Archives for September 2016

Investing in a Vacation Property? Learn What You’ll Need to Have to Get A Mortgage Approved

Investing in a Vacation Property? Learn What You'll Need to Have to Get A Mortgage ApprovedWith approximately one million people having purchased vacation homes in the last year, this type of residence is gaining popularity for those who are interested in a home in a beach setting or a vacation hot spot. However, while a second home can seem like a great purchase and solid investment opportunity, there are different requirements that go into this type of purchase. If you’re considering a vacation home, you may want to be aware of the following financial factors.

The Down Payment Amount

If you currently have a primary residence, you may be aware that you don’t need to put down 20% or even 10% in order to make a home purchase, but things are different when it comes to a vacation home. Because you will be taking on an additional mortgage, there is greater risk involved, and this means you will likely have to put in at least 10 percent. Because of this, many homebuyers utilize the equity they have in their first home to make up the down payment.

About The Credit Score

Most people that have a credit score of more than 500 have the ability to use a mortgage product and purchase a home, but if you’re buying a second property, you’ll need a higher credit score in order to facilitate the purchase. Because there is more risk involved, lenders will want to make sure you’re a good bet. In addition, if you do have a lower credit score, lenders like Fannie Mae may also expect you to put more down to decrease the risk involved for them.

The Income Required

Since you’ve been through the mortgage process for your first home, you’re probably aware that you debt-to-income (DTI) ratio needs to be a certain amount in order to qualify for a mortgage. While your DTI for a primary residence may be a little bit higher since it’s your only payment, this ratio will be lower for your vacation home since it’s higher risk. This means you’ll require a slightly higher income than for your primary residence in order to get approved.

Deciding to purchase a vacation home can be a very exciting concept for many people, but there are a number of different financial requirements that go along with buying another residence. If you’re in the market for a vacation property and are curious about what’s involved, contact your local mortgage professional for more information.

Mortgage Myths: Here’s Why You Don’t Need a Full 20 Percent Down Payment

Mortgage Myths: Here's Why You Don't Need a Full 20 Percent Down Payment If you’re just getting into the real estate market, you may have heard that 20% down is the ideal percentage in order to lower your monthly payments and get your mortgage application approved. However, while 20% is often suggested, many people struggle to come up with this amount of money. If you’re staving off home ownership, here are some reasons you may not need to hold off as you long as you thought.

Minimizing Your Insurance Costs

Putting down 20% of the total purchase price of your home is often suggested, but it doesn’t definitively mean that your application won’t be approved if you don’t. If you have a good credit score and are in good financial standing, putting less than 20% down means you’ll have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI); however, it can be worth paying the extra funds in order to get into the real estate market sooner and start paying into your most significant investment.

Mortgage Programs For Less Than 20%

It may seem less possible to buy a home if you only have 5 or 7% of the purchase price, but there are many programs in the United States that enable those with limited funds to apply for a mortgage. From the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, there are many lenders that can offer you mortgage programs that will work for your situation. While higher rates come in tandem with a lower down payment, there are options out there for those who haven’t saved quite enough.

Why Put Down 20%?

Putting down 20% is not a necessity for mortgage approval or purchasing a home, but it can be a great means of saving money in the long run and reducing your interest rates. If you’re raring to get into the real estate market and don’t want to wait for the bills to stack up, that’s OK, but if you want to hold off and save up additional funds before diving in, this can mean more money and a more solid investment in the future.

20% is often the magic number when it comes to a down payment on a home, but you don’t require this percentage of your home’s price in order to get approved for a mortgage. If you’re currently considering diving into home ownership and would like to know more about the opportunities in your area, contact your local mortgage professional for more information.

Real Estate Investing: 3 Insider Tips to Winning House, Land or Foreclosure Auctions

Real Estate Investing: 3 Insider Tips to Winning House, Land or Foreclosure AuctionsHouse, land and foreclosure auctions can be one of the most nerve-wracking ways to buy a property. However, if you prepare yourself with proven bidding tactics, auctions can be a great way to purchase your dream home at a competitive price.

If you’re in-it-to-win-it, familiarize yourself with these top three tips and tricks before attending a real estate auction.

Give The Right Impression

While you may not have control over what other bidders are willing to pay for a property, you do have some control over their perception of whether or not bidding against you is worthwhile. Come well-dressed and maintain a confident demeanour to give the appearance that you are a serious buyer, one whom ‘the other guy’ likely can’t out-bid.

To enhance this appearance, do not make an offer right away. Wait until the bids have reached approximate 80% of your maximum price and then join in, as it will knock out the bargain hunters. A big first bid can be intimidating to others, making them question whether they stand a chance against you. Following bids should be made quickly and confidently to send the message that you are the person who will be closing this deal.

If you are extremely anxious to place bids, consider hiring a professional bidder to do the work for you. A seasoned pro will be able to maintain their cool while placing bids strategically to maximize your chances of getting the property you want at the price you want.

Know Your Limit

Never go into an auction without knowing your absolute limit. If you are emotionally invested in the property it is best to write your limit somewhere on the inside of your hand, so that you are forced to remember it when you’re tempted to exceed it.

In terms of setting a limit, pick a figure that isn’t rounded. Many buyers will set limits such as $500k or $1.2 million, and will drop out after these round figures have been reached. If your limit is $515k or $1.25 million, you will have an extra cushion than may just barely outbid your rivals – and that’s all you need to win.

Ask The Hard Questions

Do your research beforehand and ask the auctioneer about the property’s flaws. Questioning whether the deck is up to code or whether there is still a possibility of road widening could make other bidders second guess the property and drop out before bidding has even begun.

Ready to blow the competition out of the water? Make sure you are completely prepared for an auction, contact your trusted mortgage professional today.

Financing That Dream Home with a Mortgage? Here’s What to Expect on Closing Day

Financing That Dream Home with a Mortgage? Here's What to Expect on Closing DayThere are so many details that lead up to the purchase of your dream home that it can be hard to realize it when the closing day is finally upon you. However, when closing day finally arrives, there will still be a few last minute details that need to be taken care of. If you’re getting ready to solidify your home purchase and are wondering about the remaining paperwork and any unknown details, here are some things you can expect when it comes to making your purchase complete.

One Last Walk Through

A home inspection is an important part of any home purchase, but buyers often have the option to go for one final walk through on closing day in order to determine if any additional damage has been done. This will help to ensure that if any additional issues have appeared, they can be discussed and taken care of by the seller. While it might seem like the home inspection should take care of things, a last walk through can be very important in ensuring you don’t get stuck with unwanted – and potentially expensive – repairs.

A Few Helping Hands

Most of the details will be taken care of by the time closing day comes, but that doesn’t mean it will be up to the lawyers to settle everything for you and the seller. Instead, you can expect a wide cast of involved parties that can range from the seller’s agent to the title company representative to the closing agent, in addition to the homeowner and yourself. It’s just important to be aware that which parties are involved will be dependent upon where you live.

A Bevy of Documents

Purchasing a home is not without an abundance of paperwork, but there will be a few more documents to deal with during your closing meeting. In addition to documents that outline the agreement and the property transfer, there will be others like the deed of trust, the settlement statement and the mortgage note that verifies that the buyer will pay back the mortgage loan.

There are many stressors that come along with the purchase of your home, but by taking all the documents you need and being prepared to deal with all the engaged parties, the day can go a lot more smoothly. If you’re currently looking into a mortgage and are on the market for a home, contact your local mortgage professional for more information.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – September 12, 2016

Few economic reports were released last week due to the Labor Day Holiday. The Federal Reserve released its Beige Book Report, which documents anecdotes shared with the Fed by its regional business contacts. A job openings report, weekly jobless claims and Freddie Mac’s survey of mortgage rates was also released.

Fed’s Beige Book: Approaching Election Dampens Business Growth

According to the Federal Reserve’s survey of business contacts within its 12 districts, November’s election is causing business owners to take a “wait and see” position regarding expansion plans. Commercial real estate contacts in several Fed districts cited modest projections for sales and construction for the second half of 2016. The Bank of Canada supported Fed contacts’ view of modest growth; it characterized U.S. business growth as “less certain.”

Analysts review the Beige Book report for indications of how the Fed may adjust its monetary policy including whether or not to raise the target federal funds rate. The Beige Book report did not reveal any compelling evidence for the Fed to raise rates before year-end, but Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in a recent statement that economic conditions were strengthening and favored a rate hike before year-end.

November’s election will likely delay any rate hike until December. Fed policymakers have repeatedly said that a combination of economic trends, current readings and news reports contribute to decisions relating to interest rates and other monetary policy issues.

Job Openings Rise, New Jobless Claims Drop

July job openings rose from June’s reading of 5.60 million openings to 5.90 million openings to hit an all-time high.  New jobless claims fell from 263,000 new claims to 259,000 new claims. The Labor Department also reported that hires increased from 5.17 million to 5.23 million in June. These readings are further indications of strengthening job markets and general economic growth.

Mortgage Rates Lower

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week; the average rate for a 30-year mortgage was two basis points lower at 3.44 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was one basis point lower at 2.76 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was two basis points lower at 2.81 percent. Discount points averaged 0.60, 0.50 and 0.40 percent respectively.

What’s Ahead

Next week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on retail sales, national inflation and consumer sentiment.

Growing Your Wealth: 3 Reasons Why Real Estate Is the Ultimate Long-Term Investment

Growing Your Wealth: 3 Reasons Why Real Estate Is the Ultimate Long-Term InvestmentWhile many people may be hesitant to consider real estate as a viable long-term investment, owning property has a steady historical track record and isn’t as volatile as other investment markets can be.

Any investor who hasn’t seriously considered it as an option should take a closer look at the benefits of owning real estate and why it is the ultimate long-term investment strategy.

It Becomes A Consistent Source Of Income

Investing in rental property has the added benefit of being able to show regular returns in the form of rental income. Unlike other long-term investments that require a level of patience in order to profit, real estate can provide a large sum return in the future while still providing financial benefits on a monthly basis.

An Investment That Anybody Can Participate In

Many forms of investment require a level of skill or familiarity in order for first timers to jump straight into it with any level of confidence. Real estate is one investment that anybody can enjoy, thanks in part to the insight that can be gained from family and friends who have gone through the same process.

The level of knowledge that’s required to invest can be gained with some simple investigating to learn more about local areas that have increased in value and the kinds of homes that are popular. A real estate professional can take that information and add to it, providing invaluable expertise to the process.

Consider It To Be A Guaranteed Retirement Plan

Saving for retirement has become harder to commit to as each year goes by. Money being left in a savings account or an easy to sell investment can be dipped into at any point, leaving very little when retirement starts to roll around.

Using property as a long-term retirement plan requires a level of commitment to the investment and upkeep to the property that guarantees there will be something tangible to bank on later in life.

While investing in real estate may seem simple, especially when compared to other investment markets, it’s still recommended to consult with a professional before making any decisions. A local real estate professional will have a level of knowledge about which areas will be the wisest to invest in depending on how long in the future you are looking to sell. If you are interested, contact a local mortgage professional in your area today for more information.

Understanding ‘Disposable Income’ and How This Will Impact Your Mortgage Approval

Understanding 'Disposable Income' and How This Will Impact Your Mortgage ApprovalThere are few things more exciting than finding your ideal home, but with the rising cost of housing, a person’s dream home can often come with a very high purchase price. If you’re wondering how much home you can truly afford and how your cost of living will fare for your mortgage approval, here are some of the details on what you can expect when it comes to finding a home at an affordable price.

What Is Your Debt-to-Income Ratio?

Before deciding if a home is right for you, it’s important to calculate what your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is to determine how much house you can afford. The debt amount will include any credit cards, existing mortgages and other loan payments that you pay down each month. To determine your maximum monthly payment, multiply your gross income by 0.36 and divide it by 12. This will give you the expenditure of debt, including your housing payment, that you should not exceed each month.

Determining Your Down Payment

There’s a lot of talk around the ideal amount you should put forward for a down payment, but this percentage can directly impact the amount of the house you can afford. If you are able to put down 20% of the purchase price of your home, this means your monthly mortgage payments will be minimized and this will decrease your DTI ratio. While a home may be out of your reach if you can only put 10 or 15% down, 20% down will ensure a higher amount of disposable income on a monthly basis, making your application more feasible.

Determine Your Lifestyle

While a lender may not reject your application outright if your debt-to-income ratio is higher than suggested, it’s important to know what kind of spending choices make sense for you so that you can make your monthly payments. If you have limited expenses above your mortgage and enjoy a Spartan lifestyle, it’s entirely possible that you’ll be able to manage a higher monthly amount. However, if you don’t have stable employment and are struggling each month, it may be a good idea to consider a less expensive property.

The monthly mortgage payment for your dream home may look like it’s manageable on the surface, but if your DTI ratio exceeds what is suggested, there may be issues with acceptance of your application. If you’re currently in the market for a new home, contact your local mortgage professionals for more information.

Buying for Retirement: 3 Reasons Why You’ll Want to Buy Your Retirement Home Before You Retire

Buying for Retirement: 3 Reasons Why You'll Want to Buy Your Retirement Home Before You RetireMany people dream of buying their ideal retirement home after their career has come to a conclusion – with all that extra free time it seems like it’d be the most logical time to shop around.

However, many real estate professionals strongly recommend that their clients find a retirement property before they’re off the payroll. While it may seem like a big time commitment to find a new home while you’re still busy with your work there are several significant financial benefits to purchasing your retirement home before you actually do retire. Here are our top reasons why.

It Makes Your Mortgage Easy

When you are employed it is easier to get approved for a mortgage. If you wait until after you retire to buy your retirement home, you may not have the income require to qualify for the mortgage that you need. Don’t limit yourself! Buy while you’re still employed to keep your options open.

It Leaves You With More Spending Money

Buying a new home while you have an income provides you with more security with your expenses, such as mortgage payments and planned upgrades or renovations. Having an income can also mitigate financial stress should you run into any unexpected expenses after closing.

It Leaves You Ready For Reality

You may think you can accurately predict the expenses of your new home, but if you buy the property before retiring it gives you time to get to know the true amounts of your monthly payments. This can help ensure that you have enough saved to retire and live comfortably in your new property, with no surprises for your budget. You’ll be in a better position to create a financial plan once you know the reality of owning your new home.

An Added Bonus: It Can Be An Income Property

If you decide to purchase your retirement home before you retire you don’t have to move into it right away. You can rent it out as an income property until you’re ready to settle in, which will not only help cover mortgage payments but will also allow you to see first-hand what the monthly expenses are for the property.

This will also prevent you from having to deal with a move while working; you can wait until you do finally retire before packing up your current home and moving into your new one.

Contact your trusted mortgage professional today for more advice to set yourself up for the future.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – September 6, 2016

Last week’s economic reports included readings on pending home sales, construction spending and consumer sentiment. Case-Shiller Home Price Indices for June were released, along with several labor-related reports including national unemployment, ADP Payrolls and Non-Farm Payrolls were also released along with weekly readings on new jobless claims and Freddie Mac’s survey of average mortgage rates.

Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Holds Steady in June

According to the Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index for June, average national home prices held steady with a seasonally adjusted annual growth rate of 5.10 percent in June. The top three cities for home price growth were Portland, Oregon with a reading of 12.60 percent; Seattle, Washington followed with a reading of 11.00 percent. Denver, Colorado home prices grew by 9.20 percent year-over-year.

San Francisco, California, which had posted highest year-over-year price gains in recent months slipped with a reading of 6.40 percent year-over-year in June. This could signify a cooling of rapid price gains in high demand metro areas where home prices have become unaffordable for many buyers.

Construction Spending Flat in July, Pending Home Sales Increase

While builder sentiment has been strong, construction spending was flat in July as compared to an expected reading of 0.60 percent and June’s reading of an 0.90 percent increase in construction spending. The Commerce Department reported that pending home sales increased 1.30 percent in July, which exceeded expectations of 0.90 percent growth and June’s negative reading of -0.80 percent. July’s reading appeared to even out June’s unexpected slump in pending sales, which are considered an indicator for future closings and home loan volume.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise

Mortgage rates rose for all three loan types reported by Freddie Mac. The rate for a 30-year mortgage rate rose three basis points to 3.46 percent; the average rate for a 15-year mortgage also rose three basis points to 2.77 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage jumped by eight basis points to 2.83 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent, 0.50 percent and 0.40 percent respectively. Mortgage rates rose after the yield on 10-year Treasury Notes increased in response to a speech given by Fed Chair Janet Yellen that indicated that the target federal funds rate could be raised in December.

263,000 new jobless claims were filed as compared to expectations of 265,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 261,000 new claims. Job growth slowed in August; the Commerce Department reported a reading of 151,000 new jobs in its Non-Farm Payrolls report. Analysts expected 170,000 new jobs, which fell significantly short of July’s reading of 275,000 jobs created. Non-Farm Payrolls includes data for public and private sector jobs.

Labor Reports: Job Growth Slows, National Unemployment Holds Steady

ADP Payrolls also reported fewer private sector jobs created in August with a reading of 177,000 new jobs as compared to 194,000 private sector jobs created in July. Analysts characterized August jobs reports as “fickle” due to high numbers of summer vacations and company-wide summer holiday closures.

August’s reading for national unemployment held steady at 4.90 percent.

While slower growth in home prices and job creation could signal an economic slowdown, there was good news as consumer confidence rose to 101.7 in August; this reading surpassed the expected reading of 97.0 and July’s reading of 96.7.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news is lean due to the Labor Day holiday on Monday. In addition to weekly reports on new jobless claims and mortgage rates, reports on job openings and the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report will be released.

Can You Use a Reverse Mortgage to Buy Your Next Home? Yes, and Here’s How

Can You Use a Reverse Mortgage to Buy Your Next Home? Yes, and Here's HowMost people who have been on the market for a home are familiar with what the term ‘mortgage’ means, but many have not heard of a reverse mortgage and aren’t aware of how this product can benefit them. If you’re nearing retirement and are contemplating a new home or even relocation to another community, here are the details on a reverse mortgage and how this option may benefit you.

What Is A Reverse Mortgage?

While many homeowners may not have the net worth to be able to buy another home without selling their current one, a reverse mortgage enables the buyer to borrow money against the value of their home. Created in 2009 as the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage for Purchase (HECM), this type of mortgage can enable those older than 62 to relocate to a new house or move closer to their family without having to sacrifice the money they’ve saved or their fixed monthly income.

What Are The Requirements?

Beyond the minimum age requirement of 62 years of age, those who would like to utilize a reverse mortgage must either own the current property they are living in or have a high amount of equity in the property. They must be able to pay all of the costs associated with ownership of the home and the property they are purchasing must be able to pass the standards held by the Federal House Administration (FHA). In addition, applicants will have to go through a financial assessment to ensure they can make insurance and property tax payments.

The Benefits And Drawbacks Of Reverse Mortgages

A reverse mortgage can be a great benefit in that it enables those who are in their senior years to purchase a new home without having to utilize a portion of their fixed monthly income. However, because a reverse mortgage includes this benefit, it also comes in tandem with a higher loan balance and this higher balance means that interest will accrue more quickly. Dependent on this amount, this can actually diminish the equity in the home.

While the opportunity for a reverse mortgage has been around for a number of years, this alternative for purchasing a home has not been utilized by many homeowners since its inception in 2009. If you’re approaching your senior years and are considering the benefits of purchasing a new home, you may want to contact your local mortgage professional for more information.