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Leopoldo Gonzalez

Loan Originator |NMLS 1684159

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Meet Leopoldo!

Travel enthusiast committed to helping people build wealth and finding freedom through real estate ownership! I strongly believe in integrity, honesty and professionalism which leads me to be the right person to help guide my clients to achieve the dream of homeownership.

Serving Homebuyers In:

  • Florida

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Your Mortgage Questions, Answered!

How To Budget to Buy a Home: The Essential Homebuyer’s Guide

Buying a home is a significant financial milestone, but it also requires a significant financial outlay. If you’re dreaming of buying a home, you first need to make sure you have a solid budget in place to pay for the one-time fees like your down payment and closing costs as well as the new recurring expenses that come with homeownership. In this blog, we’ll share some tips to help you budget for your home purchase and ensure a smooth transition into homeownership. Below, you can find more details about how to set your budget, which expenses you should keep in mind, and how to track your budget throughout the buying process and into homeownership. Setting Your Budget Before you start to set money aside, you first need to determine your budget. There are three main things that you need to consider: your buying power, how much you plan to put toward your down payment, and what your closing costs might look like. Determine Your Affordability with a Pre-Approval The first step in budgeting for a home is to assess your financial situation and determine how much you can comfortably afford. Lenders typically recommend that you follow the 28/36 rule. Based on this rule, your monthly housing expenses, including mortgage payments, property taxes, and insurance, should not exceed 28% of your gross monthly income. Total monthly debt payments—which include housing expenses and other existing debts such as student loans or a car payment—should not exceed 36% of your gross monthly income. A great way to get started with a snapshot of your homebuying budget is to work with a UMortgage Loan Originator to get pre-approved. Your pre-approval will use your income, credit, and existing debts to provide you with an estimate of your buying power. If you want an immediate estimate of what you can afford, feel free to use my free affordability calculator. Calculate Your Down Payment Unless you’re buying your home with a VA loan, you’ll have to pay a down payment when you close on your home. Saving for a larger down payment can help you secure a lower interest rate and avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI), which can add significant costs to your monthly payments. However, with a conventional loan, you can buy with as little as 3% down. For more information on down payment minimums, reach out to your UMortgage Loan Originator. Factor in Closing Costs Closing costs are the additional fees and expenses associated with the home-buying process, such as lender fees, title insurance, and property taxes. These costs can range from 2% to 5% of the home's purchase price, so it's crucial to factor them into your budget. As you start working through the beginning stages of your homebuying journey, you can work with your UMortgage Loan Originator for an estimate of your expected closing costs. Accounting for New Expenses While homeownership is exciting, it also comes with a handful of new one-time and ongoing expenses. As you’re budgeting for your home purchase, it’s important to consider the expenses below so you’re prepared when that first new bill hits your mailbox. Homeowners Insurance Homeowners insurance is a mandatory expense that protects your investment against potential damages or losses. Homeowners insurance costs vary depending on factors such as the home's location, age, and construction type. Once you hit the market, you can connect with your UMortgage Loan Originator or real estate agent for a cost estimate. Property taxes are an ongoing expense that homeowners must pay annually or semi-annually. These taxes are based on the assessed value of your home and can vary significantly depending on your location. Typically, your property taxes and homeowners insurance are rolled into your escrow, which adds these expenses incrementally through your monthly mortgage payment. Utilities As a homeowner, you’ll be responsible for paying utilities such as electricity, gas, water, and internet/cable services. These expenses can vary based on the size of your home, energy efficiency, and usage habits. Maintenance and Repairs When you own your home, you won’t be able to rely on your landlord or property management company to maintain your home. As a homeowner, you’ll be responsible for repairing various components, such as the roof, appliances, and HVAC systems. It’s essential to budget for these expenses, as they can be costly and unexpected. When you initially buy your home, your inspection will give you a good gauge of the health of these costly components like HVAC systems, plumbing, and roofs. Tracking Your Budget Setting your budget is a big step in your journey toward homeownership, but the actual act of following that budget is what will enable you to buy your home. As you inch closer to being able to afford to buy your home, follow these steps to ensure you stow away the necessary funds to turn your dreams of homeownership into reality. Create a Detailed Budget Develop a comprehensive budget that includes all your monthly expenses, such as mortgage payments, utilities, insurance, and other recurring costs. This will help you identify areas where you can cut back or allocate funds more effectively. Use Budgeting Tools and Apps There are plenty of great budgeting tools and apps out there that streamline the process of tracking your expenses and monitoring your progress. Many apps offer features like categorizing expenses, setting spending limits, and generating reports. There are also plenty of spreadsheet templates that you can use for a more manual budget-tracking experience. Review and Adjust Regularly Regularly review your budget and adjust as needed. Your financial situation may change over time, and it's essential to adapt your budget accordingly to ensure you stay on track. As you work along your journey towards homeownership, take some time to connect periodically with your UMortgage Loan Originator to share updates on your budget and discover any new products that might make your home purchase more affordable! By following these steps, you'll be well-equipped to budget effectively for your home-buying journey. Remember, proper budgeting not only helps you achieve your homeownership goals but also ensures long-term financial stability. Once you’ve closed on your home, you can continue to follow these steps to protect yourself from unforeseen repairs or save for your next big purchase!

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Housing Market Update | Week of June 10th

The Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report last Friday reported 272,000 jobs added in May, which heavily exceeded expectations. This week, we have more pivotal market data coming with the Federal Reserve wrapping their June meeting this Wednesday as well as the CPI and PPI inflation reports sprinkled throughout the week. Expect rates to be volatile. Last Week's Mortgage Rate Recap: Rates Dropped Slightly Rates are down slightly to start the week, but the prospects of a significant dip took a hit when the BLS jobs report came in a lot higher than expected on Friday. The Federal Reserve has cited weakness in the labor market as a leading factor in causing a rate cut this year; while the labor market has gotten softer throughout the year, there’s still a way to go before we can expect the Fed to cut rates. This Week's Mortgage Rate Forecast: Rates Could be Volatile This Wednesday is going to be a big day for the housing market. The May CPI inflation report will be released on Wednesday morning and the Federal Reserve will wrap its June Fed Meeting on Wednesday afternoon. With the apparent strength of the job market, the Fed will be closely watching inflation figures to see if it matches this recent trend. Next Monday, we’re going to share a live presentation recapping the Fed meeting and offering insight into the ways that their decisions will shape the housing market through the rest of the summer. You can watch this special-edition Monday Market Update and all our Monday Market Updates right here every Monday at 11:30am ET on the UMortgage YouTube channel.

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Housing Market Update | Week of June 3rd

Last week, mortgage rates continued to slide closer to 7% after the Federal Reserve’s favorite yardstick for inflation, the PCE report, showed cooler monthly core inflation. This week is a big one for mortgage rates; with the labor market appearing to soften, this week’s flurry of labor data—which includes job openings, ADP jobs reports, jobless claims, and more—could cause rates to continue to drop if the data falls in line with recent trends. Last Week's Mortgage Rate Recap Mortgage Rates Dropped Despite a shortened week last week, mortgage rates dropped because the monthly core inflation seen in the PCE report came in slightly cooler than expected. The lower consumer spending figures seen in Friday’s report also align with the notion that the labor market is beginning to soften. This Week's Mortgage Rate Forecast Rates Could Drop Further This week is a big one for mortgage rates: it’s jobs week! As we’ve said throughout the year, the likelihood of the Federal Reserve cutting rates this year hinges on weakness in the labor market. Throughout the week, we have a flurry of labor data set to be released, including jobless claims, the ADP jobs report, and the big U.S. employment report. If the data shows prolonged unemployment and increased jobless claims, expect rates to dip further. As I said before, an appraisal gap is the last thing we want to see at the end of our borrowers’ homebuying journeys. Education is a great way to show them why you are their trusted real estate advisor. Feel free to share my comprehensive blog on why appraisal gaps happen and what to do when one faces an appraisal gap with the borrowers you’re working with.

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