Eleanor Osborn's Blog
The term “bi-weekly” means every other week. If you get paid bi-weekly, you usually get your check every other Friday. When it comes to a mortgage, typical amortization plans (payments of principal and interest) use a 30-year/360-month calculation. But many lenders offer a bi-weekly plan too.
In this case, you would make 26 payments a year. When your paycheck is also bi-weekly, this option works fantastically. When you do this, you effectively make 13 monthly payments in a year. While some lenders won’t accept two half payments mailed to them each month, they will set up automatic deductions bi-weekly for you.
Can you do it faster?
A bi-weekly plan will pay down your loan more quickly than twelve monthly payments, but can you do more to get your house paid off?
Here are some options to add to your plan and get your mortgage paid off sooner:
- Round up: If your bi-weekly payment is $762 a month, round it up to $800. That extra $38 against your principle lowers the overall interest you’ll pay. If you can round it up higher, do so.
- Use your bonus: Annual bonuses from work often go toward holiday gifts and other expenses, but if you really want to pay your house down, add it to your last payment of the year.
- Use your tax refund: If you get a refund from the government every year for overpaying your taxes, apply it to your house. A few hundred or thousand dollars extra every year makes an enormous difference in the interest you pay and how soon that property belongs to you in full.
Online calculators can help you determine what adding just a small amount to your payment can do to reduce the time it takes to fully amortize your mortgage. Plugin different numbers to see what works for you.
If you haven’t yet purchased your house, your real estate agent can get you started, so give them a call today. Then set your budget, buy your house, and put your plan into action.
The outdoors has a unique and beautiful palette that can inspire and relax you. Whether you are a nature lover, or just enjoy its beauty from afar, you can bring that outdoor feeling into your home to brighten it up and give it a more earthy appeal. Looking for a few ways to give your home a more natural appeal? Check out some of the tips below to help bring the outside in.
Incorporate Your Favorite Flowers or Trees
Houseplants are a great way to bring some color indoor, celebrate the changing seasons and also improve the indoor air quality ion your home. Pick some of your favorite flowers, plants and small trees that can be grown indoors and add them as accents to tables, entryways and next to furniture. You can find indoor plants that require varying maintenance, so it is easy to choose one to suit your lifestyle.
Consider Installing Natural Floors
Cork, bamboo and hardwood floors are great materials to help keep your floors warm while providing the perfect natural touch to any room. Not only do these types of floors look stunning with every type of color palette, but they bring a more organic feel to your home than using synthetic flooring.
Let the Natural Light Shine In
Nothing gives you the feel of nature more than sunlight filling your home. Allow windows to remain uncovered, or use only thin sheers to filter out the light. If you are really looking to create an outdoor oasis indoors, consider adding skylights so that the sunlight can shine down on you the same it would if you were outside.
Use Outdoor Elements as Accent Pieces
Those precious shells, driftwood and other unique items you find outside can easily be cleaned up and transformed into the perfect accent piece for a room. You can use them as part of your table or mantel knickknacks, or even use them as a base for end tables and lamps. Beautiful cuts of wood can also be easily transformed into furniture pieces that will bring a natural feel to any room.
Choose Natural Fibers & Materials for Furniture
Next time you pick out a piece of furniture or accent pillow for your space, check out items with more natural textures and materials. Jute, hemp, wicker and rattan can be the perfect choice for chairs, throws, accents pillows, decorative baskets and even your lighting fixtures.
Whether you are looking to have a natural vibe throughout your home, or just simple hints of nature throughout, by following the tips above, you can bring the outdoors into any room in your home.
The VA home loan program allows qualified veterans and active-duty members of the military to get an affordable home loan with a minimal down payment. If you're planning to use this loan program, you can take specific measures to improve your chances of approval. These tips will take you from house hunting to homeownership quickly with an affordable VA home loan.
1. Get Your Certificate of Eligibility
The Certificate of Eligibility (COE) shows your lender that you are approved for the program. If you get this document before you apply for the loan, you'll know whether or not you qualify. You can request the COE from the VA through the eBenefits portal or in person at the VA Regional Loan Center.
2. Check Your Credit
One of the benefits of the VA home loan program is the fact that it has less stringent credit requirements than other loan types, but that doesn't mean your credit has no role to play. Your credit rating directly impacts the interest rate on your VA loan, and if your credit is too low, you may not get approved. Check your credit, and if needed, make changes to raise your score.
3. Establish Reliable Income
Even with the VA home loan program behind you, a lender is not going to loan you money if you don't have a reliable, stable income. Most lenders want to see that you have held a job with enough income to cover your payments for at least two years. If you have recently changed jobs, ask your lender what you need to show to prove your reliability as an employee.
4. Choose the Right Agent
Not all agents are well-versed in the VA home loan program. There are some quirks to VA loan approval that can put roadblocks in place as you look for a home. For instance, the VA has specific property requirements that the home must meet for the loan to be approved, and the appraisal process is a bit more stringent than traditional loans. Working with an agent that is VA-savvy will help speed up the process and make loan approval on the house you love easier to get.
5. Choose the Right Lender
A VA home loan doesn't come from the VA, but rather from a lender that partners with the VA. You can take some time to shop for the most affordable option, as long as you shop with lenders who participate in the VA home loan program. Remember, closing costs and fees may vary from one lender to the next, so find the one that offers the best terms for your situation.
The VA home loan benefit never expires, and you can use it again and again. As long as the mortgage money goes toward a home you're going to live in, not an investment property, you can buy a home with zero down and a fair interest rate using this benefit. With these tips, you can get the best possible loan funded quickly.
55 MAPLE AVE, Grafton, MA 01560
"Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home!" That saying (and old song) has been around for generations, but it's as true today as it was a century ago. Almost everyone would agree that your home should be a refuge from the calamity and dangers of the outside world.
A related saying which has been repeated for even longer is "A man's home is his castle." That age-old concept not only emphasizes that fact that we all deserve to be safe and secure in our own homes, but it's also the basis for certain legal principles. Unfortunately, the mere existence of our rights as homeowners does not prevent burglaries, break-ins, and criminal intrusions from happening, so it's necessary to take steps to help protect your home and family from crime.
The good news is that there are literally dozens of things you can do to make your home a safer, more secure place. While it can be costly (but often worth it) to implement an elaborate, high-tech home security system, there are plenty of inexpensive measures you can take to discourage burglars. Here are a few crime-prevention tactics which can greatly reduce the chances of a break-in or intrusion taking place at your home.
Be security minded: If you live in a low-crime area, it's easy to let your guard down and become complacent. When it comes to keeping your property, family, and possessions secure, though, it's much better to "err on the side of caution." One regrettable mistake many people make is to leave their doors unlocked when they go out to "run a few quick errands." Not only can errands take longer than originally planned, but experienced burglars can be in and out of your home in minutes. By being consistent with locking doors and securing your home before you leave, you'll significantly reduce the chances of becoming a crime statistic. Instilling that awareness and those habits in your children is also an important element of any effective home security strategy.
Simple security solutions: Although glass panels alongside a front door can be an attractive design touch, it can provide potential intruders with a glimpse of the inside of your home -- including its layout, a view of valuables left out in the open, and whether your security system is activated. There are several ways you can obscure the view people have of your home's interior, including frosting the glass using a special spray, temporarily attaching a decorative window film, or installing etched glass. Customized window blinds may also do the trick.
Innovative ideas: Burglars generally tend to target homes that appear vacant or unsecured. Half the battle is creating the impression that someone is home, even if you're not. While you've undoubtedly heard about the technique of hooking up timers to your lights to make them go on and off at designated times, here's an interesting variation on the theme: You can purchase a device for $20 or $30 that simulates the flickering light that a TV gives off when it's being watched. While this is not a standalone or foolproof technique, it can be a low-cost part of an overall home security strategy.