Be Prepared for Your Mortgage Pre-approval Interview by Having Answers to These 4 Questions

Be Prepared for Your Mortgage Pre-approval Interview by Having Answers to These 4 QuestionsSo – you’ve completed an initial mortgage pre-qualification and now you’re ready to take the next step and meet with your lender or mortgage advisor for the pre-approval interview. Are you ready?

At this stage of the application process your lender will dig into your financial background to ensure that you’re fully capable of making your mortgage payments and that you don’t present too high a risk. Let’s take a quick look at a few questions you should know the answers to before you go in for a mortgage pre-approval.

Do You Have a Specific Home in Mind?

If you’ve already picked out the perfect new home, be sure to bring along some of the details when you meet with your lender. At minimum you’ll want to know the price range that you’re expecting to buy in so that your mortgage advisor can try to find a mortgage that allows you to purchase the home and still meet your other financial goals.

What is Your Current Income from All Sources?

Your income (and that of your spouse, if you have one) will be a major factor in the size of your mortgage, your payment terms and the interest rate that you qualify for. If you have a significant income and it’s clear that you will have little trouble making the mortgage payments you’ll likely qualify for a shortened amortization period that includes a lower interest rate. Conversely, if you can only afford to make a bare minimum monthly payment you’ll be facing a longer mortgage term.

Do You Have Any “Black Marks” on Your Credit?

If you have any negative spots in your credit history you’ll want to ensure that you’re able to answer for them, because your lender will certainly ask about them. Be honest and confident, and remember that the lender wants your business as much as you want to receive a pre-approval for mortgage financing.

What Are Your Plans in the Next Five to Ten Years?

Finally don’t forget that interest rates will continue to fluctuate and that may have an impact on your mortgage in the near future. Be sure to share any major financial plans that you have with your mortgage advisor as they can keep you appraised of any refinancing opportunities that come about.

Buying a home is an exciting time – one that will be far less stressful if you are fully prepared for the many steps along the way. Contact your local mortgage professional today to learn more about how you can get pre-approved for mortgage financing.

Understanding the Difference Between a Mortgage Pre-qualification and a Pre-approval

Understanding the Difference Between a Mortgage Pre-qualification and a Pre-approvalIf you’re in the market for a new home and you’ve been researching mortgages, you’ve likely come across the terms “pre-qualification” and “pre-approval”. While these terms are self-explanatory in some circumstances, they are quite different in regards to mortgage financing.

In today’s blog post we’ll explain the difference between a mortgage pre-qualification and a pre-approval.

Pre-qualification: an Initial Look at Your Mortgage Options

The first – and easiest – step on the way to receiving mortgage financing to buy a home is known as pre-qualification. During this process you’ll meet with a mortgage advisor or lender who will assess your financial history including your current income and any debts that you might have. Using these numbers they’ll perform a quick calculation that suggests how much mortgage financing you might qualify for when you’re ready to buy a home.

Your mortgage professional will also answer any questions that you might have about the process, including what interest rates you may qualify for, how much you’ll need to invest in your down payment and more.

Pre-approval: A Conditional Mortgage Commitment

After you’ve been pre-qualified for your mortgage and you’re ready to start looking for a new home you’ll go through the pre-approval process. At this time your mortgage advisor or lender will take a much deeper look into your current financial situation, including pulling a credit report to assess how much risk they will have in lending you money. You’ll also complete a full mortgage application as this will allow your lender to get a conditional approval for a certain amount or range. Finally you’ll be informed about the interest rate and the terms of the mortgage once you find your new home and complete the purchase.

The Final Step: Finding the Perfect Home

Now that you’ve been pre-approved and have received a conditional commitment from your lender, you’re ready to find that perfect new home. On top of having a better idea of your price range and what you can afford, you’ll find that sellers are far more receptive to your offers as having a pre-approval signals that you’re a serious buyer who is ready to make your move.

When you’re ready to buy your new house or condo, your local mortgage professional is ready to help. Contact them to learn more about pre-qualification, pre-approval and your financing options. Enjoy your new home!

Til’ Debt Do Us Part: How to Get a Mortgage If One Spouse Has Poor Credit

Til' Debt Do Us Part: How to Get a Mortgage If One Spouse Has A Terrible Credit ScoreA poor credit history is a reality for many people, but it can be particularly daunting when it comes to investing in a house. Simply because you or yours have experienced bad credit doesn’t mean that you should be penalized in the future. If your spouse has struggled with bad credit in the past but you’re both preparing to move forward and invest in a home, here are some tips for getting it together financially.

Face The Music

Many people who have bad credit are too scared to look at their credit report and broach it honestly. But it’s important to come to terms with the problem so that it can be fixed. Instead of ignoring it, get a copy of the credit report and review it for any errors so that you can update these if needed. It’s a good thing to be aware of the issues impacting your credit score. While there may not be any inaccuracies on the report, knowing what you’re dealing with will give you a place to start.

Make Your Payments

At some point, most people have missed a credit card payment, but the first step involved in improving your finances and your credit is ensuring you pay your bills on time. While this won’t require paying the complete balance each month, it’s important to pay the minimum balance before the due date, and stick with it! It may seem like a small step, but in time it will improve credit and say a lot to mortgage lenders!

Save Up For Down Payment

20% is the amount that’s often suggested when it comes to a down payment, but if your spouse has terrible credit, it may be worth your while to save up more. Having good credit for both you and your spouse is important in getting approved for a mortgage, but by having extra for your down payment and paying your bills on time, you may be successful at convincing lenders you’re a solid bet.

It can be a lot more difficult to get your mortgage approved if your spouse has bad credit, but there are steps you can take to improve your financial outlook and give lenders a better impression. If you’re planning on investing in a home soon, contact us for more information.

Your Debt-To-Income Ratio and How It Affects Your Mortgage

Your Debt-To-Income Ratio and How It Affects Your MortgageWhen you’re delving into the market in the hopes of finding your dream home, it’s likely you’ll come across the term debt-to-income ratio. While it might not seem important at first, but your DTI is the key to determining the amount of money you can put into your home and how much you should spend on a monthly basis. If you’re curious about what this means for you, here’s how to calculate DTI and how it can impact your mortgage.

What’s Your DTI Ratio?

One of the best ways to determine whether or not a home is affordable for you is to first calculate your DTI ratio. To get this amount, add up all of your monthly payments including any credit card, loan and mortgage payments Then divide this amount by your gross monthly income. The amount you get is your DTI percentage. This will help to determine how much your monthly payment should be.

What Does Your DTI Mean?

Your DTI percentage helps to determine the amount of house you can afford on a monthly basis. While a DTI of 25% or less is ideal, a DTI above 43% may make it harder to get financing since there will be little room for error. When it comes to a higher debt load, approval may come down to what your credit history says about your financial health.

The Amount Of Home You Can Afford

It’s easy to be convinced that your dream home is for you and worth the splurge. But investing in too much home can lead to future financial difficulties. If you’re set on a home that has a high monthly payment, you may want to hold off until you’ve saved a larger down payment. You can also revamp your budget so that you can make the investment work for you. It may also be worth continuing the housing search so that you have more flexibility to invest in education, travel or other things down the road.

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How Much Mortgage You Can Afford? Here’s How To Calculate

Wondering How Much Mortgage You Can Afford? Here's How to Calculate ItYou’re probably aware of the financial commitment that is involved when investing in a home, but what that amounts to is different for every person. From what you can afford to what a lender will allow, there are plenty of details involved in determining the right home for you. If you’re not quite sure what the right price is, here’s how to approach home ownership and determine your debt-to-income.

Calculating Your Debt-To-Income Ratio

You may not know what your DTI ratio is, but it has a lot to with how much home you can afford. In order to calculate this amount, add together all the debts you owe each month and divide them by your monthly pre-tax income. For example, if your credit card is $150 and your rent is $900, your debt amount would be $1050. Divide this amount by your income, say $2500, to get 0.42. This means your DTI ratio is 0.42 or 42%.

What Your DTI Means

While a DTI in the high 20s or low 30s is good, anything that hovers above 43 percent may serve as a red flag to the lender. The lower your DTI ratio, the more likely it is that a lender will approve your mortgage application since you’ll have the disposable income to deal with financial hurdles. If your dream home has you hovering close to this amount, it may be a sign that it’s a bit out of reach.

How Do You Want To Live?

It’s quite common to be taken over when you find your dream home and decide to commit. However, buying a home is a huge financial commitment. If you’re buying more than you can afford it may drain your well-being over time. Instead of diving in, determine other expenses that are likely to come up in the next few years including travel, a child or a new car. It’s important to have the home you want and budget when buying it, but you’ll still need the financial wiggle room in case something comes up.

There are a lot of factors involved in determining how much house you can afford, but by calculating your DTI ratio and being aware of your spending plans, you’ll be well on your way to an ideal price range. If you’re currently in the market for a home, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Understanding Mortgage Myths and Why They Shouldn’t Hold You Back

Mythbusting: Understanding Mortgage Myths and Why They Shouldn't Hold You BackWith the fluctuations in real estate and the increasing cost of home ownership, many people are entering the market with more trepidation these days. Fortunately, there are a number of myths associated with buying a home that may not adversely affect potential homebuyers. If you’re interested in purchasing a home but are unsure about whether it will get approved, here are a few things you may want to dispel.

No Approval With Less Than 20 Percent

While putting 20 percent down can help you avoid having to pay private mortgage insurance, this percentage is just a suggestion when it comes to mortgages. It’s necessary to put a certain percentage down and be able to drum up the money on your own. But if getting into the market is your priority, buying now may be worth the investment over time. It’s just important to remember that the cost of your monthly payment should be affordable for the long term.

Home Ownership Is Too Expensive

It’s certainly the case that the real estate market is always fluctuating and prices can go up or down, but generally speaking, a home will increase in value over time and that means your monthly payment will be something you can consider an investment. While monthly rent disappears as soon as the calendar month is over, the money you invest into a home month after month builds up your equity and ensures greater stability for your financial future.

You Must Have A Good Credit Report

While it will definitely help your mortgage application if you possess good credit, it’s not necessarily a deal breaker if you don’t. Each mortgage is assessed based on a combination of factors that can include your down payment amount and your debt-to-income ratio. This means that if you have a higher down payment and a less impressive credit report, you can still be approved. It’s a good idea to pay your bills on time and get your debt down if you’re applying for a mortgage. But there are opportunities for potential buyers who have experienced credit issues.

Home ownership is an important dream for many people, and as a result, there are many myths associated with the mortgage process. However, even if you don’t have 20 percent down or perfect credit, there are still opportunities for improving your financial well-being and investing in a home. If you’re currently looking for a new home, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

5 Ways Your Mortgage Can Benefit Your Financial Future

5 Ways That a Mortgage Can Be a Huge Benefit to Your Financial FutureInvesting in a house is one of the most important purchases you will make in your lifetime. However, there are many financial benefits associated with your purchase. If you’re currently perusing the market for opportunities, here are some reasons to consider investing a little sooner.

Get Away From Inflation

If you have an adjustable-rate mortgage, your interest rates will certainly fluctuate from time to time, but owning a home actually allows you to guard against the reality of inflation, which can be a significant burden as a renter. While the price of housing and apartment rentals can rise considerably with inflation, your monthly mortgage cost will be relatively fixed.

Hold On To More Of Your Money

Renting may be an easier financial obligation than home ownership, but the money you invest into a home each month contributes to your equity. This is a benefit for your financial future. While rent money will be gone when the month is over, equity provides a consistent means of building wealth.

Buy At A Lower Price

The cost of home ownership may vary around the country, and while it’s certainly climbing in many urban centers, home prices are lower overall. This means that instead of having to scrounge for a down payment, you’ll be able to invest a little less and maintain a better bank balance.

Cue The Tax Breaks

Many people hold off on home ownership because of the costs of property tax and maintenance. But there are financial boons outside of the money you invest. When tax time comes, you can receive tax deductions for costs like mortgage interest, property taxes and even private mortgage insurance that make buying in a little easier to bear.

Own A Rental Property

Whether you are a first-time buyer or you’ve delved into the market before, having a home in an up-and-coming neighborhood can also be an option. This will enable you to rent it out and reap the financial rewards. While this may be a more feasible option later on in life, it can be a means of substantial additional income.

Many people hold off on owning a home because of all the associated costs, but it can be of benefit to buy into the market earlier to reap the financial rewards. If you are currently considering home ownership, contact us for more information.

How To Boost Your Credit Score Before Applying for a Mortgage

3 Simple Tips for Boosting Your FICO Credit Score Before Applying for a MortgageThere are a variety of factors that are involved in getting your mortgage approved, but few things will have more impact than your FICO score and the credit history that goes along with it. Instead of leaving your score up to chance when submitting your application, here are a few ways that you can boost your financial well-being.

Put More On Your Card

It’s important to put purchases on your credit card that you can afford to pay off consistently. But many people are not aware that how much debt you owe can actually contribute in a positive way to your credit score. While it’s good to use up to 30% of your available debt load, a significantly higher percentage than this can be a signal to lenders that you are experiencing financial difficulties. By putting everyday items on credit, it will be easier to give your score an instant boost.

Clear Your Credit History

Many people who think they have bad credit are too afraid to even review it, but it’s very important to take a look at your credit history when it comes to taking control of your finances and your FICO score. If there happens to be incorrect information on your credit report, this will enable you to contact the appropriate lenders and dispute the charges so they can be corrected prior to your mortgage application. It may not seem significant, but this can actually have a marked impact on the outcome of your application.

Make Your Payments On Time

It’s often the case that those who are struggling with debt may push away the bills and give up on the minimum payment, but it’s very important that the minimum is made to keep your financial health in check. It may take a few months to see the results of putting down this amount before the due date, but it will improve your credit over time and forge good habits for the future.

Your credit score is an important aspect of determining your financial health for lenders. This means that your credit history is of significant importance when it comes to your mortgage. Instead of leaving it to chance, ensure that you’re making the minimum payments and correct any discrepancies in your credit report. If you’re currently in the market for a home and are considering your options, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

How to Shop for a New Mortgage Without Harming Your Credit Score

FICO Scores 101: How to Shop for a New Mortgage Without Harming Your Credit ScoreIt’s difficult to begin shopping around for a new mortgage without the facts on how this can affect your FICO score.

Anybody who is holding off for fear that their credit score will be ruined by multiple credit checks has nothing to worry about. Mortgage brokers require this information to give an accurate quote, so many credit checks by different companies will have a miniscule effect on credit scores.

The system has been designed this way because a mortgage is not considered to be ‘bad debt’ by lenders and consumers should have the right to shop around without fear of their credit being destroyed by it.

Understanding The ‘Tiers’ Of Credit Checks

FICO scores are affected each time a credit inquiry is requested to check a borrower’s credit report. This makes sense, as every time somebody searches for new credit they increase their ability to acquire significant debt.

Thankfully, not all credit checks are created equal and they do not affect FICO scores in the same way. A mortgage loan is not considered remotely close to store credit cards, which allow a person to get into more debt. Debts on mortgages only get lower as time goes on, ranking them very low on the list of things lenders consider bad credit.

The One Thing To Know Before Shopping For A New Mortgage

Every time a credit card company or consumer loan company pulls a credit check, the borrower’s FICO score will fall, but this will not happen when multiple mortgage lenders pull the same person’s credit score.

This is because each credit card has the chance to accumulate debt, whereas only one mortgage will be taken out. So once a mortgage lender pulls your credit score, you will only receive one ‘ding’ even if other lenders pull your score afterwards.

Here is the important part: there is only a 14-day window from the first credit check where all other credit inquiries will be ignored. So it is imperative to plan ahead and shop around within a two week period to limit the impact on your FICO score.

Shopping around when looking for a new mortgage is a necessary step to getting the best possible deal, and thankfully the system is designed around not punishing people for doing this. It can be very intimidating to do alone and working with a professional mortgage specialist can relieve stress and get you the best deal on your new mortgage.

If you have any questions please contact us today for advice on the right steps to getting your new mortgage.

Will Missing Mortgage Payments Impact My FICO Score?

Will Missing Mortgage Payments Impact My FICO Score Yes and Heres HowIf you’re like most homeowners, you probably believe that one missed mortgage payment won’t have a noticeable impact on your FICO score. People get behind now and then, and besides, you’ve been faithfully making payments on time for years. How bad could it be?

In truth, even one missed mortgage payment could seriously damage your FICO score. Lenders can report missed monthly payments whenever they choose – they don’t need to wait until a certain date to do it. That means even if your mortgage payment is a few days late, your lender may report it as unpaid.

So what exactly happens to a FICO score when you miss a mortgage payment? Here’s what you need to know.

Payment History: The Single Largest Factor In Determining Your Credit Score

FICO scores are calculated based on several different criteria, the largest of them being your payment history. A full 35% of your credit score is determined by how often you pay your bills on time and in full. And although FICO says that one or two late payments aren’t going to decimate your credit score, they will shave off some points that could have made the difference between a low-risk and high-risk interest rate.

Consumers With Higher Scores Have More To Lose

A 2011 FICO study analyzed the impact of late mortgage payments on consumer credit scores. The study grouped consumers into three groups based on their starting FICO score, with Consumer A having a score of 680, Consumer B a score of 720, and Consumer C a score of 780. The findings?

Even if you have a credit score of 780, being just 30 days late on a mortgage payment can result in a 100-point drop. And it can take up to three years to earn that credit back. In contrast, a consumer with a score of 680 who is 30 days late will see only a 70 point drop and can recover their original score within 9 months.

The takeaway? Contrary to popular belief, people with high credit scores stand to lose more from a missed payment than people with low credit scores.

There Are Varying Degrees Of “Late”

One common misconception is that if you miss a mortgage payment, it doesn’t matter if it’s 30, 60, or 90 days overdue. The mainstream thinking is that late is late is late. But that’s not how FICO sees it.

Although borrowers with credit scores under 700 won’t see much of a decline after 30 days late, borrowers with a higher credit score will. If you have a credit score of 720 and you’re 30 days late on your mortgage, your score will fall to about 640. If you’re 90 days late, that score will fall again this time, to about 620.

That means if you miss a mortgage payment, you need to get in touch with your lender as soon as possible in order make repayment arrangements and hope they haven’t yet reported the overdue payment. It’s your best shot at protecting your FICO score.

Credit scores can be vulnerable to all sorts of factors, which is why if you’re looking into mortgages, you’ll want to consult an expert. A qualified mortgage professional can help you find a mortgage you can afford, so your credit will stay intact. Contact us today to learn more.