Home Authors Kat Aoki
Kat Aoki

Kat Aoki

Writer

Kat Aoki was a personal finance writer at Finder, specializing in consumer and business lending. She’s written thousands of articles to help consumers make better decisions on their home loans, bank accounts, credit cards, cryptocurrency and more. Kat is well versed in working with leading brands in the real estate, mortgage and personal finance industries, and her expertise has been featured on Forbes Advisor, Lifewire and financial comparison sites like iSelect and realestate.com.au. She holds a BS in business administration from California State University, Sacramento and enjoys hiking and yoga in her spare time.

Expertise

  • Mortgages
  • Home equity loans
  • Mortgage refinancing

Experience

  • Freelance writer for over 12 years, with a focus on technology, fintech, personal finance, home loans and real estate
  • Hundreds of bylines with industry-leading brands, including Amex, Citibank, Lenovo, Canon, Microsoft, GE Money and Thomson Reuters
  • Worked in IT with experience as a Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA)

Education

  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Marketing | California State University, Sacramento
  • Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA)

Industry insights from Kat Aoki

We asked Kat to flex her expertise and answer some of our most burning questions about the state of the mortgage industry in a post-COVID world.

How much do you have to put down so you don’t have to pay private mortgage insurance?

Most conventional mortgages require you to make a minimum down payment of 20% to avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI) on top of your regular repayment. PMI is a type of insurance that protects lenders if the borrower defaults on their loan. However, some lenders offer special loan programs that don’t require PMI. For example, VA loans have no PMI, medical professional loans often have no PMI requirements, and some first-time homebuyer programs might forgo PMI in exchange for a higher rate — although this may not save you money.

As we get closer to seeing the end of the coronavirus pandemic, do you think it's better to take out a 15- or 30-year mortgage?

The choice between a 15- year versus a 30- year loan really boils down to how much you can afford to pay toward your mortgage every month. In general, it’s always better to pay off your loan faster than slower. So, if you can afford the higher monthly payments, go with a 15-year mortgage, as it can shave tens of thousands of dollars off your interest over the long run. But as the 2020 showed us, life isn’t always predictable, so choose the term length and monthly payment that best fits your needs during times of financial ups and downs.

My house has significantly increased in value since 2020. Is now a good time to tap into my home equity so I can get cash out?

Tapping into your home equity with a home equity loan, line of credit or cash-out refinance can give you access to cash for a range of needs. But I wouldn’t advise borrowing against your home’s equity unless you have a financially sound reason for doing it — for example, to pay for home improvements, for property or business investment purposes, for debt consolidation or to pay down high-interest student loans. Borrowing against your home equity increases your debt, which you have to pay back either now or later. When it comes to taking on more debt, it’s always important to weigh the pros and cons.

Latest articles by Kat Aoki

198 articles written by this author

Best emergency business loans of 2024

Fast funding for business emergencies. Learn more.

Kat Aoki 3 April 2024
Best emergency business loans of 2024

Compare no credit check loans

If you are concerned about your credit score, there are lending options available without any credit check.

Kat Aoki 28 March 2024
Compare no credit check loans

Compare tax relief companies of 2024

IRS woes? These top 4 tax relief companies may be able to help.

Kat Aoki 21 March 2024
Compare tax relief companies of 2024

10 emergency loans for good and bad credit in 2024

Emergency payday loans can give you quick and easy access to funds. Compare your options and find a lender to help see you through.

Kat Aoki 15 March 2024
10 emergency loans for good and bad credit in 2024

Best home improvement loans of 2024

Learn about the top home improvement loans. Compare rates, terms and benefits from the leading lenders, plus other ways to finance your home improvements.

Kellye Guinan & Kat Aoki 13 March 2024
Best home improvement loans of 2024

Fundera business loans review

Get connected with short-term funding, SBA loans, lines of credit and more.

Kellye Guinan & Kat Aoki 21 February 2024
Fundera business loans review

How to get funding for a business

Looking to fund your business? Discover the best strategies for getting the funding you need from banks and online lenders, investors and more.

Kat Aoki 15 February 2024
How to get funding for a business

Types of business insurance

Learn about the different types of business insurance: What coverage does your business need?

Kat Aoki 14 February 2024
Types of business insurance

Average business loan interest rates for April 2024

Learn about business loan interest rates and which business loans have the highest and lowest rates.

Kat Aoki 12 February 2024
Average business loan interest rates for April 2024

How do business loans work?

Lenders offer funds to business owners that are repaid with interest or fees according to the terms of your loan agreement. Find out how popular types of business loans work.

Kat Aoki 12 February 2024
How do business loans work?
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