Robin Spangenberg
Northeast Signature Properties, LLC | 508-277-4144 | [email protected]


Posted by Robin Spangenberg on 9/16/2018

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial milestones youíll reach in your life. If youíre a first-time homebuyer, it can be scary to take the plunge and make a down payment on your first home.

Down payments are one element that makes up the factors which determine your monthly mortgage payments, and in turn, how much youíll be paying toward your home in total. So, itís important to understand just how much to save for a down payment.

In this article, weíll talk about down payments, why they matter, and your options for saving up for a down payment.

Why down payments matter

A down payment is simply the amount of money a buyer pays at the time of closing on the house. Down payments help assure lenders that you will make your monthly mortgage payments because you have invested a substantial amount of money into the house and therefore risk losing your down payment if you fail to pay the mortgage and your house is foreclosed on.

If youíre eager to buy your first home, you may want to make the smallest down payment possible so you can move in sooner. However, a smaller down payment typically means a larger monthly mortgage payment. Thatís because your mortgage payment depends on several factors.

When a lender determines how much they will lend you towards your home and how much your monthly mortgage payments will be, their formula takes into account your down payment, your credit score, and the value of the property. The higher your credit score and the higher your down payment is, the less your monthly payments will be.

Mortgage types and down payments

Many first time home buyers cannot afford large down payments on their first home (20% or more). As a result, there are loan types insured by the Federal Housing Administration that are offered for as low as 3.5% of the mortgage amount.

If you arenít approved for an FHA loan but plan on making a down payment of less than 20%, you can still buy a home with private mortgage insurance (PMI). With PMI you pay a monthly premium for your insurance in addition to your monthly mortgage payments.

How long and how much to save

So, how much should you save? The short answer is as much as possible. However, if you need to move soon because of life circumstances, it isnít always an option to hold off on moving for long periods of time.

If youíre currently renting each month at high prices, it might make more sense to put that money towards your first home, an asset which will likely increase in value, rather than spend it on rent which you get no return on.  

One of the best ways to save for a down payment is to set up a new cash savings account that will automatically deposit a portion of your paycheck each week. Having an off-limits account is a great way to save without the temptation of spending it on luxuries if the money would normally be sitting in your checking account.

Another option is to start investing. If youíre in no rush to buy a home and have the financial resources, investing pays off much more than a savings account does when it comes to increasing assets.

Regardless of how you choose to save, the most important takeaway is that you take action now to start saving and you donít deviate from your savings plan for any reason.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Robin Spangenberg on 3/11/2018

As you may have noticed, your family's grocery bill accounts for a big chunk of your monthly household budget. Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent your food bill from spiraling out of control! Some money-saving strategies are obvious, such as using discount coupons and not shopping when you're hungry, while others are not as widely known.

If you habitually buy more expensive name-brand products without having a specific reason for doing so, it might pay to experiment with generic or store-brand grocery items. When you compare the prices, the savings can really add up! In some cases, there is a noticeable difference in quality, but in countless other instances, the store-brand products are on par with the well-known name brands.

One question to ask yourself is this: "Why pay substantially more for name-brand products when all you're really doing is helping huge corporations pay for their immense advertising budgets?" Your challenge -- and this can be worth the effort -- is to determine which store-brand products are comparable in quality and which ones are not worth the savings. In many cases, the difference in quality is negligible (or non existent), but the total savings from comparing prices can easily add up to $5 or $10 per shopping trip -- and who amongst us would voluntarily throw away a ten-dollar bill every time we went grocery shopping!

It's also interesting to note that many supermarkets tend to stock their more expensive products at eye level. By shifting your glance to the higher or lower shelves at the store, you can often spot money-saving bargains that would have otherwise escaped your notice. While you're at it, it also pays to check out the expiration date on products so you don't end up wasting money on items that have been sitting around for a while. A big frustration that we've all experienced is getting home and realizing that a perishable item we picked up at the grocery store expires tomorrow -- or even worse, yesterday!

Here's a money-saving tip that not everybody thinks of: If an advertised sale item has been sold out, you can often get a "rain check" issued to you, which will entitle you to the discount price -- even after the sale is officially over. You may have to get it from the customer service desk or a manager, but if you're determined to be a savvy grocery shopper, it's worth the extra few minutes.

One of the easiest, most automatic ways to save money at the food store is to join your supermarket's "loyalty program". It goes by different names at different places, but once you sign up, the discounts, coupons, and special offers keep coming your way! Taking a few minutes to glance over your grocery store's weekly newspaper insert can also point you in the direction of worthwhile savings opportunities.





Posted by Robin Spangenberg on 3/8/2015

Times are tough for everyone and saving everytime you go to the store can really add up. Most people don't realize the true value of a coupon, or how to use them to their full advantage. With a little bit of time, on average you could save 20-30% during each grocery shopping trip and 50-100% each time you go to the drug store. The trick with getting more bang for your buck is matching coupons with the weekly sales at the supermarkets and drug stores. For example, shampoo is on sale for buy one get one free, and you have a coupon for $1.00 off 1 item. If the shampoo retails for $5.00 you will get 2 shampoos for $3.00 (2 @ $5.00 - $2 off in coupons). That's a savings of $7.00! This applies to any item you would buy at the supermarket or drug store. And by stocking up on an item when it's sale price plus coupons make it a great deal, help you to avoid running out and having to pay full price. In addition, some stores have additional savings such as doubling the value of a coupon, or in store coupons that you can use with a manufacters coupon. For example: Walgreens has Bonus Rewards were you earn points on products you buy that add up to money off future items. CVS has Extra Bucks which are like cash off your total. Both drug stores have their own in store coupons (CVS prints theirs on the bottom the receipt or from the kiosk in stores, Walgreens has a monthly coupon book) which can be used with a manufacter's coupon. Find a good week, there is potential to use a manfacuter's coupon, an instore coupon and Extra Bucks on a sale item to get it pennies (at CVS for example)!!! There are a variety of websites that can help you get started as well as give you guidance on what coupons you may have to match with the sales. To name a few: www.couponmom.com, www.hip2save.com, and www.coupondivas.com are great places to start. The savings are endless, you just have to reach out and grab them!




Categories: Money Saving Tips  


Posted by Robin Spangenberg on 8/18/2013

RefinancingReason #1: Interest Rates are Forecasted to Rise.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), which is the national organization representing the real estate finance industry is forecasting a rise in interest rates for 2013 and 2014.

Reason#2: Your Adjustable Rate Mortgage Could Adjust Up.

If you find yourself with an ARM, it may be the perfect time to explore your options regarding fixed-rate mortgages. Interest rates fluctuated every month for 2011 and 2012, according to data provided by Informa Research Services, a leading information provider to the financial industry. With interest rates plunging to historic lows over the past few years, there's nowhere left to go but up. Which leads us to...

Reason#3: The Government's Financial Involvement is Expected to End Soon.

Ever since the recession in 2008, the government has been buying up mortgage debt from banks in an effort to stimulate the housing market. This is expected to end in the next two years, and it is anyone's guess when exactly this will take place. Refinancing now is much better than waiting until you start to see the signs of non-involvement, by which time it could be too late.

Reason#4: Cutting Down on Interest.

If you find yourself in a 30-year mortgage, it may be the best time to explore your options regarding a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage. While your monthly payments would be higher, the amount of money you pay for your home would be significantly less. Interest payments on a 30-year mortgage can jack up the price of a home astronomically. While the monthly payments may have looked appealing initially, paying off the principal sooner will leave you much better off financially in the long run.




Categories: Financing