life begins at 50 because it is the age when you are in the prime of your life and retirement is just around the corner. It’s easy to lose track of your plans at this age, as this is when you begin to think about preparing for retirement.

When you plan for retirement, you should consider your retirement savings and the lifestyle you want to have as a retiree.

If you are having difficulty with planning your retirement funds, you can opt to employ the services of a financial advisor for retirement planning. An advisor can help you think about the choices you have now and how they can affect the way you spend your time during retirement.

Here are a few ways to start planning for your retirement in your 50s.

Personal planning

Individuals who are nearing retirement tend to switch focus to obtaining a financial plan to map out their funds and be able to manage their finances better. While this is an important factor in preparing for retirement, you want to take the time to think about how you want to spend your post-career life.

Maybe you want to be a volunteer at a local charity, take a short course in baking, or spend your time traveling the world. Whichever you choose, make sure to take your personal preferences into consideration.

Financial planning

The kind of lifestyle you will have during retirement is linked to your financial resources. If you choose to spend most of your time traveling, you will need to secure larger funds to make it happen. This is to avoid encountering any debt problems during retirement.

Your retirement income can come from different sources including employment-related sources, government pensions, retirement accounts, and your personal investments.

Your retirement income will be enough to cover your envisioned lifestyle as long as you choose hobbies or activities that fit your monthly income.

Having a financial plan before you retire can make the transition from your day-in, day-out job to post-career life smoother. You should also evaluate your expenses and create a budget you can stick to. If you have debt from personal loans and credit cards, it is better to pay them off before you retire.

But if you are expecting your investments to grow in the coming years, you can use the higher interest to pay off your debt.

Loan-To-Value: Defining LTV in Layman’s Terms

A variety of mortgage ratesA mortgage involves plenty of complicated terms, which is why homebuyers and sellers must understand these in simpler explanations. Among all the technical jargon, LTV is one of them. Loan-to-Value or LTV is the percentage of the balance of the mortgage loan divided by home value.

For instance, a resident with a balance of USD 500,000 and USD 550,000 home value will have more or less a 90 percent LTV. You have to know this because LTV plays a crucial element to mortgage companies in Jackson, TN such as Mortgage Investors Group, as it is part of mortgage approval procedure.

Through a refinance, your LTV is usually equal to the size of the loan divided by the evaluated value of your home. When it comes to purchase, LTV relies on many factors such as the rate of sales of your house, unless your house values for below its purchase rate.

When this occurs, the LTV of your home will depend on the lesser appraised value and not its purchase rate. Here are samples to demonstrate the notion of LTV:

Refinancing a house without a second mortgage

  • Value of Home – USD 150,000
  • Balance of Loan – USD 110,000
  • Equity – USD 40,000
  • LTV – 73 percent

Refinancing a house with a second mortgage

  • Value of Home – USD 150,000
  • Balance of Loan – USD 110,000
  • Second Balance of Loan – USD 10,000
  • Equity – USD 30,000
  • LTV – 80 percent

Purchasing a house that appraises for more than its purchase rate

  • Price of House – USD 150,000
  • Value of Appraisal – USD 160,000
  • Down Payment – USD 20,000
  • Amount of Loan -USD 110,000
  • LTV – 73 percent

Purchasing a house that appraises for less than its purchase rate

  • Price of House – USD 150,000
  • Appraised Value – USD 140,000
  • Down Payment – USD 20,000
  • Amount of Loan – USD 110,000
  • LTV – 79 percent

It does not matter if you are refinancing or buying because the LTV is crucial as it helps to identify your eligibility for the loan and mortgage rate.

The Significance of Mortgage Rates in Determining Monthly Payments

House loan financingYou already know you can use a mortgage loan to borrow against, purchase or refinance any home, but, there is more to that. It is with first mortgages that you can buy a house or refinance a loan, with second mortgages allowing you to take out loans using the available equity, to add to a first mortgage.

You can also take advantage of the times when mortgage rates here in Ogden are at an optimum low to enjoy an equally lower monthly payment that you would have had you locked in the loan when mortgage rates were high.

Even a 0.25% dip can mean a whole lot of difference

Yes, you read that right. However, besides you identifying any dip from current average rate charts, it will need you to involve a credible credit union to know whether what you term as a low rate is what has been the case in the market. It is only until when you have confirmed that can you lock in that loan.

Should you notice that the mortgage rates are rising, it is advisable that you wait unless your projections for the project for which you are taking the mortgage show that unless you make the step now, the investment will not be cost-efficient.

The Other Jig of the Puzzle

Irrespective of when you take a mortgage loan, it is important you note that closing costs and loan processing fees remain a constant factor that you must take into account. These include, among others, escrow & title fees, lending, appraisal and credit fees, and insurance and taxes.

Whether you are planning to buy a (or borrow against your) Ogden home or to refinance a loan, you can benefit from understanding how the current mortgage rates can affect your monthly payment.

However, besides doing your research on that, engage a qualified financial service provider in discussing your options and determining a time that will be the most cost-efficient to take the mortgage.


Factors to Think of on Your Search for a Favorable Mortgage Rate

MortgageYou will most likely need a mortgage to fund your home purchase. In terms of mortgages, however, one size does not fit all. Getting a mortgage that specifically works for you is essential.

The chances are that you might be eligible for several types of home loans. Getting one with the best mortgage rates in Utah should then be your ultimate goal. Here are the essential factors that will influence your choice of an ideal rate.

Your Current Needs and Circumstances

Your acceptable mortgage rate will largely depend on the house you want and how much you can afford in down payment. Your current credit rating affects the rate your lender will offer. Borrowers with scores above 800 get lower interest rates. You could consider improving your rating before applying for a mortgage.

Your Future Plans

The monthly payments for long-term loans are typically lower. However, you ultimately pay higher interest rates over the entire loan period. Your plans influence your ideal term. If you want to finish your payments early and focus on other investments, then a short loan period is perfect. If you’re going to stay in your house for a long time, fixed-interest rates might be your perfect choice.

The Available Lenders and Loan Estimates

Get multiple options from various lenders before settling on the best one for you. This will help you comprehend your options and give you bargaining power. You should however not base your decision solely on interest rates and loan amounts. Various other charges come with mortgages. Insurance, prepayment penalties, and closing costs are some of them.

Regardless of your mortgage type, you will pay for closing costs. These costs vary among lenders. They include various taxes, insurance, and professional fees. Some lenders include these expenses in your loan while some demand for their payment upfront. Ensure you discuss and understand these costs with your lender before signing your mortgage.

Types of Mortgage Lending Institutions

A mortgage agreement needs to be signedThere are many advantages of buying your home using a mortgage rather than cash. Shopping for the right one can be overwhelming, however. Another critical factor is the mortgage lender you choose to work with.

A mortgage company is a financial institution that helps individuals secure mortgages for purchasing a property. Irrespective of the mortgage company you choose to work with in South Jordan, financial expert states that a loan officer will help you with the loan application process.

Here are the typical kinds of mortgage companies you can choose from for your home loan.

Retail Banks

Banks are perhaps the prevalent mortgage lenders available for home loans. These range from large banks to credit unions and small local banks. They are involved in underwriting, approving, and closing home loans for approved clients.

They typically give clients who use their other financial services lower interest rates.

Mortgage Brokers

A broker is an intermediary between homeowners and banks. They do not lend you money directly. They can shop for reasonable rates for you across lending companies and help you with the loan process. Mortgage brokers come with a wealth of experience in the home loan market.

They can offer invaluable advice and ensure you get the most suitable loan.

Mortgage Banks

These firms underwrite, consent and close loans for their clients. They then sell these underlying loans to investment firms and retail banks who bundle them into mortgage-backed securities (MBS). Larger banks can retain the servicing rights, but small mortgage banks sell the rights.

The loan agent here controls your loan process from its beginning to end.


If you are looking for a fast loan process, mortgage brokers might be the ideal solution for you. Though credit and retail banks offer low-interest rates for their loans, they might not provide other loan types. Keep in mind that interest rates change daily and this should not be your deciding factor.

4 Sure Ways to Spot a Predatory Lender

Lender making the client signWhile most lenders out there are reliable and professional, it still pays to be extra careful when thinking of taking a loan. In these tough economic times, you need to avoid questionable lenders looking to make money out of you in exchange for a rotten deal. Here are some warning signs of a predatory lender:

They have scanty references

When shopping for a loan, an ideal way to know whom to work with is to find references. Start by looking at online reviews of the banks on your list. noted that a reputable lending company that offers hospitality financing would usually have positive testimonials from previous clients. If you chance upon a negative review about a lender, it’s a red flag. Move on and keep shopping.

They ask you to make false statements

If a lender asks to falsify any part of your statement, walk out — and do it quick. They may seem to be helping you land a loan more easily, but don’t fall for that deception. What happens when both you and your lender have to face criminal charges when the truth comes out?

They pressure you to borrow more than you intended

When your lender keeps pushing to overleverage yourself, it’s an early warning sign that you should look elsewhere. The lender knows that if you can borrow a huge amount of money, there’ll be a bigger commission check for them. You’ll be the one stuck with the overwhelming debt while they laugh all the way to the bank.

Their interest rates appear exaggerated

It's normal to encounter higher than normal interest rates when you have bad credit, but be wary when a lender’s rates appear abnormally high. Some predatory lenders put their interest rates 1% or 2% higher so they make a bigger commission. Shop around and check what others are offering before falling for this trick.

While a loan can offer a quick solution when you’re facing financial woes, you need to be careful before signing any contracts. Be diligent to avoid predatory lending.

House keys over mortgage application form

Buying a House with Cash? Consider These Factors First

House keys over mortgage application formThese days, many aspiring homeowners have various options to buy their first home. The programs offered by the government, for example, allow more people to own a house.

But some people think they should buy their homes with cash if they have the money anyway. While it also has its pros, here are three disadvantages that you should consider when buying your new home upfront.

You lose the chance to get financial help from lenders and the government

Let’s assume that your preferred property increases its market value in the next two or three decades. If you get a mortgage to buy your home, your ROI becomes higher knowing that you didn’t pay it in full in cash and you take advantage of the tax benefits you can get. If you don’t want to be tied to a mortgage for 30 years, you can have it refinanced when you get more money. You may also opt for an FHA loan program to make the process of home ownership easier. With proper planning, you can become debt-free in as little as 10 years or even less.

You’ll have to sacrifice your liquidity

For most people, it’s hard to sacrifice liquidity. If you do end up selling your property in the next few years, the process can take more time. If you buy your home in full today, it might take some time to recover what you paid for if you end up selling it.

You’ll end up putting all your eggs in one basket

If you buy your new home in cash, it’s like putting all your eggs in one basket. It has its own set of downside. Diversification is key to making your assets grow. For some people, real estate is a liability because of all the other expenses tied to it. While it is tempting to buy it in cash and not worry about monthly mortgage payments, getting a loan could be better because you’re not putting all your money in just one asset.

There are more benefits to getting a loan instead of buying your house with cash. If you’re planning to buy a house, weigh your options carefully to make the right decision.

A Borrower’s Guide to Getting the Best Mortgage Rate

Couple signing a loan contract

The ability of a borrower to get the best interest rates on a mortgage doesn’t just depend on comparison shopping or his credit score. Lenders look at different factors when deciding if a consumer qualifies for a loan and what interest rate they should offer. Mortgage rates can vary by many percentage points based on which payments can burgeon by thousands over the lifespan of a loan.

Lenders always look at specific criteria to ensure that borrowers are well qualified for affordable interest rates.

Evaluation Criteria Used by Lenders

Credit Score

The current lending market is based on tier pricing, which means interest rates may depend on credit scores. It is important to have a score of 750+ to qualify for the best mortgage rate in Salt Lake City or elsewhere. If your credit ratings are stellar, you can get a good rate. The lowest score that a lender will consider is 620, with a down payment of at least 10%. People with poor credit scores can do a variety of things to improve their scores and qualify for better interest rates.

Stable Jobs

Lenders also look at a borrower’s work history. Being unemployed for a long period, as well declining income, won’t help an applicant’s cause. For those who are self-employed, getting a loan could be more difficult.

Income to Debt Ratio

There are two aspects to this ratio considered by lenders – the front end and the back end. The back end ratio takes all of the monthly debt payments into account and divides it by the gross income per month. The front end focuses on housing related costs. Lenders want the front end to be around 28% and the back end ratio to be about 36%. This is considered the ideal number, but lenders do offer a bit of leeway to borrowers based on their general history.

Down Payment Amount

Whether you are trying to get a loan in Salt Lake City or in Houston, the minimum down payment required by lenders is at least 20% of the purchase price of a home. Those who are able to pay 20% will get the best possible mortgage rate. Those who cannot need to shell out more toward the cost of a loan.

Once a borrower meets these criteria, the next step is to do comparison shopping. Many reliable websites provide information on mortgage tables. Shop around and get a loan that meets your needs.

The Benefits of Trading in Foreign Exchange

Foreign Exchange RateForex trading used to be the domain of banks and corporate clients. However, with the rise of the Internet, it has become easier for retail traders to trade foreign exchange and make profits from their trading.

Forex trading is the buying and selling of currencies. If someone says the EUR is trading at 1.3500, the Euro costs 1.3500 per US dollar. The main goal of a Forex trader is to buy a currency at a low price when it is weak and sell it for a higher price when it becomes stronger to make a profit.

There are many ways you can benefit from trading foreign exchange.

1. The market is open 24 hours a day.

There are four major foreign exchanges spread out across various time zones, and they overlap with each other so that the market is open all day from Monday to Friday. The best trading times are when two exchanges are open, such as when the New York and Singapore Forex are both open from 3 to 5 p.m. EST.

2. Volatility gives way to opportunity.

In trading stocks and futures, volatility is a disadvantage. However, volatility in Forex is a different thing. Volatility refers to the rate at which currency prices change. Without volatility, prices remain stagnant, eliminating the opportunity to make profits.

3. There is little barrier to entry.

You don’t need $10,000 to start trading. You can start a micro account with only a phone, Internet access, and $50 in your account. Moreover, the cost per transaction equals the difference between the bid and the asking price. Brokers make money out of each transaction, but the cost is much lower than trading stocks or futures.

4. You can use leverage.

Forex allows you to trade on credit, which is called leverage. For example, you have $1,000, and you are trading on a 50 to 1 margin, giving you a trade value of $50,000. The trade nets you 100 pips, which translates to $500 in profits. If you were not trading on margin, you would only have $100 in profits.

As you may have surmised, the world of Forex trading is fast-paced and exciting, but it is not for the faint of heart. It is best to start off with a small amount and continue learning as you go.