Refinancing Your Mortgage? Know These Key Terms Before You Sign Your Paperwork

Refinancing Your Mortgage? Know These Key Terms Before You Sign Your PaperworkWhen it comes to your mortgage, there are a lot of key terms that are important for every homebuyer to know, and this is no less true than when it comes to refinancing your most important investment. Instead of leaving what’s unknown up to chance, it’s important to be aware of exactly what you’re looking at so you can get the best mortgage product available. If you’re currently considering refinancing and don’t want to get snared by unknown terminology, here are some terms you’ll need to watch out for.

Cash-Out Refinance

This type of refinance is a transaction where the home’s mortgage amount is higher than the existing mortgage amount, and cash-out refers to the extraction of equity from the homeowner’s home. While this type of refinancing can be a means of tapping into extra cash to help you with monthly expenses, it also means that the cash you take out of your equity will be added to the balance you already owe on your home.

Rate-and-Term Refinance

This type of mortgage transaction involves the refinancing of an existing mortgage so that you can take advantage of a different interest rate. While this type of change will not alter the amount of your home loan, it will adjust the interest which means that your monthly payments may be lowered and your may have a shorter amortization period due to overall reduced costs. These types of loans can often come with lower interest rates than cash-out refinances.

Streamline Refinancing

This type of refinancing is offered by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs, and it is also offered by certain financial institutions. While this type of refinancing has its own set of stipulations, it is directed at those who want to take advantage of low interest rates or get out of an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM). While you may need to have a financial appraisal done in order to qualify for this option, it’s also possible that this will not be required to qualify.

There are a lot of key terms that go along with having a mortgage and refinancing it, but if you’re considering your options it’s very important to know what all of them mean so you can be sure you’re making the best decision. If you’re currently considering refinancing your home and need helpful advice, contact your trusted mortgage professional for more information.

When does an FHA Streamline Refinance Make Sense?

When does an FHA Streamline Refinance Make Sense?The FHA streamline refinance is not right for everyone, but if rates significantly dropped or you can afford a fixed-rate loan and want out of an ARM, it can make sense. If you’ll stay in the home for the foreseeable future, you can either save money on interest or have a more predictable payment.

Before you jump on board, ask yourself:

  • Am I saving enough money to make the cost of refinancing worth it?
  • Would I feel more at ease with a fixed-rate loan versus an ARM?

When Doesn’t an FHA Streamline Refinance Make Sense?

Like we said, sometimes it doesn’t make sense to refinance.

First, make sure you can afford the closing costs. Unlike most other loan programs, you cannot roll your closing costs into the loan. Make sure you have the money to cover the closing costs plus the FHA upfront mortgage insurance fee equal to 1.75% of the loan amount. You may get a credit for some of the insurance you paid already.

Next, make sure the interest changes are enough to refinance. Just because you get a lower rate, doesn’t mean it automatically makes sense. Look at the big picture. Is the payment lower? Are the over loan costs lower? Look at the loan’s total cost over the entire term to decide.

Pros and Cons of the FHA Streamline Refinance

Pros:

  • Simple to qualify for and use
  • You may be eligible for an FHA MIP refund
  • No appraisal necessary
  • No credit check or income verification needed
  • A simple way to lower your payment or change your loan’s term

Cons:

  • You owe closing costs upfront
  • You’ll pay the upfront MIP again
  • You’ll start your loan term over again

FAQ – FHA Streamline Refinance

Do you have to pay closing costs on the FHA streamline refinance?

Yes, you always have to pay the closing costs upfront on the FHA streamline refinance. Some lenders may offer a no-closing cost loan, but the interest rate will be higher. This may negate the net tangible benefits of refinancing.

Do you need an appraisal for the FHA streamline refinance?

No, the FHA doesn’t require an FHA appraisal. This also means you don’t have to worry about making specific repairs to meet the FHA minimum property requirements.

Is there a minimum credit score required for the FHA streamline refinance?

The FHA doesn’t require lenders to pull credit for the FHA streamline refinance. If your lender pulls credit, they’ll typically require between a 580 – 640 to qualify, though.

Final Thoughts

If you have an FHA loan and know rates dropped lower than what you pay now, look into your options. You don’t have to use the same lender, so shop around and get at least 3 quotes.

Look at your options, comparing the rate, closing costs, and overall loan term. To qualify, you must have an on-time mortgage payment history plus prove you benefit from the refinance. It can be a great way to save money on your loan if you look for the best loan possible. 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 25, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - October 25, 2021Last week’s economic reporting included the National Association of Home Builders’ Housing Market Index reports on building permits issued and housing starts, The National Association of Realtors® reported on sales of previously owned homes, and weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also published.

NAHB: Builder Confidence Improves in September

The National Association of Home Builders reported an index reading of 80 for its September Housing Market Index. Analysts expected September’s index reading to match August’s reading of 76. Builders continued to face supply chain challenges and labor shortages amid growing concerns over rising home prices and affordability for would-be home buyers.

Component readings for the Housing Market Index also showed rising builder confidence. The index for current housing market conditions rose five points to an index reading of 87; builder confidence in housing market conditions over the next six months rose three points to 84. The gauge for buyer traffic in new single-family housing developments rose four points to an index reading of 65.

Robert Dietz, the chief economist for the NAHB, said “Policymakers must focus on fixing the broken supply chain. This will spur more construction and help ease upward pressure on home prices.”

Continuing supply chain problems caused some builders to limit building due to concerns over materials costs and availability. Shortages of small and medium homes would cause home prices to rise just as interest rates are expected to rise. These conditions add to concerns over affordability for first-time and modest-income home buyers.

NAHB HMI readings over 50 indicate that most builders surveyed have a positive outlook on housing market conditions.

September sales of previously-owned homes rose to 6.29 million homes sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis as compared to August’s reading of 5.88 million previously-owned homes sold and expectations of 6.10 million previously-owned homes sold. Increasing sales of pre-owned homes indicated that severe shortages of available homes during the pandemic were easing.

Mortgage Rates Rise, Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week as rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose four basis points to 3.09 percent; rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged three basis points higher at 2.33 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell one basis point to an average rate of 2.54 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Initial jobless claims fell to 290,000 claims filed from the previous week’s reading of 296,000 first-time claims filed. Analysts expected 300,000 first-time claims to be filed. Fewer continuing jobless claims were filed last week; 2.48 million ongoing jobless claims were filed as compared to 2.60 million ongoing jobless claims filed in the previous week.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings from S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, reports on sales of new and previously-owned homes, and the University of  Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be published.

Applying for a Mortgage? 3 Easy Ways to Make the Process Easier — and Reduce Your Stress

Applying for a Mortgage? 3 Easy Ways to Make the Process Easier -- and Reduce Your StressThere are more than enough details involved in getting a mortgage and moving into your own home that you’ll want to know how to make the process as seamless as possible beforehand. However, there’s a chance you might not be aware of the things you can do to make it a little easier on yourself. If you’re currently looking for a home and are wondering how to streamline the approval process, here are some things to do before applying to minimize mortgage-related stress.

Get Electronic Documentation

In order to get approved for your mortgage application, you’ll need to provide documentation that will likely include bank statements, federal tax returns and recent paystubs, but providing or acquiring all of these documents in paper form can require a lot of drudgery. Instead of paper, get your documentation together and ensure it’s in electronic form so it can be easily accessed or sent from anywhere. This means you’ll have it on hand as soon as it’s needed.

Choose A House You Can Afford

As a potential homebuyer on the market, it’s easy to be swayed by your dream home, but if your dream home doesn’t come with an acceptable price tag, it’s important to move on to the next best opportunity. It can be very easy to be invested enough in a particular home that you can convince yourself you’ll budget for it, but the market can shift and this can push your monthly payment from difficult to not-doable. Choosing a home at an affordable cost will not only improve your chances of approval, it will also minimize your stress after the move-in date.

Have Your Down Payment Ready

It may be all well and good to know that your down payment money is in the bank, but it’s important that it’s in the appropriate account at least 3 months prior to your application submission so you can ensure you’ll be seen as financially sound. While it’s great to have money held in investments and RRSPs, it’s important that this down payment money is kept in an easily accessible account where it can be withdrawn without any time delays or financial losses.

There are many different steps and small details associated with obtaining a mortgage, but by having your electronic documentation and down payment ready, you’ll be well on your way to an approval. If you’re currently on the market for a home, contact your trusted mortgage professional for more information.

Deciding On A Mortgage For Buying A Fixer Upper

Deciding On A Mortgage For Buying A Fixer UpperIt can be difficult to find a dream house, so many potential homeowners might be looking to save money by purchasing a home that they need to repair. Often referred to as a fixer-upper, this is a house that may require some extra work to restore to a livable condition. Not only is this a great opportunity to customize a home, but it could also be a valuable investment. At the same time, homeowners need to take out enough money to not only purchase the house but also cover the cost of repairs. How can potential homeowners decide what loan is best for a fixer-upper? There are a few options available. 

Consider Taking Out An FHA 203(k) Mortgage

One option is something called an FHA 203(k) mortgage. This is a loan from the Federal Housing Administration that has been specifically designed to help potential homeowners who are purchasing a house that needs a significant amount of repairs. As long as the cost of the home and the estimated repairs do not exceed 110 percent of the appraised value of the home, homeowners should be able to take out this type of loan.

Borrowers have to put down at least 3.5 percent and they need to have a minimum credit score of 580. Then, applicants can place themselves in a position to get approved for this loan. Keep in mind that the total cost of the property has to be less than the FHA mortgage limit for that local area. 

Look At A Fannie Mae HomeStyle Renovation Mortgage

Another option to consider is called the Fannie Mae HomeStyle Renovation Mortgage. This is a great option if the house requires major renovations. Borrowers can borrow money to cover potential repairs that are as high as half of the appraised value of the property. This could include energy efficiency enhancements, remodeling work, and repairs. As long as the repairs increase the value of the home, they should be covered by this mortgage. The loan will cover the cost of getting permits, hiring an architect, and purchasing materials. Even though this mortgage may be a bit more competitive, it also has a higher borrowing limit, opening more doors for homeowners.

A 20 Percent Down Payment: Is This Really Necessary?

A 20 Percent Down Payment: Is This Really Necessary?Purchasing a home is a major decision, and it could be the most expensive financial transaction somebody ever makes. Therefore, it is important to get this right. One of the biggest hurdles for a new homeowner is coming up with enough money for the down payment. A lot of people believe they require 20 percent down to purchase a home. Saving this amount of money can be overwhelming, and some people are wondering, is this really necessary? There are several key points to keep in mind. 

Putting 20 Percent Down Is Not Really Necessary

When taking a look at the prices of homes, putting 20 percent down can seem like a pipe dream for most people. Fortunately, putting this amount of money down is not actually necessary. It is possible for people to qualify for a loan with significantly smaller amounts of money. For example, there are some lenders who might be willing to provide a loan to a first-time homebuyer for as low as 3.5 percent. Even though this is still a lot of money, it is not nearly as much as 20 percent down. Potential homeowners need to do their homework and work with down payment assistance programs to make this process easier. 

Why Do People Put 20 Percent Down?

So, where does the idea of putting 20 percent down actually come from? Many homeowners decide to put 20 percent down because they would like to avoid something called private mortgage insurance, or PMI. This is an insurance policy that potential homeowners may be required to purchase on behalf of the lender to protect the lender in the event of a default. When homeowners reach 20 percent equity in their homes, they can ask for PMI to be canceled. Because most homeowners do not want this additional expense, they may feel compelled to put 20 percent down. 

Find The Right Home Loan

Potential homeowners should not feel like their dreams are derailed simply because they need to put 20 percent down. It is possible to qualify for a home loan with significantly lower down payment percentages, but every homeowner has to assess his or her options. That way, they can make the best financial decision for their individual situation.

 

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 18, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - October 18, 2021

Last week’s economic reporting included readings on inflation, core inflation, and minutes of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting held on September 22 and 23. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also published.

September’s Consumer Price Index rose by 0.10 percent to 0.40 percent. The Core Consumer Price Index for September, which excludes volatile food and fuel sectors, rose by 0.10 percent to 0.20 percent and fell short of the expected reading of 0.30 percent growth.

Feds’ FOMC Meeting Minutes: Policymakers Consider Tapering Securities Purchases

Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting held September 21 and 22 indicated that policymakers discussed when to taper the Fed’s purchase of U.S. Treasuries and Mortgage-Backed Securities. Opinions were mixed as some policymakers recommended faster tapering of asset purchases and others were concerned about the potentially negative impact on financial markets if the Fed reduced its asset purchases too quickly. No specific dates for tapering asset purchases were set during the current FOMC meeting, but analysts expected the Committee to announce its plan for tapering asset purchases at its next meeting.

FOMC members also discussed inflation and were divided on their forecasts for inflation. While some members expected high inflationary growth in 2022, other FOMC members said that Covid-related bottlenecks in supply chains caused higher inflation in the near term.

Mortgage Rates Rise as Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week as rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by six basis points to 3.05 percent. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by seven basis points to 2.30 percent; rates for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage rose averaged 2.55 percent and were three basis points higher Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.20 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Initial jobless claims fell to 293,000 new claims filed as compared to the previous week’s reading of 329,000 first-time claims filed. Continuing jobless claims also fell with 2.59 million ongoing claims filed; 2.73 million ongoing claims were filed in the previous week.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing market conditions. Reporting on sales of previously-owned homes, housing starts, and building permits issued are expected; weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.

After Closing On A New Home: The Top Tasks To Complete

After Closing On A New Home: The Top Tasks To CompleteClosing on a new home is exciting and many people view their closing date as the finish line; however, even after closing a new home, there is still a lot that has to happen. What do new homeowners need to do after closing on a new home?

Mark The Date Of The First Payment

Every homeowner needs to know the first date of the new mortgage payment. They need to get their bank account set up for an automatic draft, or they need to send a physical check by that time. Keep in mind that the first payment might include a partial payment from the prior month as well.

Understand That The Loan Servicer Might Change

Anyone who is sending a physical check needs to be aware that the loan servicer might change. Many banks sell their loans to another entity, which means physical checks might need to go to a new address. 

Watch For Potential Scams In The Mail

Many new homeowners receive a lot of junk mail and deceptive advertisements from scam artists. Anyone who has questions about the information they receive in the mail might want to talk to their real estate agent or lawyer to see what is real or what is fake. Sometimes, people try to sell homeowners on policies they already have, such as home insurance or mortgage insurance.

Make Sure Property Taxes And Homeowners Insurance Are Set-Up

Homeowners also need to make sure their property tax payments and homeowners’ insurance are set up. Often, the lender will escrow these payments, saving homeowners a significant amount of stress. This also means that homeowners need to make sure the lender is taking enough money every month to cover home insurance and property tax bills at the end of the year.

Look Past The Closing Date

These are a few of the most important tasks all new homeowners need to complete after closing on a new home. That way, nothing important gets overlooked, and homeowners are not surprised by anything they receive in the mail. Talk to a real estate or mortgage professional to learn more.

Looking for an Eco-friendly Upgrade? Try These Easy Ways to Save Water Around the Home

Looking for an Eco-friendly Upgrade? Try These Easy Ways to Save Water Around the HomeWith the impact we have on our environment becoming a matter of greater concern, it’s becoming more important for the average citizen to know they’re doing their part. While there are many simple tricks for saving water that will make you feel better about your environmental footprint, here are a few easy upgrades that will make that saving a little more automatic.

Consider a Cistern Device

With outhouses a thing of the past, flushing the toilet has become one of the ways in which household water is being overused the most, but flushing less simply isn’t a viable option. Instead of wasting water in this way, purchase a displacement device and place it in your toilet’s cistern. Without you having to do anything at all, it will instantly reduce the volume of water that is used with each flush.

Learn to Work a Water Meter

It’s ideal to help the environment by saving water, but it’s even better if you can save yourself money at the same time. If you happen to be among those who pay for their water, installing a water meter will enable you to take a closer look at where your water use is going, and can assist you in helping to trim down this expense.

Drain It From the Rain

In the event of an intense downpour, there’s often a lot of water that runs off into the gutter and can’t be absorbed by the grass or the trees. Instead of letting it go to waste, install a water butt to your drainpipe so that you can use the runoff when it’s dry outside to water your plants or even wash your car. There’s no reason that any of the moisture from a good rainfall should have to go to waste.

Invest in Water Efficient Items

From showerheads to washing machines, going energy efficient with your household appliances is becoming quite popular. The next time you have to replace a small appliance or there’s a leak with a household item, consider heading down to the drugstore to look for environmentally friendly options that will instantly reduce your footprint.

With so many options for environmentally friendly items on the market these days, there’s no reason you can’t save water at home with a few easy changes. From making use of the rain that falls to learning to work with a water meter, some simple shifts may make your house the most environmentally friendly one on the block.

The Timeline: Prequalifying To Closing

The Timeline: Prequalifying To ClosingEven though purchasing a new home can be exciting, it can also be stressful. There are a lot of tasks that need to be completed between qualifying for a mortgage and receiving the necessary funds. Therefore, potential homeowners need to understand the timeline so they make sure they are on track to meet their closing dates. What are a few examples of important milestones that have to be accomplished? 

Make An Offer On A Home

After getting pre-qualified for a mortgage, the next step is to make an offer on the right house. An offer on a home has a lot of information. This includes the offer price, the size of the down payment, the name of the closing agent, a targeted closing date, and any closing costs that the buyer wants the seller to pay. If the offer is accepted, it is time to move on to the next step. 

Review The Disclosures On The Mortgage

After having an accepted offer, buyers need to get a mortgage locked in. Important components of a mortgage include the interest rate, the monthly payment, the closing costs, and any prepayment items. A lot of this can be negotiated with the lender, and this mortgage needs to be approved prior to closing. 

Complete The Home Inspection And Appraisal

Buyers will also need to conduct a home inspection and appraisal. In many situations, the lender will set up the appraisal; however, homebuyers need to work with a real estate agent to get a home inspection set up. That way, if there are any major repairs, they can be addressed. 

Renegotiate If Necessary

Based on the appraisal and the inspection, potential home buyers might want to renegotiate the price of the house. Even though it will not necessarily change, homebuyers might want to ask the seller to cover additional repairs that were discovered on the inspection. 

Close On The Home

Finally, after all of this is done, it is time to close on the home. The lender will be responsible for wiring the funds to an attorney, who will disburse the funds to all appropriate parties. From start to finish, this process usually takes about a month.