Money Saving Tips

Tips to Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

Saving-for-a-HomePaying off your mortgage is one of the biggest financial goals of most homeowners, and retiring debt-free can certainly give your golden years a greater sense of financial freedom and stability. Whether you’re nearing retirement age or are just looking to reduce your largest debt load more quickly, here are some great tips for paying off your mortgage faster!

Principal Versus Interest

Essentially, to pay off your mortgage you have to reduce the principal owing on your property. There are really two ways you can do this without dramatically reducing your monthly budget.

Increase Your Monthly Payments

Even increasing your monthly payments by a small amount can take years off the life of your mortgage. You can also choose an accelerated plan whereby you can make weekly or biweekly payments rather than monthly. This will allow you to make a few extra payments each year. Combining these efforts can really have a surprising effect on the principal of your mortgage over a short period of time. There are a number of free online calculators that can help you figure out the exact numbers for your particular situation.

Reduce Your Interest Rate

If increasing your monthly payments is not an option, you can still pay off your mortgage faster by refinancing your mortgage to negotiate a lower rate. Keep your eye on the financial markets to gauge the best time to make this move, and seek out the advice of a real estate agent or financial advisor to confirm that this is a viable option for your current financial situation. If you have a good history of payment and an excellent credit score, finding a lender shouldn’t be a problem.

Make A Lump Sum Payment On Your Mortgage

Another way you can decrease your mortgage principal and pay off your mortgage faster is by making a large lump sum payment. If you have come into extra money, have received a large income tax return, or just have a considerable amount of savings, this may be a wise financial decision. It will also dramatically decrease the amount of interest you will pay over the life of your mortgage and thus save you money. Just be sure your mortgage does not include a clause that will penalize you, and then determine whether it is still a good choice before going ahead.

The satisfaction a homeowner feels when they make that last mortgage payment is really unmatched by any other financial achievement, and following these simple steps can more quickly make that dream a reality.


Looking to buy or sell a home in the MetroWest area? Real estate agent Robert Brown of RE/MAX Executive Realty services areas such as Hopkinton, Hopedale, Milford, Upton, Mendon, and many more. To learn more about MetroWest real estate agent Robert Brown, please visit the Meet Your Agent page on SellMyMetroWestHome.com

Homes for Sale in Hopkinton, MA | Real Estate Agent in Hopkinton, MA
Homes for Sale in Hopedale, MA | Real Estate Agent in Hopedale, MA
Homes for Sale in Milford, MA | Real Estate Agent in Milford, MA
Homes for Sale in Upton, MA | Real Estate Agent in Upton, MA
Homes for Sale in Mendon, MA | Real Estate Agent in Mendon, MA

Tips For Qualifying For A Better Interest Rate

When it comes to a home loan, the interest rate is a very important factor. It can make all the difference between being able to afford the home of your dreams and having to settle for something less. On a large mortgage, even a slight increase in the interest rate can make a big difference in the monthly payments. Thus, getting the best interest rate possible is the goal of every home buyer.

Your Credit Is Key

percent blocks

The number one factor in determining what kind of interest rate you will get on your home loan is your credit rating. Keeping tabs on your credit is important for anyone, but especially for those hoping to own a home. Before you apply, you should check your credit report for any errors that you can correct ahead of time. You should also look for anything you can do to improve your credit.

If you have a high debt to income ratio it will hurt your credit. Try to pay off things like high interest credit cards before you apply for a home loan, or at least pay them down to a place where that ratio is improved. You should also avoid applying for credit in too many places—too many checks on your credit can adversely affect your score.

Lock It In

When rates are low, you should get that application for a loan in as soon as you can. In most cases you can lock in a certain interest rate for a particular period of time. Interest rates fluctuate all the time, and sudden changes in the economy can send them up. When they are low, you should be prepared to take advantage. Even with imperfect credit, the higher interest rate in a low set of rates is the better deal, so get it while you can.

Go With Who You Know

In some cases, a financial institution may offer a slightly lower interest rate to long time customers. Because they know your financial history and you have built trust with them, they will be more willing to disregard small credit problems and give you a better rate.

Your interest rate will make a big difference in how fast you pay off your home and how much you can afford. Be sure you do whatever you can to qualify for and lock in a great rate.


Looking to buy or sell a home in the MetroWest area? Real estate agent Robert Brown of RE/MAX Executive Realty services areas such as Hopkinton, Hopedale, Milford, Upton, Mendon, and many more. To learn more about MetroWest real estate agent Robert Brown, please visit the Meet Your Agent page on SellMyMetroWestHome.com

Homes for Sale in Hopkinton, MA | Real Estate Agent in Hopkinton, MA
Homes for Sale in Hopedale, MA | Real Estate Agent in Hopedale, MA
Homes for Sale in Milford, MA | Real Estate Agent in Milford, MA
Homes for Sale in Upton, MA | Real Estate Agent in Upton, MA
Homes for Sale in Mendon, MA | Real Estate Agent in Mendon, MA

Tax Breaks for First-Time Homebuyers

Are you thinking about purchasing your first home? Tax breaks available for first-time homeowners may make it worthwhile. Consult your accountant or tax professional about which of these conditions apply to you.

  • Young adults moving in new homeYou may be able to deduct the total amount of interest paid on your mortgage.
  • If you make a down payment of less than 20% of the home’s purchase price, you will need private mortgage insurance – which may be deductible. Mortgage insurance on government-backed mortgages may also be deductible in the same way as mortgage interest.
  • You may be able to deduct local real estate property taxes you pay on your new home.
  • You may be able to deduct points and charges you paid to your lender to obtain the mortgage for your first home purchase.
  • If you choose to install renewable energy systems in your home, such as solar panels, you may be eligible for deductions of up to 30% of the installation costs.
  • If you purchased your first home for a job opportunity and moved more than 50 miles for it, you may be able to deduct your moving expenses.
  • If your new home required some upgrades, you may deduct the value of donated construction materials or demolition waste donated to a qualified charity.

If you are ready to buy your first home, please do not hesitate to contact me today!


 

Looking to buy or sell a home in the MetroWest area? Real estate agent Robert Brown of RE/MAX Executive Realty services areas such as Hopkinton, Hopedale, Milford, Upton, Mendon, and many more. To learn more about MetroWest real estate agent Robert Brown, please visit the Meet Your Agent page on SellMyMetroWestHome.com

Homes for Sale in Hopkinton, MA | Real Estate Agent in Hopkinton, MA
Homes for Sale in Hopedale, MA | Real Estate Agent in Hopedale, MA
Homes for Sale in Milford, MA | Real Estate Agent in Milford, MA
Homes for Sale in Upton, MA | Real Estate Agent in Upton, MA
Homes for Sale in Mendon, MA | Real Estate Agent in Mendon, MA

6 Budgeting Tips to Help You Save for a Down Payment

Saving enough cash for a down payment may seem impossible, but with planning and discipline you can make it happen. It might not be tomorrow, but owning your own Metrowest home is something worth waiting for, working for and, perhaps, sacrificing a few expensive coffee drinks for as well. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

hand full of money and holding a green plant

1. Track every dollar. Find out exactly where your money goes each month by keeping track of every single thing you purchase over 30 days. Review your card and bank statements carefully to categorize where you spent each dollar (e.g., entertainment, food, clothing). Sites like mint.com can also help you track and categorize spending.

2. Rate every purchase. Using the month of expenditures, rate each item or service you bought as a want or a need.

3. Set savings goals. Using your “needs” and “wants” list, determine where you can realistically cut spending. If it means that much, you don’t necessarily have to cut out Starbucks altogether, but reducing your trips will certainly help. Use the budget to set monthly and yearly savings goals.

4. Set aside funds. Create a separate savings account for your down payment. It’s not only easier to track, but blocking off the funds may make you think twice before dipping into that money for something other than your future home.

5. Save automatically. If you are paid through direct deposit, chances are you can split your paychecks into more than one account. Set up your new “down payment” savings account to take in a portion of your regular direct deposits. You can’t miss money you don’t see in the first place.

6. Maximize your returns. Once you have a bit of money saved, talk to a financial professional about other places you might invest it to get a bigger return than you would by keeping it in your savings account – perhaps a money market account or a certificate of deposit (CD).

When your down payment goal is in sight, feel free to give us a call for a free consultation, we’d be more than happy to point you in the right direction.


Looking to buy or sell a home in the MetroWest area? Real estate agent Robert Brown of RE/MAX Executive Realty services areas such as Hopkinton, Hopedale, Milford, Upton, Mendon, and many more. To learn more about MetroWest real estate agent Robert Brown, please visit the Meet Your Agent page on SellMyMetroWestHome.com

Homes for Sale in Hopkinton, MA | Real Estate Agent in Hopkinton, MA
Homes for Sale in Hopedale, MA | Real Estate Agent in Hopedale, MA
Homes for Sale in Milford, MA | Real Estate Agent in Milford, MA
Homes for Sale in Upton, MA | Real Estate Agent in Upton, MA
Homes for Sale in Mendon, MA | Real Estate Agent in Mendon, MA

Ways to Go Green in the Kitchen

  • Start a garden. Whether you opt for a full-out vegetable garden or a small window of fresh herbs, the taste of freshness will be unmistakable!
  • Shop locally! Visit local farmers markets or choose locally produced produce whenever possible.
  • Bring your own bags when you visit the grocery store. Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs.
  • Save time and energy by cooking a double portion and setting half aside in the freezer for a quick meal at a later date.
  • Get energized and leave the appliances alone. Whenever possible, mix and beat ingredients by hand, cook multiple items at the same time, and avoid washing dishes unnecessarily. Use energy-efficient appliances such as the slow cooker or toaster oven, which can use up to 30% less energy. Be aware of energy wasters such as excessive pre-heating or simmering.
  • Ditch the wraps (such as saran wrap or foil) and make the switch to reusable containers for lunches and leftovers.
  • Put a lid on it! Did you know that cooking with lids could save up to three times the energy? Keep all that steam inside the pot for a more energy- efficient (and faster!) meal.
  • Go fresh—say goodbye to excessively packaged foods, which are often produced using processes that are harmful to the environment. Cooking meals from scratch using fresh ingredients is not only healthier, it’s often less expensive and better for the environment.
  • Decide what you are looking for before you open the fridge, and never keep the door open longer than absolutely necessary.

Looking to buy or sell a home in the MetroWest area? Real estate agent Robert Brown of RE/MAX Executive Realty services areas such as Hopkinton, Hopedale, Milford, Upton, Mendon, and many more. To learn more about MetroWest real estate agent Robert Brown, please visit the Meet Your Agent page on SellMyMetroWestHome.com

Homes for Sale in Hopkinton, MA | Real Estate Agent in Hopkinton, MA
Homes for Sale in Hopedale, MA | Real Estate Agent in Hopedale, MA
Homes for Sale in Milford, MA | Real Estate Agent in Milford, MA
Homes for Sale in Upton, MA | Real Estate Agent in Upton, MA
Homes for Sale in Mendon, MA | Real Estate Agent in Mendon, MA

 

Tips to Pay Off Your Mortgage Sooner

Want to pay off your mortgage more quickly? Use these tips:

  • Round up your monthly Indianiapolis-Mortgage-Payoffmortgage payment amounts. For example, if your mortgage bill is $1,175, pay $1,200 each month. Paying a little extra principal each month gradually lowers the interest you pay over the life of your mortgage.
  • Another method of paying extra is to take the amount of one mortgage payment and split it in to 12 smaller parts. Then, add one part to each of your monthly mortgage payments. Indicate to your lender the extra portion applies to the mortgage principal.
  • Set up an automatic payment for extra payments.
  • Refinance to lower your interest rate and shorten the term of your mortgage. Before you commit, confirm that the terms of the refinance save you more money than the cost of refinancing!

Mortgage accelerator programs are out there, but come with some major drawbacks:

  • Mortgage accelerator programs often require payment of hefty initial fees or the purchase of expensive software. Some mortgage accelerator programs cost up to $3,500 – money you could be using to pay off your mortgage yourself.
  • Mortgage accelerator programs require your total financial attention – all of your excess monthly income goes to paying off your mortgage principal.
  • Many mortgage accelerator program providers hold your money and make payments for you. If they make a late payment, you’re on the hook for extra interest, late charges and a negative mark on your mortgage payment history.

With a little budgeting and planning, you can avoid the use of an expensive middle-man and still achieve your early mortgage payoff!

Are you or anyone you know looking to buy or sell? Give me a call and set up an appointment today!


 

Looking to buy or sell a home in the MetroWest area? Real estate agent Robert Brown of RE/MAX Executive Realty services areas such as Hopkinton, Hopedale, Milford, Upton, Mendon, and many more. To learn more about MetroWest real estate agent Robert Brown, please visit the Meet Your Agent page on SellMyMetroWestHome.com

Homes for Sale in Hopkinton, MA | Real Estate Agent in Hopkinton, MA
Homes for Sale in Hopedale, MA | Real Estate Agent in Hopedale, MA
Homes for Sale in Milford, MA | Real Estate Agent in Milford, MA
Homes for Sale in Upton, MA | Real Estate Agent in Upton, MA
Homes for Sale in Mendon, MA | Real Estate Agent in Mendon, MA

What To Do About Your Energy Bill That Just Broke Your Wallet

So you got your energy bill this month. You blinked 4 times. You rubbed your eyes. cartoon-gas-billYou looked to see if you were looking at the wrong page. You checked the rest of your mail for a letter saying ‘Sorry, we sent you the wrong bill’. Nope. That’s right, your energy bill just went up about 30-60%. Here are a few things you can do to help lower your monthly electric bill:

  1. Beware of vampire power: Even when some electronics or appliances are turned off, they still are able to drain energy from your home when they are plugged in. Unplug household items such as toaster ovens, hair dryers, cell phone chargers, and coffee makers to help stop the drainage.
  2. Program your thermostat. By doing this you can save up to 10 on your heating and cooling bills.
  3. Have curtains? Use them. Open your curtains when the sun is shining in and close them at night to keep the heat in.
  4. Draft-proof your house. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5-30% of a home’s energy use.
  5. Close your fireplace damper when not in use! Keeping it open will suck out the heat from your home.
  6. Wrap water heaters with an insulated blanket. These insulated blankets can be found at your local Home Depot or Lowe’s for around $20.
  7. Make sure your home is properly insulated. Adding insulation to attics, crawl spaces, and air sealing your home can really save you money.
  8. Get your furnace professionally inspected to ensure it’s working properly.

Taking some of these precautions might help lower your energy consumption, but with the incredible increase in rates for energy supply in Massachusetts, it may only make a slight difference. Because of this, I have many friends and clients that have decided to go solar. If you think solar is expensive – I have a secret for you. With SolarCity, the nation’s #1 Solar Provider, homeowners are able to go solar and save money without spending to do it. Not only do you NOT have to pay for the solar panels, but your monthly electric bill decreases significantly. And of course, getting your power from the sun, instead of burning coal and fossil fuels, is better for the environment. Watch the video to learn more about how SolarCity works. If you are interested in learning more about going solar, please contact my friend Mark Featherstone, a SolarCity representative for the MetroWest area.

Mark Featherstone
774-217-8830
mfeatherstone@solarcity.com

 


 

Looking to buy or sell a home in the MetroWest area? Real estate agent Robert Brown of RE/MAX Executive Realty services areas such as Hopkinton, Hopedale, Milford, Upton, Mendon, and many more. To learn more about MetroWest real estate agent Robert Brown, please visit the Meet Your Agent page on SellMyMetroWestHome.com

Homes for Sale in Hopkinton, MA | Real Estate Agent in Hopkinton, MA
Homes for Sale in Hopedale, MA | Real Estate Agent in Hopedale, MA
Homes for Sale in Milford, MA | Real Estate Agent in Milford, MA
Homes for Sale in Upton, MA | Real Estate Agent in Upton, MA
Homes for Sale in Mendon, MA | Real Estate Agent in Mendon, MA

7 Laundry Room Organizing and Decorating Tips

The most important thing you need to keep in mind while designing/decorating your laundry room is functionality. When designing your laundry room, keep it simple so it will be easy and convenient to organize your clothing. Laundry room design trends include contemporary washer and dryer sets, laundry room decoration with mosaic tiles, large storage cabinets and open shelves for maximum storage.  Read more

Bathroom Update Tips

Investing in bathroom upgrades gives you excellent return on your money when you sell. If you’re thinking of a bathroom renovation, here are some tips to consider.hr3457650-26

  • Upgrade the lighting. If you have the space and budget, move the above-the-mirror lighting to eye-level, flanking the mirror This gives you more flattering and useful lighting for putting on makeup or shaving.
  • Replace the toilet. Go with a toilet with a dual flush feature. Also keep in mind: more exotic features mean it will be harder or more expensive to find replacement parts when you need them. Are there tiny crevices on the bottom of the toilet? Those add cleaning time.
  • Skip the spa tub. Most spa tub owners do not use them nearly enough to justify the investment. They are also notoriously time-consuming to clean.
  • Resurface the tub. Have chips in your porcelain tub, or want to change out that pink tub in your master bath? Save money by having it resurfaced. Resurfacing a porcelain tub costs as little as 10% of the price of replacing it.
  • Upgrade the vanity. Replace the vanity with an upgraded model altogether. Or, to save some money, consider updating the hardware, adding a new countertop and upgrading the fixtures on your existing vanity.
  • Low-flow shower fixtures. One great water-saving feature to look for is a temperature gauge. The gauge automatically slow the water flow to a trickle one the water reaches a set temperature, so you don’t waste water. Normal flow is engaged with a switch.
  • Glass. Transparent glass doors are all the rage right now. Replacing a shower curtain or railed shower doors with a glass panel is pricey, but offers attractive, clean lines (and no need to clean grimy rails)!

Looking to sell your home? Call me for a free consultation. We can discuss quick updates you can make to stage your home for a quick sale!

 

 


 

 

Looking to buy or sell a home in the MetroWest area? Real estate agent Robert Brown of RE/MAX Executive Realty services areas such as Hopkinton, Hopedale, Milford, Upton, Mendon, and many more. To learn more about MetroWest real estate agent Robert Brown, please visit the Meet Your Agent page on SellMyMetroWestHome.com

Homes for Sale in Hopkinton, MA | Real Estate Agent in Hopkinton, MA
Homes for Sale in Hopedale, MA | Real Estate Agent in Hopedale, MA
Homes for Sale in Milford, MA | Real Estate Agent in Milford, MA
Homes for Sale in Upton, MA | Real Estate Agent in Upton, MA
Homes for Sale in Mendon, MA | Real Estate Agent in Mendon, MA