Category Archives: Financing

5 Factors That Decide Your Credit Score

Credit scores range between 300 and 850, with scores above 620 considered desirable for obtaining a mortgage. The following factors affect your score:

  1. Your payment history. Did you pay your credit card obligations on time? If they were late, then how late? Bankruptcy filing, liens, and collection activity also impact your history.
  2. How much you owe. If you owe a great deal of money on numerous accounts, it can indicate that you are overextended. However, it’s a good thing if you have a good proportion of balances to total credit limits.
  3. The length of your credit history. In general, the longer you have had accounts opened, the better. The average consumer’s oldest obligation is 14 years old, indicating that he or she has been managing credit for some time, according to Fair Isaac Corp., and only one in 20 consumers have credit histories shorter than 2 years.
  4. How much new credit you have. New credit, either installment payments or new credit cards, are considered more risky, even if you pay them promptly.
  5. The types of credit you use. Generally, it’s desirable to have more than one type of credit — installment loans, credit cards, and a mortgage, for example.

For more on evaluating and understanding your credit score, visit www.myfico.com.

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6 Creative Ways to Afford a Home

  1. Investigate local, state, and national down payment assistance programs. These programs give qualified applicants loans or grants to cover all or part of your required down payment. National programs include the Nehemiah program, www.getdownpayment.com, and the American Dream Down Payment Fund from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, www.hud.gov.
  2. Explore seller financing. In some cases, sellers may be willing to finance all or part of the purchase price of the home and let you repay them gradually, just as you would do with a mortgage.
  3. Consider a shared-appreciation or shared-equity arrangement. Under this arrangement, your family, friends, or even a third-party may buy a portion of the home and share in any appreciation when the home is sold. The owner/occupant usually pays the mortgage, property taxes, and maintenance costs, but all the investors’ names are usually on the mortgage. Companies are available that can help you find such an investor, if your family can’t participate.
  4. Ask your family for help. Perhaps a family member will loan you money for the down payment or act as a co-signer for the mortgage. Lenders often like to have a co-signer if you have little credit history.
  5. Lease with the option to buy. Renting the home for a year or more will give you the chance to save more toward your down payment. And in many cases, owners will apply some of the rental amount toward the purchase price. You usually have to pay a small, nonrefundable option fee to the owner.
  6. Consider a short-term second mortgage. If you can qualify for a short-term second mortgage, this would give you money to make a larger down payment. This may be possible if you’re in good financial standing, with a strong income and little other debt.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

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How Big of a Mortgage Can I Afford?

Not only does owning a home give you a haven for yourself and your family, it also makes great financial sense because of the tax benefits — which you can’t take advantage of when paying rent.

The following calculation assumes a 28 percent income tax bracket. If your bracket is higher, your savings will be, too. Based on your current rent, use this calculation to figure out how much mortgage you can afford.

Rent: _________________________

Multiplier: x 1.32

Mortgage payment: _________________________

Because of tax deductions, you can make a mortgage payment — including taxes and insurance — that is approximately one-third larger than your current rent payment and end up with the same amount of income.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

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Buying More Affordable Than Renting

In the majority of U.S. housing markets, buying is more affordable than renting.  While housing values have been on the decline in recent years, rents have been on the rise as the demand for rental properties have increased.

If your currently renting, now might be the best time to purchase financially. Housing values are at all time lows along with interest rates. These conditions are not expected to continue indefinitely. In fact; housing values are already showing signs of rising along with interest rates.

You might be asking yourself; how much house can I buy, and will I actually be better off purchasing a home versus renting? Your best resource to get answers to these questions would be either a mortgage broker or your banking institution. They will be in a position to tell you how much house you would qualify for, how much cash you will need to close and what your projected monthly payment would be.  Once you have this information, you’ll be able to make an informed decision.

If you’ve decided that now is a good time to buy a home, then the next step is to contact a REALTOR® who will assist you with the house hunting process through the closing on your new home.

Act today; don’t keep putting your future plans on hold.

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Tips For a Smooth Loan Approval

•Don’t apply for new credit

•Don’t co-sign on a loan

•Don’t dispute anything on your credit report

•Don’t change bank accounts

•Don’t close any credit card accounts

•Don’t finance any elective medical procedure

•Don’t make a major purchase (car, boat, jewelry, etc.)

•Don’t max out or over charge your credit card accounts

•Don’t open a new credit card account

•Don’t take out a new loan

•Don’t transfer balances from one account to another

If you encounter a special situation, it is best to discuss it with your lender.

Source: Mortgage Options Lending

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Mortgage Credit Availability Reaches 3-Year High

Access to mortgage credit is at its highest level in three years, and credit standards are expected to loosen even more this year, according to a newly released index by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The Mortgage Bankers Association index rose to a 114 reading in March of this year, which is the highest reading in the gauge’s three year history.

Mortgage underwriting standards have gotten easier over the last two to three years, but nowhere near the loose standards of the 2005 and 2006 era.

Nearly 17 percent of the large banks recently eased their credit standards for prime purchase mortgages, while 5.6 percent have tightened their standards. The remaining banks have left their standards the same. This information comes from the Federal Reserve’s recent senior loan officer survey.

Source: Realty Biz News (4/14/2014)

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Keep Your Mortgage Application on Track

Follow these tips to improve your odds of getting a mortgage application approved:
•Do not quit or change jobs.
•Do not make any large purchases.
•Do not have your credit pulled.
•Do not deposit large sums of money.
•Do not open, close or transfer asset accounts.
•Do not increase your credit balances.
•Do not stop making payments on anything.
•Do not start a home improvement project that would require a loan.
•Do not co-sign a loan for anyone.
•Do not fudge on any of the facts on your loan application.

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Avoid These During the Mortgage Process

1. Make large undocumented bank deposits
2. Fail to disclose you are on probation, disability or maternity leave with your employer
3. Close credit accounts with a zero balance
4. Co-sign a loan for anyone else
5. Change your job status from full to part time
6. Spend your down payment or closing cost money
7. Apply for new loans or credit
8. Stop paying your bills on time
9. Get married or divorced
10. Quit your job

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VA Loans Post Record Year in 2013

The Department of Veterans Affairs recently announced that the number of loans it guaranteed reached a record high in 2013.

The VA guaranteed almost 630,000 mortgage loans in 2013 according to Mike Frueh, the director of the VA’s Loan Guaranty Program.

An overall tight lending environment is making VA loans more attractive to current and past service members.

VA loans do not require a downpayment. Roughly 90 percent of all VA loans for home purchases are made with no money. These loans do not require private mortgage insurance to be purchased, as with most other high loan to value mortgages.

States that have seen the largest increase in VA loans within the past year are Arizona (up 40 percent in 2013 over 2012), Ohio (30 percent) and Connecticut (30 percent).

Sources: The New York Times and REALTOR®Mag

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