Biggest Financing Mistakes Buyers Make

Successfully financing a home requires several key steps. Too often, buyers are unaware of what is involved in this process, and they suffer from missteps. Here are three of the most common blunders (and how to avoid them):

1. Failing to Think Long Term

Purchasing a home is one of the most significant financial investments you’ll ever make. You’ll probably do this only a handful of times in your life, so you must really think it through.

The key is to think long term. Consider: Will the loan payment you are taking on remain manageable for the foreseeable future? Will changes in family status or employment status impact your ability to continue to make your payments month after month? Will you still be able to save money each month after covering all your expenses?

Carefully considering these questions up front will help you avoid making a purchase that you later regret.

2. Underestimating the Cost

Unless you qualify for certain Veteran’s Administration loan programs, you’ll need some sort of down payment to purchase a home. Beyond this, you will also need to cover closing costs, and you may have to come up with cash for taxes and/or other escrow reserves.

Be sure to incorporate all these costs as you determine your price range and negotiate your purchase.

3. Ignoring Their Personal Credit Profile

More than anything else, your credit will determine what loan terms you’ll qualify for and the interest rate you’ll pay. Your credit report is a window into your finances. Take a look through it. Your lender will. Depending on what they see, the lender may ask you to pay down or pay off debt to improve your score before you can purchase a home.

While this may be simple enough to do, it may also take time. This makes it important to determine your credit needs early in the process.

Reach out to learn how you can put yourself in the best possible position to purchase a home.

What Is Home Equity and What Does It Mean for Me?

Equity is the difference between what you owe on your home and what it’s worth. If you purchase a home using a small down payment, you’ll have a small amount of equity.

However, as time passes, your mortgage balance will decrease and (hopefully) your property value will increase. This will strengthen your equity position.

There are several things you can do with this built-up equity in the property. If you decide to sell the property, you could take that equity and use it as a down payment for the next property you buy.

You may decide to stay where you are and use the equity in the property for your own purposes. Some property owners use their equity for home improvement, to pay down higher-interest debt, or to pay for college for their kids.

How would you access this equity? Your lender could help you take out a home equity loan or establish a home equity line of credit.

Each has both benefits and challenges. The home equity loan will most likely give you a fixed rate, but once you take it out, you would need to pay back the entire loan before being able to reuse that portion of your equity.

The home equity line of credit, on the other hand, works similarly to a credit card. You can pay it down or off, then reuse the same money again and again. But your variable interest rate is tied to an economic indicator, meaning your payment could go up significantly over time.

Get in touch with our office to learn more about your equity loan options.

What Does a Mortgage Underwriter Do?

A mortgage underwriter is the person at the mortgage company who takes all the information related to your mortgage file and reviews it. Then, based on lender requirements, the underwriter makes a decision as to whether the lender will extend a loan to you.

To complete this process, the underwriter reviews documents such as bank statements and tax returns. He or she also looks at credit reports, property surveys, titles, and appraisals.

Just as important, the underwriter is also making sure that the loan is compliant with federal regulations. Keep in mind that, by law, your lender has to provide you with certain disclosures within certain time frames, and you must acknowledge in writing that you received them.

If any of this information is missing, or if documents were dated outside of the allotted timeline, then the loan is out of compliance. If this isn’t caught by the underwriter, it could cause significant issues for the lender if this were to be discovered after the loan is sold.

Selling loans to investors after the loan is closed is a common lender practice, so these details are crucial. When the lender sells a loan, they receive money from investors that they can then use to write new loans.

Borrowers are often surprised by how much detail that mortgage lenders and their underwriters ask for when the borrower’s loan is being processed. The list of items can often seem overwhelming, but the many details provided are used to demonstrate to potential investors that everything that needs to be there is accounted for.

The last thing that any lender wants is what is called a defective loan. Depending on the nature of the defect, the lender may have to repurchase this loan from the investor. To avoid these costly mishaps and keep the process moving smoothly for everyone, the underwriter ensures all the buyer’s and lender’s ducks are in a row for each transaction.

Do you have additional questions about underwriting? Contact your mortgage professional for more details.

What’s the Highest Mortgage Rate in History?

Mortgage interest rates have been steadily increasing over the past year, and they may continue to do so through 2019. However, looking back over the past few decades, we discover that today’s rates are minimal compared with the heights they’ve reached in the past.

Less than 40 years ago, home buyers saw rates that would be inconceivable to today’s mortgage consumer. Let’s take a quick trip back in time and see what we discover.

The Past: February 1982. Home buyers seeking to obtain a 30-year fixed rate mortgage paid an interest rate of 17.60%. This is after giving their lender 2.5% of the loan amount to get this rate. A loan of $150,000 for 30 years set them back $2,211.70 per month. Within a year of this peak rate, interest rates dropped into the 13% range. While still extreme in the face of today’s much lower rates, this drop allowed consumers to borrow quite a bit more money.

The Present: Coming back to today’s market, let’s compare those historical rates with what we saw in 2018. In November, home buyers could obtain a 4.87% rate for that same 30-year fixed rate mortgage. The payment for a loan of $150,000 would have been just $793.36.

The Future: Will fixed mortgage rates ever get that high again? With government regulation in place to control economic growth, it would be unlikely.

The takeaway from all of this is that rates fluctuate, and no one can predict for sure where the market is headed. If you’re thinking about financing a home, now may be a good time to look into your options. Contact your mortgage professional for more details.

Why Does My Lender Need My Bank Statement?

When you think of tools that lenders use to determine your qualifications as a buyer, the first thing that may come to mind is a credit report.

This is an invaluable tool for lenders, since it shows patterns, and lenders are very interested in borrower patterns. They want to see trends of successful management of payments month to month. They also want to know how much debt you currently have. The credit report will provide all of this information.

Still, it doesn’t provide all the data the lender needs. Another tool they use to evaluate buyers is the bank statement. This offers a day-to-day window into how you manage your finances. The lender is specifically looking for overdrafts and proper accounting for all deposits that appear on the statement.

Overdrafts: Overdrafts, especially when there are a lot of them on a regular basis, will draw the attention of lenders. The lender will have several questions about these occurrences: Are you short of funds each month, or do you need to balance your checkbook better? How are you recovering from the overdrafts? What will keep this from happening in the future, once we lend you our money?

Deposits: All deposits on a bank statement must be accounted for. Electronic payroll deposits normally need no explanation, as the dates and amounts can be cross-checked with pay stubs. Other infrequent or large deposits will need to be explained and documented.

Lenders are looking for specific things regarding these deposits. They want to confirm steady sources of income that can be used for future mortgage payments. They also want to check for any gifts you may have received to help you secure a mortgage. If this occurs, the funds must have come from an eligible source. The lender may require a letter of explanation to confirm the legitimacy of any such gifts that show up on your bank statement.

To learn more about this process and how your bank statement affects your buying power, contact your mortgage professional.

Is There a Best Time of the Month to Close on a Home?

The answer to this question depends partly on whether you are paying off an existing mortgage at the time of closing. Let’s look at an example to illustrate this process.

In our sample scenario, you are purchasing your first home, and the closing date is set for May 10. At closing, you’ll pay interest charges from that date through the end of the month (May 31). That means you’ll pay 22 days of interest at closing. Your tax assessment will also be based on this date. Thus, the nearer to the end of the month you close, the lower your out-of-pocket charges are for this closing expense.

After closing on May 10, your first mortgage payment will be due July 1. Contained in that July payment will be interest charges for the month of June. The August payment will then cover the interest charges for the month of July, and so on. Interest charges for any given month will be paid at the beginning of the following month.

If you are refinancing or paying off an existing mortgage, the date of closing is less important. If you close on the 27th of the month, you will have a lower interest expense on the new mortgage than if you close earlier in the month, but you are still going to be paying interest on the prior loan for the first 26 days of the month.

In short, you will always be paying interest charges to one lender or another. There will never be a gap when no interest is due to anyone.

Do you have additional questions about this process? Contact your mortgage professional for more information.

Stop! Are You Really Ready to Shop?

Are you thinking about buying a home in the near future? If so, you should take one crucial step before all others: determine what you can afford.

Purchasing a home is one of the most significant transactions you’ll ever make. With this in mind, you should carefully evaluate what will work for you before you dive into the process. Even before you contact your lending professional or real estate agent, ask yourself a few key questions.

What are your needs for living space, both now and in the future? What resources will you be able to utilize for down payment and closing costs?

Beyond this, what do you realistically think you’ll be able to afford each month? What additions to your family do you anticipate, and what impact will they have on your family budget, both in terms of monthly expenses and household income?

Lastly, how much will you be able to save each month for the proverbial rainy day, in case you experience a reduction or gap in income?

Once you answer all of these questions, then you can start talking to people who are in a position to help you finance and purchase a home.

Your first stop is your mortgage professional in order to get some tangible numbers. Here, you’ll take all of the guesswork out of what you think you’ll be able to afford.

Next, with solid numbers and a preapproval in hand, you can contact a real estate agent. This agent will show you appropriate properties based on what you learned with the mortgage professional.

Buyers who don’t use this method often search for homes randomly and end up falling in love with one that is ultimately out of reach. Save yourself time and heartache by using this due process to find the perfect home for your needs and budget.

Have you carefully considered the questions listed? When you’re ready for the next step, contact your mortgage professional to get started.

Deed vs. Title: What’s the Difference?

While these terms are related, they are not one and the same. A deed is the legal document that transfers ownership of a property from one party to another. Title represents the ownership of that property (what rights a person has to it).

Titles and deeds can also take on different forms. For example, a common type of deed is a quitclaim deed.

This deed can be used in the case of a married couple who purchases a home together. If they would prefer that only one of them have ownership interest in the property, they can use a quitclaim deed. The person who will have no ownership interest uses this deed to sign away their rights to the other party. This might be done for financial or legal reasons.

If, at some point in time, a spouse needs to be added, they would use a quitclaim to make this change as well.

Regarding titles, once a person is added to a title, they may “hold title” in one of several ways. This holding refers to what legal rights each person on the title has.

A common example is “tenants by the entirety.” This is often used by married couples. In this situation, if one of the parties passes away, the other automatically becomes sole owner of the property.

There are other ways title can be held, especially for nonmarried couples. Each version gives each party specific rights as to what they are able to do with the property, both while they are alive and after they pass.

For more details on these variations, contact your mortgage professional.

Subordination Agreement – What’s That?

Subordination agreements apply to mortgage customers who have more than one mortgage on a property.

For example, if you had a mortgage on your home, then decided to get either a home equity loan or a line of credit, the new mortgage would be subordinated to the first mortgage.

In mortgage terminology, the subordination agreement would put the original mortgage in what is called first position. This means if the owner of the property defaults and the property must be sold, the lender in first position would be paid back first. The lender of the second mortgage would be paid back second, if the property sale generates enough funds.

This is why the mortgage rate on a second mortgage is often higher than the rate on the first. The second lender is taking a risk that there might not be enough funds available to pay back the loan in a default situation.

To take this a step further, if a homeowner has two mortgages and wants to refinance just the first mortgage, the homeowner would have to get a new subordination agreement signed by the original second lender before doing so.

This is to keep the second mortgage in second position. Otherwise, the once-in-second-position mortgage would move to first position, and no first mortgage lender would ever allow themselves to become subordinated under a second mortgage.

If you have additional questions about this agreement or the process for obtaining a second mortgage, contact your mortgage professional for details.

Help! There’s a Mistake on My Credit Report!

It’s a good rule of thumb to check your credit report regularly, even if you’re not currently applying for a mortgage or any other type of credit.

Why? If the report contains incorrect information, it’s better to know sooner than later, especially if you do plan to apply for credit at some point. This will give you time to correct the error before it affects a transaction.

If you discover a mistake, you can approach correcting it in one of two ways.

The first and most basic approach is to contact, in writing, the credit bureau that reported the information you believe to be incorrect. The three primary credit bureaus are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

Send each of these reporting bureaus a certified letter, providing as much detail as you can, including account numbers as they appear on the credit report, all relevant dates, and why you think that the information is incorrect. There are online resources to assist with drafting this letter.

The bureaus will then go to the agency that provided the information to get details of what happened. If that agency is unable to provide documentation that the debt is legitimate, it then must come off the report.

Keep in mind that the credit bureaus are not required to remove legitimate negative data from a credit report.

The second option is to go to a credit repair agency, which will do some of this work for you. However, keep in mind that these agencies charge a fee. They may also take longer to get back to you than if you did it yourself, since they will be servicing multiple clients who each demand part of their time.

If you decide to go this route, check out whomever you want to use. As with any other type of service you are shopping for, check the company’s status with the Better Business Bureau.

Additionally, your mortgage professional may have referral partners in the credit repair business to whom they can refer you. Contact this expert for more details.