Home Finance Basics

Buying a first home represents the major financial landmark in your life. With homeownership, you take on the single largest investment you’ll ever make, with all the advantages – and risks – such an investment requires. Understanding home finance can be somewhat confusing, as there is a wealth of information available, and no shortage of companies eager to provide mortgage-related services. How do you weed out the good advice and make an informed decision? Simple: start with the basics of home finance.

Are you ready?

First, evaluate your economic situation. Are you carrying substantial unsecured debt, such as credit cards and student loans? Do you have a steady income and the means to survive an interruption in that income, if necessary? Are you willing to pare down your spending, in order to maintain mortgage payments and, most likely, additional home finance expenses like Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)? These are major considerations when deciding whether or not to trade the relative simplicity of renting a home for the financial responsibility of ownership.

How much can you afford?

Next, run the numbers. Use an mortgage calculators to determine how buying a home will impact your budget. The government says that housing costs are excessive if they surpass 30% of your household income. Home finance means borrowing a substantial sum from a lender and repaying that amount over a period of time, with interest. Depending on the price of the home and the amount that you borrow, you will probably experience a dramatic rise in the amount you’re spending, just to put a roof over your head. Be sure that you are realistic about the amount of “home” you can handle financially.

Where should you buy?

You’ve heard it before: the three most important considerations when buying a home are “location, location, and location.” Actually, there are plenty of other considerations (see above), but deciding where to buy is nearly as crucial as deciding which home finance loan to choose. Spend time checking homes online, before you venture out. You’ll have a good idea of price values, amenities, and neighborhoods, which saves time when the actual house hunting begins.

What are your mortgage options?

The selection of home finance options for first-time buyers is astonishing. From zero-interest mortgages to the traditional 30-year fixed rate loan, you’ll find a vast array of terms, rates, and other choices. Once you’ve done some homework and determined how much you can afford, it’s time to go mortgage shopping. Speaking with a lending expert can save you plenty of time, but you should be prepared to ask questions of your own. After you identify a couple of affordable home finance options, try running the numbers again, this time with the exact loan, term, and rate amounts. Be sure to include costs such as PMI, points, bank fees, and any additional charges involved with closing your loan. You don’t want to encounter any financial surprises at the end of your home buying odyssey.

You’ve mastered the basics. With preparation, practicality, and a little luck, you can join the ranks of homeowners who have steered through the home finance process successfully, and settle into your personal oasis with pride. For help along the way, contact the mortgage experts at HomeLoanCenter.com, who can explain the process fully and help you evaluate all your options, at no obligation.

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Tips for Getting Home Financing

There are many home finance solutions for people who want to buy a home. With all the various options for financing and loans, it is possible to get the house you’ve always dreamed of owning. The recent financial crisis has taught us to be a little more careful with our finances, which is why it is important for us to study our options thoroughly and carefully and make sure that we are in a position that enables us to pay for our housing loans and other expenses that come with buying a home. It is important that we don’t jump the gun to make sure that we won’t have any home finance problems in the future that may lead to a lot of debt and foreclosure.

The first step in buying a home is getting a loan. This is where home finance can get tricky. Just because you are able to meet the lender’s screening criteria, it doesn’t mean you’re automatically qualified for the loan. Banks and other lenders tend to award loans to people to show that they have the ability to repay the loan and that they are not overloaded with other debts and expenses to pay for. This is why we must create a balance sheet and compare our income with the expenses we incur every month. The information we can get from this is beneficial not only to the lenders, but to loan applicants as well because it shows us if we can handle the financial burden or if it will bury us deeper in debt.

If you think your credit scores and income statements can get you the loan you need, you can now start applying for financing. A lot of people look for a house before meeting with a lender’s loan officer and end up getting disappointed when they don’t get approved or they are offered an amount smaller than what they need to buy the house they chose. One way to avoid disappointment is to get a pre-approved loan. Before house hunting, meet with a loan officer and apply for pre-approval. If the lender believes you are qualified for the loan, you are given a letter of pre-approval which gives you an idea of how much you will be getting from the loan and you can now start looking for a house that you can afford.

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Mobile Home Financing

Historically, manufactured homes were known as “mobile homes,” a term that a lot of folks still use. Manufactured homes are built in a manufacturing plant and are fashioned to conform to the rigorous Housing and Urban Development Code, which was instituted by the Federal Government to regulate safety, design, and structure of these homes.

The uncommon affordability of manufactured homes puts home ownership inside the reach of a lot of families who are priced out of the marketplace for traditional homes. Over the last few years, the rate of growth of the factory-made construction industry has been striking, and the affordability of these homes has played a role in getting rid of the roadblocks towards homeownership for many households. Millions of Americans live in mobile homes, which constitute more than 10% of the total housing market. Nowadays mobile homes offer the superior quality, economic value, and technologically advanced features that homebuyers want.

In spite of the popularity of factory-made housing, most mortgage brokers and lenders don’t care to meet the needs of manufactured homeowners or supply funding for mobile homes. Those that do will take in to account things like the foundation and type of substructure which are what allows for mobile homes to be classed as real estate.

If you can obtain a local lender to finance your mobile home, you’ll notice many similarities and several differences to conventional mortgage financing. Many mobile homes located on land now demand a 5 percent minimum down payment and loan conditions that finance the balance over 20 to 30 years.

Other loans, known as “chattel mortgages” are likewise obtainable from certain lenders. A “chattel mortgage” is a loan for a home where land isn’t a consideration, only the mobile or manufactured home, its self. This is of value for homes that are located in mobile home parks or rented lots.

Many times, the best place to look for mobile home financing is to go direct to the manufacturer. Mobile home manufacturers oftentimes offer in house financing programs at rates that are competitive with the industry standard.

Mobile Home financing isn’t confined to purchase loans. As a mobile home owner, you are able to also refinance your present loan, just like a traditional mortgage. If you’re looking to lower your rates and benefit from a monthly savings, you may be a good candidate for a mobile home refinance.

Although mobile home financing does differ from financing a traditional home, there are numerous options available to you. It is true that it can be more difficult to get financing for a mobile home. Despite the extra hassle, if money is an issue, purchasing one of today’s modern manufactured homes can be a great way to experience homeownership without breaking your budget.

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Mobile Home Finances

Mobile homes are housing units built in production facilities and transported to their owner’s location. As opposed to conventional homes that are constructed on site, mobile homes are usually far cheaper and are often associated with rural areas and high-density developments.

Although these houses are usually placed in a permanent location, as the names suggests, they do have the ability to be shifted. This ability to be moved is required in many areas, where such homes are popular.

The unique selling proposition of this form of housing has undoubtedly been its mobility. Initially these homes were mainly marketed to people who led a mobile lifestyle, such as construction workers. However, beginning in the 1950s, mobile homes began to be looked upon as a cost effective alternative by people who could not afford a traditionally constructed home.

Mortgages to finance the purchases of mobile homes are comparatively harder to obtain and a few restrictions are applicable. Institutions providing mobile home finance prefer not to finance any homes that are more than 20 years old. Mobile homes with structural modifications or alterations do not qualify for finance because these alterations tend to decrease the value of the homes, since they can no longer be compared with standard mobile homes.

Although mortgages for mobile homes are available from some lending institutions, banks don’t usually finance mobile homes because the current default rates or foreclosure rates for these kinds of homes is far in excess of traditionally constructed homes. The tendency of mobile homes to depreciate quickly in resale value makes loans that use these kinds of homes as collateral far more risky, compared to traditional home loans. The terms of mobile home financing gets limited to far less than the typical thirty year terms of traditional home finance and interest rates are usually higher. With the rates low and there being no lack of customers for traditional homes, banks prefer not to deal with properties such as mobile homes, which entail a higher risk.

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Home Finance

Owning a home is every individual’s dream. However, most people cannot afford to buy a home with savings of their own and need their purchase to be financed by a financial institution. A loan provided by a financial institution to purchase or renovate a home is known as home finance. Purchasing a home offers several advantages. Perhaps the biggest advantage is that it allows you to build home equity when you pay the mortgage each month.

It is a common myth that paying monthly mortgage payments is much more expensive than paying rent. Often mortgage payments may be less than the rent. Unlike rent, which might escalate each year or every few years, mortgage payments are usually fixed throughout their tenure. The interest paid on a mortgage payment is tax deductible. Also, you can take a loan against your home equity at attractive rates of interest and convert it to cash.

With the thought of buying a home, there arise many questions and doubts. The questions that one needs to think about include one’s purchasing power and the monthly payment that can one easily afford towards the home purchase. These are the main criteria that need to be considered. They help one decide the budget for the purchase of a home and narrow down the search to homes that fit in the budget.

You should also consider other initial and ongoing costs. These include a down payment, closing costs, home owners insurance, mortgage insurance, utilities, maintenance and property taxes.

Before beginning the process of looking for a home, you should figure out whether you are able to get home finance and an estimate of what you pre-qualify from a lender. Getting pre-qualified is an indication to the real estate agent that you are a serious and knowledgeable buyer.

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The Unintended Consequences of Globalism

Globalism might be good for the world economy as a whole, but does not necessarily mean it has been good for the American worker. Whether intentional or unintended, the American worker has suffered through the philosophy of free trade. Do not miss quote me, Globalism has a lot of positives. Now more than ever the people of earth are connected through the internet and can communicate information faster than any other time in history. People are exposed to different cultures and ideas, and the free flow of information is exponentially evolving our society. “Free trade” plays a big part in globalism, which is why there has been a “backlash” from non-college educated workers in wealthy countries in direct response to the effects of free trade policies. When wealthy counties openly trade with developing countries it can overvalue the wealthy countries currency, which in turn makes imports cheaper while exports become more expensive. However, according to the Economic Policy Institute, the real culprit is not the valuation of the dollar and the increasing trade deficit. (Bivens, Economic Policy Institute)

The USA has increasingly shifted its economy from manufacturing to services like banking and investing. It is cheaper to import products of manufacturing from a country that has extremely cheap labor than it is to employ American workers in the United States. This in turn means there now is a premium on college educated Americans who are filling job openings within the service industry. On the other side of the coin, manufacturing jobs are leaving the country and lowering wages of workers without a college degree. This fact coupled with increasing technology that replaces workers and a trade policy that out prices “expensive” American workers is leading to decreased wages. As the US trades more with developing countries as a percentage of GDP, the wages of unskilled workers continue to decrease. (Slaughter and Swagle, International Monetary Fund)

Though Globalism has a net increase in GDP and employment for countries involved, most of the gains from free trade is disproportionately received by the top 1% of Americans. Policies that protect corporations and their interest at the expense of the American worker exacerbate the problem. Trade policies like NAFTA and others have little protections for workers and heavily favor the multinational corporations that seek to benefit from free trade. This only adds fuel to income inequality, which for poor countries can increase economic growth while having a negative effect on rich countries. Rich countries are also at higher risk of financial crisis when they have high levels of income inequality. (Malinen, Huffington Post)

Globalism and free trade are linked very close together, which is why there is a stigma attributed to the word. There has been growing resentment within the US and other wealthy nations of globalism as a whole. They do not just condemn free trade, but openly blame minorities and marginalized groups for their decrease in wages and “eroding” their cultural dominance that they claim dominion over. This is a deadly cycle, as income inequality only feeds this type of behavior. In a country that is not adequately educating its people, more of the workers within its country will become more ignorant. With free trade putting a premium on college educated workers and decreasing wages of unskilled labor, we are now almost at a tipping point, socially and economically.

Globalism has many unintended consequences that inadvertently caused huge social and economic problems within the US. The problems that globalism is causing is not a hard fix. Reducing the income inequality will eradicate more of the negative effects of globalism. Universal Education, Universal healthcare, and a rewrite of our tax code are just a few ways to reduce income inequality. All of these possibilities are well within our means. We have to take care of these problems swiftly, before globalism becomes an integral part of our own decline. (Mason, Post-Gazette)

Bivens, Josh. “Using Standard Models to Benchmark the Costs of Globalization for American Workers without a College Degree.” Economic Policy Institute. N.p., 22 Mar. 2016. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

Malinen, Tuomas. “The Economic Consequences of Income Inequality.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 17 Dec. 2015. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

Mason, Bob. “Single-payer Health Care Would Help to Treat Three Separate Threats.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. N.p., 26 Oct. 2014. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

Slaughter, Matthew, and Phillip Swagel. “Economic Issues 11–Does Globalization Lower Wages and Export Jobs?” International Monetary Fund. Imf.org, Sept. 1997. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

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Global Trends in the Cosmetic Industry

Cosmetic dyes and colours: Explained

Cosmetic colours are also known as cosmetic lakes. These colours are produced by taking the help of absorption of dyes that are water-soluble onto a substrate. It makes the colour insoluble in water. Cosmetic lake colours are made by making use of unique technology. The technology helps in attaining extremely fine particles. These particles help in achieving shade consistency. In comparison water soluble colours, cosmetic lakes are much more stable & safe. They also generate vivacious and brighter colours. It has been seen that cosmetic pigments and lakes are more suitable for food products that contain fats and oils. They are also suitable for those products that do not contain enough moisture for dissolving colours.

Cosmetic dyes, on the other hand are used for making cosmetic colours & products. These dyes are widely used by the cosmetic manufacturing industries and businesses all over the world. They are primarily used for manufacturing hair dyes, lipsticks, nail polishes, shampoo as well as other personal care products. It has been seen that generally water soluble & food dyes are very easy and safe to use. These dyes are mostly used for a wide variety of applications. They include cleaning chemicals, soaps, medicine, cosmetic products etc.

Know which ones are safe for use

Be it the use of any type of cosmetic dyes or cosmetic colorants safety of use is a primary consideration. Cosmetic colours and cosmetic dyes often make use of a wide range of synthetic colours. These are often referred to as FD&C colours. They are mainly extracted through coal tar and are basically a by-product of petroleum. Research shows that some particular coal tar based dyes lead to different types of cancer. This is why the FDA regulates them. They also determine the arsenic or lead amount they contain. Thus there are many restrictions in the use of such colours.

Some global trends in Cosmetic dyes and cosmetic colours

Worldwide it is seen that North America, followed by Europe, has the largest market for colour cosmetics. This is due to innovations in colour cosmetics. Other factors also include high consumer disposable income and frequent new product launches in colour cosmetic market in the region. However Asia too is expected to show high growth rate in the colour cosmetics market in next few years. This is on account of the increasing consumer incomes and rising in awareness about personal care products in the region.

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Economic Turmoil and the Future of Brazil

For many years, Brazil has been an emerging economic hub, attracting investors from all over the world. The Brazilian economy saw an 368% increase in Gross Domestic Product growth from 2003 to 2011. In addition, Brazil took in almost half of Foreign Direct Investment flowing into South America during 2015. This doesn’t come as a surprise since it reigns as one of the major emerging national economies. However, Brazil has seen a recent economic downturn with increasing unemployment and a contracting GDP. In fact, the Brazilian government cut 2017 GDP expectations from 1.6% to 1% growth. Having been one the most lucrative foreign investments for governments to individual investors, what happened to the so-called “Country of the Future” and can Brazil regain its momentum?

Back in 2015, recession hit Brazil hard and the country is still struggling to get back on track. According to the CIA World Factbook, the economy contracted 32% from its peak in 2011 and unemployment reached a new high at 12.6% in 2016. Being based mostly on services, agriculture and oil, Brazil’s economy has a direct correlation with global demand. With global recession looming, Brazil is feeling the effects of a slow world economy.

Brazil is a top tourist destination offering beautiful beaches, a diverse culture and exciting festivals. However, with the world economy slowing down, people are less likely to travel abroad. Since the majority of the country’s GDP derives from the service industry, Brazil will not be able to rebound any time soon unless there is a major boost in consumer confidence.

The demand for Brazilian exports was slashed when its largest trading partner, China, entered into an economic slowdown of their own. The decrease in exports caused massive layoffs throughout the nation. The notorious economic downward spiral began by wary consumer spending as unemployment rose. Companies that tried to gain capital by borrowing in U.S. dollars found it difficult to pay back those loans as the Brazilian Real crashed 25% in the span of a year in 2015.

One of the major hits came from low oil prices and the corruption of Petrobras, a large oil company and Brazil’s largest source of investment. Brazil is major producer of oil, exporting $11.8 billion worth in 2015, according to the Observatory for Economic Complexity. OPEC delivered a major blow when the cartel decided not to cut oil production, causing oil futures prices to plunge. In order to cope with heavy losses, Petrobras was forced to sell off assets and halt future research and expansion plans.

As if things weren’t going poorly, Petrobras was also caught in a scandal with former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and other high office executives. From 2004 to 2012, the company had spent over $2 billion on bribes to politicians whom would allow the company to charge inflated prices for construction contracts. Now that the scandal has unfolded, Petrobras executives face jail time and the company as a whole is forced to pay billions in fines.

So what does the future hold for Brazil?

Although at the moment the future looks dim, there are still signs of hope Brazil can turn itself around. The Real has seemed to stabilize in 2016 and heads into 2017 with an upward trend. Moreover, experts’ GDP projections for 2018 through 2020 show promising figures that Brazil can restore pre-recession level growth.

Even more promising, U.S. companies are still showing faith in Brazil’s future. American Airlines plans to invest $100 million in an aircraft maintenance center in Sao Paulo. Brazilian Investment Partnership Minister Wellington Moreira Franco and many countries like the United States, United Kingdom, France and Japan agree there are still reasons to invest in Brazil. This should be seen as a sign of confidence that the Brazilian market will grow soundly with the support of both national and international investment.

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The Effects Of The Global Trade Agreement

We live in a world that is increasingly getting connected. In such a world, trade agreements are bound to expand internationally, and to think and act otherwise would be downright stupid.

These global trade agreements, as such, are either bilateral or multilateral understanding between two or multiple countries and govern the trade policies between them. These agreements have a massive impact on worldwide trade and investments and are one of the major causes responsible for shaping business relationships across the globe. And while such agreements might not affect directly affect the place where you live or operate, being aware of the current trade agreements can definitely uncover numerous opportunities.

Forming up opinions is up to you; we do not intend to initiate an argument over how good or how bad these global trade agreements are. This article aims to get you familiarized with such agreements and tell if your supply chain could be affected or not.

While a few countries have settled upon free trade agreements and are in the process of widening them, a number of other nations have formed common markets and unions; this form of development can a have a thorough effect on small-scale businesses.

Two of the most common agreements are the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) between Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Canada, Brunei, Peru, Mexico, Chile, Malaysia and Japan, and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, United States and Mexico.

Now, how such agreements impact your local business’s supply chain depends on a simple fact; whether your business is an importer, exporter or neither.

Scenario 1: You neither import nor export

It’s fairly easy to decide whether you are an importer or not, right? I understand that you do not directly source products from a foreign supplier, and technically speaking, that doesn’t make you an importer. However, trade agreements can still impact you. Your suppliers are directly affected by such regulations, and this vulnerability can affect your supply chain.

Keep the distinction in mind.

Scenario 2: You identify yourself as an importer

Owing to the low cost manufacturing in some countries, many small scale suppliers are able to compete with global giants.

With a trade agreement between two countries, most of the times, the country with lower labour costs benefits when the trade tariffs are lowered or eliminated. With trade agreements, importers usually get to source low-cost goods and it allows for the unrestricted movement of such low-cost goods through higher cost partner nation.

In case, such an agreement is dissolved, an importer would inevitably face a higher cost of goods and thus look for cheaper sourcing options, decrease their operational costs, and ultimately increase the prices, which would be borne by the customers, of course.

Scenario 3: You are an exporter

This even counts if you sell products that another firm exports because at some point or other, taxes would be levied on your sold goods. So how does it affect you? Your customers end up paying higher amounts for your products.

With a trade agreement in place between the country where the product originates and the receiving country, the very same products would move through the receiving nation freely. In such cases, you’d definitely want to keep such an agreement intact and leverage this competitive advantage you have in this particular country bound by trade regulations.

As a small or a medium sized business, it is therefore important for you to identify where your business lies with respect to global trade agreements.

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The Paramounted Importance of Critical Analysis in International Trade Policies

International trade is largely based on the constant fluctuations in the world-wide economy, this resulting in constant changes with regards to tariffs, trade subsidies and unending amendments of regulations with regards to international trade. “Trade policy and economic Growth”, a paper by Keith Maskus, PhD, focuses on the relationship between trade policies and the growth of the economy or lack thereof, the main point of interest of the paper was to establish whether the variance of trade policies will affect the economic growth of any country. The conclusion reached was that open economies tend to grow faster than closed economies, ceteris paribus. therefore concluding that open competition is good in the sense that it improves resource distribution and the country gains in Investment and innovation.

An organisation that is involved in international trade has to pay special attention to such information. There might not be any countries with closed economies however there are countries that have low imports to the point that they are regarded as closed economies for instance Brazil. In 2011 Brazil recorded 13% as its import percentage which was quite low for a country of its stature. Is it not then imperative to constantly be up to date with changes in the trade policies of countries one is interested in pursuing trade relations with? since there is a proven positive relationship between the openness of an economy to competition (thus meaning the country is greatly involved in trade) and the growth of that country`s economy, this serves as an indication of how lucrative and profitable a business venture would be under such circumstances. The Critical analysis aspect then comes into play by determining how much gain or loss would result from substantial changes to the policies, which are measures and instruments that can influence export and imports, the objective being the policies influence the trade sector to the result of profit for the business venture. one might feel a degree in commercial management is then needed in order to fully understand all the kinks and edges of the international business, and they would be right, but the eventuality is that it will always boil down to intelligence and efficiency in the analysis of trends, calculation of potential profit/loss, predictions of future stability or fluctuations in the world economy prompting changes to prices in the trade sector.

There is one other important factor that can alter potential business plans, and that is the politics of the country in question, policies are easily influenced by the politics of the nation, and it is thus advisable that critical analysis be also engaged, this results in better understanding of the country and its stability thus reducing the chances of incurring a bad business eventuality. Nations are not governed by robots, unfortunately, but are governed by people with interests and human nature desires to differ from individual to individual making it difficult to maintain a constant effective system. if politicians are elected they tend to focus on altering policies for their own benefit, and the benefit of those they promised (if there are still honest politician available) from that point it is important that international business consider such factors before pursuing business. Prime examples being, whenever there are strikes in South Africa investors tend to shy away, and most of the strikes are birthed from political influence, thus deeming South Africa an Unstable nation to invest in, or Zimbabwe a nation sanctioned, due to political infringements, making the country undesirable for investment irregardless of the profitability of the business idea. It is thus an excellent idea to firstly research in-depth to the politics of the country before hand and invest with,much-needed information, guiding the innovative decision made.

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