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Lower Housing Costs

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Lower Housing Costs:

Mortgage Refinancing

Refinancing your current mortgage can lower your housing costs if certain parameters are met

As a general rule, you can benefit from refinancing home if your refinancing rate is 1-2% lower than your current rate.

But note that many lenders are offering the low- and no-cost refinancing programs — so it might be worth your while to refinance to obtain a smaller reduction in interest rates.

compare your refi break-even numbers


The length of your expected stay in your home is also a factor.

If you plan to move in a few years, your monthly savings may never recover the cost of refinancing.


Other reasons why you might refinance:

— shorten your loan term
— move into a Fixed Rate Loan from ARM

— get cash out
— consolidate and payoff debt: see debt obligations

— pay for home improvements
— settle divorce or other claims


To see if refinancing can save you money, follow these simple steps:

— check your rates
— analyze the numbers
— search for the right refinancing program


  • Step 1: Check Your Rates

    You may be able to save $100s on your mortgage payment each month if your home mortgage rate is higher than current rates.

    For example: for every $10,000 that you owe on your mortgage loan balance, you can save approximately $6.30 each month for every 1% drop in your mortgage rate.

    For every $100,000 that you owe on your mortgage loan, that is a savings of approximately $63 each month.

    view current rates at our mortgage loan center

  • Step 2: Analyze Your Costs

There is a cost to refinance, which can eat up your savings if the refinancing rate is not much lower than your current rate.

Use these online calculator to run your numbers:

Download this worksheet to analyze the numbers:

  • Step 3: Find Your Refinancing Program

Link to our network of mortgage refinancing programs:

and connect to information about mortgage refinancing, rates and calculators.

If you need to review the mortgage lending process and products, brief our home refi guide:

link over to our Home Refinance Center

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Lower Housing Costs:

Pay Off Your Mortgage FAST

FAST Payoff Plan:

What if you can payoff your mortgage quickly in about 1/3rd of the time without changing your current monthly payment or cash flow position.

By paying off your mortgage early, you can save a lot of money by not having to pay all that interest to the banks.

view this quick slide presentation on FAST mortgage payoff

includes a FREE, no obligation profile analysis of your current mortgage payoff position.

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Lower Housing Costs:

Your Rent is Too High

Paying rent is money down the drain. Start a savings plan to own your home.

1st Step: Reducing Your Rental Costs:

If your rental costs are choking your monthly budget, you might consider two things:

  1. Find a less expensive place to live.
    Use these online guides to start your search:

    check your local paper for apartment listings

  2. You might consider sharing the rent with someone else:

    Find a roommate:

    Roommate resources and advice:

If any of your cost-cutting plans requires a new move, we have a relocation center that can help:

view our home moving guide


2nd Step: Getting into your first home:

  1. Review this information on buying your first home:
    freddie mac: your route to home ownership

  2. Start a savings plan to build up the required home buying costs:
    click for our savings guide

  3. Review our 10-Tips on Home Affordability:
    jump over to our mortgage loan module for affordability tips

  4. Check your credit score to get best rate:
    visit our credit center for information

    Attention Renters:
    it is critical to establish a good credit rating prior to buying your home. Make sure you get your on-time rental payment noted by the credit agencies. Ask your landload for more information.

    Reporting your rent can help. Here’s why! You’re on time Rent Payment:

    • Improves your credit ratings, regardless if it is good or bad now!
    • Establishes and grows your credit history!
    • Adds the important missing link to you credit report.
    • Qualifies you for lower interest rates!
    • Show your future landlords or lenders your good tenant history!
    • Proves you are financially aware and responsible!
    • Increases the speed of your credit and loan approvals!
    • Gives you an important "real estate" item in your credit report!
    • Acts as undisputable proof and a record of your residency!
    • Allows you to fill out your next credit application with confidence!

  5. You might be able to find a good foreclosure to reduce costs:

    Looking to buy a foreclosure:
    Link to our home buying center for a nationwide directory of foreclosures

    Doing Price Checks on homes (research what really sold):
    shop home market values

  6. Understand the mortgage lending process:
    jump over to our home mortgage module

  7. Review our 7-step plan for buying your home:
    link over to our home buying guide

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Lower Housing Costs:

Too Much Taxes and Insurance Costs

These are tough expenses to reduce. But with help, you can make some cuts.

Understand what property taxes are:
free advice on cutting property taxes

Review your county/city property tax policy and calculation (link to your local jurisdiction: click here


If you feel your property taxes are too high or assessed too frequently,

you may consider challenging your property tax assessment:


You might consider reviewing your existing home insurance policy. A comparative pricing analysis may find some savings.

Note however, that your home is probably your most value possession. Make sure you carry adequate insurance. When comparing policies, make sure you make an "apples-to-apples" comparison.

Let's start with these two direct insurance companies that been ranked high by A.M. Best:

Amica Insurance
State Farm Insurance

View company financial ratings:

You can also make an online comparison with multiple providers to compare overall best cost:

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Lower Housing Costs:

Reduce Heating and Cooling Costs

Up to 40% of heating and cooling costs are wasted. Review these three places to help close the gap:

connect to this government publication on home energy savings and tips:

Link to: heating and cooling
Link to: insulation
Link to: windows and doors
Link to: landscaping

Another resource center: Home Energy Savings Guide
Renters guide:


weatherize your home to reduce energy cost. Link to our home improvement center for information:

SayImprove:  insulation / weatherizing your home
SayImprove:  view new windows and doors


check out the new heating and air conditioning systems for a more efficient home:

SayImprove:  heating and cooling


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Lower Housing Costs:

Reduce Electric Costs

Cutting your electrical costs means conservation and better lightingFlurescent Lighting is better and cheaper lighting

The most efficient way to reduce electric costs is to install energy efficient lighting elements and turn off unnecessary lighting.

According to the U.S. Government, if you replace 25% of your lights in high-use areas with fluorescent lighting, you can save about 50% of your lighting energy bill:

Link to: lighting
Link to: appliances
Link to: purchasing major appliances

Renters guide:

SayImprove:  view new lighting elements


Your area may offer utility deregulation for shopping current electricity.

There is also great information on energy savings.
Link to:

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Lower Housing Costs:

Reduce Water Heating Costs

There are four ways to reduce your water heating costs:

  1. use less hot water,
  2. turn down the thermostat on your water heater,
  3. insulate your water heater,
  4. buy a new, more efficient water heater.

    Link to: more water saving tips available
    Renters guide:


New water heaters (including solar) can help reduce costs and water usage.

SayImprove:  water heating systems

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Lower Housing Costs:

Reduce Telecommunication Costs

Telephone Service: 3 ways to cut costs

  1. Shop for local and long distance services:

    Connect to for price comparison: click here

    Check local utility services in your area: click here

  2. Use calling cards for long distance and international calls:

    Link to:
    Link to:

  3. Use the Internet for your phone service:

    Link to:
    Link to:
    Link to:


Internet Connections

High speed Internet access costs are as cheap as dial-up access and a second phone line
Compare Plans: click here

New technology allows for faster speeds with dial-up service. Compare Plans: click here

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Lower Housing Costs:

Keeping Home Repairs Down

We maintain a complete directory of home improvement ideas and repairs directory

Find the right home improvement project and do-it-yourself tips for:

main floor
exterior home

landscaping / gardening

Remodeling your home for better efficiency? Start here:
home remodeling guide

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