Do you have a home buying strategy? Buying a home can be a risky and expensive proposition so you will want to make sure you have a plan.  In order to put a plan in place you will want to ask ask the following questions:

How long do I plan to live here?
You will need to consider how long you plan to live in your home to determine if it makes financial sense. Consider what changes you might make during that time frame. Will you be starting a family? Will elderly parents need to move in with you? You may need a larger home or need to find a community with better amenities for children, and that will increase the likelihood of you moving.
How is the local market?
All real estate is local.  Find out all you can about the neighborhoods you’re considering. Look at the inventory of homes, how have properties gone up or down in value, and how much homes are selling for compared to the listing price.

What is my financial stability?
Consider factors like the stability of your job. Will you still be there in five years? What kind of future does your industry have? Does climbing up the career ladder mean you might have to move elsewhere to get ahead? Look at your current debts and income, not your future salary, to determine whether you can afford to buy.

Who wouldn’t like to pay off the mortgage early? Getting rid of mortgage debt will allow you the security and the psychological benefit of owning your home free and clear. There are lots of ways to accomplish these goals. Here are some suggestions on ways to get rid of your mortgage debt. Compare the options and do what works best for you.

1. Add more money to your monthly payment. This will help pay down the principal balance shortening the length of your loan. When you pay more on your principal is gets lower, and the lower your principal gets, the more every payment from then on is applied to principal, as less goes to cover interest expense.

2. Refinance. Refinance your mortgage to 10, 15 or 20 years. Your payments will be higher on a 15-year loan, but often the rate is lower and the loan is paid off much quicker. If you are afraid to take out a 15- year loan take out a 30-year loan, but make payments as if you had a 15-year loan.

3. Make biweekly payments. Most banks have a biweekly payment plan. Since there are 52 weeks in the year if you pay half your regular mortgage payment every other week, you’ll have made 26 half-payments, or 13 payments.

There are options when it comes to owning your home free and clear. Just decide which one works for you and be on your way to being mortgage free.

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