Buying a New Home? Four Key Questions to Ask Your Mortgage Advisor

Buying a New Home? Four Key Questions to Ask Your Mortgage AdvisorAre you in the market for a new home? If you are planning on borrowing some or most of the home’s purchase price, you’ll want to prepare yourself for the mortgage process. Let’s take a look at four key questions that you will want to ask your mortgage professional when you first meet to discuss your home loan.

What’s The Best Mortgage Option For Me?

As you probably know, there is a wide variety of mortgage loan options and programs on the market today. You may qualify for a number of mortgage loans along with certain government programs or specialty mortgages. Your mortgage advisor will be able to share the pros and cons of each type of mortgage loan so you can decide which option best suits you.

What Interest Rate And Amortization Period Fit My Budget?

Next, you’ll want to determine what loan term and interest rate combine to produce a monthly payment that fits your budget. For example, in some cases, you may prefer a lower interest rate over a longer amortization period like 15 or 20 years, which can reduce the amount you pay each month. Conversely, you may decide that you want to pay the loan down faster and take a shorter term with a slightly higher interest rate.

What Fees And Closing Costs Will I Incur?

When you borrow a mortgage to buy a home, you will inevitably incur some additional costs and fees. Some are connected to the home itself, such as home inspection or home appraisal fees. Others are due to the mortgage and might include loan origination fees or discount points that you choose to buy to lower your interest rate. Your mortgage advisor will be able to give you an honest assessment of what fees you’ll need to pay and which you can potentially avoid.

What Documents And Paperwork Do I Need To Prepare?

Finally, you’ll want to get an idea of what documents and other paperwork that you’ll need to prepare. Your mortgage lender will require a number of items to verify your income, credit history and for risk assessment purposes. This might include past income tax forms, pay stubs, bank statements or other materials if you’re self-employed.

These are just a few of the talking points you’ll want to cover when you first meet your mortgage advisor. For more information about the mortgage process and to get things started, contact us today. Our mortgage team is happy to share our insight and answer any questions you might have.

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How to Use a Mortgage to Buy a Home After Going Through a Bankruptcy

How to Use a Mortgage to Buy a Home After Going Through a BankruptcyWhile it is sometimes the best option to get your finances repaired, the bankruptcy and following discharge period can be tough. However, while it may delay things for a couple of years, the good news is that even a bankruptcy won’t stop you from borrowing a mortgage to buy a home. In today’s article, we will share some insight into how you can get a mortgage loan after going through bankruptcy.

Step 1: Get A Professional Credit Assessment

Once your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy has been discharged, you will be required to wait for at least two years before you’re able to take out a mortgage. During this time, it is a good idea to sit down with a credit professional and get an assessment. Individuals and families with a bankruptcy on their credit file are going to go through a bit of extra scrutiny when taking out future loans. So spend a bit of time working on cleaning up your credit.

Step 2: Figure Out Your Monthly Budget

As you move closer to buying a home, you will want to start living off of a monthly budget. This will help to ensure that you are always prepared for your monthly mortgage payments and aren’t left short of cash when payment time comes. A budget can be as simple as a spreadsheet listing your monthly sources of income and expenses. Alternatively, you can use iPhone or Android apps which help to make budget tracking easier.

Step 3: Get Your Down Payment Saved Up

You will also need to start saving for the down payment that you’ll place on your home. The amount that you will need depends on a variety of factors including the city you’re buying in, the size of the home and much more. If you’re unsure about this, contact us and we’ll share some insight.

Step 4: Maintain Your Spending Discipline Until It’s Buying Time

Finally, it’s worth noting that you will need to be very disciplined in the period between your bankruptcy discharge and your mortgage application. Your credit report has to stay clean so that your mortgage lender does not doubt your ability to pay.

Don’t get discouraged if you have some work ahead of you to get your credit repaired. With a little time and effort, you can put your bankruptcy behind you and move on as a happy homeowner. To learn more about the financing process and to discuss your options, contact our team of mortgage professionals today. We’re here to help.

It’s Pre-approval Time: How to Get Your Finances in Order for Your Mortgage Approval

It's Pre-approval Time: How to Get Your Finances in Order for Your Mortgage ApprovalBuying a new home is one of the most exciting experiences a person or family can have. Of course, before you can step foot into your new dream home you will need to get prepared financially, especially if you are taking out a mortgage to cover some of the purchase price. Let’s take a look at a few key steps that will help you to prepare for the financial background checks that are part of the mortgage process.

Square Up With The Government

The first place you’ll want to start is making sure that you are fully caught up on any income or other taxes. Rest assured that your lender will be checking your financial history and being behind on government payments is a significant red flag. Make a quick call to the IRS or visit them online to check on your status and verify that you’re fully paid up.

Scrub Your Credit History Clean

Next, you will want to check in with the major credit reporting agencies to get a copy of your credit report. Your credit or FICO score is an important indicator that suggests your risk level and creditworthiness. However, any unpaid or delinquent amounts on your report are equally as important as they can signal that you may have skipped out on debts in the past. Check for any red flags on your credit report and work with the agencies to get them challenged or removed

Get Your Down Payment Saved Up

You’ll also want to have your down payment amount saved and ready for use. Your mortgage lender will want to know how much of your savings you’re contributing to the overall purchase price. Also, if you’re committing less than 20 percent down you may be required to purchase private mortgage insurance.

Have All Your Paperwork Ready

Finally, check in with your mortgage lender to find out what paperwork you’ll need to bring in for your approval meeting. Recent W-2 or tax returns, pay stubs and financial asset information is a good place to start. Your lender may have other requirements so check in to find out what’s needed or give us a call and we can share some insight.

These are just a few of the tasks that you’ll complete on the path to securing your mortgage financing and buying your new home. For more information on the mortgage process or to start your pre-approval, contact us today.

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.

You Ask, We Answer: What Are the Fees and Costs That Come Along With a Mortgage?

You Ask, We Answer: What Are the Fees and Costs That Come Along With a Mortgage?Have you been considering a mortgage for your next home purchase? As with any loan or financial product, there are a variety of fees and costs you may incur in the process of closing your mortgage. In today’s post, we’ll explore a few of these potential fees and the situations in which you may encounter them. Let’s get started!

Title Insurance Costs

You’re almost certainly going to incur insurance fees and charges. In most cases, you’ll need to pay for title insurance for the lender, which is based on the purchase price of the home but varies from state to state. This protects the lender if something is missed during the title search, which shows whether or not there are any liens on the property.

Mortgage Underwriting Fees

Depending on the lender, you may or may not be assessed an underwriting fee. When you apply for a mortgage, there’s an intense amount of research required to determine the types of mortgage products that you qualify for and the amount of financing you can afford. This fee covers the costs involved in conducting this research. This may also be referred to as the ‘origination fee’ or included within it.

The Closing Fee

As mentioned above, there are title costs associated with finalizing your home purchase. As the name suggests, the closing fee covers the cost of having a representative from the title company present at the final ‘closing’ of the deal. This professional supervises the formal legal transfer of the home from the previous owner to you.

Legal And Attorney’s Fees

Speaking of legal, in most states you will require an attorney for some part of the closing process. This may or may not be related to the mortgage financing itself. For example, in some states, you will need to have an attorney present when you finalize the mortgage paperwork. In others, you’ll only need them for other parts of the purchase transaction.

Other Miscellaneous Costs

Finally, there are a handful of less common fees and costs that you might incur. These range from courier fees to get documents moved around the city to bank and wire fees to transfer your down payment.

While the list above may look like a lot, in the grand scheme of your total mortgage cost you won’t even notice most of these fees. For more information about mortgage fees or to apply for financing, contact our friendly team of mortgage professionals today. We’re happy to help.

Understanding the Differences Between ‘Prequalified’ And ‘Preapproved’ For a Mortgage

Understanding the Differences Between 'Prequalified' And 'Preapproved' For a MortgageAre you in the market for a new home? If you are going to rely on mortgage financing to cover some of the purchase cost, you will need to start the application process as soon as possible. However, what if you just need to know how much you will be able to borrow so you can start finding homes in your price range?

Let’s take a quick look at the difference between being ‘prequalified’ and ‘preapproved’ for mortgage financing.

The Process Starts With Prequalification

The first step in obtaining mortgage financing is to speak with a mortgage professional to get prequalified. After sharing some quick information about your financial assets, income, and any debts, your advisor will share a range of financing options and amounts that you may qualify for. Prequalification is typically done free of charge and either in person or over the phone.

Note that your mortgage lender will not be doing any digging in the prequalification stage. There’s no credit check and no hard look at your assets. Don’t get too excited if you are prequalified for a large mortgage as you will still need to be approved.

Once You Are Preapproved, You Are All Set

Preapproval, on the other hand, is a firm commitment to access to a certain level of mortgage financing. Your mortgage lender will require a variety of information to get an idea of your financial situation, your current and future employment, your level of risk and more. Once they have a good idea of how much mortgage you can afford, you will be provided with a conditional commitment letter. This letter outlines how much the lender is willing to offer to you as well as other vital information like your mortgage loan interest rate.

Speed Up The Process By Preparing Beforehand

Finally, it is worth a mention that you can speed up the mortgage process by having all of your application paperwork ready before the initial meeting. Gather up your most recent income tax returns, pay stubs and bank statements. If you have investments or other financial assets, document those. You will also want to be up front about any outstanding debts that you are paying off. The more prepared you are, the faster the application and pre-approval process will go.

Have you found the home of your dreams? Our team of mortgage professionals are ready to help you finance it. Contact us today and we will be happy to assist you with getting both prequalified and approved for a mortgage.

Closing Costs 101: Expert Tips for Keeping Your Costs Down When Finalizing Your Mortgage

Closing Costs 101: Expert Tips for Keeping Your Costs Down When Finalizing Your MortgageAre you thinking about buying a new home? If you are going to make use of mortgage financing, you may be wondering about some of the costs attached. As you may have heard, all mortgages have a number of fees and other costs that are assessed at the “close,” or when you finalize the loan. Let’s take a look at a few expert tips that will help you to keep your closing costs to a minimum when you take out your next mortgage.

Aim For Zero-Closing-Cost Options If Possible

One question that you will want to ask your potential mortgage lender is whether or not they offer a low-cost or zero-cost option. What this means is that rather than you paying the closing costs, the lender pays them on your behalf. While the upside is that you aren’t stuck with a hefty bill when you are approved for your mortgage, the downside is that you are likely to have a higher interest rate over the life of your mortgage.

Get The Right Mortgage Loan To Suit Your Needs

Another way to ensure that you keep your closing costs down is to opt for the right mortgage. There are a lot of options open to you in today’s mortgage marketplace and navigating them to choose the right one can be tough. There are FHA-guaranteed loans, VA loans, USDA loans, traditional bank financing and a lot more. As each type of mortgage comes with its own set of closing costs, choosing the best one to suit your needs can limit the amount you will need to pay.

Lock In Your Mortgage Interest Rate

Finally, don’t forget that most mortgage lenders will offer a “rate lock.” This means that you can have a particular mortgage rate frozen for a set period. This might be 15, 30 or even 60 days depending on the terms of your mortgage. Using a rate lock can ensure that you keep a lower mortgage rate, even if interest rates were to change significantly in the meantime.

There you have it – three tips that you can use to ensure that you keep your closing costs to a minimum when taking out your next mortgage. For more information about local mortgage options and insight into today’s interest rates, contact your mortgage professional today.

First-time Buyers: Boost Your Chances of Mortgage Pre-approval With These 4 Tips

First-time Buyers: Boost Your Chances of Mortgage Pre-approval With These 4 TipsBuying a home for the first time? If you plan on taking out a mortgage, you will likely want to know just how you can get pre-approved for enough financing to get the home of your dreams. In today’s post, we will share four tips that will help you to boost your chances of a successful pre-approval when you apply for a mortgage.

Polish Up Your Credit Score

It should come as no surprise that your credit score is one area every mortgage lender is going to inspect. Order a copy of your credit report and be sure to go over any outstanding items in detail. Are there any old or retired debts on there that need to be removed? Or do you have any outstanding black marks that will need to be explained? If necessary, take the next step and visit a credit repair specialist to get things polished up.

It’s Best To Apply When You’re Employed

While it’s not mandatory to have a job to get a mortgage, you will certainly need to demonstrate that you have enough income to afford to make your monthly payments. Waiting until you (and your spouse or partner, if applicable) are gainfully employed will go a long way in making your lender feel confident about your repayment ability.

Don’t Take Out Any Major Loans

Of course, you will want to avoid taking out any significant loans around the time you’re applying for a mortgage. Every lender will want you to demonstrate your ability to manage your debts. So if you’re trying to get a car loan, student loan and mortgage at the same time, you’re not likely to be successful.

Maintain At Least 3 Months Of Spending Cash

Finally, many lenders will want to see that you have at least three months’ worth of cash saved up. This is so that you can continue to make your mortgage payments on time, even if something unfortunate were to happen. If possible, it’s good to have as large a safety net as is possible. If you’re able to put six months of mortgage payments aside, don’t hesitate. You can even invest the funds in some low-risk or guaranteed investment and they will grow over time.

The mortgage pre-approval process is not meant to be scary or intimidating. In fact, it’s an excellent time to give yourself a financial tune-up before purchasing your new home. For more information about mortgage options, contact your trusted mortgage professional today.

Is It Possible to Get a Mortgage With Less-than-Perfect Credit? Yes – and Here’s How

Is It Possible to Get a Mortgage With Less-than-Perfect Credit? Yes – and Here's HowAre you thinking about buying a new house? Whether you’re a first-time or experienced buyer, if your credit score isn’t looking too hot it can affect how much mortgage financing you receive – or whether you’re approved at all! But don’t fret. It’s still possible to get a mortgage approved, even with credit issues. Below we’ll share a few ways that you can get a mortgage loan even if your credit is less than perfect.

Consider An FHA-Guaranteed Mortgage

For many individuals with credit issues, the Federal Housing Administration’s guaranteed loan programs are a good choice. In essence, the FHA guarantees your mortgage with select lenders, which allows them to worry less about the risk of lending to someone with past credit problems. It’s worth noting that FHA programs do come with some additional costs attached. Mortgage insurance may be assessed, which helps to protect the mortgage lender in case you default. And there may or may not be an additional monthly premium cost as well.

Do Everything You Can To Improve Your Credit Score

Before taking the next step and applying for a mortgage, you’ll want to ensure your FICO credit score is as high as possible. Call or visit the website of one of the major credit reporting agencies to get a copy of your credit report. You’ll want to review any outstanding issues on the report and eliminate anything that shouldn’t be there. For example, in the past, you may have had a credit card or small loan that went into collections yet is still in the report even though you paid it. Contact the credit agency to challenge anything that shouldn’t be on your report.

Don’t Stretch Beyond Your Means

If and when you’re approved for a mortgage, it’s critical to remember not to reach beyond your ability to pay the mortgage payments each month. Yes, it might seem like an excellent idea to get a larger or more luxurious house if a larger mortgage is offered to you. However, don’t forget that you’ll need to manage payments each month for many years and it’s tough to predict the future.

Try not to worry if you have a low credit or FICO score and you’re interested in buying a home. A great first step would be to contact your professional mortgage advisor. We’re here to help navigate the mortgage application process and can explain how your credit score will impact your chances.

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.