Is It Best To Put Down A Large Down Payment, Or Be Agile With Your Savings?

Is It Best to Put Down a Large Down Payment, or Be Agile With Your Savings?Putting down the largest sum of money at your disposal might seem like the best way to go when it comes to your mortgage down payment. There is a certain amount of truth to this, but the reality is bigger is not always better.

Ideally, the amount of money you settle on for your mortgage down payment will take into account your monthly budgeting requirements.

The Big Advantages Of A Large Down Payment

Fewer Mortgage Payments: The larger the down payment, the higher the likelihood that you will be able to afford a shorter mortgage. Unlike some of the other benefits of large down payments, ensuring this perk is available to you is solely dependent on whether or not your post-down payment budget will be able to support the necessary payments.

Lower Payment Totals: If you choose to stick to a longer payment plan, each month’s payment will be significantly less than it would have been had you chosen to put less money down up front. Of course, if you choose a shorter mortgage you will be required to pay more.

No Need For Mortgage Insurance: When the down payment is a lower percentage of the purchase amount, lenders will often require clients to apply for mortgage insurance as way to protect themselves in the case that a client defaults on the loan. However, if the buyer is able to make a larger down payment, mortgage insurance can be completely avoided.

Lower Interest Rates: The interest rate on your mortgage is dependent on how much you need to borrow. The more you pay out of pocket, the less money you will have to borrow from a lender. This means the interest rate on the loan will be lower and you will lose less money on the loan overall.

Coping Smartly With A Small Down Payment

Making a larger down payment may not be an option for you in your current financial state. Opting to make a smaller down payment will still allow you to purchase your new home, with a few extra conditions. Higher interest rates and having to take out mortgage insurance are the two primary conditions you are likely to come across.

Once the down payment is made, your main concern becomes making the most of your monthly mortgage payments.

A great coping strategy is to get into the habit of paying off more than the amount due on as many scheduled payment days as possible. Another good strategy is to arrange for an accelerated payment schedule. These small adjustments could help you pay off your mortgage faster, and save you more money as a result.

When settling on a down payment amount, the most important issue to factor into your decision is whether or not you are capable of remaining financially secure after the payment is made.

If a larger down payment is going to dramatically impact your emergency funds, you may want to reconsider. Contact your local mortgage professional to learn more about choosing the most suitable mortgage for your budget.

The Top Smart Home Products You Should Know About

The Top Smart Home Products You Should Know AboutTechnology has come a long way, and you might be thinking about turning your house into a smart home. Now, there are a lot of smart home products available, and you may have a difficult time keeping track of which ones are best for you. What are some of the top smart home products you need to know about?

A Smart Lock

If you are tired of misplacing your keys, you should consider investing in a smart lock. Smart locks come in many shapes and forms, and many of them allow you to program multiple combinations into them. This means that you can give different combinations to different people, keeping track of who comes into your home based on the combination that is entered. This is particularly helpful if you want to allow your kids to enter the house when you are not home. You may even want to invest in the smart lock that comes with Bluetooth connectivity. That way, you don’t have to worry about getting locked out of your house ever again.

A Video Doorbell

If you don’t want to deal with solicitors anymore, you may want to invest in a video doorbell. With a video doorbell, you can see who is on the other side of your door when he or she rings the doorbell. You can even communicate with these people when you are not home. You can give instructions to food and package delivery personnel, or you can ignore the doorbell if there is someone outside you do not want to talk to.

A Smart Thermostat

A smart thermostat can help you save money on your utility expenses. Using a smart thermostat, you can place the HVAC system on a predetermined schedule, ensuring that it does not work as hard when you are not home. A smart thermostat can also give you access to detailed analytics, helping you figure out what you can do to reduce your utility expenses. You can even control your HVAC system remotely when you are not home.

Upgrade Your House With Smart Home Products

These are just a few of the many smart home products that can help you upgrade your standard of living. Consider taking a look at how these products might work with your home.

What Fees Are Involved With a Reverse Mortgage? Let’s Take a Look

What Fees Are Involved With a Reverse Mortgage? Let's Take a LookInvesting in a home may be one of the most significant purchases you’ll make in your lifetime, but many people forget that there are a number of other costs associated with buying a home. If you’re considering a reverse mortgage and want to be clear on all of the fees involved, here are a few things you can expect to come across.

Initial Home Appraisal Fee

In order to ensure that you qualify for a reverse mortgage, you’ll need to spend a lump sum up front to determine the market cost of your home. While the amount of this fee will depend on the size and age of your home, it generally runs from a couple hundred dollars to less than a thousand and will be paid to the appraisal company that you’re dealing with.

Mortgage Insurance Premiums

At the time that you close on your mortgage, you’ll be required to pay a mortgage insurance premium (MIP) in order to secure your loan. This amount will vary from lender to lender and will be calculated based on the lesser-appraised value of your home. In addition to this, annual mortgage insurance premiums will be charged throughout the entire period of the loan and will be a percentage of the outstanding balance of your mortgage.

Loan Origination Fee

In order to process and underwrite your loan, you will also be required to pay a loan origination fee, which covers the administrative costs. While this amount has come down in recent years, it is a sizeable lump sum that hovers around 2% of your home’s value up to $200,000. If the home’s value exceeds this amount, it will go down to 1% after the initial amount is charged.

Other Third Party Fees

Like any mortgage loan, there are a number of one times fees that you’ll need to pay in order to secure your mortgage. In addition to a monthly servicing fee, there will also be fees like surveying, title fees and credit checks that will be added on to the total cost of your mortgage product. It’s important before choosing this option to ensure that you know what costs you’ll be dealing with.

A reverse mortgage may be the right mortgage product for you, but it’s important to be educated of all of the costs before choosing this option. If you’re currently considering other mortgage products, you may want to contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Use A Fixer-Upper Mortgage To Expand Your Options

Use A Fixer-Upper Mortgage To Expand Your Options

Many people purchasing a home for the first time are running into the same problem. There simply are not enough starter or entry-level houses available in the current market that are ready for people to move into. One solution some home buyers are exploring is to buy a fixer-upper home. With a home renovation mortgage, prospective homebuyers can qualify for a home loan that combines the cost of home improvements with the purchase price of the house.

A Lack Of Affordable Homes

Regardless of whether they are brand new or resale homes, there simply are not enough affordable homes for first-time homebuyers. A significant number of new houses are built for people who are looking to purchase their second or third home. Furthermore, because there is a lot of demand for affordable entry-level houses, their prices have gone up. This makes it very difficult for first-time homebuyers to qualify for a mortgage for an entry-level home. 

Consider Fixing Up An Existing Home

With a lack of affordable homes, it only makes sense for first-time homebuyers to consider buying and repairing entry-level homes that might be in need of repair. Because a lot of people do not want to purchase a house that requires repairs, first-time homebuyers might be able to save money by going this route. 

There are two separate home renovation loans available. The first is the FHA 203k loan, which is insured by the Federal Housing Administration. The other option is guaranteed by Fannie Mae, and it is called the HomeStyle loan. These loans can cover the cost of most home improvements, regardless of how large or small they might be. Both of these loans can be used to cover cosmetic and structural renovations. With access to this loan, it is possible for first-time homebuyers to begin work immediately after the closing process is done. 

Consider Taking Out A Home Renovation Loan

The FHA 203k is for primary residences only. The Fannie Mae HomeStyle loan can be used for either a primary residence or an investment property. They require a minimum credit score of 620 and a down payment of at least three percent. These loans could make it easier for first-time homebuyers to afford a house. 

 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 16, 2022

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - May 16, 2022Last week’s economic reporting included readings and forecasts on inflation and the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment survey. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

Inflation Reports: Mixed Results for April

Commerce Department readings on consumer inflation showed mixed results in April; the Consumer Price Index dropped to 0.30 percent growth from the March reading of 1.20 percent inflation. Analysts expected 0.30 percent growth from March to April. The Core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and fuel sectors, rose by 0.60 percent in April as compared to the March reading of 0.30 percent growth. Analysts expected April’s reading for the Core Consumer Price Index to rise by 0.40 percent.

Year-over-year inflation dipped to 8.30 percent in April as compared to the March reading of 8.50 percent. This was the first decline in eight months and was caused by lower fuel prices. Analysts expected a year-over-year inflation rate of 8.10 percent for April. The year-over-year reading for the Core CPI, which excludes food and fuel sectors, showed  6.20 percent growth as compared to the March reading of 6.40 percent. The University of Michigan forecasted an inflation rate of 3.00 percent in the next five years.

Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims Mixed

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week as the rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by three basis points to 5.30 percent; the average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by four basis points to 4.48 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages rose by two basis points to 3.98 percent. Discount points averaged 0.90  percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims rose to 203,000 new claims filed last week as compared to 202,000 initial claims filed in the prior week. Continuing jobless claims were lower last week with 1.34 million ongoing claims filed; 1.39 million claims were filed during the prior week.

The University of Michigan released the preliminary edition of its Consumer Sentiment Index for May; consumer sentiment dropped to an index reading of 59.10 percent for May as compared to April’s reading of 65.20 percent. The war in Ukraine and high fuel prices continued to contribute to consumer skepticism about current economic conditions.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include homebuilder readings on housing market conditions, Commerce Department reports on building permits issued and housing starts are also scheduled. The National Association of Realtors® will release data on sales of previously-owned single-family homes. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.

Wondering How Much Mortgage You Can Afford? Here’s How to Calculate It

Wondering How Much Mortgage You Can Afford? Here's How to Calculate ItMany people are 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 is, 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, and 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, whether it’s 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 to 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 on the market for a home, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

ARM Loans: What To Know

ARM Loans: What To KnowMany people are wondering what type of home loan is right for them, and one of the options is an ARM loan. This is an adjustable-rate mortgage. Typically, the rate is fixed for a certain amount of time, but it can change after that. Adjustable-rate mortgages will vary depending on the market. Is an ARM a smart loan option?  There are some situations where an ARM loan can be helpful, but people need to be careful with them.

The Risk Of An ARM Loan

First, it is important to understand why ARM loans contributed to the housing crash more than a decade ago. Many people took out ARM loans to buy houses that they could not afford. For example, if an ARM loan is a 5/30 loan, this means that it is a 30-year mortgage that has a fixed interest rate for the first five years. Then, after five years, the interest rate can change. There are typically caps on how much the interest rate can rise, but for many people, a three or four percent increase in the mortgage rate is enough to price them out of their homes.

What Are The Advantages Of An ARM Loan?

There are a few advantages that come from taking out an ARM loan. First, they usually have lower rates than fixed-rate mortgages. They might only be lower than a fixed-rate mortgage by a quarter point, but this adds up over time. Furthermore, they are a great option for real estate investors who are planning on buying and selling properties quickly. If someone is only planning on holding onto the property for a year or two, it might be a smart move to take out an ARM loan because the rate will not have a chance to go up before the property is sold. 

When To Take Out An ARM Loan For A House

Ultimately, people should consider taking out an ARM loan if they do not plan on living in the property for a long time. That way, they can sell the property before the interest rate increases. This could be a way to save money on property purchases and housing expenses, but there are risks involved, so be careful and speak with a mortgage professional to help guide you with the best loan option for you.

 

The Younger Generations Are Interested In Owning A Home

The Younger Generations Are Interested In Owning A HomeThe real estate market has been red hot this year, with many people looking to purchase a home because of record-low interest rates. This includes younger individuals, as younger generations are interested in owning a house for the first time. The past couple of years have been anything except normal, and the housing market has taken off, with demand far exceeding supply. Why is this taking place?

Record Low-Interest Rates Are Driving People Into the Market

Even though there are many reasons why people are interested in purchasing a home, incredibly low-interest rates are one of the biggest reasons. Many people are interested in taking out a home loan with a 30-year term. Potential homebuyers think that they may never see interest rates this low again. As a result, many are looking to capitalize on this opportunity before it disappears. This is increasing competition for homes on the market, driving up their values.

Interest Is Skyrocketing Among Younger Individuals

Record-low interest rates are appealing to just about everyone, but it is a particularly attractive option for young homebuyers. Many are just beginning their careers and are looking for ways to build wealth. One of the best ways to do so is through homeownership. Many research bureaus have noted that there is a sharp increase in younger individuals looking at houses. 

Many Are Facing An Uphill Battle

Even though there are many young individuals and families looking for houses, there are a number of challenges they will need to overcome. One of the biggest challenges is that there is a historic shortage of inventory. Even though potential homeowners might be able to lock in a low interest rate on a loan, they might not find a house they can purchase. It is difficult for young home buyers to compete against older individuals and families who can make a cash offer. If a bidding war takes place, younger homeowners rarely have the cash to come out on top. 

Asking For Help Is Key

Even though today’s mortgage rates are attractive, it is critical not to overpay for a house. Asking for help from a professional can help potential homeowners make the right decision. 

 

Renovating on a Budget? Check Out These Equity-boosting Inexpensive Home Upgrades

Renovating on a Budget? Check Out These Equity-boosting Inexpensive Home UpgradesThe idea of embarking on home renovations may strike many homeowners as an expensive one, but there are plenty of ways that you can easily upgrade your home without spending a lot of money. If you’re looking for improvements that will truly (and frugally) improve the value of your home, here are a few do-it-yourself options you may want to consider.

Change The Lighting

There are few small fixes that will improve the look of your home like lighting, so one of the best things you can do for the overall look of your house is change out some of your bulbs. Instead of going for a light that will look dingy or orange, choose a tone that’s not too bright but will still illuminate your rooms and highlight their best features naturally. Much like a coat of paint, the right light can change everything about the way a visitor will view your home.

Consider A Cabinet Makeover

One of the most outdated features in a kitchen is the kitchen cabinets, and it’s also one of the first things that a potential homebuyer will notice when they enter the room. Fortunately, installing new cabinets doesn’t have to be a huge job that involves a lot of time. Instead of getting a floor-to-ceiling makeover and a construction crew, consider upgrading the doors and hinges or picking a new color for a difference that will instantly improve the room.

Pull Out The Paint Brush

Painting may be one of the least popular household tasks because it takes so much time, but outside of lighting, few things will improve the look of your home like a new coat of paint. While it’s important to ensure that you stick with a relatively neutral shade so that it doesn’t overwhelm the viewer, it will easily upgrade the look of your home and hide any unsightly damage to the wall. It’s also a good idea to remember the front door since it’s the first thing homebuyers will notice!

The word ‘renovation’ often makes people see dollar signs, but it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to upgrade your home. By adding a new coat of paint or upgrading the lighting, you’ll be well on your way to a more modern look. If you’re currently renovating your home and are hoping to put it on the market soon, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 9, 2022

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - May 9, 2022Last week’s scheduled economic reports included readings on construction spending, the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee statement, and the Fed Chair’s press conference. Readings on public and private-sector jobs growth and the national unemployment rate were released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims.

Construction Spending Slows in March, Fed Raises Key Rate

Construction spending fell in March according to the Commerce Department. Spending increased by 0.10 percent as compared to the expected reading of 0.80 percent and February’s reading of 0.50 percent. Less construction spending could indicate a slowdown in building as builders face rising operations and materials costs. 

The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee initially considered raising the federal rate to 0.75 percent, but Fed Chair Jerome Powell vetoed that option, and committee members agreed to raise the federal funds rate to 0.50 percent. This increase was the highest in more than 20 years.

Chair Powell said in his post-meeting press conference that he wanted to address the American people and that inflation was too high. “We understand the hardship it’s causing and we’re moving expeditiously to bring it back down. We have the tools we need and the resolve that it will take to restore price stability on behalf of American families and businesses.” Mr. Powell declined to identify a specific number defining the Fed’s goal of achieving a “neutral” average interest rate.

Mortgage Rates Rise, Jobless Claims Data Mixed

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates as the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by 17 basis points to 5.27 percent; rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.52 percent and 12 basis points higher than in the prior week. Rates for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.96 percent and 18 basis points higher. Discount points for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 0.90 percent and 0.80 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Points for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 0.20 percent.

New jobless claims rose to 200,000 initial claims filed last week as compared to 181,000 new claims filed in the prior week. Analysts expected a reading of 182,000 new claims filed. Fewer continuing jobless claims were filed last week with 1.38 million claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 1.40 million ongoing jobless claims filed.

The economy added 428,000 public and private-sector jobs in April; the national unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.60 percent. 

What’s Ahead

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