Category Archives: Buying

Link

Can Space Tourists Get Life Insurance? by Aaron Crowe

Astronaut

The Oct. 31 crash of a Virgin Galactic rocket that killed a pilot hasn’t stopped the company from continuing its quest to offer space tourists a chance to see the Earth from above, giving potential riders a chance to reconsider their life insurance options.

While life insurance might be the furthest thing from any space tourist’s mind, a loophole that allows current life insurance policyholders to retain such coverage if they fly into space remains, though the insurance industry may look to close it.

Skydivers, pilots and people with other high-risk jobs or hobbies must buy extra coverage on their life insurance policies. Space tourists, however, who either already have life insurance or are applying for a policy don’t have to mention their upcoming trip to space because insurers either don’t ask about space tourism or don’t exclude it from coverage.

The loophole means they’d likely have to pay if the policyholder died on a space trip.

There are little or no established life underwriting guidelines specifically for space flight, and such activity would probably be covered under common aviation clauses and exclusions, says Rob Drury, executive director of the Association of Christian Financial Advisors.

“For a life insurance company to deny coverage for space travel would require a specific exclusion of such activity,” Drury says. “If the current treatment of aviation activities is an indication, the greater likelihood is that a proposed insured would be underwritten at a higher risk class.”

Once a policy is issued, death benefits must be paid for any death regardless of cause, unless there is a finding of fraud, misrepresentation, or suicide within the policy’s contestability period of the first two policy years in most states, he says.

Coverage is provided by omission, meaning the underwriter doesn’t ask about an applicant’s plans to fly into space.

“If someone wants to run the bulls at Pamplona, his insurer might not like it, but they must pay in the event of death if the activity isn’t specifically excluded,” Drury says.

Astronauts are rated at $10 per $1,000 of coverage in addition to their approved rate based on amount of coverage, age and other factors, says Ellen Davis, president of Life Health Home Insurance Group. Space tourists can’t buy coverage yet, Davis says.

However, if the insurer doesn’t ask an applicant about space travel, then it would be covered under travel outside of the United States, she says.

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo crashed during a test flight. The craft is designed to carry six passengers on two-hour suborbital flights that offer a few minutes of weightlessness. The company announced after the crash that it plans to continuing selling tickets at up to $250,000 per seat.

The good news is that while flying in a rocket sounds risky, even for insurers, not many people have died riding into space. No one has died in suborbital manned flights. There have been three fatal orbital space shots, including the space shuttles Challenger and Columbia with 14 deaths, and a Soyuz flight that killed one person.

Mention that to your underwriter next time you’re applying for insurance as a space tourist.

Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist who specializes in content about personal finance and insurance.

To Link To This Page
<a href=”https://www.termlifeinsurance.com/can-space-tourists-get-life-insurance”>Can Space Tourists Get Life Insurance?</a>

What Is A VA Loan?

The VA Loan became known in 1944 through the original Servicemen’s Readjustment Act also known as the GI Bill of Rights. The GI Bill was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and provided veterans with a federally guaranteed home with no down payment. This feature was designed to provide housing and assistance for veterans and their families, and the dream of home ownership became a reality for millions of veterans. The GI Bill contributed more than any other program in history to the welfare of veterans and their families, and to the growth of the nation’s economy.With more than 25.5 million veterans and service personnel eligible for VA financing, this loan is attractive and has many advantages. Eligibility for the VA loan is defined as Veterans who served on active duty and have a discharge other than dishonorable after a minimum of 90 days of service during wartime or a minimum of 181 continuous days during peacetime. There is a two-year requirement if the veteran enlisted and began service after September 7, 1980 or was an officer and began service after October 16, 1981. There is a six-year requirement for National guards and reservists with certain criteria and there are specific rules concerning the eligibility of surviving spouses.

VA will guarantee a maximum of 25 percent of a home loan amount up to $104,250, which limits the maximum loan amount to $417,000. Generally, the reasonable value of the property or the purchase price, whichever is less, plus the funding fee may be borrowed. All veterans must qualify, for they are not automatically eligible for the program.

VA guaranteed loans are made by private lenders, such as banks, savings & loans, or mortgage companies to eligible veterans for the purchase of a home, which must be for their own personal occupancy. The guaranty means the lender is protected against loss if you or a later owner fails to repay the loan. The guaranty replaces the protection the lender normally receives by requiring a down payment allowing you to obtain favorable financing terms.

Teaching Your Child About Money: Lesson 4

Lesson 4: Becoming a smart consumer

Commercials. Peer pressure. The mall. Children are constantly tempted to spend money but aren’t born with the ability to spend it wisely. Your child needs guidance from you to make good buying decisions. Here are a few things you can do to help your child become a smart consumer:

  • Set aside one day a month to take your child shopping. This will encourage your child to save up for something he or she really wants rather than buying something on impulse.
  • Just say no. You can teach your child to think carefully about purchases by explaining that you will not buy him or her something every time you go shopping. Instead, suggest that your child try items out in the store then put them on a birthday or holiday wish list.
  • Show your child how to compare items based on price and quality. For instance, when you go grocery shopping, teach him or her to find the prices on the items or on the shelves, and explain why you’re choosing to buy one brand rather than another.
  • Let your child make mistakes. If the toy your child insists on buying breaks, or turns out to be less fun than it looked on the commercials, eventually your child will learn to make good choices even when you’re not there to give advice.

Want to share your ideas? Post a comment, or send me an email!

Ellen

Buying a Home! (Part 3)

Making the Offer

Once you find a house, you’ll want to make an offer. Most home sale offers and counteroffers are made through your realPhoto by Deb Duncan
estate agent. All terms and conditions of the offer, no matter how minute, should be put in writing to avoid future problems. Typically, your real estate agent will prepare an offer to purchase for you to sign. You’ll also include an earnest money deposit which shows the sellers that you are serious about buying their home. If the seller accepts the offer to purchase, he or she will sign the contract, which will then become a binding agreement between you and the seller. For this reason, it’s a good idea to work with a real estate agent that you can trust.

Check out our list of Referral Partners at my web site, Mortgage Link, to find realtors we recommend and trust.

Other Details

Once the seller has accepted your offer, you, your real estate agent, and I will get busy completing procedures and documents necessary to finalize the purchase. These include finalizing the mortgage loan, appraising the house, surveying the property, and getting homeowner’s insurance. Typically, you would have made your offer contingent upon the satisfactory completion of a home inspection, so now’s the time to get this done as well.

The Closing

The closing meeting, also known as a title closing or settlement, can take an hour to two hours to complete–but when it’s over, the house is yours! To make sure the closing goes smoothly, some or all of the following people should be present: the seller, the closing agent (a real estate attorney or the representative of a title company), and both your real estate agent and the seller’s. At the closing, you’ll be required to sign the following paperwork:

  • Promissory note: This spells out the amount and repayment terms of your mortgage loan.
  • Mortgage: This gives the lender a lien against the property.
  • Truth-in-lending disclosure: This tells you exactly how much you will pay over the life of your mortgage, including the total amount of interest you’ll pay.
  • HUD-1 settlement statement: This details the cash flows among the buyer, seller, lender, and other parties to the transaction. It also lists the amounts of all closing costs and who is responsible for paying these.

In addition, you’ll need to provide proof that you have insured the property. You’ll also be required to pay certain costs and fees associated with obtaining the mortgage and closing the real estate transaction. On average, these costs total between 4 and 5 percent of your mortgage amount in the Metro DC Area, so be sure to bring along your checkbook and driver’s license.

Thinking about buying a home or do you just want to know how much your current home is worth? Email me to request a CMA Report today.

Ellen

Buying a Home! (Part 2)

Should You Use a Real Estate Agent?

A knowledgeable real estate agent or buyer’s broker can guide you through the process of buying a home and make the process much easier. This assistance can be especially helpful to a first-time home buyer. In particular, an agent or broker can:

  • Help you determine your housing needs
  • Show you properties and neighborhoods in your price range
  • Suggest sources and techniques for financing
  • Prepare and present an offer to purchase
  • Act as an intermediary in negotiations
  • Recommend professionals whose services you may need (e.g., title professionals, inspectors)
  • Provide insight into neighborhoods and market activity
  • Disclose positive and negative aspects of properties you’re considering

Keep in mind that if you enlist the services of an agent or broker, you’ll want to find out how he or she is being compensated (i.e., flat fee or commission based on a percentage of the sale price). Many states require the agent or broker to disclose this information to you up front and in writing.

Photo by Deb Duncan

Choosing the Right Home

Before you begin looking at houses, decide in advance the features that you want your home to have. Knowing what you want ahead of time will make the search for your dream home much easier. Here are some things to consider:

  • Price of home and potential for appreciation
  • Location or neighborhood
  • Quality of construction, age, and condition of the property
  • Style of home and lot size
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Quality of local schools
  • Crime level of the area
  • Property taxes
  • Proximity to shopping, schools, and work

Drop me a note for some expert advice on what to look for in a home and what you should avoid like the plague!

Ellen

Buying a Home! (Part 1)

(This is the first installment of another series of tips and advice on buying your own home.)

There’s no doubt about it–owning a home is an exciting prospect. After all, you’ve always dreamed of having a place that you could truly call your own. Buying a home, however, can be stressful, especially when you’re buying one for the first time. Fortunately, knowing what to expect can make it a lot easier.

How Much Can You Afford?

According to a general rule of thumb, you can afford a house that costs two and a half times your annual salary. But determining how much you can afford to spend on a house is not quite so simple. Since most people finance their homePhoto by Deb Duncan purchases, buying a house usually means getting a mortgage. The amount you can comfortably afford is often tied to figuring out how large a mortgage you can afford. To figure this out, you’ll need to take into account your gross monthly income, housing expenses, any long-term debt, and monthly expenses.

Mortgate Pre-Qualification vs. Pre-Approval

Pre-qualifying gives you the estimate of how much you can borrow and in many cases can be done over the phone. Pre-qualification does not guarantee that you have a loan, but it can give you a rough idea of where you stand.

If you’re really serious about buying, however, you’ll probably want to get pre-approved for a loan. Pre-approval is when we verify your income, your assets and perform a credit check. This process lets you know exactly how much you can borrow. This involves completing an application, revealing your financial information, and working together to decide how much money you want to spend on a monthly basis.

It’s important to note that the mortgage you qualify for or are approved for is not always what you can actually afford. Before signing any loan paperwork, take an honest look at your lifestyle, standard of living, and spending habits to make sure that your mortgage payment won’t be beyond your means. This is one of the many reasons why we take the time with you to work on customizing your mortgage to fit your needs and monthly budget.

To find out how you can pre-qualify or get pre-approved for a loan, just e-mail me and I’ll help you get started.

Ellen

Selling your home: 10 things to consider. #8 & #9

8. Preparing your house for sale involves much more than just sticking a For Sale sign in your front yard. To increase your chances of an efficient, top- dollar sale, obtain a good house inspection to discover problems before they become deal killers, do the right corrective and cosmetic work before putting your property on the market, and time the marketing of your house to coincide with a strong selling season in your area.

Photo by Deb Duncan

9. “What’s it worth?” is the most critical question you’ll ask when selling your house. To get the answer, examine sales of houses comparable to yours in size, age, condition, and location (a good agent can assist you). Price your house right, and it will sell, because informed buyers recognize the value after seeing other houses with unrealistically high asking prices.

Questions? Need help? Go to my web site at Mortgage Link for more information or send me an e-mail.

Ellen

Selling your home: 10 things to consider. #6 & #7

6. Be sure to thoroughly review and negotiate the real estate broker’s listingPhoto by Deb Duncan contract, which is a personal services contract between you and a real estate firm. For most sellers, a 90-day listing that puts your house in the local multiple listing service is best. Remember that commissions and other terms of the listing agreement are negotiable.

7. Disclose, disclose, disclose. If you have any doubts as to whether to disclose a defect or problem with your house, err on the side of disclosure. Otherwise, you greatly increase your (and your real estate broker’s) chances of being party to a lawsuit initiated by disgruntled buyers.

Questions? Need help? Go to my web site at Mortgage Link for more information or send me an e-mail.

Ellen

Today’s Vocabulary Lesson

Commitment: An agreement, frequently in writing, between a lender and a borrower to loan money at a future date, subject to certain conditions.

Comparables: Refers to similar properties used for comparison purposes in the appraisal process. These properties will be reasonably the same size and location, with similar amenities and characteristics, so that the approximate fair market value of the subject property can be determined.

Condominium: Ownership of a single unit in a multiunit building or complex of buildings. Along with this goes a share of ownership of the common areas.

Contingency: A condition that must be met for a contract or a commitment to remain binding.

Conventional Mortgage: Any mortgage loan that is not insured by FHA, guaranteed by VA, of funded by a government authorized bond sale or grant.

Convey: To transfer real estate from one person to another.

Credit Report: The report to a prospective lender on the credit standing of a prospective borrower

Go to the Mortgage Glossary at Mortgage Link to see the rest of the alphabet!

Ellen

5 Things You Must Know Before Obtaining a Mortgage: #5

Industry research has revealed that there are 5 common mistakes that most homebuyers make in mortgage shopping that can have a significant impact on the outcome of this critical negotiation. If handled correctly, these issues could result in a mortgage that will cost you less over a shorter period of time.

5. You should seriously consider dealing with a Mortgage Expert

Photo by Deb Duncan

Consider dealing only with a professional who specializes in mortgages and understands your needs and desires. Enlisting The Mortgage Link’s services will make a significant difference in the cost and effectiveness of the mortgage you obtain.

Go to my web site at Mortgage Link for more information or send me an e-mail. By working with me, you can reach your goals faster.

Contact me today and find out how much home you can afford or how much money you can take out of your home to renovate, send your kid to college, or invest for the future.

Ellen

This is the final segment of a 5-part series on how to keep the stress low and the savings high when you get a mortgage. By paying close attention to resolving these five common issues, you will improve your chances of getting the property you want, and get the kind of mortgage you can handle in the long term.

Check back for my next series, “10 Ideas Before Selling Your House.”