Searching for ways to save money on housing? We’ve got a few ideas.
If you’re desperate to save money on housing, it’s time to stop worrying. You’re not alone in this struggle. While poverty rates have dropped four out of the last five years in Georgia, there are still plenty of families living hand-to-mouth. Housing is one of the biggest bills most households deal with every month, so addressing these concerns first is an easy way to get a handle on your monthly budget. There are several easy ways to do so without leaving gaps in other areas.
Need a little help making your paycheck last? Whether you rent or own, check out these three tips for lowering your housing costs:
#1: Ask Your Lender for a Payment Adjustment
Most homeowners don’t realize they can negotiate their loan payments without getting an entirely new loan. Refinancing is a lengthy process and can wind up being more expensive than you think. It’s also unnecessary in many situations. If your circumstances have changed and your mortgage payments are now too big for your budget, it doesn’t hurt you at all to call the financing company and ask if you can lower your payments.
One option is requesting re-amortization, also called re-casting, meaning you request to repay your loan over a longer amount of time. This raises the amount of interest you pay on your home loan, but can significantly reduce the payment you make every month.
There is a fee for this service, which varies depending on your lender’s policies. Many times, you can negotiate the cost. You won’t know unless you ask. Unless you pay in advance, the amount gets added to the balance of your mortgage. So make sure you ask about the cost of re-amortization before you make the final agreement.
#2: Refinance Your Home Mortgage
Refinancing doesn’t guarantee you’ll have lower mortgage payments. In fact, if you rush through the process without knowing enough about it, you could wind up paying more for your property every month. It’s important to discuss a refinance with a mortgage specialist before making the jump.
When you refinance, you end your original loan agreement and create a new one, based on new interest rates and terms. Your current credit score and report will greatly influence the outcome. So, too, will the fees your lender charges for a refinance. They are much higher than the fees involved in re-amortization and can nullify any savings gained by refinancing.
However, there are certain scenarios where refinancing makes sense — and a big difference in your monthly bills. If you’re struggling to meet your monthly payments, it’s worth taking a look at the numbers.
#3: Renting? Apply for Relief
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, also known as HUD, has a rental assistance program you can use to lower your monthly bills and prepare for homeownership. Along with Housing Choice vouchers you can use for eligible rental units or public housing developed specifically for low-income communities.
Because buying a home is sometimes more affordable than renting, HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Program educates renters on home ownership and provides funding to help them afford a down payment. Additional help is available for those struggling to pay their mortgages, needing help with rent or down payments and for emergency funds for late rent and utility bills from the following agencies:
- Fulton Atlanta Community Action Authority 404-320-0166
- Atlanta Georgia Midtown Assistance Center 404-681-5777
- Fulton County Referral Service 404-614-1000
It can take time and practice to learn how to save money on housing. If you need a bit of wiggle room, a title pawn can help. Call or visit your nearest Title Tree store to find out whether you qualify.