Mortgage Market Seminar Summary

mon125027-resized-600Recently, First Financial hosted a free Mortgage Market Seminar. The seminar was intended for anyone looking to buy or sell a home in the current state of the economy. Those in attendance were provided with detailed descriptions of the home buying and mortgage application process as well as advice on how to choose a realtor and lending institution.

The presentation began with an overview of the home buying process and emphasized that it is important not to be intimidated by the long process or be worried about credit score. By finding and choosing the right financial institution with an appropriate lending product and a realtor that one feels comfortable with, this process can be much easier. In order to choose the right financial institution, it is necessary for one to understand all the costs of owning and maintaining a home and determining how much he or she can afford. Some of the most common expenses of owning a home are the mortgage payments covering principal and interest, taxes and insurance, and upkeep. It is recommended that homeowners also set aside a reserve of cash for unforeseen expenses or emergencies.

Once a financial institution has been found, the potential home buyer needs to be approved. The difference between pre-approval and pre-qualification is that the first is a formal commitment from the lender and requires verification of income, funds on deposit, and credit report. When choosing a realtor and attorney, it’s recommended you choose someone with whom you are comfortable with and not make a decision based solely on fees.

No one should ever allow themselves to be persuaded into an agreement or contract about which they feel doubtful or uncomfortable with. It’s also encouraged to ask for closing credits and make your purchase offer contingent upon things such as affordable financing and satisfactory home inspection.

On that note, it is highly recommended that potential home owners have the house inspected. It might cost you a few hundred dollars now, but it gives peace of mind and might potentially save you from thousands of dollars in costs that could have accidentally been overlooked.

The seminar concluded with describing the differences between a fixed and an adjustable rate and closing costs. If you or anyone you know has any questions regarding a mortgage or a future seminar at First Financial, contact us.

Budgeting Seminar Summary – How to Organize Your Finances

bankinginoneplace-resized-600We recently held a seminar on How to Organize Your Finances in 4 Easy Steps. Attendees were taught about the importance of creating and sticking to a budget or spending plan that you decide upon to track what you earn, spend, and save.

The seminar began with educating attendees about the “grandparent method” of budgeting – in the past our grandparents typically budgeted by placing cash in various envelopes labeled by bill name.  For example, when money was needed for groceries, it was taken from the grocery envelope.  Today it’s a little bit different— we live in a typically cashless society where plastic cards and automatic or online bill payments are virtually the norm.  However, attendees were shown how the grandparent budgeting method can easily be applied to today’s digital world.

The seminar emphasized the significance of creating a plan of what you think you’ll spend for the month at the beginning of the month – and tracking it on your computer in an Excel spreadsheet, or by using a budgeting program such as Microsoft Money, online banking, or an app on your mobile phone.

Regardless of the method you choose to create your budget, you should enter your recurring or fixed monthly expenses first, including: mortgage/rent; monthly utilities; and any debts such as auto loans, student loans, or credit card.  Next, enter your flexible expenses, or things you have control over – such as: entertainment, food, clothing, and household expenses.  Seminar attendees were given a budgeting worksheet to use, and shown how to manage their expenses and input their income regardless of whether they were planning for just themselves, a couple, or a family budget.

While budgeting might be “scary” for some, don’t be afraid to have fun with your budget! Make a game of saving your money, and paying your bills.  People are afraid of money – especially of not having it.  By creating an organized plan for your lifestyle, you won’t ever need to be afraid of not having money again.

Stay tuned for upcoming monthly consumer seminars! Enter your email in the subscribe box — located at the top right of this blog — to subscribe to seminar previews and more from First Scoop.