Getting a mortgage can be a very confusing process. There is a lot of paperwork to sign, documents to read and procedures to be followed. You’d think you were applying to go to Harvard or Yale, except they don’t require that much paperwork for you to be admitted!
Going into a mortgage knowing just a few facts will help you immensely in understanding what type of commitment you are getting into.
The first term you should understand is, amazingly, the word “term”. Term refers to the length of the mortgage you are taking out – or the amount of time you are making payments.
Many mortgages run the gauntlet of between ten and thirty years. The longer the mortgage, typically the lower your monthly payment will be (and the more interest the mortgage company makes). Generally speaking, you should go for the shortest term you can comfortable afford – you’ll save potentially tens of thousands (and in some cases potentially over a hundred thousand) dollars in interest by keeping the length of the mortgage as short as you can.
Next, understand the interest rate on your mortgage and how it is calculated. The interest rate refers to the amount of interest charges you will pay for the money you are borrowing, expressed as a decimal – such as 5.2 for 5.2%. Is it fixed or adjustable? In other words, is it the same through the life of the loan or does it change at specified periods in time? Most home buyers should try and steer clear of adjustable rate mortgages even though they can look better up front. They can often reset to higher interest rates and come back to bite you if you aren’t ready for a jump in your monthly payments!
Finally, understand what closing costs are and how they are going to affect your purchase price. Often times, you are going to be responsible for coming up with these closing costs out of your own pocket. Closing costs consists of things such as appraisals done on the house, attorney fees, notary fee, deed fee – if there is a fee they can think of it usually falls under the term closing costs! Be a smart and savvy consumer, if you see a fee that you don’t understand or doesn’t seem right – speak up! Some mortgage lenders try to sneak in any fee they can think of to make a few extra dollars profit.
Understanding these three terms can help make you a more informed home buyer and help you find the mortgage that is right for you. As with any product, it is important to shop around for a mortgage when you are considering buying a house. Even a small change in the interest rate between two lenders can often to amount to thousands of dollars in savings.
Don’t be afraid to comparison shop – it’s your money after all!
A fixed mortgage is one whose interest rate remains the same over the full term of the mortgage loan. This contrasts with an adjustable rate mortgage, where the interest rate can fluctuate with market conditions after a specified period of time. A fixed interest rate is easier to understand, and many prefer the predictability of repayments, and the way they have more disposable income as their income increases but mortgage repayments do not.
Benefits of a Fixed Mortgage
If you are seeking stability, and the safety of knowing exactly what you will be paying every month, then this is for you. This type of mortgage enables you plan ahead with confidence, without the possibility of facing a sudden hike in your monthly repayments because interest rates suddenly increase.
When you decide on a fixed mortgage, your choice of lender or building society will make little difference to your monthly payments because all offer very similar fixed interest rates. However, where interest rates do vary between lenders, you have the advantage of knowing that when you select the lowest rate, it will not change over the period of the mortgage.
While the rate for a fixed mortgage will be higher than the initial rate for an adjustable rate mortgage, if you take your mortgage on at a period when interest rates in general are low, then you could get a good deal for the entire life of the mortgage.
Disadvantages of Fixed Interest Mortgages
One of the disadvantages of fixed interest loans in general is that you are limited in how much you can borrow. This is particularly true when interest rates are generally high: the amount of your mortgage depends on your ability to repay, and you are liable to be restricted in the size of home you can purchase, even with a 30-year loan.
Also, if interest rates fall back to lower levels, your mortgage rate will not fall with them. You are locked into a fixed interest mortgage, and might face penalty charges if you attempt to repay it early (prepayment penalty). This is a something you should establish prior to signing for the mortgage loan.
The term of the loan could make a difference, and here are the pros and cons of 15-year and 30-year mortgages with fixed interest rates
15 Year Fixed Rate Mortgages
- Because the amortization is over a shorter period, you can increase equity over a shorter period of time. This enables you to purchase upwards at a faster rate than if you were paying a 30 year mortgage, or to repay your mortgage sooner.
- The interest rate will be lower than that for a corresponding 30 year fixed rate mortgage.
- The total amount you pay the lender in interest will be lower and so more of your cash will be going to repay the capital.
- The monthly payments will be significantly greater for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage than if you repaid the loan over 30 years. That is because you are repaying more of the capital sum, which has to be paid up in half the time.
- Because your monthly repayments are higher, you might not be able to afford as large a house as you could purchase with a 30-year fixed interest mortgage.
30 Year Fixed Mortgage
- You can take a mortgage over the longer term, knowing that your repayments will remain the same over 30 years, irrespective of the financial situation.
- Interest is amortized over double the time period than a 15 year loan, so the monthly repayments will be smaller.
- You will be paying more in interest overall with a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, so can claim more on your federal income tax returns.
- The fixed interest rate will be set at a higher level than that for a 15 year mortgage.
- Equity will build up very slowly in comparison to that of a 15 year fixed rate mortgage.
- You will end up paying more in interest to the lender.
Even if they can easily afford a 15 year mortgage, many people choose to pay over 30 years, and invest what they save in monthly payments. This can give them a yield greater than the difference in the monthly payments. This will be particularly true for those that take the mortgage at a fixed rate when rates are generally low.
If it is necessary to take a mortgage at a time when rates are particularly high, many will choose the 15-year fixed mortgage or choose an adjustable rate mortgage instead. If you had arranged an adjustable rate mortgage when rates were high, you may consider trading it for a fixed-rate loan when mortgage interest rates have dropped. You will then benefit from the lower rate for the remainder of the mortgage term.
In general, then, a fixed mortgage offers the advantage of knowing exactly what your payments will be, irrespective of interest rate fluctuations. The major disadvantages are being unable to take advantage of interest rate drops, and a limitation in the mortgage amount, particularly when rates are high. If you have questions about fixed rate loans, I can help, simply contact me directly or request a rate request using the FREE rate request form above!
Because the allure of living with mom and dad forever or conversely renting into oblivion might not appeal to you all that much, when you hear a term like first time home buyer loans with zero down, you may be interested to find out just what that really is all about.
These NO MONEY DOWN Loans are made by mortgage lenders and guaranteed by USDA Rural Development to low and moderate income applicants to buy or build homes (30 year fixed interest rate) in rural areas of Maine. You can view the income requirements here.
The biggest challenge for most first-time home buyers is saving up enough money for a down payment. If you’re tired of living the life of a renter or living with friends or family but you can’t scrape together the sizable amount for closing costs, down payments, and other new homeowner costs, it may be worth it to find out about the first time home buyer loans with zero down offered by lenders like Reliant Mortgage Company. Settling down and settling in to a new home can make all the difference for young families starting out.
If you want to learn more about whether or not your dream home can be purchased as a first time home buyer loans with zero down, reach out to your trusted Maine Mortgage Banker and see what they have to say.
Another year has passed, and while the last 5 of them have been rough for the housing market, we’ve now seen two consecutive quarters with most states showing incremental appreciation. Cause for celebration? Perhaps not, yet this is beginning to look like stabilization and that of course is the first step towards recovery.
What’s working in favor of prospective home buyers?
In a word – Affordability – Since 1963, it has cost an average of approximately 43% of “per capita” income to finance the cost of a median priced home (20% down payment and prevailing 30 year fixed rate mortgage). Right now it’s less than half that cost, and in many areas the monthly housing payments are less than an equivalent rental.
You can lock in your mortgage cost for life – Imagine if you could have locked in the price of gas back in 2001 when it was only about $1.50 per gallon or less? Think about that the next time you’re standing at the pump filling your tank with $4 gas. How smart would you feel if you knew your cost was forever lower? When it comes to a place to live, that same kind of opportunity is staring us in the face right now. Record low prices and record low rates are here now and plentiful. The beauty of a 30 year fixed rate loan is that it’s a 30 year fixed rate loan. If you lock it in now, it will never go up.
There is still uncertainty – yet there is also clarity that comes from knowing where things stand at present such as rates & prices. Above all else, the state of the market doesn’t change the fact that we need a place to live. Choosing to purchase is one of two options. The other one is to rent or to continue living with family if that’s where you are now.
The trouble is – renting amounts to little more than paying your landlord’s mortgage and in the end, there is nothing to show for that. Living at home gets old at the same rate as we do. The day comes when it’s time to leave and there’s never been a less expensive opportunity to do that than now. At some point, rates will rise and so too will prices. Being ahead of or behind that curve is all dependent on the action you choose to take today.
It’s Official: FHA Hike of 75bps Will Come April 1.
The Federal Housing Administration is following through with its pledge to increase upfront and annual insurance premiums on its forward single-family business. The plan is to help rebuild it’s insurance emergency fund which has taken a hit over the last few years during the housing collapse (FHA has paid out nearly $37 billion in defaulted mortgages since 2008).
Unveiled late Monday, the increases are designed to strengthen FHA’s capital position and “have minimal impact on the market and borrowers,” according to FHA acting commissioner Carol Galante. She noted that FHA streamline refinances are exempt from these premium hikes.
Starting April 1, FHA will hike its upfront premium by 75 basis points to 175 bp on all single-family loans, including jumbos.
FHA is also hiking the annual premium on loan balances of up to $625,500 on April 1. On higher balance loans or jumbos, FHA is planning to implement a 35-bp hike in the annual premium on June 1.
The federal mortgage insurance agency currently charges a 115 bp annual premium when the loan-to-value ratio is above 95%.
The head of the National Transitional Council military arm announced on Al Jazeera Arabic that Gadhafi is dead. The report hasn’t been confirmed.
Mortgage bonds are weaker at the open pushing rates higher as news out of Europe indicates the euro zone’s bailout facility will be able to buy EU bonds on the secondary market. The US debt market was weaker heading into the jobs data and didn’t move move following it.
Stock futures are higher adding addition pressure to mortgage bonds. The flight to quality buying of US debt instruments continues to fluxuate as hopes of a European debt solution increase. AS WE CONTINUE TO STATE….the trouble in Europe is far from over and we have been on this roller coaster for some time so expected more volatility to come!!!
Weekly jobless claims @ 403k, expected @ 400k, relatively in line with expectations
MARKET WRAP: Stock markets plunged today and pushed Bond prices considerably higher in early trading. But as the session unfolded Mortgage Bonds hit fresh session highs, then they reversed course and headed lower. The 3.5% coupon rose 19bp to 101.66, just above where it closed yesterday. Today’s higher than expected Initial Claims and a plunge in the Philly Fed gave a big boost to the Bond markets but the rally soon fizzled out. Stocks plunged today on the aforementioned news. That coupled with Euro bank woes was the recipe for the sell-off. The Dow lost 419.63 to 10,990.58, the S&P 500 dropped 53.24 to 1,140.65 while the Nasdaq plunged 131.05 to settle at 2,380.43. Oil finished the turbulent session at $82.38/barrel down $5.20 as global recession fears could crimp demand. There are no economic reports tomorrow.
What a day in the markets today as Stocks plunged on fears of another recession due to weak economic data and as sellers said, “Get Me Out!” The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 512.76 to end the session at 11383.68 down 10.5% from just July 21 and sending the Nasdaq, S&P 500 and the Dow into negative territory for the year. The S&P fell 60.27 to 1200.07 while the Nasdaq dropped 136.68 to 2,556.39. The 4% coupon jumped 81bp to end at 103.50. We will be switching our focus to the 3.5% in the next few business days. Oil was last seen in after hours trading down $5.48 to $86.45/barrel. Tomorrow’s Jobs Report sees 84K new jobs created in July and will be reported at 8:30am ET.
MARKET WRAP: Bond markets stabilized today and pushed higher despite better than expected news from initial claims, pending home sales and not-so-good results from the $29B 7-yr note auction. Whispers of a lower than expected 1st read on Q2 GDP could have helped to lend support to Bonds. Stocks traded higher for the most of the session but fell in the last hour of trading ahead of this evenings House vote on the debt ceiling due around 5:45pm ET. The 4% coupon jumped 47bp to end the session at 100.75. The Dow fell 62.44 to 12,240.11, the S&P 500 Index lost 4.22 to 1,300.67 while the Nasdaq was near unchanged at 2,766.25. Oil was slightly lower in after hours trading at $97.19/barrel. Along with GDP, Chicago PMI, Employment Cost Index and Consumer Sentiment will be released tomorrow.