First Christian Church

Category: Financial Services

Building A New Home | Good Reasons To Upgrade The Insulation

By Preston Guyton

Good Reasons to Upgrade Insulation

Making your home more energy efficient can have a huge impact on your monthly energy bills as well as the environmental footprint created by your family. One of the best ways to make your home green and save on your utilities each month is to increase your homes insulation. Let’s take a look at the reasons to upgrade insulation in your home.

What Are the Best Insulation Upgrades?

Before we start on why good insulation is important you need to know the best ways to upgrade insulation in your home. First and foremost you need to reduce any drafts or air leaks in the home. A properly sealed home will retain the heating or air conditioning much longer, which means your heat and air units will run less often. Next you should consider upgrading to energy-efficient windows if your home is older. Single pane windows are one of the biggest sources of heat loss in an older home. Now that you’re home is airtight and has energy-efficient windows increasing the R-value of the insulation in the walls and ceiling will have a dramatic effect on your homes ability to stay warm in the winter and cold in the summer.

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Energy Bill Savings

There is no question that heating and cooling bills are going up across the country. By making the insulation upgrades mentioned above you will save yourself money each month because far less energy will be required to heat or cool your home. With the current tax credits on energy-efficient upgrades and the low costs of improving your insulation, your home improvements will quickly pay for themselves.

Reduced Environmental Impact

The carbon emissions released from the burning of fossil fuels and the creation of electricity are incredibly detrimental to our environment. Any steps that you and your family can take to reduce your energy usage will make your carbon footprint much smaller. It will also help to limit the number of new power plants that need to be built to compensate for growing populations and their increased energy needs. Slowing or reducing our level of energy usage is one of the best things that can be done to ensure our environment stays healthy.

Increase Your Resale Value

When you go to sell your home the insulation upgrades that you have added can benefit your final sales price. The fact that you can prove that the monthly energy bills during the winter and summer are half the cost of the other homes in your neighborhood will make buyers want to consider your home more strongly. It is a great sales point that will make your home stand out when compared to the rest of the market, and will justify a higher sales price because buyers will be saving money each month due to lower utility bill costs.

Improving your homes insulation is a great way to save on your monthly bills, while reducing the environmental impact, and improving your home’s resale value. Whether it is new construction or an older home, there are many ways to make your home more energy efficient. When the upgrades are matched with tax credits, the improvements become very affordable and quickly begin to pay you back for your investment.

About the Author: Preston Guyton is a Realtor and Custom Home Builder serving the

Surfside Beach real estate

market. For more information on

Surfside Beach homes for sale

, contact Preston today and visit

PrestonGuyton.com

.

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Can I Get A Mortgage After A Foreclosure Or Short Sale?

By Patricia Payne

If you are trying to buy a home after a foreclosure or short sale you are probably concerned that you will not be able to get approved for a home loan. Though it may be difficult to get a mortgage after a foreclosure or short sale, it is not impossible

Getting a Mortgage after a Foreclosure

The housing market collapse hit all 50 states hard and resulted in many homes being lost to foreclosure. The number of foreclosures skyrocketed and the housing market has changed forever. The housing market changes are on many different levels. One way the housing market has been forced to change is how lenders perceive foreclosures on loan applications.

As you can imagine, there are some lenders that will not approve a mortgage for anyone whohad a foreclosure in their past. Some lenders may approve a mortgage after a specified period of time (1 year, 2 years, 5, years, 7 years, etc).

There are absolutely lenders that are approving mortgages for buyers who had a foreclosure in their past. These lenders will consider the overall circumstances behind the foreclosure and consider your overall application. You should be prepared to give a very detailed explanation about why the home went into foreclosure. Supporting documentation is also helpful

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Speak to your loan officer upfront about your foreclosure and make sure he or she thinks you can still get approved before you waste valuable time.

Getting a Mortgage after a Short Sale

A short sale may not be as damaging to your credit report as a foreclosure. It is important to know that a short sale can be quite damaging, nonetheless. Some lenders have eased their guidelines for approving mortgages for people who had a short sale in their past. This is because many homeowners were forced to sell their homes below what they owed because of the crash in home values.

Keep in mind that the impact of a short sale on your mortgage application will also depend on how it was reported to the credit bureaus. You should get a copy of your credit report from all three credit bureaus and find out how the short sale was reported (if at all). The vast majority of mortgage applications ask about foreclosures and bankruptcy and not about short sales.

Speak to your loan officer about this upfront so you do not waste time.

Getting a Mortgage After a Short Sale or Foreclosure – The Bottom Line

The bottom line is you can be approved for a mortgage after a foreclosure or short sale. Find lenders that clearly state they offer mortgages to buyers with a past foreclosure or short sale. Know what is and what is not on your credit report and be upfront with the lender.

If you do your research and find the right lender you can be approved for a mortgage after a foreclosure or short sale.

This article is intended for general information. Always seek sound financial and legal advice before making any financial decision.

About the Author: Helpful mortgage information at

Online-Home-Mortgage.net

P. Payne works for

OHM Mortgage and Foreclosure Information Site

providing answers to all those questions people need to know.

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Straight Talk On Variable Annuities}

Submitted by: Larry Greenberg

Todays well-informed consumer knows that many variable annuitieswith their high costs and complicated featuresare a confusing maze of smoke and mirrors. But today there are simple, low-cost annuities that can offer consumers a better value. Below are three common questions that I often hear about variable annuities.

1. Question: Will the steep cost of variable annuity insurance fees cut into my returns?

Fact: There are low-cost annuities designed to charge minimal insurance fees and preserve the value of tax-deferral.

Most variable annuities charge asset based insurance fees such as a mortality and expense (M&E) fee. The average insurance fees for a typical VA are 1.33 percent of assets annually, according to Morningstar data as of December 31, 2008. Critics are quick to point out that such fees can erode the growth of your portfolio over the long term, and these fees can reach thousands or tens of thousands of dollars each year in the case of affluent investors with substantial balances.

The good news is that there are now low cost variable annuities that charge far less, and products are constantly evolving to provide you with better value.

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2. Question: I understand annuities sometimes can pay the sales person high commissions.

Fact: There are new variable annuities that do not pay a commission of any kind.

Most variable annuities pay the salesperson a commission, generally in the five- to seven-percent range. The commissioned salesperson is working for the company that pays them to sell the variable annuitywhich may result in a conflict of interest.

As Wall Street Journal columnist Jonathan Clements wrote, Variable annuities are a favorite with unscrupulous investment advisers, who can collect ridiculously high commissions by foisting these turkeys onto unsuspecting investors. 1

New no-commission variable annuities are designed with two important goals. First, no-commission VAs help keep costs low, so they can provide you with cost-effective tax-deferred accumulation. Second, no-commission VAs are perfectly aligned with the mission of fee-only advisors, who do not accept commissions from any of the products that they recommend, allowing them to uphold their fiduciary obligation to you and provide you with the most objective financial advice.

3. Question: Is it true that some death benefits riders can drain variable annuity returns?

Fact: There are simple variable annuities that offer a basic death benefit at no extra charge.

A basic death benefit can guarantee that your beneficiaries will receive the current contract value, typically without the delays of probate.

Enhanced death benefits, which are generally designed to hedge against market downturns or rising inflation, can cost you an additional 50 basis points per year or more. While some investors may believe an enhanced death benefit is worth the extra cost, these insurance fees can cut into your returns.

If your objective is efficient wealth transfer, you may want to look at other possibilities. For example, if you are insurable, a term-life contract may be a more cost-efficient alternative. Unlike variable annuity assets, life insurance is not subject to ordinary income taxes when passed on to beneficiaries.

1 Defending a Much-Maligned Investment: When Variable Annuities Make Sense, Jonathan Clements, Wall Street Journal, October 20, 2004

About the Author: Laurence P. Greenberg is President and CEO of Jefferson National, which developed Monument Advisor, the first flat insurance fee variable annuity. See the impact fees and charges may actually have on your savings by taking the challenge at

AnnuityRescueCenter.com

and

PowerofTaxDeferral.com

. For more information or to receive a prospectus, visit www.jeffnat.com or call 1-866-WHY-FLAT (866-949-3528).

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