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Buying a New Home in a Hot Real Estate Market? Here Are 4 Tips You Will Need to Be Successful

Are you in the market for a new house? In a buyer’s market, finding and closing on a beautiful home can seem very easy. However, if you are shopping when the market is hot, you may end up fighting bidding wars and losing your dream home to a competing buyer. Let’s take a look at four tips that you will need to be successful when house hunting in a hot local real estate market.

Tip #1: Do Your Research Ahead Of Time

It should go without saying that in a hot market you will need to move quickly. Making an effort to do all your research ahead of time will ensure that you do not have to later, once you’ve found the perfect dream home. Check in with your real estate agent to find out what paperwork and other material will be needed.

Tip #2: Get A Mortgage Pre-approval

Once you have found your dream home, you may discover that other buyers are interested or have submitted bids. In this case, it is crucial that you can demonstrate that you have your mortgage financing pre-approved. Remember that the seller wants to close their sale quickly and for the best price. Showing up with pre-approved mortgage financing proves that you are serious about buying their home.

Tip #3: Be Ready To Pounce (But Don’t Be Hasty!)

Speaking of being serious, it is essential that you are ready to pounce on the right listing. A hot market means that you won’t be the only potential buyer checking out a home. The last thing you want to do is find the right house, then end up losing the chance to buy it because of unnecessary delays.

Tip #4: Small Sacrifices Are Okay

The final tip to keep in mind is that sometimes you will have to make a small sacrifice to close the deal. For example, the seller may want some special terms added to the agreement. Alternatively, they might ask you to pick up some of the closing costs. Whatever the case, keep in mind that a hot market means that you lose a bit of leverage. If it’s a small sacrifice, it might be worth it.

Buying a house in a hot real estate market can be challenging, but a little preparation will go a long way in ensuring you are the winning bidder. When you are ready to buy your next home, get in touch with our professional team of mortgage experts. We are happy to help you find the right mortgage for your goals and financial situation.

3 Completely False Myths About Reverse Mortgages That Need to Be Debunked

Are you a senior or retired individual older than 62 who is looking to supplement their retirement income? If so, you may have heard about a unique financial product known as a reverse mortgage. In today’s blog post we will explore three myths about reverse mortgages and share why they need to be debunked. Let’s get started.

Myth #1: Reverse Mortgages Are Expensive

The first myth we will debunk is that reverse mortgages are costly financial products that are full of fees. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. It’s true that there are closing costs attached to a reverse mortgage, just like with a traditional mortgage. These costs will vary depending on a wide range of factors, including the terms of the reverse mortgage, your financial history, your home’s location, size, assessed value and more.

If you are interested in a reverse mortgage, don’t let the potential fees or closing costs scare you off.

Myth #2: Children Inherit The Reverse Mortgage Payments

Many people believe that they are saddling their children with a mortgage payment when they take out a reverse mortgage, but this isn’t true. After you (and your spouse, if you have one) move on, whoever is overseeing your estate will have the option to sell your home and use the proceeds to pay off the balance of the reverse mortgage. Alternatively, they may decide to use cash to pay off the balance and keep the home. But your children aren’t going to inherit a monthly repayment.

Keep in mind that having a plan for your estate and a proper will is important, regardless of whether or not you have a reverse mortgage. Be sure to contact an attorney who is skilled in estate law for more information.

Myth #3: The Bank Ends Up Owning Your House

Finally, some believe that the bank will end up owning your home if you take out a reverse mortgage. This isn’t true either. With a reverse mortgage, you are borrowing money against the equity or value that you have built up in your home. You will continue to own the house, but the lender may place a lien against it to secure the mortgage loan.

These are just a few of the many myths about reverse mortgages that you might hear about or read online. When you are ready to learn more about this type of mortgage, get in touch. Our team of mortgage professionals is here and ready to assist you.

Can I Buy a Piece of Land and Build a House on It With a Mortgage? Yes — Here’s How

Have you been hunting for a new house without finding one that suits your needs? If so, one option that you may want to consider is building a new construction home on a choice piece of land. In today’s blog post we will explore a few different mortgage options for those who are looking to build a brand-new home.

Qualifying For A Construction Mortgage

As with any mortgage product, the first step you will want to take is to begin the qualification process. As your lender does not have a completed house to use as collateral for your loan, qualifying can take a bit longer than usual. Your mortgage lender will gather information about the home you plan to build, including its size, features and who is contracted to build it. The more information you can provide during the qualification process, the better. You might find it helpful to have your builder or general contractor involved as they will have many of the answers needed.

Construction-to-Permanent Mortgages

One type of new construction mortgage is known as a ‘construction-to-permanent’ loan. With this kind of mortgage, you only go through the closing process once. In many cases, while your home is being built you are only responsible for paying off the mortgage interest each month. Once your home is finished, your lender will convert this mortgage into a standard mortgage like any other. You can choose from a variety of amortization periods, interest rates and more.

Standalone Construction Loans

A standalone new construction loan is a bit different. With this product, you borrow money to finance the construction of your home and then again as a permanent mortgage once the home is completed. These loan and mortgage combinations require you to go through the closing process twice and thus your fees may be a bit higher. However, if you are currently living in a home and won’t have much cash until it is sold, this might be the right product for you.

As you can see, qualifying for a mortgage to build a new home on a piece of land is a bit different than a typical mortgage. To learn more about construction mortgages or to start the application process, contact us today. Our professional team is happy to share our expertise.

Can I Buy a Piece of Land and Build a House on It With a Mortgage? Yes — Here’s How

Have you been hunting for a new house without finding one that suits your needs? If so, one option that you may want to consider is building a new construction home on a choice piece of land. In today’s blog post we will explore a few different mortgage options for those who are looking to build a brand-new home.

Qualifying For A Construction Mortgage

As with any mortgage product, the first step you will want to take is to begin the qualification process. As your lender does not have a completed house to use as collateral for your loan, qualifying can take a bit longer than usual. Your mortgage lender will gather information about the home you plan to build, including its size, features and who is contracted to build it. The more information you can provide during the qualification process, the better. You might find it helpful to have your builder or general contractor involved as they will have many of the answers needed.

Construction-to-Permanent Mortgages

One type of new construction mortgage is known as a ‘construction-to-permanent’ loan. With this kind of mortgage, you only go through the closing process once. In many cases, while your home is being built you are only responsible for paying off the mortgage interest each month. Once your home is finished, your lender will convert this mortgage into a standard mortgage like any other. You can choose from a variety of amortization periods, interest rates and more.

Standalone Construction Loans

A standalone new construction loan is a bit different. With this product, you borrow money to finance the construction of your home and then again as a permanent mortgage once the home is completed. These loan and mortgage combinations require you to go through the closing process twice and thus your fees may be a bit higher. However, if you are currently living in a home and won’t have much cash until it is sold, this might be the right product for you.

As you can see, qualifying for a mortgage to build a new home on a piece of land is a bit different than a typical mortgage. To learn more about construction mortgages or to start the application process, contact us today. Our professional team is happy to share our expertise.

How to Run a Quick Financial Health Check Before You Apply for a Mortgage

Are you planning on using a mortgage to help cover the cost of a new home? If so, you will want to prepare your finances and figure out how you will manage all those wallet-draining monthly expenses. Let’s take a look at how to run a quick financial health check to ensure you are ready to apply for a mortgage.

Update (Or Start) Your Monthly Budget

First, it is essential to get the basics out of the way. If you haven’t already, it’s time to start a monthly budget to keep track of your income and expenses. Once you have a mortgage, it will be important to prioritize your monthly payments so that you don’t end up falling behind.

Starting a budget is easy and can be done with mobile apps, software, a spreadsheet or a pen and paper. List all sources of income so that you know exactly how much cash you are working with. Then, list out every one of your expenses. It can be tough to remember them all, so consider using debit and credit card statements from the past few months as a reminder.

Get A Copy Of Your Credit Report

Next, you will want to get a copy of your credit report so you can see what potential mortgage lenders will see when assessing your financial history. This is a free service that you can request once per year, so be sure to take advantage. Note that you will want to use government-approved websites for requesting your credit report. Be wary of scams.

Do You Have A Down Payment?

A down payment is not required for every home purchase, but having one saved up can make the buying process easier. The amount you will want to have saved up will depend on the cost of your home, whether you plan on carrying private mortgage insurance and a variety of other factors. If possible, try to save up an amount close to (or more than) twenty percent of the home’s purchase price.

Ready? Chat With A Professional

Now that you have run a quick financial health check, it is time to meet with a mortgage professional to discuss your options. Contact us today to book an appointment with one of our friendly expert advisors. We are happy to help you with financing so you can buy your perfect dream home.

Mortgage 101: Understanding ‘PITI’ and What Goes in to Your Monthly Payments

Ask any friend or family member that owns a home and they will share that it takes a bit of management to keep all the expenses under control. Let’s explore the concept of PITI and why it is vital to have a clear picture of how much your home is costing you each month.

Just What Is PITI, Anyway?

PITI is an acronym that stands for “principal, interest, taxes and insurance,” which are the four main components that make up your housing costs.

Principal – this is the amount that you are paying against the total amount that you borrowed when you purchased the home. For example, if you used a mortgage to cover $200,000 of the home’s purchase price, the remaining balance of that $200,000 is the principal. A part of your monthly mortgage payment goes to paying down the principal.

Interest – this is the extra cost that the lender charges for the service of lending you the principal amount. For most mortgages, you will see this expressed as an “interest rate” which is a small percent charged on the loan. A portion of your monthly mortgage payment goes to paying down the interest owed.

Taxes – tax costs are not included in your monthly mortgage payment, but will be added by your lender as part of your yearly expenses when calculating your debt-to-income ratio (see below). Property taxes and other assessments will need to be paid each year.

Insurance – this is the cost of insuring your mortgage and your home. Like taxes, your mortgage lender will typically include some insurance costs in your DTI ratio calculation.

How Lenders Use PITI

Many mortgage lenders use some form of PITI calculation when determining your debt-to-income ratio. This ratio helps the lender understand your ability to manage your monthly mortgage payments without being at risk of missing one. The lower the ratio, the more likely you can afford all your monthly expenses.

Don’t Forget Your Other Monthly Expenses

Finally, don’t forget that along with PITI you will have a variety of other monthly expenses that need to be budgeted for. Leave some space for utilities, repairs and other renovations that need to be made throughout the year.

Once you have the full picture of what is coming in and going out each month, managing your expenses is easy. When you are ready to discuss or apply for a mortgage, get in touch with us. Our friendly team of mortgage professionals is happy to help.

The Pros and Cons of a Large Down Payment When Buying a Home

If you are in the market for a new home, one of the considerations you will need to make is how much to invest in your down payment. Let’s take a quick look at some of the pros and cons of making a large down payment when buying your next home.

A Large Down Payment Has Its Benefits

If you have the funds available, you may find a bit of an advantage in a large down payment. The following are a few potential benefits that you may realize.

You Can Afford More ‘House’ – if you are aiming for a large, luxurious home a significant down payment can help you get there. As long as your credit is in line with your needs, a large down payment leaves more room in your mortgage.

You May Pay Less Interest – conversely, if you don’t need to carry a big mortgage you can choose a shorter amortization period for your mortgage. A shorter loan period means that you are likely to pay less in interest.

You Might Not Need PMI – if you can afford to invest more than 20 percent of the home’s value in your down payment, you may not be required to purchase private mortgage insurance.

A Few Of The Downsides

Of course, there are some potential downsides to using a large portion of your available cash as a down payment:

Do You Have The Money? – a large down payment doesn’t make a lot of sense if your finances can’t tolerate that hit right now. If you have your down payment and little else, you might want to reconsider.

You Will Be Less Liquid In The Short Term – keep in mind that once you sign the closing paperwork, your down payment cash is gone. This will leave you a bit less liquid in the short term since you would need to sell your home to get that cash back out.

You Can’t Invest That Money Elsewhere – you won’t be able to use these funds for other investment purposes. Of course, real estate is an investment itself so this may be less of a concern.

Still Have Questions? Get In Touch

Choosing the right amount for a down payment is a decision best made with professional help. Contact your trusted mortgage professionals and we will be happy to share our experience and insight.

Make 2018 the Year You Escape the ‘Rental Trap’ by Buying Your Own Home

Are you growing tired of paying rent each month and not building your net worth? Being stuck in the ‘rental trap’ isn’t much fun, but if you are determined, you can break out. Let’s explore some of the steps that you can take to make 2018 the year that you become a homeowner.

Rent Money Is Lost Money

First – why homeownership? As you may already understand, money spent on rent is ‘lost’ money. Each month you pay your rent, but you do not build any equity, own any property or get any other benefits in return. When you own a house, the money you spend each month is being invested in the home. You are building value in the home over time which you can then realize if and when you decide to sell.

Choose Your Home And Location Wisely

Do you know where in the local area you want to live? And what kind of home you want to live in? If you are a single young professional, a condo or apartment might be the perfect starter home. However, if you are married and have a family, there will be other factors such as schools and amenities to take into consideration. Invest some time in going through local real estate listings and making a short list of communities that seem like a good fit.

Polish Up That Credit Score

Ask yourself: how is your credit score looking? Is it perfectly spotless? Or do you have some past issues that need cleaning up? It is worth checking in with one of the major credit reporting agencies to find out your credit score and if there are any blemishes that need to be taken care of. You can request a free credit report once per year, so take advantage today.

Get Your Down Payment Saved Up

Finally, if buying a home in 2018 is going to be realistic, you will need to ensure that you have your down payment saved up. Although it is possible to buy a house or condo with no down payment, there are pros and cons to this approach. If you can save 10 or 20 percent of the cost of the home, it will go a long way in helping to get your mortgage approved and the sale closed.

If you are ready to break out of the rental trap and start down the path to homeownership in 2018, contact us today. Our professional mortgage team is happy to share how we can assist you in becoming a homeowner.

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Single and Considering a New Home? Here’s What You’ll Need to Know About Your Mortgage

Have you decided that it is time to move on from renting? If you are single and living alone, you may be wondering whether or not homeownership is right for you. Let’s have a look at a few key factors that you will need to be aware of when taking out a mortgage as a single person.

It’s A Commitment – But Not For A Lifetime

Some single people shy away from the idea of buying a home as it is a significant financial commitment. When you are single, especially if you are young and early in your career, flexibility can be valuable. You might decide to move to a new city to take a new job, or you may find a partner and decide to start a family.

Keep in mind that homeownership – and your mortgage – aren’t permanent. If you decide to buy a house, condo or apartment, you can always sell it later if you need to move or upgrade to a larger home.

You’ll Need To Be Disciplined

As you will only have one income stream coming in to support you in managing your monthly finances, you will need to be disciplined. Living paycheck to paycheck is not really an option as you will end up in trouble if an emergency occurs. Some financial experts advise having at least 6 to 12 months of monthly expenses saved up, in case of a job loss or an unexpected health issue that takes you out of work.

Don’t forget that there are also mortgage insurance products that can help to cover some of your costs in the event of an emergency. These may be an option to consider as a backup plan.

Starting Small Versus Going Big

Do you need a lot of space? If not, investing in a small ‘starter’ home is an excellent option. You can buy just enough home to suit your needs without buying anything extravagant. A helpful advantage that you gain purchasing a less-expensive home is that it comes with a smaller mortgage that can be paid off faster.

Questions? Get Professional Advice

If you have questions about borrowing and maintaining a mortgage as a single person, you’re not alone. Give our professional mortgage team a call. We will be happy to share our guidance and expertise in helping you choose the mortgage product that suits your financial goals.

The FHA Mortgage Minimum Credit Score Has Been Reduced. Here’s What You Need to Know…

If you haven’t heard about the changes to the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) credit score minimum, here’s some information on the recent reduction and how it may impact your home purchase. . . . → Read More: The FHA Mortgage Minimum Credit Score Has Been Reduced. Here’s What You Need to Know…