Is It a Good Time to Shop Around For Homeowner’s Insurance?

If you have not shopped around for your homeowner’s insurance for a while, now may be the time to do so. Many insurers tend to raise their rates at renewal time, usually because of inflation or changes in the value of your home. By re-shopping your policy now, you’ll get a better deal on your premiums in the future. Also, if you’ve made any major purchases or added anything to your house, you’ll want to check to see if you’re still covered. You’ll also want to check your floater coverage to see if it is still necessary.

Before you begin your search for homeowners insurance, take a look at your credit score. A good credit score will lower your premiums. Make sure you pay your bills on time and don’t take on too much debt. You’ll also want to take a look at your policy’s coverage and decide if you need any changes. Once you’ve decided what coverage you need, compare rates from different companies.

You’ll want to compare coverage and prices yourself or work with a broker or competing agent. Homeowner’s insurance quotes should include replacement costs for your personal belongings and dwelling. If your policy only provides replacement costs for a depreciated value, you’ll be out of luck if you need to replace them, and you’ll want to make sure your coverage covers these factors, too.

Homeowner’s insurance quotes are an essential part of home ownership, so make sure you shop around early. Compare quotes from at least three different insurance companies before making a final decision. Compare coverage, deductibles, and customer service from multiple companies. After all, you’ll be staying with your policy for the next year, so you want to make sure it meets your requirements. Also, check with your lender for any clarifications.

You’ll also want to check if the company you choose offers any discounts for multiple policies. If you’re living with someone, be sure to ask the insurance company. Many companies offer discounts if you combine multiple policies with them. You can also bundle multiple policies together for a larger discount. Be sure to compare the total cost of these policies to find the best one for you.

While shopping around for your insurance policy can be time-consuming, it’s a good idea for many consumers. Research shows that more than seventy percent of consumers have saved money by shopping around for their insurance. Shopping around can be done in less than an hour. The best time to do it is between 30 minutes and two hours. Regardless of your budget, it’s worth the time to compare different policies and insurance companies. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes.

Getting a homeowner’s insurance quote is easy online and over the phone. Many insurance companies have websites that can help you compare prices. You can even get a free quote over the phone. However, if you have any questions, you should talk to an insurance agent. They’ll know what type of coverage you need and the price you can afford. In addition, independent agents have access to a large number of insurance companies, making it easier to find a great deal. Call your local Orlando Realtor and ask them for help.

What Makes It a Good Homeowner’s Insurance Policy?

There are many things to consider when buying home insurance. First, make sure that you understand your policy fully. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions, especially the one that covers the cost of replacing your belongings. You should also make sure to review your policy on a yearly basis. The main reason for this is that many home insurance companies tend to increase their rates annually because of inflation and increases in the value of homes. Even a small increase can add up over time, so it is always worth considering other options.

Another thing to consider is your location. The type of perils your home is exposed to will affect your premium. If you live in an area that is prone to hurricanes, for example, you will pay a higher premium than if you live in a rural area. The type of house you own will also affect the premium, as will its age and style. If it is an older or deteriorated house, you are more likely to have an expensive claim.

A good homeowner’s insurance policy will cover damage to your personal possessions, even if they are not in your home. It also covers the damage caused by a listed disaster. In addition, it covers any expenses related to identity theft. In addition to a property policy, homeowners can opt for extra coverage like sewer and drain backup coverage. It is also important to consider whether the insurance provider offers identity recovery coverage for people who have been a victim of identity theft.

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Helpful Tips to Save For a Down Payment

Several helpful tips for saving for a down payment on a home are outlined in this article. You can automate your monthly transfers or pay off high-interest debt before focusing on saving for a down payment. Other helpful tips include negotiating with the seller to help with the down payment. Hopefully, these tips will help you build up your down payment quickly. 

Another option for savings is to open an account with a bank that offers a higher interest rate. A certificate of deposit (CD) can be a good option for your down payment fund because of its higher interest rate. However, before you open a CD, make sure that you can access the money for a down payment. A CD typically is inaccessible for a specified term, which may be a year or more. If you plan to take out the money before then, you should consider paying a penalty.

If you have a difficult time saving for a down payment, you may want to hire a credit counselor to help you reach your goal. With a little discipline and some research, you can start a savings plan for your down payment. Just keep in mind that the housing market can change in the meantime.

Automate monthly transfers

Setting up automatic monthly transfers to save for a down payment can be as simple as linking your checking and savings accounts. You can do this through your online banking or financial budgeting app. You can also choose a specific date and amount to transfer each month. The more time you set aside, the sooner you’ll be able to make a down payment on your home. Once you’ve set up your automatic transfer, you won’t have to remember to make the transfer.

One way to save for a down payment is to automate your savings plan. Automated transfers into your savings account can help you build your fund faster. It can also be helpful to use a savings account that limits the number of withdrawals you make each month. You may also want to look at your expenses and cut back on items you no longer need. In the long run, it will be worth it. You can also use automatic savings plan to transfer money into your down payment savings account.

You may want to avoid large interest payments altogether by setting up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account. The process of buying a home can be confusing and you should seek out advice from a home advisor before making the final decision. Banks offer free home advisors that can help you navigate the process. By automating your savings, you’ll be putting the money to work for you without the stress of deciding what to buy.

Selling your car and other belongings is another way to save your down payment. It’s a great way to free up space in your home and save money on gas. If you don’t need the car for daily commutes, you might consider selling it. Alternatively, if you have alternative transportation, you can use public transportation and save money each month. Then, you can begin to think about your future in your new home.

Pay off high-interest debt before saving for a down payment

A common mistake many people make is to let their debt pile up before saving for a down payment on a home. This is a mistake because high-interest debt will slow down your ability to save for a down payment. The money you’ll spend on interest won’t help you save for a down payment – it just wastes it. In order to free up cash for a down payment, you should first pay off high-interest debt.

The best way to manage your debt is to spread it over many years. This way, you won’t have to worry about the interest rates rising or the prepayment penalties reducing your savings. Once you have paid off your high-interest debt, you can start contributing to a new savings account. You should also build an emergency fund covering three to six months of expenses. The emergency fund is one of the most important elements of saving for a down payment on a home.

It’s a good idea to start paying more than the minimum payment on your debt to begin building a nest egg. Even if you only manage to pay off a small amount each month, this can add up quickly. Saving an extra $20 a month can help you pay off high-interest debt faster. By building your savings fund, you’ll be able to focus more on your savings account and reduce your debt.

Negotiate with the seller to save for a down payment

You have found the perfect home in a great school district and neighborhood. You’ve negotiated with the seller, and your offer has been accepted. Now what? The seller might have given you credit for your down payment or offered to cover closing costs. You may have to take their word for it, so make sure you check with your lender before accepting the credit. But even if the seller accepts your offer, you can still negotiate with him or her to save for a down payment on your new home.

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What is happening with the Interest Rates in Florida?

If you are a Florida homeowner, you’re probably wondering what is happening with interest rates. This hike was the Federal Reserve’s latest attempt to combat skyrocketing inflation. But many are wondering how this move will impact the housing market. The truth is that moderately priced homes will probably not be affected as much as higher-priced homes. In the meantime, the rates will increase enough to make buying a home difficult, and even more difficult if the mortgage is more expensive than the current rate.

The average interest rate on a fixed 30-year mortgage in the U.S. reached 5.53% this week, more than double its level from a year ago. Demand for properties tends to soften as mortgage rates climb, eventually leading to a decline in home prices. If mortgage rates continue rising to 7%, home prices in some parts of the U.S. could fall as much as 40%. Sellers in Florida are already starting to lower their prices because of climbing mortgage rates, although it will take a few months. This summer might be the most opportune time for homebuyers.

The good news is that mortgage interest rates in Florida are still lower than the national average. Despite this lower interest rate, home prices, monthly ownership costs, and cost of living metrics in Florida are all comparable to those in other states. That doesn’t mean that buying a home in Florida is any cheaper than elsewhere, but it’s certainly cheaper than many other places. For sun lovers, buying a home in Florida is an excellent option.

Higher mortgage rates add thousands of extra dollars in payments to the homebuyer over the life of the loan. A $429,000 house the median price of a home, according to the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, will cost roughly an additional $5,750 per year at today’s rates.

If you’re wondering what’s going on with the interest rates in Florida, you may be wondering how you can get the best deal. As long as you’re paying the right price for the home, interest rates will likely remain relatively steady in the short term. You can also take advantage by refinancing your current loan. But if you’re looking to buy a house in Florida, you’ll probably need to get the right type of mortgage for your needs.

If you’re looking for the best mortgage rate in Florida, be sure to shop around. While you can lock in your interest rate for 30 years, consider a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. It will provide you with fixed monthly payments for a much longer period of time.

While the interest rates in Florida are lower than the national average, home prices, monthly ownership costs, and other cost-of-living metrics are all at par with the national average. While buying a home in Florida may not be as cheap as buying a home in other states, it is a great option for sun worshippers. If you’re looking for a home in Florida, it’s definitely time to shop around.

In addition to the still lower interest rates, you can also take advantage of housing assistance programs in the Sunshine State. The Florida Housing Department offers various government-backed loan programs and a 0% interest rate loan for closing costs. This loan doesn’t have to be paid back until you sell the house. Aside from the down payment and closing cost assistance, you’ll also be gaining a stake in the state’s booming housing market.

Interest rates in Florida follow national trends. In May, 30-year fixed-rate loans averaged 4.25%. This rate fell to 4.25% in July, August, and September, indicating that the current market is experiencing a downward trend. However, many lenders still offer attractive rates, so it is worth researching your options. Here are the most recent mortgage rates in Florida and where you can find them. You may also be surprised to learn that these rates are still significantly lower than the national averages.

Fortunately, a recent Florida legislative change is helping judgment debtors. A recent change to state law has made interest rates in Florida more predictable. The statutory interest rate is no longer based on the interest rates in effect on the day the judgment was entered. The state legislature attempted to limit interest rates in Florida by setting a ceiling for judgment interest rates and providing a uniform number for some limited situations. These new laws may help judgment debtors in Florida, but only time will tell.

While credit is an important financial tool, it also requires discipline, responsibility, and the right approach to avoid damaging your credit and incurring fines. To get started with credit lines in Florida, contact your local bank.

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Pros & Cons of Paying Off your Mortgage Early

“Is it a good idea to pay off my mortgage early?” … Many homeowners ask themselves every day. The thought of eliminating your monthly mortgage payment can be appealing to most anyone.

No one in their right mind enjoys writing that fat check to the mortgage lender month after month if they don’t have to. However, like with all major financial decisions, it’s important to consider every angle before you decide to pay off your mortgage early.

Although paying your house off early will save you a ton of money on interest, you should also be aware of the risks involved and make sure the benefits outweigh the risks.

Once you are fully aware of the pros & cons, you can then make an educated decision on whether or not it’s a good idea for you to pay your mortgage off early.

The idea of paying off your mortgage early is a no-brainer at first glance. But when you’re talking about retirement planning financial management overall should be carefully planned.

Consider what your goals are personally and financially before making decisions that are in your best interest. If you have a low-interest rate on your mortgage loan, it could make more sense to hold on to your money or invest it elsewhere if you can make more interest on it like investing in real estate.

Since this is a major financial decision, it’s a good idea to consult with a financial advisor before deciding anything. Financial advisors are trained to identify potential risks and rewards depending on your situation.

More and more we’re seeing lenders offer homeowners more flexible loan terms because they know that it benefits them tremendously. This is why homeowners now more than ever are customizing their home loans.

This information will help you to understand the most common benefits as well as the disadvantages of paying off your mortgage early.

Paying off your mortgage early: the PROS

These are the most common reasons why a homeowner would want to pay their mortgage off early.

Eliminate a huge financial burden from your life

Do you ever think of how great it would be to be mortgage-free? Of course, you do… every homeowner does. The truth is that most homeowners have a mortgage on their homes.

Paying your mortgage off in full is extremely liberating and will probably help you sleep better at night. Even for people who don’t have financial worries, it’s still a great feeling to say you own your home free and clear.

Making additional payments towards your principal doesn’t always make financial sense. This is something you need to determine if it makes sense for you.

Many homeowners think about paying their mortgage in full as they head into their retirement years. The last thing a retiree wants is to make monthly payments when they no longer have a steady income.

Ridding yourself of that mortgage payment can make sense if you wish to eliminate that financial burden.

You don’t have to factor in the cost of your Mortgage when considering other Investments.

Investing your hard-earned money is like a balancing act that demands careful planning. A mortgage is usually the biggest loan you’ve ever taken out and when you add up the interest you’ve paid out over the years and even decades, you’ll probably be surprised…. not in a good way.

Whether you have a mortgage or not, you should invest in a 401k or IRA investment account. Look at it this way… If you’re making more money on interest on a particular investment, it should exceed the interest that you’re paying on your mortgage to make sense… Make sense?

If not, then you’re probably better off paying off your mortgage early. However, if your home was paid in full then you would no longer need to weigh your investments against your mortgage- because you are no longer paying interest on the mortgage.

If loans are cheap like they are right now with extremely low-interest rates, then it probably makes more sense to just keep your current mortgage. However, if you’re stuck in a high-interest rate mortgage, then paying off your loan early probably makes more sense.

If you have a high-interest rate on your mortgage right now and still wish to keep your loan, then you should consider refinancing.

You can make less risky investments with your money

Once your mortgage has been paid off, you will be able to use the money you were paying on your mortgage to invest in safer investments.

I’m not saying your home is a high-risk investment because it usually isn’t. But, let’s not forget what happened when the market crashed back in 2007- 2008 when home values dropped and many homes were worth less than half of their original value. Chances are this won’t happen again for a long time… hopefully never, but there’s always that chance.

You can make higher-risk investments

Bank-insured certificates of deposits and treasury securities are low-risk, low-yield investments. You can choose to diversify your investment portfolio by investing in stocks that are at higher risk but also have higher rewards.

If this is something that you’re interested in, speak to a financial advisor about long-term investment strategies once you’ve paid off your mortgage. The stock market can be a great place to invest your money wisely.

You can free up some extra cash-flow

Once you don’t have a mortgage payment to make each month, it will free up some extra cash for you and your family each month. By having more cash left over every month, your stress level will decrease substantially and you can handle any unexpected costs that come your way.

No more paying PMI

The majority of major lenders will require you to have private mortgage insurance [PMI] until you have at least 20% equity in your property. By paying PMI you’re not only throwing away a substantial of money every year, but it offers no benefits to the homeowner.

The sole purpose of private mortgage insurance is to protect the lender from default and nothing else.

Convert your equity into cash

The larger the amount you pay towards your mortgage, the more equity you will have in your home. This put you in a position to leverage that equity if you want or need to for some reason. You can also get a HELOC [home equity line of credit]. It’s not like taking out another mortgage or else what would be the point of paying it off in the first place. A home equity line of credit is just that… a line of credit, when you need it, you use it, then pay it back.

Paying off your mortgage early: the CONS

Here are some reasons why you may not want to pay your mortgage early

When we talk about liquidity, it refers to how easy it is to access the money you have. The more cash you have into our home, the less liquidity you have.

Just think if an emergency popped up when you least expect it and you needed cash… fast! You’d have to either access some cash from another account if you had one, or you could get a home equity line of credit or “equity loan” on your home.

I believe it’s a great idea for any homeowner with a free and clear house to get a home equity line of credit. It doesn’t cost anything to have a home equity line of credit until you use some of the money, then you have to make interest payments. Once you’ve paid it back, you’re back to no payments… and it’s there whenever you need it. I’ve bought and continue to buy homes in Orlando using my HELOC because I can access the cash quickly and I can close on an investment home within a few days. It’s much cheaper than using a hard money lender and so much more convenient.

It comes down to you and what your needs are… you need to decide if it’s more important to have access to extra cash quickly when you need it or… would you rather be mortgage-free.

Generally, people who pay their mortgage off early don’t have any worries about having extra cash because they already have plenty.

Losing tax deductions on interest- If you’re currently paying on a mortgage you can deduct the interest payments on your home loan when you file your taxes.

This means you get more money back every year solely because of the money you pay towards interest on your loan. The moment your home is paid off, you will lose those deductions. Recently the amount of interest you can deduct is less than what it used to be.

Now when you own a homestead property, you can only claim a deduction for the interest on a mortgage loan for up to $750,000 if you’re married and $375,000 if you’re married filing with separate status. These new guidelines are in place until 2025. It used to be the debt limits were $1,000,000 and $500,000 under the old tax laws.

Also under the old tax code, you were able to deduct up to $100,000 to $50,000 of your HELOC loan. No mas…

Depending on when this article was published, you should see what the latest tax laws are and factor them into your decision.

Carrying a mortgage these days has become less and less appealing when it comes to the new tax laws. There are a lot fewer tax breaks for homeowners.

You might ding your credit score- Your “credit mix” is one of the factors taken into consideration when credit companies determine your credit score. It comes down to the different loans you have at the time and having several loans and credit lines in good standing will help your credit score.

When you no longer have a mortgage payment, your credit score may take a small hit.

Your particular credit mix contributes 10% of your overall credit score. When other creditors see you paying on a mortgage every month, it’s a good thing. This is how they determine your viability as a borrower, it’s great when they see you making all your payments on time month after month.

You can’t make other investments Paying off a mortgage in full will probably use up the majority if not all of our liquid cash. That means you’ve made a huge investment in your home when you may have been able to get a higher return on some other investment… like buying an investment home for example.

FAQ’S ON PAYING A MORTGAGE OFF EARLY

What’s the average age someone should pay their mortgage off? Financial experts recommend you have your mortgage paid off in your 50’s.

What’s the most substantial downside to paying your mortgage loan off early? The biggest downside of paying your mortgage off early is the reduction in liquidity. It’s a good idea to apply for a home equity line of credit so you can have access to quick cash when you need it.

What if I only pay an extra $100 per month? Will it make a difference? It will make a difference! By paying that extra hundred bucks a month towards the principal you’ll cut off at least a couple of years on the life of your loan.

Will extra payments automatically go towards my principal? Not necessarily… make sure to let your lender know the extra funds should be applied to the principal balance of your loan. You should also put it in the memo section of the check or online payment.

If I pay off my mortgage early, what happens next? After you’ve paid off your mortgage, your lender should send you the original promissory note with those beautiful words stamped on it… PAID IN FULL.

By paying off my mortgage, will it affect the amount of income tax I pay? Unfortunately, yes. Once you’ve paid off your mortgage, you won’t qualify for a tax deduction. This was one of the arguments listed in the con section above.

What is the best way to pay off my mortgage early? You have a couple of options on how to pay your mortgage off early. You can either pay it off in one lump sum for the entire amount or you can make extra payments every month towards the principal balance of your loan. Make sure your lender knows what that extra money is for.

What’s better… a 15-year mortgage? OR, make extra payments on a 30-year mortgage? This depends on how much you can afford to pay each month. For example, a fifteen-year mortgage loan will come with a lower interest rate and if you can afford that, then do it. However, if you know you have some big bills headed your way like putting your kids through college, then you may want to stick with the lower payment instead.

Final thoughts on paying off a mortgage early

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding to pay off your mortgage early. It comes down to your financial situation and what you see happening in your future.

Don’t rush into anything before deciding as important as this one. Consulting with a financial advisor is highly recommended in addition to doing some research on your own.

I hope this article helped you to have a better understanding of the pros and cons of paying off your mortgage early.

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Closing Costs…Who Pays What?


The typical seller believes that once they pay off their loan and pay their Orlando Realtor whatever commission was agreed upon then they get the rest of what’s leftover. Very few homeowners give much thought to closing costs. When we say closing costs, we are referring to all the taxes, fees, and costs that are necessary to close a real estate transaction.

In the state of Florida, closing costs are usually split 50/50 between buyer and seller. However, like my 1st real estate teacher told me “everything in real estate is negotiable”, so nothing is set in stone when it comes to a real estate transaction. Hopefully, you’ve hired an experienced Orlando Realtor who is also a tough negotiator.

Your agent should be able to tell in advance what you should expect to pay on the day of the closing. Once you have all the pertinent information, you will easily be able to calculate what your net proceeds will be.

Like I said before, it’s typical in the state of Florida for both buyer and seller to pay equal shares of the closing costs. Sometimes the market can dictate who pays for what depending on if it’s a buyers or seller’s market. For example… If it’s a seller’s market, the seller may require the buyer to pay a larger portion than usual.  By the same token, if it’s a buyer’s market, the buyer may require the seller to pay the lion’s share of the closing costs… or even all the closing costs.

From our experience as realtors in Orlando, it’s very common for buyers to include all of their closing costs in their offer so that they don’t have to come out of pocket at the closing.

These are some typical closing costs on an FL real estate transaction:

  • Escrow Fees: In Florida, it’s not required for a lawyer to handle the closing of a RE transaction. Title companies [sometimes owned by attorneys] are usually the ones who handle closings as well as any escrows. These fees are typically shared equally by both parties.
  • Title Insurance: There are 2 types of title insurance that must be purchased, the owners’ policy and the lenders’ policy. The seller is typically responsible to pay the owners’ policy and the buyer is responsible for the lenders’ policy. Both these policies are in place to protect the lender as well the lender as well as the new owner by making sure there are no liens or other encumbrances attached to the property aka “clearing title”.
  • Transfer Taxes & Documentary Stamps: These are fees that are paid to the city, state and county in which the property is located in. This is where Uncle Sam gets his cut of the deal and is also referred to as a reconveyance tax.
  • Recording Fees: This is a fee paid to the county for recording the deed to the property making it official.
  • Mortgage Tax: This is a tax collected by the state of Florida.
  • Settlement Fees: Also usually shared by buyer and seller. This is the cost that the title company charges to handle any of the financial transfers which occur during the transaction.
  • Brokers Commission: This is the fee that the seller agreed to pay his Orlando listing agent for selling the home.
  • Pest Inspections: Lenders usually require for a pest inspection to be performed on the property to make sure that it’s in good condition and hasn’t been damaged by any living organisms. If the report reveals that there is evidence of termites, carpenter ants, fungus or dry rot, the seller will usually have to correct the problem before closing the transaction. The seller will usually pay for this directly to the company making the repairs which means it won’t appear on the settlement statement.

Buyers will typically be responsible for additional fees which are mostly tied to their mortgage loan. Sellers are also responsible for some additional costs like the mortgage interest on their loan, unpaid property taxes, unpaid association dues, hazard insurance, etc.  The seller is responsible to pay these fees up until the closing of the transaction… and the buyer from then on. If the seller has already paid for some of these items past the closing date, they will be reimbursed at the closing. Other miscellaneous items like home warranties that the seller may have agreed to pay for will also be deducted from the seller’s proceeds.

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