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The Quick and Easy Guide to Determining How Big of a Mortgage Your Family Can Afford

August 11, 2017 Comments off

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.

Understanding Your FICO Score and Why Small Credit Mistakes Can Cause Huge Headaches

July 13, 2017 Comments off

Understanding Your FICO Score and Why Small Credit Mistakes Can Cause Huge HeadachesMany people all over the world are dealing with issues involving debt or poor credit history, but most aren’t necessarily aware of what exactly makes up their credit score. Unfortunately, it might seem like it’s the big stuff that counts when it comes to credit, but little things can have a significant impact on your financial health. If you’re looking to improve your understanding and your finances, here’s what you need to know about small mistakes and your FICO score.

Making Late Payments

The due date on your bills might seem like an advisory, but whether we’re talking about a student loan, a credit card payment or your telephone bill, late payments can add up. Your payment history constitutes 35% of your total FICO score, which means that even a couple of late payments can have a marked impact on your overall credit. Instead of leaving this to chance, set aside a day each month before your bills are due to ensure they’re all paid off.

Applying For New Credit

It’s often the case that a store will offer special deals if you sign up for their own in-house credit card, but this can cost you big since the amounts you owe make up 30% of your credit score. Also, because lenders will often assume that you’ve run out of credit if you apply for a new card, applying for new credit can be a red mark against your FICO score. It’s also important to realize that closing off an old, unused credit card can actually bump up your balance so you may want to keep them active temporarily.

Forgetting Credit Altogether

It might seem like the best possible option for avoiding credit issues is to avoid using credit altogether, but your credit history constitutes 15% of your FICO score. This means that you should have at least one credit card in your possession so that you can use it to build a history of lending success. While you won’t want to use more than 30% of your credit limit, it’s important to show proven experience in paying back your lenders.

Many people think that bad credit is the result of overspending and huge debt amounts, but your FICO score is largely determined by your payment history and your available credit. If you’re trying to improve your financial outlook in preparation for buying a home, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Want a Quick Mortgage Approval? Come Prepared With These 5 Key Items

June 27, 2017 Comments off

Want a Quick Mortgage Approval? Come Prepared With These 5 Key ItemsWhether you’re finally prepared to get into the real estate market or you want to know how you can make a deal quick, there are a few necessary documents you’ll need to prove your reliability to a mortgage lender. If you’re wondering what will be involved in getting the application approval you’re looking for, here are the documents you’ll want to have on hand when the time comes.

Previous Tax Returns

In order to ensure the earnings information you’ve provided to the lender, you’ll have to have your tax returns for the two years prior to your mortgage application. In addition, you may also be required to provide your W-2s as backup documentation.

Bank Statements

To make sure you’re a solid bet who will be able to make your down payment, you’ll need to present bank statements to ensure you have a cushion in the case that interest rates increase. If you do get money gifted to you for your down payment, you’ll need a letter to prove you’re not indebted to the provider.

Recent Paystubs

It can be much more difficult to get approved for a mortgage if you have a patchy work history or happen to be self-employed, so you’ll need 2 months of recent pay stubs to prove consistent employment. The paystubs provided should also be an accurate reflection of the salary you’ve provided on your application to ensure no discrepancies.

Investment Statements

It’s certainly a good sign to the lender if you have a healthy balance in your checking and savings accounts, but you’ll also need to provide any statements for mutual funds and other investments. While they may not be necessary to prove financial soundness, they will help with approval if you have a lot of money squirreled away.

A Listing Of Debts

While it may be the least popular of the pile, a lender will also want to know about any outstanding debts like auto loans, credit card payments or student loans. It may be tempting to forego these documents, but it will give the lender a good sense of your honesty and your ability to manage your mortgage.

Mortgage approval may seem like a time-consuming process with no certain end, but by having the appropriate documentation and being upfront about your debts, you may be able to speed up the timeframe. If you’re currently perusing your mortgage options, contact one of our mortgage professionals for the inside scoop.

Thinking About Investing in Real Estate? Here’s What You’ll Need to Get a Second Mortgage

June 7, 2017 Comments off

Thinking About Investing in Real Estate? Here's What You'll Need to Get a Second MortgageThe decision to invest in a home is a big one for many people, but if you’re making the foray into real estate the second time around, it’s even more important to be financially aware and prepared. If you’re wondering what you’ll need in order to get approved for an investment property, here are some things that you’ll want to consider before deciding a second property is in your future.

A Larger Down Payment

Due to the risk factor involved in taking on more than one loan, acquiring a second mortgage for an investment property will likely require you to put more money down up front. Because you’re already paying into your home and are taking on an additional loan, you’ll have to prove to the mortgage lender that you’re a viable choice and have the financial wherewithal to stick to your payment schedule.

Knowledge Of The Market

It’s well and good to want to invest in a property so that you can find renters and turn a profit, but you’ll need to have a good place at the right price to make the investment worthwhile. Before you decide on a place, make sure that you research the neighborhood and the type of home you’re looking to buy so you can ensure there’s a viable market. A rental property is good, but you’ll need to have reliable renters in order to make it profitable.

A Property Manager

If you’re planning on being the landlord and doing all the little fix-its, you may not need to worry about a property manager. However, it’s important to weigh the decision carefully beforehand and ensure what will work best for you. If you’re not prepared to do emergency work or basic property maintenance, you’ll need to look for a property manager you can trust.

A Mortgage Pre-Approval

Without a doubt, a second mortgage will require you to take on more risk, so it’s important to speak with a lender about pre-approval before getting too involved. If you’ve crunched the numbers, you may already have an idea of what you can and can’t afford, but a lender will be able to give you a price range that suits your financial position and income set.

Investing in a second property can be a financially lucrative decision, but it’s important to be knowledgeable about your investment and your finances before diving in. If you’re currently getting prepared to invest in a home, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Can I Qualify for a Mortgage After Declaring Bankruptcy? Yes — and Here’s How

June 1, 2017 Comments off

Can I Qualify for a Mortgage After Declaring Bankruptcy? Yes -- and Here's HowIt may feel like a very daunting task to consider buying a home after you’ve declared bankruptcy, and there’s no doubt that it’s an uphill battle. Fortunately, while you’ll have hard work ahead, there are things you can do in order to make your dream of home ownership a possibility. Whether you’ve just declared bankruptcy or some time has passed, here are some things you should consider before getting into the market.

Wait It Out

It might not be what you want to hear, but it’s, unfortunately, the case that you’ll have to wait at least two years before you purchase a home following bankruptcy. Since lenders will not want to take the risk on someone that has proven to have poor financial habits, they will require a waiting period in order for the credit risk you pose to improve. While this may seem like a long time, take the opportunity to improve your financial habits so you can be amply prepared when the time comes.

Build Up Your Credit

In order to own a home, you’ll need to develop some solid financial habits, and that means getting on top of your finances even in times when it feels like you have no leverage. Ensure you get a copy of your credit report and, if you notice any errors, reach out to the credit bureau for corrections. It’s also a good idea to consider applying for a secured credit card and ensure that you pay all of your bills on time. While it might feel like a lengthy task, developing good habits will have a positive impact on your credit over time.

Prepare For Your Payment

When it comes to a poor credit history, you’ll need to pull out every stop you can to that convince lenders that you’re a solid financial bet. Instead of wasting the time, write up a budget for yourself and save a sizeable sum for your down payment each month. It’s possible that 10 or 15% down will do, but a 20% payment will help you avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI) and will go further in convincing lenders of your reliability.

It’s more than a little disheartening to have to deal with bankruptcy, but by waiting it out and developing good financial habits in the interim, you’ll be well on your way to buying a home. If you’re currently preparing to purchase, contact your trusted mortgage professional for more information.

Yes, It’s Getting Easier to Get a Mortgage. Here’s How You Can Take Advantage

May 31, 2017 Comments off

Yes, It's Getting Easier to Get a Mortgage. Here's How You Can Take AdvantageIt can be hard to stay on top of a changing real estate market from day-to-day, but it’s a matter of fact that there are more available mortgage products out there than ever before for many different kinds of homebuyers. If you’re wondering how you can take advantage of easier lending opportunities and strike while the iron is hot, here are some things to consider.

Take Care Of Your Credit

While many regulations on mortgage applications may have been loosened in recent years, it goes without saying that having a better credit score will still enable you to qualify for a mortgage more readily. Instead of risking it, ensure that you’ve obtained a copy of your credit score and are aware of where you stand as a financial risk. By working on your credit and correcting any errors on your report, it will be that much more likely to have your mortgage application approved.

Saving For A Down Payment

It’s often said that 20% is the ideal amount to put down in order to avoid private mortgage insurance, but it’s not the required amount in order to invest in a home. While it may save money, in the long run, to put more money down, for those who want to get into the housing market, there are many opportunities for putting a lot less down and still being able to purchase. It’s possible you may want to hold off until you can save up for your down payment, but possibilities exist for mortgages with as little as 3.5% down.

Dealing With Closing Costs

Saving up for a down payment and deciding to invest in a monthly mortgage payment is a significant commitment, but adding mortgage closing costs to that can be a bridge too far for many potential homebuyers. Fortunately, many lenders nowadays are offering the opportunity for closing costs like origination and attorney fees to be included in the total cost of the loan. While this will bump up the amount of your monthly payment, it can make a mortgage more feasible from the start.

For many people, there’s a lot of stress that goes along with applying for a mortgage, but with lower down payments required and closing costs included in the total price, getting approved has become a lot easier in recent years. If you’re currently in the market for a new home, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

Understanding What a “Piggyback” Mortgage Loan Is and How It Works

May 26, 2017 Comments off

Understanding What a As a potential homebuyer who is new to the market, many of the terms and mortgage products available to you can be more than a little confusing. Piggyback loans might be a little less familiar than many other options, but if you’re ready to jump into the housing market this type of mortgage can be useful for you. If you’re hoping to invest in a home sooner rather than later, here are the details on this type of loan.

What’s A Piggyback Loan?

While most mortgage loans require one loan and one lender, a piggyback loan is used for homebuyers who don’t have 20% to put down but want to avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI). Because a mortgage with less than 20% down will require the homebuyer to pay PMI, a piggyback loan can assist in avoiding this. For example, in the event that the homebuyer is putting down 10%, their primary mortgage will cover 80% of the purchase price while the piggyback loan will cover the remaining 10%.

What Are The Requirements?

Since there have been many issues with piggyback loans in the past, there are more requirements for this type of loan than there used to be. While it varies from lender to lender, most homebuyers will be expected to put down at least 10% in order to qualify for this loan. In addition, they will be required to have a good credit score to ensure they are a good risk. While the debt-to-income ratio will fluctuate from lender to lender, potential homebuyers will have to prove that they can make their monthly payments.

Is This Loan Right For You?

It’s important before deciding on a piggyback loan that it’s the right choice for you. Since a piggyback loan will require you to pay down two different loans, it means that you will not be able to tap into your home equity in the event that you want to free up funds. It can also put home ownership in harm’s way if there are any financial setbacks. As well, while PMI can be canceled after the equity in your home is at 20%, a piggyback loan does not provide this option.

A piggyback mortgage can be a good option for homeowners who want to get into the market, but it’s important to determine if it’s a financially solid choice before wading in. If you’re currently getting prepared to buy, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

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