Sharon Lanen Coskren - Leading Edge Real Estate Sharon Lanen Coskren



Posted by Sharon Lanen Coskren on 12/27/2019

Buying a home will likely be one of the largest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime. While this may seem scary at first, itís worth noting that buying a home can also be a valuable financial investment.

When it comes to preparing to buy a home, many people just wait until they run out of room in their apartment before deciding that they need to upgrade to a home. A better approach, however, would be to start planning for your first home a year or more in advance.

Saving for a down payment is a vital step to making the best long-term financial decision. A larger down payment can help you pay off your home sooner, pay thousands or tens of thousands less in interest, and start using your home equity as an asset.

But, saving for a down payment is easier said than done. So, in this post, weíre going to talk about some of the ways you can aggressively save for a down payment so that, when the time comes, you can achieve long-term financial security from your investment.

Setting your savings goals

The first thing you should be thinking about when saving for a down payment is what your goals are in a home. Setting realistic goals in this phase will make saving for your down payment more feasible and less discouraging.

Think about what you really need from a home at this point in your life and compromise where you can.

Remember that on top of your monthly mortgage payments, youíll likely also be paying for taxes, insurance, utilities, homeowners association fees, and more.

Save on a timeline

When setting your savings goal, make sure youíre aware of the timeframe youíre working with. If you want to buy a home next year, youíll need to focus on short-term savings options. However, if youíre okay with renting for the next 5 years, investing your money could be a better option.

Lock away your savings

Treat your down payment savings like an emergency fund. Open a separate account, automatically deposit a portion of your pay into the account, and never withdraw from it. To do this, you will, of course, need to already have an emergency fund with a monthís expenses in it.

However, once youíve established your emergency fund, start immediately depositing into your savings account.

Pay off credit cards

It may seem like saving for a down payment is more pressing than paying off old debt. However, the numbers will show that making interest payments on your credit cards is essentially throwing away money that could have been used toward your down payment savings.

Adjust your spending habits

While it isnít easy to start spending less once youíve built a standard of living, there are ways to spend less money and still lead a fulfilling life. Think about where your money goes each month, including bills and services you might pay for.

Now could be the best time to cut the cord and start using a service like Hulu to save $50 or more each month.

Time for a raise?

If itís been some time since your last pay raise, now could be an ideal time to speak with your employer. To improve your chances of success, donít discuss reasons outside of work that might be influencing your decision to ask for a raise (such as saving for a down payment). Rather, back up your request with evidence of your accomplishments at work.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Sharon Lanen Coskren on 11/1/2019

Potential home buyers should obtain a pre-qualification letter from their lenders to access a home loan. This letter communicates what the lender thinks about you being qualified for a mortgage up to a certain amount and is dependent on the data you gave about your assets, income, and expenses.

Pre-qualification is just the primary step, and it provides you with an idea of how much of a loan you will potentially qualify for. This process relies on consumer-submitted information.

Getting Pre-Qualified

Pre-qualification entails providing the lender with your overall financial picture, including your credit, debt, income, and assets. The lender evaluates everything and gives you an estimate of the amount you are expected to be able to borrow.

Pre-qualification can be conducted over the phone or via online, and there is no cost attached. It is usually a quick process, taking from one to three days to obtain a pre-qualification letter. Remember that loan pre-qualification does not include a review of your credit report or a detailed look at your ability to buy a home. Instead, it is only dependent on the data you provided to the lender. By extension, it doesn't mean much at all if you provide inaccurate information. 

The first step in the pre-qualification process allows you to talk with your lender about any needs or goals you might have regarding your mortgage. Then, your mortgage lender can tell your various mortgage options and discuss the type that might be the most suited for your needs.

Some brokers go the extra mile of requesting home buyers to have pre-qualification before working with them. The letter would signify that a lender has already started talking with the buyer. A properly-written pre-qualification letter clarifies that you are using a quality, legitimate lender who can be reached for verification and confirmation.

According to many real estate agents, in a highly competitive market, a pre-qualification letter might not be enough. This is a significant drawback in using and relying only on a pre-qualification letter for proof of ability to purchase a home. If you need to buy immediately or don't want to miss out on a great deal in a trending area, you may need to be pre-approved as well. Pre-approval is a more complicated process and can impact your credit score, so speak with your agent about which is the better option for your situation.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Sharon Lanen Coskren on 7/26/2019

If you are thinking of buying a home, you probably have been getting your finances for some time. First-time homebuyers need the right information to avoid making big mistakes when they purchase their homes. The leap into home ownership is a big one, and youíll want as much information with you along for the ride. Below, youíll find a crash course on mortgages for first-time homebuyers. 


Think Ahead


Every homebuyer needs to prepare ahead of time for the process to be smooth. Research different lenders in your area and see what their rates are. If you talk to your lender about your goals and what type of loans youíre looking for, youíll understand all of the costs that youíll face ahead of time. You donít want any surprises when it comes to signing a contract for a home.


Every Mortgage Is Different


Itís easy to think that all home loans are created equal, but they arenít. The diversity in types of home loans is why you need to research and meet with a lender ahead of time. Talk to your real estate agent and see who they suggest. Your agent is a useful resource because they want your entire transaction to go smoothly for everyone involved. There are many different kinds of mortgages, and you need to make sure youíre getting the loan thatís right for you. Be sure you understand the specifics of each loan before you sign on.       


What You Need In Order


Before you even head into the home buying process, there are a few things that youíll need including:


  • Cash for a downpayment
  • A budget
  • Knowledge of all of your finances
  • Where youíd like to look for a home
  • An idea of how much you can spend on a home
  • Information to get pre-approved including tax returns, proof of income, and bank statements


Once you have saved up cash for a downpayment, itís time to take a look at your budget. Can you afford a monthly mortgage payment in the price range that you hope to buy? How much money will you have left over each month? Should you adjust your expectations? 



Youíll need to save up a bit of cash before you know that youíre ready to buy a home. Itís recommended that you have at least 20 percent of the purchase price of a home to put down towards your loan. The more you put down, the lower your monthly payments will be on the mortgage. So saving is the next big step in securing a mortgage in the smoothest possible way.     




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Sharon Lanen Coskren on 7/5/2019

Most homeowners would love to be able to pay off their mortgage early. However, few see it as a possibility when they take into account their earnings and other bills.

 There are, however, a few ways to pay down your mortgage earlier than planned. But first, letís talk about when it makes sense to try and pay off your mortgage.

 When to consider paying off your mortgage early

If you recently got a promotion, have someone move in with you who contributes to paying the bills, or recently got a secondary form of income, you might want to consider making extra payments on your mortgage.

However, having extra money doesnít always mean you should spend it immediately on your home loan.

First, consider if you have a large enough emergency savings fund. It might be tempting to try and throw any extra money at your mortgage as soon as possible, but there are other financial commitments you should plan for as well.

If you have kids who will be applying to college soon, remember that student aid takes into account their parentsí finances. If your children plan on applying to institutions with high tuition, then your equity will be counted against you.

Refinancing to pay your mortgage early

Refinancing your home loan is one option if youíre considering increasing the payments on your mortgage. If you can refinance a 30-year loan to a 15-year loan with a lower interest rate, youíll save money in two ways--your lower interest rate and the fact that youíll be accruing interest for less time.

There is a downside to refinancing. Once you refinance, youíre locked into your new payment amount. So, if your higher income isnít dependable, it might not make sense to commit to a higher monthly payment that you arenít sure youíre going to be able to keep paying.

Thereís also the matter of refinancing costs. Just like the costs associated with signing on your mortgage, youíll have to pay closing costs on refinancing. Youíll need to weigh the cost of refinancing against the amount youíll save on interest over the term of your mortgage to see if it truly makes sense to go through the refinancing process.

Paying more on your current loan

Even if you arenít sure that refinancing is the best option, there are other ways you can make payments on your mortgage to pay it off years sooner than your term length.

One of the common methods is to simply make thirteen payments each year instead of twelve. To do this, homeowners often use their tax returns or savings to make the thirteenth payment. Over a thirty year mortgage, this could save you over full two years of added interest.

A second option is to make two bi-weekly payments rather than one monthly payment. By making biweekly payments you have the ability to make 26 payments in a year. If you were to just make two payments per month then you would make 24 total payments. Over time, those two extra payments per year add up.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Sharon Lanen Coskren on 11/30/2018

Refinancing your home can have many benefits. First, youíll be able to take out money to address immediate needs in your home like improvement projects. These things can only benefit your homeís value in the long term. Before you take the leap to refinance your home, you should be sure that youíre actually ready to take this step. Knowing what youíre in for allows the entire process to go more smoothly. Read on for tip to understand more about the refinancing process and what youíll need.


Know Your Finances


Just like when you initially purchase a home, refinancing your home will require you to have your finances in order. Take a look at your budget and needs and determine if it makes sense for you to refinance your home. For example, your employment status or distance from life goals like retirement could have a factor on the term of the loan youíre willing to take out. A 15-year mortgage may make more sense than a 30-year mortgage, but your monthly payments will also be a bit higher. You need to take all of this into consideration before you refinance. 


Your credit score will also be a factor in refinancing your home just as it was when you initially bought your house. Check your score and see if any red flags pop up. Getting these corrected earlier rather than later can help you to get a better rate on the loan. There are plenty of free services that exist online that allow you to check your credit score.   


Know The Value Of Your Home


If you know the value of your home and understand how much equity youíve built up in the house, it will give you a better idea of your refinancing options. You canít get more than 70% of what your home is currently worth as a cash-out refinance. If you owe more than your home is worth, you might be in a tighter financial situation than you realize. You can do plenty of things to increase the value of your home; it will just take some time. You may even consider selling your house, making a move, and starting from scratch. Financially, this could be the best option, and you could also end up with a better interest rate.


Getting your finances in order and the simple act of preparing for a home refinance could give you some insight into your financial picture after being a homeowner for some time.


Stay out of debt. Donít open new accounts. Pay down any debt you may have. That is the standard advice for people who are trying to get in good financial standing before buying a home or refinancing a home. 


Do some research and find the best home loan refinance rates around. Then, look into your own finances and decide whatís best for you regarding refinancing your home loan.      





Tags: Mortgage   refinancing  
Categories: Uncategorized  




Sharon Lanen Coskren