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Archive for the ‘Home Mortgage Tips’ Category

FHA Home Loans: How to Pre-apply and Get Approved Before Making a Home Purchase Commitment

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FHA Home Loans: How to Pre-apply and Get Approved Before Making a Home Purchase CommitmentIf you’re in the market for your first mortgage, the Federal Housing Administration may be able to help you. Thanks to the FHA home loan program, you can apply for loan approval before you’ve found a home that you want to buy – which means you know what you can afford before you start your house hunt. Here’s what you need to know about FHA home loans and how they can help you find the perfect house.

Pre-Approval: Assessment Includes Employment History and a Credit Check

The pre-approval process can be done over the phone or online in a matter of minutes. All you need to do is find a lender or mortgage broker in your area and start the application process. You’ll be asked a series of questions and you’ll need to meet several criteria, such as a history of steady employment and consistent income, a credit report in good standing, and a desired mortgage payment of 30 percent of total monthly gross income.

The Variables of the Loan May Change Depending on Your Needs

When the representative for the broker or lender contacts you, he or she may overestimate your property taxes and will assume that you are going to borrow the maximum amount for which you qualify. Therefore, the monthly payment that you are quoted may be higher than the amount that you would pay each month when you actually purchase your home. Based on the property taxes, your down payment and the purchase price of the home, your payment may be higher or lower at closing.

You Will Get a Letter Stating That You Have Conditional Approval

If all goes well, the lender or broker who assessed you will send a letter confirming that you are conditionally approved for an FHA home loan. You may wish to submit this letter with any offer that you make to purchase a house, as without conditional loan approval, a seller may not take your offer seriously. If you are in a bidding war for a home, it may not be possible to win unless you show that you have financing available to close on the property in a reasonable amount of time.

The first step to get a mortgage is to get conditional loan approval. By calling your lender or a broker, it may be possible to obtain pre-approval for the mortgage you need while also negotiating favorable terms. For more information about qualifying for FHA loans, contact your local mortgage professional today.

Children Leaving the Nest? 3 Pieces of Sage Advice You Can Share About How to Manage a Mortgage

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Children Leaving the Nest? 3 Pieces of Sage Advice You Can Share About How to Manage a MortgageWhen your children are about to step out into the world on their own, you want to help them on their way. This especially holds true when it comes to buying a house. As your sons or daughters prepare to take the plunge into home ownership, make sure they follow three crucial tips that will help them during the mortgage process.

Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

One of the biggest mistakes that homeowners make is choosing a home that is beyond their price range. Your children need to remember that they are going to be paying for their home for a long time. A crushing house payment could be difficult to manage.

In order to find a reasonable mortgage, you need to look at the numbers. The bank, or mortgage lender, will generally look at a client’s income, debt, and the current mortgage rate to determine an acceptable amount when purchasing a home. Your children can look at their own budget, lay out all of their costs, and determine how much spending room is left for a house payment.

Choose A Shorter Term For A Mortgage

When the time comes to sign the dotted line, the mortgage lender will offer various payment terms for your child’s home loan. Twenty-five to thirty years is the typical term for most mortgages, but the sooner the mortgage is paid, the better. Advise your children to choose the shortest possible term while still living within their means.

Make Extra Payments When Possible

Your children can pay their mortgage off sooner by making extra payments. While this may seem like a challenge, it can be accomplished with careful budgeting.

Making one extra payment a year will shorten the length of the loan and put more equity into the home. Whether your children plan on staying put or want to buy another home down the line, they’ll appreciate it when they have paid off a considerable chunk of their mortgage.

Getting a mortgage is a rite of passage and a milestone that thousands of Americans encounter every year. Make sure that your children get the best mortgage available by following these tips. For more helpful information, or to make sure your children are getting a good deal, contact a trusted mortgage professional today.

Applying for a Mortgage? Three Questions Your Lender Will Ask You – and How to Prepare Your Answers

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Applying for a Mortgage? Three Questions Your Lender Will Ask You - and How to Prepare Your AnswersBefore approving a mortgage, your lender is going to have to do his due diligence to ensure that you can afford a loan large enough to pay for a house. That means your lender will be asking you several questions about whether or not you can afford a mortgage.

Here’s how you can prepare to answer these questions in a way that will increase your likelihood of approval.

How Stable Is Your Income?

Your lender is going to want to know that your income is going to be stable over the life of the loan. This means that you should be able to document steady employment, that investment income is going to be stable or that the alimony that you receive from your former spouse will continue to come in for the foreseeable future. To document your income, you can provide bank statements, pay stubs or tax returns from the previous three years.

How Much Do You Have In The Bank?

A lender is going to be interested in how much you have in reserve in case you lost your job or suffer an unexpected medical expense that could make it harder to pay your mortgage. For a conventional mortgage, you may be required to have three to six months’ worth of expenses in the bank or in other assets that you could liquidate. To show how much you have in the bank, you can provide bank statements or balance statements from any other account where you may get money from if need be.

Where Is The Money For The Down Payment And Closing Costs Coming From?

While some lenders don’t mind if the money is gifted from a qualified source such as a family member, friend or employer, other lenders will require that the money for a down payment or other costs comes straight from your own bank account. To prove where the funds are coming from, you will need to show when the money was deposited into your bank account if using your own funds (or a gift letter if the funds are being gifted).

A mortgage lender needs to be sure that you are able to repay any loan that you are approved for. That means you’ll want to present your lender with solid, documented proof that you have a steady income and ample cash reserves to pay the mortgage and associated fees. For more information about what lenders look for in mortgage applicants, contact a qualified mortgage professional today.

Refi or Wait? How to Choose Between Refinancing Your Mortgage Now or Waiting Until You Need the Money

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Refi or Wait? How to Choose Between Refinancing Your Mortgage Now or Waiting Until You Need the MoneyRefinancing your existing mortgage may provide you with the opportunity to lower your interest rate, reduce your mortgage payment and adjust your loan term. For those homeowners who have lived in their home for more than a few years, pulling equity out of the property for everything from a luxurious vacation to making home improvements is a tempting potential benefit.

However, with property values and interest rates adjusting frequently, you may wonder if now is the best time to refinance your mortgage.

Using Equity From Your Refinance

One factor to consider when debating between refinancing now and waiting relates to pulling equity out of your home. If you need access to the cash now for home improvements or other purposes, refinancing now may be ideal. Even if you do not need access to your equity for several months or longer, you can lock in today’s rates and invest the money in other vehicles, such as CDs or bonds, until you need the cash.

Anticipating Market Changes

You may have heard that the interest rates for home mortgages have been slowly rising, and while they remain close to historic lows, they are projected to continue to rise. Nobody can predict with certainty how interest rates will adjust in the next few months and years, and locking in today’s rates may be beneficial. Keep in mind that if rates decline significantly in the near future, you can always look into refinancing again.

Reducing Your Principal

If you have a higher interest rate on your existing mortgage, your principal balance may be reduced at a slower rate than if you refinance to a lower interest rate. In addition, if you refinance from a 30-year term to a shorter term length, your principal balance will also be reduced more quickly in most cases. In many situations, refinancing your home mortgage today may establish a more efficient repayment schedule that allows you to accrue equity at a faster rate.

Each homeowner has unique factors to consider when refinancing based on property value, credit rating, existing loan terms and other factors. While many will benefit by refinancing an existing mortgage today, you can speak with a mortgage professional for specific advice and recommendations regarding your situation. Call your trusted mortgage representative today to inquire about the options and to begin working on your refinance loan application.

Separation Anxiety: How to Deal with a Joint Mortgage Loan in the Event of a Divorce

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Separation Anxiety: How to Deal with a Joint Mortgage Loan in the Event of a DivorceDuring the course of a marriage, it is common for the couple to acquire property together. This is what is referred to as joint or community property.

When a couple divorces, it is up to the parties involved to determine what happens to this joint property or let a judge use applicable law to determine how property is to be split.

What Happens To The House?

A couple of options are available when deciding what to do with a house where both partners are listed on the mortgage. First, the couple may decide to simply sell the home and split the proceeds from the sale.

Another option would be for one person to give the other person the house as part of the divorce settlement.

Technically, the house is sold or transferred and whoever gets the home is now the sole person listed on the mortgage.

Beware Of The Tax Implications

Typically, the person who gets the house should be the person who is in the lower tax bracket. This is because capital gains taxes may be lower or non-existent for those who are in the 10 or 15 percent tax bracket.

If the house is sold and the proceeds are split, capital gains taxes are exempted on the first $250,000 of profit made on the sale. For a married couple, the exemption is $500,000. Therefore, it may be worthwhile to sell the house before the marriage is over.

What If Children Are Involved?

In the event that the divorcing couple has a child, the best interest of the child must be considered. Typically, a judge will award a principal residence to the parent who will raise the child after the divorce is finalized.

To help the custodial parent afford any payments on the house, the other parent may be asked to help make payments as part of a child support or alimony agreement. This may be beneficial to the noncustodial parent as payments that are considered alimony are tax deductible.

When a couple divorces, they have a lot to think about. As this may be an emotional time, figuring out what to do with a home where both parties are on the mortgage can be difficult. However, those who are divorcing amicably or who want what is best for their children can come to an agreement without a lot of stress or drama.

Scam Alert! Three Mortgage Modification Scams to Watch out for (And How to Avoid Them)

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Scam Alert! Three Mortgage Modification Scams to Watch out for (And How to Avoid Them)As if homeowners who are facing foreclosure don’t have enough to worry about, a multitude of loan modification scam artists have invaded the internet, public files and even foreclosure notices in newspapers in hopes of targeting their next victim. By identifying the top three modification scams and learning how to avoid them, at-risk homeowners can protect themselves (and their homes).

Never Pay For Mortgage Modification Assistance

Many desperate homeowners fall victim to scam artists who offer to provide them with assistance in the loan modification process for an exorbitant fee. Many times the scam artist who promises to provide assistance will require that the homeowner pay the fee upfront, after which they will provide very little assistance or simply take the money and run. Consumers should be aware that assistance and counseling services are offered for free through a number of reputable HUD approved counseling agencies.

Avoid Transferring The Deed

One popular scam that at-risk homeowners often face is the property deed scam in which scam artists promise to purchase the home in question, agreeing to let the desperate homeowner rent it out. They suggest that turning over the deed to a borrower with a better credit rating will offer additional financing opportunities, thus preventing the loss of the home. The scammer often promises to sell the home back to the homeowner, but in reality has no intention of doing so.

Many times the scam artist will sell the home to another buyer. In some instances, the crook will collect any processing fees, take the title to the home and any equity, and then leave the home to default. It is a good idea for consumers who are approached with a property deed scam to report it to the FTC.

Ignore Unrealistic Promises

Mortgage modification scammers often make promises to do such things as negotiate a solution to the foreclosure more quickly, process mortgage payments for the consumer while the negotiation is being worked out, or even guarantee a loan modification. Since the actual lender is the only one who can agree to a loan modification, and this solution requires additional processing time, overnight fixes are almost always scams. Additionally, consumers should never make mortgage payments to anyone other than their lender.

For additional information about mortgage modification scams and how to avoid them, or to receive assistance with working out a solution to avoid foreclosure, at-risk homeowners should contact their mortgage professional.

Can’t Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage? Here Are Three Tips to Try to Get a Mortgage Approval

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Can't Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage? Here Are Three Tips to Try to Get a Mortgage ApprovalFew people in the world can afford to pay the entire cost of a new home upfront, which is why banks and other financial institutions offer home loans. Also known as mortgages, those loans let you make monthly payments to pay off the money you borrow and the interest charged on that loan. If you can’t get approved for a mortgage, try using a few easy tips.

Improve Your Credit Score

When you apply for a home loan, the lender looks at your credit history and credit score first. Your credit history contains a long list of all the money you borrowed in the past, but it also shows your total debts, medical bills and if you had a foreclosure or a bankruptcy. Your credit score is a three digit number based on your ratio of debt to credit, any defaults on your account and any issues you had in the past.

If a lender denies you for a mortgage, get your credit score up before you apply again. Even something as simple as paying off more of your debt can increase your score by a few points. Eliminating bad debts and removing any mistakes from your credit report can also help.

Apply with a Cosigner

Applying for a loan with a cosigner is another option for those with poor credit. The lender will put more weight on the credit score of your cosigner than the lender does on your own credit report. You want to find someone with a close connection to you and someone who has a good credit score.

Your cosigner agrees to pay back the loan if you default on that loan. The loan will also appear on your cosigner’s credit report, which means you need to find someone willing to take a chance on you.

Look for Cheaper Homes

After applying for a loan, the lender looks at your credit history, your income and other factors to determine how much money you can borrow. Applying for a more expensive home might result in a rejection. The lender can determine that you cannot afford to purchase that home, but applying for a home that costs less might help you get the loan you need.

It’s possible for you to obtain a mortgage that helps you pay for the home of your dreams. Applying with a cosigner, improving your credit and looking at cheaper homes might help you get that loan.

Mortgage Terms 101: Understanding ‘Cash-Out Refinancing’ and How to Determine if It’s Worth It

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Mortgage Terms 101: Understanding 'Cash-Out Refinancing' and How to Determine if It's Worth ItWith interest rates remaining near historic lows for the past several years, many of your friends and neighbors may have already told you that they have refinanced their home mortgages once or even a couple of times. A cash-out refinance can provide you with several important benefits, but it is not the best option for all homeowners. By learning more about what a cash-out refinance is and what the pros and cons of this type of refinance loan are, you can make a decision that is best for your current and future plans.

What Is a Cash-Out Refinance?

When you refinance your home mortgage, you can select a rate and term refinance which does not pull equity out of your home, or you can select a cash-out refinance to access some of the equity in your property. You can research your property value and your outstanding principal balance to determine how much equity you have available. Keep in mind that most lenders will not allow you to access all of the equity, and you can obtain more information about the loan amount you may qualify for by speaking with a mortgage professional.

The Benefits of a Cash-Out Refinance

If you decide to apply for a cash-out refinance loan, you may be able to walk away from the closing table with tens of thousands of dollars or more. This is money that you may use for any purpose, including home improvements, paying off high interest rate credit cards, sending the kids to college and more. In addition, you may enjoy other benefits from refinancing, such as lowering your interest rate and mortgage payment and adjusting your loan term to meet long-term goals.

When a Cash-Out Refinance May Not Be Advisable

A cash-out refinance loan can be beneficial, but there are instances when it is not the best solution. The loan will adjust principal reduction, the loan payoff date, the interest charges and other factors. The adjustment of these factors may make your new loan less advantageous for you in some cases, so you should carefully consider the full impact of refinancing before you decide to move forward.

From learning more about the benefits of refinancing to finding a competitive rate for your new mortgage, there are many factors to consider. You can speak with a mortgage professional today to inquire about the cash-out refinance loan terms that you may qualify for and to explore the options in greater detail. If you are thinking about applying for a cash-out home loan, contact a lending representative today.

Five Tips for Managing Your Monthly Budget to Ensure Your Mortgage is Paid On-Time, Every Time

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Five Tips for Managing Your Monthly Budget to Ensure Your Mortgage is Paid On-Time, Every TimeHomeowners who are struggling to make their monthly mortgage payments can make it easier on themselves by cutting costs in other areas. Learning how to budget effectively will likely enable homeowners to pay their mortgage payments on-time, every time. Here are five of the best budget tips:

Conserve Energy

It is advisable to be mindful of energy use in order to keep utility bills down to a minimum. Lights, televisions and other devices requiring electrical power are best to leave off in unoccupied rooms. It is also a good idea to make sure that windows and doors are properly sealed so that energy is not wasted.

Stay Committed to Couponing

All too often, coupons that arrive in newspapers or through emails are quickly discarded. Collecting coupons from various sources can give homeowners the chance to save big on groceries, entertainment and other everyday purchases. Some of the savviest consumers have been known to spend practically nothing on their purchases by simply staying committed to the art of couponing.

Watch Credit Card Usage

Having a credit card often creates a false sense of financial security. Many card holders are tempted to charge their credit cards up to their limits only to be burdened with high interest rates and inflated minimum payments. Credit cards are best to use only in times of emergencies.

Consider Alternative Transportation Methods

Fuel costs, auto repairs and other expenses associated with driving a vehicle on a frequent basis can make it much harder for homeowners to stay on top of their mortgage payments. People who have access to adequate public transportation may be able to significantly reduce their commute costs. Car sharing services give people the opportunity to use a car on an as-needed basis and often prove to be a smarter alternative to owning a vehicle.

Keep Expense Records

It can also be easier to set money aside for mortgage payments if expenses are carefully monitored with a detailed eye. It is best to closely scrutinize receipts, bank statements and other financial documents for any discrepancies. Keeping track of expenses on a spreadsheet so that all financial information is clearly displayed may be another practical idea.

Smart budgeting practices can help homeowners save the extra money they need to pay their monthly mortgage payments before each due date passes. Contact a local mortgage professional to learn more clever ways to manage money while trying to pay on a mortgage.

Is a 40-Year Mortgage Worth It? How to Decide Whether or Not This Longer Term is Right for You

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Is a 40-Year Mortgage Worth It? How to Decide Whether or Not This Longer Term is Right for YouThere are different timetables for mortgages. The most common types are 15-year and 30-year mortgages. However, a mortgage broker can establish unique timetables for a homeowner, such as a 40-year mortgage.

Friends may recommend going for a long-term timetable, but what do professionals think of a 40-year mortgage? Here is what you may want to consider to see if a 40-year mortgage is appropriate for you.

The Monthly Rates Will Be Low

Compared to a 15-year or a 30-year mortgage, the monthly payments for a 40-year mortgage will be lower. Since the mortgage is spread over 10 years beyond a conventional 30-year mortgage, homeowners will see much lower mortgage payments per month. This can be very attractive for homeowners who need to control their housing costs per month.

Long Term Costs

But, many brokers will tell a homeowner the extra 10 years is not worth it. Because the homeowner will need to pay interest rate charges each month for 10 extra years beyond the typical 30-year mortgage window, the homeowner will end up paying more in interest for a 40-year mortgage. Even with a low, fixed interest rate, homeowners are still extending their home payments by a whole decade, which will add up in the end.

Always Fixed

Under housing laws, a 40-year mortgage must always be a fixed-rate mortgage. This can be attractive for many homeowners since it guarantees that the mortgage payment per month will be the same for the next 40 years. For those on a budget, knowing ahead of time what they owe per month for 40 years can help them prioritize their payments.

Home Of One’s Dreams

Since the 40-year mortgage will calculate as a lower monthly payment for an already credit qualified candidate, a broker will be more willing to offer a larger mortgage to the candidate. This means that many people who utilize the 40-year mortgage have a larger pool of homes to choose from. Of course, it is important to find a home within a reasonable budget.

Understanding the ramifications and specific issues with a 40-year mortgage can help a homeowner candidate better decide if it is right for them. Like any housing finance option, there are advantages and disadvantages, so knowing how the 40-year mortgage works is important. This information should enhance the home shopping experience and help the candidate and the broker find the best home under the most appropriate financing option.