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!
How do you stimulate the economy without spending any money? You do the twist and shuffle. The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it would engage in a new policy known as “Operation Twist,” consisting of selling shorter-term Treasuries and using the proceeds to buy longer-term government bonds. The Mortgage Bond markets soared today after the surprise announcement from the Fed saying that it will be purchasing agency Mortgage Backed Securities from the principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency Mortgage Backed Securities in agency Mortgage Backed Securities. The move took players by surprise in a big way. The 3.5% coupon jumped 134bp to end at an all-time high of 103.00 The next few trading days will determine if we switch over to the 3% coupon, which finished at 99.81 up 134bp today.Stocks plunged after the Fed statement read that there are significant downside risks to the economy. The Dow lost 283.82, the Nasdaq fell 52.05 to 2,538.19 while the S&P 500 Index dropped 35.33. Oil in after hours trading was last seen at $84.83/barrel down $2.09. Weekly claims will be released tomorrow.
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.
It’s still a great time to refinance and the purchase market couldn’t be better for a buyer.
These rates are based on no points, rate and term refinance or a purchase, with qualifying income, loan to value and fico scores. **
FHA 30 Year Fixed 4.50%
FHA 15 Year Fixed 3.875%
30 Year Fixed 4.75%
15 Year Fixed 4.125%
Jumbo 15 year Fixed 4.50%
Jumbo 30 year Fixed 5.125%
Here’s a couple of neat things we can do or do better!
With the current economy and a lot of people struggling, some new products have become available to help these borrowers.
1. FHA loans with FICO scores as low as 540.
2. FHA loans with up to 2 mortgage late payments in last 12 months.
3. Conventional loans 620 minimum fico, 1 mortgage late in last 12 months
4. Conventional loans with only 3% down or 97% LTV, NO monthly mortgage insurance
5. Jumbo Loans In house at great rates (see above)
6. We now have Maine State Housing
7. We now do everything under one roof! Appraisal Ordering, Processing, Title, Underwriting and Closing!
For a FREE evaluation contact me today!
MARKET WRAP: Mortgage Bonds had their monthly coupon rollover after the close of trading today. The effect of this rollover was minus 31bp points for the 4% coupon ending down 81bp on the day. The fall today was due to continued inflation pressures and economic optimism and as money continues to move into the Stock markets. The Dow jumped 71.52 to end at 12,233.15 for its 7th straight gain and its longest winning streak in nearly 7 months. The S&P 500 Index rose 5.52 to 1,324.57 while the Nasdaq rose 13.06 to 2,797.05. Oil settled at $87.80/barrel down 64 cents. There are no economic reports tomorrow. The Treasury will sell $24B 10-yr notes tomorrow.
Oftentimes borrowers don’t have any credit card debt or open lines of credit and this can hurt their scores. For these types of clients it’s recommended they open a secured credit card with a min balance of $300-$500. Problem is where can they get one of these? A simple and easy place for borrowers that need help badly is at capital one.
Here is another link with a list of cards for people with bad-fair credit if the capital one doesn’t work- just make sure it says they report every month to all 3 bureaus.
To apply for a First Time Home loan contact me today!
I normally hate titles that are meant to scare people into reading but unfortunately this time there is no exaggeration to the severity of the issue. USDA Guaranteed Rural Development loans, one of the best low/no down payment financing programs left, has recently announced they expect to be out of the funds they use to guarantee loans by late April. If no action is taken by Congress to re-appropriate more funds then it will be the next budget year, after October, before we have this financing option again.
But the Tax Credit deadline is looming
Exactly- This funding shortfall couldn’t happen at a worse time. Now as contacts are being negotiated, applications are being taken and plans are being made to ensure buyers meet the dates of the tax credit deadline, we throw a wrench in the system. Should a buyer proceed with USDA financing if they have just received a fully executed contract? Should a buyer that has been pre – qualified for a Rural Development loan continue house shopping? What can this mean to a buyer that is already in the process too far to turn back?
These questions must all be dealt with on a case by case basis, depending on a variety of factors. One of the most important factors to consider is current and anticipated turn times for your local USDA underwriting. Here in Maine USDA is at 7-10 business days so unless you can have your loan ready to go to the USDA by April 9th, there is a good possibility you may not make the funding cutoff. This is further complicated by the fact that USDA is the only loan program that does not require HVCC type appraisal restrictions (VA is a different animal but with the same results). This means if you commit to USDA financing now and are forced to revert to FHA or another program, you may need a new appraisal.
Buyers should follow the advice of their trusted lenders and know that proceeding with a USDA loan without enough time to make this cutoff is a gamble. We truly need an act of Congress to approve additional funds for these loans. Although it seems logical that they should want to avoid such a deep blow to the housing industry at this time, we all know oftentimes there is precious little logic in D.C. If you think I’m exaggerating the seriousness of this, do know the USDA Guaranteed RD program assisted 2,125 families in home ownership in Maine alone! Sure, some may be able to qualify through another program like FHA or VA but many won’t.
Is there anything we can do to help?
Yes- please accept this call to action to contact your trade associations and express the severity of this. NAR, NAMB and the NAHB have all been made aware of this and I trust are beginning lobbying efforts to rectify it. You could also contact your members of elected officials in the House and Senator Susan Collins in the Senate and urge them to sponsor legislation and fast track it to minimize the damage a funding delay could cause. This is not a partisan issue, both sides of the aisle should be eager to approve this. This isn’t about bailing out the housing industry, it’s about maintaining funding for a loan program that has suddenly become much more popular than anyone expected due to the current environment of real estate.