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Posted by Julie Shanks on 11/10/2019

In your quest to buy a home, you might check out properties online or looking up houses around your neighborhood up for sale. These are all steps you must first make to attain your desire of becoming a homeowner. Before you go into your search proper, there is something you need to do; it’s called getting pre-approved for a mortgage. 

A mortgage pre-approval involves lenders going through your financial records to determine how creditworthy you are. It’s a process that allows the lender to go through your financial records to determine if you are loan qualified and how much you are eligible to borrow. Being qualified for a mortgage differs from being pre-approved – the latter holds more value to a lender. 

The purpose of getting pre-approved is to convince the lender that if granted the loan, you would be able to payback. Another reason lender asks for pre-approval is to be clear on all your financial situations. The pre-approval process involves lenders going through your financial records either on your request or at their discretion.  The following are things and documents you would be pre-approved about before applying for a mortgage loan.

Proof of Income

The documents showing your income statement is required to validate how much you earn on the average annually. It’s an essential document for pre-approval and underwriting. It involves you presenting your W-2 statements for the past two years, your most recent pay stubs (at least two) and any other additional source of income or bonuses. 

Proof of Employment

Aside from going through your pay stubs, a lender will also want to confirm your employment status from your employer and verify how much you earn. If the job you are working in is a new one, a lender might contact your previous employer. All these are procedures the lender undertakes to ensure they are borrowing to a financially stable individual. Self-employed people would need to provide more critical paperwork about their business. 

Credit Information

A lender would want to measure your debt-to-income ratio before granting you a loan. This procedure involves ascertaining if you are currently repaying any debt like a car loan, student loan or any other loan form. Providing documents relating to this information is vital.

Social Security Number

Lenders need your social security number to verify your identity, to attain your credit reports and also to request your tax returns from IRS. The information is made available through your social security cards, tax documents and all other documents showing your SSN.

Bank Statements

Your bank statement is required to determine if you have enough cash or investments needed to make a down payment, conclude closing cost and still maintain a cash reserve. Your bank statement is one of the essential documents nearly all lenders will request to see to ensure you have enough funds. 

The pre-approval process is the first place a serious homebuyer begins the home application process. Speak to a financial consultant or your real estate agent to help you secure one.




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Posted by Julie Shanks on 9/29/2019

Getting a new mortgage can be stressful, whether you are getting it for the first time or not. You have to carry out thorough research to avoid going into a mortgage that drains your pocket through high-interest rates. You can get yourself prepared for the lowest interest rate that is suitable for you by taking good care of your credit history. Do you realize that a difference of 1 percent in the interest rate can save a tremendous amount of money on a mortgage running for 30 years?Consider the following when searching for competitive rates:

Introductory rates:

You should consider loans with discounted initial rates. Be on the lookout for fees and be ready to switch in case the rate goes higher than your budget or plan.

Alternative lenders:

When looking for a low-interest mortgage rate, you should check if a smaller non-banker lender is providing a low-interest mortgage. When you find options, check properly to be sure that there are no additional charges. You must know the final amount before committing.

Variable versus fixed rates:

The difference between a variable and fixed rate is that variable loans usually advertise more flexibility and lower interest rates when compared with the fixed rate. However, the truth is that you can get a fixed-rate mortgage without any possibility of rising rates. Variable rates may tell you the percentage is likely to go down, but it can go up also! 

Negotiating a discount: 

After you have selected a mortgage company, inquire about their unadvertised discounts that can save you money.

Here are some tips to help you qualify for low-interest mortgage rates:

  • Get a loan with low fees. You should know that most mortgages have a separate charge that is different from the repayments and rates. Such fees sometimes are not included in most online loan comparison websites. Contact the company to be sure you have full information about one-time fees like application or origination fee as these may be expensive. Compare with other ongoing fees to be sure it does not cost you more in the long run.
  • Should you avoid fees at all costs? You do not always need to avoid fees. To know the amount that a loan will cost you, you should do the calculations and consider the benefits as well as the charges involved. If you discover that a mortgage loan has features that benefit you, it is justifiable to pay a small ongoing fee.
  • Save up a healthy down payment. It is worth noting that you are likely to borrow less to cover your home's purchase price if you have a substantial down payment. It is better to save enough funds towards your down payment.

Speak to your financial advisor or planner to know how to be pre-approved for the best mortgage rates before you start your house search.




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Posted by Julie Shanks on 12/30/2018

Perhaps one of the most challenging things about buying a home is saving for the downpayment. Collecting such a large sum of money can be difficult. The truth is that most buyers actually think that they need more than they actually do to buy a home. The downpayment doesn’t need to be a barrier to your path to homeownership. There are so many programs that offer low and even no down payment home loans. Read on to learn more about down payments and programs that can help you. 


First, let’s look at what a down payment is and how it can help you. If you put 10% down on a $200,000 home that’s $20,000. The downpayment minus the purchase price of the home is $180,000, and that's how much your home loan will be. The more money you can put down on the house, the lower your home loan will be and the lower your monthly mortgage payments will be. A large down payment can indeed save you in the long term. If you’re looking to move into a home sooner rather than later, saving a considerable sum isn’t always possible.  


Low Downpayment Mortgages


You need to decide what type of home loan you need by the amount of downpayment you’re willing and able to put down. Some benefits go along with making a down payment, but there are some negatives. 


By making a substantial down payment you may despite your savings, leaving little money for emergencies. Your mortgage rate may not be affected by a large downpayment either. It can be hard to decide what type of loan to get and just how much you really can afford.  


FHA Loans


FHA loans are among the most popular type of home loans. The downpayment that’s required is just 3.5%. The requirements are simple, and you don’t have to be a first-time homebuyer to qualify. 


The drawback to an FHA loan is that you cannot cancel the monthly mortgage insurance that comes along with it unless you refinance the home. Traditional mortgage insurance is canceled when you have built up 20% equity in the house, but this isn’t the case with FHA loans. 


Another positive about FHA loans is that your credit score doesn’t have to be stellar in order for you to qualify. Some lenders approve FHA loans with credit scores as low as 580. 


VA Home Loans


Buyers who have current or former military service status can qualify for this zero down mortgage. These loans are benefits to veterans and current members of the Armed Forces. While no downpayment is required, buyers may put down any amount they wish. The only requirements are that buyers be members of the military either currently serving for 90 days or two years of active duty service if not an active member.   


The above options are great for those who can’t afford or don’t wish to put down large down payments but still hope to be homeowners. 





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Posted by Julie Shanks on 11/25/2018

If you’ve been considering taking the next step toward homeownership, you’ve likely heard about FHA loans. Offered by the Federal Housing Administration (hence, “FHA”), these loans are great for a number of people hoping to purchase a home but who don’t have a large down payment saved.

There are many misconceptions about FHA loans since they’re often advertised by large, private mortgage lenders but are technically a government program. In order to clear up some of the confusion, we’ve provided answers to some frequently asked questions regarding FHA loans.

Read on to learn about FHA loans and how they might help you purchase a home.

Who issues an FHA loan?

FHA loans aren’t issued by the government. Rather, they’re issued by private lenders but insured, or “guaranteed,” by the government.

Since lenders want to make sure they’ll see a positive return from lending to you, they typically want you to have a high credit score and a large down payment (typically 20%). However, not everyone is able to meet those requirements. In this situation, the FHA is able to help you acquire a loan by giving your lender a guarantee.

Are there different types of FHA loans?

Yes. In fact, there are nine distinct types of loans guaranteed by the FHA. These include fixed rate mortgages, adjustable rate mortgages, refinance loans, reverse mortgages, VA loans, and more.

What do you need to qualify for an FHA loan?

It’s a common misconception that you need to be a first-time buyer to qualify for an FHA loan. However, if you have previously owned a home that was foreclosed on or if you’ve filed for bankruptcy, the foreclosure and bankruptcy have to be at least three years old.

You’ll also need to demonstrate a stable employment history, usually including two years of employment with the same employer.

Finally, the FHA will ask you for your current and previous addresses, the last two years tax returns, and the W-2 forms from any of your recent jobs.

What is the most I can borrow with an FHA loan?

The FHA sets mortgage limits on loans depending on the state and county you’ll be living in. For a single-family home, the limit ranges from $275,000 to $451,000. So be sure to check the limits for your state and county.

Can you refinance an FHA loan?

Refinancing a loan is a great way to receive a lower interest rate or to shorten the term of their mortgage to save in the total number of interest payments. In fact, the FHA typically only allows refinancing when it will result in lower interest payments on a loan.

What is the minimum credit score needed to qualify for an FHA loan?

While you don’t need excellent credit to qualify for a loan, the FHA will require you to have a score of at least a 580. You can check your score for free online from a number of companies, such as Mint or Credit Karma. Be aware, however, that scores vary between credit bureaus. So, it’s a good idea to check your FICO score once per year, which is the score used by mortgage lenders.




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Posted by Julie Shanks on 2/18/2018

Being self-employed comes with a lot of perks. Self-employed workers often have the freedom to set their own schedule, work from home, and take breaks whenever they feel like it. They also have the ability to write things off as business expenses on their taxes. When it comes to buying a home, this last perk can become a huge problem. If you own your own business or work as a freelancer, odds are you'll be deducting things from your taxes that the average employee doesn't: travel expenses, advertising, licensing, equipment, repairs, or even rent for your office. When tax season rolls around, all of these deductions feel like a godsend. But if you plan on buying a home, all of these costs will appear as negative income. For people who spend a lot of money on their business or freelancing, it could do a lot of damage to your apparent income when lenders take a look at your finances. However, you do have options when it comes to getting approved for a mortgage that is to your liking. In this article, we'll cover some tips on how to apply for a mortgage when you're self employed to give yourself the best chance of approval.

Carefully document your income

When you sit down with a lender and hand them your proof if income, you want to make it as obvious as possible that you're earning money in a reliable and predictable way. Lenders will want to see multiple documents that can help paint a better picture of your income and finances, including:
  • Bank statements
  • Schedule C tax forms
  • Profit and loss tax forms
  • Completed tax returns
  • Credit score (they will run a credit check)

Separate your business and personal finances

If you own your own business, you likely have business banking accounts you use for expenses and invoices. But freelancers and contract workers often simplify things by just using their personal checking and savings accounts for income. To make things clear for lenders, you should put your income and business expenses into a separate business account. Not only will this make it easier for lenders to quantify your income, but they can also use this information to see that your expenses are for helping your business rather than personal spending.

Timing is everything

There are a number of factors that go into choosing the right time to apply for a mortgage. Being self-employed only complicates the matter since your income might not be as steady as your average wage worker. You'll want to commit to a mortgage at a time when you've had at least two consecutive years of good, reliable income. You'll need to prove this with the aforementioned documents (bank statements, tax forms, etc.). Part of this planning could be to avoid large business expenses in the two years leading up to your mortgage application. This isn't always possible, of course, but it could be enough to boost your apparent income to get you approved for a better loan.

Seek specialized lenders

Some lenders are aware that there is a large portion of the country made up of self-employed workers and small business owners. They go out of their way to work with people who are self-employed so they can give them fair deals on their mortgages. To find specialized lenders, you'll have to do some research online, but it could make all the difference when it comes to getting approved for the loan you're looking for.




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