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Published by Contour Mortgage on August 28 2015

Five Ways to Reduce Home Expenses on Long Island

Topics: Veterans, Home Buyers, Debt Consolidation

Living on Long Island is expensive. The choice to live here is based on an age-old adage: You get what you pay for. Long Island is a hotbed of unrivaled natural beauty, burgeoning economic opportunity, and close proximity to the greatest city in the universe.

Whether you’ve owned a home for a generation or you’re looking at your first home purchase now, there is no question as to why you want to live on Long Island. The question is: Are you doing everything you can reduce home expenses on Long island?

We have the answers.

When you’re in the market to buy a house, every dollar counts. There are ways to save that can add up to significant amounts if you know where to look.

Here are five ways to keep dollars in your pocket:
1. CEMA refinance or purchase – When refinancing in New York, there's a process that can save you money on closing costs. It's called a CEMA (consolidation, extension, modification agreement). The easiest explanation is that the lender can record papers with New York State to show that the homeowner had previously paid the mortgage tax when they closed on the home, which eliminates the need to pay it again on the current mortgage balance. Any "new money" being borrowed over the current balance is subject to the mortgage tax. 

2. Grieve your Taxes—A tax grievance is a complaint filed against a town’s assessed value on a particular parcel of property based upon comparable sales. Tax grievances can be filed every two years. Consider this: lowering the real property taxes by $100 per month enables buyers to purchase houses at a value of $20,000 more. This can be a great benefit for the Seller of a home, but also to a Realtor who stands to gain a higher commission.

3. Apply for Veterans benefits—If you are a veteran, you are entitled to VA loans. There are ample benefits, including:
• No down payment required (with some key exceptions, such as unless it is required by the lender or the purchase price equals more than the reasonable value of the property).
• Negotiable interest rate.
• Ability to finance the VA funding fee (plus reduced funding fees with a down payment of at least 5 percent and exemption for veterans receiving VA compensation).
• Closing costs are comparable with other financing types (and may be lower).
• No mortgage insurance premiums.
• An assumable mortgage.
• Right to prepay without penalty.
• For homes inspected by VA during construction, a warranty from builder and assistance from VA to obtain cooperation of builder.
• VA assistance to veteran borrowers in default due to temporary financial difficulty.

4. Energy audit—They are free. and if you replace our old appliances with energy star appliances, there are rebates available. “Having an energy audit performed on your home is a no brainer," says Sammy Chu, Vice President of Business Development of Powersmith Home Energy Solutions. "New York State pays for the audit and homeowners, at the very least, come away from the experience better understanding how their home uses energy, and how they can make their home more efficient, more comfortable, and less expensive to operate.”

5. Consolodate your debt—Since a lot of value and equity has returned to people’s homes, they might best use a small fixed rate home equity loan to consolidate adjustable credit cards and other debts into a fixed payment they can budget on. Not to buy new toys or unnecessary purchases like in the past, but for the purpose of locking in the lowest fixed rate and payment to help put you on surer financial footing. 


Key Takeaways: You know that Long Island is the place where you want to raise a family. If you feel impeeded by economic factors, consider the four tips listed above. Buying on Long Island may be more affordable than you think. 

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