Category: Mortgage

Three Things to Look for in a Starter Home

Start Home

If you’re in the market for your first home, congratulations! Becoming a homeowner is an exciting step on your financial journey. At Raccoon Valley Bank, our dedicated mortgage lenders are here to help you find the best financing option for your new home. Remember to stop in and secure a pre-approval letter before you start your home search.

 

After speaking with a mortgage lender to help determine your family’s ideal price point, it’s time to start viewing potential homes. During this process you’re bound to find a home you’ll fall in love with, and others that may send you running for the hills. As you ride this rollercoaster of an experience, we recommend searching for the following three things in your family’s ideal new house:

 

  1. Good Bones. Starter homes are a great option to find a great house within an affordable budget. To ensure your investment lasts for the long-term, we recommend taking a hard look at any foundational cracks, leans, or other structural ailments. While the rest of the house could look fantastic, these three issues should be instant red flags signaling you to continue looking at other homes.
  2. Cohesive Neighborhood. The people you surround yourself could be the individuals you see at 6:00 AM taking the trash out, or the partiers you have to ask to turn down the music at 11:00 PM. As you tour properties, don’t be afraid to chat with any potential neighbors and see if there is any information they can give on families you’ll be living alongside.
  3. Suitable Layout. While some renovations are certainly possible when purchasing a starter home, obstacles such as load-bearing walls could limit your expectations. Consider the overall layout of the home at the showing, and see if you could picture yourself the way it is. If the answer is no, then you may want to find a few backup options should the renovations not be available within your budget.

 

The perfect home will look different to everyone. If you’re ready to start searching for your family’s new house, our experienced mortgage lenders are here to help. We work with many successful local realtors, and we would be happy to refer you to the one that fits your needs best. Give us a call or stop by to begin the search for your home today.

 

How to Shave Thousands of Dollars off Your Mortgage

Save Money

Congratulations on purchasing your home. You are now privileged to enjoy the thrills of home repair, maintenance, and occasional renovation. Depending on your mortgage structure, you may be paying off your home for up to thirty years. Luckily Raccoon Valley Bank has some tips and tricks to help you reduce your repayment time. Using these three strategies, we’ll show you how to pay off more of your principal to decrease the term of your loan, and lessen your overall interest costs.

 

Method 1: Making Additional Payments

In addition to your regularly scheduled payments, making extra installments can help you knock down your principal and associated interest. These additional amounts can be paid on the same day as your scheduled portion, or they can be more frequent throughout the month as funds become available. If you find yourself having a surplus in your budget, a great option would be to use those dollars as an additional mortgage payment.

 

Method 2: Increasing Your Monthly Payments

As you make your mortgage payments each month, create a plan for how much you can add on top of your regular installments. Similar to method two, these subsequent funds will continue to help you pay down your principal amount, and lessen the amount of interest owed for the life of the loan.

 

Method 3: Making One Lump Payment

Sometimes if you’re refinancing or purchasing a home, you may be trading an old mortgage for a new one. In this case, we recommend making one large installment after closing. This not only pays off a large portion of your loan but brings your overall interest accumulation down as well.

 

Owning a home is an exciting and well-earned milestone, however, the additional costs of ownership can raise questions. If you’re curious about the most efficient way to pay down your mortgage, stop in and speak with one of our experienced lenders today.

4 Ways New Homeowners Can Save on Their Taxes

Mortgage

Becoming a homeowner is an exciting and trying time in your life. Once all the papers are signed, and the keys turned over, it all seems worth it. That is until a pipe bursts, lightning knocks out a tree, or your dog decides to burst through the screen door. Not all hope is lost however. In return for your endless work, and commitment to a never ending to-do list, the U.S. Government has provided four tax-based ways to reward you for your new home ownership. See how to take advantage of these four tax breaks, and make the most of your home purchase:

 

  • Early IRA Withdrawal: For many new homeowners, securing the initial down payment can be the first hurdle in their real estate journey. If you’re a first-time home buyer and have an IRA, or Roth IRA, the IRS will allow you to withdraw up to $10,000, penalty-free, to aide in the cost of your new dwelling!
  • Valuable Deductions: Between your mortgage interest, mortgage insurance, and real estate taxes, your home deductions could make a big dent in your taxable income. When preparing your taxes as a new homeowner, be sure to bring any mortgage documents, and escrow account information, to your tax professional to gain the full benefit of the deductions.
  • Renewable-Energy Tax Credit: Did you upgrade your home appliances to more efficient and environmentally-friendly options? Did you install a geothermal system in your home? If so, this helpful tax credit may be able to take a portion of that improvement cost out of your deductible income!
  • Tax-Free Profit on Sale: When you go to sell your home, the IRS allows you to avoid the capital gains tax on the profits you generate from the sale. This means that if your home’s value goes up $35,000 in the two or more years you live there, you are then able to retain the additional $35,000 your home is sold for without having to pay any taxes on those funds. One other major stipulation of this benefit is that in order to avoid the capital gains tax, you must purchase a new home as your primary residence within the next two years.

With these key homeowner tax breaks, the next thing to put on your to-do list is to make a plan for those tax refunds! If you have questions on how to best budget for your new home, don’t hesitate to stop in. We’d love to talk taxes, financing, or other improvement ideas you have for your home!

Renting v. Buying a Home

Purchasing a Home

Jumping into the ring of homeownership is an exciting milestone! There are many ways owning a home can impact you and your family. How do you know when to rent and when to make the move to purchasing your home? Raccoon Valley Bank is here to help with our handy guide to the pros and cons of renting or owning a home.

 

Renting

Cons:

  1. No wealth creation. As your payments go directly to your landlord and not the specific property, you are unable to build equity and reap the return on investments from the home’s growing value.
  2. No tax benefits. While homeowners can deduct property taxes and mortgage interest payments from their federal income tax, renters can’t claim deductions for housing costs.
  3. Dependent on the landlord. For everything ranging from utilities, to paint, to the rent dollars themselves, your landlord makes the majority of the decisions when it comes to renting a home. Depending on your lease, your landlord can increase the rent increase each year, or month!

Pros:

  1. Accommodates flexible lifestyles. If you travel frequently for work, leisure, or medical care, you may not have the time or availability to take care of a home. Renting allows an affordable accommodation without any hassle of renovations or repairs.
  2. Freedom in allocating finances. For renters, expenses such as mortgage insurance, real estate taxes, and home maintenance costs, can instead be funneled into savings, stocks or discretionary funds after the monthly rent and utilities are paid.
  3. Reduced insurance costs. Apart from renters insurance that covers the interior of a home, costly homeowners insurance and unexpected repairs belongs to the landlord, not the tenant.

Buying

Cons:

  1. Unexpected costs. Leaky roofs, backed-up pipes, and cracking foundations create thousands of dollars worth of unplanned repairs that stretch your budget to accommodate.
  2. You’re locked in. Once you sign on the dotted line the house is yours, and so are the payments.
  3. Fluctuating home value. Despite your best efforts, your home can become less marketable based on circumstances out of your control. A declining neighborhood, housing surplus, or unstable market can decrease the value of your home despite well done renovations.

Pros:

  1. Fixed monthly payments. Homeowners with fixed-rate mortgages can trust that their mortgage payment will stay consistent each month, enabling the creation of a stable monthly budget.
  2. Financial gains. From tax credits to equity building, home ownership offers buyers a number of monetary perks and freedoms they wouldn’t receive as tenants.
  3. Freedom in expression. A kitchen remodel, a four-season porch addition, and other decorative transformations are all up to a homeowner’s discretion with no strings attached to a lease agreement.

Still on the fence? Our experts at Raccoon Valley Bank can sit down with you to help make a guided decision that suits both your lifestyle and your financials. Call and set up an appointment with us today!

The Top 10 Things to Add Value to Your Home

How-to increase your Home Equity

Just like purchasing your home, selling it is a journey all its own. Whether you’re aiming to sell your home in one year or five, you can make a number of small changes that offer a big return on your home’s value. Try these key improvements and see the effect on your next home assessment.

 

  1. An eye-catching entrance. As the gateway into your home, your front door will set the tone for what’s within. Update your door bell, paint the front door, and hang a spring wreath to tie it all together.
  2. Energy-efficient updates: Updating appliances, windows, and fixtures, to their more green counterparts can set your home apart with the attractive promise of future savings.
  3. Low-maintenance landscaping: While flowers are eye-catching, shrubs and drought-resistant greenery make great visual impact with the promise of less hassle.
  4. A thorough clean. A deep clean of carpets, curtains, and corners will make your home sparkle and create a positive first impression. Hiring a professional cleaning service may also help to remove hard-to-clean grime and overlooked areas.
  5. De-cluttered rooms. A tidy house doesn’t always feel open. Heavy curtains, overstuffed couches, and rooms devoid of sunlight can make buyers cautious of square footage. Rid the room of nothing but bare essentials and simplistic furniture to maximize the area of the space.
  6. Extra mirrors. To double the feel of any room, strategically place mirrors to create an illusion of extra space.
  7. Small updates to big places. Kitchens and bathrooms are focal points in the selling process. Without the time and cost of a major remodel, small updates like new lighting, fresh paint, or modern accessories can add value to your home on a budget.
  8. Revamped flooring: Thin or threadbare carpets can raise alarms for buyers as they visualize the daunting need to replace the tired flooring. As your budget allows, replace your home’s carpet beginning high-traffic areas and working outwards.
  9. Modern lighting. Updating light fixtures to a timeless and simple feel, help to elevate a home’s design and gives the potential buyer a blank canvas to imagine life in their new home.
  10. A professional opinion. In under an hour, a trained interior designer can provide suggestions for small tweaks, such as furniture arrangement or paint color adjustments, which can increase your home’s value with limited investment.

While improvements are not a guarantee of improved value, they can make all the difference when drawing in interested buyers. If some of your home-improvement projects require a bigger investment than your budget expected, our lending officers at Raccoon Valley Bank can work to help you secure the home equity line of credit you need.

Home Renovations with a HELOC

HELOC

With warm weather approaching spring is the ideal time to shake off the dust and get your house back into shape! Get started on your next home renovation with a strategic Home Equity Line of Credit from Raccoon Valley Bank. Our custom financing allows you to withdraw only the funds you need along the course of your future project. Inspiration can be found everywhere when updating common areas such as the kitchen, bathrooms, basement, or outdoor living area. See what these average home renovations cost with this handy guide courtesy of Raccoon Valley Bank.

 

Kitchen Remodel: Creating your ideal culinary environment is more than just choosing cabinets and granite. With all the updates and finishing work, a typical Midwestern kitchen remodel can cost around $15,000 to complete. Carefully crafting the heart of your home takes concentrated decision making and long term planning. Consider updating your kitchen appliances to save you time and energy while preparing future meals. You may want to refinish or replace worn out flooring to match the new feel of your fresh remodel.

 

Bathroom Remodel: Giving your common space a much needed facelift can help you add value to your home. With updates as simple as new hardware and a tasteful backsplash you can bring some timeless style to a functional space. When undertaking a full renovation, features like a walk-in shower or a double vanity can bring a bold statement to the room. The average bathroom remodel in Iowa typically runs under $10,000 for a completely revamped space.

 

New Deck: Building a fun outdoor patio or deck can open up the area for countless fun family activities. Costing around $6000 for the average Midwestern deck, you can complete this exciting renovation in time and under budget. Spice up your new construction with added rails to hold beverages or food during grill outs and get-togethers.

 

Finishing a Basement: Depending on your foundation and other structural issues, most basement renovations center on adding dry wall, placing new flooring, and waterproofing the entirety of the room. Typically costing under $25,000, a finished basement can serve as additional space for an office or play room, increasing the livable square footage of your home.

 

There are endless projects to begin your spring to-do list this season. Let Raccoon Valley Bank help you get started on your next home renovation with a tailored Home Equity Line of Credit. Speak with one of our helpful lenders to get started today!

The Journey to Home Ownership

Home Equity Line of Credit

The journey to becoming a first time owner is an exciting and personal process. With questions ranging from price, commodities, to neighborhoods and more, the task of finding your ideal property can seem daunting as you begin the search. At Raccoon Valley Bank we want to help you make the most of your home buying experience with our guided route to home ownership. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the view as we take you step by step through the first time home buying process.

  1. Assess your personal finances. Take a good hard look at your current sources of income, in addition to the underlying expenses you have each month. Determine if your funds can support the cost of a monthly mortgage, property taxes, home insurance, and all the other associated costs of home ownership.
  2. Mortgage Pre-Approval. Once you’ve decided to make the jump into home ownership it’s time to determine what your ideal purchase price will look like. Work with your mortgage lender to decide on the best price range for you and your family. After determining your financing needs together, the bank will evaluate your credit history award you with a pre-approval letter for the amount they will agree to finance.
  3. Find “The House.” Here comes the fun part – house hunting! Pair up with a reputable realtor from the area to look at houses that do not exceed the approved purchase price. You may look at six homes, or thirteen, but once you find the right property you’ll know it’s the one!
  4. Get an approved offer. After touring the property and checking for any major repairs, speak with your realtor about putting in an offer on the house at price within your budget. The seller may counter with a different price point, and negotiations for the offer can be discussed with your realtor. When you and the seller have agreed to a purchase price and a finalized offer is signed you officially have an accepted offer to purchase your future home!
  5. Speak with your mortgage lender. Now that you’ve found your new place, your mortgage lender can gather accurate tax information and further specifics for your mortgage financing. Reach out to confirm the terms of the loan prior to closing to help ensure a smooth transition.
  6. Home Inspection. Since you and the buyer now have an accepted agreement it’s time to fully inspect the property you intent on buying. Speak with your realtor for recommended home inspectors in the area, and set up a time when both you and the realtor can be present. The home inspector will detail notes about the property concerning safety hazards and other important repairs that be taken care of at the sellers expense.
  7. Additional Negotiations as Needed. Once the home inspection is complete speak to your realtor to negotiate any changes within the accepted offer.
  8. Close the offer. After all the paperwork is finalized, and you complete the final walk through of the home, it’s finally time receive your mortgage financing and close the home offer.
  9. The House is yours. All your hard work has paid off and you are now a home owner! Celebrate this monumental achievement by inviting family and friends over for a moving or house warming party!

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful cottage in the country, new construction in the city, or a happy hideaway in the suburbs, Raccoon Valley Bank can help you with all your financing needs. Stop by the bank or give us a call at (515) 993-4581 and get started on your home buying journey today!

Spotlight Feature: Mortgage & Consumer Loans

Consumer Loan

From new homes, vehicles, construction, and everything in between Raccoon Valley Bank is here to help! We recognize the importance of owning your own home or purchasing your first vehicle. With such large milestones of accomplishment, we want to assist you in crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s, so that when you get your new purchase it’s everything you hoped for!

 

Mortgages

Purchasing your own home is still very much a part of the “American Dream,” and Raccoon Valley Bank helps make home ownership possible. By offering fixed-rate mortgages, adjustable-rate mortgages and mortgage refinancing options, Raccoon Valley Bank can help you find the ideal mortgage solution. Visit the Mortgage Center for more information and to apply for a mortgage today!

 

Types of Mortgages

FHA – Most commonly used among new homeowners this loan option requires a smaller down payment and offers payment flexibility to fit your current income.

 

USDA – Typically used in more rural areas, the USDA loans are a great option if you’re looking to live in the countryside, or are repairing an older home.

 

VA – If you’ve served in the military, active or reserve, this a great option for you! With low down payments and terms built for veterans, these loans can be great for a first-time home buyer.

 

Traditional – This is our most common mortgage option which comes in 5, 15, and 30 year terms. Be sure to check our rate watch to find the best time for your next mortgage financing.

 

Consumer Loans

Whether you are trying to meet a personal financial goal, become more independent or are met with unplanned costs, there are times where you need additional funding, and Raccoon Valley Bank is here to help!

 

Auto – Finance your new car, truck, mortorcycle or other motorized vehicle with our helpful lending offerings.

 

Personal –Whether you’re looking to finally get that lake boat, or an RV to travel the country in, we have specified financing options for every situation.

 

Home Equity Line of Credit – Finally complete that home renovation or addition! Try using this type of lending option when your budget is a more of a ballpark figure, but not necessarily an exact number.

 

With lending capabilities for nearly any project, Raccoon Valley Bank is your trusted lender for all things financial. Stop by our nearest location today, and share with us your next purchase, we’ll help get you started!

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