4 Things Not To Do When Buying A Home

4 Things Not To Do When Buying A HomeThere is a long list of things that people need to do when they are looking to buy a home; however, it is also important for people to know what to avoid as this process unfolds. There is a lot for people to remember and it is easy for people to get carried away when they start looking at their dream homes. Even though it is great to look at a bunch of houses and imagine living there, it is critical for people to stay grounded and know what to avoid.

Do Not Make Any Large Purchases During The Home Buying Process

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they are looking at buying a home is they open their wallets too big. If people end up taking on other big purchases, they end up accruing more debt. This is going to mess up their debt to income ratio and will make it harder for people to qualify for a home loan. Therefore, try to avoid making any other large purchases during the home buying process.

Do Not Take Out Multiple Credit Inquiries

While this might not sound real, the truth sometimes hurts. The more times people pull their credit report, the worse it looks. Therefore, by making multiple credit inquiries, people could actually hurt their credit score. It is important for people to pull their credit score at least once to fix any inaccuracies that might be present; however, people should not get carried away.

Do Not Skip The Pre-Qualification Process

Many people want to avoid filling out excess paperwork; however, the pre-qualification process is a good idea. When someone pre-qualifies for a mortgage, they get a budget ahead of time and immediately look like a serious buyer. This means that their offer looks more competitive to a potential seller. Finally, the pre-qualification process could also help someone qualify for a lower interest rate.

Do Not Be Anxious

The process of buying a home can be stressful even for those who have been through it before. Just remember to ask questions along the way and individuals will be set up for success. There are trained professionals who are willing to lend a helping hand to those in need.  

How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Early: 4 Methods That Work

How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Early 4 Methods That WorkWhile a mortgage is a necessity for many people who have the dream of owning a home, it is also a form of debt. Most people do not like owing money to someone else. Therefore, homeowners might be looking for ways to pay off their mortgage early. The reality is that people are charged interest for having a mortgage. If a mortgage is paid off early, this is less money than the bank will take and more money in the pockets of homeowners.

There are a few methods people can use to pay off their mortgage early.

Make Extra Payments

At the beginning of a mortgage, the vast majority of the money that people send the bank goes toward interest. In the end, most of the payment covers the principle of the loan. If someone is willing to make extra payments, these added payments are going to directly attack the principle. When the principle shrinks, there is less interest that accrues. Making extra payments is the most direct way to attack a home loan and pay it off more quickly.

Refinance The Mortgage

Another option people should consider is refinancing the mortgage. Essentially, a homeowner takes out a second home loan that pays off the first home loan; however, the new home loan has a lower interest rate. This may allow people to pay off the loan more quickly. Furthermore, people can refinance to a shorter-term, allowing them to pay off the loan more quickly.

Recast The Mortgage

Recasting the mortgage is a little bit different than refinancing. In recasting the loan, people throw a lump sum at the principle in exchange for a new amortization schedule based on that lump sum. This means that people will have a new schedule that reflects the principle that is left, often resulting in a shorter payment schedule.

Split The Monthly Payment In Two

Finally, many people are paid biweekly. Therefore, it might be easier for people to pay their mortgage biweekly. If someone pays their mortgage biweekly, they are making 26 half-payments per year or 13 monthly payments per year. The effect is that someone makes one extra monthly payment per year. This payment attacks the principal directly, helping people pay off their mortgage faster.

Building An Emergency Fund During An Emergency

Building An Emergency Fund During An EmergencyBy now, it should be apparent that this COVID-19 (Corona-virus) pandemic is going to be here for several months. It is already causing the market to plummet and is disrupting jobs all over the country. Many people who work as hourly employees (or are independent contractors) are starting to suffer. As people’s budgets start to feel the squeeze, this is exactly the time that people should be relying on an emergency fund; however, for those who don’t have one, it is time to start saving.

How To Create An Emergency Fund

Even though cash assistance from the government might be coming soon, this is not going to be enough to get people through the crisis. To start building an emergency fund, it is important to take a look at the regular income first. Try to figure out how many shifts are going to cut and estimate what money is left (unless you are a salaried employee).

After this, take a look at other possible sources of credit. Know the limits on the card and figure out to what extent these cards can be drawn out. If there is an income tax refund coming, plan for this; however, remember that the government might be behind.

Finally, try to cut spending where possible. Remember that vacations should be postponed, given travel restrictions. Most restaurants are going to close, so try to shop at the grocery store instead. Finally, consider asking the bank to put a stop on mortgage payments. These are all great ways to save immediate money.

Save What Is Left

Finally, after figuring out all of the expenses, subtract this from the expected monthly income over the next few months. Whatever is left should be socked away into an emergency fund. It is critical to have this fund put away in case a repair is needed on the house or if someone gets laid off. 

Other Ideas To Consider

Finally, while this is not advisable, people might be able to cut retirement contributions to help with the emergency fund. It is better to save for the future when possible, but this can help people save money in a pinch, if needed. Take these tips to heart over the next few months and build an emergency fund.

Is A 15 Or 30 Year Mortgage Right For You?

Is A 15 Or 30 Year Mortgage Right For YouWhen someone is looking to purchase a house, they need to think about how long they want their mortgage to last. While a bank can structure a mortgage to last for any number of years, the most common lengths are 15 and 30 years. While a 30-year mortgage is typically more affordable, a 15-year mortgage is cheaper overall.

When someone is trying to decide how long they want their mortgage to last, there are a few important tips to keep in mind.

The Benefits Of A 15-Year Mortgage

There are a few important benefits that everyone should know about a 15-year mortgage. Some of the biggest benefits include:

  • With a 15-year mortgage, people are going to pay off their home more quickly. This will free up cash to spend in other places. Those who are looking to retire without a mortgage may want to go with a 15-year mortgage.
  • Next, a 15-year mortgage is going to come with a lower interest rate. Because the bank is going to get their money back more quickly, they are going to reward the borrower with a lower interest rate. Overall, the bank is taking on less risk.
  • Finally, a 15-year mortgage is also going to be cheaper overall. With a lower interest rate and a loan that is paid off more quickly, the bank is going to take less of someone’s money over the life of the loan.

The Benefits Of A 30-Year Mortgage

A 30-year mortgage has some notable differences when compared to a 15-year mortgage. There are a few important benefits that people need to remember. These include:

  • The monthly payments are going to lower. Those who are planning on paying for their children’s college education, or who envision a car payment in the near future, may want to have extra cash on hand to fund them.
  • As someone pays off their mortgage the interest paid on the loan is tax-deductible. Since more interest is paid on a 30-year mortgage, there will be greater tax savings as well. This means that people will get some of their money back.
  • Finally, a 30-year mortgage is also more flexible. During the loan, people may elect to make extra payments. This allows someone to pay off their home more quickly.

These are a few of the most important points people need to remember when trying to decide between a 15-year and 30-year mortgage.  As always, call your trusted home mortgage loan professional to discuss the options available for your personal situation.

Common Reasons Why Buyers Are Denied A Mortgage

Common Reasons Why Buyers Are Denied A MortgageWhen you are buying a new home, it is an exciting process. You have spent months searching and have found the home you want to purchase. You are ready to move into the home of your dreams.

Unfortunately, you have found out that your request for a mortgage has been denied. This can be a deflating experience. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid this by understanding the most common reasons why a buyer is denied for a loan.

The Loan Requirements Have Changed

One of the most common reasons why you might be denied a mortgage is that the terms of the loan have changed. For example, the lender might have raised the minimum credit score requirement. This might sound unfortunate; however, it does happen from time to time.

Loan requirements might change from the pre-approval stage. If this happens, think about searching for a loan from a different lender.

You Added Debt

The debt to income ratio is going to matter when applying for a loan. If you are pre-approved for a loan and your amount of debt changes, the lender is going to look at this closely. Common forms of debt include student loans and credit cards.

Even small changes in your debt amount can impact your ability to qualify for a loan. Try to avoid buying a new car or maxing out a credit card during the mortgage application process. This will help you keep the loan you’ve worked so hard to earn.

You Changed Jobs

Finally, employment status also matters to the lender. When you take out a loan, the lender needs to know that this will be repaid. This depends on you having a steady stream of income from your job.

If you decide to change jobs between the time of pre-approval and the time of purchase, your employment history and income stream do not mean as much. While changing employment will not totally disqualify you, make sure to discuss this possibility with your lender. Changing jobs within the same field is likely fine; however, moving to a new career entirely can be a red flag.

Mortgage Denials are Frustrating

It is frustrating to have your request for a loan denied. Fortunately, understanding these common reasons can help you avoid this deflating experience. Think about all of these possible scenarios when you apply for a home loan. And rely on the expertise of your trusted home mortgage professional.

What Makes Up A PITI Mortgage Payment?

What Makes Up A PITI Mortgage PaymentMany mortgage payments are made up of four parts, called PITI. PITI is an acronym that stands for principal, interest, tax, and insurance. It’s important to understand PITI because it is the real number you need to use in order to find out how much mortgage you can afford to pay each month.

One of the biggest mistakes first-time homebuyers make is using only the principal plus interest figure to calculate how much they’ll be paying every month for their mortgage. Then, when the lender comes back and denies them, the prospective buyer is confused. Knowing and understanding PITI will put you back in the driver’s seat with your home buying goal.

Principal

The principal part of your mortgage payment represents the amount of money that you borrow over the terms of the loan. For instance, if you borrow $100,000 and you have 20 years to pay them back, the principal that you’ll pay each month equals $100,000 divided by 20.

Interest

The interest portion of your mortgage payment is the percentage rate that your lender is charging you to borrow from them. Another way of looking at the interest is to think of it as the cost of borrowing money. Interest will be spread out over the length of the loan, just like the principal payment.

Tax

The tax portion of your monthly mortgage payment pays for real estate and/or property taxes. Real estate taxes are assessed by the local government where the properties located. The tax rate is determined by the government and is not influenced by your personal credit score.

Insurance

The insurance part of your monthly mortgage payment pays for homeowner’s insurance and/or private mortgage insurance. If you put less than 20% down on your home purchase, you’re required to have private mortgage insurance. This amount can add considerably to your monthly mortgage payment, so it’s worth it to try to hit that 20% threshold.

Otherwise, you have to wait until your loan to value ratio is 80/20. After that, you can request to drop the private mortgage insurance, but the homeowner’s insurance will still be part of your monthly payment.

Now that you understand what makes up a PITI mortgage payment, you’ll be better prepared to plan for your monthly budget that includes a mortgage payment.

Whether you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to learn about your current financing options.

Surprising Things That Can Derail A Closing

Surprising Things That Can Derail A ClosingOnce you and the seller have negotiated an offer and you’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage, you might think that you are in the clear as far as your closing goes. However, that is not always the case. Many surprising things can put a halt to closing. Some may ultimately stop the closing altogether while others could simply cause a delay.

Here are a few unexpected things that can derail a real estate closing:

A Job Promotion 

While you might know that changing employers is one way to interfere with the closing, another deal-breaker can be switching positions with your current employer. If you are a salaried employee and switch to a non-salary commission job, for instance, you could be looking at a problem when it comes to closing on a house.

Whenever you have any change in employment, even if it is with the same employer, most lenders will require a two-year history. A new job title could be a problem at closing — even if the new position pays more money. In some cases, the lender might not be able to include the income from your new job. If so, you could quickly end up not being qualified for the loan.

Therefore, it’s best to avoid any change in employment until after closing even if it is with the same company. Talk with your mortgage finance professional regarding your personal circumstances before making any employment changes.

Last-Minute Requests for Documents

It is easy to assume that lenders will already have all the documents that they need by closing, but that is not necessarily the case. Lenders can become overwhelmed with work, especially during a hot real estate market. Lenders will sometimes realize that they need more information last-minute.

They might ask for a canceled check, copies of your rental agreement, current pay stubs or other items. If you don’t have the documentation handy, it could cause your closing to be delayed or even completely canceled if you can’t produce the requested information.

To avoid this situation, make sure that you consistently communicate with your lender throughout the loan process.

A Delayed Transfer 

You will most likely need cash at closing. If you are relying on your bank to transfer funds right before closing, then you might be shocked if the transfer falls through at the last minute. Bugs in the bank’s system or other issues could affect the transmission.

Therefore, make sure you time your transfer to reach you or your closing agent a couple of days before closing.

Closing on a mortgage is something that you don’t want to derail. Avoiding the above mistakes will help ensure a hassle-free closing transaction.

From pre-approval to closing, remember that you can count on your trusted mortgage professional to remain committed to your success throughout the entire home buying process.

5 Key Factors That Affect Your Mortgage Rate

5 Key Factors That Affect Your Mortgage RateMany first time home buyers often wonder what factors determine their mortgage rate. Is it their credit score? Is it the type of loan chosen? Is it the size of the loan?

The truth is, there are many factors at play. Mortgage interest rates are not standardized across the board, so they vary from lender to lender and from borrower to borrower.

Here are 5 common factors that determine or affect your mortgage interest rate:

1.    Default Risk

Risk is a key consideration when determining mortgage interest rates. Banks and other lenders are in a risky business because there is always a chance of a borrower defaulting on their loan repayments. This is known as default risk.

Banks and lenders therefore charge riskier borrowers higher interest rates to discourage them from borrowing, as well as to be able to average their returns between risky and non-risky borrowers. Risk is one of the prime factors that influence your mortgage rate.

2.    Credit Score

Perhaps you are wondering how banks and other lenders determine if you are a risky or non-risky borrower. There are many tools they can use, but your credit score plays a big role. You credit score is based on the borrowing history in your credit report, which summarizes all details about your credit card balances and timely bill repayment.

If you pay your bills on time and sustain relatively low credit scores, your credit score stays high and lenders view you as a low-risk borrower. Consequently, your mortgage interest rates tend to be lower than a person with a low credit score.

3.    Type of Property You Are Purchasing

Some properties have a higher risk of default compared to others. This is determined by analyzing the historical likelihood of default on different properties; lenders use this analysis as the reason to charge higher mortgage interest rates on riskier ones.

For example, vacation homes tend to have a higher rate of default compared to single-family homes and lenders charge higher rates for such homes.

4.    Size of Down Payment

The amount of money you pay upfront on the mortgage also influences its interest rate. A large down payment gives you a lower LTV ratio (loan-to-value), which also decreases the level of risk borne by a lender. A small down payment, on the other hand, gives you a high LTV ratio and thus a higher mortgage interest rate.

5.    Loan Amount

A large loan bears a higher risk than a smaller one simply because there is more money at risk. Most lenders therefore charge higher interest rates on large property loans as compared to smaller ones.

All in all, different lenders offer different rates depending on their style of operation, appetite for risk, or competitiveness in the market. It’s important to search intensively for offers from different lenders for the best mortgage rate.

Contact us to help you find out more about mortgage rates and what that means for your next home purchase.