Tag Archives: Housing

6 Tips to Save for a Down Payment

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When considering buying a home, the down payment you put upfront plays a major role in your future housing expenses. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the amount you save can greatly influence your interest rate, monthly housing payment and also your need for mortgage insurance. As you prepare for the home buying process, we are highlighting six tips to help you cut the extra costs and save a substantial amount for your down payment.

Typically, lenders require anywhere between 5 and 20 percent of a home’s purchase value as down payment, but the more money you can put down, the better off you’ll be. By responsibly managing your spending and allocating extra cash to a savings account, you will be on the right track towards saving for your home purchase.

We are providing prospective homebuyers with these tips to save for a down payment:

  • Develop a budget & timeline. Start by determining how much you’ll need for a down payment. Create a budget and calculate how much you can realistically save each month – that will help you gauge when you’ll be ready to transition from renter to homeowner.
  • Establish a separate savings account. Set up a separate savings account exclusively for your down payment and make your monthly contributions automatic. By keeping this money separate, you’ll be less likely to tap into it when you’re tight on cash.
  • Shop around to reduce major monthly expenses. It’s a good idea to check rates for your car insurance, renter’s insurance, health insurance, cable, Internet or cell phone plan. There may be deals or promotions available that allow you to save hundreds of dollars by adjusting your contracts.
  • Monitor your spending. With online banking, keeping an eye on your spending is easier than ever. Track where most of your discretionary income is going. Identify areas where you could cut back (e.g. nice meals out, vacations, etc.) and instead put that money into savings.
  • Look into state and local home-buying programs. Many states, counties and local governments operate programs for first-time homebuyers. Some programs offer housing discounts, while others provide down payment loans or grants.
  • Celebrate savings milestones. Saving enough for a down payment can be daunting. To avoid getting discouraged, break it up into smaller goals and reward yourself when you reach each one. If you need to save $30,000 total, consider treating yourself to a nice meal every $5,000 saved. This will help you stay motivated throughout the process.

If you are interested in a first mortgage on a new home or refinancing an existing home please call the SYB&T Mortgage Department number listed below!

Louisville / Southern Indiana:
(502) 625-9388

Indianapolis
(317) 238-2888

Cincinnati
(513) 824-6190

Apply online for a Mortgage: https://mb.syb.com


 

Resource Information Provided by the American Bankers Association.

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7 Worthwhile Ways to Use Your Tax Refund

 

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According to the Internal Revenue Service, more than 70 percent of the nation’s taxpayers received a tax refund averaging nearly $3,000 in 2017 and will get a similar amount this year. As Americans receive their refunds along with additional benefits coming from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in December, we have highlighted seven tips to help them use their money wisely.

To help consumers make the most out of their money, We have provided you with the following tips.

  • Save for emergencies.  More than 60 percent of Americans are not prepared for unexpected expenses. You can prepare by opening or adding to a savings account that serves as an “emergency fund.” Ideally, it should hold about three-to-six months of living expenses in case of sudden financial hardships like losing your job or having to replace your car.
  • Pay off debt.  Pay down existing balances either by chipping away at loans with the highest interest rates or eliminating smaller debt first.
  • Save for retirement, your child’s education or future health expenses. Open or increase contributions to a tax-deferred savings plan like a 401(k) or an IRA. Your bank can help set up an IRA, while a 401(k) is employer-sponsored. Look into opening a tax-advantaged 529 education savings plan to ensure school expenses will be covered when your child reaches college age. Or save for future health expenses with tax-free dollars by investing in a Health Savings Account.
  • Pay down your mortgage or student loans.  Make an extra payment on your mortgage or student loans each year to save money on interest while reducing the term of your loans. Be sure to inform your lender that your extra payments should be applied to principal, not interest.
  • Invest safely with U.S. savings bonds or municipal bonds. The U.S. Treasury allows for savings bond to be purchased using your tax refund for as little as $50. Savings bonds earn interest for a maximum of 30 years.
  • Invest in your current home.  Use your refund to invest in home improvements that will pay you back in the long run by increasing the value of your home.  This can include small, cost-effective upgrades like energy-efficient appliances that will pay off in both the short and long term – and with tax credits (as long as Congress continues to renew the program).
  • Donate to charity.  The benefit is two-fold: Giving to charity will make a difference in your community, and you can also claim the tax deduction, if you itemize.

Resource information provided by the American Bankers Association.

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Homearama Workshop Series

This weekend begins Louisville’s annual home showcase event, Homearama! This highly anticipated event includes tours of custom built homes that are fully furnished, decorated, landscaped and feature the latest in building trends, technology and interior design (via https://bialouisville.com/signature-events/homearama/homearama/).

This year, Homearama takes place July 15-30, 2017 at Poplar Woods. Stock Yards Bank & Trust is excited to sponsor daily workshops as part of the two week event. These workshops are free with Homearama admission and range from landscaping topics to mortgage financing options. There are several to choose from and each workshop last about 30 minutes.

Please join us!

Homearama Workshop Series:

Saturday, July 15 – 11 am: “Outdoor Living/Landscaping” – House 6
Grant Jones, Jones Landscape and Design

Saturday, July 15 – 4 pm: “Technology in the Home” – House 7
Jason Stevenson, Automated Living & Perry Lyons, P.L. Lyons Architectural Builders

Sunday, July 16 – 2 pm: “Green Egg Grilling Demonstration” – House 7
Jim Graven, Steepleton

Monday, July 17; Wednesday, July 19; Friday, July 21 – 7 pm: “Current Design Trends” – House 7
Cherry House Design Specialists

Tuesday, July 18; Thursday, July 20 – 7 pm: “Mortgage Financing Options” – House 7
Melinda Golde, Stock Yards Bank

Saturday, July 22 – 11 am: “Outdoor Living/Landscaping” – House 6
Jeff Wallitsch, Wallitsch Nursery & Garden Center

Saturday, July 22 – 4 pm: “Technology in the Home” – House 7
Jason Stevenson, Automated Living & Perry Lyons, P.L. Lyons Architectural Builders

Sunday, July 23 – 2 pm: “Brownsboro Hardware Outdoor Grilling Demonstration” – House 7
Brownsboro Hardware

Monday, July 24; Wednesday, July 26; Friday, July 28 – 7 pm: “Current Design Trends” – House 7
Cherry House Design Specialists

Tuesday, July 25; Thursday, July 27 – 7 pm: “Mortgage Financing Options” – House 7
Melinda Golde, Stock Yards Bank

Saturday, July 29 – 11 am: “Outdoor Living/Landscaping” – House 6
Grant Jones, Jones Landscape and Design

Saturday, July 29 – 4 pm: “Technology in the Home” – House 7
Jason Stevenson, Automated Living & Perry Lyons, P.L. Lyons Architectural Builders

Sunday, July 30 – 2 pm: “Brownsboro Hardware Outdoor Grilling Demonstration” – House 7
Brownsboro Hardware

Please visit the Homearama website for additional information.

5 Important Questions When Choosing Your First Home

Moving into your own place can be exciting and frightening at the same time. Stock Yards Bank & Trust suggests considering the following questions when choosing your own home.

1. How much money do you have saved up?

Start with an evaluation of your financial health. Figure out how much money you have for a down payment or deposit on a rental. Down payments are typically 5 to 20 percent of the price of the home. Security deposits on rentals are usually about one month of rent and more if you have a pet. But be sure to keep enough in savings for an emergency fund. It’s a good idea to have three to six months of living expenses to cover unexpected costs.

2. How much debt do you have?

Consider all of your current and expected financial obligations like your car payment and insurance, credit card debt and student loans. Make sure you will be able to make all the payments in addition to the cost of your new home. Aim to keep total rent or mortgage payments plus utilities to less than 25 to 30 percent of your gross monthly income. Recent regulatory changes limit debt to income (DTI) ratio on most loans to 43 percent.

 3. What is your credit score?

A high credit score indicates strong creditworthiness. Both renters and homebuyers can expect to have their credit history examined. A low credit score can keep you from qualifying for the rental you want or a low interest rate on your mortgage loan. If your credit score is low, you may want to delay moving into a new home and take steps to raise your score. For tips on improving your credit score, visit aba.com/consumers.

4. Have you factored in all the costs? Create a hypothetical budget for your new home.

Find the average cost of utilities in your area, factor in gas, electricity, water and cable. Find out if you will have to pay for parking or trash pickup. Consider the cost of yard maintenance and other basic maintenance costs like replacing the air filter every three months. If you are planning to buy a home, factor in real estate taxes, mortgage insurance and possibly a home owner association fee. Renters should consider the cost of rental insurance.

 5. How long will you stay?

Generally, the longer you plan to live someplace, the more it makes sense to buy. Over time, you can build equity in your home. On the other hand, renters have greater flexibility to move and fewer maintenance costs. Carefully consider your current life and work situation and think about how long you want to stay in your new home.

Stock Yards Bank & Trust offers a wide variety of mortgage services for new and repeat home buyers. Visit our website for more information or contact us at (502) 582-2571. 

 

Resource Information Provided by the American Bankers Association

First-Time Homebuyers: 6 Tips to Save for the House of Your Dreams

According to a 2015 BMO Harris report, 52 percent of Americans plan to buy a home in the next five years.  Saving for a down payment, typically between 5 to 20 percent of the home’s value, is one of the biggest challenges for those aspiring homebuyers. The American Bankers Association Foundation is highlighting six tips to help consumers cut costs and start saving.

“A down payment is often the largest single payment a consumer makes in their lifetime and saving for it isn’t easy,” said Corey Carlisle, executive director of the ABA Foundation. “However, with a few changes, consumers can put themselves on track to make their homeownership dream a reality.”

The ABA Foundation offers prospective homebuyers these saving strategies:

Develop a budget & timeline. Start by determining how much you’ll need for a down payment. Create a budget and calculate how much you can realistically save each month – that will help you gauge when you’ll be ready to transition from renter to homeowner.

Establish a separate savings account. Set up a separate savings account exclusively for your down payment and make your monthly contributions automatic. By keeping this money separate, you’ll be less likely to tap into it when you’re tight on cash. If you received a tax refund, consider putting all or a portion into this account.

Shop around to reduce major monthly expenses. It’s a good idea to check rates for your car insurance, renter’s insurance, health insurance, cable, internet or cell phone plan. There may be deals or promotions available that allow you to save hundreds of dollars by adjusting your contracts.

Monitor your spending. With online banking, keeping an eye on your spending is easier than ever. Track where most of your discretionary income is going. Identify areas where you could cut back (e.g. nice meals out, vacations, etc.) and instead put that money into savings.

Celebrate savings milestones. Saving enough for a down payment can be daunting. To avoid getting discouraged, break it up into smaller goals and reward yourself when you reach each one. If you need to save $30,000 total, consider treating yourself to a nice meal every $5,000 saved. This will help you stay motivated throughout the process.

Look into state and local home-buying programs. Many states, counties and local governments operate programs for first-time homebuyers. Some programs offer housing discounts, while others provide down payment loans or grants. Stock Yard’s Mortgage Banking Group can help you determine what types of offers are available in your area.

Information provided by the American Bankers Association.

9 Tips to Green Your Home and Save Money

1. Location, location, location efficiency. Carefully consider the location of your home. If you’re close to work, shopping and entertainment, you may not need a car. Without a car you would save money on gas, car insurance and maintenance, not to mention reduce pollution. If you’re thinking about moving further out, try to find something near public transportation and shopping.

2. Light up the house, not the electric bill. Replacing incandescent light bulbs with more energy efficient compact florescent light (CFL) bulbs will save you about $6 a year in electricity costs per bulb and more than $40 over its lifetime. According to ENERGY STAR, if every American home replaced just one light bulb, we would save enough energy to prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year. Remember to recycle used CFL bulbs. Go to http://www.epa.gov/bulbrecycling for recycling locations.

3. Some like it hot, hot, hot…or cold, cold, cold. Closely monitor your thermostat. Adjusting it just a few degrees while you’re out can save energy and money. You can make it easier by installing a programmable thermostat. Use fans and close the blinds during the warm months and let the sun in for natural warmth in the winter. Also, change your filter every three months.

4. Make it mean-green-clean. Cleaning supplies can be expensive and are made with toxic chemicals. You can save money and the environment by making your own cleaning supplies. All you need are some basic household ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda and borax to clean everything from windows to tile.

5. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! Sticking to this mantra can help you save money around the house. Use a rag instead of paper towels. Buy products in bulk, concentrate or refillable containers to reduce packaging waste. Look for products made from recycled content. And don’t forget to recycle!

6. Win-dos for your windows. There are a number of ways you can make your windows more energy efficient without replacing them. For better insulation from the weather you can caulk exterior joints, put shrink wrap on them or hang blackout curtains.

7. Fan the green flames. To keep your refrigerator running efficiently, keep the fan clean. The motor won’t have to work as hard if the fan is clear of debris.

8. Decorate green. Houseplants are like living air-filters. English Ivy, rubber trees, peace lilies and red-edged dracaena can help clean the air and look pretty too.

9. Vampire energy is sucking you dry. On or off, anything plugged into the wall sucks energy. Vampire power costs U.S. consumers more than $3 billion a year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Unplug your electronics and appliances when they’re not in use.

Resource information provided by American Banker’s Association. For more green home solutions, visit: epa.gov/greenhomes

Buying vs. Renting

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you ever have to make.  You will be required to ask yourself questions about the kind of floor plan you like, the neighborhood or area of town where you would like to live, the price range you can afford, and your preferences regarding having a yard which will require regular work and maintenance vs. a maintenance free lawn provided through a condominium or patio home.  However, the most important question (the question you should ask yourself first) is should I rent a home or should I buy?

There are definitely advantages and disadvantages to both and it is important to consider the pros and cons before making the leap into homeownership.

Advantages to Buying a Home Include:

Equity or Savings

If you are renting, the money you spend each month pays for your place to live, but it does not provide any kind of long-term benefit or savings to you.  If you purchase a home and are paying your mortgage payment each month, you are building equity in your home.  The more you pay, the more equity or savings you have.  Homes typically increase in value, which also increases the equity or savings you have in your home.

Income Tax Deductions

You can deduct the amount of interest you pay through your mortgage payments as well as the amount you pay in annual property taxes.  Uncle Sam does not allow this deduction for rent payments.

Creative Freedom

You can paint every room a different color and decide on any carpet or floor covering you want if you own your home.  However, if you rent, your landlord most likely will have restrictions on painting and other creative ideas you have to make your home fit your personality.

Stable Housing Costs

With a fixed rate mortgage, your monthly housing costs will be more stable than rent which can increase from year to year.

Home ownership can also develop a sense of self-pride, which provides strong ties to the community in which you live.

Advantages to Renting Include:

Less Responsibility

Repairs to a home can be costly.  As a renter, the landlord will be responsible for any repair costs.

Flexibility

Since leases tend to be short term (a year or less), it is easier to move around if you rent.

Insurance Costs

Insurance as a renter is much less expensive than insurance as a homeowner.  You are only responsible for insuring your personal contents and not the home itself.

Purchasing a home or choosing to rent is a personal decision that you as an individual must make.  Owning a home is a financial responsibility that requires planning and commitment.  Home ownership is not for everyone.  Renting can be easier if you want to pursue job opportunities that may require frequent relocation.  However, home ownership makes sense if you plan to settle into an area or community and want to pay toward something you can eventually pay off and own outright.

Should you buy or should you rent?  It can be a tough decision to make.  We have qualified mortgage professionals that will be happy to assist you in this process. We have many programs, including down payment assistance, that can be tailored to meet your needs. Visit our website at www.syb.com for more information.