Tag Archives: Home

A Home Buyer’s Caveat: KNOW What You Want!

There are a number of reasons, individuals begin to search for a home, of their own, or a new home. While some, are focused on their needs, goals, and priorities, others become absorbed by the concepts of the so – called, American Dream, of owning a home, of your own! Smart home buyers must be ready, and prepared, to proceed, with their eyes – wide – open, so they clearly, KNOW, what they seek, and what they might afford, as well as what will serve their needs, both today, and into the future. With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, using the mnemonic approach, what this means and represents, and why it matters.

1. Knowledge; keep it; kitchen: How will you decide, if a particular house, is best for you, and your true needs? Will you take the time, and make the effort, to learn, as much as possible, about the options and alternatives, as well as relevant aspects, and use your knowledge, to make you, a smarter, better prepared consumer? Are you considering, using this house, as a starter home, or will you keep it, into the foreseeable future? Why do you believe you will be happy, and well – served, living there?

2. Needs; nuances; niche; necessities: How will you determine your needs, goals, priorities, etc? How will a particular house, make you happier, and satisfy your need? Are there, specific nuances, which you believe, are most essential, to being happy, in your home? Would you identify, with some specific niche, and why? If you considered things carefully, can you differentiate between necessities/ priorities, and your personal, wish list?

3. Objectives; options; organized; optimize: Begin your house hunting, process, by clearing understanding and knowing your personal objectives! What specific options, are most important, for your present, and anticipated future, life style? Is the specific house, capable of being organized, to address your priorities, and is it possible to optimize your living experiences?

4. When; why; where; what; wonderful: When do you want to move in, and when do you need to? Why are you looking for a home, and this specific one? Is it located, where you will be best – served? What is needed, and necessary, to make your living experience, more wonderful?

Before you commit to buying, the best home, for you, KNOW what you need to know, and be prepared, as well as what, you seek, to be happy there! Will you commit to the process?

Why Every Home Buyer Should Do Mold Testing Before Buying A Home

No one wants to buy a house when it has a mildew problem. Unfortunately, spores can grow in places that potential buyers cannot see such as around leaking pipes and between walls. If you are considering buying a home; learn about spore detection, request that specialized testing be done, require that the seller disclose all mildew issues, and stipulate that the problem, if any exists, be resolved before you purchase the house.

Begin The Process By Asking Your Home Inspection Professional About Possible Damage

If you have a home inspection professional inspect the premises before you buy the property, he or she may see obvious signs of water damage during their inspection of those less seen places. While it is not their job to look for spores, most home inspection professionals will mention noticeable signs of water damage and the possible presence of spores. Also, do not be afraid to ask the inspector if they saw signs of mildew or noticed potential problem areas and ask them to include their observations in their report.

Set Mold Testing As A Top Priority

For individuals who are sensitive to spores, a home inspection specialist’s observations may need to be augmented by a mold testing expert. While some species of spores are visible and will often times produce an offensive odor, others can grow in areas that are less noticeable such as in wall paneling and under ceiling tiles. Specialized testing can unearth a potential problem, pinpoint the source, and determine the severity of the situation through the use of air sampling; swab and tape lift sampling, moisture mapping, and thermal imaging.

Mold Remediation Options

If spore growth is recent and confined to a small area, the issue can be remedied by scrubbing the area with detergent followed by a solution of bleach and water and then allowed to thoroughly dry. For problems that have been allowed to exist for long periods of time, a remediation expert could be the best option. For elevated levels of mildew, a mold remediation company will eliminate spore sources, clean the air with specialized equipment, apply antimicrobial treatment to infected areas and areas that could become a possible source, and dispose of items that cannot be cleaned. After mold remediation has been completed, the company will run a clearance test to make sure the problem has been eradicated.

Addressing Remediation Before Purchasing A House

If you purchase a house and later discover it has a mildew problem, it will be too late to ask the seller to defray the costs for spore remediation and for fixing the damage. This is why it is important to have mold testing done before purchasing the property. If testing reveals mildew issues, the buyer can ask the seller to reduce their price to cover mold remediation costs or can ask the seller to remove the mildew before the contract is signed. Be alert; protect your interests from the beginning.

Three Critical Factors to Consider When Buying a Home Or Lot on Lake Murray South Carolina

All real estate is not created equal, and this is certainly true with waterfront property on Lake Murray South Carolina. Understanding what to look for can help in the decision making process and can also help to ensure years of enjoyment from your lake-front home. For most people, the three critical factors to consider when purchasing water-frontage on Lake Murray are whether it has fringe-land, whether the property can have a private dock, and whether it has year-round water.

The first critical factor is fringe-land. Fringe-land is a term used by SCE&G (South Carolina Electric and Gas) which basically refers to a seventy-five foot wide strip of land which is owned by SCE&G and lies between the edge of the lake and the adjacent waterfront property.

Owners of the adjacent property only have foot access to the lake and are restricted from encroaching upon the land or cutting trees or shrubs on the land without written consent. While the majority of properties on the lake do not have to contend with this “vegetative buffer”, there are still many properties in the more rural areas of the lake where this is a consideration. Generally, properties free from fringe-land are more desirable.

The second critical factor is the ability to have a private dock. Not all Lake Murray properties can have private docks. SCE&G controls dock permitting, and they have strict guidelines governing permit issuance. Properties that have the ability for a private dock are in more demand and typically command a higher price than those with only a shared dock or with no dock at all.

The third critical factor is whether the property has year-round water. With Lake Murray being a hydro-electric lake, it has an annual draw-down in the fall and winter. The result for land owners is that some properties might be “dry” during the low period. Unfortunately, most real estate agents do not understand how to properly evaluate this aspect of lake properties.

Often times properties will be presented as having year-round water, but they don’t. This is not usually intentional deceit on the part of the listing agent, but usually just a lack of skill. If you plan on purchasing a home or lot on Lake Murray, be sure your real estate agent can do a USGS based depth analysis on any property of interest.

When buying any real estate, you should perform proper due diligence. Now you have an idea of what to look for when considering making a purchase on Lake Murray South Carolina. See you on the lake!

Reasons For Buying, Your Starter Home

Although, we often, consider, home ownership, as one of the core ingredients, in the American Dream, the financial realities of doing so, often, begins, with buying a starter home, rather than, the home of one’s dreams! As a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, in the State of New York, I have often discussed, this concept and approach, as opposed to simply, waiting, and hoping, for the ability, in the future, to buy something else. Life is evolving, and our needs, goals, priorities, and perceptions, often, change over time. Many of us, must, decide, if buying something, focused on now, rather than for the longer – term, may be a smart approach, and alternative, to merely, renting. With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, some reasons, for purchasing, a starter house.

1. Renting versus buying: When one rents, all the funds, are merely expenses, and go, to your landlord. They become, similar to, paying monthly charges for utilities, and bills. If there is an affordable way, to purchase a house, rather than, merely, renting, you become to build – up, and create, a genuine asset, which usually grows, over time! Wouldn’t you benefit, in a real way, from creating value from your monthly home payments, and, eventually, being able to use the proceeds, towards a down – payment, for something, closer to your dream home? If you have collected, at least some funds (or a family member will provide you, with it), then, a starter home, may be a good idea, for you, and your needs, and priorities!

2. What is a starter home?: What is meant, by a starter house? Generally, it means, accepting your current financial abilities, and situation, and creating a process, for building up your total assets, when the time comes. Since, needs, goals, priorities, etc, change and evolve, over time, as long, as this home, meets your current needs, as well as an apartment rental might, it’s often, a smart approach! Many younger couples begin this way, before they have families, or other needs. Sometimes, this permits someone to sell, and buy something more appropriate in the future, while, for others, if the property and neighborhood, permit (and it makes sense), you might expand it, renovate, and enjoy living there, for a longer- term.

Historically, real estate has been, one of the best overall investments, because it handles, both our housing needs, as well as builds equity, while doing so. Since, for most, our house represents our single, biggest, financial asset, doesn’t it make sense, to take advantage of, the possibilities?

Buying a Home? Watch Out For These Estate Agent Tricks

This is the second in a series of three articles warning home buyers and sellers about the main tricks estate agents use to get hold of your money. These articles are aimed at helping you avoid being fleeced by your estate agent.

Selling to buyers

Although we all know that agents are acting for sellers, many are experts in befriending buyers and getting them to feel that they are on our side, working to help us get the best property at the best price. If you’re buying a property you should be on your guard against several sales traps including the block, stock-shifting, pumping up the price, the spider’s web and the sealed-bid scam.

1. The Block

Of all estate agents’ tricks, the block is probably the one people least expect. Most of us assume agents want to sell properties to us and so it doesn’t occur to us that they may be interested in preventing us from buying. There are several reasons an agent might try to block us from buying a property. The most obvious is that they’ve planned a slash-and-grab for themselves or one of their contacts and so don’t want us to disrupt their plans by buying at a higher price than they’re offering. Another reason may be that the agent has a buyer who is also taking out a mortgage through that agent or an associate mortgage agent. The agent can earn almost as much commission from flogging the mortgage as from selling the property and so may be less interested helping a buyer with cash or who has organised their own mortgage. In both these cases, an agent may withhold our offers from a seller or, if they do pass on our offers, they may discourage the seller from accepting them by suggesting that we may not be in a good position to buy. An investigation by one journalist found that of six offers made to estate agents, only two were passed on to sellers.

2. The stock-shift

Buyers may be looking for their ideal home, but agents can only sell the properties they have on their books. Moreover, they have to shift their stock if they are to meet their sales targets. Unless an agent is lucky enough to have properties that perfectly match buyers’ requirements, the only way they can get their monthly bonus is by convincing buyers to take whatever they’ve got to sell. So the art of a successful agent is to influence buyers to compromise and take what is available rather than hold out for their dream property.

There are various ways of getting buyers to compromise. The easiest is to use fear to push you into making an offer. An agent may tell you that they have the perfect property, that this has just come on the market, but that you’ll have to move quickly before someone else snaps it up. Or if a buyer is hesitating, the agent will use the phantom buyer trick and claim that several other buyers are also interested. To add a little colour the agent may also say that one of the phantom buyers is a cash buyer and therefore in a much better position than you. Or an agent may arrange for several buyers to view a property at the same time. This is intended to make buyers believe that there is competition for the property and can lead to buyers being infected by auction-fever – always a great way to spur them into action and push the price up. Typically an agent will say that prices in the area are going up so if you don’t buy quickly, you’ll end up paying a lot more in a few months time. And there’s the sandwich – here the agent shows a buyer three properties with the first and the third being either unsuitable or out of their range and the middle one being closer to what they want. This helps create the impression in the buyer’s mind that there are few properties fitting their requirements and makes them more open to being fobbed off with something which is reasonably close to what they were looking for.

3. The price pump

Research has repeatedly shown that around 70% of buyers spend on average about 20% more for their homes than they had originally intended. So, whatever a buyer may say to an agent about their price limit, the agent already knows from experience that the large majority of buyers can be squeezed well above this if shown a property they like. The simplest way for the agent to push the price up is to claim that they already have several offers on a property, so if you’re interested, you’re going to have to put in a fairly juicy bid. Or else an agent may use the build-up – show you four or five properties, starting with the cheapest and moving on to the most expensive. Most buyers, when seeing a property they really like, will stretch their financial limit rather than letting the property go to someone else. Another tactic is to show you a home that is way above your financial limit. In comparison, any subsequent properties will seem reasonably priced. Or the agent could use the sneer – take you to an expensive property and then suggest that it’s a pity that you can’t stretch your budget to buy such a perfect home. This is particularly easy if the agent can use buyer’s partner or family to pile on the emotional pressure.

4. The spider’s web

In addition to sellers and property developers, agents have a wide web of people who can help them increase their earnings. For example, if an agent convinces a buyer to use a particular mortgage advisor or supposedly independent financial advisor, on an average loan the advisor will pocket about £2,000 and the agent £1,000 to £1,500. Even if a buyer has finance available, an agent might tell buyers that ‘it’s company policy’ to ensure that all buyers get the best loan deals available and so, whether you want it or not, the agent makes an appointment for you to meet a mortgage salesman with business connections to the agency.

Similarly, an agent will usually get generous kickbacks if they pass buyers onto lawyers and surveyors that they regularly work with. An added advantage of using lawyers and surveyors known to the agent is that they will tend to overlook problems with properties to enable sales to go through. In any town or even areas of a city, most agents, lawyers and surveyors will have worked together in the past and none will want to upset any of the others. So even when a buyer believes their lawyer and surveyor are representing their interests, it’s likely that the lawyer and surveyor will be more sensitive about ensuring continuing a good relationship with the estate agent rather than worrying about the interests of a buyer that they will probably never deal with again. When I began to question both my lawyer and surveyor about things they had apparently ‘overlooked’, the lawyer paid me £6,000 and the surveyor £2,500 – this may have been because they were terribly nice people and particularly liked me; or it may have been because they realised their cosy little arrangement with the estate agent had been rumbled and so were keen to avoid any possibly embarrassing explanations. Any buyer who gets caught in the spider’s web of the agent’s business associates may find it a very expensive experience.

5. Sealed-bid scams

If there are several buyers chasing a property, the seller and agent may ask all the potential purchasers to submit their ‘best and final’ offer in an envelope by a certain date and time with the understanding that the highest bid will be accepted. This is a wonderful way of getting the price up as buyers’ competitive natures can cloud their common sense. But the sealed bid process is open to abuse. For a start, the seller doesn’t have to accept the highest offer – a slightly lower cash offer may be preferable to a higher offer from someone who needs time to arrange finance. Also, once the bids are opened, the agent can easily go back to the bidder with the deepest pockets and suggest that if they increase their offer by a certain amount, then the property is theirs. If they think a potential buyer has access to more money, the agent can also lie about the level of the highest bid or invent a phantom bid in order to push the price higher. Or, if they want to do a slash-and-grab to get the property for themselves, a developer, a family member or friend, then an agent may withhold some bids.

The CARDS Approach For Preparing To Buy A Home

Congratulations, and best of luck! You’ve made the decision, to seek, what for many, for generations, has been, which is the essential component of the so – called, American Dream – buying a home, of your own. When one proceeds, carefully, and wisely, and buys, what he needs, likes, can afford, and is located, in an area and neighborhood, you desire, you’ll have the best chance, of achieving your objectives, in a relevant, smart, priorities – oriented way. Since, for most Americans, their ownership of their house, represents their single, biggest, financial asset, doesn’t it make sense to pay keen attention, and get the best results? With that in mind, this article will briefly discuss, consider, and review, using the mnemonic approach, the CARDS approach to home buying.

1. Credit: For those who are well – prepared, before they begin their search and hunt, it has the potential to be, a satisfying, inspiring, motivating experience. An essential aspect and component, is to fully consider, review and prepare, so, your credit is your friend, rather than becoming an obstacle, and/ or worse! Several months before you begin searching, sit down with a recommended, mortgage professional, and gather relevant, meaningful, feedback. Then, address, any, and every area, suggested. Have all the necessary reserves, for down – payment, maintenance, several months carrying charges, etc. Carefully review your Credit Report, and address any issues, and make it, as favorable, as possible! Be prepared!

2. Attention: Pay keen attention to details, and never ignore, even the minor issues, but proceed, in a timely manner, to be, as prepared, as possible. Objectively, introspectively, examine your needs, goals, priorities, as well as limitations, and determine, the best course of action, to pursue.

3. Reserves: Accumulate all the reserves you will need, as well as those which might make you more comfortable! Obviously, you must have the down – payment. Have at least 6 to 9 months, reserves, put aside, for monthly carrying charges, etc. Create a reserve for repairs, renovations, maintenance, etc, so, home ownership, becomes a pleasure, rather than stressful!

4. Debts: Simply stated, reduce all other debts, so you have an easier time, qualifying for the best mortgage! Doing so, also, creates a form of needed, self – discipline! Aim to become your best friend, rather than being your enemy! Also, avoid taking out, any additional, new debts!

5. Savings: Focus on accumulating savings, as well as proceeding, efficiently in areas, such as energy, and other cost – savings, areas

Let the CARDS approach, work for you, so you are best – prepared, for home buying. Will you have the self – discipline?

What You Should Consider Before Buying a Home

Purchasing a home can be one of the most significant events in a person’s financial life. For most people, it can be their largest asset or their biggest obligation. Determining the right time to buy will make or break your investment. If you act responsibly, it could be one of the best periods in time to buy a home. Housing prices are at record lows and deals are in abundance. Taking the proper steps can ensure a return on your investment.

The housing market is definitely a buyer’s market. The truth is that most of the country is still recovering from housing decline that started in 2006. In some areas of the country, some homes are listed at prices lower than the average sedan. This won’t last because indicators are showing that the over all market is showing signs of recovery. Some cities are showing appreciation in median home prices and others are still down. Doing a little research about the city your planning to buy in can go a long way.

Interest rates have remained at an all time low. Prime rate has remained at 3.25% for over 8 years and conventional mortgage rates typically are not much higher. Depending on your loan program you could pay less than prime. Deciding on buying your rate will also be something to think about.

How much can you really afford? This is one of the most important questions. Some loans allow for a max of 50% Debt to income ratio. Note that all conventional loans currently have a 41% maximum ratio before the buyer is forced to pay private mortgage insurance. Keep in mind that guidelines change constantly, so make sure to ask your lender. Even with these underwriting guidelines there is still much to consider. You are likely to have other expenses that are not part of your debt ratios. Things like putting money away for retirement and a child that may be going off to college are important to consider.

Your loan program will be a major factor. 20% is a must for a conventional loan. It allow for an equity position from the start getting into a loan. This gives the owner the ability to maneuver if they have to refinance or sell. anything above the 80% the borrower will be forced to pay private mortgage insurance. The reason for PMI is that in case of default debt will fall in to lien positions. Any taxes owed first, 1st mortgage, 2nd mortgage. that 20% can easily fall into third position which creates the need for mortgage insurance. FHA and VA loans are government subsidized loans that come with their own requirements.

Buying A Home in La Jolla Can Have Its Perks

Thinking of buying a home in La Jolla, California? The area is one one of the most beautiful coastal cities in the United States. Living here, near San Diego, has many positive perks. There are great restaurants, shopping, and a great active life.

  • Sammy’s Pizza – Sammy’s Pizza was the original Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza that opened in 1989. This was San Diego’s first restaurant that introduced the concept of woodfired pizza. Sammy’s Pizza is located on Pearl Street, a prime street, and only blocks away from the La Jolla Beach. Sammy’s has cabana covered settings outdoor, surrounding a large fire-pit. They also use local, organic, and nutritionally balanced ingredients when possible.
  • The Birch Aquarium – The Birch Aquarium, is a “public exploration center for the world-renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography” at University of California San Diego (UCSD). This Scripps Aquarium provides education of ocean science through activities, creative exhibits, and programs. These creative approaches help children and adults use critical thinking and help show them how science is relevant to their daily lives.
  • Westfield UTC Mall – Westfield UTC Mall is an open-air shopping mall located the University City community of San Diego California. The UTC Mall has recently undergone extensive renovation in 2012 for more of a resort-inspired shopping. Now the UTC customers feel like they are on vacation while they shop. Shop and wander past chic boutiques under cabana-lined walkways. Relax and enjoy the nightlife at the new Palm Plaza – “a haven of palm trees and fire pits for cocktailing or catching a live performance”.
  • Torrey Pines Golf Course – Torrey Pines Golf Course is, a world-renown facility, situated atop of the coastal cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This golf course is “recognized as the premier municipal golf course owned and operated by a city”. It offers a widely distinguishable 18-hole championship golf course that yearly host the PGA TOUR’s Farmer Insurance Open event. “Torrey Pines also offers one of the largest on-course golf shops in the United States, expert instruction, tournaments, and advanced golf schools”.
  • CorePower Yoga – CorePower Yoga is located in the La Jolla Colony Shopping Center, off Regents Road in the UTC shopping district. “The studio is situated on a first floor suite within the University Town Center shopping district”. These yoga classes are done in their climate-controlled environments that efficiently heat and maintain the yoga class. These classes are set to energized music while helping those to become more strengthened, balanced and detoxified. While building a core powered body, you will also enlighten your body and mind.

La Jolla has so many things to offer that are both exciting and family-friendly. Enjoy an amazing wood fire pizza with your family and friends on a Friday night, at Sammy’s Pizza. On Saturday, spend the day at the beach, Birch Aquarium, or the Westfield UTC Mall.. And if you want a Sunday to yourself, go golfing at the Torrey Pines Golf Course or unwind at CorePower Yoga. La Jolla has so many activities, restaurants, beaches, and active life to making it the perfect family community.

Home Buying: Prepare To Be CREDIT – Worthy

Since the vast majority of homeowners, especially, of first – time ones, use a mortgage, as a major component, in having the necessary funds, needed to purchase a particular property, common sense should indicate, it’s essential to ensure your CREDIT is of a quality, which makes you credit – worthy, and capable of qualifying, for the necessary financing. Buying a house, is a complex, complicated, important process, which, for most people, represents, not only a place to live, but their single – biggest, financial asset. With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly examine, consider, and review, using the mnemonic approach, why this matters, and some things to consider.

1. Cash on hand; creative; consider: Buying a house requires having a considerable amount of cash, on hand, even when you use a mortgage. This includes, monies needed for a down – payment, closing costs, necessary reserves, and generally, at least 6 months, monthly payment, is required by many lending institutions. Home buyers should have the creativity and vision, to consider whether a particular property is right for you, and whether the bones, of the house, make it a smart decision.

2. Reserves; reside; region; right for you: Do you have the necessary reserves needed, both as a requirement of the lender, as well as for repairs, renovations, etc? Will it be a place, you wish, to reside? Always consider, after looking at the pros and cons, whether a particular house, is right, for you!

3. Exist; excellence; energy: Will a particular property, enhance your focus on doing more than, merely, existing, and, rather, seeking whatever you consider, to be, the utmost excellence? The right house should energize your existence!

4. Delve deeply; discover; deduce: Begin the process, by delving deeply, into your financial picture. Acquire your free copy of your Credit Report, and check for any detrimental areas, etc, and fix them, prior to beginning your search. Discover as much, relevant information, as possible, and seek, to deduce, what might be needed, to make you more credit – worthy!

5. Image; imagination; incentives; insights: For most, their personal self – image, directs them to a particular house. You need the imagination, to balance what is, with the possibilities, and potential. Examine which lending institutions, might be offering incentives, and whether, you qualify, or what you must do! It’s your personal insights, which make the biggest difference!

6. Timely: Is this the right time, to buy a house? Are you prepared, emotionally, and financially? Are mortgage interest rates, favorable, and are all your personal finances, prepared, and set – up, for the better? Once you discover the home, for you, will you be ready, willing and able, to take, well – considered, timely action?

Consider you CREDIT, and do all you can, to enhance your credit rating. If you want to purchase a house, it’s important, to begin, prepared and ready.

The Right Mortgage Option for Buying a Home

Things that can affect which type of mortgage option is right depends greatly on the home buyer. There are different types of low down payment and no down payment mortgages. Some homes loans are best suited for specific types of homes. Distressed homes, for instance are best matched with an FHA 203k renovation loan. This type of home loan has funds for repairs structured into it.

Of all the mortgage options available, fixed rate loans are the safest. Back in the days of subprime lending by predatory lenders, many borrowers fell prey to overwhelming debt. A fixed rate home loan is more secure for many home buyers; there’s no confusion about monthly payments and interest.

Compared to an ARM, it’s much easier to calculate a fixed rate mortgage too. The most familiar of these is the 30-year conventional. Home buyers usually make a 10% – 20% down payment with a fixed interest rate. FHA loan products have a 3.5% deposit.

Conventional loans have a lender insurance premium when less than 20% is deposited. This premium called PMI, or private mortgage insurance, protects lenders in case of borrower default. If the loan-to-value reaches 80%, PMI can be dismissed. Buying at lower rates enables buyers to make extra principal payments. This means PMI can be dismissed sooner rather than later.

For some home-buyers a 15-year or bi-weekly fixed rate loan is more attractive. These debts are paid off much faster than 30-year conventional mortgages.

An ARM, or adjustable rate mortgage, can be a useful product for some home buyers. This type of loan is best for buyers when interest rates are low. What borrowers must consider is the length of time they intend to stay in the home. Borrowers benefit if they are going to stay only a few years, sell the property and move before rates rise. If a borrower can pay the mortgage off before rates rise, that’s even better.

ARM’s also have fixed rates, but harder to understand. There is a specific rate which, as interest rates rise and fall, remains the same. As rates go up and down, a percent is added or subtracted but subject to caps. These caps dictate the maximum and lowest rates you can expect. Make sure you understand the loan terms on an ARM.

Buyers should spend time calculating mortgage options with different down payments and interest rates. This helps them to see how the expense of carrying a mortgage will impact their finances.