News

Are We In Fall Home Buying Season? 🍂

Are we entering the optimal time to buy a home? Obviously the market has risen a lot this year, so that may sound irrational. However if you are looking at the time of year, spring and summer are seen as most competitive but traditionally according to Realtor. com between now and October 17 is when buyers will see less competition and can get better prices.

Of course every listing and market is unique and these past two years have been unusual to say the least but typically homes sell at discount and as the days get shorter houses actually linger on the market longer.

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Should You Lock in Your Mortgage Rate?

You can lock in a mortgage rate after you’ve made an offer on a house and have a signed purchase agreement. The mortgage rate lock, means that you have a specific mortgage rate “locked in” for a period of time (typically 30 or 60 days).
This rate lock means you’ll get that rate even if rates move higher or lower during the time your loan is being processed. Rate locks do expire and can cost a fee (basis points) depending on the rate and period.
With today’s rates near historic lows, a rate lock can be a good idea but a keen eye on closing dates is important as well.
Give us a call or schedule a meeting on our site and we can review your situation and see what best fits your needs!

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5 Tips for Refinancing

If you haven’t refinanced and maybe have been procrastinating here are five quick tips to help see if a refinance is right for you.
1. Check Your Rate – Rates are still near historic lows so even half a point can mean substantial monthly savings.
2. Check Your Equity – many home values have increased in equity in the past year so you may be eligible to refinance with cash out.
3. Check Your Debt – if you have a other high interest debt, you may consider consolidating that debt with a lower rate refi. Of course beware the revolving the debt cycle!
4. Check Your Calendar – if you want to pay of your home faster, you can refinance into a 15 year mortgage with extremely low rates.
5. Check Your Calendar II – if you are planning on moving shortly refinancing may not be the best move as there is generally a break even point on refinances with the amount of time you need to make the refinance – that is savings equal or are greater than the costs associated with refinancing.

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Joint Mortgage?

You may not be familiar with a joint mortgage – this is where there are two or more parties on a mortgage. Commonly friends, family or a partner will combine their incomes and assets to buy a house. This is often done when one party cannot qualify or can’t afford a property on their own. Unlike a typical mortgage all parties are on the mortgage and all assume responsibility for paying it.
The main benefit of a joint mortgage is being able to afford or qualify for more of home than one party is able to on their own.
As you may have guessed this creates a more complicated situation where you can have co-ownership, and may be dependent on multiple parties making payments. Further you could have one party wanting to sell or refinance in the future. It can also affect one parties ability to get a loan in the future as they are tied to the joint mortgage.
So its best to be aware of all the requirements and scenarios before applying. And make sure you have a strong relationship between both parties including having similar interests and goals regarding the property.

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What is PMI?

PMI is private mortgage insurance. If you’re getting a conventional loan and are making of down payment of less than 20% of the purchase price, you generally need to purchase PMI.
This insurance is designed to protect the lender in case of default on the loan and it also allows the borrower to buy a house when they can’t afford to make the traditional 20% down payment.
PMI is provided by a third party, requirements and rates will be provided before the closing. Once you reach 20% equity in the home – either through mortgage payments or rising home values, the PMI will be terminated.
PMI rates are generally between 0.5 percent and 1.8 percent of the original loan amount. According to Freddie Mac, it estimates that most borrowers pay between $30 and $70 each month for every $100,000 borrowed.
The key factors in determining the PMI rate are the loan to value ratio. If you put down 5% you are typically going to have a higher PMI rate than if you put down 15%. The other key factor is the borrower’s credit score.
There are different types of mortgage insurance and borrowers normally make an annual lump sum payment or pay in monthly installments.
Of course we can give you a more detailed explanation of what to expect and your options based on your borrowing needs.

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Refinance Fee Cut

We are seeing refinancing potentially get a little cheaper, as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac dropped a 50 basis point fee instituted to protect against projected losses during the Pandemic.
The fee was as much as one eighth of a point when refinancing. This means borrowers could potentially save $20 a month on a $300,000 loan refinance. With the pandemic fee waived, we are seeing rates again near record low territory.
So fill out our one minute refinance consultation on our website and we see how much you can lower your monthly payment or get cash out or both.

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Mortgage Down Payments Explained

Many people know the traditional formula of mortgage down payments – 20% of the purchase price of the home is required to get your mortgage.
A down payment is a lump sum payment used to make a large payment, like a house. In the traditional formula if you buy a $500,000 home you would pay a $100,000 down payment and you would get a loan for the remaining $400,000.
With today’s hot housing market, the 20% down may be a substantial obstacle, however there are many loan programs that require as little as 3% down. There are pluses and minuses to making the 20% down payment. With the traditional $20 down, you can often qualify for a lower rate, you won’t need to have mortgage insurance and you’ll have lower monthly rates.
The benefits of making a smaller down payment obviously is you won’t have to get the money for a large lump sum payment, so you can move in to a new home sooner and you’ll have money left for home improvements.
Contact us to see what programs you can qualify for and how much you’ll need to put down.

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Another Refinancing Wave 🌊

If you thought you missed the opportunity to refinance and lock in low rates, you didn’t!
We’ve seen a wave of refinance activity in the last week as rates dropped to an average of 2.78% for 30 year fixed mortgages according to a survey from Freddie Mac, which is not far from the all-time record low of 2.65%.
Fannie Mae estimates that there are millions of home owners that can benefit from refinancing in today’s rates, with either lower monthly, cash-out or both. Getting the best rates, will depend on a number of factors, including credit scores, debt to income and how much is currently owed on your house. Call us or fill out a quick refi analysis on our website and we can see how much savings you are eligible for!

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Pre-Approved Vs Pre-Qualified 🤔

If you’re in the market for a new house, you’ve probably heard that you want to get pre… qualified or pre-approved? What’s the difference anyways?
There’s actually a big difference. Pre-qualified is more of a preliminary step. It gives you a general idea of much home you can afford. We will examine your credit, income, assets, and debts and you’ll have a general idea of the price range you’re looking for. You may also see that you need to increase your savings or lower debts before you buy.
While pre-qualifying is an initial step, pre-approval is a deeper dive and being pre-approved carries more weight with sellers. To get pre-approved we will verify you income, assets, etc. and you will be more official (of course you still have to apply for a mortgage). Being pre-approved is almost a necessity in competitive housing markets, as realtors do not want to waste time and you will have a better chance of having your bid accepted.
Now that we know the difference you may wonder what’s the point of getting pre-qualified – why not just get pre-approved? Good question – basically its much faster and it gives you a good starting point to start your home search. Pre-qualify or pre-approve we can help you with both – apply on our website or call us to get started.

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Buying A Second Home

In the last year many people worked remotely and interest in second homes has skyrocketed. Here is a primer for those considering a second home.
The first step is where – do you want a vacation home by the beach or mountains, do you want to be near relatives. Do your research and use a local real estate for help with choosing the right area or neighborhood.
Second is why – do you want a vacation house, a second residence if you spend a lot of time in an area for work or family or do you want an investment property? You can actually combine these and use a second home for vacations and AirBNB it while you’re not there (of course check local rules regarding this).
Third and perhaps most importantly is how – as in how are you going to finance it 🤓. You will often need a higher down payment for a second home, as default rates tend to be higher. And with an additional mortgage, you’ll need to make sure your DTI (Debt to Income) ratio is not too high. You’ll also want to make sure a second home doesn’t stretch your budget to much, you should factor in maintenance, property taxes in addition to mortgage payments. If you are planning on renting make sure you factor in the property not being rented immediately and plan to set aside ten percent of rental income towards maintenance.
If you are ready to start looking – apply online and we can let you know how much you can pre-qualify!

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