Tag Archives: Featured Blog

Tara Mortgage Services Featured Blog: Mistakes to Avoid as a First-Time Homeowner

DHREA 15/05/2019
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(Each week we feature a blog from one of our fantastic affiliates, Tara Mortgage Services!)

Buying your first home is a thrill. Browsing homes online, daydreaming when driving through neighborhoods, and creating a Pinterest board to save remodeling ideas is great fun. But don’t let the excitement of buying your first home cause you to make silly mistakes.

Here are the most common and avoidable missteps for first-time homebuyers.

1. Falling in love with a home before applying for a home loan

Many first-time buyers start by looking for a home before applying for a mortgage. What happens if you actually find a home you want to buy? Without pre-approval, you have no way to make an offer on your dream home. Instead, start by applying for a home loan. That way you’ll know how much you can afford as well as have a letter of approval showing that you are a qualified buyer. 

2. Going over on your budget

A little bit here and there may not cause too much harm. But going over your homebuying budget can eventually cost you your home if you’re unable to make payments. In other words, just because you were approved for a $300k home loan may not mean that you can afford the monthly payment.

Instead, consider the required monthly payment as well as how much you qualify for. Make sure that you can comfortably make the monthly mortgage payment and avoid the temptation of buying more than you can afford.

3. Rushing to move

Buying a home in 2019 is much faster than it was two years ago thanks to digital convenience, but the actual process of moving still takes time. Rushing to move could cause cost you –and the last thing you want to do is charge up your credit card or tap into your savings to cover a rushed relocation.

Instead, plan well ahead of time to save up for your downpayment, extra for buying appliances and furniture, packing supplies, a moving company or truck rental, and other “surprise” expenses for moving.

4. Being casual with credit use

One of the first things we do when you apply for a home loan is pull your credit. However, many first time homebuyers don’t realize that it’ll get pulled out again just before closing to make sure that nothing has changed. If significant changes are found, then your approval status could also change!

Instead, attempt to keep your credit the same or, if possible, improve it. Try to keep existing balances down to about 30 percent of the credit limit and make your payments on time. You also want to avoid opening new credit cards and keep your credit rotating on the ones you currently have.

5. False believe a 20 percent down payment is necessary

You don’t NEED a 20 percent down payment to buy a home. You can buy a home with 0-3 percent down. The advantage of having a 20 percent down payment is that you can avoid the cost of private mortgage insurance (a requirement if you put less than 20 percent). However, many home loan programs allow for little down, so there is no need to spend years saving for a large downpayment.

Instead, consider an FHA loan. It requires only 3.5 percent down or sometimes even zero down. If you’re a veteran or qualify for a USDA loan, there are even more perks! VA loans are for active-duty and veteran military service members as well as for their spouses. They don’t require a down payment, but a funding fee is sometimes necessary. USDA loans are meant for moderate- to low-income borrowers that want to buy homes in rural areas. There are specific eligibility requirements and some qualify for zero down.

Network with over 650 Real Estate Investors! Join Alex Deacon’s Real Estate Networking Group on MeetUp.com, and be one of the first to receive updates on upcoming events!

Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
670 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

Check out this Meetup Group →

Join Alex Deacon’s fast-growing Pittsburgh Landlord Group on MeetUp.com! Connect with other Landlords for monthly seminars with Q & A! Click below!

Pittsburgh Landlord Group

Carnegie, PA
144 Members

This is a great venue for Real estate investors, real estate agents and property managers to expand your knowledge and to help others in the field of being a landlord. We will…

Check out this Meetup Group →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

Read More

Tara Mortgage Services Featured Blog: “Getting a Home Improvement Loan: Scenario by Scenario”

DHREA 01/05/2019
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(Every week we feature a blog from one of our fantastic affiliates, Tara Mortgage Services!)

Home improvement loans can be used for minor upgrades or major repairs or even complete remodels. Everything from replacing old plumbing to making your home more energy efficient are great reasons to consider a home improvement loan. With much better rates than a credit card and more options for repayment, homeowners just like you are discovering how easy it is to make those necessary home improvements.

Speaking of options, you have quite a few and there are some that are better than others depending on the situation.

For a clearer picture of which home improvement loan is right for you, please contact Tara Mortgage Services!

Home Improvement Loans by Scenario

Little or No Equity Scenarios

If you’re doing minor repairs: An unsecured loan would be your only option. An unsecured loan means that your home is not used as collateral. Since you have little to no equity AND the repairs would not increase the value of your property, there is essentially nothing to use as collateral.

While not the best scenario to be in, we understand that there are circumstances that require getting a home improvement loan. Despite having a higher interest rate than other home loans, it’s often a more attractive option than putting it on a credit card.

If you’re doing major repairs remodeling: A few options in this scenario. If your current mortgage rate is low, consider a second mortgage. In this case, you keep your current low-interest home loan. However, if your current home loan has a higher rate than what is now available to you, refinancing your loan under a renovation loan or a cash-out refi would be the way to go.

In the latter scenario, we would need an itemized repair and remodel plan so that we could better assess the “after-improvements value” of your home. Both of the loans mentioned above have lower interest rates than an unsecured home loan, but remember to still include closing costs.

Significant Amount of Equity Scenario

If you’re doing minor updates: Consider getting an unsecured loan or even a line of credit if you’re in this situation. With a loan this small, it’s often better to use the option that has low or no closing costs. Another benefit of a home equity line of credit (HELOC) is that you can reuse it if needed.

If you have major updates or remodeling: In this scenario, you’re eligible for several different home improvement loans. A HELOC, a second mortgage, or a cash-out refinance are ones to consider. Ultimately, what will determine the best option is your particular financial situation or the desired goal. For example, if you want to keep your current interest rate, get a HELOC or second mortgage.

While they have higher interest rates on these, you’ll save on closing costs. However, if you prefer cash flow or can lower your interest rate on your first mortgage, look into a cash-out refinance.

We’ve outlined the basic situations for choosing the right home improvement loans, but there are many more factors to consider. Contact Tara Mortgage Services today for a no-obligation consultation with a mortgage professional.  We look forward to helping you!

Network with over 650 Real Estate Investors! Join Alex Deacon’s Real Estate Networking Group on MeetUp.com, and be one of the first to receive updates on upcoming events!

Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
670 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

Check out this Meetup Group →

Join Alex Deacon’s fast-growing Pittsburgh Landlord Group on MeetUp.com! Connect with other Landlords for monthly seminars with Q & A! Click below!

Pittsburgh Landlord Group

Carnegie, PA
140 Members

This is a great venue for Real estate investors, real estate agents and property managers to expand your knowledge and to help others in the field of being a landlord. We will…

Check out this Meetup Group →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

Read More

Tara Mortgage Services Featured Blog: Severe Weather and Your Mortgage…What to Expect and How to Prepare!

DHREA 12/03/2019
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(Every week we feature a blog from one of our fantastic affiliates, Tara Mortgage Services!)

Across the U.S., severe weather is disrupting daily life. From hurricanes to heavy snow, torrential rains and flooding, cold snaps and other extremes seem to be affecting every corner of our country.

Even if severe weather hasn’t affected you directly, it serves as a reminder that we all need to be prepared should nature take a turn for the worse. The first place to start –put together an emergency kit.

Keep in mind that your emergency kit needs contain enough supplies to maintain you and your family for at least 72 hours without transportation, food, electricity, or water. Customize your kit according to needs and family size but here is a basic list to help you get started building your kit:

One gallon of water or more per day, per person.

  • Three days’ worth of non-perishable, ready-to-eat food. Remember the can opener!
  • First aid kit
  • Cell phone, charger, and backup battery
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Personal care items such as toilet paper, soap, moist towelettes, paper towels, toothbrush and toothpaste, hand sanitizer.
  • Tools such as screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches as you may need to turn off utilities.
  • A few changes of clothes, shoes, and jackets.
  • Important family documents in a watertight bag (or scan and store in cloud-based storage.)
  • Sleeping bags, pillows, blankets
  • Large plastic sheets and duct tape in case you need to make an emergency shelter.
  • Medication, extra eyeglasses, eye solution, etc.

Of course, those are just basic suggestions. There are products such as water purifiers, “space blankets,” pop-up shelters, and other innovations that you may want to consider for your kit.

Remember your pets need a kit too! Here are some ideas for a simple emergency kit for pets:

  • Medication and documentation for your pet
  • First aid kit
  • Non-perishable pet food
  • Collar and leash
  • Cat litter
  • Bottled water and bowl.
  • Where to Store Your Emergency Kit

The best place to store your kit is in a dark, dry, and cool place. Make sure everything is in an airtight, plastic container and easily accessible. Though a basement may seem like a convenient place, retrieving it in an emergency (or flood!) could make it impossible. You’ll also want to make sure that everyone in the family knows where the kit is located.

Remember to check it every year to ensure everything is still in good repair and the food has not expired.

What about your home and mortgage?

There are federal, state, and private programs that you can use to help repair your home and provide temporary housing if needed. Depending on the disaster, the location, and whether it has been declared a state of emergency, you may qualify for federal aid from FEMA. Private home and disaster insurance (this is separate from the insurance you may have on your mortgage) also provides much-needed assistance during times of disaster.

Your mortgage payments may also qualify for forbearance or partial payment. Call Tara Mortgage Services for more information.

At our office, we don’t just work with loans, we work with people –that’s why we feel it’s important that you prepare for an emergency. And please, forward this information to friends and family!

Alex Deacon’s Pittsburgh Landlord Group meets this Thursday, March 14th! Come network with other landlords as we continue last month’s conversation: Tenant Screening!

Tenant Screening II

Thursday, Mar 14, 2019, 6:00 PM

552 Washington Ave
552 Washington Ave Carnegie, PA

20 Members Went

Last month we had a Q and A about tenant screening and we ran out of time. Its such an important topic so this Thursday we will continue our conversation. One of our members is bringing a version of Landlord software that we can all use. If you have 1 unit or 100 units you can use this software which he is now currently using and its a very reasona…

Check out this Meetup →

Network with over 650 Real Estate Investors! Join Alex Deacon’s Real Estate Networking Group on MeetUp.com, and be one of the first to receive updates on upcoming events!

Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
668 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

Check out this Meetup Group →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

Read More

Tara Mortgage Services featured blog: Got Student Debt? Here’s How You Can Buy A Home!

DHREA 05/03/2019
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(Every week we feature a blog from one of our fantastic affiliates, Tara Mortgage Services!)

When compared to past generations, the millennial generation is the most college educated. If you’re part of this group, you may recall being told that a college education is essential to career advancement and wealth.

The final word on whether college was absolutely necessary is a personal matter…only you can answer whether the debt is worth it. But one thing we can all agree on is that student debt is a significant burden. So much so that housing experts say that student debt may be the cause for a drop in homeownership among Millennials.

Can this be true? With stats that show that student loans account for about $1.5 trillion in debt, surpassing even credit card and car loan debt, it certainly appears to be true. And with the cost of tuition rising plus a job market competitiveness that requires education beyond a bachelor’s, we can expect these numbers to increase.

But you don’t need stats to know that this is true. If you’re a Millennial or a Baby Boomer with a Millennial still living at home after college, then you know it. While student debt poses a significant hurdle to homeownership, there are things you can do to make it easier.

Here are our best tips for buying a home with student debt:

Focus on your credit score.

Student debt may not be the only hurdle you have to buy a home. Your credit score could also hurt your chances. Your credit, or FICO score, is what’s used to determine not only if you qualify for a mortgage but also the amount and at what interest rate. If your credit score is too low or you have a credit history that’s plagued with late payments, then you out of the running for a mortgage.

Another thing to consider is that even if you do qualify for a mortgage with poor credit, the monthly payments may be higher than you can afford. That’s why our first tip is to work on building and repairing your credit.

Work on your debt-to-income ratio.

Another factor looked at when applying for a mortgage is your debt-to-income ratio. This number is used to determine whether you can afford to carry the additional debt of a mortgage payment. Essentially, can you pay your mortgage every month?

To raise the ratio, you’ll want to increase your monthly income and lower your debt. You can focus on one or the other, but we recommend doing both. Taking a side gig to earn a few hundred a month and using a portion of that to pay off debt can make a BIG difference pretty quickly.

Research down-payment programs.

Even with student loan debt, there several down payment assistance programs that you may qualify for. Government loans like FHA, USDA, and Veteran home loans have many perks, including down payment assistance. USDA loan even has zero-down mortgages! Contact Tara Mortgage Services to learn more.

Apply for a mortgage.

This tip may seem out of place, but there’s no better way to know how close you are to buying a home than to apply to see where you stand. When you get pre-qualified, we can give you a better picture of your financial standing. We’ll also give you personalized guidance as to what would make the most significant impact on your home loan-worthiness.

Whether student debt, credit debt, bankruptcy, or poor credit, having the answers to your homeownership obstacles puts the power back in your hands. When you know the big picture and a solid plan based on facts, you’ll see how close you actually are to buying a home. Who knows –you may qualify for a low rate RIGHT NOW. Contact Tara Morgage Services today to get mortgage answers and guidance!

Alex Deacon’s March Real Estate Networking Workshop has been announced, and he’s bringing in two huge guest speakers: Josh Caldwell and Matt Beam! The trio will be discussing Creative Financing Concepts, ideas, laws, etc. Don’t miss out on the most highly anticipated workshop of every year! RSVP below!

Creative Financing Concepts

Saturday, Mar 9, 2019, 10:00 AM

Hampton Inn Bridgeville
150 Old Pond Rd Bridgeville, pa

30 Members Attending

Last month we discussed the concept of Zero Money Down which is super valuable if you want to scale any business especially real Estate Investing. This month we will have two guest speakers and we will go into more detail on the methods, legal issues and paperwork needed to put such deals together. Josh Caldwell will cover the different methods of …

Check out this Meetup →

Join Alex Deacon’s Pittsburgh Landlord Group and be the first to receive updates on our monthly networking meetings!

Pittsburgh Landlord Group

Carnegie, PA
99 Members

This is a great venue for Real estate investors, real estate agents and property managers to expand your knowledge and to help others in the field of being a landlord. We will…

Check out this Meetup Group →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

Read More

Tara Mortgage Featured Blog: Is Paying Off Your Mortgage Early Worth It?

DHREA 10/01/2019

(Every week we feature a blog from one of our fantastic affiliates, Tara Mortgage Services!)

Paying off debt as soon as possible is always is a good thing –but does that rule also apply to mortgage debt? Is making an extra payment each month to pay off the mortgage early worth it?

In this week’s post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of paying off the mortgage early.

Not a homeowner yet? We can help! Get started the pre-qualification process now using our secure online application.

Pro: Save On Interest

Making an extra payment to the principal balance of your mortgage helps save you money by lowering the amount of interest you pay. Although you can make an additional payment towards your principle at any time, this method is most effective when you first get your loan. This is because the principle is higher at the beginning of the loan. Hence, you are paying more in interest. Making an extra payment will result in saving in interest over time.

Con: Miss Out On Other Investment Opportunities

If you have the extra cash to put toward making an extra payment, that means that you have the extra cash to invest. Instead of trying to save money on your mortgage, you could, instead, making your money work for you. Making additional contributions to your 401(k), especially when you’re 10 years or more away from retiring, can result in significant earnings –sometimes more than what you could save by paying off your mortgage early.

Pro: Peace Of Mind

Reducing monthly expenses brings peace of mind and considering that your mortgage payment is likely your biggest expense, you can start to imagine how good it would feel to eliminate it early. Also, when calculating the cost of living, inflation, and what the average, fixed, retirement income is, getting rid of a housing expense becomes even more attractive.

Con: Prepayment Penalty – Sometimes

Some mortgages carry a prepayment penalty, meaning that you’re limited as to how much you are allowed to pay off and when. Though this may seem unfair, it’s not all bad news. The types of loans that carry prepayment penalties often have lower interest rates or other perks that save you money.

When it comes down to it, deciding to pay off your home loan early is a personalized is not a one-size-fits-all decision. It depends on your ability to pay, the type of loan, how mature your loan is, whether your extra cash would be more useful in other investments, how close you are to retiring, as well as other factors.

Even if you don’t currently own a home, if you plan to pay off your mortgage early, then you’ll want to make sure you choose a home loan that allows for prepayment.

Call Tara Mortgage Services today for expert and personalized home loan guidance, and together we can find a mortgage option that works for you.

Come out this Saturday between 10am-12pm at the Hampton Inn in Bridgeville for “Alex Deacon Real Estate Workshop: Planning Your Next Buy & Hold“. Click below for full details about this workshop, to RSVP and guarantee your seat in the room, and grab directions to the event. See you Saturday!

Detailed Game plan from A-Z for your next Buy and Hold

Saturday, Jan 12, 2019, 10:00 AM

Hampton Inn Bridgeville
150 Old Pond Rd Bridgeville, pa

41 Members Attending

This is a great session for those who want to buy and hold. This will give you an idea of realistic expectations that you can count on for your current and your future investments. We will look at some of my current and past buy and hold properties and take a close look to see what mistakes and successes I had made and lets learn from those and com…

Check out this Meetup →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

Read More
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