Variable-Rate VS. Fixed-Rate Mortgages – Which Is Better For Your Financial Situation?

Variable-rate Vs. Fixed-rate Mortgages - Which is Better for Your Financial Situation? When applying for a new home mortgage, many loan applicants initially consider applying for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. This is perhaps the most common and traditional type of mortgage available. It allows you to enjoy the opportunity to pay for your home over the course of 30 years with equal payments every month. While this is one option, there are actually multiple choices available. For some applications, a variable rate mortgage may be more advantageous. If you are comparing the options between a fixed rate and a variable rate mortgage, you may consider a few points.

A Lower Initial Interest Rate

When you compare the fixed rate and variable rate options, you will immediately notice that the variable rates have a lower start rate. The interest rate will influence the mortgage payment amount. Because of this, you will benefit from a lower initial mortgage payment with a variable rate. However, it is important to understand that the interest rate on a variable rate mortgage will adjust periodically over the life of the loan. This means that the mortgage payment will also adjust.

Managing A Potential Rate Adjustment

The true benefit of a fixed rate mortgage is the ability to better control your budget and manage your funds. A mortgage payment can be a large expense item in your budget, and it may be the largest single expense you have by far. An increase to your variable rate and therefore your mortgage payment can be difficult to bear if you have a tight budget with no wiggle room. In some cases, the rate may go beyond what is affordable for a homeowner to endure. If you do take on a variable rate loan, it is important that you understand what the highest possible interest rate adjustment is and what your payment may be with that rate. If you can manage that payment, then you may confidently apply for a variable rate mortgage.

If you are thinking about applying for a mortgage, it is important that you consider all of the options carefully and that you understand the key differences between them. You can speak with a mortgage loan officer or lending representative in detail to get more information about the options available to you. This can help you to make a better decision about your mortgage application and to better plan and budget for your future as a homeowner.

Understanding The Key Factors That Affect Your Mortgage Interest Rate

Understanding the Key Factors That Affect Your Mortgage Interest RateWhen you initially start shopping for a home mortgage, you may be drawn to advertisements for ultra-low interest rates. These may be rates that seem too good to be true, and you may gladly contact the lender or mortgage company to complete your loan application. However, the unfortunate truth is that all too often, mortgage applicants are unpleasantly surprised and even disheartened to learn that they do not qualify for the advertised interest rate. By learning more about the factors that influence your interest rate, you may be able to structure you loan in a more advantageous way.

Your Credit Rating

One of the most important factors that influence an interest rate is your credit score. Lenders have different credit score requirements, but most have a tiered rating system. Those with excellent credit scores qualify for the best interest rate, and good credit scores may qualify for a slightly higher interest rate. Because of this, you may consider learning more about your credit score and taking time to correct any errors that may be resulting in a lower score.

The Amount Of Your Down Payment

In addition, the amount of your down payment will also play a role in your interest rate. The desired down payment may vary from lender to lender, but as a rule of thumb, the best home mortgage interest rates are given to those who have at least 20 to 30 percent of funds available to put down on the property, and this does not include subordinate or secondary financing. If you are applying for a higher loan-to-value loan, you may expect a higher interest rate.

The Total Loan Amount Requested

In addition, the total loan amount will also influence the rate. There are different loan programs available, but one of the biggest differences in residential loans is for very large loan amounts. The qualification for a jumbo loan will vary for different markets, but these loans qualify for different rates than conventional loans with a smaller loan amount.

While you may be able to use advertised interest rates to get a fair idea about the rate you may qualify for, the only real way to determine your mortgage rate will be to apply for a loan and to get pre-qualified. You can contact a mortgage lender today to request more information about today’s rates and to begin your pre-qualification process.

The Top Tips For Impressing A Potential Buyer At Showings

The Top Tips For Impressing A Potential Buyer At ShowingsFor those who are getting ready to put their home on the market, they want to make sure they get as much money as possible for their home. This means making a positive first impression. There is never a second chance to make a first impression. Therefore, homeowners need to make sure they do everything possible to “wow” potential buyers at open houses and showings. What are a few of the top tips that homeowners should keep in mind?

Listen To The Agent

Homeowners know their home the best. Therefore, they feel like they are able to show their home in the best manner possible. Even though they should have some input, homeowners are ultimately selling a building. They are not selling their memories.It is a prudent idea to listen to the agent. For example, the real estate agent may recommend staging the home in a certain way. The real estate agent may even recommend that he or she hosts the open house personally. Homeowners will need to listen to the experience of their real estate agent in order to have the best showing possible. 

Clean The Home Thoroughly

Homeowners also need to make sure they clean the home thoroughly. There is a high chance that the real estate agent may even recommend a cleaning service to scrub the house from top to bottom. Even though a potential buyer is probably going to clean the home after he or she buys it, nobody likes to see a dirty house. If there are any children or pets living in the home, try to eliminate all traces of them. 

Put Away Family Photos And Memories

Finally, homeowners also need to put away any family photos or personal items they have left out. When someone is looking for a new home, they want to envision what their life might be like in that home. This is going to be challenging if the current homeowner has family photos all over the walls. Remember, selling a home does not mean selling the memories in it. As a result, homeowners should try to put away their family photos and trinkets before the open house or showing. This will increase the chances of getting a great offer.

 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – February 15, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - February 15, 2021

Last week’s scheduled economic reporting included readings on inflation, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s speech on U.S. labor markets, and weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims.

Oil Prices Push Inflation Higher in January

Rising oil and gasoline prices drove a jump in January’s consumer price index. Inflation rose 0.30 percent month-to-month, which matched analysts’ expectations. The year-over-year inflation rate rose to 1.40 percent but remained lower than the pre-pandemic annual pace of 2.30 percent. The core inflation rate, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, was unchanged in January.

Some analysts expect stronger inflation throughout 2021 due to the impact of stimulus payments and the potential for covid-19 vaccines. Widespread vaccinations are expected to reduce quarantine requirements and local restrictions on businesses and workplaces.

Fed Chair Doesn’t Expect Lasting Jump in Inflation in Near Term

In remarks made during a speech to the Economic Club of New York, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said he anticipated neither “a large nor sustained” increase in inflation for the near future. Mr. Powell also said that rising prices caused by bursts of spending were not sustainable. “Inflation has been much lower and more stable over the past three decades than in earlier times.” The Fed Chair also observed that “In the 1970s  when inflation would go up, it would stay up.”

Mortgage Rates Hold Steady as Jobless Claims Decrease

Freddie Mac reported no change in the average rate of 2.73 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages; the average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped by two basis points to 2.19 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages rose one basis point to 2.79 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, 0.60 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, and fell to 0.20 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Jobless claims fell last week with 793,000 initial claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 812,000 first-time claims filed. 4.55 million continuing jobless claims were filed last week as compared to 4.69 million ongoing claims filed in the prior week.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings from the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index and Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. The National Association of Realtors will report on sales of previously-owned homes. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be published.

Three Excellent Reasons to Buy a Home So You Can Get out of the “Renting Rut”

Three Excellent Reasons to Buy a Home So You Can Get out of the Renting a home is a good option for some, but buying a home just might be the best thing for you. When you rent a home, you send money to someone else every month in exchange for knowing that you can call on your landlord when the roof leaks, an appliance stops working or your bathroom faucet breaks.

There are some big advantages to buying a house that will help you get out of your renting rut and focus more on your future.

Build Equity

Did you know that when you rent a home, you help someone else build equity? Any changes that you make with your landlord’s approval puts money back in his or her pocket. Keeping the yard clean and taking care of routine maintenance builds equity in that property. When you buy a home of your own, you have the chance to build equity of your own, which you can use to obtain a loan later.

Save On Your Taxes

When you rent a house, you cannot deduct the money you spend on your taxes. Though some states will let you make a small deduction based on the total amount you spend in rent each month, you cannot make any deductions on your federal taxes. When you buy a home, you can save with a few different types of deductions.

The federal government lets you make a deduction if your home is worth more than what you currently owe on your taxes. If you purchased your first home, you can make a deduction in regards to your property taxes. You can also deduct money that you spend on some renovations and energy saving appliances.

Put Your Personal Touch On Things

As long as you continue renting, you live in a home that belongs to someone else. Your landlord has final say over what you do and do not do. This often means that you cannot make repairs or significant changes without seeking approval first.

Renting a home lets you put your personal touch on things. You can paint the walls any colors you want, rip out the carpet to add hardwood flooring or even make significant changes outside to turn your new home into your dream home.

Now that you know more about the benefits of buying a home and how that purchase can get you out of the rental rut you’re in currently, turn to a mortgage professional for assistance.

The Top Tricks For Updating A Home On A Tight Budget

The Top Tricks For Updating A Home On A Tight BudgetThere are a lot of people who are looking for ways to get the most money out of their property when they put it on the market. One of the tricks to doing this is to update the home before it goes on the market. Unfortunately, this can also be expensive.

Even though it is true that many homeowners will be able to recoup the price of the renovations when they list the home on the market, we still need to pay for these updates out-of-pocket. This can be incredibly expensive and could take money from other important areas, such as a car or someone’s education. Fortunately, there is a way for people to update their home without spending any money out of pocket. 

Refinance The Home And Free Up Some Cash

The first option the people need to consider is the opportunity to refinance the home while also freeing up some cash. Those who have been in their home for several years might have some equity built up in the home. They may be able to refinance their home, reducing their monthly payment while also getting a little bit of cash they can use to complete the renovation without paying anything out of pocket. Those who are interested in this option should speak with their lender about some of the ways they might be able to finance their renovation project.

Set Up A Payment Plan With The Contractor

Another option that homeowners might want to consider a set up a payment plan with the contractor. A lot of contractors are willing to provide homeowners with very low interest rates, or 0 percent interest rates, on the home renovation project. Most contractors understand that a lot of families are operating on a budget and might not have money to pay for the project in its entirety up front. This is another topic that homeowners should discuss.

Finance A Home Improvement Project On A Budget

These are just a few of the many ways that homeowners can finance a home renovation project without spending an exorbitant amount of money out-of-pocket. Think about these options ahead of time and make that next home improvement project more affordable.

 

Buying a New Home? Follow These Three Tips to Ensure a Stress-Free Transaction

Buying or Selling Your Home? Follow These Three Tips to Ensure a Stress-free Real Estate TransactionBuying real estate and or taking out a home loan is a significant milestone in life. Frequently, it means that a new phase is starting, whether it’s a new job, a new relationship, or moving to a new area. However, when the most basic steps are missed, this transition can be fraught with stress and disaster. To ensure a smooth transaction, home buyers should be sure to mind the following tips.

#1: Always Be Honest

Honesty and clear communication need to be a two-way street. Home buyers expect their mortgage professional to be honest with them, and likewise it is always necessary for a home buyer to be honest with their mortgage professional.

Hiding details or covering up potential problems by either party will only cause more issues when everything comes to light. When important information is withheld, it’s possible for delays to occur, costs to rise, or even for the deal to fall through.

It’s much better to disclose all necessary information upfront so the situation can be handled appropriately. An expert mortgage professional will be able to guide home buyers through any problems and issues to a workable solution.

#2: Hire A Professional Team

Buying real estate and taking out a mortgage is not an easy process, so it’s never a good idea to try to proceed without a professional who can be trusted.

Far too often, people let friends or family members represent them in real estate transactions. In these cases, it’s likely for feelings to be hurt, relationships to be damaged, and trust to be compromised.

Rather, it’s recommended for home buyers to use a real estate agent and mortgage professional they do not have a close personal relationship with. That way, they can stand confident that their agent or mortgage professional is looking out for their best interests, and nothing else.

#3: Understand The Market

Far too often, home buyers fail to understand the market and their finincial situation.

Failing to identify this crucial information will waste time for buyer and mortgage professional. However, this is where a real estate agent or mortgage professional comes in: he or she will know the market inside out and be able to offer valuable counsel for all financial situations.

Home buyers should call their mortgage professional if at any time they have questions about taking out a mortgage; this professional is the key to a smooth real estate purchase.

An Overview Of Private Mortgage Insurance

An Overview Of Private Mortgage InsuranceWhen you are going through the process of looking for a new home, you are probably focused on the sticker price of that home. Even though it is important to think about your down payment, your monthly mortgage payment, and the total amount of the loan, there are other expenses that you might need to cover as well. If you do not put down enough money, there is a chance that the lender could ask you to pay for something called private mortgage insurance. What is private mortgage insurance and how much do you have to pay? There are several important points that you should keep in mind.

Why You Might Purchase PMI

Private mortgage insurance is something that the lender may ask you to purchase as a way to reduce their risk. If you do not make a sizable down payment, then the lender is responsible for funding most of the cost of your home. If you end up defaulting on the cost of that loan, the lender will lose a major amount of money. With PMI, the lender will be able to get his or her money back in the event that you default. Even though the exact cost of PMI will vary, you should expect to pay somewhere between 0.5 percent and 2 percent of the loan. You might be able to ask the lender to check with multiple options to find the least expensive policy possible for you. Once the PMI policy is instituted, this is something that you will have to pay on top of your monthly mortgage payment.

Avoiding PMI Payments

Importantly, there are ways that you can avoid PMI. You might be able to avoid this insurance policy altogether if you are able to increase the size of your down payment. If you cannot do that, the PMI policy will usually be canceled when you reach a certain threshold in equity. This is something that you should negotiate with the lender before you sign on the dotted line. In some cases, the PMI policy as waved when you reach 10 percent of the loan amount paid back. Even though you should check with a professional accountant, PMI is likely tax-deductible, similar to mortgage insurance.

 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – February 8, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - February 8, 2021Last week’s economic news included Commerce Department readings on construction spending, labor sector reporting on public and private-sector job growth, and the national unemployment rate. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

Construction Spending Driven by Housing Sector in December

The Commerce Department reported a one percent gain in construction spending in December to a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of $1.49 trillion. Residential construction drove spending for the seventh consecutive month with a 3.10 percent gain in spending. Construction for public projects rose by 0.50 percent; private-sector spending on non-residential construction fell by -1.70 percent.

Demand for housing remained high as supplies of previously-owned homes ran below average and homebuyers turned to new housing developments. Flight to less congested metro areas continued to drive demand for single-family homes. Builders cited rising materials costs and land and labor shortages as ongoing challenges to building affordable homes.

Mortgage Rates Hold Steady as Job Growth Improves

Freddie Mac reported little change in average mortgage rates last week. The average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages was unchanged at 2.73 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.21 percent and one basis point higher. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was two basis points lower at 2.78 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.60 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.30 percent.

Public and private-sector job growth improved in January. ADP reported 174,000 private-sector jobs as compared to a negative reading of -78,000 jobs in December. Analysts forecasted 48,000 private-sector jobs added in January.

The federal government’s Non-Farm Payrolls report showed 49,000 public and private-sector jobs added, which fell short of the expected 50,000 jobs added, but the job growth reading was good news when compared to December’s reading of -227,000 jobs lost.  In related news, the national unemployment rate fell to 6.30 percent as compared to December’s reading of 6.70 percent 

Fewer Jobless Claims Filed

779,000 initial jobless claims were filed last week as compared to the prior week’s reading of 812,000 first-time claims filed. Continuing jobless claims also fell with 4.59 million ongoing claims reported; 4.79 million continuing claims were filed during the prior week.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings on inflation and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released

Do You Need Mortgage Insurance Even if It’s Not Required by Your Lender? Let’s Take a Look

Do You Need Mortgage Insurance Even if It's Not Required by Your Lender? Let's Take a LookFinding a proper mortgage loan and understanding the processing procedures behind the loan is the basis of good research. The down payment on a mortgage loan is typically significant when dealing with mortgage insurance.

Most loan applications with less than 20% down payment are required to include mortgage insurance with the loan. However, mortgage insurance may still be required even if it’s not typically required by your lender.

Underwriting Requirements

Most home mortgage applications undergo a strict set of standards for approval. These standards are known as underwriting and make up the bulk of time spent on a mortgage application. Unique situations in employment or credit history may require an additional down payment percentage to avoid PMI or private mortgage insurance.

Most underwriting requirements require adequate information on the borrower’s credit and employment history for complete application. Self-employed individuals or those with alternative forms of credit may need a few additional hoops to jump through when dealing with mortgage insurance requirements.

Lender-paid Mortgage Insurance

Lender-paid mortgage insurance is a popular option with potential homeowners that seek to avoid the cost of a PMI or FHA-backed insurance on a home loan. Most lenders incorporate payment of private mortgage insurance in exchange for a slightly higher interest rate.

This is one example of the points system on a mortgage application that eliminates the cost of PMI. The increase in interest rate may or may not warrant the need for a lender-paid mortgage insurance arrangement.

What’s Involved With Risk Assessment?

Strict lending requirements and banking policy now limit the number of mortgages with zero down payment options. Conventional mortgages and FHA both require private mortgage insurance if it is less than 20% down payment. However, FHA loans can be more flexible with the initial down payment requirements with adequate credit. FHA mortgage costs are now for the life of the loan. Lenders will look at mortgage insurance as risk protection.

The risk protection process may or may not require mortgage insurance in your home loan. For example, VA and USDA loans do not usually require mortgage insurance if the borrower’s credit and employment history are adequate.

Conventional loans have a reduction in risk once there is at least 20% equity in the home compared to the principal of the mortgage. Don’t hesitate to contact your trusted mortgage professional about potentially dropping mortgage insurance in the future to reduce overall loan costs.