Tips & Advice
How can you negotiate a good price with a car dealer?
If you want to negotiate a deal with a car dealer know what you want going in, understand the market value of the car, and have a budget. If a dealer will not negotiate, simply go to their competition (even between dealers of the same brand)--someone will lower the rate to get you into the car. Be sure to shop late in the year or at year-end sales when dealers are purging inventory for the new models. here are also many places to shop online and get a new car without even leaving your home.
Is it better to get a car loan from a bank or a dealer?
It is better to get a loan from the lender that gives you the best deal. Lending institutions are in this to make money and that can fuel fierce competition for your business, which gives you the advantage. Dealerships can offer great financing deals if you look around and shop the competition – and so can banks. Get rates and compare. Chances are good someone will look to beat competitor’s quotes, especially dealerships that are pressured to make sales quotas, often in lieu of actual profit on the vehicle.
How much of a down payment is required to buy a car?
All down payments are different and are determined by several factors, starting with your credit. If you have good credit you might qualify for no down payment. How much is the car? Are you buying or leasing? Is it a new or used car? Is it a dealership or an independent car lot? What are your financial capabilities? All of these will factor into your down payment and future payments. Be aware that if you go with no down payment, your actual monthly payments will be higher. You are still purchasing something over a period of time, and they have to recoup that money somewhere. Some dealers use no down payment as an incentive to lure you in, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are paying less.
Can you trade in a car that is not paid off?
Absolutely! It is very common to trade in a car that is not fully paid off. The dealership assumes the remainder of the contract and you get a new (or pre-owned) vehicle.
Do car dealerships buy cars?
Many, but not all, car dealerships will buy your car. Practically all of them will accept your car as a trade-in if you are buying a car from them. Used car dealers make their living on buying and selling used cars. If they think can make money on your car, even if it is as a trade-in that puts you in a new car of theirs, it’s a good bet they will buy your car. Luckily there are so many options now for selling your car, you should not have a problem finding a buyer quickly, just with a little research.
What is a reverse mortgage loan?
A reverse mortgage is a type of mortgage loan that's open to homeowners who are 62 or older. These loans allow these homeowners to convert a portion of their home equity into cash. With a reverse mortgage, the borrower doesn't make monthly payments to the lender. Instead, the loan is repaid to the lender via proceeds raised from the sale of the property after the borrower moves out of the home or dies.
How to get a home mortgage
- Take a look at your credit. Strong credit can help you get a mortgage loan at attractive interest rates. Before applying for a loan, take a look at your credit score. A FICO credit score of 670 to 739 is considered good, while a score of 740 to 850 is considered very good or exceptional. If your score is weak, consider taking steps to improve your credit before seeking a loan. You can improve your credit by paying off balances and limiting credit card usage to 20 percent of available credit.
- Know what size loan you can afford. Many experts say your mortgage loan shouldn't exceed 2.5 times your annual salary. Your monthly payment will be dictated by the size of your loan and the amount of your down-payment. You can reduce the size of your monthly payment by increasing the size of your down-payment.
- Get pre-approved by a mortgage lender. Before beginning your home search, it's a good idea to get your loan pre-approved by a mortgage lender. This will let you know how large of a loan you can expect to get. You can use this information to narrow your home search to properties that are priced to fall within the limits of your loan amount.
- Choose a mortgage type. Your choices include a fixed-rate mortgage and an adjustable-rate mortgage, and you can choose a mortgage insured by the government or one that is not.
- Find a home. Once you've found a property you'd like to purchase, the lender will have the property appraised to make sure its value is commensurate with the amount of your mortgage loan. Once the mortgage has been approved, you'll need to do things like order a title search and purchase homeowner's insurance. If you have a government-backed loan, there might be other types of insurance you need to purchase.
- Fixed-rate mortgage. This is a mortgage that has a fixed interest rate over the entire life of the loan. The benefit is that it offers predictable payment terms and the fixed interest rate allows the size of your monthly payment to stay the same year after year.
- Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM). With this type of mortgage, interest rates change from time to time to reflect current market conditions. In many cases, the rate remains fixed for an initial period, and then it is adjusted on a yearly basis. For example, with a 3/1 ARM loan, the 3 in the name indicates that the loan has a fixed interest rate for the first three years. Afterward, the rate is adjusted on a yearly basis, as indicated by the 1.
- Conventional mortgage. This is a mortgage loan that is issued with no government backing. A conventional mortgage might come with a fixed rate or an adjustable rate.
- Government-insured mortgage. This is a mortgage that is backed by the government, such as Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). A government-backed loan might come with a fixed rate or an adjustable rate, and typically requires a smaller downpayment than a non-government issues loan.
- Conforming mortgage. A conforming mortgage is one that falls within loan limits set by the FHA. These limits vary by real estate market. Expensive real estate markets like Los Angeles and San Francisco have higher loan limits.
- Jumbo mortgage. A jumbo mortgage is one that exceeds loan limits set by the FHA. In most markets, a jumbo loan is one that exceeds roughly $400,000. However, in expensive markets like New York City and San Francisco, the limits are higher; in these markets, a jumbo loan is one that exceeds roughly $600,000. Jumbo loans usually require higher down-payments and excellent credit.
How to find the owner of a vacant property
- Research the property's tax and mortgage records. These records are usually available online. Tax and mortgage records should be able to provide you with the name and address of the property's owner, and they might also provide you with a phone number.
- Ask the neighbors. In some cases, neighboring residents will be able to provide you with the name of the person who owns a vacant property, and maybe even a forwarding address and phone number. When communicating with neighbors, make it clear that you're someone who's interested in purchasing the property. Otherwise, neighbors may think you're a debt collector, and this could make them reluctant to provide information.
- Hire a skip tracer. A competent skip tracer can help you find the owner of a vacant property. These private investigators are skilled at locating people, and they are often able to generate results within 24 hours. It can cost as little as $20 per search.
What is a mortgage payment?
A mortgage payment is made by a borrower to a lender that has provided a loan used to finance a real estate purchase. This payment typically includes both principal and interest, and it's made until the original loan has been fully repaid. Mortgage payments are typically made on a monthly basis, and these loans usually come with 15- or 30-year terms.