Single and Considering a New Home? Here’s What You’ll Need to Know About Your Mortgage

Single and Considering a New Home? Here's What You'll Need to Know About Your MortgageHave you decided that it is time to move on from renting? If you are single and living alone, you may be wondering whether or not homeownership is right for you. Let’s have a look at a few key factors that you will need to be aware of when taking out a mortgage as a single person.

It’s A Commitment – But Not For A Lifetime

Some single people shy away from the idea of buying a home as it is a significant financial commitment. When you are single, especially if you are young and early in your career, flexibility can be valuable. You might decide to move to a new city to take a new job, or you may find a partner and decide to start a family.

Keep in mind that homeownership – and your mortgage – aren’t permanent. If you decide to buy a house, condo or apartment, you can always sell it later if you need to move or upgrade to a larger home.

You’ll Need To Be Disciplined

As you will only have one income stream coming in to support you in managing your monthly finances, you will need to be disciplined. Living paycheck to paycheck is not really an option as you will end up in trouble if an emergency occurs. Some financial experts advise having at least 6 to 12 months of monthly expenses saved up, in case of a job loss or an unexpected health issue that takes you out of work.

Don’t forget that there are also mortgage insurance products that can help to cover some of your costs in the event of an emergency. These may be an option to consider as a backup plan.

Starting Small Versus Going Big

Do you need a lot of space? If not, investing in a small ‘starter’ home is an excellent option. You can buy just enough home to suit your needs without buying anything extravagant. A helpful advantage that you gain purchasing a less-expensive home is that it comes with a smaller mortgage that can be paid off faster.

Questions? Get Professional Advice

If you have questions about borrowing and maintaining a mortgage as a single person, you’re not alone. Give our professional mortgage team a call. We will be happy to share our guidance and expertise in helping you choose the mortgage product that suits your financial goals.

Taking Out a Mortgage for the First Time? Learn Why a Condo Might Be a Great First Home

Taking Out a Mortgage for the First Time? Learn Why a Condo Might Be a Great First HomeAre you starting to tire of paying your monthly rent to someone and never building any equity? Renting forever can be a significant pain, especially as you’re contributing to someone else’s financial well-being. The good news is that there are affordable real estate options out there for those investing in their first home. Below we will share a few excellent reasons why an apartment or condo might be the best choice for a first-time home buyer.

A Manageable Monthly Payment

In most markets across the country, condos and apartments are available at a significantly lower cost than a full-sized house. Buying a less-expensive home means that your monthly mortgage payments will, in turn, be lower. If you are single or a young professional trying to start a family, that extra money can be a massive boost to your monthly budget.

Note that while your monthly mortgage payment may be lower, you are still responsible for other maintenance and upkeep fees. The most common is known as a homeowners’ association fee, to which all condo owners in the same development contribute. These funds are used to upkeep the building or property as well as things like landscaping, a pool or gym, and other amenities.

A Smaller Down Payment

In the same vein, buying a less-expensive home also means that you can put a smaller down payment on it when you close the sale. In many cases you are required to place a certain percentage – typically 20 percent – down to avoid having to purchase private mortgage insurance. Having to commit less in your down payment leaves more money in the bank for other purposes.

An Excellent Future Investment Property

Don’t forget that when you are ready to upgrade and move into a larger house, you can keep a condo as a rental or investment property. Once your mortgage is paid off, you are only responsible for the monthly maintenance fees and taxes. So if you can rent the condo out to a tenant, you will have an excellent source of cash flow that can help to pay for your new home or fund other activities.

The above are just a few of the many reasons why a condo can be a great starter home for first-time buyers. To learn more about your mortgage options, contact us today. Our team is happy to help.

Considering a New Home Next Year? Start Now and Get a Jump on Improving Your Credit Score

Considering a New Home Next Year? Start Now and Get a Jump on Improving Your Credit ScoreIn the market for a new home in 2018? With the new year just a few short weeks away, that leaves you with precious little time to get your finances in order. Let’s explore a few tips that will help you get a jump on improving your credit score before the end of the year.

Grab A Fresh Copy

The first step is to order a fresh copy of your credit report from one of the major agencies. The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows you to access a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months. So, if you have not ordered a copy recently, it is time to do so. You can access this free service through AnnualCreditReport.com, which is a website recommended by the Federal Trade Commission.

Clean Up Anything Outstanding

Now that you have a copy of your credit report, it’s time to go through it, line-by-line. You should recognize every current and outstanding account in the report. Any balances owing should be in order and reflect how much you owe. It’s critical that you flag any mistakes or old debts that you have already paid in full. If you come across anything that shouldn’t be on your credit report, call the reporting agency to let them know. If necessary, they will assist you with challenging the issue.

Pay Down Those High-Interest Debts

The final tip in today’s guide is to prioritize your outstanding debts so that you can pay them off more efficiently. The essential debt payments are your mandatory minimums, which you need to pay to avoid being sent to a collection agency. From there, try to pay off your debts with the highest interest rates first. Getting these paid off faster means that over time, you’re spending less on interest payments. Moreover, you can use that extra cash to pay your debts down further.

The above are just a few of the action steps that you can take today to start improving your credit score. When you’re ready to discuss a mortgage for your new home, give our team a call. We will be happy to advise you on the mortgage offer that suits your needs, budget, and credit.

Mortgage 101: How Interest-Only Mortgages Work and Why They’re A Good Solution for Some Buyers

Mortgage 101: How Interest-Only Mortgages Work and Why They're A Good Solution for Some BuyersWhether you’re a first-time homebuyer or an experienced real estate investor, if you are planning to borrow funds to buy a home you will want to choose the right mortgage product. In today’s blog post we’ll explore how interest-only mortgages work and why they’re the perfect choice for some homebuyers.

How Interest-Only Mortgages Differ From Conventional Ones

As the name suggests, interest-only mortgages are loans where you are only required to pay off the interest portion of the loan each month for some specific term. The length of these loans can be up to ten years, although five or seven is the most common. Once this period is over, you will have some options. Some choose to refinance their mortgage into a new term; others will make a lump-sum payment to pay off the balance. The most important item of note is that during the interest-only period, no principal is paid off unless you pay a bit extra.

The Pros And Cons Of Interest-Only Mortgages

Interest-only mortgages are a popular choice because of their many upsides. Your monthly payments are almost certainly going to be far lower during the interest-only period. This is because you’re not responsible for paying down the principal of the loan. A lower monthly payment frees up money that you can use for other purposes, such as investing. Also, your entire monthly payment during the interest-only period should be tax deductible, which may contribute to a refund each year.

Note that there are some potential downsides to interest-only mortgages as well. For example, if your mortgage interest rate is adjustable, you can end up paying more in interest than if you had locked in. You also need to stay disciplined financially. Once the interest-only period ends, your monthly payment may increase significantly to cover both interest and principal.

Who Should Consider An Interest-Only Mortgage?

Interest-only mortgages are a good fit for those individuals or families where you are confident that your income is going to grow significantly in five or ten years. Alternatively, if your income is somewhat sporadic and you want the option of paying lower payments in some months and more substantial payments in others. The key point is that these mortgages offer flexibility that other mortgage products do not.

As you can see, interest-only mortgages are an excellent choice in certain circumstances. To learn more about how an interest-only mortgage might be right for you, contact our professional mortgage team today. We are happy to share our experience to find mortgage financing that perfectly suits your needs.

62 or Older? 3 Reasons Why a Reverse Mortgage Might Be the Perfect Financial Solution for You

62 or Older? 3 Reasons Why a Reverse Mortgage Might Be the Perfect Financial Solution for YouAre you and your spouse starting to move into your retirement years? If so, you already know that you are going to need a solid financial plan for when your primary sources of income are no longer bringing money in. If you have invested in your retirement, you might be all set. However, what if your house makes up the majority of your net worth?

Let’s take a quick look at three reasons why a reverse mortgage might be a great way to unlock the equity you’ve built up in your home.

Reason #1: This Is Your Last Home

To qualify for a reverse mortgage, you have to own your home or be very close to paying off any outstanding mortgage debt. A reverse mortgage is money borrowed against the equity in your home, which is considered collateral. So, if staying in this house is your long-term plan, then a reverse mortgage should be a good fit.

Note that it is not impossible to buy a new home or move when you have a reverse mortgage. You simply have to pay the outstanding balance as with any other loan or mortgage product.

Reason #2: You Don’t Plan On Leaving Your House To Anyone

It is important to note that when you or your spouse dies, your reverse mortgage becomes due. In most circumstances, the house is either sold or transferred to cover the outstanding amount of the mortgage. This means that anyone inheriting the house is going to inherit the reverse mortgage as well, leaving them responsible for the outstanding balance.

If you do not have any children, or if they are already financially stable and not in need of an inheritance, you may not have to leave your house to anyone. This makes a reverse mortgage a good source of extra cash.

Reason #3: You Can Afford Taxes And Upkeep

Finally, don’t forget that with a reverse mortgage, you are still responsible for taxes, insurance and maintenance costs. Falling behind on these items can cause your reverse mortgage to become repayable immediately. If you can afford these costs without having to stretch, then you’re in good shape.

If you are looking to make more of your home equity as a financial asset and both you and your spouse are 62 or older, reverse mortgages are an excellent idea. To learn more about these financial products and your options, contact us today. Our professional team of mortgage advisors is happy to show you why a reverse mortgage is a good fit.

Stuck in a Bidding War? 3 Ways to Win Without Busting Through Your Mortgage Approval Amount

Stuck in a Bidding War? 3 Ways to Win Without Busting Through Your Mortgage Approval AmountAre you making an offer on a new home in a hot housing market? If so, one possibility is that you are going to end up bidding against other buyers who are looking to buy the same home. Unfortunately, in some cases bidding wars are inevitable, and they can be a significant source of stress. Let’s take a look at three ways that you can win a bidding war without having to spend more than you can afford.

Price Is Important, But It’s Not Everything

The first consideration to keep in mind is that price is important, but it isn’t the sole consideration that sellers make when deciding which offer to choose. In fact, for many home sellers, the price is secondary to a variety of other factors.

For example, consider whether or not the sellers need to close quickly. Perhaps they are moving to a new city, or have already bought a new house and are looking to get out of their old one. If you have your mortgage financing pre-approved and your paperwork in order, you can promise a shorter close than other buyers may be able to provide.

Have A Face-To-Face Conversation With The Listing Agent

It’s worth investing the time in a sit-down chat with the seller’s real estate agent to find out what their motivations are. Are they selling for the money, are they moving, are they under pressure or just getting rid of the house to make an upgrade? All are factors that you can use to your advantage in a bidding war.

Another great tip: be sure to find out where the sellers plan to live once they sell their home. If they want to stay in the house, you may be able to buy it and lease it back to them. That’s a difficult offer to refuse.

Be Flexible, But Be Firm

Finally, keep in mind that you will need to be flexible to win a bidding war, but you should remain firm. Don’t bend your offer or terms too much. If you table a great offer and still lose the bidding war, that’s life. You can move on and find another great home to live in.

If you are in a hot real estate market, it’s a good idea to mentally prepare for a bidding war when you submit an offer on a new home. For more insight or to find out how much mortgage financing you qualify for, contact us today. Our professional mortgage team will be happy to meet with you and show you how you can purchase your dream house or condo.

Man Vs. Machine: Why Using a Human Mortgage Professional Is Better Than Trusting an App

Man Vs. Machine: Why Using a Human Mortgage Professional Is Better Than Trusting an AppAre you currently house-hunting or plan to be in the near future? If you plan on using mortgage financing to pay for your home, you will soon discover that there’s no shortage of options available to you. You can meet with a local mortgage professional, apply for mortgages online and even download mobile apps that promise to set you up with a mortgage. However, is every option equal?

Let’s explore why, in the epic battle of man versus machine, you will want to place your trust in a human mortgage professional.

Human Mortgage Professionals Have Local Experience

The first and most important reason you will want to work with a human mortgage professional is their understanding of the local real estate market. While you are likely to be working with a real estate agent, your mortgage advisor is another pair of eyes-and-ears that can help to keep your home purchase on the right path. They are also working regularly with many local clients and can share insight and information that no website or app will be able to come up with.

A Human Can Appreciate Your Unique Financial Situation

Online and app-based mortgage technology is… cold. Algorithms are processing the math and other hard facts about your financial history, with little consideration of you and your family as people. When you meet with a human mortgage advisor, you’re speaking with someone who understands the challenges that regular people face. They have also worked with numerous other clients and can appreciate why certain circumstances may have come up in the past.

A Human Will Go To Bat For You If Needed

Finally, don’t forget that a human mortgage professional is invested in your success. A mobile app isn’t going to understand when it needs to go the “extra mile” to ensure that you get the financing you need. You can trust that a human will push for that extra bit of funding or those better repayment terms as they’re on your side.

The above are just a few of the many reasons that you will want to work with a human mortgage advisor rather than using a website or mobile app. Don’t believe us? Give our professional (and human!) mortgage team a call today. We will be happy to share our expertise and insight to ensure you get the best mortgage financing for your new home.

Buying a New Home? Four Key Questions to Ask Your Mortgage Advisor

Buying a New Home? Four Key Questions to Ask Your Mortgage AdvisorAre you in the market for a new home? If you are planning on borrowing some or most of the home’s purchase price, you’ll want to prepare yourself for the mortgage process. Let’s take a look at four key questions that you will want to ask your mortgage professional when you first meet to discuss your home loan.

What’s The Best Mortgage Option For Me?

As you probably know, there is a wide variety of mortgage loan options and programs on the market today. You may qualify for a number of mortgage loans along with certain government programs or specialty mortgages. Your mortgage advisor will be able to share the pros and cons of each type of mortgage loan so you can decide which option best suits you.

What Interest Rate And Amortization Period Fit My Budget?

Next, you’ll want to determine what loan term and interest rate combine to produce a monthly payment that fits your budget. For example, in some cases, you may prefer a lower interest rate over a longer amortization period like 15 or 20 years, which can reduce the amount you pay each month. Conversely, you may decide that you want to pay the loan down faster and take a shorter term with a slightly higher interest rate.

What Fees And Closing Costs Will I Incur?

When you borrow a mortgage to buy a home, you will inevitably incur some additional costs and fees. Some are connected to the home itself, such as home inspection or home appraisal fees. Others are due to the mortgage and might include loan origination fees or discount points that you choose to buy to lower your interest rate. Your mortgage advisor will be able to give you an honest assessment of what fees you’ll need to pay and which you can potentially avoid.

What Documents And Paperwork Do I Need To Prepare?

Finally, you’ll want to get an idea of what documents and other paperwork that you’ll need to prepare. Your mortgage lender will require a number of items to verify your income, credit history and for risk assessment purposes. This might include past income tax forms, pay stubs, bank statements or other materials if you’re self-employed.

These are just a few of the talking points you’ll want to cover when you first meet your mortgage advisor. For more information about the mortgage process and to get things started, contact us today. Our mortgage team is happy to share our insight and answer any questions you might have.

Current Servicemember or Veteran? 4 Reasons Why a VA Home Loan Is an Excellent Choice

Current Servicemember or Veteran? 4 Reasons Why a VA Home Loan Is an Excellent ChoiceAre you current or former member of the US military service who is looking to buy a new home? If so, you will be pleased to know that there are some special mortgage programs that are open to you. Let’s take a look at five reasons why a mortgage backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs is an excellent choice when buying your new home.

You Can Borrow Up To 100% Of The Home’s Value

You read that correctly! VA-backed mortgages are available to you even if you choose to put no money towards your down payment. This can be a huge benefit for those individuals and families who are looking to buy a new home but don’t have a large chunk of cash on hand to fund the down payment. Instead, you can work with your VA mortgage advisor to get financing for the entire purchase price of your home.

You Can Qualify For A ‘Jumbo’ Loan

Depending on the real estate market in your city, the size of home you need and how luxurious you want it, you may need a larger mortgage. The great news is that there are ‘jumbo’ options available with VA-backed home loans. In some cases, you may qualify for over $1 million in mortgage financing, which is likely to put most homes in your area within reach.

You Can Avoid Mortgage Insurance Fees

Home buyers using a conventional mortgage with less than 20 percent down are typically required to buy private mortgage insurance or “PMI.” However, this is not a requirement with VA-backed mortgages. If you qualify for a VA home loan, this can save you a significant amount of money over the loan’s term.

You Can Accelerate Your Payments At No Cost

If you decide that you want to pay your VA mortgage off a bit faster by accelerating your payments, you can do so without incurring fees or penalties. For example, if you are gifted a large sum of money or have a significant income tax return, you can contribute that amount directly against your mortgage.

These are just a few of the many great reasons to explore using a VA-backed mortgage to fund your next home purchase. For more information about VA home loans and to see if you qualify, contact your trusted mortgage professionals today.

Understanding ‘Bridge’ Financing: How to Buy a New Home Before You Sell Your Current One

Understanding 'Bridge' Financing: How to Buy a New Home Before You Sell Your Current OneOne of the biggest challenges a homeowner can face when looking to upgrade or move is trying to sell their current home while buying another. If most of your net worth or equity is locked up in your current house, you will need to move it into cash to help fund the purchase of your new home. The alternative is to wait until your home is sold and you receive the funds before trying to buy a new one – but you could end up waiting for months.

The great news is that there are bridge financing options available to homeowners which can help to get things moving. Let’s take a look at how a bridge loan works and how it can help you to buy a new home before your sale is finalized.

How Does A Bridge Loan Work?

First, it is important to note that a bridge loan isn’t the same as your mortgage loan for your new home. Instead, when you take out bridge financing, you’ll borrow against the equity that you’ve built up in your current home. You’ll then be able to use these funds to help cover the costs involved with closing on your new house. Then, when you sell your old home, you’ll use part of the proceeds of that to pay off your bridge loan.

The main benefit you’ll get from this approach is a bit of extra time and flexibility in selling your home. Instead of having to accept a low offer or rush into a sale, you’ll have a bit of breathing room to take the best offer when the time is right.

Try To Avoid Making A Contingent Offer

Your bridge financing can also help you to make the winning bid and close on your new home faster. One piece of advice that some real estate agents and other experts have shared is to avoid making an offer on a new home that is contingent on selling your current home. This is especially true if you are buying in a hot real estate market where there are other buyers competing against you for the same home. If you’re already funded, you can submit an offer to buy the home as soon as the seller is ready.

As you can see, taking out a bridge loan against the equity of your current home is a great way to cover the costs of buying a new home. For more information about how bridge financing works and how you can pair it up with a mortgage for a new house or condo, contact us today. Our team of mortgage advisors is happy to share financing options that fit your needs and budget.