Month: July 2020

  • Why & How We Refinanced Our Home in 2020

    I’ve shared a lot about our first home purchase from the starter home purchase price to the easy ways we were paying it off faster to drop PMI.

    Now I’m sharing the next phase in our home ownership journey: our mortgage refinance.

    Our Home Refinance Trigger

    When mortgage rates dropped to low levels in the middle of the pandemic during 2020 we decided it was finally time to start a refinance of our loan.

    We bought our home in 2016 and had been paying $99 a month in mortgage insurance premiums every single month since then. We had not found an opportunity that made since to refinance previously because we had a decent rate at 3.625%. The few times I looked into refinancing the interest rate was not low enough to give us any financial benefit.

    Once interest rates started dipping below 3% I knew it would be a good time to refinance for us because we might finally be able to get a deal good enough to break even from closing costs within a reasonable time frame.

    While the pandemic of 2020 is tragic in many ways it was a great financial opportunity as far as interest rates on mortgages went.

    Shopping Mortgage Refinance Offers

    Once I wanted to refinance I knew it was time to shop around and find the best mortgage refinance offer.

    To compare the offers I made sure to look at several things:

    • the new interest rate compared to my rate
    • the new payment compared to my payment
    • the total amount of closing costs
    • when I would break even based on closing costs

    Those were the most important factors. It makes no sense to refinance your mortgage if you aren’t getting a better deal that will start saving you money within a reasonable time frame, especially if the home is not your “forever” home.

    I decided that I wanted the interest rate to be 2.75% and less than $2,500 in closing costs, and preferably a 15 year loan. I set out to find just what I wanted!

    I began with Rocket Mortgage / Quicken Loans because they were constantly advertising to me and I’d previously reached out and their loan officer straight up told me it wouldn’t make sense for us (I valued the honesty instead of trying to make a sale). However this time I got a different person and it was not a pleasant experience. They were the first I checked with but the rate was higher than I wanted (I wasn’t refinancing who was pushy and would not get the rate below 2.99% with over $4,000 in closing costs. When I explained their costs were higher than I wanted the sales person got pushy and tried to explain interest rates to me like I didn’t understand how much money I could be saving. I already knew I wasn’t going with them based on having the worst quote but that experience was rude but unfortunately likely works on people who aren’t as savvy who then end up paying more.

    Because that first check on my credit had opened my mortgage shopping period I then checked with every single bank I could in my city as well as local credit unions. I figured if the larger national mortgage companies weren’t providing great service then I should turn to banks that were known for doing a better job.

    I got about 10 different quotes and some got close to what I wanted but not quite. I went ahead and checked with the bank I already used for business checking because it’s a regional bank who’s been great to deal with so far. They ended up giving me the best closing cost quote: just $2,000. They also agreed to lock me in at 2.75% and wouldn’t go forward with the paperwork unless that was a sure deal. At the time I contacted them rates were bouncing back up to 3% but they assured me that they were there to get me what I wanted … and they did!

    Our Mortgage Refinance Experience

    Because of the low closing costs and great rate I went with Iberia Bank for my mortgage refinance. I figured they would likely sell my loan to a larger servicer but the deal for my mortgage was just too good to pass up.

    Because I banked with Iberia already they allowed me to waive the appraisal of our home for the refinance. I’m not sure if that is 100% the reason or if it was also because of the pandemic or that they could look at real estate websites and conservatively estimate our house at an amount that would have us past 80% loan to value ratio.

    We didn’t have to do an appraisal but we did have to still provide a lot of paperwork.

    The video above shows the things you have to provide in order to refinance out of your FHA loan to a conventional mortgage during a refinance. Here are the things we had to provide during our refinance:

    • two years of tax returns
    • two years of W-2s
    • last two paycheck stubs
    • current mortgage statement
    • current insurance information
    • credit checks
    • credit check explanation (for mortgage shopping)
    • approval for no appraisal (you might have to do an appraisal)
    • explanations for anything confusing (my work had to provide one)
    • proof of identity

    Even though you already “own” the home you are creating a new mortgage so it’s very much like the first time you buy a home. You have to provide a lot of paperwork and “prove” yourself in order to qualify. They want to know that you have the income and stability to pay this new loan.

    Our refinance experience was interesting because they were so bogged down and busy during this period because many, many people were refinancing. We actually would go long stretches without hearing anything back from the bank. At points it felt like they had forgotten us but I knew they were overwhelmed and were working on it.

    In the end the underwriting and everything went smoothly and we closed on our refinance in April 2020.

    Our New Mortgage Details

    Our new refinanced mortgage is pretty great in my opinion and it’s set up to let us pay our home off even faster than we had originally planned.

    Here are the details for our new mortgage loan:

    • New loan amount: $142,000
    • Interest rate: 2.75%
    • Loan term: 15 years
    • Monthly principal & interest: $963.64
    • Monthly payment: $1,292.96
    • NO PMI

    This fit all of the requirements I wanted when I set out to refinance our mortgage.

    The break even for us was just under two years and we knew we planned to stay at least that long and potentially keep this house forever as a rental. With that in mind it was very exciting to be saving so much money in the long run and paying off this home much faster.

    As you can see from the most recent mortgage payoff video in July 2020 we are already paying off the mortgage at a much faster rate.

    Our new mortgage payment is $93 per month more than we were paying with our original loan each month yet we are more than doubling the amount we are paying toward our principal balance each month.

    With this new refinanced mortgage loan we are starting off with our first payment sending $638.22 to reducing the principal of the loan and that number will only increase over time. In just 9 months we will be sending over $650 per month to reduce the loan balance.

    This mortgage refinance has drastically increase how fast we will pay off this loan and reduced the amount of interest we will pay. Even if this is not our home forever I’m thrilled to see my money being used for equity instead of PMI and interest!

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  • Online Income Report June 2020

    Welcome to my monthly online income report for June 2020! Each month I share how much I make from my part time online content creation side hustle selling digital products and making videos about our personal finances on my YouTube channel.

    Each month here on the blog I go into more detail about what I earned from online endeavors like this personal finance blogmy YouTube channel, and my Etsy shop. These are all things I started as a hobby making no more so it’s fun now to earn an income from them!

    I like sharing real numbers to inspire myself and others who want to earn money online. I also value transparency which this report allows me to give my audience when they consume my content.

    Growing my online income has helped me achieve financial goals like paying off debt faster! I have used all of my income from these endeavors to pay off debt and helped eliminate $43,000 in loans.

    It’s been a lot of work in terms of a side hustle but I’ve enjoyed both earning income and helping people by sharing what we’ve done financially. Earning more money can sometimes be the key to succeeding financially and after having lots of job instability this year I know that it’s the key to my sanity. I never want to rely on just one income.

    Online Income Report

    Here are the main income sources broken down by what I earned for the month. I’ve included referral links to each if you want to join and make money too!

    I’m reviewing my online income earned for the month from my YouTube and printables ventures!

    Advertising Income – $1,479.70

    Affiliate Marketing Income – $1,137.77

    Product Sales Income – $257.00

    • Etsy Sales
    • Website Sales

    Other Sources – $55.71

    • Patreon

    Total Online Income: $2,930.18

    This is the amount earned for the month before any fees, expenses, or taxes.

    I don’t keep all of it it and at least 25% will be gone for taxes before it hits my bank account. I also won’t be paid all of it in the month it is earned since each source pays out at different times. I do these reports based on what I earned in a month versus what was received because it inspires me most to grow the income created.

    It was another great month for online income and total earned! This is the most money I’ve ever earned online in a single month and I can hardly believe it. I’m well over the $2,500 earned in a month mark and am amazed that I basically earned a paycheck for doing this work!

    Expenses List

    As I mentioned, I don’t keep all of the money earned each month. Besides paying taxes on that income I also have expenses to run this online business. There are multiple expenses I’m now paying for each month:

    All of these are minimal but they do add up so I still keep an eye on reducing expenses so that my income will keep growing.

    Popular Content

    I like to loook at what worked in terms of content each month so here are my most popular videos, posts, and products!

    The most popular old content on my channel was:

    The new content I published included:

    The new content I published on my website was:

    It’s great to see what is working with new content I’m producing and where I can grow! I definitely added a lot of new website content this month. While my website is not my main priority I think it will ultimately be important!

    What Worked This Month

    I have been continuing to work on a few different priorities growing income sources and I even added a new one this month too!

    Creating NEW Content

    The thing I did best this month was creating new content. Content is king as they say and I doubled down on creating content across my main platforms.

    I published multiple new videos on YouTube across both channels and added new website content as well. I’m still behind on the blog posts I want to do but adding more new content makes me and the Google very happy.

    Focused On Affiliate Marketing

    Affiliate marketing work from previous months really paid off in June! Things I implemented from the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course have started working and the income results show that work.

    Affiliate marketing can be a great way to earn income online and it truly benefits both sides. I only get paid when someone purchases or signs up and they don’t have to burden any extra costs. I only get paid from the company when that happens so they aren’t paying more than I provide. It really does work for all parties involved.

    I also make it a rule to only promote programs I actively use. It’s just easier to be myself and share what I truly use and love than try to make quick cash or promote things I don’t actually use.

    Recommended Online Biz Resources

    As my income continues to grow I want to share some of the resources and products I use to make it happen. These will include affiliate links where applicable but I love recommending them because I personally use them all myself!

    TubeBuddy – Before using this tool I manually did so much work but now I’m able to bulk edit videos, research keywords for SEO and set up all my videos for long term success. TubeBuddy has been the best tool I’ve used for managing and growing my YouTube account. It’s got multiple price level plans so you can grow as your channel grows. Try out TubeBuddy for free.

    Canva – Canva is one of the best free editing programs where you can create a digital products and the paid version is even better with bonus features that help take your work to the next level. I use it for creating all my Youtube thumbnails, my social media posts and my digital products! Try creating with Canva.

    Tailwind is the tool I’m using to grow my account and reach on Pinterest. Bringing in consistent traffic from Pinterest boosts any business and Tailwind allows me to schedule content and get results without spending all my time there. It also automatically pins at the best time for engagement and reach for major traffic growth. Get a free trial of Tailwind here.

    Why Share An Online Income Report

    I’m sharing my online income reports as a YouTuber, digital product creator, and blogger to show people that it is possible to make money online in a non-sleazy way that helps people.

    Lots of people want to know how much small YouTube creators make with videos and if you can make money from a small audience online. Fellow YouTubers want to know how I make money with affiliate marketing and digital products not just ad revenue because they know it is hard to survive on YouTube ad income.

    Income reports allow me to share what I’m doing with Etsy and YouTube while building my online income so other creators can benefit and it lets me be fully transparent with my audience about how much I am making.

    It’s amazing that we can earn money creating and sharing content online.

    Previous Online Income Reports

    If you’re interested in past income reports, you can see all of them here:

    As you can see from past income reports, my online income in the first few months of 2020 trended much higher than my income last year. The growth is not viral or explosive but it has moved up and is consistently over $2,00 each month.

    I’ve been consistently earning $2,000 a month now which is far beyond my original goal of earning $600 per month with my YouTube channel.

    I like sharing these numbers to show small YouTubers and other content creators what is possible without a huge audience. While that would be amazing, it is possible to still earn income as a small channel and blog.

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