January 12, 2017, 1:11 PM
Some people consider “budget” a bad word, but this tool is anything but. Budgeting can truly make your financial goals a reality – from paying off debt and managing your household wisely to saving for a dream vacation. Follow these steps to set up a realistic budget that gets you where you want to go!
- Determine your after-tax income. This is the amount that lands in your checking account after expenses such as health and life insurance and 401(k) contributions are deducted. You should never spend more than this amount or you will find yourself running up debt to cover your expenses.
- Calculate expenses. Next, track exactly how much you’re spending each month and where the money is spent. You can do this by looking at bank statements or recording all expenditures in a checkbook. Remember that underestimating your spending will ruin a budget, so record every purchase you make without exception.
- Add some wiggle room. When calculating your expenses, also figure in a cushion for unexpected bills such as car repairs or family emergencies. A good guideline is to add 10-15% of your budget.
- Crunch the numbers. Now it’s time to determine if you have a budget overage or shortfall. Do this by subtracting your monthly expenses from your income. If you are making more than you are spending, congratulations! Put that extra money in a savings account or pay off debt. If your budget is in the red, you must cut expenses or increase income until the numbers are balanced.
- Set savings and debt reduction goals. Don’t forget to pay yourself by putting money aside for the future. Having a savings fund will give you peace of mind and something to fall back on in the event of financial emergencies. Find out how much money you should save.
- Be flexible. Your budget may need to change from month to month as life happens. Be flexible but always strive to live within your means to reach your financial goals.
Get More for Your Money at City Bank
City Bank features a full range of services to help you reach your financial goals faster. From Reward Checking to construction loans and auto loans, we have you covered with friendly, professional service from a local community bank. To get started, please call (800) OUR-BANK, stop by your local City Bank branch location or contact us.
December 15, 2016, 2:01 PM
For all the hype and big promises that happen during a presidential election, the President usually does not have a significant long-term effect on mortgage interest rates. However, this year an unusual election victory has brought surprise and uncertainty to the market, which reacted with wild fluctuations in mortgage rates in the days following November 8.
What’s Happening Now
Immediately following the election, interest rates for home loans dipped and then soared to nearly 4% – almost a half-percentage point higher than the previous week. Although this rate is still low, it’s back to where we began in 2016. Mortgage experts expect home loan rates to continue to be volatile for a few weeks. A rise in rates is also imminent, although there is disagreement on when and how quickly the rise will happen.
What Will Happen in 2017
In late November, the Federal Reserve renewed its pledge to begin gradually raising short-term interest rates after it meets in December. The move will cause long-term rates, including those for mortgages, to rise also.
Another factor that might encourage a rise in rates is if President Trump decides to increase spending on national infrastructure while cutting taxes. Trump has vowed to rebuild highways, airports, bridges, in addition to building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border – all of which will increase the deficit and drive interest rates up.
Time is Running Out on Low Mortgage Rates
If you’ve been waiting for the best time to refinance or purchase a home, don’t wait any longer. Rates have nowhere to go but up. The City Bank lending team can assist with refinancing a mortgage or help you apply for a mortgage loan. You can count on our friendly and professional service to make the process hassle-free. Apply online today!
November 14, 2016, 2:38 PM
In 2015, nearly 800,000 Americans filed for personal bankruptcy, largely due to consumer debt such as credit card balances, car loans and mortgages. Before you swipe that credit card again, take note of these warning signs you could be on your way to going broke.
You ignore your finances. The worst thing you can do about debt is ignore it. Troubled finances won’t fix themselves, so start doing something today. If you’re struggling to make the payments on your car, mortgage or credit card, take a hard look at your expenses with apps like Mint.com to see exactly where you are spending your money.
You live paycheck to paycheck. Lack of an emergency fund and anxiously waiting for your next paycheck are big signs you could go broke at any time. An emergency fund can cover a financial shortfall when unexpected expenses crop up. Experts recommend stashing away a minimum of $1,000 while working toward the ultimate goal of saving a minimum of six months in living expenses.
You pay down credit cards with credit. Paying down credit with other credit cards or payday loans can lead to financial ruin. On average, credit card interest rates range from 10% to more than 25%. A payday loan can cost from $10 to $30 for every $100 borrowed. Instead, shave unnecessary expenses from your budget and use the extra to pay down high-interest debt.
You buy too much house. Don’t let your dream house send you to the poorhouse. Carefully evaluate your finances before you begin shopping for home mortgage loans so you know exactly how much you can afford for house-related expenses including the mortgage payment, taxes, insurance, repairs and homeowner’s association fees. Avoid looking at houses that are out of your price range when shopping for a home.
Reach Your Goals with City Bank City Bank is here to help you manage your finances responsibly with flexible, low-rate personal loans and competitive home mortgage loans. We can even arrange to have your loan payments automatically deducted from your checking or savings account each month. Call us today at (800) OUR-BANK or contact us.
October 14, 2016, 9:40 AM
Setting a listing price for your home is easier said than done. While a good real estate agent can give you guidance about the price range in which your home falls, the final decision on price is yours to make. However, keep in mind that your listing price can have a major impact on the price you ultimately get for your home. Here’s how to determine the right listing price and get top dollar when selling.
How to Avoid Pricing Mistakes
Listen to your agent. You have first-hand knowledge of your home, while successful agents have first-hand knowledge of your local market. They understand current market conditions and know what’s moving and for how much. Get an experienced agent and don’t assume that because he wants to price your home lower than you do, he’s only trying to make a quick sale. He knows that if your home is priced competitively from the start, it will likely sell at the higher end of its value range.
Make a great first impression. The first few weeks after a home hits the market are a crucial time. Prospective buyers will be waiting to see your house, so make sure you create a great first impression right off the bat. Ensure all necessary repairs are done before showing the house. Clean the interior of the home from top to bottom, remove excess clutter, and depersonalize your spaces by storing family photos and knickknacks. List at the wrong price or with the home not in its best showing condition, and interest in your home will soon fall flat.
Think twice about price reductions. You can price high, but you should agree with your agent to drop the price after a set amount of time. However, if the next reduction is too small, buyers won’t take it seriously and will wait around for the next reduction – or will come in with an offer lower than they would have if the home had been priced right from the start. Remember, once your home is no longer new to the market, you lose negotiating power.
Avoid changes in the market. Another risk of poor pricing is that the market will change while you wait for a sale. The inventory of homes in your area may increase, interest rates for College Station mortgage loans may rise, the economy may slow or countless other factors could arise. By pricing too high, you might lose the window of opportunity for a sale.
Take pricing seriously. Pricing is all about supply and demand. Price competitively and be serious about selling, and the market will respond positively.
Apply for a Mortgage Loan Now
When it’s time to buy your next home, City Bank can make the process easy. With mortgage loan processing and decision-making made locally, we can help you find the right loan to accomplish your goals. Apply for a mortgage loan online or call us today at (800) 687-2265.
September 22, 2016, 2:22 PM
Many locals are surprised to hear that real estate lending in Lubbock and surrounding areas heats up in the fall. The fact is spring and summer aren’t the only good times to buy a house, and for certain buyers, there are a number of big advantages to buying late in the season.
- There’s less competition. During peak selling season, you’re likely to come up against other buyers competing for the same house – which means you have to act fast. With fewer buyers looking in the fall, you can take more time to comparison shop and be sure you’re comfortable with your purchase.
- Sellers are tired. Sellers who priced their homes too high at the start of the real estate season will often be ready to deal after months of not seeing any action. Rather than wait for spring to roll around, they may be inclined to take a lower offer now.
- Sellers are feeling the pressure. Not all homes on the market in the fall are leftovers. Sellers who list in the fall likely have good motivation to sell, such as a job change or the completion of new construction. These buyers could be more open to a reduced price so they can move on.
- More attention from agents. With the pace of the market slowing in the fall and winter months, real estate agents will be more eager to show you homes and help you craft the best deal. You’ll probably get a faster response from other service providers too, such as a mortgage loan company, title company and movers.
- More bargains for your new house. From appliances to textiles, if you move into your new home closer to the holidays, you can take advantage of seasonal specials and end-of-year sales to outfit it.
Fall into a Great Home Mortgage from City Bank
When you’re ready to buy a home, there are many important things to consider throughout the process, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. City Bank makes home mortgage loans easy. Start your free pre-qualification today!
August 30, 2016, 12:25 PM
City Bank, headquartered in Lubbock, Texas, has been named among the “Best Banks to Work For 2016” by American Banker and Best Companies Group. City Bank credits its company culture and employee-focused programs as two of the many reasons the Bank has received this distinct award four years in a row.
“Company culture has always been a priority. Every branch has a life of it’s own—a little piece of the communities they serve and the vivid personalities of the employees that make them unique, but together it creates something really special,” says Cory Newsom, President and CEO. “Our employees are our biggest supporters. We’ll always look after them in the best possible way.”
City Bank offers unique opportunities to its employees that include a corporate Wellness Program that pays employees for leading healthy lifestyles as well as an internal employee referral program that offers incentives to employees for cross-departmental referrals and company advocacy. Additionally, semi-annual family-friendly events give employees and their families an opportunity to socialize with other co-workers at no cost.
“Offering added incentives and endorsing a family-first environment is just a small example of what makes City Bank unique and among the best to work for,” says Newsom.
The selection process for this annual award is a two-step process. A Best Companies Group panel first evaluates each participating bank’s workplace policies, practices and demographics, and then issues an employee survey aimed at assessing the experiences and attitudes of individual employees with respect to their workplace. The panel manages the registration and survey processes, and then analyzes the data collected, using its expertise to determine the final ranking.