Mortgages: Fixed or Floating?

buying process people photoAlthough there are a lot of different variations on the types of mortgages available when you’re buying a home, they all boil down to two different kinds: fixed and floating. If you hear these terms when you’re doing your home shopping, you may start to wonder what they mean and which one is best for your needs. A firm understanding of the difference between a fixed mortgage and a floating mortgage can make a huge difference when it comes time to talk numbers with your bank, lender, or financial advisor.

Floating Mortgages:  These types of mortgages are also known as adjustable rate or variable rate mortgages. All three of these terms mean the same thing: a mortgage with an interest rate that can change over time. The benefit to choosing a mortgage like this one is that the initial rate is usually going to come in quite a lot lower than the standard market rate at the time you apply for the mortgage. However, as the years go on, the rate may fluctuate. Eventually, the rate will end up higher than the standard rate was at the time the mortgage was issued, which means you’ll be paying more than you would have in the end with a fixed rate mortgage.

This type of mortgage is really only a good choice if you absolutely can’t afford the standard market interest rate at the time of the mortgage but are certain you will be able to afford a higher rate later on down the line. You will be told up front at what time you can expect your rate to increase, but you may not always know how much it’s going to increase to ahead of time.

Fixed Rate Mortgages:  A fixed rate mortgage has an interest rate that never changes. Initially, the rate may be a little bit higher than it would be with a floating mortgage, but it will never change even if the market standards go much higher in a few years. These are usually considered the better option for most homebuyers because they are easy to understand and make it easy to budget the mortgage into the monthly and yearly household economy. There is usually some variance in the length of time that these mortgages last, and they can be anywhere from 15 years to 30 years in most situations.

If a fixed rate mortgage goes for 30 years, a good portion of that will be dedicated solely to paying off interest. This may sound bad, but for homebuyers who can fit the monthly mortgage payment into their budget without trouble, there’s not really much of a downside to it. A fixed rate mortgage is almost always the better option, but higher interest rates can make it difficult to quality for one of these mortgages.

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Summer Festivals Not to Miss in the Valley

When summertime rolls around in the Valley, you may find yourself wondering what you’re going to do to pass the time. Luckily for you, there are plenty of great summer festivals that are just around the corner. You’re sure to find something you love to do among the excellent festivals that take place in and around the Phoenix area.

  1. Red, White and Boom – This is the annual fireworks celebration held in Phoenix every year. This is a huge event with a massive turnout, so plan to get there early and stay late for the exciting fireworks show! This festival doesn’t always take place directly on the Fourth of July, so be sure to check the schedule and find out when it will be going on.
  2. All American Festival – In Peoria, this festival kicks off the summer and offers lots for kids and adults both to take part in. Participate in a food eating contest or just stick around for the fireworks at night. This is a good old-fashioned Fourth of July festival that’s sure to please the whole family.
  3. Glendale Summer Band Concert Series – Do you love music? Who doesn’t? At this concert series, you can hear some of your favorite bands and maybe even discover some you’ve never paid attention to before, too. This concert series goes all summer long, so check out the schedule to plan your next night out.
  4. Scottsdale Art Walk – This is technically a weekly event and it doesn’t happen only in the summertime, but it deserves a mention because it’s a great chance to take a stroll and enjoy looking at beautiful works of art from local artists, too.
  5. Carnival of Illusion – This is a unique performance that’s based on old Vaudeville routines and is sure to surprise and delight adults and kids both. It’s shows once or twice per summer in Phoenix, so don’t miss it.
  6. Warped Tour – While you’re experiencing all the sights and sounds of summertime, don’t forget to catch Warped Tour when it hits Phoenix. This is a popular tour, so be sure to pick up your tickets ahead of time if possible.
  7. Arizona Community Short Film Festival – If you love short films or just like to support local artists, head to this annual event in Phoenix to get your fix. You may discover something about your own creative side while you’re there, too.

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Why Use A Realtor When Buying A Home?

North Scottsdale home photoBuying a home can be a difficult time and may pose a significant challenge if you’ve never been through the process before. But even if you feel like you’re an experienced pro at the process, there may be a few ins and outs you aren’t aware of. When it’s time to buy your next home, don’t hesitate to look for a good realtor to help you out. You may be surprised what a difference a realtor can make.

Experience:  Realtors know a lot more about what a home is worth than you might, even if you’ve been shopping around for a while. Although you may always be willing to pay above the value of a home if you find one you can’t live without, it’s also a good idea to have someone along who can help you keep a good head on your shoulders about the price.

Negotiation:  A realtor’s experience can go a long way toward help you with the negotiation part of the homebuying process. The realtor can work with the seller’s realtor to help you find a price that works well for you, but your realtor can also help you catch repairs that may need to be factored into the final price. If you want these repairs to be taken care of before the home is yours, a realtor can help there, too.

Access:  When you’re buying a home, you have to wait until the listings show up on web sites before you can choose the ones you want to go take a look at. When a realtor is helping you, however, you’ll have access to listings as soon as they hit the market. Your realtor can help you schedule appointments to view homes that aren’t widely publicized, which may help you find something you never even knew existed.

Paperwork:  Last but not least, your realtor can help you make sure all your paperwork is filed correctly and in a timely fashion so you don’t miss any important deadlines. Sometimes, the homebuying process can be held up or may fall through altogether if you make just one mistake on your paperwork. With a realtor to double check everything, this is a lot less likely to happen.

Having a realtor as part of your homebuying process may seem unnecessary, especially if you’ve ever purchased a home before, but it always pays to have someone who knows what they’re doing on your side. Your realtor will work with you to find the perfect home to suit your needs and make you happy for many years to come.

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Keeping Pets Safe in Your Yard

It gets hot in Arizona in the summertime, and your pets are probably even more aware of that than you are. When the hotter part of the year rolls around, make sure you’re doing everything you can to ensure the safety, health, and happiness of your furry friends. There are a lot of simple things you can do to improve their experience during the summer even when you need to keep them outside in the yard for a little while.

Keep Pets Abackyard photoway from Pools:  When it’s hot out, you’ll surely be tempted to get your swimming pool ready for the summer months. This is fine, of course, but if you’ll be keeping your pet out in the yard, be sure there’s some way your furry friend cannot get to the swimming pool. Even if your pet is a great swimmer, accidents can happen. Especially if you have an older or disabled pet, put a fence around the pool or around the part of the yard where your pet will be kept.

Offer Lots of Water:  Making sure your pet has lots of water during the hot summer months is key to a safe and happy pet. You can purchase special waterers that can be installed on your garden hose spigot and will allow your dog to access fresh, clean drinking water whenever he or she needs it. If you don’t want to go this route, however, you can always just be sure to put out several bowls of water and keep them filled. Some pet owners even fill small shallow kiddie pools with water for their animals.

Be Sure There’s Shade:  Shade is almost just as important as water for your pets. Pets can’t regulate heat the same way humans can, so it’s important that they can get out of the hot sun whenever possible. If your pet is shorthaired or hairless, you might also want to provide ample shade to reduce the risk of sunburn.

Never Leave Your Pet Unattended:  This is a good rule no matter what the situation might be. However, when you’re keeping your pets outside during the hot summer months, you should never go away from home and leave them there. You never know what could happen while you’re not at home to check in on things, and if your pet runs out of water or gets stuck somewhere that he or she can’t get to the shade, this could be disastrous.

Don’t Spray Pesticides:  This may not have to do with the heat specifically, but as summer gets geared up, you’ll be tempted to spray pesticides in your yard to make the outdoors more enjoyable. If you keep your pet outside much of the time, however, skip the pesticides, as they can be very toxic to pets. If you must spray your yard, plan to keep your pet indoors only for a few days.

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