In the VSECU Blog you'll find financial and lifestyle resources to help empower possibilities for your personal success.
When you finance your home, you have choices. You can go with a big-name bank or keep your money closer to home at your local credit union or bank. Bigger banks can leverage their resources to offer some compelling conveniences, like 24/7 support or simplified online processes, but they are not always the best choice. Local financial institutions can offer a more personalized and holistic experience simply because they are small and local.
As you plan to purchase a home, it’s important to keep in mind that you won’t just be paying the cost of the home. You will also be paying “closing costs,” which are all those fees associated with your real estate purchase. Closing costs on a mortgage may be paid by the seller but are most often paid by the buyer and are paid at closing, when you sit down at the closing to sign papers and the property title is transferred to you.
If you’re buying a house, you want to get the best deal possible, which means you want the lowest interest rates—the lower your interest rates are, the less you’ll pay over the life of the loan. Buying a house can take a while, though, and in the time it takes you to find the house and go through the buying process, interest rates could rise or fall significantly.
If you’re a parent, you may find that as the school year gets closer, figuring out a game plan to pay for college gets more overwhelming by the day. For most, funding education from a savings alone is not an option.
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Private mortgage insurance (PMI), mortgage insurance (MI), private MI—these are all different names for one insurance product, which I’ll refer to as PMI for the purposes of this article. PMI is required when you take out a home loan with a down payment that is less than 20% of the purchase price or appraisal value, whichever is lower.
Homeowners have what seems like a never-ending list of need-to-do and want-to-do home improvement projects. From regular maintenance and repairs to protect your home’s value, to bathroom updates or additions to potentially increase value. The reality is that all renovations and repairs cost money and there is some serious time and planning involved if you want the project done right.
When you pay off debt, you open up options for yourself. You improve your cash flow, so you can stop living from paycheck to paycheck; you free up money so that you can buy the things you need and want to live a more productive and engaged life; and you put yourself in a position to save more money for a more comfortable retirement.
If you’re not sure if you can afford to improve the energy efficiency of your home, you’re in good company. Lots of people wonder not only about how to pay for home improvements but also about what upgrades make the most sense. The good news is that you can get help about both concerns. At Efficiency Vermont, it’s my job to give objective advice about lowering energy use within any budget. One of the ways that many people are able to make their dream of an efficient home a reality is with a low-interest energy loan.