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Achieve Your Goals in 2019

It’s not enough to set a goal; you have to follow through and do the activities that are sure to help you achieve it.

These four strategies can help you stay on track. From visualization to smartphone apps, these strategies are sure to help you achieve your goals in 2019.

Strategy #1: VISUALIZATION

“You can’t do anything that you can’t picture yourself doing. Once you make the picturing process conscious and deliberate, you begin to create the self you want to be.”  -Anonymous

Strategy #2: JOURNALING

“Writing in a journal each day allows you to direct your focus on what you accomplished, what you’re grateful for and what you’re committed to doing better tomorrow. Thus, you more deeply enjoy your journey each day.”  -Hal Elrod

Strategy #3: TRACKING

“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success if found in your daily routine.”  -Unknown

Strategy #4: COLLABORATION

“Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to the result.”  -Bob Proctor

You can download and print this Tools to Help You Achieve Your Goals resource that dives in to the strategies mentioned above.

If one of your goals in 2019 is to purchase a home, I can help you. You can apply on my website to get the process started and find out what you qualify for. If you’re not in California, send me an email and I can refer you to a reputable loan officer in the state you’re looking to purchase in.

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Source: © 2018 Buffini & Company. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. RMMK DECEMBER EREPORT A

How Property Taxes “Pay” for HERO/PACE Energy Improvements

According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy:

“PACE programs allow a property owner to finance the up-front cost of energy or other eligible improvements on a property and then pay the costs back over time through a voluntary assessment.  The unique characteristic of PACE assessments is that the assessment is attached to the property rather than an individual.”

That sounds nice, but what does this actually mean? It means that the total cost of the eligible improvements completed on a property will be added to the homeowner’s annual property tax bill and paid back, with interest, over a certain amount of years. In California, the property tax bills are generated annually, every September and paid in two installments. One installment is due by November 10th, delinquent after December 10th, and the second installment is due by February 10th, the following year, and delinquent after April 10th. The effective date of the tax bill is from July 1st, of the current year, to June 30th, of the following year.

What does this look like for a homeowner? If a homeowner decides to take advantage of a HERO/PACE loan this fall in preparation of the holiday season. The HERO/PACE loan would be recorded with the County in October 2018. However, the homeowner wouldn’t see the impact on their property tax bill until this time next year when the new tax bill is mailed out. They would be enjoying the benefits of the improvements without feeling the true impact of that decision.

How does this effect the mortgage payment? If a homeowner’s property taxes are included in their mortgage payment, they will receive a Payment Increase Notice from their lender. The lender will pay the first half of the annual property taxes by December 10th. After paying the installment, they complete an Annual Escrow Account Review to ensure they are collecting enough money each month for the next installment that’s due by April 10th. If they aren’t, they’ll increase the amount to be paid into the escrow account, and include any shortage. Most homeowners won’t receive this notice until January or February and the new, higher, mortgage payment are typically due within 30 days.

A real life story. I personally know a homeowner whose tax bill went from $6,800 per year ($567 per month), to $11,650 per year after having their HERO/PACE improvements completed on their home. Since their property taxes and insurance were included in their mortgage payment, their payment increased by $400 per month. It would have been fine, if they knew what to expect, but they felt blindsided 10 months after having their improvements completed. They could not afford the monthly increase on their fixed income. They had three options:

  1. Refinance their current loan to payoff the lien
  2. Pull money from savings to payoff the lien
  3. Sell their home

They happen to have the ability to pull money from their savings to pay off the lien. Not all homeowners will have the savings nor help from family to pay off that type of assessment.

If you’ve had energy improvements completed on your home using PACE or HERO and want to see what the impact will be to your property taxes or monthly payment, I can help you. Send me an email with some information about your situation and we can start the conversation to find the best way for you to move forward.

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Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Identity theft is a serious crime in the United States. Nearly 15 billion dollars were stolen from identity theft victims in 2017.¹

Below are 7 Tips to Keep Your Information Secure² from identity theft.

TIP #1: GUARD YOUR PRIVACY

Do not send sensitive information through your regular email. If a company is requesting sensitive information from you, request for them to send you a secure email that you can reply to or they may have a secure website portal that you can upload them to.

TIP #2: INSTALL SECURITY FEATURES

Invest in an anti-virus program for your computer and only use secure wireless networks to browse the internet.

TIP #3: KEEP YOUR FINANCIAL INFORMATION SECURE

Keeping paper documents in a locked safe or filing cabinet, and online information on secure websites (https vs http).

TIP #4: ALWAYS USE STRONG PASSWORDS

Invent your own complex password formula. It can incorporate some information about the account it’s for, the YYYYMMDD you created the new password and a combination of 4 or 5 letters (upper and lowercase), numbers and symbols combination that you’ll remember.

TIP #5: SHRED WHAT YOU DON’T NEED

If you don’t have a personal shredder at home, keep an eye out for shredding events in your community.

TIP #6: CHECK YOUR MAIL

Mail that is left unchecked can accumulate many sensitive documents throughout the month that an identity theif can grab at one time.

TIP #7: KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR UNAUTHORIZED ACTIVITY

Using a free app, like Credit Karma, can help you spot errors or signs of identity theft, so you can take steps to address them.

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Sources: ¹Based on an online survey of 540 U.S. adults who experienced ID theft in 2017, conducted for Symantec by The Harris Poll, January 2018.  ²2015 Buffini & Company. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. RMMK MARCH MF A

Don’t Be Spooked By the Mortgage Market

“Don’t wait to buy real estate. Buy real estate and wait.”

– Robert G. Allen

The interest rates available today, although slowly increasing, are still lower than the average interest rate for a home loan over the last 40 years. According to Freddie Mac’s Historical Data for 30-Yr Fixed Rate Mortgages, in January 1982, right after Christmas, most Americans were paying 2.2 points for a 30-yr fixed home loan around 17.48%.

Below is a comparison of what it looked like for most Americans to purchase a home in January 1982 versus today with a similar monthly payment.

 

Loan Amount

1982

$100,000

2018

$280,000

Interest Rate 17.48% 4.75%
Points (cost of the rate) 2.2% ($2,200) 0.50% ($1,400)
Monthly Payment $1,465 $1,461
Minimum Wage $3.30/hr $11.00/hr

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If you’re ready to find out what you qualify for so you can start making offers, I can help you. You can apply on my website to get started. If you’re not in California, send me an email and I can refer you to a reputable loan officer in the state you’re looking to purchase in.

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Source: Photo – LeadCrossing

7 Tips for a Stress-Free Bathroom Renovation

Thinking of renovating your bathroom? Whether you plan to create spa-like experience in the master bath or update the guest bathroom, renovating can be a stressful experience.

These 7 Tips for a Stress-Free Bathroom Renovation will help make the process less stressful, from choosing the right colors to saving money on items in the renovation.

  1. Choose your colors wisely
  2. Keep lighting in mind
  3. Maintain the same footprint
  4. Do some of the work yourself
  5. Save money on cabinetry
  6. Keep your space functional
  7. Go faux

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If you want to complete some renovations, but need a home loan to get the funds for the project, I can help you. You can apply on my website and we can go over which loan option is best for you. If you’re not in California, send me an email and I can refer you to a reputable loan officer in the state you’re property is located in.

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Source: © 2018 Buffini & Company. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. RMMK OCTOBER EREPORT A

5 Savings Strategies for Your Down Payment

Whether buying a home is on your to-do list for this year or five years down the road, saving for a down payment should be at the top of your mind.

Here are 5 Saving Strategies for Savings Your Down Payment that you can start working on right now.

STRATEGY #1:  SET A GOAL

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”     -Les Brown

STRATEGY #2: LET YOUR MONEY WORK FOR YOU

“Compound interest is the 8th Wonder of the World. He who understands it, earns it. He who doesn’t, pays it.”   -Albert Einstein

STRATEGY #3: CUT YOUR SPENDING

“Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.”   -Warren Buffet

STRATEGY #4: CONSIDER TAPPING INTO YOUR RETIREMENT

“Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.”      -Ayn Rand

STRATEGY #5: FIND EXTRA MONEY

“You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.”   -Dave Ramsey

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From setting goals to tracking expenses, the strategies outlined will allow you to build more savings each month. This will help you move to the next level on your journey to financial significance.

If you’re curious to see how close you are to your goal of purchasing a home, I can help you. You can apply on my website to see where you stand. If you’re not in California, send me an email and I can refer you to a reputable loan officer in the state you’re looking to purchase in.

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Source: © 2018 Buffini & Company. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. RMMK JANUARY EREPORT A

How Rate Increases Effect Buyers

Simply, the rise in interest rates means that you will be paying a higher mortgage payment for the same loan amount. The chart below and examples explain how the rise in rates effect a buyer’s purchasing power.

For example, if a buyer put 20% down on a $525,000 home, their 30-year fixed mortgage payment would be $2,128.08 per month; for a $420,000 loan at 4.500%. The same loan amount at 5.000% would cost $2,254.65; a little more than $125 per month higher.

If that same buyer waited until rates were at 5.500%, they would need to lower their loan amount to $380,000 in order to keep a similar payment. If they were still looking at $525,000 homes, they would need to bring in an additional $40,000 down payment to make up the difference in the rate increase.

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As shown in the chart above, when mortgage rates are increasing little by little, a buyer’s purchasing power is decreasing little by little. 

If you’ve been on the fence about purchasing a home, now may be the time to consider taking that step forward to see what you can qualify for. You can apply on my website to see where you stand. If you’re not in CA, send me an email and I can refer you to a reputable loan officer in the state you’re looking to purchase in.

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 Photo source: https://floridasuretybonds.com/floridas-workers-comp-rate-increase-approved/
Rates quoted in the spreadsheet do not include APR.