Speed up Your Mortgage Closing Process With This Handy Four-step Guide

Speed up Your Mortgage Closing Process With This Handy Four-step GuideAre you in the market for a new house or apartment? If you are financing the purchase by taking out a mortgage, you’ll want to know how to make this transaction run as smooth as possible. In today’s article, we’ll share a quick four-step guide to speeding up the mortgage closing process.

Step #1: Check In On Your Credit Score

The first step before applying for your mortgage is to check in on your credit. Request a copy of your credit score and history from one of the major reporting firms. Go over this report, paying close attention to any old or outstanding items that you may have already dealt with. Many individuals have old delinquencies that must be challenged to be removed from the report, so take care of these first before applying.

Step #2: Have All Your Documents Prepared

As with any loan, taking out a mortgage requires a small mountain of paperwork. The best way to speed this process up is to have all of your financial documentation ready for inspection and use by the lender.

Note that each mortgage provider has different requirements for what you’ll need. A brief list of some items which are commonly requested includes your current employment details, recent pay stubs, recent W-2 forms or tax returns, proof of self-employment or other means of income, asset details such as bank accounts and investments and debt information such as other mortgages, student loans and more.

Step #3: Have An Offer Ready

If you have already settled on the home that you want to buy, it’s best to get your offer prepared in advance of being fully approved for mortgage financing. Your real estate agent will be able to help with crafting an offer that is subject to the home passing an inspection. It’s especially important to have an offer ready in the event that other buyers are competing for the same home that you are.

Step #4: Get The Inspection Finished Promptly

While your lender is completing the home appraisal process, you should be having the home inspected. Getting the inspection completed promptly will prevent any delays due to problem areas that might be uncovered. For example, a pest problem like termites may need to be dealt with, or minor repairs to the roof structure may need to be scheduled.

Following the steps above will help to ensure that your mortgage closing process goes as smoothly as possible. To learn more about your mortgage options or to get the pre-approval process started, contact us today. Our friendly mortgage professionals are happy to assist.

What is a Reverse Mortgage and How Does It Work?

What is a Reverse Mortgage and How Does It Work?If you’ve recently considered your options for taking some of the equity out of your home you may have heard about reverse mortgage loans. If you meet the requirements for a reverse mortgage it can be an excellent way to tap into the value of your home, freeing up that cash to be reinvested or used for other purposes.

In today’s blog post we’ll explore reverse mortgage loans, explaining how they work and whether or not you’re qualified to receive one.

How Does a Reverse Mortgage Work?

As the name implies, a reverse mortgage is the opposite of a traditional or “forward” mortgage in which you borrow a lump sum of money from a lender to buy a home, paying it back to them over time. With a “reverse” mortgage, instead of paying the lender you will receive money from them which does not have to be repaid until you are either no longer using that house or condo as your primary home or until you fail to meet the obligations of the mortgage contract.

Note that a reverse mortgage is still a loan, which means you will still be required to pay interest on it. As your loan balance increases with principal and interest each month the amount of equity you have in your home will decrease accordingly.

Do I Qualify for a Reverse Mortgage?

According to the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, there are a number of requirements that you must meet in order to qualify for a reverse mortgage. You must be at least 62 years of age when you apply, the home you’re applying with must be your primary residence, and most or all of your outstanding mortgage debt on the home must be paid off.

If you still owe money on your original or second mortgage against the home note that part of the money from the reverse mortgage must be used to pay this debt off.

How Much Can I Borrow in a Reverse Mortgage?

Like any type of loan, the amount of money that you can receive with a reverse mortgage depends on a variety of factors. Your age, the value of your home, any outstanding mortgage debt, current interest rates and Federal Housing Administration requirements will all be taken into consideration when determining how much you will qualify for.

While a reverse mortgage isn’t terribly complex, there is certainly more to the process that can be covered in a single blog post. For more information, contact us today and we can share the specifics of how you might qualify for a reverse mortgage and whether or not it’s your best option for making use of some of your home equity.

Saving for a Mortgage Down Payment? 4 Tips That Will Help You Get There Faster

Saving for a Mortgage Down Payment? 4 Tips That Will Help You Get There FasterFor most people, the idea of saving more money each month is enough of a burden without having to think about investing in a home. A down payment, however, will require a lot more saving know-how and a lot more in liquid assets in order to be able to buy. If you’re trying to find ways to save a bit more each month, here are some sure-fire tips for raising the extra funds.

Re-consider Your Commute

Outside of rent, there are few things that will cost as much money as owning your own vehicle, so instead of holding on to yours, you may want to consider putting it up for sale. While a vehicle costs a lot in gas, there are also costs for maintenance, insurance and parking that quickly add up. By foregoing this expense, you can easily save significantly!

Stick To Your Budget

It might sound like a silly tip, but actually sticking to your budget can make a big difference in how much you’ll save. While most people have a few rules to live by, writing down every receipt and monitoring the things you overspend on can make a marked impact on your surplus when all’s said and done.

Cut Down On Coffee & Lunch

With the hustle of everyday life, many people run out for coffee or lunch every day and forget that these costs add up over time. Instead of spending $5 or $10 here and there, take your coffee to go and make your lunches at the start of each week. It may not seem like much, but this can easily add up to hundreds in just a short time.

Change Your Phone Plan

Many people think that all of the conveniences that come along with a smart phone are a necessity, but data can come at a high price and it may not be worth paying. Instead of eating a high monthly phone bill, talk to your provider about what deals they can offer you and what you can cut back on. It may seem small at first, but it will add up to a lot by the year’s end.

It can seem insurmountable to try and save up enough for a down payment, but the little things that you spend on each day can easily add up. If you’re currently on the market for a home and are considering your saving options, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

Man Vs. Machine: Why Using a Human Mortgage Professional Is Better Than Trusting an App

Man Vs. Machine: Why Using a Human Mortgage Professional Is Better Than Trusting an AppAre you currently house-hunting or plan to be in the near future? If you plan on using mortgage financing to pay for your home, you will soon discover that there’s no shortage of options available to you. You can meet with a local mortgage professional, apply for mortgages online and even download mobile apps that promise to set you up with a mortgage. However, is every option equal?

Let’s explore why, in the epic battle of man versus machine, you will want to place your trust in a human mortgage professional.

Human Mortgage Professionals Have Local Experience

The first and most important reason you will want to work with a human mortgage professional is their understanding of the local real estate market. While you are likely to be working with a real estate agent, your mortgage advisor is another pair of eyes-and-ears that can help to keep your home purchase on the right path. They are also working regularly with many local clients and can share insight and information that no website or app will be able to come up with.

A Human Can Appreciate Your Unique Financial Situation

Online and app-based mortgage technology is… cold. Algorithms are processing the math and other hard facts about your financial history, with little consideration of you and your family as people. When you meet with a human mortgage advisor, you’re speaking with someone who understands the challenges that regular people face. They have also worked with numerous other clients and can appreciate why certain circumstances may have come up in the past.

A Human Will Go To Bat For You If Needed

Finally, don’t forget that a human mortgage professional is invested in your success. A mobile app isn’t going to understand when it needs to go the “extra mile” to ensure that you get the financing you need. You can trust that a human will push for that extra bit of funding or those better repayment terms as they’re on your side.

The above are just a few of the many reasons that you will want to work with a human mortgage advisor rather than using a website or mobile app. Don’t believe us? Give your local professional (and human!) mortgage team a call today. 

The Quick and Easy Guide to Determining How Big of a Mortgage Your Family Can Afford

The Quick and Easy Guide to Determining How Big of a Mortgage Your Family Can AffordAre you shopping around for a new house or apartment? One of the key considerations you will need to make is figuring out how much you want to invest in your new home. Below you’ll find our quick and easy guide to determining just how much “house” you can afford. Let’s get started!

Start By Making A Proper Budget

The first thing you’ll want to do is sit down and get a full budget put together. The easiest way to get the process started is to begin with two lists: income and expenses. For the income list, write down the amount of money your family brings in each month after taxes. If you have side income sources or extra income that tends to fluctuate over time, use the average amount for the past six months.

For the expenses list, write down all the spending that you do each month. Start with the major, stable items like rent, utilities and the like. Then work your way through to discretionary spending like dining out and other sources of entertainment. If it helps, go through your bank and credit card statements to ensure that you are not missing anything.

Once you have an accurate budget, you’ll know exactly how much you can afford to pay toward your mortgage payments each month.

Figure Out How Much You Can Put Down

Next, you’ll need to think about how much cash you want to pay as a down payment on your home. The larger the down payment you can afford, the smaller amount of mortgage financing you’ll need. While it might seem like a good idea to put as much as you can down, there are some things to consider. Any money you put against your down payment is going to be unavailable to you, which reduces your financial options. You’ll also lose the opportunity to invest it, which means missing out on potential returns over time.

Determine How Much House You Actually Need

Finally, give some thought as to how large or luxurious a home you want to buy. For example, if you have a small family and don’t need a large four- or five-bedroom house, you can instead opt for a smaller but more luxurious home. Conversely, if space is a priority, you may want to forego the high-end options to ensure you have enough room.

When you’re ready to explore your mortgage options, we’re ready to help. Contact your trusted mortgage professional at your convenience. We’re committed to helping you purchase the home of your dreams.

Understanding Your FICO Score and Why Small Credit Mistakes Can Cause Huge Headaches

Understanding Your FICO Score and Why Small Credit Mistakes Can Cause Huge HeadachesMany people all over the world are dealing with issues involving debt or poor credit history, but most aren’t necessarily aware of what exactly makes up their credit score. Unfortunately, it might seem like it’s the big stuff that counts when it comes to credit, but little things can have a significant impact on your financial health. If you’re looking to improve your understanding and your finances, here’s what you need to know about small mistakes and your FICO score.

Making Late Payments

The due date on your bills might seem like an advisory, but whether we’re talking about a student loan, a credit card payment or your telephone bill, late payments can add up. Your payment history constitutes 35% of your total FICO score, which means that even a couple of late payments can have a marked impact on your overall credit. Instead of leaving this to chance, set aside a day each month before your bills are due to ensure they’re all paid off.

Applying For New Credit

It’s often the case that a store will offer special deals if you sign up for their own in-house credit card, but this can cost you big since the amounts you owe make up 30% of your credit score. Also, because lenders will often assume that you’ve run out of credit if you apply for a new card, applying for new credit can be a red mark against your FICO score. 

Forgetting Credit Altogether

It might seem like the best possible option for avoiding credit issues is to avoid using credit altogether, but your credit history constitutes 15% of your FICO score. This means that you should have at least one credit card in your possession so that you can use it to build a history of lending success. While you won’t want to use more than 30% of your credit limit, it’s important to show proven experience in paying back your lenders.

Many people think that bad credit is the result of overspending and huge debt amounts, but your FICO score is largely determined by your payment history and your available credit. If you’re trying to buy a home in the near future, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Understanding the Principal Limit on a Reverse Mortgage and What Happens if You Reach It

Understanding the Principal Limit on a Reverse Mortgage and What Happens if You Reach ItIf you’re considering applying for a reverse mortgage, you’ll want to ensure you understand certain critical factors. One such factor is the principal limit. The principal limit will have a strong influence on your finances, which is why you’ll need to ensure you know – before applying for your reverse mortgage – what your principal limit is.

So how does a principal limit work, and how can you find out what yours is? Here’s what you need to know.

Principal Limit: The Maximum Amount You Can Borrow

Simply put, the principal limit is the maximum amount of money that you can borrow using a reverse mortgage. This maximum amount does not change if you pay off your reverse mortgage and then apply for a second one – rather, it’s a lifetime maximum that is calculated per-borrower. The principal limit is nationally legislated through the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Calculating Your Principal Limit Factor

Calculating your principal limit factor is fairly simple. The Department of Housing and Urban Development maintains a chart that shows you what your principal limit factor is. To look up your principal limit factor, all you need are your expected rate and the age of the youngest spouse in the home.

The principal limit factor is useful in determining what kind of a loan you can get. The size of the loan you can expect to receive is equal to your home’s value multiplied by the principal limit factor.

For example, a 72-year-old who owns a $300,000 home with a 10-year interest rate of 3% and a lender margin of 3% has a 6% “effective rate”. According to the table, a 72-year-old with a 6% effective rate will have a principal limit factor of 46.7%. That means the most this borrower can receive through a reverse mortgage is $140,100 – which is 46.7% of $300,000.

What Happens If You Reach The Principal Limit?

If you reach your principal limit, you will have exhausted all of the money available to you through a reverse mortgage – you will have used up all of your equity. A reverse mortgage is a non-recourse loan, which means your lender cannot pursue you or your heirs to recoup their money. In the event that you choose to sell the property, all of the proceeds will go to the reverse mortgage issuer – none of it goes to the homeowner.

A reverse mortgage can be an effective financial tool, but if you use up all of your equity, it may paint you into a financial corner. An experienced mortgage advisor can help you to determine if a reverse mortgage is an appropriate financing option for you. Contact your trusted mortgage professional today to learn more.

Call in the Pros: 4 Ways That Using a Mortgage Professional Will Save You a Lot of Money

Call in the Pros: 4 Ways That Using a Mortgage Professional Will Save You a Lot of MoneyIt may seem better to go it alone when it comes to acquiring a mortgage, but there are many benefits associated with using a mortgage professional that can make finding your dream home a lot easier. If you’re currently getting prepared to hit the market and are weighing your options, here are some reasons that a professional who knows the neighborhood will save you money.

Strong Market Knowledge

Many homebuyers can take a look at the MLS listings to find the price of properties selling in the area, but a mortgage professional will know the market without having to look at a book. This means that if you have an ideal house in mind, they’ll be able to determine the right offer for the home you’re interested in so you don’t end up spending time on research and paying more than you should.

Access To Lenders

It may seem like you can get in touch with any lender and they’ll be happy to provide you with a great deal, but because a mortgage professional will have a business relationship with many lenders, they will be able to get you a better rate. While you can approach lenders on your own, there’s a good chance you won’t get as competitive a rate.

Time Is Money

You may have set aside the time to invest into your home search, but trying to find the right home at the right price can end up taking a lot of time. You’ll also need to know the ins and outs of the procedures when it comes to making an offer and closing the deal. The benefit of a mortgage professional is they’ll already have experience at their disposal and will be able to do the legwork for you.

Closing Time

It’s great to find the house of your dreams on your own, but a mortgage professional will be well versed in closing the deal. Instead of having to go back and forth on any home inspection issues or final offers, they’ll be able to advise you so that you can get the home you want at the price you’re looking for.

While many people want to go it alone on the real estate market, using a mortgage professional can save you both time and money in finding the right place. If you’re preparing to buy a home, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

Save Money On DIY Projects Around The House

Save Money On Your Cost Of Living With DIY Tips Around The HouseIt is not exactly a secret that inflation is a significant issue. With inflation continuing to increase the cost of living all over the world, there are many people who are looking for ways to save money. Home improvement and renovation projects have been popular during the past few years, but many homeowners are starting to put them on hold because of how expensive everything has gotten. What are some of the ways you can save money on your home repair and renovation costs?

Know What You Can Do Yourself

First, you need to think about home repairs that you can complete on your own. It has gotten exceedingly expensive to call the contractor for help. There might be some small issues that you can handle on your own. This might include broken cabinet pulls and slanted doors. On the other hand, you need to think about your safety. For example, you should never work on a gas line yourself unless you are properly certified.

Scale Back The Price Of The Renovation

You might also need to scale back the scope of the renovation project. For example, if you were going with a specialty company for those beautiful kitchen counters, you may want to go with a less expensive option. You might even be able to find a single company that can handle everything for you, which means that you may enjoy a significant discount. 

Consider Going With Used Options

You might be able to save even more money if you go with a used option. For example, if you are looking for a way to save money on kitchen cabinets, consider looking for the second-hand often that someone is trying to get rid of. This is also a great way for you to protect the environment. When you work with a kitchen contractor, see if they know somebody who is looking to get rid of kitchen items. They might give you a discount if you take them off of their hands.

Save Money On Your Repairs And Renovations

These are a few tips you may want to follow if you are looking for a way to save money on repairs and renovations. Make sure you know what you can do yourself and when you need to reach out to a professional. 

3 Tips for Planning Your Monthly Mortgage Payment

3 Tips for Planning Your Monthly Mortgage PaymentOnce you’ve purchased a home and decided on a move in date, it may seem like a lot of the hard stuff is over, but you still have one of the most important things relating to such a large purchase to think about: the payments! If you’re looking for a few tips on ways to approach your monthly payment, the following will steer you in the right direction so you can broach your mortgage schedule successfully.

Set Up A Payment Schedule

Many people have been in the situation of neglecting their phone or credit cards by forgetting about the payment due dates, but this can cause a lot of strife when it comes to an investment as large as your home. Instead of leaving it to chance, choose a day each month and ensure that your bank is transferring the funds over automatically so you never have to worry about missing a payment. This will help you retain a reputation as a responsible borrower and it means you won’t have to deal directly with this important expenditure each month.

Be Aware Of Ways To Pay

Instead of being in the dark about ways to pay your mortgage each month, talk to your bank about your options for making your monthly payments in a timely, hassle-free manner. Before you get into the nitty-gritty of home ownership, look into this as soon as you’ve signed off on the papers so you know the best way to approach each month. This will prepare you for your approximate total mortgage payment.

Is It Really Affordable?

If you’re associated with a lender you trust, you’ve probably already been made aware of the amount of house you can and can’t afford, but ensure you’ve sat down and thought about what all the added interest on your home means. While it can certainly be a huge financial commitment for anyone to commit to a monthly mortgage payment, being able to swing the expense consistently is the difference between financial well-being and a purchase you’ll come to regret.

Making the decision to invest in a home can be one of the most exciting things you’ll commit to in adulthood, but ensure you’re aware of just what your monthly mortgage means so that it’s not something you’ll look back on. If you’re currently on the market for a home, contact your local mortgage professionals for more information.