Tiffany Pesonen's Blog
It’s no secret that the best time to finance a home is when mortgage interest rates are low. You could save thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your mortgage if you finance at the right time. With interest rates still being low, some wonder why more people aren’t refinancing their homes, especially if doing so would save them $100 or more a month on their mortgage payments.
Although low interest rates are a primary reason to consider refinancing a home, it’s not the only reason. Other reasons to consider refinancing include:
- Ready to adjust length of the loan – Refinancing your home could allow you to extend the number of years that you have to pay for your house, potentially lowering your monthly installments. Just be careful that you don’t end up paying higher interest rates in the long term. Of course,you could also shorten the length of your loan. Generally, this option will find you paying less interest over the lifetime of your loan.
- Moving to a fixed rate mortgage – Adjustable rate mortgages may start out low, but they don’t always remain low. Even with a fixed rate mortgage, you could spend more on your house each month due to an increase in home owner association fees or property taxes.
- Improved credit scores – Stronger credit scores could help you to get a better adjustable rate mortgage.
If you’ve had your mortgage for several years, you may have paid on a good deal of the principal. Refinancing and starting with a new loan could backfire, causing you to pay more interest. If you have a lot of equity in your home but you’re struggling to stay current on your monthly mortgage payments, consider renting out a room at your house.
You could also work a part-time job, even if you work a remote job from home, until you become current in your payments. A few months of work change could save you money and headaches down the road if you only need $200 or less each month to make your mortgage. Other alternatives would be to become more energy efficient and to create and stick to a budget. Think short and long term gains.
Depending on your existing mortgage, you may or may not be charged a fee to refinance your home. Some mortgages charge a prepayment fee to refinance. Simply because you’re paying the loan off early, you could be assessed the fee. Definitely check with your lender to see if such a clause is in your mortgage contract.
Take your time shopping around for a better mortgage. Regardless of the lender that you refinance your home through, you may pay refinancing fees. Some lenders may also require you to pay for another home inspection, application fee,origination fee and closing costs. Factor in all charges and fees that you will incur if you refinance your home before you sign on the dotted line.
If your home no longer meets your family’s needs, moving to a new house might be a better option than refinancing. Another time when you might not want to refinance your home is if your kids are getting ready to start college and you’ll be taking on student loans.
Step 1: Setting upYou'll want to set up the room with the right balance of furniture, decorations and natural light. Avoid decorations that are too personal (like family photos) or eccentric (no stuffed animals, preferably). Set up your tripod against one of the walls of the room. Ideally, you'll have the target of your photo illuminated by natural light coming through windows, so you'll likely be standing in front of or next to the windows. However, before you take any photos use your best judgment to determine the room's best angles. The amount of and the placement of furniture will play a large role in how spacious the room looks, but equally important is the camera angle from which you take your photos.
Step 2: Learn your camera settingsYou won't learn all of the settings in a DSLR overnight, but it is important to get an understanding of the basics. In spite of the many technical improvements that have been made, the basic concept of a camera hasn't changed much over the years. The two main components that determine what your picture looks like are aperture and shutter speed. Aperture (or "f-stop") is what is used to determine how much light enters the camera. Much like your pupils dilate in the dark to let in as much light as possible, having a wide aperture will allow you to take brighter photos. Shutter speed is the amount of time the shutter on your camera is open. A slower shutter speed allows more light into the camera, creating a brighter exposure. However, due to our inability to hold a camera entirely still having a slower shutter speed creates more opportunity for your photo to become blurred from camera shake. A third important setting is the ISO. This setting is unique to digital photography because it controls the sensitivity of the camera's image sensor. The higher the number, the more sensitive. Why not just crank it up all the way then to get the best quality? Because if you set it too high the photos become grainy or "noisy."
Step 3: PracticeNow that you know the basics, start taking photos in your home using various camera settings. Play around with taking photos with different light sources on, with your camera flash on and off, and at different times of day. You'll find that there are endless possibilities when it comes to taking photos of your home.
In the meantime, feel free to search for listings or register for daily listing alerts to keep you ahead of the market.
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