The 10-year Mortgage: Why a Shorter Amortization Period Can Be Your Best Option

The 10-year Mortgage: Why a Shorter Amortization Period Can Be Your Best OptionFrom ‘down payment’ to ‘adjustable rate’ to ‘debt-to-income’ ratio, there are so many terms involved in the mortgage process that it can be hard to learn them all and keep them straight. However, whether or not you’ve heard it, the term ‘amortization period’ might be one of the most important ones associated with your financial well-being. If you’re currently considering the period of loan you should choose, here are some things to think about before taking on a term.

What Is Amortization?

Used to refer to the length of time it takes to pay off your mortgage loan, a typical amortization period is 25 years. However, there are many periods over which homebuyers can choose to pay off their mortgage. While many homeowners opt for what works best for them, it can be the case that a shorter mortgage period will actually be more financially beneficial in the long run. It may not only mean lower overall costs, it may also mean financial freedom from a loan much sooner than originally anticipated.

The ‘Principal’ Of The Matter

It’s important to have a monthly mortgage payment amount that’s sustainable, but a shorter amortization period means that you will be paying a higher amount on the principal and paying more on the actual loan amount. While a longer amortization period will add up to more interest payments and less paid on the loan cost each month, a shorter period can end up costing you less for your home when all’s said and done.

Considering Your Loan Period

It goes without saying that a shorter amortization period will pay down the principal sooner and cost less over time, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the best choice for you. Because your monthly payment will be taking a sizeable chunk out of your salary, it may be difficult to swing a higher payment in order to pay off your loan in 10 years. If it’s doable without compromising your quality of life, you may want to choose this option, but if there’s too much sacrifice you may want to opt for a longer loan period.

Everyone has a choice in the amortization period that works for them, but it’s important to make your decision based on what works for you and will be beneficial for your finances. If you’re currently getting prepared to invest in a home, contact your trusted mortgage professional for more information.

You Ask, We Answer: What Are the Pros and Cons of Private Mortgage Insurance?

You Ask, We Answer: What Are the Pros and Cons of Private Mortgage Insurance?It’s easy to get Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) confused with homeowners’ insurance, but PMI is an entirely different thing that may or may not be necessary when it comes to your home purchase. If you’re going to be investing in a home in the near future and are wondering what PMI may mean for you, here are some things to consider regarding this type of insurance.

Your Down Payment Amount

If you’ve been perusing the housing market for a while, you’ve probably heard that 20% is the ideal amount to put down when investing in a home; however, you might not realize why. The truth is that 20% down is the suggested amount because this will enable you to avoid having to pay PMI on the purchase of your home. In this regard, PMI is a protective measure for lenders since they may be taking on more financial risk with those who have less equity built up in their home.

Getting Into The Market

For those who want to get into the real estate market right away and only have 10-15% to put down, PMI can be a means of being able to invest before mortgage rates increase. While buying a home when you want can certainly be a benefit, it’s also worth realizing that PMI is an additional fee and will impact the total cost of your home loan. It may be a risk worth taking if you want to buy now, but if it’s total cost you’re considering, it may better to save more before buying.

Getting Money Back

Whether you’re a homeowner or not, most people don’t look forward to tax time no matter how much money they get back. However, if you have PMI for your home, you’ll not only be able to get a variety of tax deductions, you’ll also be able to get back some of the money that you invested into your private mortgage insurance. It may not be enough of a deduction to compete with saving up, but if you’ve found the perfect home the deductions can serve as an added incentive.

While you’ll only be required to pay PMI if you put down less than 20%, it can be a benefit if you’re looking to purchase a home right away. If you’re currently perusing your options on the real estate market, reach out to one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

3 Classic Credit Mistakes to Avoid If You’re Trying to Secure a Mortgage Loan

3 Classic Credit Mistakes to Avoid If You're Trying to Secure a Mortgage LoanThe mortgage application process can be fraught with a lot of stress on its own, but if you’ve experienced issues with your credit in the past it can be even more taxing. While there may be a lot of things you may not be aware of when it comes to their impact on your credit, here are some things to watch out for if you’re planning on purchasing a home in the short-term future.

Applying For Extra Credit

Whether you’ve just been offered a great new deal by a department store or you’re not even thinking about it, new credit cards can pop up with deals that are quite enticing in the moment. Unfortunately, applying for new credit can actually signal to lenders that you’ve run out of credit on your other cards. Not only that, it will also have an adverse impact on your credit score each time you apply for new credit. If you’re considering a mortgage in the near future, it’s a good idea to hold off on any additions to your wallet.

Not Paying Your Bills

It may seem straightforward enough that not paying your bills is going to land you in hot water with your credit score, but many people think paying the minimum at any time will do. The truth is that if you want to keep your credit in line and improve your odds, it’s important to pay your minimum before the due date and always pay your bills. The only thing deferring payments will do is add marks against your credit, and this will be damaging come application time.

Don’t Avoid Your Credit Report

Many people who have a poor credit history are aware of the situation, but they’re also unwilling to address it. While it may be difficult to approach your credit report if you’ve had some hiccups in the past, it’s important to know what point you’re working forward from so you can move beyond it. Instead of ignoring it, get a copy of your credit report and review the numbers. Not only will this enable you to address any errors, it means you’ll be facing your issues head on.

There are a number of factors that can adversely affect your mortgage application, but by avoiding new credit and paying your bills on time you can have a positive impact on the result. If you’re currently in the market for a new home, contact your trusted mortgage professional for more information.

What Fees Are Involved With a Reverse Mortgage? Let’s Take a Look

What Fees Are Involved With a Reverse Mortgage? Let's Take a LookInvesting in a home may be one of the most significant purchases you’ll make in your lifetime, but many people forget that there are a number of other costs associated with buying a home. If you’re considering a reverse mortgage and want to be clear on all of the fees involved, here are a few things you can expect to come across.

Initial Home Appraisal Fee

In order to ensure that you qualify for a reverse mortgage, you’ll need to spend a lump sum up front to determine the market cost of your home. While the amount of this fee will depend on the size and age of your home, it generally runs from a couple hundred dollars to less than a thousand and will be paid to the appraisal company that you’re dealing with.

Mortgage Insurance Premiums

At the time that you close on your mortgage, you’ll be required to pay a mortgage insurance premium (MIP) in order to secure your loan. This amount will vary from lender to lender and will be calculated based on the lesser-appraised value of your home. In addition to this, annual mortgage insurance premiums will be charged throughout the entire period of the loan and will be a percentage of the outstanding balance of your mortgage.

Loan Origination Fee

In order to process and underwrite your loan, you will also be required to pay a loan origination fee, which covers the administrative costs. While this amount has come down in recent years, it is a sizeable lump sum that hovers around 2% of your home’s value up to $200,000. If the home’s value exceeds this amount, it will go down to 1% after the initial amount is charged.

Other Third Party Fees

Like any mortgage loan, there are a number of one times fees that you’ll need to pay in order to secure your mortgage. In addition to a monthly servicing fee, there will also be fees like surveying, title fees and credit checks that will be added on to the total cost of your mortgage product. It’s important before choosing this option to ensure that you know what costs you’ll be dealing with.

A reverse mortgage may be the right mortgage product for you, but it’s important to be educated of all of the costs before choosing this option. If you’re currently considering other mortgage products, you may want to contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Refinancing This Spring? How to Choose Between Variable and Fixed Interest Rates

Refinancing This Spring? How to Choose Between Variable and Fixed Interest RatesFrom choosing a real estate agent to finding the right home, the process of getting a mortgage is rife with many different choices. If you’re investing down the road, it’s likely that you’ve heard about variable and fixed interest rates and are wondering about the differences between the two and how they can benefit you. While what will work best for you depends on your financial flexibility and market knowledge, here are some basics that will help you make a decision.

The Details on Fixed Rates

For many homeowners new to the market, the stability of a fixed rate is comforting because the interest rate will be set for the length of the loan period. This means your monthly mortgage payment will be the same and you will not be required to adjust your budget each month. While knowing your rate can offer financial security in a fluctuating market, it may actually end up costing more money down the road depending on what the rates are like over time.

All About Variable Rates

A fixed rate can provide security, but a variable rate is much like it sounds and will fluctuate with the market interest rate. This means that your monthly mortgage payment will not be fixed and in the event of market increases or decreases, your mortgage payment may change markedly. While the benefit of variable rates is that they can actually end up costing less down the road, they can be a burden for those who do not have market knowledge and are going to feel the stress of changing rates.

Choosing Between The Two

While it’s expected that interest rates will rise in the coming years, there are still no guarantees that variable rates will end up costing more than a fixed rate. This means that if you are comfortable with the fluctuations, a variable rate may be better, but if it’s consistency you’re looking for, you may want to choose a fixed rate. If you are struggling with financial stability month-to-month, a variable rate may be more economical over time, but a fixed rate will offer the security of knowing your costs.

There are benefits associated with fixed and variable rates, but it’s important to determine how comfortable you are with the real estate market and your finances before making a decision. If you’re currently in the market for a new home, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

Honesty Is the Best Policy: Why You Need to Be Truthful on Your Mortgage Application

Honesty Is the Best Policy: Why You Need to Be Truthful on Your Mortgage ApplicationThere are few things better than finding your dream home and being able to afford it, but simply because you’ve found the perfect place doesn’t mean you should stretch the truth. It might seem tempting to polish your mortgage application a little in the hopes of making a better impression, but here are a few reasons why you should stick to the truth when signing off on your home.

Your Credit History Tells All

It can be tempting to bump up your salary or make some hefty deposits into your savings account. However, lenders will be taking a look at your financial history by way of your bank statements, credit report and paystubs so they’re likely to discover any erroneous details. If you’re not honest about your financial situation, the lender may suspect that you’re not a reliable buyer. Not only that, making false statements about your finances may give you more home than you can really afford, which can cause setbacks down the road.

Mortgage Fraud Is Still Fraud

A little white lie on your mortgage application might not seem like such a big deal, but because you are painting a picture of yourself that is not true, this can actually be considered mortgage fraud. While there are mistakes that can be made on any mortgage application given all the details required, it’s very important not to mislead the lender or home seller on purpose. It may not be common, but mortgage fraud can be punished with hefty fines or even prison time.

A Bad Way To Begin

There’s nothing like the feeling of moving into your newly-purchased home and feeling enthusiasm for all the things it entails, but being dishonest about your financial situation can sully that. A lie may just be a small detail, but mortgage lenders look at a variety of factors to ensure you’re a good fit for a loan that will stay manageable month after month. While a minor mistruth may seem insignificant, it disables lenders from being able to assess if your financial situation is right for the home you want to purchase.

It may be enticing to fudge a few details on your mortgage application, but there can be serious implications involved in not being honest about the information on your application. If you’re currently in the market for a home, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

What Fees or Costs Are Involved With a Reverse Mortgage? Let’s Take a Look

What Fees or Costs Are Involved With a Reverse Mortgage? Let's Take a LookAs a means of avoiding monthly mortgage payments, a reverse mortgage is a way for homeowners to tap into their equity in order to defer the payments on their home. While this can be a beneficial option for those who are older than 65, it’s important to be aware that – like any mortgage product – there are a number of associated fees. If a reverse mortgage is something you’re considering in the future, here are some of the costs you’ll be looking at.

Mortgage Insurance Premiums

In order to secure your reverse mortgage, you will be required to pay mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) at the time that you sign off on your reverse mortgage. The cost will be charged upon closing, and will continue to be charged throughout the entire period of the loan. While this amount will vary based on a variety of factors, it will be calculated using the lesser-appraised value of your home.

Origination Fee

Since a reverse mortgage is a different mortgage product, you may be required to pay an Origination Fee for all of the costs associated with processing the mortgage. This amount will differ depending on which lender you are using and it will equate to a small percentage of the total value of your home.

Servicing Fee

In addition to the fees required for switching your mortgage product, there will also be a monthly servicing fee to cover administration for the period of the loan. In addition to billing and statements, this amount will ensure that you are covered when it comes to your home purchase. While service fees are becoming a thing of the past, they are generally a relatively small amount of money.

Additional Third Party Fees

There are many fees associated with home ownership and a reverse mortgage is no different. As a result, there may be a number of third-party fees for items including appraisal costs, surveying, title fees and credit checks that will be required in order to close the process. Fortunately, most of these costs will be charged prior to or upon closing and will not persist throughout the mortgage period.

Many people would like to defer their monthly payment and utilize a reverse mortgage, but before deciding on this product it’s worth knowing what the associated costs are. If you’re currently considering your mortgage options and are wondering what is available, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

Did You Know? How Accelerating Your Mortgage Payments Can Help Your Credit Score

Did You Know? How Accelerating Your Mortgage Payments Can Help Your Credit ScoreThe tough part might be over after your mortgage has been approved, but it’s still important to keep on top of your monthly payments and maintain a good credit score for your financial future. If you’re currently wondering how increasing your mortgage payments can help your credit outlook, here are some things to consider.

Change Your Payment Schedule

Most people opt for a monthly mortgage payment, which can certainly stretch the budget but is still something that can be maintained consistently. However, what many homeowners don’t realize is that more consistent payments, like a bi-weekly or even weekly payment, can actually pay down the principal that is owed on your home. While this may seem like enough of a benefit on its own, this will also lower the interest you pay on your investment and will mean financial freedom much more quickly!

Make A Lump Sum Payment

Whether you’ve come into an inheritance or received a bonus at work, making a lump sum payment on your mortgage can be a great way of minimizing your interest and improving your overall credit. There are often limitations on the amount of money you can put down, but by adding an additional payment to the amount still owing on your mortgage, you might be surprised by the money savings and the boost to your financial profile.

Limit Your Amortization Period

25 years may be the standard amortization period for a mortgage, but longer is not necessarily better when it comes to your biggest investment. While you won’t want to push yourself too much if your monthly mortgage payment is already high, if you have the financial wherewithal to make a higher payment, it may be worth it for owning your home a little sooner. A shorter amortization period may seem like it will significantly bump your monthly mortgage, but by re-tooling your budget you can get the benefit to your credit score without sacrificing your monthly expenditures.

For many people, it is a month-to-month challenge to stick to their budget and make the monthly mortgage payment, but there are benefits to putting down more than expected. Whether you come into a lump sum amount or want to pay on a bi-weekly basis, extra payments can help to improve your credit and make your investment yours much sooner. If you’re currently in the market for a home, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

Saving for a Mortgage Down Payment? 4 Tips That Will Help You Get There Faster

Saving for a Mortgage Down Payment? 4 Tips That Will Help You Get There FasterFor most people, the idea of saving more money each month is enough of a burden without having to think about investing in a home. A down payment, however, will require a lot more saving know-how and a lot more in liquid assets in order to be able to buy. If you’re trying to find ways to save a bit more each month, here are some sure-fire tips for raising the extra funds.

Re-consider Your Commute

Outside of rent, there are few things that will cost as much money as owning your own vehicle, so instead of holding on to yours, you may want to consider putting it up for sale. While a vehicle costs a lot in gas, there are also costs for maintenance, insurance and parking that quickly add up. By foregoing this expense, you can easily save significantly!

Stick To Your Budget

It might sound like a silly tip, but actually sticking to your budget can make a big difference in how much you’ll save. While most people have a few rules to live by, writing down every receipt and monitoring the things you overspend on can make a marked impact on your surplus when all’s said and done.

Cut Down On Coffee & Lunch

With the hustle of everyday life, many people run out for coffee or lunch every day and forget that these costs add up over time. Instead of spending $5 or $10 here and there, take your coffee to go and make your lunches at the start of each week. It may not seem like much, but this can easily add up to hundreds in just a short time.

Change Your Phone Plan

Many people think that all of the conveniences that come along with a smart phone are a necessity, but data can come at a high price and it may not be worth paying. Instead of eating a high monthly phone bill, talk to your provider about what deals they can offer you and what you can cut back on. It may seem small at first, but it will add up to a lot by the year’s end.

It can seem insurmountable to try and save up enough for a down payment, but the little things that you spend on each day can easily add up. If you’re currently on the market for a home and are considering your saving options, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

Til’ Debt Do Us Part: How to Get a Mortgage If One Spouse Has A Poor Credit Score

Til' Debt Do Us Part: How to Get a Mortgage If One Spouse Has A Terrible Credit ScoreA poor credit history is a reality for many people, but it can be particularly daunting when it comes to investing in a house. Fortunately, simply because you or yours have experienced bad credit doesn’t mean that you should be penalized in the future. If your spouse has struggled with bad credit in the past but you’re both preparing to move forward and invest in a home, here are some tips for getting it together financially.

Face The Music

Many people who have bad credit are too scared to take a look at their credit report and broach it honestly, but it’s important to come to terms with the problem so that it can be fixed. Instead of ignoring it, get a copy of the credit report and review it for any errors so that you can update these if needed and be aware of the issues impacting your credit score. While there may not be any inaccuracies on the report, knowing what you’re dealing with will give you a point to start from.

Make Your Payments

At some point, most people have missed a credit card or bill payment, but the first step involved in improving your finances and your credit is ensuring your spouse is paying their bills on time. While this won’t require paying the complete balance each month, it’s important to pay the minimum balance before the due date, and stick with it! It may seem like a small step, but over time it will improve credit and say a lot to mortgage lenders!

Save Up For Down Payment

20% is the amount that’s often suggested when it comes to a down payment, but if your spouse has terrible credit, it may be worth your while to save up more. It goes without saying that having good credit for both yourself and your spouse is important in getting approved for a mortgage, but by having extra for your down payment and paying your bills on time, you may be successful at convincing lenders you’re a solid bet.

It can be a lot more difficult to get your mortgage approved if your spouse has bad credit, but there are steps you can take to improve your financial outlook and give lenders a better impression. If you’re planning on investing in a home in the near future, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.