Lighting The Way: Home Ownership




Why Escrows Can Increase in Fixed-Rate Mortgages

12.20.15

Explaining Increasing Escrow: With 2016 just around the corner, many families are looking at their budgets for next year and wondering how the mortgage payment will fit into their finances. Did your mortgage payment increase even though you have a fixed-rate mortgage? That’s because of an increased escrow payment. With any mortgage, there are two reasons why your escrow could increase:

 

  1. Regular Yearly IncreaseHOC 1

Your monthly mortgage payment includes more than just the principal and interest on your loan.  It also includes money that goes into an escrow account that pays your property taxes and homeowners insurance.  It is completely normal for your mortgage payment to go up a little bit every year as property taxes increase.  Some of the increase that you’re  seeing on your  2016 mortgage payments is simply your mortgage company anticipating that your taxes will rise, and trying to adjust your payment to make sure that your escrow account will have the funds to pay the taxes.

 

  1. Increase Due to Escrow Shortage

     The reason why our payments are going up more than we are used to is because the mortgage companies underestimated the amount that our property taxes would increase…


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Adams School Condos become new home for Boston Marathon bombing survivor

7.23.14

Sitting on the couch in her new living room at the Adams School Condominiums, Karen McWatters talks about the blue and green rug underfoot – her first purchase for her new home. She built the room around its ocean-like hues, adding green pillows and sea-glass colored vases and candle holders. The whale décor scattered around the condo is a coincidence, she says – her new husband, Kevin, is a fan of the Hartford Whalers ice hockey team, as evidenced by the two ball caps that have prominent (if begrudging, on her part) placement on the console table.

Karen McWatters on porchShe explains that her recovery has hit a bump, and she needs another surgery to walk comfortably on her prosthetic leg. She faces weeks of post-surgery recovery in a wheelchair. She’s all the more thankful now for her new home, which is fully handicap-accessible.

No matter their provenance, the nautical touches seem right at home in the Munjoy Hill condo, where bay windows afford a glimpse of the ocean. Karen closed on the condo last August, and she’s looking forward to walking down to the ocean this summer. Even though…


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Protecting yourself from deceptive debt collection practices

8.23.13

Nearly 15% of all Americans show at least one item in collection on their credit report, and the average amount of debt in collection is $1,400. Debt collection is a $12.2 billion industry in the United States. Banks and other creditors may collect their own debt, and they can also sell off debt to third parties, which can also choose to collect the debt or sell it off. As a result, it is not surprising that debt collectors sometimes engage in practices that intimidate and harm consumers.

Many debt collection companies play by the rules and treat consumers fairly, but those that don’t can wreak havoc on your finances. Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, all covered persons or service providers are legally required to refrain from committing unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices. Any entity that is not the original creditor is subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and is also legally required to refrain from committing unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices in the attempted collection of a consumer debt.

But what kinds of debt-collection practices should you be wary of? The following practices are typically deemed to be illegal.

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Spring home maintenance tasks to protect your investment

5.2.13

Spring seems to finally be upon us. This warmer weather may have you dreaming of relaxing outside with a glass of lemonade, but if you’re a homeowner, spring means it’s time for some home maintenance work. Maintenance performed regularly can help maximize the lifespan of your home and its systems and prevent expensive problems and repairs.

Here’s a checklist of tasks you should tackle to keep your home safe and efficient.

Outside

  •    Inspect your gutters. The April showers probably alerted you to any leaks or blockages. Make sure gutters are clear of leaves and debris, and that downspouts are also clear and drain away from your foundation.
  •    Check your roof. From the ground, inspect your roof for any missing, loose or curling shingles, or nails that have popped up. If you spot any problems, contact a professional roofer.
  •    Repair cracks in concrete or asphalt. Winter can be harsh on driveways and walkways, so repair any cracks you find before they get worse and become a hazard. Spring is also a good time to seal your driveway to help extend its life.
  •    If you have a deck, give it a once-over. Decks can also be damaged due to heavy snows like…

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What people are saying about the value of our Homebuyer Education Courses

4.18.13

“I didn’t realize all that was involved with the home buying process, but that has changed by taking this class.”

“More helpful than other homebuyer classes I’ve taken.”

“The best $15 I ever spent.”

We love getting this feedback on the evaluations of our Homebuyer Education Courses. It means we’re succeeding in making sure people enter into homeownership with all the knowledge they need to be successful and to sustain their investment for the long-term. (And yes, our classes are just $15.)

A recent study by NeighborWorks (of which Avesta Housing is a chartered member) found that buyers who go through a pre-purchase counseling program are one-third less likely to fall behind on their mortgage in the first two years of homeownership.

stk130592rkeBri and her fiancé, Chris, recently took the class and used what they learned to buy their first home in Gorham. Here’s what Bri had to say about her experience.

How did you hear about the Homebuyer Education Class?

We got a housing loan through USDA Rural Development and it was a requirement to take this class to get our home mortgage loan. We’re glad it was. 🙂

What did you learn at…


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