Energy-efficient mortgages (EEMs). Suppose your home's R-value is the envy of your block. An EEM from Fannie Mae or elsewhere could boost your debt-to-income ratio by up to 2 percent. Utility bills are lower in energy-efficient homes, so the homeowner can afford a bigger loan. EEMs have been used for new construction; lenders are now pushing them for existing homes. An EEM requires a determination that your house meets Fannie Mae's stringent energy-efficiency standards.

Your debt-to-income ratio: You can calculate your DTI by dividing all of your monthly debt payments by your monthly income. Lenders generally consider a DTI of 36 percent or less to be acceptable, but many lenders will consider borrowers with higher ratios, depending on their income. Anything getting close to 50 percent, though, may disqualify you.

With a low home improvement loan rate available, now's the perfect time to get started on those remodeling projects you've been putting off. However, while you're renovating your home, be careful not to add things that would price your home out of the range of your neighborhood. For example, if you own a bungalow in a neighborhood where sale prices don't top $125,000, reconsider adding a master suite fit for a mansion. You may not recoup that investment when buyers can get very similar homes on the same street for less. Even in a neighborhood where homes sell for $1 million, adding exotic hardwood floors or marble drives and walkways could still push your home's price higher than the average, making it harder for you to sell someday.

Chase customers who secure a new Chase home equity line of credit can save 0.25% off the standard variable home equity line of credit rate with qualifying personal deposit accounts including Chase personal checking and savings accounts, CDs, certain Chase Retirement CDs, or certain Chase Retirement Money Market Accounts. Qualifying personal investments include investment and annuity products offered by JPMorgan Chase & Co. or its affiliates and agencies. Balances in Chase Money Purchase Pension and Profit Sharing Plans don't qualify.

Sooner or later, you’ll decide it’s time to make some renovations to your home. Whether you put in the elbow grease and do it yourself or hire a contractor to cover the dirty work, any remodeling venture can be pricey. Finding the best way to finance a home improvement project can be tricky, and the ideal choice varies according to your financial situation. 
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