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.
July 20, 2016, 8:00 AM
Will your home be a blessing or a curse? Your answer may depend heavily on the terms of your mortgage. Those who purchase property within their budget at a low interest rate might feel like they’re living the dream, while anyone who bought a house they couldn’t afford using a mortgage they didn’t understand will likely share a story of tears and regret. If you’re ready to take on homeownership, be sure to avoid these mortgage mistakes.
Not reviewing your credit before applying for financing. Your credit score has the biggest influence on your mortgage rate. The higher your score, the lower the interest rates you’ll see. A few months before you begin house shopping, go to www.annualcreditreport.com to access free credit reports from each of the three main credit reporting agencies. If you find errors, get them corrected before applying for a loan. You will also want to review your credit score. With a score of 720 or higher, most lenders will offer you their best rates, while a score under 620 will make mortgage financing difficult to obtain.
Not getting preapproved. What you think you can afford for a mortgage and what your bank will let you borrow may be two very different numbers. Don’t waste time looking at homes and neighborhoods if you have no real idea how much you qualify for. Prequalification can also give you an edge in many markets, since a seller may not accept an offer without proof of preapproval.
Not shopping for the best rate. The mortgage rate dramatically impacts how much you ultimately pay for your home, so it makes good sense to shop around for the lowest rate you can qualify for. Be sure you provide each lender with the same information and ask about the same type of loan for comparison purposes. City Bank would be happy to provide you a free quote on competitive rates for home mortgage loans.
Not paying attention to the fees. Many borrowers don’t realize that some closing costs and fees can be negotiated with a lender. Keep an eye out for application, processing or underwriting fees, which are unnecessary and can add up quickly. As you speak with lenders and ask for rates, also ask for an estimate of closing costs. Dispute any cost that seems excessive or doesn’t make sense.
Buying a New Home? Whether you want to buy, build, refinance or just find out if you pre-qualify, City Bank will guide you through the process one step at a time. Our secure online application process allows you to apply for a mortgage loan on your schedule, 24 hours a day! You can also schedule a time for a free consultation about mortgage loans in College Station, Dallas, Lubbock and many other communities throughout Texas and New Mexico.
July 12, 2016, 8:00 AM
If a criminal gets ahold of your personal data, that information opens up a world of unlawful possibilities known as identity fraud. Your identity could be used to apply for credit cards, take out a loan, collect government benefits and empty your bank account. Here are some common schemes to watch out for in 2016.
Tech support scams. Don’t be fooled by someone calling and claiming to be from Microsoft® or a tech support company. They might tell you that your computer is infected with a virus (or about to become infected), and that they need remote access to your computer to troubleshoot and fix the issues. If given access, these scammers may intentionally cause damage in order to charge for repairs, or they might steal sensitive personal data and later use it to commit identity theft. Never provide computer access to a stranger who initiates the contact. Instead, report the call to your local police department.
Tax scams. Another common phone scam involves people who impersonate IRS employees or local law enforcement agents and demand payment for back taxes that you supposedly owe. These impostors threaten immediate arrest or a lawsuit if money is not sent via wire or prepaid debit card. They may also send emails and show up as IRS on your caller ID (known as phone spoofing). Remember, the IRS will notify you via mail if you owe taxes, and they will never ask for financial information over the phone or threaten you with arrest.
Public wi-fi scams. If you use a public computer or use wi-fi on an unsecured network, scammers can easily steal information you send over the Internet, including usernames and passwords. Use caution when using free wi-fi networks in public places. Never enter sensitive financial information while on one of these networks, and turn off your computer’s file sharing capabilities to prevent unwanted connections. If you use a public computer, be sure to log out of every site and the computer itself to prevent someone else from using your accounts.
We’re Looking Out for You City Bank takes a layered approach to help protect your accounts and your identity. From simple personal checking to Dallas auto loans and mortgage loans in College Station and other Texas communities, you can count on friendly, secure service from your hometown bank.