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Home Ownership

Struggling With Property Taxes? Here’s What You Need To Do

As a homeowner, you have the responsibility to pay property taxes. Property tax rates vary depending on where you live, which means that the tax rates in one state could be much higher than in another. So citizens living in one area, could pay a different amount of tax to people living in a similar sized house in a different area.

Over the past few years, property taxes in the US have increased, leaving many homeowners struggling to keep up with their bills. As property tax prices have increased, more and more families have struggled to keep up with the prices.

If you are struggling with your property tax bills, then you may be feeling anxious or worried about how you will cope. But try not to worry, there are plenty of ways you can get your finances back on track.

Property Taxes

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To help you get your property taxes and finances back on track, we have put together a handy guide below:

Know how much tax you should pay

The first thing you need to do is find out how much property tax you should be paying each month. You can do this by picking up the property card for your home from the assessor’s office, or can request having it sent in the post.

Once you have your property card, you can then start working out what you should be paying each month and how much you owe.

Ask for help

Once you know your debt sum, the next step is to ask for help. You might be embarrassed admitting that you can’t afford to pay your bill, but there is no need to be. At some point or another, most families have financial problems, so there is no need to feel ashamed.

If you are unsure who to contact for help, start off by contacting your local assessor’s office. They should either be able to give you the help you need or point you in the direction of someone who can.

Get a loan

When we say get a loan, we don’t mean the type of loan that goes through loan sharks, we meant a legal loan.

If you are going through a financial blip and are struggling to pay your tax, looking at the option of Reliance Tax Loans could be ideal. While it might seem like a backwards step, getting a loan can give you the boost you need to get your property tax in order.

Cut down on spending

If you are short of money for your property tax bills, it’s a good idea to cut down on your day to day spending. As this will give you a little extra money to use to cover your bills.

Just small things, like taking a packed lunch to work or shopping at a budget store, can make all the difference. Instead of buying a latte every morning, take a coffee to work in a heatproof cup. Instead of going to the gym every day, swap to three times a week and run on the other days.

It’s amazing how much of a difference just a few small changes can make to your wallet. Start slowly and begin to implement a variety of changes over the space of a few weeks.

Home Ownership

Avoid Mortgage Frauds – Protecting Your Money And Your Credit!

Buying your own property is one of the most exciting things you can do. It gives you the freedom you’ve always wanted, and provides a financial safety net for your future. Perhaps you already own your own home, but want to invest in more property to let out to tenants? It can be a lucrative source of income.

There’s never been a better time to buy real estate, but to get it you’re going to need to take a mortgage. There are some good deals to be had, but are some of them too good to be true? Too many property buyers are falling victim to property fraud. It can deplete your money now, and have a major impact on your future credit rating. Here are some facts about mortgage fraud, along with steps you can take to stop it happening to you.

Why Mortgage Fraud Is On the Rise

In these difficult financial times, people are looking for alternative sources to fund their home purchases. Unfortunately, professional fraudsters are exploiting this for their own gains. A study by the FBI shows that in a four year period, the amount of mortgage fraud cases they investigated rose by 176%, and that could be just the tip of the iceberg.

What are the Consequences of Mortgage Fraud?

If you become the victim of mortgage fraud it can have a devastating effect on your financial security now, and on your ability to obtain credit in the future. You may find that there are hidden debts that come with the home that you just purchased, or that the amount that you are expected to pay back is much higher than you expected. This can lead to foreclosure, where you lose your home as well as your money.

Another scam that mortgage fraudsters are happy to use is identity theft. They take the personal and financial details that you supply, and use it to open credit lines in your name which are then emptied. By the time you find out, the damage is done.

If you have to foreclose on a loan, or if fraudulent credit is taken using your details, your credit score will plummet. When you have a poor credit score, you may find it impossible to obtain loans, future mortgages, or even store cards.

How to Avoid Mortgage Fraud

Now you’ve seen the devastating consequences that mortgage fraud can bring, you need to know how to protect yourself from it. The most important thing to remember is that you can’t always trust your instincts. You need to use tools like the ir35 calculator to get a unbiased view on the facts. Experienced fraudsters know how to convey a professional image that will make them appear above suspicion. They’re experts at gaining the trust of honest people like you. Here are some steps that you should always take when applying for a mortgage:

  • Check the credentials and licenses of realtors and mortgage professionals
  • Be wary of ‘no deposit’ mortgages
  • Find out what other homes in the neighbourhood are selling for
  • Read all documents thoroughly, preferably with an attorney
  • Never sign an incomplete document
  • Never be talked into putting misleading information on your application

Following these steps may take you a little more time, but it can save you money today and in the future. Mortgage documents and application forms can seem confusing, that’s why it always pays to have an expert legal eye look them over.

Another potential scam to be aware of comes if you are in danger of foreclosure. You may be approached by a foreclosure assistance firm who say they can help you keep your home. Once again, make sure that you check their credentials thoroughly, or else you could find that they take your money and disappear.

By being vigilant, and checking both documentation and the licenses of everyone you deal with, you can protect you and your family from the effects of mortgage fraud.

Home Ownership

Transforming Your Window Dressings without Spending the Earth

The property television shows might be big on major retrofitting projects at the moment, but something that often goes unnoticed are window dressings. From the occupier’s perspective they not only shape the appearance of a room, but also control the amount of natural light and heat that comes into it. Then, from the outsiders, there’s that elusive curb appeal that we all seek to satisfy.

Fortunately, you don’t have to invest ridiculous sums into improving your window dressings. While some of the modern types can be costly, you can improvise and still net a window to be proud of, with really nice tips from agencies like Northern Lights Exteriors etc.

On some occasions, the industry itself helps you with this. It’s no secret that natural materials are, and always will be, big. Wood for example always has been in fashion, and always will be. It just looks classy and everybody knows that it’s a premium material that’s just appreciated.

The problem with wood and blinds is that they are expensive when combined. Genuine wood blinds are pricy and as this article is focused on budget action, we certainly wouldn’t advocate investing in a set. However, the industry has adapted and launched faux wood blinds, which look practically identical. They also offer the same durability benefits, so if you are looking to create that premium window dressing there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t opt for the little brother of genuine wood.

Another development in the blinds industry is insulated shades, or other forms that aim to effectively lock the heat in a room. Suffice to say, it’s pretty smart technology and you will be paying more for them than your standard set of blinds. Therefore, it’s time to improvise. In essence, all these shades are doing is layering up the room – using a cellular design to achieve this. While you can’t exactly mimic this exact shape, you can combine your blinds with curtains to enhance your room’s thermal properties. Curtains certainly don’t cost the earth and if done correctly, can fit perfectly with a set of blinds.

You don’t have to target blinds or curtains though – you can look to tinker with the glazing itself. This is more an appearance-related tip, whereby the purchase of decorative films really can make it look unique and perhaps quirky. These films are inexpensive to purchase and can again transform your window dressing without significant investment.

Already, it’s becoming clear that window dressings don’t have to cost the earth to fine-tune. While some technologies are priced extraordinary high, you don’t have to go the full length and can improvise to create a brand new dressing.

However, through all of these decisions you should take into account exactly what you are looking to achieve from your new-look window. If you are looking to boost its energy efficiency properties, it’s sometimes better to make that higher investment and experience the big savings for years to come. If it’s just the appearance you’re looking to influence, take short cuts as you please. Guess, time to find the best roof colors for any home now, another money-saving post coming.

Home Ownership

4 Ways to Help the Mortgage Process Run Smoothly

Anyone who has ever applied for a mortgage is well aware that the process can be tedious and often frustrating. As mortgage guidelines have become stricter, more information is required from borrowers, more paperwork is needed and more time is required to examine the entire loan file in order to reach a loan decision. From the very start of the mortgage application, either for a home purchase loan or mortgage refinance, borrowers and lenders can work together to gather all that is necessary to bring the loan to a successful closing. However, there are some things that can happen along the way. While some can be prevented, other issues will just show up. In an effort to prevent issues from delaying the closing, below are 4 ways to help the mortgage process run smoothly.

1. Completing the entire mortgage application as instructed by the lender will provide all of the preliminary information that the lender needs. Think of the mortgage application as a time line of events that basically produces a story for the lender. If a borrower leaves out any information that is required, chapters are missing and the story is incomplete. The most common areas that are neglected appear right on the first page of the mortgage application; the requirements for two full years of residency addresses and two full years of employment. Regardless of where a borrower lived or worked (or did not work), this information is mandatory.

2. Submitting the appropriate documentation is mandatory so that the lender can examine and verify the information. A full two years of employment documents will be required, even if there were multiple jobs. Different types of employment may require additional documentation which the lender will request. Providing this information as soon as possible allows the lender to get the verifications completed faster. In some cases, where a borrower was in school for a period of time in lieu of being employed, school transcripts must be submitted to fill the gap in employment.

3. Assets play an important role in the mortgage process. When purchasing a home, assets are necessary for the down payment, closing costs and reserves. When refinancing, assets are normally necessary for required reserves, however, they also provide the lender with a picture of a borrower’s financial stability which can have an affect on the mortgage rate that is offered. When submitting asset documentation, it is important that all pages of statements are sent to the lender. Many financial statements have blank pages; these must also be submitted. Bank statements are looked over carefully and any large deposits will also require submitting the paper trail as proof of where the funds came from, especially cash deposits. Similar to other areas of banking, loan applications are subjected to Suspicious Activity Report laws. When it comes to assets, lenders look for consistency in balances.

4. The credit report in itself is a story of a borrower’s debt and gives the lender an idea of how the applicant handles their finances. There is very little that slips by a credit report. If a borrower owns other property, it will most likely show up even if the property does not have a mortgage. If a borrower has used multiple names, these also will show up. Do you own rights to land for mining? Yes, most likely that will show up too. Some of the most unusual and unexpected things will show up on a credit report. Sometimes a judgment or lien will appear on the credit report and the borrower was not even aware that it existed. Being prepared to answer questions from the lender and possibly submitting documentation to clarify any issues will allow the mortgage process to continue.

Since every lender is different and each borrower is unique, it is impossible to know every possible situation that may occur when applying for a mortgage. The best possible way that a borrower can help the mortgage process run smoothly is by first understanding that the lender is only doing what they must do, and second by providing as quickly as possible the information that is needed so that the processing of the loan is not held up.

Rosemary has been writing since 2010 for FreeRateUpdate.com, a company that matches consumers with banks and lenders offering low mortgage rates. Previous to her writing career, Rosemary spent 13 years working hands-on in the mortgage industry as a mortgage loan analyst, mortgage processor, property manager, and a mortgage underwriter.

Home Ownership

Home Buying Checklist – Infographic

If you are currently in the market to purchase a new home, be sure to get all the information you need! Buying a home is a big investment, and even minor details can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. Phil Henderson, an experienced real estate expert, has created an infographic to help simplify the home-buying process. From researching the neighborhood, to double-checking the storage space, you’re sure to find some helpful information within this creative, informative graphic.

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