Posts Tagged ‘Mortgage’

How To Get Your Free Annual Credit Report And Why You Need It

October 18, 2019

How To Get Your Free Annual Credit Report And Why You Need ItYour credit report influences whether or not you’ll qualify for a mortgage and what kind of interest you’ll pay on that loan. This isn’t something you can safely ignore. Smart homebuyers understand the importance of monitoring credit scores and credit reports. Here is some information about how to get your credit report.

Free Credit Report Available

You’re entitled to free credit report, according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. You can get one free report each year from each of the three major credit bureaus; Experian, Equifax and Transunion.

The easiest way to get your free report is to go to AnnualCreditReport.com. This is the official site that was originally established by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. 

How To Get Your Free Credit Report

Once you reach the site, create an account by registering. Have as much of your available credit information available when you request your free credit report. The reason is because the site will need to verify that it’s actually you requesting the credit report. If you have your information at hand, it will be easier and faster to confirm your identity.

This is just a process that the site has in place to protect your identity from fraud. They might ask you things like past residences, past credit card companies, or something else. 

Why You Need To Get Your Free Annual Credit Report

When you apply for a home loan, the lender will pull your credit report and review it. They’ll look for signs that you are a good credit risk. Things they consider include how you handle your debt to income ratio, whether or not you pay your bills on time and if you have any negative notations on your credit report.

For this reason, you should look at your own credit report before applying for a mortgage. This gives you a chance to fix anything that is incorrect in your credit report and an opportunity to improve your credit report if it’s not in great shape. 

You Can Help Prevent Identity Fraud

Another important reason to review your free annual credit report is to prevent fraud. If you see anything unfamiliar on your report, such as loans you didn’t take out or balances for things you don’t recognize, you can immediately act on those issues so they don’t affect your chance at getting approved for a home loan.

Always be proactive when it comes to your credit history. By availing of your right to a free annual credit report, you can ensure that your credit is in as good as possible condition when you go to apply for a mortgage.

If you are looking for a new home or if you are interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss financing options.

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What Exactly Is Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)?

October 16, 2019

What Exactly Is Private Mortgage InsurancePMI, which is also called private mortgage insurance, is protect that the lender may ask the buyer to purchase. In the event that the buyer defaults on their home loan and the home enters foreclosure, the lender has a way to recoup their losses.

While the lender may not ask everyone to purchase PMI, there are some situations where the lender may ask the buyer to purchase this insurance policy to qualify for the loan.

Every lender is a little bit different; however, there are some trends throughout the industry. Most lenders ask the buyer to place a down payment of about 20 percent of the total price of the house. If the buyer is not able to put at least 20 percent down on a home, the loan is riskier for the lender. In this case, the lender may ask the buyer to purchase a PMI policy.

The Structure Of A PMI Payment

Typically, the PMI policy is paid in a monthly manner. It is included as a part of the total mortgage payment as the buyer pays the loan back to their lender. The positive news is that the buyer typically does not have to pay PMI for the life of the loan. Once the equity in the home reaches about 22 percent, the lender typically terminates PMI. 

In some situations, the buyer may be able to contact the lender and ask for PMI termination at an earlier date. Some people can negotiate this percentage or time period in advance of taking out the loan.

The Cost Of Private Mortgage Insurance

In general, the cost of a PMI policy is dependent on the value of the mortgage loan. It typically runs somewhere between 0.5 percent and 1 percent of the total value of the mortgage loan. Therefore, this can raise the monthly mortgage payment by a significant amount.

For example, if someone receives a $300,000 loan from the bank with a PMI policy of 1 percent, the buyer will have to pay an extra $3,000 per year as part of their mortgage payment. This is an extra $250 per month on their total payment. For some people, this additional cost might make their dream house unaffordable. 

Therefore, whenever possible, buyers should try to work with their trusted professional mortgage lender and look at options to avoid purchasing PMI. Every lender is a little bit different when it comes to private mortgage insurance.

More Home Loan Options Now Available For Borrowers With Bad Credit

October 3, 2019

More Home Loan Options Now Available For Borrowers With Bad CreditFor a long time after the real estate housing crisis in 2008, buyers with a poor credit history had a difficult time finding mortgage financing. It was a problem that trapped those seeking to buy a home because so many lost their homes from the inability to pay their mortgages.

Some suffered damage to their credit history that was severe. Millions filed for bankruptcy.

Not only did mortgage lending requirements get stricter for home buyers, but the funds available for home loans were also severely reduced. Even those with a good credit history found it more difficult to qualify for mortgage financing.

Time For A Second Chance

Now, there is a much better environment for homebuyers with a bad credit history who are seeking a loan. Those with a bankruptcy on their record, which was settled at least ten years ago, will see the bankruptcy taken off their credit history. Suddenly, their credit score may increase dramatically.

Unconventional Financing

Conventional financing is available for those with decent credit. This includes attractive terms and conditions for FHA loans and other federally-based loan programs. Those with bad credit may not qualify for these loans. If they want to buy a home, their only option is to use unconventional financing, also called non-qualified mortgages (non-QM).

Unconventional financing has higher costs and no federal insurance. In 2008, these non-QM loans were a total of $65 billion per year. In 2009, this figure dropped to $10 billion and, in 2010, the low of $8 billion.

Since 2010, the availability of these non-QM loans steadily increased. By 2018, the total amount of these loans was up to $45 billion. That figure will be higher in 2019.

Is There Another Real Estate Bubble Happening?

Are we back to where we were before when the real estate market collapsed in 2008? As far as the total amount of non-QM loans, we are close. However, the qualifying standards for these loans are stricter than a decade ago.

There is less predatory lending where borrowers who do not truly qualify get a no-doc loan without proving income. Before those predatory loans often had a teaser introductory rate that quickly escalated to an amount that made it impossible for the home buyer to continue to make their mortgage payments. There are fewer of these loans now.

Summary

Besides the big picture real-estate-bubble worries, the positive news is that borrowers with a poor credit history can now participate in the housing market again.

Be prudent when considering a mortgage and carefully think about the ability to make the monthly payments. Read all the details of the loan requirements carefully. Use competent professional advice from a trusted home mortgage professional to make sure there is a very clear understanding of the loan terms and conditions.

Expanding Opportunities For Home-Buying In ‘Opportunity Zones’

September 24, 2019

Expanding Opportunities For Home-Buying In 'Opportunity Zones'Opportunity Zones were created by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to encourage investors with capital gains on other investments to invest that money in low-income and undercapitalized communities. They get a reward of deferring capital gains tax. They avoid a portion of it altogether if they keep the investment for five years or longer. 

What started with a trickle of a few Opportunity Zones scattered around the country is now a deluge with over 3,000 approved Opportunity Zones approved in just about every part of America. 4,700 more areas may also qualify.

Opportunity Zones Expanded Dramatically

The very generous definition of Opportunity Zones not only includes poorer areas but it also includes wealthy areas within larger poor areas. Some are wealthier areas adjacent to poor areas. For example, there are Opportunity Zones in Manhattan, which is an area not typically thought of as low-income or undercapitalized.

Opportunities In Opportunity Zones

The tax incentives along with the current easy financing from real estate lenders are stimulating development projects in Opportunity Zones. Investors may increase returns on real-estate investments by up to 50% for projects in these areas. 

The highest returns, based on the tax savings, are for those that invest before the end of 2019 and hold the investment for seven years until 2026. They get a capital gains step-up of 15%. After that, the tax benefits go down to a capital gains step-up of 10%.

Homes In Opportunity Zones

Another attractive characteristic is that the price of single-family homes in many Opportunity Zones is a bargain. The median price of homes in almost half of the Opportunity Zones is less than $150,000. This compares favorably to the national median home price of $266,000. 

Moreover, homes in many Opportunity Zones are less than half the price of an adjacent area. The median rents in the Opportunity Zones are not as depressed as the home prices.

For real estate investors looking for cash-flow positive rental properties to acquire for a portfolio, these homes may rent for enough to pay the carrying costs.

For home buyers, these bargain prices may mean it pays to buy a home on the edge of an Opportunity Zone. If the home is adjacent to a nicer neighborhood, the upside potential for appreciation in home value may be enhanced.

Opportunities for low-cost homes exist in the Midwest, which has 73% of its Opportunity Zones with homes that cost below $150,000. The portion in the South is 57% and in the North East, it is 53%. Florida has over 300 Opportunity Zones. Pennsylvania has over 150. Tennessee has about 140. Those are states worth considering.

Summary

Looking for home-buying opportunities in newly-designated Opportunity Zones is attractive for real estate investors building up a portfolio of rental properties and for homebuyers who are looking for a bargained-price home.

If you are in the market for a new home or investment opportunity, be sure to contact your trusted mortgage professional to discuss current financing options.

How To Crowdfund A Renovation Project

September 20, 2019

How To Crowdfund A Renovation ProjectCrowdfunding came into prominence with the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act that President Obama signed into law during 2012 and subsequent enhancements. The JOBS Act made it easier for startups to raise money and for the first time allowed the legal ability to advertise the investments and accept small investors.

Innovate And Renovate

Crowdfunding is useful for many projects. The method raises money to create new products, make documentary films, and for many kinds of fashion items. Crowdfunding successfully raises money for real estate transactions. 

Smaller investors participate in real estate projects that they would otherwise not have enough investment money to create on their own. They may invest a few hundred or a few thousand dollars. When their smaller investment money combines with all the others, the project raises enough money.

One thing that makes crowdfunding projects work is their popularity. Affinity groups who have a special interest in certain things invest money in projects related to something that they like.

One application of this motivational factor is to raise money using crowdfunding to renovate buildings with a historical value or that otherwise attract the interest of the public. The process does not have to start with money. It can start with crowd sourcing ideas.

The CLUE® Mansion

A fun example is the Hasbro Company teamed up with Houzz to get innovative ideas from interior designers about how to renovate the CLUE® Mansion. The mansion is a backdrop for the popular board game.

This promotion celebrates the game’s 70th anniversary. The mansion’s style in the game stayed the same since the game debuted in 1949. The winning room designs, selected by fans, will be part of a new version of the game.

There is no reason to stop there. A real mansion can be renovated to match the game. This could be a CLUE® museum and could offer escape rooms as a money-making enterprise. This is just an idea at this moment. Perhaps, someone will take this up and run with it.

Crowdfunding Renovations

The point is, historic buildings that are of interest may need renovation funds that can be raised using crowdfunding. Those who have an interest in the building from the local community and elsewhere can support the project by investing in the renovation with a small comfortable amount.

Summary

Renovation projects are not easy to finance using traditional lenders. However, if a thousand people invest $100 each that is $100,000 for a renovation project in your community. Paying back the loan can come from a portion of the entrance fees.

Hopefully, this will spark continued interest in preserving and restoring historic homes, which are a terrific part of the American heritage.

If you are interested in learning more about current financing options, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional.

Simple Tips To Pay Off A Home Mortgage Loan Faster

June 26, 2019

It is a major life decision to buy a home and yet many do not consider how much they will pay on the interest over the life of the loan. All they usually think about is if they can afford to pay the monthly mortgage payments.

It is helpful to learn how different loan structures impact the amount of money wasted on the interest paid for a home loan. Here is a comparison of different loan lengths and payment options to show some helpful ways to reduce the total interest paid.

Standard 30-Year Fixed Mortgage

For a buyer who has a good credit history, purchasing a median-priced home with a significant down payment usually helps get the best mortgage financing. A standard 30-year mortgage on a home requires 360 monthly payments to pay off the loan.

The total cost of the loan includes paying back the principal amount borrowed and all the interest. Over 30 years, the total interest paid can be as much as one-third or more of the principal amount borrowed, depending on the loan interest rate.

Standard 15-Year Fixed Mortgage

Comparing a standard 30-year fixed mortgage with a standard 15-year mortgage shows a surprising result. The differences are that the length of the loan term is less and the monthly mortgage payments are higher. A standard 15-year mortgage on a home requires 180 monthly payments to pay off the loan.

The shorter loan period may reduce the total interest paid to less than one-half of a 30-year mortgage, depending on the loan interest rate. The savings can be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Payment Techniques That Save Money

Simple Tips To Pay Off A Home Mortgage Loan FasterA simple way to save money is to pay an extra monthly payment each year and ask the lender to apply the extra payment to reduce the principal amount owed. On a 30-year mortgage, the loan pay-off date is more than two and one-half years sooner, reducing the total interest paid by about 10% percent.

A smaller savings amount is possible without even needing to pay more, just by paying more frequently. Instead of paying a mortgage once per month, make arrangements with the lender to pay half the monthly mortgage payment twice per month. The amount the lender receives monthly, in the two payments, totals the same amount that the lender would receive in one payment.

This technique works because there is a daily calculation of mortgage interest. By making payments more frequently, there are fewer days of use for some of the loaned funds. This tiny change in periodic repayments can be a nice way to save a few thousand extra dollars over the life of a loan.

In addition, since there are 26 two-week periods in one year, you’re getting an extra payment in over the longer months in the year. So you’re paying the equivalent of 13 monthly payments instead of 12. You might not feel it as much since you’re likely making more money in the longer months as well.

If you’d like to do this strategy and the lender won’t accept bi-weekly payments, then just divide the principal and interest portion of your mortgage payment by 12 and add that amount to each regular monthly payment. You’ll save a ton of interest over the life of the loan!

Summary

Think about interest paid as money that could have a better purpose. Choosing a shorter loan period for a home mortgage and increasing the mortgage payment frequency are important things to consider for the savings that they can produce.

Be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional for answers to all of your financing related questions.

What Is A Reverse Mortgage?

June 12, 2019

What Is A Reverse MortgageA reverse mortgage is a way to use the equity value that built up in a home to improve the quality of life for those who have appropriate circumstances when they reach the retirement age of 62 or older. With a reverse mortgage, a person continues to live in their own home and retains the title to it but does not have to make any monthly reverse mortgage payments.

A reverse mortgage may be helpful; however, not everyone qualifies for one. The benefits come with disadvantages as well. Here is a list of the advantages and the disadvantages for reverse mortgages.

Be sure to discuss this option with a qualified professional when thinking about a reverse mortgage before making any commitment.

Reverse Mortgage Advantages

  • Reverse mortgage funds may be used to pay off an existing home loan balance. The funds may be taken out in a lump sum or paid in monthly installments for a certain period.
  • The reverse mortgage creates a lien on the home but does not require any monthly loan principal or interest payments. This continues as long as the person lives in the home and takes care of it (paying the property taxes, home insurance, HOA fees, etc.)
  • Usually, a reverse mortgage has no effect on social security payments or Medicare benefits. It does not usually cause any tax consequences because it is a loan structure, not income.
  • If repayment of the loan happens at some point, any equity remaining is still available to the homeowner for any purpose, such as giving something to heirs.
  • It is a non-recourse obligation. There is no personal liability to repay the reverse mortgage loan if the equity value in the home is not sufficient to pay it off.

Reverse Mortgage Considerations

  • Since a reverse mortgage has no payments, the loan balance increases and the interest accumulates over time.
  • A reverse mortgage reduces the equity in the home that would otherwise be available to heirs. If the remaining equity exceeds the loan, the home can be sold off to repay the loan and the balance can then go to the heirs.
  • Medicaid eligibility or disability payments (SSI) may be affected.
  • A reverse mortgage loan becomes immediately due if certain things happen, such as the death of the homeowner, the homeowner vacates the house for six months or more for a non-medial reason and 12 months or more for a medical reason. It becomes due if the home is no longer the principal residence of the reverse mortgage borrower.
  • The loan is immediately due if the homeowner does not pay the property taxes, home insurance premiums, HOA fees, and other things necessary to maintain the home.

Summary

A reverse mortgage is a special financial tool that needs to be used only when appropriate. Typical rates for these loans may be higher than standard home equity lines of credit and other traditional home-refinancing options. Consider all the details very carefully before and as always, consult with your trusted home finance professional to get the best advice for your unique situation.

Can I Qualify For A Mortgage Without W-2 Income?

May 7, 2019

Can I Qualify For A Mortgage Without W-2 IncomeIt’s more common these days to have non-traditional income that doesn’t fall into the W-2 category. Many people work in what is referred to as the “gig economy,” where income might come from a variety of freelance sources.

Other times, people don’t have W-2 income because they are retired or have an independent source of wealth that generates interest income. Still other times, an individual may own their own business and take draws instead of a paycheck. In all these cases, it might seem impossible to qualify for a mortgage, since there’s no W-2 income. 

Lenders Are Understanding

Thankfully, many lenders understand when a prospective lender doesn’t have W-2 income. Since it’s becoming more common, lenders have come up with alternative ways to qualify borrowers who want to buy a home. While more paperwork is usually involved, it is still possible to get a mortgage, assuming you work with certain lenders. Your real estate agent can help you in this regard; sourcing lenders that work with non-traditional borrowers.

Rely On Your Tax Returns

Even without W-2 income, you can prove income by relying on your tax returns. If you can show at least two years of qualifying income levels on your tax returns, your lender will have an easier time of finding underwriters for your loan. 

Maintain Your Bank Deposits

Some states offer a Bank Statement Loan Program that looks – not at your W-2s – but at your bank deposits for the last 12 to 24 months. These programs are ideal for people who own their own business and take draws rather than paychecks. 

Try For An Assumable Mortgage

Sometimes you may be able to find a property that has an assumable loan. In these instances, all you need to do to qualify for the mortgage is to have sufficient money for a down payment, have a decent credit history and be able to prove your income one way or another. Assumable loans can be harder to find, but your real estate agent can help you with that part of your home buying process.

Bear in mind that each of these options require a strong credit history in order to qualify. Credit scores and histories are always the cornerstones of acquiring a mortgage, whatever your income source may be.

Be sure to contact your trusted mortgage professional for answers to all of your home financing questions.

Finding ‘Hard Money’ Lenders Is Easier Than You Think

April 23, 2019

Finding 'Hard Money' Lenders Is Easier Than You ThinkAre you the type of real estate investor that has an interest in a treasure hunt? A real estate investment strategy based on hard money is, at its core, a treasure hunt. There must be an underlying value, the “treasure,” for a hard money opportunity to exist.

Collateral For A Hard Money Loan Is Only The Property

Hard money loans rely only on the value of the real estate property for collateral. The credit history of the borrower is not important. Usually, the limit for a hard money loan is a 60% loan-to-value. The hard money loan must be in the first position, as a first mortgage lien on the property, in the case of a default on the loan.

If the loan amount needed is only 60% of the property value, finding a hard money lender is easy. Just conduct a search on the Internet for a hard money lender in the area of the property.

Please note that the sale amount for a property is the value so it is not possible to use a higher appraisal for a higher hard money loan and then purchase a property for a lower value than the appraisal.

Hard Money Lenders Want To Make Loans

Hard money lenders want to lend money to deals that are qualified. They typically charge higher interest rates plus points (a percentage of the loan amount paid at the close of escrow). They almost always have more money available to lend than qualified deals. The qualified deals are harder to find than the money!

Advance Fees Are Usually A Bad Sign

One word of warning. NEVER, ever, under any circumstances, pay an advance fee for a hard money loan “commitment.” Any fees for the lender come out of the escrow closing when the loan funds the deal and not one second before.

No matter how convincing a lender is, about requiring an advance fee, do not pay it. If you cannot find a real hard money lender, who does not ask for an advance fee, your deal does not qualify for this type of loan.

Joint Venture With The Land Owner

If the land is owned free and clear, a joint venture can be arranged to borrow 60% of the land value for a development project and then a hard money loan can be used on a short-term basis while the land is improved and permitted for development. Then, a property can be reappraised at a higher valuation after improvement and permits are in place.

New financing can pay off the hard money lender. For example, a construction loan that converts into permanent financing can retire the initial hard money loan when the project hits certain milestones.

Advertise For Investors

Under the JOBS Act of 2012 and subsequent revisions, the regulations allow general advertisements for investors. Many real estate developers are now using crowdfunding platforms to fund their deals, as another way to raise capital. Using this method, investor funds can be pooled from smaller investors to provide working capital that can be used along with hard money loans to do real estate deals.

You could surmise that finding and/or creating the deals that are hard-money worthy is the more difficult task than finding the hard money loan funds for a qualified project. Before making a rush decision, consider discussing your options with a mortgage lender. This trusted professional can offer information about a variety of financing options.

4 Ways To Pay Off My Mortgage Faster

April 9, 2019

4 Ways To Pay Off My Mortgage FasterFor most people, the mortgage payment is the biggest monthly expense. Whether you’re facing retirement or still working, it would be nice to be free of this debt. Although you probably can’t pay it off in one lump sum, it is possible to pay off your mortgage sooner than expected.

Here are four strategies to try.

1. Make Bi-Weekly Payments

You could shave eight years off a 30-year mortgage simply by breaking down your monthly payments into two payments instead of one. You’ll pay the same amount each month while the interest paid over the length of the loan is reduced. 

2. Make Principal-Only Payments

If you look at your mortgage payment slip, you’ll notice that the majority of your monthly payment goes toward interest. Slash years off your mortgage by making occasional principal-only payments on top of your regular payments. Consult your lender to see how many of these are allowed per year. If they’re limited, maximize each opportunity by making as large a principal-only payment as you can manage.

3. Refinance When Rates Drop

If your mortgage originated when interest rates were high, refinance it now that rates are still historically lower. You may need to pay closing costs, but you’ll still end up dramatically lowering the amount of interest you are paying on your mortgage. While you’re at the refinancing game, consider getting into a shorter term length. This tactic will probably increase your monthly payment, but if you can afford it, it’s a good strategy for paying down your mortgage quicker.

4. Pay Extra Each Month

If you can afford it, pad your monthly payment with a little extra as often as possible. Just paying $50 or $100 extra will enable you to get rid of your mortgage a little faster. Find the extra money by cutting back on small niceties, such as subscriptions, take-out food and more. You won’t notice the lack of small conveniences, but you will certainly notice a shortened mortgage loan term.

When you work to pay off your mortgage faster, you essentially save thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan. Implement one or more of these ideas to become mortgage-free just a little bit sooner.

If you are interested in refinancing your home, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.