Should You Refinance?

You may not need a map to find your hidden treasure. It could be, literally, right beneath your feet. Sometimes, the best way to get the most out of owning a home is to refinance your mortgage. Refinancing can be a powerful tool that could help you lower monthly payments, pay off your mortgage faster, or save tens of thousands on interest in the long-run.. Many don’t understand how to refinance and others wonder if it’s the right decision. Here are some factors to consider.

Take Advantage of Low Interest Rates

In the past, interest rates were high and the amount of buyers was low. Today, it’s not uncommon to see rates below 3%. Interest rates are one of the biggest factors to consider when it comes to getting a home loan or a refinance.

The Low Interest Rate Advantage

Let’s say you have an interest rate on a 30-year mortgage for $300,000 at 5%*. Your monthly payment would be around $1,610. If some years have gone by and the amount you owe on the home has dropped to $260,000, a refinance could make your monthly financial picture look a lot prettier. Here’s how:

If your lender offers you a rate of 2.9%* on $260,000, your mortgage plummets to $1,082. Because you were paying $1,610 before, you will be saving $528 every month.
For the sake of simplicity, this example doesn’t take into account taxes and insurance, but if you were paying private mortgage insurance (PMI) before you refinanced, the lower principle and higher home value would free you up from that as well, resulting in additional savings.

Refinancing to Save on Your Mortgage as an Investment Strategy

With the help of some basic investment tools, you can save even more when you refinance. If your budget can sustain your current mortgage payment, you could still refinance for the purpose of using the money you save—to make more money. Here’s are some ways to use your refinancing savings as an investment vehicle:

  • Take the money you save and invest in CDs (certificates of deposit). You can save up and then invest or you can start as soon as you hit the minimum and open several at once.
  • Use the money to contribute to a retirement plan. This is one of the most profitable techniques because the money gains interest over a longer period of time. Eventually, you can have a pretty little nest egg waiting for you when retirement rolls around.
  • Invest in the stock market. Whether you go with traditional stocks, ETFs, or indices, a conservative strategy can still provide handsome rewards.
  • Invest in a business. You can put money into a business idea that’s been spinning in the back of your head for a while.
  • Refinancing for Home Improvement

    Home improvement projects that have been lingering for a while are easy to knock out if you have the cash to do it. Whether you want to take your home to the next level for personal reasons or to add to its value, refinancing can help you get your hands on the cash you need.

    If you want to boost your home’s value, you should first check to make sure the uptick in the appraisal is going to be more than the sum of the cost of the refinance and the improvements. It may be best to consult a realtor or do your own comps to figure out how much value you’ll be adding to your home. Here’s how to do it:

    • Find a graph of home values in your area—for your type of home—over the last 10 to 15 years. Print it out. If there’s an upward or downward trend, use a ruler to extrapolate the approximate selling price of your home when you plan to sell it. Alternatively, you can consult a licensed real estate agent. A local agent will be able to give you a good idea of what is in demand in your area.
    • If you plan on adding a bathroom, bedroom, or other space, find a similar graph for homes with that added feature and do the same thing.
    • Compare the expected value of your house when you may sell to what it would be worth without the remodel.

    If the difference is higher than the cost of your refinancing and remodeling, you will be making a profit.

    When to Think Twice About Refinancing

    If you have a low interest rate already, refinancing may not be worth the cost, especially if you recently purchased your home. If you owe close to what you paid for the home and the refinancing interest rate isn’t much lower than what you currently have, it may not be worth it.

    In addition to that, you should compare the monthly savings to the amount of time you plan to spend in the home, weighed against closing costs. If this is your forever home, a refi might be worth it if everything else is right.

    Consult Homie Loans™***

    Refinancing can be a powerful financial tool. If you’re ready to crack open the treasure chest by refinancing your home, Homie Loans is here to help. Homie Loans has quick turnaround on refinances, so you’re not left hanging. If you find a better rate, we can give you $500 back**. Learn more about Homie Loans today.

    *For illustrative purposes only. Rates Vary. Contact Homie Loans for a quote today.
    **Terms and conditions apply. Click here to learn more.
    ***Homie Loans, NMLS# 1016597, UT MB#8533383, AZ MB# 0945972


    Home Prices vs. Gas Prices

    Last updated on August 27th, 2018

    With mortgage rates hitting 2015 highs last week, one might worry that the housing recovery will lose steam.

    The 30-year fixed climbed to 4.08% per the latest survey from Freddie Mac, up roughly half a percentage point from the lowest levels seen earlier this year.

    Clearly this reduces home buying affordability, and could make it more difficult to both buy and sell a home.

    But as I’ve mentioned before, if you can’t afford a home you’re interested in thanks to an interest rate fluctuation, you might want to reassess the entire decision.

    The good news is that there doesn’t seem to be a strong correlation between homes prices and mortgage rates.

    In other words, just because rates rise doesn’t mean home prices will go down or stop going up. There’s actually data to support this.

    Should We Look at Gas Prices Instead?

    Perhaps a better indicator of home prices is what you pay at the pump, as evidenced by a recent study from Florida Atlantic University and Longwood University.

    The collaborative effort, which used data spanning over 10 years, found that for every $1 decrease in gas prices, the average selling price of a home climbed by 2.4%.

    That’s about $4,000 more per sold property included in the study.

    Additionally, homes seem to sell more quickly when gas prices are low. Again, for that $1 per gallon decrease in gasoline price, the average time to sell a property falls by 25 days.

    There’s also a better chance of closing a sale when gas prices are lower. Indeed, that same $1 decrease was also shown to increase a seller’s chances of closing the sale by about 20 percent.

    So if you want homes to fly off the shelves at higher prices, lower the price of gas, not interest rates.

    If you’re wondering why gas prices matter, just consider consumer confidence.

    When prices at the pump are lower, consumers have more disposable income, which equates to a larger pool of prospective home buyers.

    That larger pool of buyers means a home has a better chance of selling and at a higher price.

    Bennie D. Waller, Ph.D., professor of finance and real estate and director of the Center for Financial Responsibility at Longwood University, also noted that the effort put forth by the listing broker increases as gas prices fall.

    The idea being that they have more money to spend on marketing a home, and maybe it’s cheaper to drive clients around town.

    Over the past year, gas prices have fallen about $1 per gallon despite a recent uptick during the past two months, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).

    Gas prices this summer are also expected to be the lowest they’ve been since 2009.

    Don’t Rely on Gas Prices to Determine Housing Affordability

    Interestingly, gas prices are very volatile and certainly not locked in. We don’t prepay for gas.

    So consumers may think they’re better off for a few months while shopping for a home but if and when gas prices rise that supposed benefit quickly disappears.

    You can almost liken it to an adjustable-rate mortgage, which may start at a low interest rate but eventually adjusts higher and could land a borrower in a home they can’t really afford.

    That’s the strange thing about the data. A low fixed interest rate truly matters long-term since it’s what you’ll be paying for years to come, whereas low gas prices can be very short-lived and not really that beneficial.

    And let’s face it; gas prices are never going to stay put so choosing to buy a home on that basis isn’t very wise.

    But this might tell us when it’s a better time to sell your home, knowing there are more anxious buyers out there willing to pay top dollar.

    Perhaps you can even snap up a relative bargain when gas prices are high.

    About the Author: Colin Robertson

    Before creating this blog, Colin worked as an account executive for a wholesale mortgage lender in Los Angeles. He has been writing passionately about mortgages for nearly 15 years.


    Top Places to Retire in Arizona

    Arizonans say it best with the famous truism, “In Arizona, we salt margaritas, not sidewalks.” The perfect escape from brutal winters, Arizona has attracted d retirees with its picturesque landscape, warmer temps, and laid back vibes. It’s no wonder; after years of hard work and dedication to the wellbeing of others, retirees deserve all that Arizona has to offer.

    The soothing weather and chill atmosphere comes at a price (and it’s a low one). Arizona’s cost of living is significantly less than that of most north, northeast, and midwestern states. On top of that, groceries, healthcare, and miscellaneous expenses fall significantly below the national average. Things in Arizona aren’t just easy on the wallet, they’re also convenient. Arizona offers a diverse arrangement of shops, eateries and retail outlets. Ready to move here? To make things even easier, there are plenty of 55+ communities which are full of amenities and activities. Here’s a list of the top active adult communities in Arizona to check out.

    Sun City Grand feels much more like a resort than your typical “community,” and if you want a pristine active, yet relaxing atmosphere, Sun City has you covered. Packed with four golf courses, Sun City Grand offers a variety of terrain and a mix of forgiving and challenging holes.
    The fitness department is ready to satisfy your exercise needs, regardless of whether you want to go all-out or take it step-by-step. Residents can take group classes or get one-on-one guidance to progress towards their goals.

    The homes in Sun City Grand focus on luxury in both their amenities and architecture. They range in size from 1,096 to 3,388 square feet. Each residence has its own personal style, décor and feel, so residents aren’t forced to settle for cookie cutter design; you can choose something that suits your unique tastes.
    Sun City Grand also provides residents with an immersive community experience. Whether you engage in any of Sun City’s many activities, golf, or community meetings, it’s easy to get swept up in the energy of one of Arizona’s best retirement communities.

    Featuring a range of custom builders and designers, the homes at The Trilogy provide residents with a unique living experience. Unlike some Phoenix retirement communities, you can choose the builder you want according to the style that suits you best. And regardless of which home you choose, you get an impressive list of amenities, including modern appliances, plush furniture, plenty of light and layouts designed to make hosting friends and family easy and fun.

    The Trilogy has several options to keep you busy and entertained—if you choose—and many ways to kick back and unwind. One element that sets The Trilogy apart from some other Arizona retirement communities is its network of trails and parks. Residents can immerse themselves in nature while working up a nice sweat through the twists and turns. Vistancia also boasts two lap pools, four tennis courts, indoor basketball, modern fitness centers, the Blackstone Country Club, and more.

    PebbleCreek offers a variety of expansive, convenient floor plans with all the finishings to make your home a haven of comfort. With 21 different options ranging from 1,569 to 3079 square feet, it’s not hard to find something that suits your tastes. And when it comes to “tastes,” PebbleCreek has you more than covered. Its series of restaurants set it apart from many other active adult communities, thanks to their wide selection of flavors and culinary styles. The Tuscany Sports and Aquatics Complex offers many sports and fitness options, as well as both indoor and outdoor swimming and water activities. Its fitness center and outdoor sports courts provide residents with more than enough options for getting and staying in shape.

    In addition to Eagle’s Nest and Tuscany Falls right within PebbleCreek’s borders, golfers can enjoy a pass to all seven Robson Resort Communities across Texas and Arizona. Whether you want to keep it local or embark on a little road trip, PebbleCreek has you covered.

    Sun Lakes specializes in fitting each resident with an optimal range of activities. You can choose events and organizations based on your age, which means you can connect with people at similar stages in life. Sun Lakes has several gated communities to choose from and a laundry list of amenities and cool things to get into.

    From driving ranges to golf courses to health clubs and stocked fishing, the challenge isn’t finding something to do; it’s figuring out what to do when. Sun Lakes is also conveniently located near several high tech firms and high-end shopping, restaurants spas, and health care services. Sun Lakes is also only 20 minutes from the city, so residents can easily visit friends in other Phoenix retirement communities.

    Sunland Springs boasts an ideal location, which affords residents views of the Superstition Mountains and easy access to shopping and restaurants and other retirement communities. Residents can also indulge in Sunland Springs’ 27-hole executive golf course or one of a long list of activities. Sunland has everything from basketball to billiards to softball to shuffleboard.

    Another amenity that sets Sunland Springs apart from other Arizona retirement communities is its arts and crafts. Residents can learn ceramics, how to work with stained glass, glass fusing, and even silversmithing.

    Sunland helps residents thrive through community-building clubs and activities. For example, Sunland Springs’ genealogy club only costs $10.00 a year and gives members the chance to investigate new ways of tracking down their ancestral records as well as learn from the efforts of others.

    Request a Tour

    Want to request a tour or virtual tour at one of these amazing communities? Fill out your information here and a Homie team member will be in touch with you shortly.

    Sell Your Home For Free

    For a limited time, Homie will sell your house for free if you buy your new home with us. On top of it all, you can still get up to $2,500 back to save even more money. Sign up to sell your home for free here!

    Read more about Arizona real estate.

    Arizona Real Estate Market Update: June 2020
    The Best Time to Plan a Move in Arizona
    The Top 5 Things to Make Your Home More Valuable in AZ


    7 Tips to Enjoy Debt Free Holidays This Year

    How much money are you planning on spending this year during the holidays?

    For the average American family, it’s a good chunk of change. During the 2017 holiday season, Bank of America found that of those surveyed, they spent on average $1,143 for purchases.

    Another survey found that respondents spent over $600 on gifts for friends, family, and coworkers.

    While being generous is a fantastic quality, some families are struggling to stay debt-free during the holidays.

    Stay Debt Free This Holiday Season

    The good news is that you can spend time with your loved ones and create cherished memories without having to rely on credit cards to cover the bills.

    You’d not only be saving money, but you’d also be reducing stress as you don’t have that debt hanging over you after the celebrations.

    Want to know how? Here are seven ways you can skip the debt this year!

    Create a Budget for the Holidays

    Did I really start this list with making a budget?

    When people hear budgets, their first thought is typically restrictions, but that’s not true.

    A budget is simply a way to prioritize your time and money so you’re getting the most out of both.

    As parents, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with a ton of different invitations to different parties.

    When you have a firm number, you’re better able to keep your spending in check and avoid unnecessary debt.

    Better yet, you can make things even easier on yourself by creating a goal on Mint to automatically track your spending so you can see if you’re getting close to your limit.

    That frees you up to focus on the big picture.

    Don’t Procrastinate on Shopping

    Don’t let advertisers dictate when you buy your gifts. If you’re planning on purchasing gifts, start shopping now if you haven’t already.

    Black Friday can snag you some deals, but it’s also a trap for you to get stuck in long lines and extra spending. That’s a recipe for more stress, which you don’t need.

    Take off some stress and pressure by pacing your purchases. If you created your budget, go ahead and break it down by paycheck.

    That allows you to pick up gifts at more quieter times and give you time to really think about what you’d like to give.

    Become a Deal Hunter

    Black Friday is the best-advertised sale by far during the holidays, but you can still snatch up some fantastic deals.

    If you’re shopping online, use apps and sites like Honey and RetailMeNot to find promo codes and coupons to save even more.

    If you’re a fan of a particular brand, joining their newsletter may give you some additional access to sales and a heads up on steep discounts.

    And once the shopping season is done, you can use a service like to unsubscribe to all those newsletters!

    Think Personal Gifts

    I don’t know who needs to hear this, but it’s important – There’s no rule that you have to buy your gifts.

    Have you thought about instead getting supplies and setting aside a weekend or two to craft something special? You don’t have to be the king or queen of crafts to make something special.

    A personal note with some sweets for your co-worker can be a more meaningful gift than the regular random $20 gift.

    One of our hobbies was homebrewing. Not only did we get to enjoy our work, but we shared. We used to make batches of our friends’ favorite brews as gifts and came up with fun names using inside jokes for the brews.

    Suggest a Gift Exchange

    A trend that’s really helpful with keeping your budget in check are gift exchanges.

    Every person gets assign one gift to buy instead of several small ones for every person in the office or family.

    It’s much less stressful as you’re able to focus on finding a gift for a specific person rather than running around several stores to hit everyone on your list.

    And on the environmental and minimalism side, you’re also reducing the amount of clutter and stuff around the house.

    Keep Travel Cheap

    Many people visit their loved ones during the holiday season and if you have kids, it can get pricey quick.

    Add in that you’re traveling during the popular season and it can be a recipe for a budget disaster. You have to wise with your reservations.

    Use sites like Priceline, Kayak, and Trivago to scour deals and save even more money on your hotel and flights.

    Google Flights can make finding flights much easier as they can track trends with prices and offer suggestions about when to buy.

    When I shared how we snatched up a hotel for $50/night in Los Angeles on Twitter, someone asked how we were able to get it.

    The short answer is we shop around and make sure we take advantage of every deal feature we can find.

    Many travel sites will price match and more are offering express deals with hotels. With this one-two combo, we’ve been able to minimize expenses while still finding wonderful hotels to stay in.

    Take a Frugal and Fun Road Trip

    Out of the estimated 54 million Americans traveled during the holidays, the vast majority did theirs by car. This year will most likely be the same.

    Apps like GasBuddy can help you while you’re on the road to find the best deals on gas. If you’re doing a long trip, that can be a big cost saver.

    When you have kids snacks can slow you down and be a big budget buster if you’re making several stops. The best way to keep costs in check is by packing smart.

    Grab those bigger bags of chips, granola bars, and whatever you enjoy before you leave. You’ll get a much better price than what’s offered at those gas stations on the road.

    Taking along reusable cups can also keep costs down and your car cleaner with less junk in the back seat!

    Your Take

    However you wrap up this year, please enjoy it! I hope these tips help you have a fantastic time with your loved ones this year while skipping the debt and reducing the stress. If you have any tips, you’d like to add, please let me know!

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