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4 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Opening A Checking Account

Whether you’re looking to switch banks or are even planning on opening up a checking account for the first time, the fact remains that you have a lot of options available to you. No matter where you live, online banking makes it possible for you to open a checking account with one of dozens of banks. Before you open an account with just any bank, however, there are some important mistakes you’ll want to avoid.

Choosing a Bank That Doesn’t Waive ATM Fees

These days, no reputable bank should be charging you an ATM fee when you use your bank card to withdraw money from an ATM. If your bank won’t waive these fees or, at the very least, reimburse you for them at the end of your statement month, then it’s time to look for a different bank. Keep in mind that individual ATM providers (such as those found inside your local convenience stores) can still charge you fees, however.

Going With a Bank That Doesn’t Have Online Account Access

Another important thing to look for in the bank where you wish to open a checking account is easy online account access. It’s difficult to find a bank these days that doesn’t have online account access, but not all platforms are easy to use or very robust in terms of their features. Ideally, you’ll want to find a bank that offers online bill pay, money transfer, and similar features. Bonus points if they have a free app you can download so you don’t have to log-in every time.

Choosing an Account With Monthly Balance/Deposit Requirements

Some banks will have requirements and minimums when it comes to how much money you need to deposit into your checking account each month and how much of a balance you need to maintain in order to keep your free checking or avoid service fees. Avoid this hassle and open an account with one of the dozens of banks that don’t impose these kinds of minimums.

Failing to Consider ATM and Branch Location Convenience

Finally, though you may be able to find checking accounts with excellent terms online, you’ll also want to make sure you can find a local branch in the event that you need one-on-one help with your account or wish to take out a large sum of money from your account. Specifically, look for banks with locations close to your place of employment and your home.

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How to Put Your House Up for Bail

If you have a loved one who is arrested, you might be in need of getting a bail bond. This allows you to pay a small percentage of the bail amount, then provide collateral and have them released from jail. The collateral is extra insurance in case they don’t appear in court as requested, in which case you owe the rest of the bail amount. Many people put their house up for bail because the property is worth more than vehicles and jewelry. Here are some things to know about choosing this option.

How do you put your house up for bail?

When you decide that your house is the only property you have that works as proper collateral, you will need to provide documentation that can be put in the bail bondsman’s trust. This allows them to sell it or take over ownership if the entire bail amount isn’t paid following the defendant’s case. You will need to provide either the title to your house or the deed to the house. You don’t need to sign it over to them, but put it in their possession. A contract will be signed that states you will hand over the house and move out if it comes to that. While many bail bondsmen will work with you to avoid that happening, it is always a risk you take.

Will your house value cover the cost of bail?

One thing you need to keep in mind when you put your house up for bail is that the value of the house must cover the cost of the bail. You need to consider the full bail amount and the current value of your home. If your home is older and is in disrepair, or the bail is an extremely high amount, it might be enough to cover it. However, if you have a house that is worth, say, $200,000 but the bail amount is over $350,000, then the house alone might not be enough collateral. You may need to offer the house in addition to vehicles, jewelry, or other valuable items as collateral for the bail bond.

What happens if the defendant doesn’t go to court?

Whenever you decide to bail someone out of jail, whether it is a friend, family member, or co-worker, you are taking responsibility for them. You are telling the bail bondsmen that if they don’t go to court after they are bailed out and the bondsman can’t track them down to bring them back to jail, you will pay the entire bail amount. If the amount is much more than what you have in your bank account, then you may lose your house.

If you have any other questions about putting up your house for collateral in a bail bond, consider contacting a local bail bonds company, such as All Night & Day Bailbonds, for more information.

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Home Buying Assistance For Low-Income Earners

For those with a limited income, renting a home can be quite difficult, let alone trying to buy one. However, with many different assistance programs out there, the process is becoming easier. If you need help figuring out how to get a mortgage and the home of your dreams, consult some of the following:

  • Public Housing Agency
  • Real Estate Agents
  • Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Loans
  • First-Time Homebuyers Program

Regardless of whether you are earning $15,000 or $25,000 per year, when you fall into the low-income category, it can be difficult to get a mortgage. Many lenders won’t even look at your application until you make a certain dollar amount. This can be quite frustrating for someone looking for answers. Thankfully, there are a variety of different programs out there to help individuals who might have a little lower income than the average for the area. Check out some of your options below:

Public Housing Agency

One of the first things you can do is to contact the Public Housing Agency in your area and ask them about their Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Homeownership Voucher. If you have heard of Section 8, this falls in the same type of category, except it allows you to own a home versus just rent one. You can use your subsidy to pay a mortgage payment and step out of the renting game.

Real Estate Agents and HUD Homes

A real estate agent can help you with purchasing a HUD home. While these particular homes might be offered at a fair-market price, you can snag significant savings if you are working as a teacher, police officer, firefighter or EMT. These borrowers can easily secure a home in one of the federally-designated revitalization areas for about half the cost of what everyone else might spend.

FHA Loans

Try speaking with lenders who have FHA insured loan programs available. Because many of these loans don’t require that the borrower have a certain income, they tend to be more lenient in terms of lending money to individuals than what a traditional bank would be. With a traditional loan, you normally cannot commit to paying more than 36% of your income to your mortgage. However, these loans allow you to go as high as 41%, thus letting you get more home for your money.

First-Time Homebuyers

Talk with your local credit union, bank or other government initiative to see what they have available for those purchasing their first home. You might be surprised by all of the different subsidies out there for those who have never purchased a home before. Some properties are specifically reserved for those who fall into the low-income category, thus allowing you to have more choices available to you.

Whatever you do, spend time talking with individuals in the area about the different programs available to you. There is no reason why you should feel as if you don’t have any options available when there are plenty of different programs just waiting for you to come out and apply. By checking around, you can get the home of your dreams at a price that is going to work for you in no time. Homeownership isn’t that far away, but you have to be the one to take the first step toward making it happen. 

Click here for more info on a local mortgage company.  

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Tips for Getting the Best Deal From a Payday Loan

If you need some quick cash or your credit score would not be sufficient to get a loan from your bank or credit union, a payday loan is an ideal way to meet your short-term financial needs. However, it is easy to fall into a pattern of borrowing, given that the fees can be significant. Therefore, it is important to know the following advice, so that you can be sure that you are getting the best possible deal from your payday loan.

#1-Make Sure That You Set the Maximum Amount That You are Borrowing…Not the Lender

If you have been turned down for credit or loans recently, it is easy to become overwhelmed when a payday lender tells you that you are approved for a larger amount of money than what you actually need. However, as with any debt, you will be paying it back, and since payday loans are known for meeting short-term needs, you will be paying it back quickly. As a result, you should be sure to only borrow the amount of money that you need, so it is easier to pay off your debt on your next payday.

#2-Be Aware of All The Fees and Charges…and How They Might Impact You

It is also important to note that a payday loan will often carry fees, other than the interest rate that you probably expect, that are easy to miss. Common examples include origination fees, verification fees and collection costs. In addition, you will often be allowed to renew part or all of your loan on your next payday if you cannot pay it off in full at that time, but renewal fees may apply at that time.

#3-Contact More Than One Payday Loan Company

One mistake that is easy to make relates to the belief that the fees a payday loan accrues are somehow “industry standard.” The truth is that each lender has the right to determine what charges and fees they offer. Although you may find that working with a well-known lender offers some benefits, like extended hours or the ability to apply for your loan online, it is a good idea to be aware of the different options for lenders. By doing so, you can often minimize the total cost of your loan, which will also make it easier to pay your loan off.         

In conclusion, a payday loan is an easy and quick way to access money without a credit check. However, it is important to be sure that you are getting the best possible deal on your loan, so remembering the above information will help you immensely. If you have any questions about payday loans, consider contacting local services, such as EZ Money, to discuss your concerns.

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Four Tips For Applying For A Bad Credit Mortgage

If you are considering the purchase of a home, but your credit score is poor, then you may consider applying for a bad credit mortgage loan. This allows you to receive a loan, typically with a higher interest rate even with your bad credit. Here are four tips for doing this:  

  1. Only Make it a Temporary Solution: When you apply for a bad credit mortgage, make a commitment to improve your credit over the next two years so that you can refinance by this time. Don’t pay the same interest that you are paying with a bad mortgage home loan for more than two years. This just means that you will continue paying much more than what the home is actually worth because of the high-interest rate. If you are able to repair your credit enough, you can potential cut the interest rate in half. 
  2. Choose an Adjustable Rate Mortgage: An adjustable rate mortgage means that you will be paying high interest, much higher than a mortgage that does not have an adjustable rate, but you will be able to make reasonable mortgage payments each month. With lower mortgage payments, this can be more manageable for you and ensure that you don’t make the mistake of missing any payments, which will just lower your credit even more. 
  3. Don’t Choose a Prepayment Penalty: Always be sure that your bad credit mortgage does not come with a prepayment penalty. If you are able to pay off your loan quickly, then the penalty will ask that you pay up to 6 months of interest after paying off the total amount of the loan. This just means that you are making an additional 6 payments for no real reason, but simply to give the lender more money. If you pay off the loan early, you want to be sure that no additional interest is added on to the loan as a penalty fee. 
  4. Consider a Co-Signer: Before you even consider signing up for a bad credit mortgage, consider asking a relative if they will consider being a co-signer for you on an FHA home loan. This would allow you to avoid a bad credit mortgage and receive an FHA loan, which will have a much lower interest rate for you. 

By following these four tips, you can be sure that you choose the best home loan for you and that you are able to move into a home that you can afford each month, even with bad credit. 

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3 Ways To Prepare To Buy A Home

Before applying for a home loan, it is important that you take steps to make yourself more desirable to lenders. Not only are you more likely to get a loan by prepping for the experience, but you can possibly score a better interest rate. To help ensure that you are ready to buy a home, here are some things you need to do now.

Limit the Movement of Your Finances

When reviewing your application for a home loan, the lender will thoroughly investigate your finances. As part of the process, you could be required to explain the details of money movements you make. Unfortunately, moving your money around too much prior to applying for a loan can make it difficult to show the movements of your money. As a result, lenders could be worried about whether or not you have sufficient enough cash flow to pay off the loan you are seeking.

To avoid this issue, try to limit financial transactions, such as cashing in stocks or investing in CDs. Once your loan is approved, you can make those moves, if desired.

Give Yourself Time

Preparing to buy a home can take time, and some homebuyers become anxious and try to rush the process. Unfortunately, not being prepared could result in further setback. To avoid this, create a plan to work on your credit score and to save money. Tasks, such as getting errors removed from your credit report, can take months. Be patient and wait to apply for a loan when you are absolutely ready.

Get Pre-Approved

Unless you have purchased a home in the past, you might not be aware that it is possible to get pre-approved to buy a home. Pre-approval is possible, and it could put you in good standing to get the home of your dreams. To get pre-approval, you have to undergo scrutiny by a lender. Your finances and credit history will be fully evaluated and a determination of how much you can borrow will be made.

Once the process is complete, you will receive a letter from the lender detailing just how much you can borrow towards the purchase of a new home. You can use the letter to prove to a homeowner that you are serious about purchasing a particular home.

There are many other things you can do to prepare to buy a home. Work with a mortgage broker, such as those at McKinley Mortgage, to not only prepare, but to find a lender who fits your needs.

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Eight Things You Need to Know about VA Home Loans

If you are a veteran of the United States Armed Forces, or if your deceased spouse was a veteran, you may be eligible for a home loan through the US Veterans Administration. This program offers many benefits for veterans, but the amount of information about VA home loans can be overwhelming. Here are eight top things you need to know about VA home loans.

1. VA home loans are not just for active duty soldiers.

While VA home loans used to be exclusively for active duty soldiers, they are not any longer. Since the Veterans Home Loan Program Amendments of 1992, National Guard members and reservists who have served for at least six years and don’t qualify in any other way are also eligible for the loan. 

2. The government is not the lender in these mortgages.

Although the loan is called a “VA home loan,” the US government is not the actual mortgage lender. The government does, however, guarantee the loan, making it easier for veterans to obtain loans with traditional lenders. Borrowers do need to meet minimum credit requirements with those lenders. Another advantage of having the government guarantee the loan is that no private mortgage insurance (PMI) is required

3. VA home loans offer financial protection for those who are actively serving.

Because active duty military personnel might not be able to pay their mortgages otherwise, VA home loans have been traditionally frozen at a reasonable interest rate, and soldiers may not lose their homes due to hardships faced by being in active service. This is the result of the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act. 

4. The loan percentage is generous. 

Veterans can borrow up to the full amount of the home’s value. There is an additional loan fee that can be assessed at the time the mortgage is taken out. The loan fee can be financed as part of the loan, and sometimes this fee is waived in cases of disability. Closing costs cannot be included in the loan, but they may be paid by the seller of the home. 

5. There are some caps on how much you can borrow.

The VA caps their home loans by county. In general, the loan was designed to help soldiers in rural and small city areas. There are some counties that the VA recognizes as extra high cost, though, and these areas receive a higher loan cap. 

Your loan amount is also based on a multiple of your military entitlement. You should check your benefits portal to determine that amount. 

Additonally, the maximum amount you can borrow is based on your income. You will need pay stubs and tax documents to qualify for a VA home loan. 

6. To qualify, you need to fill out a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). 

The first step in initiating a VA home loan is completing a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). You can do this on the VA portal or through some lenders. Ideally, you want to choose a lender that is familiar with VA loans, as this will make your loan process much easier. 

You will need to meet a minimum number of days of service, among other criteria as mentioned above. Surviving spouses of deceased military may also qualify. In this case, you need to provide a marriage certificate and death certificate for your spouse and cannot have remarried since your spouse’s passing. 

7. You can use the VA home loan to refinance your home with a cash-out option.

A helpful aspect of the VA home loan program is that loans can also be used for cash-out refinancing of an existing home. You can use the equity in your home to help pay bills, go back to school, or do renovations on your home, for example. 

You can also convert a non-VA loan to a VA loan using the cash-out refinance program. Because of all the advantages listed above and below, if you have a non-VA loan, you may want to give this serious consideration. 

8. The loan has many appealing features. 

In addition to the benefits already mentioned, VA home loans have many other attractive features:

  • No down payment is required.
  • The VA sets a limit on how much you can be charged in closing costs.
  • There is no pre-payment fee if you pay the loan off ahead of schedule. 
  • You can reuse this benefit multiple times.
  • Your mortgage loan can be assumed by any other party who qualifies. 

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or a “veteran” at real estate transactions, the VA home loan program may have many elements to offer you. For further information, contact the Veterans Administration or a lender who is linked with the VA home loan refinance system and knows the application process. 

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