Weird news for February! Andressa Urach, Brazilian TV presenter, reality show actress and beauty contestant, is now warning women against the dangers of plastic surgery. This after she has had about every kind of procedure imaginable performed on herself. Determined to have the face and body of a “rich and beautiful” woman she has gone to great expense — and even greater risk — to chase that dream.
Now the “Miss Bum Bum” finalist is bummed herself. In a procedure to enlarge her own bum and thighs (?!), she got much too high a level of silicone injections. They caused an infection that put her on life support for a month. Pretty high price to pay for so much vanity that you begin the New Year draining offending fillers from your body! Not a beautiful thing at all…
If you’ve started 2015 feeling bummed — particularly about your home or lack of one — it’s time to stop and be grateful for what you do have. It’s even time to be grateful for your healthy bum — and time to get off it and go after new opportunities! There are plenty of them to help you buy your first house (or a better one), avoid losing the one you’ve got, find assistance with home repairs, or simply land a better place to live:
Discover your program today!
There are lots of resources on this site having to do with housing issues of all kinds. Here is a review to show you how to find them along with updates about new programs. We begin with homebuyers:
You Could Buy a Home! Don’t believe it?
Perhaps you’ve tried before and couldn’t qualify. Don’t give up! There are several new programs that could make enough difference that you could now qualify for that house you’ve been dreaming of. In Grants to Purchase a Home you’ll get details about that and other opportunities. See how teachers, firefighters and police can find homes at a 50% discount, where you can find free (and trustworthy) counseling about buying a home, and more. And for everyone looking to buy a house, learn how the new Home Possible Advantage Program lets you get your new home with just 3% down! Available mortgage loans that go with that reduced down payment include 15, 20 and 30 year conventional fixed rate loans - still at historically low rates.
Assistance for First Time Home Buyers:
If you are buying a house for the first time you’re in more luck. While housing prices have been going up, mortgage rates have stayed surprisingly low. They’re expected to increase this year though. Act now if a new home is one of your New Year’s resolutions. You can also take advantage of new programs that further reduce your costs. The first is the change in LTV, or Loan to Value requirements described above. With just 3% down required you won't have to worry as much about the ratio between your loan amount and the value of your home.
New home buyers will also benefit from the surprise move of the FHA to lower its rates for Mortgage Insurance Premiums in 2015. This is the first time it’s done so since 2001. The change could make a difference of several thousand dollars to the annual homeowner’s expense. Combine that savings with the fact that mortgage rates are still at record lows, and this is a great time to go buy that house!
$15,000 Assistance with your Down Payment?!
In addition to these new developments, Grants for First Time Home Buyers covers more promising opportunities. Not all of them are from the government! There are non-profit agencies whose goal is to get more people into their first homes by helping them with their down payment! And some agencies as well as the government are teaming up with private corporations to do even more.
If you live in Salt Lake City you may know about the NeighborhoodLIFT program. This is a joint program between Wells Fargo Bank and Neighborworks Salt Lake. Wells Fargo is contributing $5 million to the program. $4 million of it will go to helping new buyers with their down payment (up to as much as $15,000 assistance!). If you don’t live in Salt Lake City don’t lose hope. Check out the Neighborworks agency nearest you — see our article Grants for Home Repair for more about what they do and how to find them. You may be able to find a similar program in your area!
With tax time approaching you should also be aware of the Mortgage Credit Certificate Tax Credit Program. This tax credit can further reduce home buyers’ monthly expenses but you have to know how to get it. Check out the details in Grants for First Time Home Buyers.
Assistance Avoiding Foreclosure:
Are you aware of the HARP 2.0 program? It allows underwater homeowners to refinance at rates that are historically low. If you’ve been meaning to look into it and haven’t yet, be aware that HARP ends in December of this year (2015)! Also be aware that some of the rules have changed (in a good way) and you may be able to qualify even if you didn’t meet the requirements before. For instance, there is no maximum LTV or loan to home value maximum for fixed rate loans. That means you need to take action! Go right now to our new article about Assistance for HARP Eligibility. You can take a quick, confidential quiz to see if you are eligible for HARP. And you don’t have to provide any personal, financial, or contact information - this quiz is for your eyes only!
If you're eligible look for a HARP lender near you but beware of scams. There are plenty of them out there! We detail several precautions you must take in Assistance for HARP Eligibility.
Assistance for Renters:
Buying a home may not yet be possible for you. But that doesn’t mean there are no opportunities to improve your housing situation. There are many programs available, some of which may be new to you. Take a look at Grants for Housing to see what’s possible. And check back for a new article soon about Assistance for Renters.
Be a Great Valentine:
Get busy and enjoy February. It’s a short, sweet month so make the most of it. Maybe you can surprise your Valentine with the real possibility of a new home!