On Time, Every Time: How Being Late on Monthly Payments Can Affect Your Mortgage

On Time, Every Time: How Being Late on Monthly Payments Can Affect Your MortgageAre you the type of person that struggles with remembering to pay their bills on time? You’re not alone. People across the country regularly submit late monthly payments, inflicting terrible damage to their credit. Let’s take a quick look at how paying your loan or other monthly payments late can have a negative impact on your mortgage.

Your Credit Score Is At Risk

As you already know, almost all banks, credit cards, mortgage companies and other lenders rely on your credit score to help assess the risk of lending money to you. Paying any of your payments late – even something as small as your mobile phone bill or a department store credit card – can result in negative marks showing up on your credit report. If you are late enough times or fail to repay the late payment in full, then your score will start to drop.

Refinancing Can Be Affected

If you already have a mortgage, then a lower credit score can be a problem when you try to refinance. The process of refinancing involves taking out a new mortgage, in which your lender will reassess your risk using your credit score as one of the indicators. If you have been making late payments, you might end up having to settle for a higher interest rate or you may even be declined for the new mortgage.

Making A Late Payment? Contact Your Lender

If you are caught in a bind and have to make a late payment, it is best to get a call in to your lender as soon as possible. First, there may be a grace period in which you can be a few days late without any penalty. If that little bit of breathing room is all you need to get caught up, you’re set. If not, you can let them know your circumstances and discuss what options you have.

It is essential to pay your monthly payments on time, even if it means making some small sacrifices in other areas. The better your credit score looks, the more opportunities you will have to make positive financial moves in the future. To learn more about monthly mortgage payments or to take out a mortgage on a new home, contact us today. Our team of mortgage professionals is here to help you find a mortgage to buy the home of your dreams.

In a Hurry to Buy a Home? Speed Your Mortgage Approval up by Following This Checklist

In a Hurry to Buy a Home? Speed Your Mortgage Approval up by Following This ChecklistHave you finally found your dream home after months of searching, only to discover that the seller has received other offers? Few circumstances can raise your stress level as much as finding yourself in a bidding war against another buyer. However, being unprepared by not having your finances in order can make the situation even worse. Let’s take a quick look at a few ways that you can speed up your mortgage approval if you are in a hurry to buy your next home.

Pull Your Credit Report ASAP

The first step you will want to do is check your credit report so you have an idea what your mortgage lender will be seeing. You can get a free copy from the major credit reporting agencies up to once per year, so take advantage. There are scams out there, so be sure to only request a report from a government-approved credit agency.

Get All Of Your Paperwork Ready Before You Go In

You will want to gather up as much financial documentation as you can before heading in to meet with your mortgage advisor. Pay stubs, tax forms, and bank statements are all going to be required to prove that you are accurately reporting your current financial situation. You will also want to be able to provide reasons for any substantial loans or other transactions that have taken place in the past couple of years.

Share It All And Keep No Secrets

If you want your mortgage approval to come back quickly, it’s best to be truthful and hold nothing back during the application process. If you lie or try to gloss over areas that you feel are a bit negative, it can end up delaying your approval. Be straight with your advisor and don’t keep any secrets from them.

Work With A Professional Team

Last but not least, if you want the fastest possible mortgage approval you will want to work with a professional team. An experienced mortgage advisor knows the ins-and-outs of the mortgage marketplace. They know which lenders will be able to process quickly and which tend to be on the slower side. If you try to borrow a mortgage from a bank or large lender, you are tied into their process which may not be as quick as you would like.

When you’re ready to buy a home, give us a call. Our mortgage team is happy to help you secure your financing, no matter how much of a hurry you might be in. We look forward to assisting you!

Owning vs Renting: Why High Rents Are Worse Than a Mortgage over the Long Term

Owning vs Renting: Why High Rents Are Worse Than a Mortgage over the Long TermIf you’re at the stage in life where home ownership is nearly within your reach, you’re probably wondering whether you should start looking for a home or whether you should just keep renting. Renting is easier, people say, and it gives you more mobility. But over the long term, all that rent money can really add up – and it eventually reaches a point where buying a home is a better deal.

So why is paying a high rent a worse option than buying a house and getting a mortgage? Here’s what you need to know.

Renting Doesn’t Generate Equity

One of the single biggest sources of wealth in the United States is home equity – as you pay down your mortgage, you invest more and more of your money into your property, and it appreciates in value. When you eventually sell that home, you make a profit. The monthly payment is something you’d have to make anyway, whether you rent or own – but when you rent, your monthly rent money lines someone else’s pockets, while when you own, paying down your mortgage actually creates wealth for you.

Renting Doesn’t Give You Access To Homeowner Tax Credits And Deductions

There are all sorts of tax benefits available to homeowners that renters simply can’t access. As a homeowner, you can deduct your mortgage interest from your taxes owing, reducing your taxable income – but there’s no such deduction for renters. You can also deduct property taxes and some closing costs when you buy a home – there are no corresponding tax benefits for renters.

There are also several tax credits available to homeowners that aren’t available to renters. Things like renovations or simply buying a home for the first time can give you tax benefits that renters can’t access.

If You Can Muster Up A Down Payment, Owning Is Cheaper In The Long Run

One of the biggest hurdles keeping young people out of the real estate market is the down payment. It’s not easy, but if you can save up enough money for a down payment, you’re actually better off buying a home than continuing to rent.

According to Trulia, the median home price in metro Houston in Texas is just under $163,000, while the median monthly rent for an apartment is $1,550. That means renting would cost $18,600 per year, while buying a home (assuming a 20% down payment and 30-year term) would cost $9,384 per year in mortgage payments. In other words, owning is about half as expensive as renting in the long run.

Renting may be a good short-term solution, but over the long haul, owning is almost always better. Call a local mortgage professional to learn more.

4 Financial Benefits of Home Ownership

4 Financial Benefits of Home OwnershipHome ownership may be one of the most familiar goals of adulthood, but there’s more than one reason why so many people flock towards this type of investment and leave the rental market behind. If you’re trying to decide if you should make the big plunge towards buying, here are some benefits of saving up for a down payment and finding the right place to settle in.

It’s More Economical

Many people eschew home ownership simply because it can be hard to wrangle together the funds for a down payment. However, while a monthly rental is money you’ll never see again, the money you put down on a mortgage is being invested back into your home, making for a solid investment you can capitalize on later.

Instant Tax Deductions

The interest that you pay on your mortgage payment can be one of the most tumultuous aspects of purchasing a home, but you may not know that you actually have the ability to deduct many associated costs on your taxes. From origination fees to property taxes, there are plenty of costs that go along with your home that can be claimed for a refund when tax time comes!

Paying A Lower Price

The real estate market fluctuates every day, but one thing is for the certain: the median price of a home is on the rise. While low inflation rates may not be ideal if you’re selling, they can mean a better deal if you’re delving into the market for the first time. Just remember, it’s important to buy a home you can afford as anything that goes beyond your budget is not a solid investment.

A Built-In Savings Account

It may be important to have liquid assets outside of the equity you have in your home, but many people struggle to pay off their home and save money at the same time. While saving outside of your monthly mortgage payment is still important, putting money down on a home is an act of investing, and it’s one you’ll likely make a solid profit on when you decide to sell.

There can be many financial benefits to renting in the short term, but purchasing a home is a more solid financial decision when it comes right down to it. If you’re considering a home and would like to know more about your options, you may want to contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

How Do I Know If It’s a Good Idea to Refinance My Mortgage?

You Ask, We Answer: How Do I Know If It's a Good Idea to Refinance My Mortgage?Are you interested in paying less per month on your mortgage? Or perhaps you would prefer if your mortgage was paid off a couple of months – or years – faster? If you are a homeowner with a mortgage, one option that is open to you is refinancing. In today’s post, we will explore the topic of mortgage refinancing and how to know if it is a good idea.

How Does Refinancing Work?

In short, refinancing is a process in which pay off your existing mortgage and borrow a new mortgage under a different set of terms. In most cases, homeowners will use the funds from the new mortgage to pay off the old one. Depending on the terms of your new mortgage, there may or may not be cash left over which you can use to invest, pay down debts, make renovations or for other purposes.

Refinancing To A Lower Interest Rate

Mortgage interest rates tend to fluctuate over time and because of this, refinancing to a mortgage with a lower rate is quite popular. If you initially borrowed your mortgage when interest rates were at 5%, you may be able to lock-in a new mortgage at a lower rate. Note that it can be tough to try to “time” the mortgage market, so check in with your mortgage professional to find out if the time is right.

Refinancing For Lower Monthly Payments

Another great use of refinancing is to reduce the monthly payment required on the mortgage. If you have ten years remaining on a 20-year mortgage, refinancing to extend the payments out to 15 years will lower the monthly payment.

Refinancing To Eliminate Other Debts

Finally, many homeowners will refinance their mortgage to use some of the home’s equity to pay off other debts. For example, a family might have $25,000 in debts that are being charged a higher interest rate than their mortgage. If they have built up enough equity, they can refinance and draw out $25,000 from the home’s value. This shifts the debt from the higher interest areas into the mortgage, where it can be paid off over time.

As you can see, there are many reasons why you might want to refinance your mortgage. To learn more about the refinancing process, or to discuss your options, contact us today. Our professional team of mortgage advisors is ready to help you choose the path that best suits your financial needs.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Refinancing a Traditional Mortgage to a FHA Mortgage

A Step-by-Step Guide to Refinancing a Traditional Mortgage to a FHA MortgageRefinancing a mortgage can provide a homeowner with many benefits, and many are interested in refinancing their traditional mortgage into an FHA mortgage to take advantage of low interest rates. Depending on the specific circumstances, this step may lower the monthly payment, reduce interest charges, adjust the loan term so that it is more beneficial for achieving financial goals and more. Those who are interested in refinancing in an FHA mortgage may consider these steps.

Understand the Rules and Requirements

There are specific rules in place regarding refinancing under the FHA program. For example, the loan amount may be up to 96.5 percent of the value of the home, but the homeowner cannot take cash out of the refinance transaction. If cash is taken out, the loan-to-value limit under the FHA program is usually 86 percent of the property value. 

Review Goals and Current Mortgage Details

The next step for homeowners to take is to review their own financial goals and to define their reasons for refinancing. In addition, it is important for homeowners to contact their current mortgage company to learn more about their current interest rate, if there is a prepayment penalty and the current loan balance. Estimating the property value is also important. Homeowners may have a reasonable idea about property value, or they can contact a real estate agent for a valuation. When all of this information is taken into account, the homeowner will have a better idea about what to expect from refinancing.

Each homeowner will be in a unique situation regarding current loan details, property value and goals that they want to achieve through refinancing. It can be confusing to decide if refinancing is the right move to make, and it can be even more complicated to determine which loan program is a best-fit for the goals of the homeowner. Those who are interested in refinancing from a traditional mortgage into the FHA loan program may contact a mortgage broker soon to discuss the options and to determine if this is a best fit option for them as a first step in the loan process.

5 Ways That a Mortgage Can Be a Huge Benefit to Your Financial Future

5 Ways That a Mortgage Can Be a Huge Benefit to Your Financial FutureFor many people, investing in a house is one of the most important purchases they will make in their lifetime. However, alongside having the comfort of your own home, there are many financial benefits associated with buying in. If you’re currently perusing the market for opportunities, here are some reasons to consider investing a little sooner.

Get Away From Inflation

If you have an adjustable-rate mortgage, your interest rates will certainly fluctuate from time to time, but owning a home actually allows you to guard against the reality of inflation, which can be a significant burden as a renter. While the price of housing and apartment rentals can rise considerably with inflation, your monthly mortgage cost will be relatively fixed.

Hold On To More Of Your Money

Renting may be an easier financial obligation than home ownership, but the money you invest into a home each month contributes to your equity, and this is a benefit for your financial future. While rent money will be gone when the month is over, equity provides a consistent means of building wealth.

Buy At A Lower Price

The cost of home ownership may vary around the country, and while it’s certainly climbing in many urban centers, home prices are lower overall. This means that, instead of having to scrounge for a down payment, you’ll be able to invest a little less and maintain a better bank balance.

Cue The Tax Breaks

Many people hold off on home ownership because of the costs of property tax and maintenance, but there are financial boons outside of the money you invest. When tax time comes, you can receive tax deductions for costs like mortgage interest, property taxes and even private mortgage insurance that make buying in a little easier to bear.

Own A Rental Property

Whether you are a first-time buyer or you’ve delved into the market before, having a home in an up-and-coming neighborhood can also be an option, as this will enable you to rent it out and reap the financial rewards. While this may be a more feasible option later on in life, it can be a means of substantial additional income.

Many people hold off on owning a home because of all the associated costs, but it can be of benefit to buy into the market earlier to reap the financial rewards. If you are currently considering home ownership, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Understanding ‘PITI’ and What Goes in to Your Monthly Payments

Understanding 'PITI' and What Goes in to Your Monthly PaymentsAsk any friend or family member that owns a home and they will share that it takes a bit of management to keep all the expenses under control. Let’s explore the concept of PITI and why it is vital to have a clear picture of how much your home is costing you each month.

Just What Is PITI, Anyway?

PITI is an acronym that stands for “principal, interest, taxes and insurance,” which are the four main components that make up your housing costs.

Principal – this is the amount that you are paying against the total amount that you borrowed when you purchased the home. For example, if you used a mortgage to cover $200,000 of the home’s purchase price, the remaining balance of that $200,000 is the principal. A part of your monthly mortgage payment goes to paying down the principal.

Interest – this is the extra cost that the lender charges for the service of lending you the principal amount. For most mortgages, you will see this expressed as an “interest rate” which is a small percent charged on the loan. A portion of your monthly mortgage payment goes to paying down the interest owed.

Taxes – tax costs are not included in your monthly mortgage payment, but will be added by your lender as part of your yearly expenses when calculating your debt-to-income ratio (see below). Property taxes and other assessments will need to be paid each year.

Insurance – this is the cost of insuring your mortgage and your home. Like taxes, your mortgage lender will typically include some insurance costs in your DTI ratio calculation.

How Lenders Use PITI

Many mortgage lenders use some form of PITI calculation when determining your debt-to-income ratio. This ratio helps the lender understand your ability to manage your monthly mortgage payments without being at risk of missing one. The lower the ratio, the more likely you can afford all your monthly expenses.

Don’t Forget Your Other Monthly Expenses

Finally, don’t forget that along with PITI you will have a variety of other monthly expenses that need to be budgeted for. Leave some space for utilities, repairs and other renovations that need to be made throughout the year.

Once you have the full picture of what is coming in and going out each month, managing your expenses is easy. When you are ready to discuss or apply for a mortgage, get in touch with us. Our friendly team of mortgage professionals is happy to help.

3 Ways That a Reverse Mortgage Can Transform Your Retirement

3 Ways That a Reverse Mortgage Can Transform Your RetirementAre you a retired individual looking for ways to increase your financial security? If so, you may have heard of a home equity conversion mortgage, more commonly known as a reverse mortgage. Used correctly, this is one of the most effective financial products for retirees who own their home.

Let’s explore three ways that a reverse mortgage can help to transform a dull retirement into one filled with excitement.

It’s All About Flexibility

The primary benefit that one receives with a reverse mortgage is financial flexibility. It is an excellent way to tap into the equity that has built up in your home over time without having to sell the house and move out. Moreover, unlike a traditional home loan, the payment terms are far more flexible. In many cases, payments are not required until you are ready to leave the home permanently.

An Extra Source Of Income

Is your lifestyle starting to suffer because you do not have a regular salary coming in for you and your partner? Regardless of how much you have saved in 401-k and other retirement accounts, losing that regular monthly income can be depressing.

The good news: a reverse mortgage can help to change that. The funds you receive can be used however you want. You can invest in renovations for your home, take a nice vacation, invest in the stock market or simply leave it in your bank account. It is a helpful ‘bridge’ income source that will ensure that you have no trouble taking care of life’s many expenses.

A Contingency Fund, Just ‘In Case’

Finally, a reverse mortgage can be an excellent contingency fund. If you take this out as a line of credit, the money will be available if and when it is needed. Many retired individuals lack a financial ‘safety net’ and end up suffering due to unexpected health issues or other costs. With a reverse mortgage, you can sleep soundly knowing that emergency cash is there if needed.

As you can see, taking advantage of a reverse mortgage can be the catalyst that helps take your retirement to the next level. To learn more about these unique financial products, contact us today. We are happy to share how a reverse mortgage can benefit you and your family.

Mortgage 101: How Interest-Only Mortgages Work and Why They’re A Good Solution for Some Buyers

Mortgage 101: How Interest-Only Mortgages Work and Why They're A Good Solution for Some BuyersWhether you’re a first-time homebuyer or an experienced real estate investor, if you are planning to borrow funds to buy a home you will want to choose the right mortgage product. In today’s blog post we’ll explore how interest-only mortgages work and why they’re the perfect choice for some homebuyers.

How Interest-Only Mortgages Differ From Conventional Ones

As the name suggests, interest-only mortgages are loans where you are only required to pay off the interest portion of the loan each month for some specific term. The length of these loans can be up to ten years, although five or seven is the most common. Once this period is over, you will have some options. Some choose to refinance their mortgage into a new term; others will make a lump-sum payment to pay off the balance. The most important item of note is that during the interest-only period, no principal is paid off unless you pay a bit extra.

The Pros And Cons Of Interest-Only Mortgages

Interest-only mortgages are a popular choice because of their many upsides. Your monthly payments are almost certainly going to be far lower during the interest-only period. This is because you’re not responsible for paying down the principal of the loan. A lower monthly payment frees up money that you can use for other purposes, such as investing. Also, your entire monthly payment during the interest-only period should be tax deductible, which may contribute to a refund each year.

Note that there are some potential downsides to interest-only mortgages as well. For example, if your mortgage interest rate is adjustable, you can end up paying more in interest than if you had locked in. You also need to stay disciplined financially. Once the interest-only period ends, your monthly payment may increase significantly to cover both interest and principal.

Who Should Consider An Interest-Only Mortgage?

Interest-only mortgages are a good fit for those individuals or families where you are confident that your income is going to grow significantly in five or ten years. Alternatively, if your income is somewhat sporadic and you want the option of paying lower payments in some months and more substantial payments in others. The key point is that these mortgages offer flexibility that other mortgage products do not.

As you can see, interest-only mortgages are an excellent choice in certain circumstances. To learn more about how an interest-only mortgage might be right for you, contact our professional mortgage team today. We are happy to share our experience to find mortgage financing that perfectly suits your needs.