(BPT) - What would you do with a little extra money? Chances are, you thought of something pretty fast — and you probably had more than one idea. Whether you’re looking to improve your home, pay off outstanding debt or take a vacation, a little cash can go a long way and you can find the money without changing jobs or cutting expenses. The answer lies within the walls around you in your own home.
The housing bust of 2007-09 was a rough time for many homeowners, but today’s market has shown signs of continued recovery and as it does, homes continue to increase in value. Sixty percent of homeowners report equity in their homes has increased since 2013, and almost half expect their equity will increase even more this year, according to research from loanDepot. And as that equity continues to grow, more and more homeowners are realizing that capitalizing on it can be a valuable tool to support their financial stability.
“Homeowners who bought during the housing boom are regaining equity many thought was lost forever, yet too many are not aware of the equity they have gained or they are unclear about how to determine changes in their equity,” says Bryan Sullivan, chief financial officer of loanDepot. “People who bought after the housing boom when prices were low are realizing homeownership can be a great investment and asset leveraged through equity to realize many dreams. Whether they choose to leverage their home equity now or reserve it for future needs, millions of homeowners have choices today not available just a few years ago.”
To better understand how homeowners would leverage additional funds from a home equity loan, loanDepot surveyed 1,000 homeowners to get their responses. The most common uses for funds from a home equity loan included:
Remodeling projects. The majority of respondents, 39 percent, said they would reinvest the money acquired by their loan into making further improvements to their home, continuing to support its value.
Consolidating high interest debt. For homeowners with significant debt obligations, a home refinancing loan can offer the opportunity to pay down that debt and replace it with a home loan that features a more favorable interest rate.
Save for retirement. More than 17 percent of those surveyed said they would use the money to bolster their current retirement package or even start a retirement fund.
Pay down student loans. College was a wonderful part of your life, the loans — not so much. Nine percent of respondents said they would use the money to be done with those payments once and for all.
Take a trip. If that dream trip seems to always be just slightly out of your financial reach, a home equity loan can help. Nearly five percent of respondents said they would use the additional money for vacation and travel purposes.
Learn more about taking out a home equity loan
Everyone could use a little extra money and finding it is easier than you may think, you just have to capitalize on your home’s inherent value. To learn more about obtaining a second mortgage and the flexibility such equity would offer you, visit www.loanDepot.com/homequity today or watch this video.
(BPT) - Though summer is winding down, for many families, hectic moving schedules are still underway. Whether you are moving this season or planning for a move in the near future, consider some helpful guidelines on packing up, moving out and settling in without a hitch — plus, the latest technologies to turn your new house into a home.
Here are five tips to help you minimize moving stress and settle in quickly:
Make a list, measure it twice. After celebrating the signing of your new home (congratulations!), it’s time to begin the moving process. Even before you start packing, it’s important, if possible, to visit your new home with a tape measure. Carefully measure and take note of the square footage and dimensions of every room in your new home. Do the same with any existing appliances and furniture you plan on relocating to your new home to ensure that everything fits through the door and in the space. LG's moving guide (www.lg.com/us/moving) is designed to help and includes tips on measuring your current appliances to make sure they’ll fit. If you’re purchasing new large appliances or furniture, be sure to measure everything in the store or take note of each item’s dimensions online to make sure it fits. Removing or replacing a refrigerator, for example, is a time-consuming and expensive task that can be avoided with careful planning. If you aren’t able to visit before moving in, ask your broker or real estate agent for a copy of the floor plan.
Pack strategically, unpack easily. Pack and label items by category, such as dishes, winter clothes and books, or by appropriate area, such as bedroom, kitchen and living room. To limit damage, be sure to pack fragile and valuable items carefully with padded packaging, and communicate fragile items clearly with your movers. To save even more hassle, pack a couple of boxes of essential items, specifically for the first night in your new home, which would otherwise be hard to find. You’ll thank yourself when items such as cleaning supplies, fresh linens and a coffeepot are right at your fingertips. Staying organized is key to avoid losing your belongings — resulting in saving time and unnecessary re-purchasing expenses in the process.
Find savings and convenience in new technology. Moving is a common time to buy new electronics — and there are some simple ways to make these new purchases more customizable than ever. For example, rather than choosing surround sound speakers that require lots of cumbersome wiring to install, select a wireless speaker and TV surround sound system like LG’s Music Flow. It offers a range of speakers and soundbars that you can mix and match to create a customized and easy-to-use home audio system for your new living space. With Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and Google Cast built in, systems like this let you can stream your favorite online music services, including Spotify and Pandora, straight from your mobile device. There’s no need for additional hardware or wires.
Share your new address. Take initiative and update your employer, bank, school, doctors, pharmacist and credit card company with your new address as early as possible. This can affect billing statements and formal records, which are a headache to change at a later date. Be sure to call your electric, cable and internet companies to swap your address, and inquire about any potential changes in your service. Sign up for USPS mail forwarding to ensure all of your mail reaches you in a timely manner. And don’t forget to keep your friends and family in the loop! It’s a busy and exiting time, so share your news!
Upgrade your appliances. If you’re not planning to bring your current laundry appliances to your new home, look for a new ENERGY STAR washer and dryer with the latest cleaning technologies that help make clean-up a breeze and save on your electric bill, too. One such example is LG’s top-load laundry pair with the dryer featuring an EasyLoad door, the first machine to open two ways. The unique door can be accessed from the top (hamper style) to easily toss in wet clothes from the washer and sideways to quickly unload clothes into the basket. This makes it easier than ever to drop in and unload laundry.
For additional tips on moving and settling into a new space, as well as a complete, eight-week timeline, check the helpful LG moving guide (www.lg.com/us/moving). It’s impossible to anticipate every bump in the road, but having a thorough yet flexible plan will help minimize stress and ensure the moving process goes smoothly.
(BPT) - Homeownership is a dream for many Americans, and maybe it’s one of yours as well. Making this dream a reality requires hard work, dedication and the proper preparation. You must figure out where you want to live, what type of home you desire, what you can afford and also how your credit rating may impact your home-purchasing goals.
Your credit rating can play an important role in the home buying process, and your creditworthiness could also affect the amount that you can borrow, the interest rates you will qualify for and your ability to obtain a mortgage loan in the first place.
“A consumer’s credit is one of the biggest factors that goes into the mortgage-application process,” says Eric Hamilton, President of Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc. “Before applying for a loan, it is crucial to get your credit in the best shape you possibly can.”
To help you build good credit and increase your ability to obtain better loan terms, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc. offers these tips for improving your credit:
Pay your bills on time
Late or missed payments on any of your credit accounts, such as credit cards, mortgages and other loans, could cause a drop in your credit score. To prevent this, make your payments on time. Making additional payments whenever possible and paying extra toward the principal balance will also help to keep a good payment history and decrease the payoff timeline. Using an Extra Principal Payment Calculator tool can also help you calculate the savings that come with paying extra – generating additional motivation to do so.
Minimize any outstanding debt and keep existing debt manageable
Paying your statement balances in full instead of letting debt accumulate can improve your credit scores, which may result in better terms being offered from lenders. Lenders often check your credit report when you apply for a loan and measure the amount of debt you’re carrying against the loan amount they've requested. Excessive debt is one of the factors that could cause a lender to decline your application.
Avoid applying for unnecessary credit
Credit applications can appear as inquiries on credit reports, which may suggest to lenders that an applicant is taking on additional debt. Be aware of advertising or sales promotions that offer purchase discounts if you apply for a credit card. Even these cards could show up as inquiries on your credit report. These inquiries remain on credit reports for two years. Instead of applying for additional credit, use your existing lines of credit to showcase your responsible credit management by paying bills on time and paying off the debt quickly.
"There are a lot of steps you can take to improve your credit, but it's important to remember that credit scores don't change overnight," says Hamilton. "It takes time to increase your credit rating, and while it may feel like a slow-moving effort, it is well worth the wait when you get to open the door to a home of your own for you and your family."
Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc., 500 Alcoa Trail, Maryville, TN 37804, 865-380-3000, NMLS #1561, ( http://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org), AZ Lic. #BK-0902616, Loans made or arranged pursuant to a California Finance Lenders Law license, GA Residential Mortgage (Lic. #6911), Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee, KS Licensed Mortgage Co. (SL.0000720), Licensed by the NH Banking Department, Mississippi Licensed Mortgage Company, MT Lic. #1561, Licensed by PA Dept. of Banking.
(NewsUSA) - America's elderly are one of the fastest-growing segments of the population. As a group, senior citizens over age 85 are expected to double between now and 2030. While people are wondering what Social Security will look like in the coming years, senior housing is another rising concern.
Some families are in a position to shelter older relatives, but those who don't have that option are looking at nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Since assisted living is preferred five to one over nursing homes, it's not too surprising that the market for new properties is expanding.
The demand for assisted living facilties will continue to surge as the population ages. Plus, it's need-driven for elderly folks who can't live alone due to certain conditions, like Alzheimers. It's this demand that makes senior housing great for investment opportunities.
"Whenever we look at the rapidly aging population in America and the lack of meaningful new construction, we realize how strong the assisted living market will be for the next decade," says Gary Langendoen, senior managing director of Madison Realty Companies. "The opportunity to expand assisted living properties by adding more beds and to include memory care sections in properties provides significant value-added opportunities to this asset class."
Currently, small regional operators own the majority of stable assisted living establishments, or they're of the mom-and-pop variety. According to Alexei Muniak of Xnergy Financial (www.xnergyfinancial.com), an investment banking firm specializing in capital structuring for emerging-growth companies, it's simple -- Madison Realty management sees a huge opportunity in assisted living real estate.
Currently, Xnergy Financial is helping clients, like Madison Realty Companies, set up the capital structure for success. If you're interested in learning more, visitwww.madisonrealtycompanies.com or contact Gary Langendoen at email@example.com. To learn more
about Xnergy Financial, visit www.xnergyfinancial.com.
(NewsUSA) - Until recently, the commercial real estate market has made a sluggish recovery from the nation's economic recession. The good news is that property values, rental rates and occupancy rates are improving, and commercial real estate appears to be gaining critical traction.
Lower interest rates have started to help create larger demand from borrowers -- who are already feeling some effects of the improving real estate market -- which is giving the commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) market some rejuvenation. In fact, 2012 saw CMBS issuance reach a post-recession high of $48.18 billion -- a number that is expected to rise in 2013 and beyond.
"I am very optimistic about the CMBS business in 2013. I think volumes will grow substantially," says Anthony Orso, CEO of Cantor Commercial Real Estate (CCRE). "You will continue to see high-quality loans, and you will see more capital raised for the B-piece community."
Orso is speaking from professional experience. The New York-based real estate finance company, an affiliate of Cantor Fitzgerald & Co., originated nearly $5 billion in securities throughout 2012. With help from Cantor Fitzgerald, CCRE sold to more than 150 bond investors last year. Orso only expects those figures to grow -- confidence that he shares with top commercial real estate (CRE) financers, like Omega Commercial Finance Corporation (www.omegapublic.com).
"Omega uses a principle based on marrying affordable financing with available capital," says Jon S. Cummings IV, president of Omega Commercial Finance Corp. "One of the advantages of traditional CMBS lenders is the ability to offer competitive rates against banks, agency lenders and insurance companies. Omega is strategically positioned to accommodate this growing market."
As a publicly traded financial holding company (OTCQB: OCFN), Omega just acquired minority stake in VFG Securities Inc., a full-service broker dealer with $180 million in Assets Under Management for the purpose of creating its own internal structured financing arm. This acquisition effectively gives Omega the capacity to raise in-house capital to originate their CRE loans. It also sweetens the pot for investors looking for new sources of future earnings.
Learn more about CRE loans and the rebounding market at www.omegapublic.com.
(NewsUSA) - If your vacation home has started to become more of a financial headache than a refuge, it might be time to consider renting out your property.
According to industry experts, an average vacation home can garner an owner an extra $30,000 of income per year.
"Renting out your vacation home can open up a significant stream of revenue," says Mary Lynn Clark, president of Wyndham Vacation Rentals North America. "Understanding the business side, and all it entails, however, is a critical part of increasing your home's value without adding hassle."
Before listing your home for rent, it's important to decide whether you will handle the details yourself (think booking, reservations, marketing, maintenance and management) or hire avacation rental firm.
While doing it all yourself may sound like a good idea (and the Internet has certainly made that a viable option with hundreds of rental listing sites), a recent study shows that owners spend an average of more than eight hours per week marketing and managing their vacation properties. This translates to a heavy time commitment that few people have.
Clark likens it to performing maintenance on your car.
"The average car owner doesn't change their own oil or replace their own brake pads," he said. "They leave it up to the professionals to do that. Why should it be any different for managing your vacation property?"
To take advantage of the added income, without having to invest a significant amount of time, professionally managed vacation rental companies provide the perfect balance. Typically, these firms assume responsibility for marketing and managing your property and taking care of any requests by the renters.
Professional management companies, such as Wyndham Vacation Rentals, can help keep your property occupied by using its vast network of resources and commitment to take care of guests' experiences.
Unlike other vacation rental companies, Wyndham offers a host of unique benefit programs along with dynamic pricing to get owners the most value possible. Most importantly, it offers a Vacation Rental Bill of Rights that assures guests that Wyndham will take care of their needs every step of the way.
To learn more, visit www.wyndhamvacationrentals.com.