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Friday, September 14, 2012

Lowering your home ownership costs in an urban setting

By Ken Myers

Lower mortgage costs
Refinancing at a lower rate can reduces total costs
Lowering your mortgage costs in an urban setting can be tricky, but it is not impossible. While people who live in rural areas are often able to lower costs through selling parcels of land or converting their land into farmland, people who live in an urban setting rarely have these options. Fortunately, there are ways to lower mortgage costs.

1. Refinance your home

If you currently owe less on your home that your house is worth on the open market, it is a great time to refinance. With interest rates at historic lows, it’s possible to save hundreds of dollars a month by refinancing your mortgage. You may also have the option to pull some of your equity out of your home and use it to pay off debt or finance home improvements. Other people choose to stretch out the term of their loan. While this may increase the total amount you pay over the life of the loan, it will reduce your monthly mortgage expense.

2. Reevaluate your taxes 

With home values changing so much in many urban areas, it makes sense to spend a few minutes reevaluating your tax statement. Since most people pay property taxes each month as part of their mortgage, a sudden increase in the estimated value of your home could cost you hundreds of dollars a month. If your estimated value looks high, call your local tax collector to find out the reason why. If you don’t agree with the reason, challenge the amount and have your tax bill reduced.

3. Reevaluate your insurance needs

Insurance companies have made a lot of changes over the past several years in response to a predicted larger threat of damage from hurricanes. A lot of insurance companies have also added extra coverage and charged accordingly. If you’re looking to save money, however, it may be time to cut extra coverages, eliminate coverage for items you no longer have, and/or increase your deductible. It may also be possible to qualify for discounts based on the condition of your home or things such as having a security system installed. 

4. Look into an EEM

The government’s Energy Star program offers grants and discounted mortgage rates to homeowners who are willing to install energy saving measures into their homes. Look into this program to see if you qualify.

5. Rent out your space 

In many cities, housing and even small office space is considered a very valuable commodity. Consider renting out part of your home or apartment to a temporary roommate or even as office space. 

About the author: Ken Myers as an Expert Advisor on multiple household help issues to many Organizations and groups, and is a mentor for other “Mom-preneurs” seeking guidance. He is a regular contributor of “www.gonannies.com/”. You can get in touch with him at kmyers.ceo@gmail.com.

Image license: Netalloy/Openclipart, US-PD