Tips On Refinancing Your Home Mortgage

If you have a mortgage with an interest rate of 5% or more, you may want to consider refinancing it. There has been a slight rise in interest rates as of late, but they continue to be historically low. On average, a 30-year fixed rate mortgage currently stands at 3.87%, or 3.11% for a 15 year mortgage. This means that if you pay more than that, you should consider a change.

Of course, there are other considerations to make as well. Refinancing your mortgage is only a good idea if it will will actually save money. This is particularly true if you have a limited amount of time remaining on your mortgage, and a new one would be paid over a longer period of time.

There are now numerous opportunities for people to complete a refinancing of their mortgage. Some of those are now actively warning homeowners against the lure of “rates as low as” advertisements. Additionally, they are concerned about how easy it has become to get approved for a mortgage.

“Traditionally, it would take one week to several months to be approved for a housing loan, all of that, of course, after you’ve spent weeks shopping for that loan in the first place. But with Rocket Mortgage, shopping for a loan and applying for it is a process that requires little in the way of time and effort.”

According to financial experts, what matters most is to understand the process of refinancing. This will empower people to make the right decisions in terms of their own finances. Additionally, it will help them avoid being drawn in by clever advertisements.

11 Tips on Home Mortgage Refinancing

1. Get your credit in order. It is very important to have a good FICO score.

“Just because you want to buy a home doesn’t mean that a lender is eager to loan you money. Lenders look at your past history in handling your finances, which is where the FICO score comes in. The FICO score boils your credit history down to a three-digit number that instantly tells a lender whether you are creditworthy. This score dictates what terms – if any – you will be offered in a mortgage.”

2. Know the value of your home. This means that you have to have an official appraisal completed as well.

3. Have all your documents in order. You will need proof of employment, assets, and income. The more documents you have available, the better.

4. Make sure you receive at least three quotes. Your bank should be one of those, but do also consider an independent broker. Remember that, unless these quotes are based on your actual credit score, the amounts mentioned on them may not be fully accurate.

5. Consider paying mortgage points. Mortgage points have the capability to bring your rate down.

“Mortgage points, also known as discount points, are fees paid directly to the lender at closing in exchange for a reduced interest rate. This is also called “buying down the rate,” which can lower your monthly mortgage payments.”

6. Make sure you compare the points, fees, and interest rates. This will allow you to get an accurate idea of what each option costs. There are also other fees to think about, like title costs, local taxes, and state taxes.

7. There is no such thing as a “no-cost” refinance deal. If you don’t have to pay any fees, it is because they have been built into the principal balance or the interest rate.

8. Work out whether lengthening or shortening your mortgage is a good idea. A new mortgage means that the payment term starts from scratch again, which means you may be tied down for another 30 years. There are also shorter mortgages, but that means paying more each month. Work out what will work out best for you.

9. Don’t take cash out unless you really know what you are doing. Sometimes, you can use cash out to increase the value of your home, for instance if you install a new kitchen. But if you take it out for your child’s college fund, for instance, you won’t get anything back for that.

10. Be aware of your closing costs. Those include the costs charged by the bank, your taxes, your title costs, legal fees, escrow, and more.

11. Don’t sign anything until you have properly reviewed all documents and the small print.

Understanding The Mortgage Approval Process

The mortgage approval process is quite complicated and hard to understand. Getting approved for a mortgage is down to a lot of different things. It is important that you understand the process, however, as this will increase your chances of getting approved.

The Process of Getting Approved for a Mortgage

When you put in an application for a mortgage, the lender you are working with will send the application itself and all the supporting documentation to an underwriter.

“An underwriter is an entity, typically a company, that is accountable for analyzing and assuming the risk of another entity. Underwriting typically happens behind the scenes, but is an important aspect of mortgage approvals. The mortgage underwriting process has 5 key steps: verification, appraisal, title search and insurance, flood certification, and surveying.”

The underwriter is responsible for looking at the scenario you are proposing and will determine whether it meets their guidelines. They will ultimately decide whether or not you meet the necessary qualifications for a loan. There are a number of specific criteria that they will look at, the most important one being whether you will be able to pay the loan back.

The Debt-to-Income Ratio

To determine your ability to repay a loan, the lender will calculate your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio

“To calculate your debt-to-income ratio, add up your total recurring monthly debt (such as mortgage, student loans, auto loans, child support and credit card payments) and divide by your gross monthly income (the amount you earn each month before taxes and other deductions are taken out).”

Most of the time, the DTI should be no more than 36%.

Credit Score and Other Factors

The second thing they look at is how likely it is that you will repay your loan. This is determined by looking at your current credit score and your payment history. This will determine how risky you are as a borrower.

Next, they look at the value of the home that you want to buy. They will use information provided by a professional lender to determine how much the house is actually worth. All lenders have a maximum loan-to-value (LTV), which is usually between 80% and 95%. The higher the value of your home and the lower the amount you borrow, the lower the LTV percentage is.

Finally, the underwriter will look at whether you can make a down payment. If this is lower than 20% of the value of your home, it is likely that you will also have to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI), which will increase the cost of your monthly payments on the mortgage itself.

“PMI is arranged by the lender and provided by private insurance companies. PMI is usually required when you have a conventional loan and make a down payment of less than 20 percent of the home’s purchase price. If you’re refinancing with a conventional loan and your equity is less than 20 percent of the value of your home, PMI is also usually required.”

Once the underwriter has collected all this information, they will review all the documents that you have provided. They will also look at your ability to pay for the closing costs of the mortgage itself. You may also have to demonstrate that you have at least two monthly mortgage payments, sometimes more, in reserve. This will prove that you can pay for your mortgage for a certain period of time in case of unforeseen events or other emergencies.

Clearly, getting approved for a mortgage is down to a lot of different things. Besides your debt, income, down payment, credit history, home value, and personal savings, you also have to meet the different guidelines put in place by the lender.

Important And Easy To Implement Stress Relief Techniques

A lot of people feel that relaxing means hanging in front of the TV and just doing nothing. Unfortunately, while it may feel relaxing, it doesn’t actually relieve stress. In order to really fight the dangerous effects of stress, we have to learn how to relax the brain properly. This can be done through a variety of techniques, with meditation, deep breathing, yoga and rhythmic exercise being some examples. Ensuring you take part in these types of stress relief techniques will help you have a healthier mind, body and soul, leading to more energy and an improved mood as well.

1. Yoga Asanas

Everybody knows that yoga is very good for relaxation. However, many people also think it is a difficult art to master and therefore don’t consider it as part of their daily relaxation routine. In reality, however, there are plenty of yoga asanas that anybody can do and that are easy to incorporate, even in your pajamas.

“A simple spinal twist can help you get a better night’s sleep. It alleviates tension that’s built up in your lower back throughout the day. Sitting on your bed with legs crossed, place your right hand down on the bed behind you and rest your left hand on your right knee. Sit up straight and inhale for four to eight counts, lengthening your spine as you breathe. On your exhale, begin to twist toward your right hand (don’t strain your neck). Hold this position for four more full breaths, lengthening your spine on the inhales and deepening your twist on the exhales, if it feels comfortable. Repeat yoga asanas on opposite side.”

2. Meditation

Meditation is no longer something that only hippies do in retreats in Goa. Today, it has been scientifically proven to be good for the mind and body. Buddha once said that everyone should practice meditation for at least 20 minutes per day, unless you don’t have time for it. In that case, you should practice meditation for an hour a day. Those words ring true now that we know the Buddha was actually right about the benefits of meditation.

“Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress.”

Meditation also isn’t as difficult as some people believe it to be. It is about trying to regulate your breathing and thinking of nothing, allowing thoughts to simply fly by. If this is something you struggle with, there are many guided meditations that will help you through the process, most of which are available for free on channels like YouTube.

3. Eat Right

There are many techniques that you can employ in order to reduce stress. A few minutes of deep breathing, spending some time thinking about a perfect place in the world, properly planning your day so you don’t become stressed and more are all perfect examples of things that you can do. However, you must also understand the importance of your diet when it comes to stress relief techniques.

“Some foods may help stabilize blood sugar or, better yet, your emotional response.”

A number of foods are particularly effective in combating stress. Green leafy vegetables, turkey breasts, oatmeal, yogurt, salmon, blueberries, pistachios, dark chocolate, milk, seeds, avocados, and cashews have all been scientifically proven to have elements in them that help us reduce our levels of stress. Stress causes the brain to release a steroid hormone that can have harmful effects on the body. It can lead to heart attacks, strokes, burnout and more. Ensuring your body has the elements needed to fight the negative effects of cortisol is vital to your overall health and well-being.

The Dangers Of Crash Dieting

Most of us know about crash diets. These are diets designed to make us lose lots of weight in record time. While this may sound attractive if you are trying to get your body ready for that dress really quickly, this kind of diet is actually really dangerous. The reality is that, while such diets certainly have results in terms of weight loss, this benefit does not outweigh the many risks and dangers to your overall health. Let’s take a look at some of the dangers associated with crash dieting.

Nutritional Deficiency

While we all live by the mantra of ‘calories in, energy out’, meaning that the fewer calories we eat, the more we will lose weight, it is important to remember that our bodies do actually need food. Food is full of vitamins, minerals and various other elements essential to our survival. When you crash diet, your body is no longer able to get all these nutritional elements and this is can lead to nutritional deficiency.

“If long term deficiencies persist, a number of things can occur, including leaching minerals from your bones, leading to osteoporosis and fractures or the leaching of iron from the blood, leading to anemia. In addition, low calorie diets can lead to a deficiency in particular nutrients such as sodium and potassium. These electrolytes are used in nerve and muscle function, and play an important role in regulating heart beats.”

As such, crash dieting significantly increases your chances of suffering a heart attack. Being overweight also increases the risk of a heart attack. If you can imagine an already weakened heart that is then deprived of sodium and potassium is placed under so much stress, it is easy to see that the risk of having a heart attack is magnified several times. Therefore, this type of dieting should be avoided at all costs.

Eating Disorders

Let’s say that you managed to stick to your crash diet, and that you supplement your restrictive calorie intake with all the necessary supplements so that you don’t experience any nutritional deficiency. Unfortunately, you are not home free because there is the risk of developing significant psychological issues, including anorexia and bulimia.

“Another troubling factor of crash dieting is that it can cause serious eating problems and a variety of disorders like anorexia and bulimia.”

For some people, the results are simply never enough. They notice how they can lose a significant amount of weight in a relatively easy way, and decide to keep that up for a little while longer. This little while longer may never stop, however. In fact, the calorie restriction tends to become increasingly severe, until some people literally survive on a carrot stick per day. Eating disorders are dangerous disorders with the potential to be deadly.

A Sluggish Metabolism

A hidden danger of these diets is that they slow down your metabolism. This means that, in the long run, they are actually counter productive. After all, a slow metabolism means that you don’t lose weight anymore, unless you further restrict your calorie intake. This is a risk of crash dieting that few people are aware of.

“You are doing the exact opposite of what you set out to do. You may not be gaining weight, but you aren’t burning fat and calories either. When you eat normally again, you will most probably gain some weight since your metabolism is already slow.”

The biggest problem with a slower metabolism is that it leads to the yoyo effect. This is where you lose weight, but then put it straight back on after you stop following that diet. In most cases, the weight you put back on is more than the weight you have lost in the first place, meaning you’re actually heavier overall. And this vicious cycle repeats itself as you grow heavier and heavier.

Is Technology Creating New Conflicts All Over The World?

Marshall McLuhan, a philosopher, once suggested that the medium is the message. This means that the technology used to send a message is more important than the message itself, at least from a cultural perspective.

The Dangers of Television According to McLuhan

For instance, McLuhan was very much against the medium of television.

“Marshall McLuhan explaining how the “one-liner” is symptomatic of the shortened attention-span of children. It’s all to do with television, which McLuhan claims, has a negative effect on the nervous system.”

According to McLuhan, the fact that television delivers pixelated images would lead to people unconsciously joining themselves onto the television itself, developing an addiction and becoming homogenized by it. In simpler terms, the many movies such as Tron, where people “enter” the televised world, is precisely what McLuhan was afraid of. But more specifically, he felt that humans would start to naturally resist this, and to do so by becoming more tribal. This, in turn, would lead to greater geopolitical conflicts as people suddenly want to assert their nationalistic identities again. He felt a perfect example of this was the Cold War, which some people believe was made so bad because television told people how dangerous it was.

How McLuhan’s Concept May Apply to New Technology

Interestingly, McLuhan died long before the emergence of Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook. He died before he could see just how threatening new technology can be. Just as McLuhan had feared, improvements in technology do not encourage self-expression and individuality, but rather obliterate and ruin them.

It is said that, today, the most valuable currency is insight into behaviors. This is seen by the amount of attention that companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook are pouring into gaining a greater understanding of their users. Facebook, for instance, is developing technology to literally read your mind.

“Dugan says Facebook’s goal is to develop something it calls a “brain click – a way to complete tasks in augmented reality using your mind. You could brain click to dismiss a notification that popped up on your AR glasses, for example. Researchers at Building 8, who have teamed up with medical institutions around the country, want to turn the brain into an input device, starting with letting people type with their thoughts.”

If that isn’t frightening enough, a lot of research has also been conducted on other, more personal impacts experienced as a result of the increase in availability of advanced technology. People are literally addicted to their smartphones and spend every waking moment on social media. Images of people no longer looking at each other, but looking at a screen instead, are seen everywhere. It is an addiction and one that is socially acceptable. Then, there is the fact that people measure their worth through social media. They constantly share everything that they do with the world, hoping for “likes” and “retweets” to demonstrate that they are worthy. It is now known that there is a link between social media usage and mental illness, in fact.

“Research has shown that young adults with a strong Facebook presence were more likely to exhibit narcissistic antisocial behavior; while excessive use of social media was found to be strongly linked to underachievement at school.”

There is a biological process within human beings that stops them from fully integrating into an outside force, including technology. People must, for whatever reason, retain their free will. Once this starts to be chipped away at, they respond. And it seems that McLuhan’s observations were right in suggesting that this response is usually an increase in tribal conflict. A quick look around the world – Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, the Catalonian protests – and it seems that there is indeed an increasing incidence of worldwide conflicts.