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Q: What about a 15-year v. 30 year loan?
A: The difference in payments and overall savings between a 15-year fixed-rate loan and a 30-year fixed-rate loan depends on the interest rate and the loan amount. Using a $100,000 loan and 7.25% interest rate as an example, monthly payments on the 15-year note would be $912.86. Monthly payments on a $100,000 loan at 7.25% fixed for 30 years would be $682.18.
The 15-year note offers the opportunity to save considerable money over the life of the loan, since the period of amortization is half that of the 30-year note. This means that the total interest paid on a 15-year note as compared to a 30-year note is significantly less.

However, calculating the overall savings of the 15-year note over the 30-year note depends on several individual circumstances, such as the borrower’s changing income status.

Q: What about splitting my mortgage in two and paying bi-weekly?
A: Some people set on paying off their home loan early and reducing interest charges opt for a biweekly mortgage. Monthly payments are divided in half, payable every two weeks.
Because there are 52 weeks in a year, the program results in 26 half-payments, or the equivalent of 13 monthly payments per year instead of 12. Using the biweekly payment system, a homeowner with a $70,000, 30-year biweekly mortgage at 10 percent interest could save $60,000 in interest and pay off the balance in less than 21 years.

Q: Are 40-year mortgages a good idea?
A: Smaller monthly payments are the primary advantage of adding 10 years to the traditional 30-year mortgage, but real estate experts say the shorter-term loan usually is more beneficial for the home buyer. The drawback becomes apparent simply by calculating the cost of additional interest payments, which can total thousands for a few dollars difference in mortgage payments.

——————- Fixer-Upper Loans – Q & A
Q: Are there gov’t programs for rehab?
A: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 203 (K) rehabilitation loan program is designed to facilitate major structural rehabilitation of houses with one to four units that are more than one year old. Condominiums are not eligible.
The 203(K) loan is usually done as a combination loan to purchase a fixer-upper property “as is” and rehabilitate it, or to refinance a temporary loan to buy the property and do the rehabilitation. It can also be done as a rehabilitation-only loan.

Plans and specifications for the proposed work must be submitted for architectural review and cost estimation. Mortgage proceeds are advanced periodically during the rehabilitation period to finance the construction costs.

For a list of participating lenders, call HUD at (202) 708-2720.

If you are a veteran, loans from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also can be used to buy a home, build a home, improve a home or to refinance an existing loan. VA loans frequently offer lower interest rates than ordinarily available with other kinds of loans. To qualify for a loan, the first step is to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility.

Another program is the Fedeal Housing Administration’s Title 1 FHA loan program.

Resources:
* “Rehab a Home With HUD’s 203(K)” brochure, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 7th and D streets S.W., Washington, DC 20410.