Harris, Reed & Seiferth
A mortgage is a loan agreement between you, the home buyer, and a bank or other creditor. They lend you the money and you get a home. To repay the bank or creditor for providing this money, the home buyer agrees to pay back the amount they borrow to purchase the home (the principal) plus an additional amount of money as interest
A helpful Loan Calculator is located at http://www.calculator.net/loan-calculator.html
You can change the repayment terms on a loan by choosing a 15-year fixed rate mortgage instead of a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, which means you'll pay off the loan principal and accrued interest in 15 years instead of 30. This will increase your monthly payment, but will decrease the total amount of interest you pay over the life of the loan. Note: there are many different types of mortgages! While I only mentioned a 15-Year and 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage, there are also variable rate and alternative loan programs like FHA (Federal Housing Administration) and VA (Veteran Affairs).
A down payment is a percentage of your home’s purchase price that you pay up front when you close your home loan in addition to the money you borrow. Lenders often look at the down payment amount as your investment in the home. Not only will it affect how much you’ll need to borrow, it can also influence:
Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)
If you are unable to pay 20% down on your home purchase, private mortgage insurance may be required by your lender. PMI is a special type of insurance to protect a lender (the bank or creditor) against loss if a borrower (you) defaults on your obligation to repay the loan. This type of insurance is costly and is not required if you can afford a 20% down payment.
Even if your lender requires you to obtain PMI, you may not need to carry the PMI over the life of the loan. Check w/ your lender about your options to terminate the PMI once you have achieved a specified level of equity in your home.
Many lenders require a formal appraisal by a licensed appraiser to ensure the value of your home is at least as great as the purchase price. This appraisal occurs between when your offer is accepted and when you close on the house. While you may have offered $180,000 on a house, if the appraiser returns and says the house is worth $170,000, you either have to pay that $10,000 difference in cash or ask the seller to reduce the purchase price to $170,000.
Learn more about what to do if your home appraised lower than the purchase price here.
Earnest money is submitted with your offer to demonstrate your intent to follow through with the sale if your offer is accepted. The appropriate amount of earnest money varies from market to market; your realtor can advise on what is customary for your situation. Earnest money can be handled in many ways; the following are common scenarios:
These are the costs incurred for the various expenses involved in the home buying transaction like title insurance, loan origination fees and appraisal fees. These costs vary widely from transaction to transaction. Your realtor and lender can assist you with learning more about the closing costs for which you will be responsible, but you can safely assume an average between 2%-5% of the purchase price.
Remember, you as a buyer are responsible for paying your closing costs in addition to your down payment. So while you might have $30,000 saved up for a 20% down payment, you will also need additional funds to afford closing costs.
The closing date is the date sign all the documents necessary to officially purchase a house. This is typically about a month after your offer is accepted. However, do not confuse this date with possession date, which is defined below.
At closing, you officially own the property. However, you may have agreed in your purchase agreement to allow the former owners to keep possession of the property until a later date. This means that although you have paid the down payment, paid closing costs, and are now responsible for the mortgage, you still do not have the right to move into your new home.
Possession dates that don't line up with the closing date generally occur because the sellers need time to find a new place to live. However, the buyer must agree to a later possession date as part of the purchase agreement in order for the seller to retain possession of the property after the closing.
A home inspection is a non-invasive, examination of the condition of the house that is designed to identify any problem areas with the property. The home inspector typically looks for evidence of insect, water or fire damage that may affect the value of the property. They will likely check heating, cooling, electrical and plumbing systems. They also may check structural items like the floors, walls and ceiling as well as the roof and attic. If your house has a basement, it should be examined for leaks and to make sure it has the proper supports in place. Remember, a home inspection is an examination of the property's condition, and is not the same thing as a home appraisal (see definition above).
If your inspector finds damage in the home, you may be able to negotiate that the seller fix the issues or agree to a lower purchase price.
Buying a house is complicated! But once you find the one that makes you feel at home, the headaches seem to be worth it. Best of luck to you all!
RV tires are not like tires on your everyday vehicle. They've most likely been exposed to the elements during the winter months and have not been driven on. This can cause premature cracks and a blown out tire while you're traveling. Make sure to inspect your tires for damage and also inspect the sidewalls and the tread area for flaws. It's a good idea to replace tires every five years, even if they still appear to have adequate tread, to avoid tire failure.
Pay Attention To Weight
Chances are you may have accumulated items in your RV over the years that could cause your rig to be overweight by industry safety standards. Take your RV to a weigh station before heading out on the road. Even if you're under your designated load rating, getting rid of extra weight can improve your fuel economy and you'll have better handling. You can have your rig weighed at a public weigh station for a minimal fee. Look in the Yellow Pages under “Scales, Public” to find the location of scales nearest you. Be sure to weigh your rig when it's fully loaded. It's also important to weigh each axle separately. After the weigh-in you might be surprised at how quickly the combined weight of your passengers and all your “stuff” add up to more than you expected.
Check Towing Equipment
Be sure to check your tow hitch and your safety chains. And make sure the mountings on your luggage racks are secure and tie-downs are strong enough to handle the loads you plan to carry.
Line Prep Is A Must
Take the time to flush all winterizing solutions used to prevent water line freeze over the winter. RV antifreezes are not necessarily toxic, but can produce unpleasant odors when they are heated in either a water heater or a coffee pot.
Be sure to check LP tanks. All tanks by law must have a 10 percent safety valve. The valve releases and lets off gas in case of over-filling. If your tank doesn't have the safety valve, get a new tank. Also, fill your LP tanks to only 80 or 90 percent of their volume – depending on the temperature.
Inspect and test all connections to every appliance. In order to check lines for leaks, just dab soapy water on fittings and watch for bubbles. Also, look at appliance vents for obstructions since it's not uncommon for squirrels and birds to build nests in vents.
Check your fire extinguishers, smoke detector and carbon monoxide (CO) detector to make sure they are in proper working order. Some fire extinguishers have a gauge that indicates their condition, others have a test button and instructions for making a condition test. You should have two 2 1/2 lb. fire extinguishers with a rating of 5BC – one located in the galley and the other in the cockpit of your motor home or tow vehicle. Test the smoke detector's battery, as well as your CO detector according to manufacturer's instructions.
A few hours of preparation can save you a huge amount of hassle in the long run. And remember to always make safety your first priority on the road.
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In addition to RV Safety tips for your next road trip, make sure you have insurance coverage specialized for your RV. Check out our RV Insurance coverage options or get a quote.
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