3 Positive Reasons To Get A 15-Year Mortgage

3 Positive Reasons To Get A 15-Year MortgageMost people can’t pay for a home outright, so they finance it with a mortgage loan. 30-year mortgages are more conventional, but they also come with a significant interest price tag.

People who have a stable career and the income to afford larger payments, or who are nearing retirement, may want to take out a 15-year mortgage. Here are some reasons to consider one.

Save Money Over The Life Of The Loan

The total interest paid on a 30-year loan can be nearly as much as the principal. While it can be difficult to see the bigger picture when facing a mortgage payment that will be a good bit higher, consider this: Paying off a loan in 15 years versus 30 years will save tens of thousands of dollars in interest, and in some cases, as much as $100,000.

Interest rates on 15-year mortgages are also typically lower than other longer-term home loans, which provides additional mortgage interest savings.

Build Equity Faster

Equity refers to how much of your home you’ve already paid for plus what it appreciates in additional value over time. If your home is worth $250,000 and you owe $190,000 on your loan, you have $60,000 in equity.

Since more money is going toward the loan principal rather than interest on a 15-year loan, you build equity faster, which is beneficial for numerous reasons. It lowers your loan-to-value ratio and may improve your chances of getting a home equity loan, which can be used for large expenses.

Become Mortgage-Free Sooner

Instead of having a housing payment later in life, that money is freed up for retirement or other expenses.

If retirement is on the horizon for you in the next 10-20 years, ditching your mortgage payment sooner rather than later is wise. Once you are on a limited income, you will want as few expenses as possible. Plus, having the option of a home equity loan for emergencies is attractive.

There are several excellent reasons to get a 15-year mortgage. Run the numbers with your trusted home mortgage advisor and decide what makes the most sense for you.

How Does My Existing Debt Affect Getting A New Mortgage?

How Does My Existing Debt Affect Getting A New MortgageCarrying debt is a common problem that people have. Some of the most common types of debt include student loans, credit cards, and motor vehicles. When you are interested in buying a new home, you often think about whether or not your debt is going to hurt your chances of qualifying for a new mortgage.

Fortunately, you may still get a new home with that debt. There are several factors that may determine whether or not you qualify.

Your Debt to Income Ratio

The debt to income ratio is a major factor that the mortgage lender is going to consider when deciding whether or not you will qualify for a new mortgage. In general, the magic number is 43 percent. If your debt exceeds 43 percent of your total income, the lender will have a hard time giving you that new mortgage.

For example, if you make $5,000 per month, you will want to have less than $2,150 in monthly debt payments. To make yourself a more attractive candidate for a mortgage, try paying off some of your existing debt.

Taking A Look At The Credit Score

The lender is also going to consider your credit score. The higher your credit score is, the more likely the lender will reward you with a loan. In order to keep your credit score high, make sure you manage your debt well.

Making your debt payments on time will keep your credit score high. Missing debt payments will lower your score. Manage your existing debt well and you will have a better chance of qualifying for a mortgage.

Making Sure You Can Handle A Mortgage

Finally, the lender is also going to take a look at whether you can take on the responsibilities of owning a home. The monthly mortgage payment isn’t the only expense you will be taking on. Some of the other issues you will have to handle include property taxes, maintenance costs, and homeowners’ insurance.

The bank or credit union will want to ensure you can handle these costs. To make these expenses easier to bear, it might be a good idea to pay off some of that existing debt.

Investing In A New Mortgage

Looking for a new home is exciting. You can purchase a house with existing debt as long as it is minimized and managed well. Think about these factors before investing in a mortgage. And as always, consult with your trusted local mortgage professional for the best advice on 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.

3 Ways To Avoid Mortgage Insurance

3 Ways to Avoid Mortgage InsuranceWhen you are buying a home, you may run into a number of hurdles to complete the purchase. One of the items that you may be asked to purchase is called private mortgage insurance, often shortened to PMI. This is a unique insurance policy that your lender, such as the credit union or bank, may ask you to buy in order to protect themselves. In this insurance policy, the bank protects themselves against losing money if you end up defaulting on your loan.

Unfortunately, if you are asked to purchase PMI, this will increase your monthly mortgage payment. Therefore, most people try to avoid it. Fortunately, there are a few ways to do this.

Increase the Size of Your Down Payment

Typically, the lender will ask you to purchase PMI if your loan to value ratio is off. In most cases, the lender will ask you to buy PMI if you put down less than 20 percent. It is important to remember that this is still handled on an individual case-by-case basis and each lender handles this differently.

Invest in a Piggyback Mortgage

Another option to avoid PMI is to invest in something called a piggyback mortgage. In this case, you are splitting your mortgage into two policies. For example, if you put down 10 percent, you would need to take out a mortgage for the other 90 percent.

When you take out a piggyback mortgage, you split this 90 percent loan into one mortgage for 80 percent and the other for 10 percent. The drawback of this policy is that the second loan might have a higher interest rate than the first. This can help you avoid having to take out PMI.

Try Building the PMI Into the Loan

Finally, the last option is to roll them into the cost of the loan. In this case, the lender avoids asking you to purchase PMI and instead charges you a little bit more money for the loan. You won’t have a section on your bill for “private mortgage insurance” but you will have a slightly higher monthly payment anyways. Remember that you can refinance to a lower rate later, saving some money; however, it might be harder to eliminate PMI.

Avoiding Mortgage Insurance

These are a few ways that you can avoid purchasing PMI. This will help you keep your monthly payments low. As always, speak with your trusted mortgage professional for personal advice on your specific situation.

How To Get Your Free Annual Credit Report And Why You Need It

How To Get Your Free Annual Credit Report And Why You Need ItYour credit report influences whether or not you’ll qualify for a mortgage and what kind of interest you’ll pay on that loan. This isn’t something you can safely ignore. Smart homebuyers understand the importance of monitoring credit scores and credit reports. Here is some information about how to get your credit report.

Free Credit Report Available

You’re entitled to free credit report, according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. You can get one free report each year from each of the three major credit bureaus; Experian, Equifax and Transunion.

The easiest way to get your free report is to go to AnnualCreditReport.com. This is the official site that was originally established by the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

How To Get Your Free Credit Report

Once you reach the site, create an account by registering. Have as much of your available credit information available when you request your free credit report. The reason is because the site will need to verify that it’s actually you requesting the credit report. If you have your information at hand, it will be easier and faster to confirm your identity.

This is just a process that the site has in place to protect your identity from fraud. They might ask you things like past residences, past credit card companies, or something else.

Why You Need To Get Your Free Annual Credit Report

When you apply for a home loan, the lender will pull your credit report and review it. They’ll look for signs that you are a good credit risk. Things they consider include how you handle your debt to income ratio, whether or not you pay your bills on time and if you have any negative notations on your credit report.

For this reason, you should look at your own credit report before applying for a mortgage. This gives you a chance to fix anything that is incorrect in your credit report and an opportunity to improve your credit report if it’s not in great shape.

You Can Help Prevent Identity Fraud

Another important reason to review your free annual credit report is to prevent fraud. If you see anything unfamiliar on your report, such as loans you didn’t take out or balances for things you don’t recognize, you can immediately act on those issues so they don’t affect your chance at getting approved for a home loan.

Always be proactive when it comes to your credit history. By availing of your right to a free annual credit report, you can ensure that your credit is in as good as possible condition when you go to apply for a mortgage.

If you are looking for a new home or if you are interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss financing options.

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.

Is Now a Good Time to Cash Out Your Home Equity?

Is Now a Good Time to Cash Out Your Home EquityFor many Americans, their home is their primary investment. The equity stored in your residence can be a source of available cash for home repairs, upgrades, or for financing the purchase of investment properties. However, few homeowners really understand the process that results in home equity.

What Is Home Equity?

Your monthly mortgage payment goes towards two different amounts. The first is the interest that you pay for the loan. The other is your principal payment or the amount that counts against the initial amount that you borrowed for the purchase. Depending on the details of your loan contract, each payment is generally split between these two types of charges.

Over time the amount that you’ve paid towards the loan’s principal grows your equity position. With each payment, your equity grows as well. Once enough equity is accrued, many lenders allow homeowners to access those funds via an equity line of credit, home equity loan or a cash-out refinance.

You’ll have to pay interest on any monies you withdraw from the second mortgage or higher loan amount upon your refinance. With home equity lines, however, these loans only charge interest on the money that you actually use. You can secure a home equity line of credit for a certain amount and not be liable for a penny in interest until your first withdrawal.

How Can You Calculate Potential Equity?

There are 4 main factors to consider when calculating your home’s equity.

    • Home value.
    • Monthly mortgage payments.
    • Down payment.
    • Any liens or additional mortgages on the property.

Imagine your home is currently valued at $300,000. With cash down payment of 20%, your home’s starting equity is equal to your initial $60,000 payment. Each payment slowly increases your equity until you have full financial ownership of your home.

Talk to your lender to understand how interest in applied to each payment. For fixed rate loans, you can easily figure out how much of your mortgage payments are immediately applied to the loan’s principal. An easy way to see this equity build up on a monthly basis is to reference an amortization schedule. Your lender should be able to provide this for you at no charge.

For property owners with liens and additional mortgages, add the value of those items to what’s still due on your primary mortgage loan before completing the calculations.

Home equity is a flexible financial tool that you can use to improve your property, expand your business, or treat yourself to something special. Plan carefully to get the most out of your home equity line of credit.

If you are interested in a refinance or a home equity loan, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

5 Options To Consider When Your Appraisal Comes In Low

5 Options To Consider When Your Appraisal Comes In LowYikes! You are set on buying the home that you picked out and the appraisal comes back at a lower amount than the amount needed for the home loan to be approved. What do you do? After you calm down your significant other and then take three deep breaths, here are some options to consider.

Request A New Appraisal

Appraisals are only one person’s professional opinion. There are rules that must be followed when making an appraisal; however, there is still some flexibility in how to apply the rules. Check the comparables (also called “comps”) that the appraiser used as the basis for setting the appraised value.

There usually have to be at least three houses that are a similar size, similar age, have a similar condition, and are located in a similar neighborhood. If the home that you want to buy just had major renovation with a lot of work done on it, the appraiser may have missed this and should add more to the appraisal for the home having a better condition than the comparables.

Check to determine if any of the comparables are wrong. For example, if the appraiser uses a home that is in poor condition that may cause the appraisal to be too low. When there is another choice of a home in a better condition, which is more similar to the one being sold, the appraisal might be higher.

If you find problems with how the appraisal was done, request a review from your lender and see if they will allow you to pay for a second appraisal. Getting a new appraisal with a higher value is the easiest way to fix this problem.

If that does not work, then you can try these other options:

Negotiate With The Lender

Some lenders may cooperate with a loan restructuring if you qualify for a program with a higher loan-to-value (LTV). This may also require private mortgage insurance (PMI) if your loan amount exceeds 80% of the appraised value of the home. Working with your trusted mortgage professional can lead to unexpected options to get your home purchase completed.

Negotiate With The Seller

Trouble may come up if an appraiser cannot find comps that meet the selling price of the home. This may be caused by the home having unique qualities, a market that does not have other homes like it, or possibly that the sale price is more than the home is actually worth. If the price of the home is actually too high based on the appraisal, the seller might lower the sales price in order to keep the transaction together.

Increase Your Down Payment

If the amount of the difference is small and you can cover it, you can still proceed by taking a lower amount for the loan and adding money to your down payment to make up the difference.

Find Another Home To Buy

Your purchase offer should be subject to obtaining financing. If the appraisal comes in low and that prevents you from obtaining financing at the original sales price, you likely will be able to cancel the purchase agreement without penalty and search for a new home.

Your trusted home mortgage professional is well-versed in these types of issues and ready and willing to assist you with your successful home purchase transaction.

8 Ways To Maintain A Great Credit Score

8 Ways To Maintain A Great Credit ScoreHaving an excellent credit score is very useful. The following are some tips on how to maintain a superb credit score.

Open Credit Accounts When You Do Not Need Them

If you don’t have any credit accounts, you will have a low score. The best time to open them is when you do not need them. Keep a small balance on them and pay it all off at the end of each month to avoid paying interest.

Charge Up To Half The Credit Limit Then Pay It All Back Within A Few Months

If you must use a credit line, only use half of it and pay it back quickly.

Buy Big Ticket Items With A Credit Card For Cash Back And Points

Even if you can pay cash for a big ticket item, you may find it beneficial to buy it with a card that gives a reward for making a purchase like cash back or rewards points. Then pay off the balance as quickly as you can.

Ask For An Increased Credit Line

For credit accounts that you have been paying on time, call the customer service department and tell them you are thinking about buying something that is slightly above your credit limit. Ask them if they can extend the limit. This usually works even if you do not actually buy something.

You can attempt to raise your credit limit this way about once per year. As you increase your available credit capacity while maintaining all accounts in a “paid as agreed” status, your credit score should go up.

Move Credit Balances To A New Card With Zero Interest

Many credit card companies offer a zero-interest period for transfers of credit card balances from another card. After doing this, transfer this balance, once again, to another card that has a similar offer before the zero-interest period expires.

Close Old Accounts When New Ones Are Open

Having too many credit card accounts can lower your score. Keep about half a dozen cards. Close the ones that you transferred the balance from to zero interest cards.

Use Automatic Payments To Make Sure Bills Are Paid On Time

Never miss a payment or pay late. You may want to use automatic bill payment systems to make sure you never let a bill slip by.

Monitor Credit Card Activity For Unauthorized Use

Monitor all credit card activity in real time. Immediately take action if you notice an unauthorized charge. Monitor your credit history file on the three credit bureau services of Equifax, Experian, and Transunion.

Your trusted home mortgage professional can provide you with additional guidelines to improve and maintain your credit while preparing to purchase or refinance your home. Be sure to contact this valuable resource if you have any questions.

Managing Finances Before Applying For A Mortgage

Managing Finances Before Applying For A MortgageAre you planning on using a mortgage to help cover the cost of a new home? If so, you will want to prepare your finances and figure out how you will manage all those wallet-draining monthly expenses. Let’s take a look at how to run a quick financial health check to ensure you are ready to apply for a mortgage.

Update (Or Start) Your Monthly Budget

First, it is essential to get the basics out of the way. If you haven’t already, it’s time to start a monthly budget to keep track of your income and expenses. Once you have a mortgage, it will be important to prioritize your monthly payments so that you don’t end up falling behind.

Starting a budget is easy and can be done with mobile apps, software, a spreadsheet or a pen and paper. List all sources of income so that you know exactly how much cash you are working with. Then, list out every one of your expenses. It can be tough to remember them all, so consider using debit and credit card statements from the past few months as a reminder.

Get A Copy Of Your Credit Report

Next, you will want to get a copy of your credit report so you can see what potential mortgage lenders will see when assessing your financial history. This is a free service that you can request once per year, so be sure to take advantage. Note that you will want to use government-approved websites for requesting your credit report. Be wary of scams.

Do You Have A Down Payment?

A down payment is not required for every home purchase, but having one saved up can make the buying process easier. The amount you will want to have saved up will depend on the cost of your home, whether you plan on carrying private mortgage insurance and a variety of other factors. If possible, try to save up an amount close to (or more than) twenty percent of the home’s purchase price.

Ready? Chat With A Professional

Now that you have your financial health in check, it is time to meet with a trusted mortgage professional to discuss your financing options.