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Resources For Homeowners

The homeowner program is focused on creative and innovative ways to get the most out of homeownership by making fiscally prudent, fully informed decisions as it relates to refinancing, home improvements/modifications, home maintenance and budgeting.

Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance is insurance that covers your home.

There are many different types of homeowner's insurance policies available; in fact there are thousands. It all depends on the different options you go with, your deductibles, your coverage amounts, etc.. in addition to all the various type of riders or supplements that you add on. A basic Homeowners insurance policy covers natural disasters (such as fires, etc.) and burglary. However, it can also cover the vandalization of your home, lawsuits from people injured in your home, defamation of property by an animal, etc. It's good idea to read your policy to further identify which aspects are covered.

Of course, the more additions that you add on to your homeowner's insurance policy, the more expensive it will cost. In addition, the higher the deductible, the lower the cost of the homeowners insurance policy.

In addition, you should also make an inventory list of what you feel needs to be protected in your home. Do you have a lot of valuables that you think should be protected? Are you in a flood zone? (Note that homeowners insurance does not cover floods; you will need to contact your auto insurance agent) Do you have coyotes, birds or other wildlife coming through your neighborhood? These are all important questions to answer. Before you take out a homeowner's insurance policy, you should talk with your homeowner's insurance agent to decide which policy would be the best for you and your family.

Why should you do regular home maintenance?

  • To maintain the value of the property.
  • A well-maintained home usually sells more readily and usually brings a higher price.
  • A well-maintained house is more comfortable.
  • Regular care minimizes unexpected repair work and expense.
  • Regular small repairs keep costs from becoming larger.
  • A lender's agreement usually requires the owner to maintain the property to protect the lender's financial interest.

Home Maintenance vs. Home Repair

Home maintenance is the process of cleaning roof and gutters, cleaning or painting outside wall surfaces, cleaning floors and walls, vacuuming carpet, keeping sink and shower drains running freely, etc. and Home Repair is replacing broken glass in windows or doors, replacing warped or worn shingles, repairing a cracked or heaved sidewalk or driveway, replacing worn out faucets, repairing a broken stair rail, etc.

Homeowner Maintenance Checklist

After Move-In Check List

  • BATHROOMS & MAIN FLOORS
  • Apply grout sealer to ceramic tile grout if you wish to give the grout additional protection against discoloration from spills and stains.

  • ELECTRIC
  • Locate the main circuit breaker in the electric panel box and show family members how to turn it off in case of an emergency.

  • FIRE EXTINGUISHER
  • Purchase a general purpose fire extinguisher for each floor of the home plus one small kitchen extinguisher in case of grease fires.

    Demonstrate proper usage to family members in case of an emergency.

  • FIRST AID KIT
  • Keep first aid materials and a book on first aid procedures in an accessible location.

  • FLOORING
  • Attach furniture protectors underneath furniture legs to protect floor finishes.

  • HOUSEHOLD TOOLS
  • Acquire basic tools to help you with normal home maintenance chores, including: pliers, adjustable wrench, flatblade and Phillips-head screwdrivers, claw hammer, hand saw, tape measure, caulk and caulking gun, putty knife, paint roller and brush, power drill and drill bits, assorted nails, brads, screws, nuts, bolts, sandpaper, utility knife, toilet plunger, flashlight and batteries.

  • LANDSCAPING
  • Review and implement recommendations in the Landscaping and Grading Section of this Manual.

  • PLUMBING
  • Locate the main water line shut-off valve and all individual plumbing fixture valves and show all family members how to close them in the case of a plumbing emergency.

 

    Refinancing

    Deciding to Refinance

    Refinancing can potentially save you money each month, making your budget easier to handle--but in some cases, it can also save you hundreds and perhaps thousands of dollars in interest payments by the time your entire mortgage is paid in full.

    Here are the main reasons why homeowners choose to refinance:

  • Save on Interest Payments

  • You might be able to refinance your home loan to a lower interest rate than your current mortgage rate. A mortgage lender can help you determine whether the interest savings are enough to offset the cost of the refinanced mortgage--with a significant rate drop, you can potentially save thousands of dollars over the full term of your loan.
  • Lower Your Monthly Payments

  • Many homeowners refinance in order to ease their monthly payments. Refinancing to a lower interest rate is one way to do this, but in addition, homeowners can extend the term of their loan to reduce their monthly payments. You can choose a 30- or 40-year fixed-rate loan for the remaining principal on your current loan.
  • The decision to refinance should only be made if the long-term savings outweigh the initial expenses. To calculate your break-even point, divide the cost of the refi by your monthly savings. The resulting figure represents the number of months you will need to stay in the home to make the strategy work.
  • Don't select a new mortgage based only on its annual percentage rate.
  • Also evaluate the term of the loan, whether the interest rate is fixed or variable, and the relative merits of paying up-front fees in exchange for a lower rate.
  • Your current lender already knows you and has your financial information on file, so you may be able to get a better deal that way, instead of going to a new lender.
  • To get the best possible refinancing deal, you'll need to shop around, crunch some numbers, and ask a lot of questions.

Provide Spare Cash

One of the best reasons to refinance is to make home improvements or repairs. Such improvements may add to the value of your home, and you can wrap the costs into your monthly mortgage payments. Some homeowners choose to refinance into one mortgage, while others opt for a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit as the best way to access the equity value in their home.
Freed-up cash can also be used for other purchases or for college tuition. The best expenditures are investments rather than frivolous purchases--remember that you are reducing the equity in your home when you take out some of the value in cash.

Pay off Your Home Mortgage Sooner

Would you like to own your home free and clear as soon as possible? Consider refinancing your home to a shorter term, such as 15 years. While 15- and 30-year home loans are standard, mortgage lenders are also willing to consider home loans on your terms.

Increase Your Financial Security

If you have an adjustable-rate home loan, you might want to refinance to a fixed-rate loan so that your mortgage payments will stay the same for the entire loan period. This is particularly helpful if you expect interest rates to rise.
While there are seemingly as many reasons to refinance as there are homeowners, every decision to refinance should be based on solid calculations. Test out different refinancing scenarios to see how long it will take to recoup your costs.

Shop around and conduct a detailed cost assessment (with a financial professional, if      necessary) to identify which mortgage offers the greatest financial benefits.
Read the entire contract before signing. Don't let anyone pressure you or rush you to make      a hasty decision.
If refinancing results in lower monthly payments, use those savings to pursue other      important goals, such as preparing for retirement and college costs.
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NID-HCA is a diverse network of advocacy groups and individuals, organizations, housing counselors, real estate professionals, community groups, civic organizations and faith-based organizations committed to ensuring fair housing opportunities for all in urban/minority communities throughout the country. As an advocacy, communications, education and resource network, NID-HCA works to provide its partners and the communities they serve with information to assist them in their advocacy efforts to address issues ranging from increasing access to quality housing and mortgage products and eliminating housing disparities.