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Best Mortgage Rates in Colorado

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At the national level, the median price of homes sold is roughly $320,000, according to the U.S. Census, making Colorado slightly more expensive than the rest of the country.

As the states’ population levels maintain their upswing and growing local economies, including legal cannabis sales, and outdoor recreation that fuel business and real estate expansion, mortgage rates in Colorado may undergo continual adjustments.

Prospective homebuyers should likewise understand the macroeconomic factors that lenders take into consideration during home loan negotiations.

Table of Contents:

Mortgage Rates in Colorado

Today’s Best Home Mortgage Rates
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Mortgage Rate Factors in Colorado

When researching mortgage options in Colorado, borrowers must understand the economic landscape they face as well as the fine print on the mortgage rates for which they may qualify.

Just a fractional disparity in interest rates can produce tens of thousands of dollars in savings over the course of a 30-year mortgage. Taking Colorado’s median home price of $356,700 into account, a 4% mortgage rate equals $14,268 of pure interest, but a 4.5% rate equals $16,051 in interest.

Seven factors to keep in mind when shopping around for the best mortgage or refinance rates in Colorado include:

Borrower Profile

It’s standard practice for lenders to distill common borrower traits into distinct buyer profiles. These profiles effectively represent how risky a borrower may be, incorporating such factors as student loan debt, credit score, credit history, employment history, previous foreclosures, and even vague or incomplete details given in a loan application.

Should the totality of a borrower profile paint a picture of risk, lenders may offer less-generous mortgage terms including higher interest rates, the mandating of mortgage insurance, and a sizeable down payment.

Down Payment

A down payment influences a borrower’s current and future interest rates. Under conventional loan terms, a more substantial down payment results in a lower interest rate, as the borrower has proven that he or she is capable of making payments, which, in the eyes of a lender, reduces the likelihood of a borrower defaulting on the loan.

While a 20% down payment is an industry-standard, borrowers can qualify for smaller down payments by purchasing mortgage insurance or using down payment assistance programs provided by lenders, among other tactics.

Type of Loan

Lenders extend a variety of mortgage types based on the needs and financing capabilities of borrowers. An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) typically starts with a low-interest rate, which then adjusts upward after a five-, seven, or 10-year period.

A fixed-rate mortgage, on the other hand, locks in a specific interest rate for the duration of the loan. With either type of loan, a larger down payment and a smaller home loan amount can typically keep mortgage rates on the lower end.

Other types of mortgages like VA, USDA, or construction loans have unique interest rate terms, potentially ranging from 0% to 30%.

Amount of Loan

In general, cheaper homes warrant cheaper mortgages. Extending a $500,000 loan is riskier than lending one that is $200,000. Moreover, since the amount of the loan is smaller, so too may be the down payment and the interest rate.

Lenders need to recoup less money when issuing smaller loans, so the incentive to charge higher rates is minimized. Homebuyers insistent on purchasing higher-priced homes can still avoid high-interest rates by putting up a sizable down payment and locking in an agreeable rate early on.

Type of Interest Rate

Interest rates often come down to, among other factors, whether the rate terms are structured as fixed or adjustable.

Fixed interest rates require borrowers to pay a certain percentage of interest every month on top of their recurring mortgage balance – the rate is the same month over month, which can help borrowers with budgeting and financial planning, making it a popular option.

Adjustable interest rates are variable, meaning the percentage of interest paid each month changes over time. If a lender raises rates, or the loan terms dictate a rate adjustment after a certain period (five years, for instance), borrowers will pay more each month. 

Loan-to-Value

This metric is defined as the amount a borrower owes on a home versus the appraised value of that home. Should a borrower still owe $200,000 on a $300,000 home, his or her LTV is about 33% (33% of the loan has been paid down, with 66% still to go)?

Lenders use different benchmarks to determine what LTV range they’re comfortable with and whether they will require a borrower to purchase mortgage insurance; most use an 80% LTV standard. By reducing one’s LTV, a borrower can potentially refinance into better terms with lower interest rates.

Type of Residence

Certain property types are deemed riskier, as Fannie Mae notes. While a single-family home is often viewed as a safe and calculated investment, condos, manufactured units, and multiunit structures come with added risk for lenders.

As such, securing a lower interest rate via refinancing a condo may be more difficult than when refinancing a traditional home – interest rates are typically 0.25 percentage points higher for the former.

Because Colorado has extensive rural and urban real estate options, borrowers should determine which part of the state they prefer to live and which type of residence they intend to purchase (or refinance down the road), as these factors will influence mortgage rates offered by lenders.

How to Get the Best Mortgage Rates in Colorado

Comparison shopping is part of the home buying and refinancing process, and it’s one of the best ways to save money. This fundamental fact is unfortunately overlooked by a broad swath of the consumer population.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau notes that 47% of mortgage borrowers don’t shop around at all and only speak to one lender. 

As mentioned before, a difference of a few percentage points on a home loan can either save or waste thousands of dollars, so examining every interest and mortgage type from multiple lenders is really the only way to ensure one is receiving the best possible deal.

Being informed keeps borrowers abreast of relevant industry trends, economic factors, and local market conditions that may impact what lenders are offering at that time. Similarly, recruiting the help of an agent can also go a long way toward compiling and reviewing all the pertinent details of a property and the mortgage it will take to purchase it.

Because much of the mortgage and refinancing process is negotiable, borrowers should thoroughly survey their options concerning the aforementioned critical elements that are in play.

Beyond items like down payments, loan amounts, and borrower profiles, consumers should ask lenders to clarify their fees. From start to finish, purchasing or refinancing is wrought with fees of all kinds concerning origination, appraisal, application, title insurance, document preparation, and more.

Depending on the financial institution, a portion of these fees may be waived or reduced.

Recommended Mortage Lenders in Colorado

Top lenders in Colorado include:

  • Quicken Loans: As the nation’s largest mortgage lender, Quicken Loans extends loans to borrowers in all 50 states. The financial institution provides daily mortgage rates updates for fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, FHA, and VA loans. It has also ranked atop J.D.Power’s Primary Mortgage Origination and Mortgage Servicing lists for the past eight and five years, respectively. 
  • LendingTree: Providing free credit scores, real-time mortgage rates, and intuitive city search functionality, LendingTree makes the real estate search and home buying process convenient. It offers mortgages of every kind, along with options for equity loans and refinancing.
  • Ally Bank: Online-only Ally Bank offers 30-year fixed-rate mortgages in Colorado for as little as 4.875%. Estimated credit scores the bank commonly accepts are in the 740-759 range, and homebuyers can prequalify and apply for home loans online in a matter of clicks.
  • New American Funding: By stating the precise rate factors it takes into consideration, New American Funding is transparent with what it requires from borrowers, which speeds up the application and loan process. With mortgage rates as low as 4.25% on fixed-rate loans, the financial institution is one of the go-to lenders for most borrowers, and the bank holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

The post Best Mortgage Rates in Colorado appeared first on Good Financial Cents®.



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The Average Single-Family Home Size Is Declining: Positive Sign For Investors

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Some tantalizing news for real estate investors and potential homeowners! I found another reason why 2020-2021 might be a great time to buy real estate.

I used to think the average square footage size of an American single-family home would keep getting bigger, just like my waistline. After all, once something starts in motion, it’s often hard to stop.

However, as of the third quarter of 2019, the average (mean) square footage for new single-family homes in America has declined to 2,464 square feet from a peak of around 2,700 in 2015.

This data is from the Census Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design report and the National Association of Home Builders.

The Median And Average Size Of New Single-Family Homes

The chart below shows the average and median sizes for new single-family homes on a one-year moving average. As you can see from the chart, homes sizes peaked at the end of 2015 and have been steadily trending downward. The average and median home size is now back down to 2012 levels on a one-year moving average basis.

2012 is an important year because 2012 is when real estate prices took off across many parts of the country.

Size of new single-family homes

The cycle home size low was during the financial crisis in 2009 as homebuilders cut back and homebuyers realized they didn’t need as much space. When the world is falling apart, you don’t mind sharing a bathroom and not having a family office. Instead, you would probably prefer to rent the smallest shack possible in order to survive.

Since cycle lows, the average size of new single-family homes on a 1-year moving average is now just 6% higher at 2,521 square feet, while the median size on a 1-year moving average is 9% higher at 2,296 square feet.

A Bullish Sign For Prospective Homebuyers

Since 2015, there’s been an underlying weakening demand for new single-family homes. From a real estate investor’s perspective, four consecutive years of home size declines should be seen as a bullish sign. You want froth to have escaped the system before you buy.

If the decline in average and median size homes continues at their respective paces until 2021, we would be right back to the average and median sizes being built during the bottom of the size cycle in 2009. In my opinion, this is unlikely to happen because America is much richer today.

The previous home size peak was in 2007. Home sizes then declined for 2.5 years before rebounding in 2010. Thus, after four years of home size declines, homes have been declining for 1.5 years longer than during the previous cycle. It is my belief that the end is near for home size declines.

But here’s the thing. Home prices didn’t immediately start taking off in 2009 when home sizes bottomed. Instead, home prices stopped going down in price around 2009, flatlined for a couple of years, and then started to rise towards the end of 2011. What ensued was a 55% increase in median sales prices until 2017.

In other words, home prices started rising about one year after home sizes bottomed. If we believe that the cycle bottom for home sizes is here after four years, then we should anticipate national home prices to start rising by 2021.

Median Sales Price of Houses Sold In the United States

Real Estate Looks Attractive

There’s always a lag in real estate prices based on fundamentals because the real estate market isn’t as efficient as the stock market. It takes time to go through inventory. It takes time for homebuilders to recognize opportunity and build until completion as well.

The correlation between home size and home price isn’t an exact science. But we can make a logical conclusion that there is a correlation based on history and microeconomic and macroeconomic fundamentals.

Home sizes could absolutely continue to go down for a 5th or 6th year as Americans embrace frugality and minimalism. But I doubt it due to the incredible wealth that has been generated in the stock market since 2009, the rise in national wages, the decline in mortgage rates, and the human condition of always wanting more.

As a prospective homebuyer, you want prices and home sizes to be declining for at least as long as the previous cycle declined before you buy. You might be able to time the bottom of the next cycle, but even if you don’t, if you have a 10+ year ownership horizon you’re probably going to do pretty well.

Of course, there are no guarantees when it comes to investing. Every real estate market is different. Do your due diligence before spending a fortune on physical real estate.

Readers, what are your thoughts on the average home size in America trend? Do you think the average home size will go back to its 2009 low? Do you believe the average American will go back to his or her weight from 2009? Any other insights you can gather from home sizes and home prices?

Related articles:

Focus On Trends: Why I’m Investing In The Heartland Of America

Buy Utility, Rent Luxury: The Real Estate Investing Strategy To Follow

The post The Average Single-Family Home Size Is Declining: Positive Sign For Investors appeared first on Financial Samurai.



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Why We Purchased CrappyPasta.com

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I am excited to announce that we purchased CrappyPasta.com

If you are a Horror fan, you will likely be familiar with CrappyPasta; it’s the sister site to the widely popular CreepPasta horror-themed short story website.

However, if you are into money, side hustles, or just follow Your Money Geek to learn how to sell used panties online, you may be wondering what CrappyPasta is.

Likewise, if you are a CrappyPasta fan, you probably wondering; what happened to the site and what’s “Your Money Geek?”

Meet Crappy Pasta

CrappyPasta was the sister site to the popular horror website, CreepyPasta. Stories that did not quite meet CreepyPasta’s editorial guidelines were often given a home on CrappyPasta.

Some of the stories just needed a little TLC, some were bad, some were soooo bad they were entertaining, and others were pretty much like WTH.

What I loved about the site is it was an excellent opportunity for writers to take their first step into writing. Additionaly, the site offered some valuable feedback for authors to improve their work.

Also, the site contained enough neat ideas amongst the train wrecks it made shorting though all the posts fun. It’s kinda like digging through the 5 dollar movie bin at Walmart. 😉

The Potential of CrappyPasta

The CrappyPasta website has been dormant since 2017, it was not publishing new stories, and the site needed some love. Most of the posts didn’t have images, there were broken links galore, and most of the posts were (are) in need of significant formatting and spell checking.

I enjoy a silly story as much as the next guy, but walls of text make it hard to appreciate even bad posts. 

However, the site had over 4k posts and nearly 35k comments, so clearly, people enjoyed the website, and it was worth saving. So that’s where Brian and I stepped in and decided to acquire the site.

About Brian

Not much is known about Brian, we met on social media a year or so ago and bonded over our shared interest of Z Nation and sci-fi. All I know is he is not allowed back in Chicago because of the Walker Stalker Con incident and that he will be the head geek in charge of running the Geek Short Stories side of the website.

Why We Moved the Content to YMG

We could have kept all the content on the existing site; however, we felt moving the posts made the most sense for a few reasons.

  1. Running one site is easier than maintaining two
  2. We felt that the CrappyPasta and Your Money Geek (YMG) audience shared similar interests, i.e., video games, sci-fi, horror, movies, etc.

What will Change Post-Merger?

Short answer; not much.

However, we are implementing a few changes.

  1. We have rebranded CrappyPasta to Geek Short Stories.
  2. The quality of the stories will improve. We are committed to maintaining the charm of user-generated stories; however, posts will be edited for grammar and formatting.
  3. We have implemented sticker guidelines to publish submissions.

What Can Crappy Pasta Fans Expect?

We are committed to archiving most of the CrappyPasta website and will spend the next several months fixing up and improving the nearly 4k posts YMG has inherited from CrappyPasta.

  1. Readers can still comment and offer suggestions on posts
  2. Authors can solicit advice and feedback from readers.

Additionally, I hope that CrappyPasta readers will check out or geek posts and even some of our killer personal finance content. However, if you are just interested in short stories, you will find all your favorite CrappyPastas under the Geek Short Stories category tab.

If you would like to submit your own Geek Short Story, you may review our guidelines here. We are committed to bringing you the best in geek culture and personal finance. If you have a question or suggestion, leave us a comment or content us on our handy contact form.

The post Why We Purchased CrappyPasta.com appeared first on Your Money Geek.



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TaxHawk 2020 Review – Excellent Bargain Tax Software

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For the past several years, TaxHawk and it’s partner site, FreeTaxUSA, serve up almost identical services at identical prices. 

However this year, TaxHawk is working to differentiate itself by offering an extra tier of services to the TaxHawk site. They even created a new logo! 

The new “Deluxe Plus” tier is designed for people willing to pay for Live Chat and Phone Support.

Should you use the new Deluxe Plus tier or any of TaxHawk’s other offerings this year? See how TaxHawk ranks on our list of the best tax software.

We explain the ins and outs of TaxHawk’s tax filing software in 2020.


TaxHawk 2020 Logo

Quick Summary

  • Easy navigation and inputs
  • New Deluxe Plus tier with more support options
  • Great pricing for the options offered

TaxHawk Details

Product Name

TaxHawk

Federal Price

Starts at $0

State Price

$12.95 per State

Preparation Type

Self-Prepared

Promotions

None

TaxHawk – Is It Really Free?

TaxHawk offers free Federal Tax filing for all filers. That includes anyone from side hustlers, to people with student loan interest deductions, individuals with HSAs, and even self-employed people.

But TaxHawk isn’t 100% free. If you have to file a state return, you’ll pay $12.95 per state. It is worth noting that TaxHawk has a built-in calculator to help you appropriately pay taxes in multiple states (if that’s necessary), but you’ll have to pay extra for each additional state.

TaxHawk Pricing And Plans

TaxHawk has three pricing tiers. In all three tiers, the price for state filing is $12.95 per state. Read the notes below for more information on how these pricing tiers compare to FreeTaxUSA.

Plan

Free*

Deluxe**

Deluxe Plus***

Best For

All Tax Situations

Includes:
Priority support (email)
Audit assistance
Unlimited amended returns

Includes:
Deluxe features
Live chat support
Phone support

Federal Pricing

$0

$5.99

$10.99

State Pricing

$12.95

$12.95

$12.95

Total Cost

$12.95

$18.94

$23.94

* TaxHawk and FreeTaxUSA are identical on the free level.

** FreeTaxUSA Deluxe costs $6.99 vs. TaxHawk’s $5.99. However, FreeTaxUSA comes with LiveChat support at the Deluxe Level.

*** TaxHawk comes with Phone support and FreeTaxUSA does not.

Is TaxHawk Secure?

TaxHawk gives users multi-factor authentication. You can decide between email and text as your second-factor of authentication. Generally, text messaging is a more secure second-factor of authentication.

We strongly recommend adding two-factor authentication as we previously discussed in ways to prevent identity theft.

TaxHawk Navigation

Aside from TaxHawk’s different pricing structure, the difference between it and FreeTaxUSA are negligible.

TaxHawk’s navigation is a hybrid between guided and self-guided navigation. Unlike some of the more robust services (for example TurboTax, H&R Block, or TaxSlayer), TaxHawk doesn’t ask detailed questions about your income.

But, once you “enter” an income section it will ask helpful questions to guide you to the appropriate part of the software. One thing that I appreciated about TaxHawk’s navigation was the “help bubbles” sprinkled throughout the software. The help bubbles helped to define tax jargon. The bubbles also gave details on “what’s allowed” compared to what isn’t allowed.

On top of the help bubbles, TaxHawk has a “Where do I enter” link on the right hand side of software. This robust list gives links and information about where to enter every form and topic I could think of.

TaxHawk’s best navigation feature is its “Summary”. The summary section gives details on the income and deductions that you claimed. The details make it easy for you to check your actual entries against your “gut” or what you think you earned this year. This should make it easy for you to see if you’ve accidentally missed any critical information or “fat-fingered” anything you’re entering.

TaxHawk Summary

TaxHawk Ease Of Use

Overall, TaxHawk is fairly easy to use. But it does have some downfalls, especially for filers who don’t have experience filing taxes.

TaxHawk doesn’t allow any imports, which means there is a high potential for errors. Additionally, the navigation isn’t as robust as some top of the line products. That means that users might get lost if they don’t understand how to file taxes.

TaxHawk Knowledge Articles

TaxHawk serves up relevant knowledge articles in a “Top Issues” and “Help with this Page” links on the right hand side of the screen. Users can also search TaxHawk’s knowledge base using a search bar. The articles themselves tended to be an appropriate length, and most included hyperlinks to relevant sections. Many of the articles give details on what constitutes a business or deductible expense compared to a personal expense.

TaxHawk Extras

To get priority email support, unlimited amended returns, and audit assistance, you need to upgrade to the Deluxe version of the software. The cost is $5.99. To get phone and live chat support, you have to upgrade to the DeluxePlus version of the software which costs $10.99.

It’s important to note that TaxHawk doesn’t offer support from a tax filing professional. You have to be confident in your filing to use the software.

Who Should Use TaxHawk 2019-2020?

TaxHawk is an excellent bargain choice for 2020. While the software isn’t free, the high quality combined with the low price make it a worthy consideration. The interface improvements have really made it user-friendly this year.

As far as upgrades go, the Deluxe tier seems like a useful addition for just $5.99. The Deluxe Plus pricing tier may be a good choice for users who are likely to need last minute filing help, but otherwise users should skip it.

New filers should probably avoid TaxHawk because of the lack of guidance. You’ll find better alternatives with H&R Block or TurboTax.

Overall, TaxHawk offers a tax product rivals the best tax software, but it offers much lower prices if you’re comfortable without much navigation.

The post TaxHawk 2020 Review – Excellent Bargain Tax Software appeared first on The College Investor.



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