Melissa Barth's Blog
8 Jethol Dr, Freetown, MA 02702
You may have heard that you will need 20 percent of the purchase price of a home to put down in order to buy it. As the prices of homes continue to rise. 20 percent of the purchase price of any home may not seem like a small feat to save up. It’s not impossible to buy a home. You may be able to get around the 20 percent rule in a variety of ways. Keep in mind that putting down as large of a down payment as you can will help you to land the home of your dreams a bit faster.
The 20 percent down rule is sort of a myth. While the more you have saved up, the better your chances of standing out among other buyers are. You can still get a mortgage with less than 20 percent down from most banks. The drawback in not putting down 20 percent on a home is that you will need mortgage insurance (also known as PMI). Mortgage insurance is necessary if you put less than 20 percent down because the lender wants protection in case the home is foreclosed on due to a lack of payments.
All About PMI Payments
If you do put less than 20 percent down on a home, your PMI payments won’t go on forever. Once your loan is paid down a bit, you’ll be free and clear of PMI payments. As a rule, if the loan-to-value-ratio reaches 80 percent, you can ask your lender to cancel the insurance for you. When the loan-to-value ratio reaches 78 percent, the lender will automatically cancel the PMI. This is a welcome decrease in expenses since PMI insurance can add up to be hundreds of dollars per month.
Finding A Way Around 20 Percent Down
Before you even decide to buy a house, you should look at financing options. There are certain programs that are available to you to help. If you know about them ahead of time, you’ll be able to take advantage of them.
Many different government agencies have programs available to help people get a home easier. These programs will provide home loans with a low interest rate and little to no down payment. The downside to these programs is that many of them actually require you to purchase private mortgage insurance as a contingency to get the loan. You’ll need to plan for these extra expenses. There are even grants available to help you with your down payment. Check in your state or local HUD office for details on various programs that can assist you with your down payment on your first home. Through a bit of savings and research, owning your first home can be possible with or without 20 percent down.
Living downtown has benefits. To begin, downtown remains a business, entertainment,cultural and historic hub. It almost doesn’t matter which city you live in,there’s something that you can do downtown. Live in a major city and you may have to go downtown to pay bills, complete government forms and take licensing exams.
Rewards of Going Downtown
Ask a tourist. Downtown is the spot to be at when you’re exploring a place. There’s so much diversity, vibrant energy and possibility downtown. If you’re on the fence about moving downtown, check out the below benefits associated with downtown living:
- Close to public transportation – Move downtown in a city like Boston and you may not need a car, especially if you work close to where you live. If you do own a car, you could save on gas and wear and tear, because a subway or bus station will generally be only a block or so away.
- Businesses within walking distance – Shopping stores don’t line downtown sidewalks the way they did a few decades ago. However, businesses of all sizes still have offices and corporate headquarters downtown.
- In the heart of the city – Downtown is the heart of a city. It’s a place that’s rich with history. Many tourist information and cultural centers are located downtown.
- Nightlife – Restaurants and clubs stay open late downtown. You can grab a ride home with a friend or take a taxi if you live downtown and rely on public transportation.
- Cultural events – Parades, festivals and cultural celebrations come right through the center of the city. Depending on where you live downtown, you might be able to stick your head out of the window of your home and watch a major holiday parade.
- Really get to the know the city that you live in – Get out and explore your city. Jump on a subway, train or bus from a downtown stop and visit an area on the outer skirts.
- Meet diverse people – Big cities attract people from all walks of life. You might strike up new friendships or learn another language.
- Might see the mayor – While you’re working or having fun downtown, you might run into the mayor, especially if you’re in the habit of attending local community events.
- Attend local government events like city council meetings – Make a positive impact on your city by participating in local government meetings. Let your voice be heard.
- More housing options – Apartments, houses and condos, including storefront dwellings, are downtown. The only option you may not have as it regards housing is a large yard.
You may absolutely love living downtown if you are in your twenties and eager to travel more than you are to settle down. Having a large home with an expansive yard may not be important to you. If your friends live downtown, renting or buying an apartment, condo or house in the heart of the city could keep you within moments of your cronies. As with any living situation, rewards associated with living downtown depend on your lifestyle, family makeup and overall life plans.All said, if you live in a growing city, you’d be hard pressed to find a more happening spot than downtown.
Robert Frost's poem, Mending Wall, poses an interesting question about whether "good fences make good neighbors."
On one hand, there are several advantages to having your property surrounded by a fence, especially if you or your neighbors have dogs or small children running around.
If you happen to have a vegetable garden or fruit trees in your backyard, a well-constructed fence can also help keep out ravenous deer, rabbits, raccoons, skunks, foxes, and other wildlife.
There's no doubt that fences can serve a variety of useful purposes, ranging from privacy and safety to wildlife control and home security. While it can be beneficial to mark off your property boundaries and keep your backyard private, a question to consider is whether a large fence -- especially a new one -- sends the wrong message to your neighbors. Striking the perfect balance between privacy and friendly neighbor relations can be tricky at times, but there are compelling reasons to stay on good terms.
- Security reasons: If you take the time to chat with your neighbors every now and then, they'll have more of a tendency to keep an eye on your property when you're on vacation or just away for the day -- especially if you ask them. People tend to be more helpful, observant, and protective of others with whom they share a bond or have a sense of community. In contrast to that, if they don't even know your name and haven't exchanged more than a few words with you in years, they'll be less inclined to pay attention to who's on your property and whether they belong there or not.
- Sharing resources: Keeping the lines of communication open with your neighbors is beneficial on many levels. When you have a friendly, ongoing relationship, you won't feel reluctant to ask them for help when your car battery's dead and you're running late for work. Trusted neighbors can also provide you with valuable information, such the names of dependable home improvement contractors or how to arrange a free pickup of household clutter that you want to donate to the Salvation Army.
- Quality of life: When you're regularly greeted by friendly neighbors, your neighborhood will feel like more of a welcoming and upbeat place to live. It may be necessary for you to set the example or make the first move, but once a friendly atmosphere has been created in a neighborhood, it's relatively easy to keep it going.
So while you may not want your neighbors to get in the habit of stopping by your home to chew the fat, every day, it can be worth your while to greet them by name, offer help whenever possible, and be the kind of good neighbor you'd like them to be. Setting a positive example may be all that's needed to establish a cooperative relationship and possibly even a life-long friendship. And, if all else fails, keep in mind the words of Benjamin Franklin: "Love thy neighbor, but don't pull down your hedge!"