What is an FHA Streamline Refinance?

October 19, 2021

What is an FHA Streamline Refinance?FHA borrowers have an exceptional program available to them called the FHA streamline refinance. It’s a simple way to get a lower mortgage payment and/or lower rate, but it’s not for everyone.

Read this guide to learn all about FHA streamline refinance and how it works.

What is an FHA Streamline Refinance?

The FHA streamline refinance allows FHA borrowers to skip most underwriting tasks including income and credit verification. It’s a simplified way to get a lower rate or change your loan’s term to get a more predictable payment.

Who is Eligible?

To be eligible for the FHA streamline refinance, you must be a current FHA borrower with a current loan. To qualify, you must meet these requirements:

  • Have an on-time payment history of at least 12 months
  • You must have owned the home for at least 210 days (6 mortgage payments)
  • Show you benefit from the refinance

The on-time payment history shows lenders you can afford a higher mortgage payment with a higher rate and/or riskier terms. Since the streamline refinance should lower your payment or improve your term, it should be even easier to afford the loan.

You must prove there is a net tangible benefit to refinancing. This could mean a lower payment, lower interest rate, or refinancing from an ARM to a fixed-rate term. It must make sense for you to refinance to qualify.

How Does it Work?

If you use the non-credit qualifying version of the FHA streamline refinance, you may not have to verify your credit score or credit history. Some lenders may check it though, so always make sure your credit is in good standing.

If you aren’t sure, pull your credit reports and see if there is any negative credit history you should fix before applying. Look specifically for any late mortgage payments, late consumer payments (credit cards, personal loans, etc.), or overextended credit (using up over 30% of your credit lines).

Most lenders don’t verify your income or employment and you won’t need a new appraisal. Lenders use the value from your original appraisal to determine your LTV and eligibility for the loan.

Most FHA streamline refinance loans close much faster than a traditional refinance because of the smaller documentation and verification requirements.

FHA Mortgage Insurance Refunds

Another great aspect of the FHA streamline refinance is the FHA upfront MIP refund. You’re eligible for the refund from 6 months after taking out your FHA loan up until 36 months. You’ll earn a prorated refund each month.

For example:

  • Month 6 – 70% refund
  • Month 12 – 58% refund
  • Month 18 – 46% refund
  • Month 24 – 34% refund
  • Month 36 – 10% refund

This refund directly lowers the amount of upfront MIP you owe at the closing, lowering your closing costs.

Final Thoughts

The FHA streamline refinance is great for current FHA borrowers who want to take advantage of today’s low rates or better terms. It’s a simple program that most borrowers qualify for as long as they have an on-time payment history and can show they benefit from the refinance.

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

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.

Keep Your Home Free From Clutter With These Helpful Unpacking Tips

October 15, 2021

Keep Your Home Free From Clutter With These Helpful Unpacking TipsThe thrill of purchasing a new home is unparalleled; however, once you close on the sale, the dreaded unpacking process begins. You probably did not realize just how much stuff you had until you had to pack it all up. Worse yet, you need to unpack it when you get to your new home. If you don’t unpack intelligently, your new home could end up disorganized and full of clutter. With this in mind, how can you unpack without leading to a tremendous amount of clutter in your home?

Get Rid Of Items You Do Not Need

As you go through the boxes, ask yourself if you are actually going to need the items as you unpack them. If you do not need them, consider donating them to a local charity. Just because you brought it with you does not mean that you need to keep them. Evaluate the items in your boxes, and discard them when not needed.

Unpack Room By Room

Hopefully, you labeled your boxes as you packed them up, so this is a perfect time to organize your items before you open the boxes. Furthermore, it is faster to carry the boxes to the individual rooms than to carry the individual items to their designated locations one at a time. If you unpack room by room, you can ensure every item has a place (and that every item is in its place).

Take Advantage Of Organizers

While unpacking your boxes is half the battle, the other half is using organizers to keep your belongings in the right spots. There are plenty of organizers you can use to keep your items in the right locations. Examples include bins, boxes, and trays. You can use them to organize your storage spaces, drawers, and closets. You can even use wire organizers that prevent your cords from creating trip hazards. Use every tool available to keep your rooms organized.

Prevent Clutter From Developing In Your Home

There are a lot of homes that develop a significant amount of clutter during the unpacking process, but your home does not have to look this way! When you start to unload those boxes, put these tips to work for you!

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

October 14, 2021

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

October 13, 2021

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

October 12, 2021

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.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 11, 2021

October 11, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - October 11, 2021Last week’s scheduled economic news included readings on public and private-sector jobs and the national unemployment rate. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also published.

Non-Farm Payrolls: Jobs Growth Dips Sharply in September

U.S. jobs growth dipped sharply in September according to the federal government’s Non-Farm Payrolls report. 194,000 public and private sector jobs were added and fell far short of the expected reading of 500,000 jobs added. 366,000 public and private sector jobs were added in August. Hiring lagged as continuing concerns over Covid kept workers at home. Less hiring at public schools reduced September’s jobs growth at a time when schools traditionally hire for the upcoming school year.

ADP reported 568,000 private-sector jobs added in September; analysts expected 425,0000 jobs added based on 340,000 private-sector jobs added in August. In related news, the national unemployment rate fell to 4.80 percent in September as compared to August’s jobless rate of 5.20 percent. Analysts expected the national unemployment rate to drop to 5.10 percent in September.

Mortgage Rates Mixed, Jobless Claims Fall

Fixed mortgage rates fell last week as the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell two basis points to 2.99 percent; rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by five basis points on average to 2.23 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose by four basis points to 2.52 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages

New and continuing jobless claims fell last week as 326,000 initial jobless claims were filed as compared to the previous week’s reading of 364,000 first-time claims filed. Analysts expected 345,000 initial jobless claim filings. 2.71 million continuing jobless claims were filed last week as compared to the previous week’s reading of 2.81 million ongoing jobless claims filed.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings on inflation, retail sales, and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be published.


Baby on the Way? Helpful Advice for Managing a Mortgage With Only One Parent Working

October 8, 2021

Baby on the Way? Helpful Advice for Managing a Mortgage With Only One Parent WorkingIf you’re dealing with paying off your mortgage and going down to a one-income family, it can be complicated to determine how to financially swing it. However, becoming a parent and managing a mortgage are quite common nowadays with maternity leave and the modern family. While managing a mortgage on just one salary can be a challenge, there are a few simple things you can do to make it work.

Buy The House You Can Afford

It may sound much too simple, but many people get so wrapped up in the concept of a dream home that they forget about what makes the cost of it manageable from month to month. While affordability is important, it becomes even more important when you’re dealing with one income, so ensure you have a monthly payment that you can pay off with one salary. Even if interest rates shift or an emergency comes up, you’ll still be able to handle your monthly payment.

Create A Budget

Budget may very well be the dreaded ‘b’ word when it comes to finances, but there is nothing that’s going to be a better friend to you in managing a one-income mortgage than sticking to it. Instead of leaving your expenses to chance, make sure that you’ve set aside the appropriate funds for your mortgage, groceries, car payments or transportation, necessities and any extras that go along with living. Keep in mind that while starting a budget is good, you may want to schedule weekly meetings to ensure you’re sticking to it.

Maintain An Emergency Fund

Since it may be a struggle to pay off your mortgage and pay for day-to-day life on one salary, it’s important that you’re prepared for any emergencies that come up. Because these will be the things that arise that can sink your budget, like your car breaking down or a window needing to be replaced, you should be setting aside money each month to cover the incidentals. Tossing aside your budget for an emergency can have serious financial implications, so be prepared for what can arise.

It goes without saying that managing a mortgage on one income can be a challenge in this day and age, but this is a situation that many families find themselves in when they decide to have children. If you’re currently trying to determine how you’ll be able to manage your mortgage on one income, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

Exploring Asbestos Prevention And The Top Green Alternatives

October 7, 2021

Exploring Asbestos Prevention And The Top Green AlternativesHouses across the country come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are older than others, so they might come with aspects that are a bit outdated. Unfortunately, there are a lot of locations where older homes might still have asbestos in them. While this should be something that comes up on the inspection, buyers need to be aware of these serious issues. If the home was built before 1980, there is a major chance that the building might have asbestos in it. Fortunately, there are alternatives to this type of insulation.

Where Is Asbestos Found In The Home?

There are a number of locations where asbestos might be hiding in the home. For example, asbestos is commonly found in the floors, in the pipes, in popcorn ceilings, and even in the roof. It was used throughout the 20th century because it is thin and strong; however, it can easily be inhaled in the lungs, where it can cause severe lung damage. In some cases, it might even cause mesothelioma, which is a severe respiratory condition that usually has a poor prognosis.

What To Do About Asbestos In The Home

If there is asbestos in the home, or if there are concerns, a home inspector needs to come and take a look at the situation. He or she will be able to recommend the best course of action. If the asbestos is not removed correctly, the fibers could be tossed into the air, where they might harm other people. In many cases, the asbestos needs to be removed by a contractor who has specific training to remove it safely. The most important thing for homeowners to remember is that they need to work with a licensed professional.

Exploring Potential Green Alternatives To Asbestos Insulation

Now, there are new construction practices that use alternatives to asbestos. For example, lcynene, cellulose, and cotton fiber could be used as green alternatives to asbestos. They are a healthy alternative and they could help homeowners reduce their energy expenses. Homeowners need to work with professionals who can help them save money and protect their health when it comes to the insulation in their homes. There are multiple green options available.

Getting Your Mortgage Application Approved As A Self-Employed, First-Time Homebuyer

October 6, 2021

Getting Your Mortgage Application Approved As A Self-Employed, First-Time HomebuyerA significant number of people are self-employed, which means they might be relying on this income to apply for a mortgage. It is true that people who are self-employed may face additional challenges when trying to get approved for a home loan when compared to someone with traditional W2 income, these are obstacles that can be overcome. With the right qualifications and documentation, even first-time homebuyers who are self-employed should be able to qualify for the home loan they need.

Lenders Assess Someone’s Ability To Repay The Loan

First, lenders are trying to make sure the person will repay the loan. Lenders believe that someone with W2 income has a stable job and a guaranteed salary, which means they are more likely to repay the loan; however, someone who is self-employed has other ways of demonstrating that he or she can repay the loan. Self-employed individuals can use tax returns, payroll receipts, and records from financial institutions that serve as documentation of the applicant’s income or assets. This means standard W2 forms and pay stubs might no longer be necessary.

Navigating Eligibility Requirements

Next, self-employed individuals need to meet the eligibility requirements. This includes two years of self-employment, a reliable income, a strong credit score with a clean credit report, cash for a down payment, and a low debt to income ratio. It is possible for a first-time homebuyer to get a loan for less than five percent down; however, closing costs can be significant. Realistically, first-time homebuyers should plan on spending close to five percent of the home’s value to get approved for a first-time home loan.

Understanding Mortgage Options

Finally, self-employed first-time homebuyers should be aware that there are multiple loan options available. For example, there are FHA and VA loans for those who qualify. USDA loans and jumbo loans might also be an option. There are bank statement mortgages and conventional options available as well. Self-employed individuals might have to visit several of these programs to see which ones work the best. The programs vary in terms of their down payment, minimum credit score, and credit history requirements. It is prudent to work with a professional loan officer who has experience helping self-employed, first-time homebuyers get approved.