Dreaming of homeownership? Your tax refund may just be enough to get a mortgage

It's that time of year when Uncle Sam pays you back all that extra money you lent him.  You may be thinking about a shopping spree or knocking out debt.  But if you have dreams of homeownership, this may be your chance.
 
"Hopefully on the radar is using it towards a down payment," Stephanie Hendrick, mortgage lender with VIP Mortgage in Scottsdale, said.    
 
Hendrick said gone are the days when you needed 20 percent down.  
 
"There are VA loans with no money down.  An FHA loan can be as little as 3 or 3.5 percent," she said. "Depending on how much your refund is your sales price is you could very well have the down payment." 
 
Or it may just be the boost you needed to get you there.  But what if you already own a home?  
 
"Renovations are fun, especially with all the hype around HGTV and Fixer Upper," she said.  "You want to think where am I going to get the most return?  Kitchen and bathrooms.  An appraiser will tell you that's where you'll get the biggest bang for your buck."
 
Putting that extra cash towards your current mortgage is also an option, though if it's possible you'll sell in the near future Hendrick said that may not be the best choice.  Also, if you plan to pay off debt so you can start saving towards a down payment.  Hendrick suggests talking with a lender to help you decide which debts make the most sense.
 
 
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