Saturday, April 26, 2014

VA HOME LOAN: Who Pays Closing Costs?

Besides the advantage of requiring no down payment for qualified VA borrowers, there's also a distinct advantage for the borrower regarding closing costs. The veteran is limited to the types of closing costs that may be paid, helping the veteran save money at the closing table. But if there are costs associated with a VA mortgage and the veteran isn't allowed to pay for them, who does?

The Types
A common way to remember which costs a veteran is allowed to pay for is to remember the acronym ACTORS. That stands for:
  • A  Appraisal
  • C  Credit Report
  • T  Title Insurance
  • Origination Fee
  • R  Recording Fee
  • S  Survey
These are common charges found on most every VA mortgage and while they can vary a bit by amount; these fees are the ones that can be paid for by the veteran. But what about these charges?
  • Attorney
  • Underwriting
  • Escrow
  • Processing
  • Document
  • Tax Service
These fees, and others, are example of charges that the veteran is not allowed to pay. Even though the VA lender requires a processing and an underwriting fee in order to approve the VA loan, the veteran may not pay for these charges and any other fee deemed "non-allowable." So if the veteran can't pay them, who does?
The Seller Can
Non-allowed closing costs can be paid by the seller of the property and is typically the initial method of dealing with such charges. As part of a sales contract, the buyer can say, "We'll pay you $200,000 for this home as long as you pay for $3,000 in closing costs."

Costs That Come With Buying and Owning a Home in USA

Buying your first home may seem like a smart move right now. With home prices on the rise, you might be thinking it's time to take the plunge while interest rates remain low. It's even more tempting when you compare a friend's or family member's mortgage payment to your monthly rent.
The price of homeownership, however, is made up of other recurring expenses that aren't always so obvious.
"Getting into a house is only the first step," says J.J. Montanaro, a certified financial planner ™ practitioner with USAA. "Because you want to be able to stay in the house, you've got to make sure you'll be able to meet all the costs."
To do so, Montanaro suggests creating a monthly budget for any house you're considering buying. Figure these eight home expenses into your budget when you're planning to make the move.

1. Mortgage payments.

If you finance your home, your monthly mortgage payment will go toward the principal (the amount you originally borrowed) and the interest on that principal. The amount of your payment will depend on how much you borrow, the interest rate on your home loan and the amount of time you have to pay off the loan.
"Play it safe," warns Scott Halliwell, a certified financial planner ™ practitioner with USAA. "Just because the calculator says you can afford a home doesn't mean you really can. You've got to compare your cash flow to all the extra costs of homeownership."
Added to your monthly mortgage cost could be a payment to build an escrow, or reserve, account. Escrow accounts allow you to save incrementally for homeowners insurance and property taxes. Lenders keep this money on deposit, and pay local governments and insurance companies when those bills are due.
"If these expenses aren't included in the monthly payment to your mortgage company, you'll need to budget for them and make sure you pay on time. Not having the money or not paying on time can be financially disastrous. Sometimes, it's just better to have a lender handle these expenses for you," says Halliwell.

2. Private mortgage insurance.

If your down payment is less than 20 percent of the home's price, you usually are required by the lender to take out a private mortgage insurance policy. This policy protects the lender in case you default on the loan. According to the trade group Mortgage Insurance Companies of America, for a home costing about $200,000, the monthly premium runs between $50 and $100. The closer your down payment is to 20 percent, the lower your monthly cost for PMI.
You may be able to have the PMI removed when you reach 20 percent equity. Often, you'll have to request this from your mortgage provider.

3. Homeowners insurance.

"Homeowners insurance is critical in ensuring you're able to cover rebuilding, repair or replacement costs in the event of a major catastrophe or theft," says Halliwell.
If you borrow money from a mortgage lender, you're required to purchase homeowners insurance. According to the latest information available from the Insurance Information Institute, the average home insurance premium costs around $900 per year. "Before you buy a house, ask your insurance agent for a quote so you can budget accordingly," Montanaro says.

4. Property taxes.

Local governments charge real estate taxes to pay for public expenses, such as schools, parks and sidewalks. The seller or seller's real estate agent can tell you the current annual tax on a property. "Also ask when the next tax assessment is scheduled and whether it will be increased by the sale of the home," suggests Halliwell.

5. Utilities.

Once you find the right house, ask the seller for a record of a year's worth of utility bills. "This way, you can budget for heating, cooling, electricity, natural gas and water expenses," recommends Montanaro. "Be sure to account for any differences in family size. A single person will likely use far less water, for instance, than a family of four."

6. Maintenance.

When you own a home, there's no landlord to call if it needs repairs. A qualified home inspector can walk you through the condition of a residence before you sign on the dotted line. "Based on the home inspection, you'll get a pretty good snapshot of what to plan for -- the life expectancy of major components, like the roof, heating, plumbing and electrical," says Greg Herb, former regional vice president for the National Association of Realtors®, and broker and president of Herb Real Estate Inc. of Pennsylvania.
Even so, you still should have a line item in your budget for other, ongoing maintenance. Whether it's replacing furnace filters, staining or refinishing decks, painting exterior trim or refreshing the plants and mulch in your landscaping, there's a high likelihood that you'll be spending regularly on your home's upkeep.
"Owning a home magnifies the importance of maintaining an emergency fund equivalent to at least three to six months of routine living expenses," says Montanaro.

7. Making the house your home.

"One of the biggest categories I've seen catch people off-guard is what I call 'making it mine'," says Halliwell. You might fall in love with a house, but when you move in, your furniture doesn't fit, you don't like the kitchen counter or you'd prefer wood floors to carpet.
"You could easily spend thousands of dollars if you're not careful," Halliwell warns. He suggests making a list of what you might need to buy -- furniture, rugs, window treatments and lawn-care equipment, for example -- and then creating a budget. Too often, says Halliwell, buyers struggle to make a down payment and then put their making-it-mine expenses on a credit card. "The next thing they know, they're buried in credit card debt, and what started out as a happy event quickly turns negative," he says.

8. Other costs to consider.

"As rewarding as homeownership can be, it does seem to come with an endless stream of expenses that fall into the 'other' category on your budget," says Halliwell. Whether it's a home security and monitoring system or weekly trips to the local home improvement store, make sure you have the money to cover it by building some wiggle room into the budget for your new home.
You'll also need to factor in HOA fees if you purchase a condo or town house or move to a community covered by a homeowners association.
Finally, don't forget about the cost of purchasing extra life insurance. For many families, having enough coverage to help pay off the mortgage should something happen to a significant chunk of its income is a necessity. SGLI or employer group coverage, which is dependent on your employment or military status, may not be enough. If you get laid off or leave the military and lose those policies, and then pass away unexpectedly, your family could be left without even that basic coverage to help pay the mortgage.
A 2013 consumer study conducted by Life Insurance and Market Research Association indicated 50 percent of U.S. households said they needed more life insurance, and 41 percent of recent shoppers of life insurance said a life event motivated them to shop for it. "A new home is definitely a life event," says Montanaro, "and that requires a fresh look at your life insurance coverage."

Monday, April 21, 2014

Start a Green Home and Office Cleaning service Company. [Download Yoja Clean app]

More people are becoming aware about the health and environmental impacts of toxic substances and therefore the demand for fewer toxins in the home and workplace is increasing.Toxic cleaning agents can be harmful to humans, particularly janitors, house cleaners, and residents in buildings where volatile organic compounds (VOC) may affect indoor air quality. Get more customers and business by downloading Yoja Clean app 

Some toxic ingredients in cleansers not only can harm those in the buildings where they are used, but can pollute the greater environment and adversely impact community water quality as well.
Many businesses are implementing new sustainability initiatives that address employee health, create safe workplaces, and reduce the environmental impacts of their operations. These businesses, as well as concerned residents, are creating a market for cleaning companies that use environmentally friendly cleaning products and techniques. So you can too. Take advantage of unexploited business opportunity. 

1. You Can Train and Certify Green Cleaners: low-income residents to open their own green cleaning businesses, or to green they're existing cleaning businesses with new products and techniques.

2. You can offer green Janitorial services for offices, schools, churches and mosques.

3. You can offer green house cleaning services by using cheap and cost friendly natural, biodegradable cleaning supplies.

Monday, April 14, 2014

We Can Use Wastewater for Drinking

The use of recycled water for drinking is less common because many people think that recycled water has been used in our toilets. However, countries like Singapore, Australia and Namibia, and states such as California, Virginia and New Mexico are already drinking recycled water, demonstrating that purified wastewater can be safe and clean.

Opponents often use the term “toilet to tap,” of which is used to drum up opposition to drinking recycled water. This is misleading because recycled water that ends up in drinking water undergoes extensive and thorough purification. For instance, it is usually added to groundwater or surface water for further cleansing before being sent to a drinking water supply where it is again treated. In fact, research has been shown that recycled water has fewer contaminants than existing treated water supplies.

We should note that there are many new technologies used to recycle water, depending on how pure it needs to be and what it will be used for. For example,  at the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment plant in San Diego—the city is currently studying the feasibility of recycling water for drinking.
Sewage first goes through advanced primary treatment in which water is separated from large particles, then enters sedimentation tanks where chemicals are used to make primary sludge settle to the bottom and scum rise to the top. Once the water is separated out, 80% of the solids have been removed, and the wastewater is clean enough to be discharged to the ocean. (Though wastewater is a potentially valuable resource, most wastewater produced along our coasts ends up in the ocean.)
In secondary treatment, bacteria are added to the wastewater to ingest organic solids, producing secondary sludge that settles to the bottom.

Tertiary treatment filters the water to remove whatever solids remain, disinfects it with chlorine, and removes the salt. In California, tertiary-treated water is called “recycled water” and can be used for irrigation or industry. For Indirect Potable Reuse (IPR)—recycled water that eventually becomes drinking water—tertiary-treated water undergoes advanced water technology, then spends time in groundwater or surface water, such as a reservoir, before being sent to drinking water supplies. Advanced water technology first involves microfiltration that strains out any remaining solids.

Next, reverse osmosis, which applies pressure to water on one side of a membrane allowing pure water to pass through, eliminates viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and pharmaceuticals. The water is then disinfected by ultra violet light (UV) or ozone and hydrogen peroxide. Finally it is added to groundwater or surface water reservoirs where it stays for an average of 6 months to be further purified by natural processes. (This is done mainly to assuage public anxiety about drinking recycled water.) Once drawn from the groundwater or reservoir, the recycled water goes through the standard water purification process all drinking water undergoes to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards.

In fact San Diego is already drinking recycled water because it imports 85% of its water from Northern California and the Colorado River, into which upstream communities like Las Vegas discharge wastewater that is later treated for drinking purposes. Because of recent restrictions on Northern California water and drought on the Colorado River, San Diego, which recycles sewage water for irrigation, invested $11.8 million into an IPR study. The demo project at the North City Water Reclamation Plant will end in 2013. During this time, its Advanced Water Purification Facility is producing 1 million gallons of purified water each day, though no water is being sent to the reservoir.
IPR is more economical for San Diego than recycling more sewage for irrigation would be because recycled irrigation water must be conveyed through special purple pipes to separate it from potable water; expanding the purple pipe infrastructure would cost more than IPR. Recycled water is also less expensive than desalinating seawater. In Orange County, for example, IPR costs $800-$850 to produce enough recycled water for 2 families of 4 for a year. Desalinating an equal amount of seawater would require $1,200-$1,800 because of the amount of energy needed.

To deal with its growing population and salt intrusion into the groundwater, the Orange County Water District in California opened its $480 million state-of-the-art water reclamation facility, the largest in the U.S., in January 2008. It costs $29 million a year to operate. After advanced water treatment, half the recycled water is injected into the aquifer to create a barrier against saltwater intrusion. The other half goes to a percolation pond for further filtration by the soils, and then after about 6 months, ends up in drinking water well intakes. By this year, it’s expected to produce 85 million gallons a day.
Singapore, with no natural aquifers and a small landmass, has struggled to provide a sustainable water supply for its residents for decades.

In 2003, it opened the first plants to produce NEWater, recycled drinking water purified by advanced membrane techniques including microfiltration, reverse osmosis and UV disinfection. After treatment, the water is added to the reservoirs. NEWater, which has passed more than 65,000 scientific tests and surpasses World Health Organization drinking water standards, is clean enough to be used for the electronics industry and to be bottled as drinking water. It is expected to produce 2.5% of Singapore’s total daily consumption this year.

Namibia, the most arid country in southern Africa, has been drinking recycled water since 1969. The water reclamation plants produce 35% of the water for Windhoek, the capital city. To date, there have been no negative health impacts connected with the consumption of recycled water.
In 2001, a $55 million water recycling project for water-stressed Los Angeles was scuttled by the public’s revulsion at the thought of drinking recycled water and the term “toilet to tap” was born. Are the public’s fears grounded?

A recent science advisory panel report examined the potential human health implications of “chemicals of emerging concern” (CECs) such as pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and industrial chemicals, in recycled water. The scientists reviewed epidemiological and other studies of recycled water from the last 40 years. While some early studies reported the presence of chlorine disinfection byproducts, the panel noted that treatment methods at that time were less sophisticated. Current methods have been refined and disinfection byproducts have decreased. More recent studies of recycled water found no adverse health effects in populations using recycled water. Though the scientists acknowledged that the effects of long-term exposure (over generations) to CECs and to substances that have not yet been detected are unknown, they concluded that there was “robust evidence that recycled water represents a source of safe drinking water.”

Hopefully public opinion is starting to turn. Dr. Shane Snyder, Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Arizona and a member of the science advisory panel, is now studying public perception of recycled water and is finding that “if they trust the utility, the majority of people understand that recycling water is unavoidable.”

The truth is that all water is being recycled over and over—no water on earth is truly pristine. Snyder concludes, “We’re going to drink recycled water one way or another, whether it comes from downstream flow or groundwater. I strongly believe we should to do it through engineered systems where we can actively control the process.”