mortgage financing and programs

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The FHA Hawk Program for New Homebuyers is Coming: Here’s How It Affects Your Mortgage Insurance Premiums

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The FHA Hawk Program for New Homebuyers is Coming: Here's How It Affects Your Mortgage Insurance PremiumsThe FHA offers many new programs and incentives for new homebuyers to take advantage of so that they can be part of the effort to ease the credit crisis. If you are in the process of shopping for a mortgage prior to shopping for your new home, it can benefit you to learn about programs that you may qualify for that are being created by the Federal Housing Administration and piloted.

One such plan, which is has been approved as a four-year pilot program, is referred to as the FHA HAWK Program. Read on to learn how this program works and how it can affect mortgage insurance premiums.

What Is The HAWK Pilot Program?

The FHA HAWK program, which stands for Homeowners Armed With Knowledge, is designed to help first-time homebuyers make educated decisions when borrowing and buying a home. Individuals who are eligible to participate must qualify and meet the definition of first-time home buyer.

They will also be required to complete a housing counseling and education program that is available through HUD where they will learn financial information that can help them make smart home buying decisions.

Some of the topics covered in the educational program include: how to better manage finances, mortgage options, how to evaluate affordability, understanding your rights and the responsibilities that come with homeownership. Upon completion of the program, the applicant can submit their application for an FHA-insured mortgage and receive specific FHA mortgage insurance pricing incentives that will lower premiums.

What Type of Mortgage Insurance Incentive Will You Receive?

Once you participate in the program, the Federal Housing Administration will give all of the borrowers who qualify for the incentive a mortgage insurance premiums incentive by applying a 50 basis point reduction in the upfront premiums and a 10 point reduction in the annual premium starting at the time the loan originated.

As long as the borrower stays in good standing with their lender, they will receive these incentives and fee reductions for the life of the loan. This brings the upfront premiums down from 1.75 percent to a more manageable 1.25%. Add in the fact that you are saving on annual premiums that range between.45 and 1.55 percent, and you can see how beneficial this program can be over the period of 30 years. Finance experts predict that the average buyer will see a savings of $325 per year, which is a savings of $9800 over a 30 year loan term.

The FHA is piloting this new HAWK program in an effort to reduce delinquency of borrowers who borrow from FHA-insured lenders and to also reduce the costs of loan processing. By offering first-time homebuyers a discount to learn about the market, the FHA is trying to battle the ongoing credit crisis and in the same time service more educated buyers. If you would like to learn more about how you can reduce the mortgage insurance premiums that you pay initially and throughout the life of your loan, contact your trusted mortgage agent and discuss your options when it comes to the HAWK program.

5 Important Tips To Save Money On Your Tax Bill

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Tax Saving Tips For 2012 Tax ReturnApril 15th seems a long way off, but it will be here before you know it.

Now is the perfect time to start getting your paperwork in order.

Owning real estate can make a big difference on your tax return, so make sure that you’re taking advantage of all the deductions you’re entitled to.

We’ve outlined a few below:

Mortgage Interest

Unless you paid cash for your purchase, you probably took out a loan to buy your home.

Mortgage interest is one of the best tax deductions available, so be sure to hang on to that 1098 Mortgage Interest Statement from your lender.

You can almost always deduct the entire amount of interest paid per calendar year.

Real Estate Taxes

Depending on where your property is located, you are likely paying real estate tax, either to the state or to a local governing authority.

Taxes based on property value are generally deductible as well. You may have an escrow account to hold these funds during the year, so be sure that you only deduct the amount of taxes you actually paid.

Home Equity Line of Credit

You may deduct home equity line of credit (HELOC) debt interest as long as you are legally liable to pay the interest, the interest is paid in the tax year, and the debt is secured by your home.

The home equity debt has a limit of up to $100,000 ($50,000 if married filing separately).

Mortgage Insurance Premiums

Depending on how your loan is structured, you may have mortgage insurance. With the recently passed American Tax Relief Act of 2012, all mortgage insurance premiums are tax deductible for the 2012 and 2013 tax year. There are some qualifications, so check with your tax advisor.

Mortgage Interest on Land

If you purchased land with the intent to build, the interest you have paid may qualify as deductible mortgage interest as long as the structure becomes your qualified residence within a 24-month period.

This deductibility of bare land mortgage interest is a tricky one. You can see the IRS explanation here.

Your home could be one of your greatest resources for reducing your tax liability. Most times these deductions are itemized on a Schedule A (Form 1040) when you prepare your taxes.

A great next step is to call a qualified tax planning professional.  Please feel free to contact us if you would like a referral.

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