Category Archives: Financing

5 Factors That Decide Your Credit Score

Credit scores range between 300 and 850, with scores above 620 considered desirable for obtaining a mortgage. The following factors affect your score:

  1. Your payment history. Did you pay your credit card obligations on time? If they were late, then how late? Bankruptcy filing, liens, and collection activity also impact your history.
  2. How much you owe. If you owe a great deal of money on numerous accounts, it can indicate that you are overextended. However, it’s a good thing if you have a good proportion of balances to total credit limits.
  3. The length of your credit history. In general, the longer you have had accounts opened, the better. The average consumer’s oldest obligation is 14 years old, indicating that he or she has been managing credit for some time, according to Fair Isaac Corp., and only one in 20 consumers have credit histories shorter than 2 years.
  4. How much new credit you have. New credit, either installment payments or new credit cards, are considered more risky, even if you pay them promptly.
  5. The types of credit you use. Generally, it’s desirable to have more than one type of credit — installment loans, credit cards, and a mortgage, for example.

For more on evaluating and understanding your credit score, visit

6 Creative Ways to Afford a Home

  1. Investigate local, state, and national down payment assistance programs. These programs give qualified applicants loans or grants to cover all or part of your required down payment. National programs include the Nehemiah program,, and the American Dream Down Payment Fund from the Department of Housing and Urban Development,
  2. Explore seller financing. In some cases, sellers may be willing to finance all or part of the purchase price of the home and let you repay them gradually, just as you would do with a mortgage.
  3. Consider a shared-appreciation or shared-equity arrangement. Under this arrangement, your family, friends, or even a third-party may buy a portion of the home and share in any appreciation when the home is sold. The owner/occupant usually pays the mortgage, property taxes, and maintenance costs, but all the investors’ names are usually on the mortgage. Companies are available that can help you find such an investor, if your family can’t participate.
  4. Ask your family for help. Perhaps a family member will loan you money for the down payment or act as a co-signer for the mortgage. Lenders often like to have a co-signer if you have little credit history.
  5. Lease with the option to buy. Renting the home for a year or more will give you the chance to save more toward your down payment. And in many cases, owners will apply some of the rental amount toward the purchase price. You usually have to pay a small, nonrefundable option fee to the owner.
  6. Consider a short-term second mortgage. If you can qualify for a short-term second mortgage, this would give you money to make a larger down payment. This may be possible if you’re in good financial standing, with a strong income and little other debt.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

Common Closing Costs for Buyers

You’ll likely be responsible for a variety of fees and expenses that you and the seller will have to pay at the time of closing. Your lender must provide a good-faith estimate of all settlement costs. The title company or other entity conducting the closing will tell you the required amount for:

  • Down payment
  • Loan origination
  • Points, or loan discount fees, which you pay to receive a lower interest rate
  • Home inspection
  • Appraisal
  • Credit report
  • Private mortgage insurance premium
  • Insurance escrow for homeowner’s insurance, if being paid as part of the mortgage
  • Property tax escrow, if being paid as part of the mortgage. Lenders keep funds for taxes and insurance in escrow accounts as they are paid with the mortgage, then pay the insurance or taxes for you.
  • Deed recording
  • Title insurance policy premiums
  • Land survey
  • Notary fees
  • Prorations for your share of costs, such as utility bills and property taxes

A Note About Prorations: Because such costs are usually paid on either a monthly or yearly basis, you might have to pay a bill for services used by the sellers before they moved. Proration is a way for the sellers to pay you back or for you to pay them for bills they may have paid in advance. For example, the gas company usually sends a bill each month for the gas used during the previous month. But assume you buy the home on the 6th of the month. You would owe the gas company for only the days from the 6th to the end for the month. The seller would owe for the first five days. The bill would be prorated for the number of days in the month, and then each person would be responsible for the days of his or her ownership.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

How Big of a Mortgage Can I Afford?

Not only does owning a home give you a haven for yourself and your family, it also makes great financial sense because of the tax benefits — which you can’t take advantage of when paying rent.

The following calculation assumes a 28 percent income tax bracket. If your bracket is higher, your savings will be, too. Based on your current rent, use this calculation to figure out how much mortgage you can afford.

Rent: _________________________

Multiplier: x 1.32

Mortgage payment: _________________________

Because of tax deductions, you can make a mortgage payment — including taxes and insurance — that is approximately one-third larger than your current rent payment and end up with the same amount of income.

Source: National  Association of REALTORS®

Buying More Affordable Than Renting

In the majority of U.S. housing markets, buying is more affordable than renting.  While housing values have been on the decline in recent years, rents have been on the rise as the demand for rental properties have increased.

If your currently renting, now might be the best time to purchase financially. Housing values are at all time lows along with interest rates. These conditions are not expected to continue indefinitely. In fact; housing values are already showing signs of rising along with interest rates.

You might be asking yourself; how much house can I buy, and will I actually be better off purchasing a home versus renting? Your best resource to get answers to these questions would be either a mortgage broker or your banking institution. They will be in a position to tell you how much house you would qualify for, how much cash you will need to close and what your projected monthly payment would be.  Once you have this information, you’ll be able to make an informed decision.

If you’ve decided that now is a good time to buy a home, then the next step is to contact a REALTOR® who will assist you with the house hunting process through the closing on your new home.

Act today; don’t keep putting your future plans on hold.

Tips For a Smooth Loan Approval

•Don’t apply for new credit

•Don’t co-sign on a loan

•Don’t dispute anything on your credit report

•Don’t change bank accounts

•Don’t close any credit card accounts

•Don’t finance any elective medical procedure

•Don’t make a major purchase (car, boat, jewelry, etc.)

•Don’t max out or over charge your credit card accounts

•Don’t open a new credit card account

•Don’t take out a new loan

•Don’t transfer balances from one account to another

If you encounter a special situation, it is best to discuss it with your lender.

Source: Mortgage Options Lending

Mortgage Credit Availablity Reaches 3-Year High

Access to mortgage credit is at its highest level in three years, and credit standards are expected to loosen even more this year, according to a newly released index by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The Mortgage Bankers Association index rose to a 114 reading in March of this year, which is the highest reading in the gauge’s three year history.

Mortgage underwriting standards have gotten easier over the last two to three years, but nowhere near the loose standards of the 2005 and 2006 era.

Nearly 17 percent of the large banks recently eased their credit standards for prime purchase mortgages, while 5.6 percent have tightened their standards. The remaining banks have left their standards the same. This information comes from the Federal Reserve’s recent senior loan officer survey.

Source: Realty Biz News (4/14/2014)

Keep Your Mortgage Application on Track

Follow these tips to improve your odds of getting a mortgage application approved:
•Do not quit or change jobs.
•Do not make any large purchases.
•Do not have your credit pulled.
•Do not deposit large sums of money.
•Do not open, close or transfer asset accounts.
•Do not increase your credit balances.
•Do not stop making payments on anything.
•Do not start a home improvement project that would require a loan.
•Do not co-sign a loan for anyone.
•Do not fudge on any of the facts on your loan application.

The Six Elements that Determine if a Home Sells

Price – This is probably the most important element of the six items listed. A property needs to be properly priced to attract buyers in the first place. Pricing a home too high will most often lead to a lower sales price and longer market time than if priced right in the beginning.

Property Condition – Properties that are in tip top shape will usually sell much quicker than a property that’s in disrepair or needing updating. Properties that are in substandard condition will often draw low ball offers from investors and those folks looking for fixer uppers. Additionally a property that’s not up to certain minimum standards will not be considered for government backed loan programs, which significantly reduces the pool of available buyers if your limited to cash or conventional buyers.

Terms – This item rates high on the list of elements because if a buyer is unable to locate the needed financing, then they will not be in a position to purchase your property in the first place. If interest rates are at an attractive level and lending standards are reasonable, then terms should not be an issue. If you have a hard to sell property, then you might consider offering seller financing. This would open up your property to those buyers that are unable to secure traditional financing.

Agent Marketing – Selecting an agent and firm that has your best interest in mind is most important. You want someone that will provide you the necessary information, so that you can make informed decisions throughout the process of buying and selling. Visit to find out more about agent marketing.

Market Conditions – This is one of the elements that you have little to no control over. Market conditions will determine a property’s value at any given time based upon the law of supply and demand. The market is ever changing as the supply of available properties for sale rises and falls. Values will rise as the supply of available properties dwindles, and values will fall if the supply of properties exceeds buyer demands.

Property Location – Location greatly affects the value of a property. Property values are mostly influenced by neighboring property values. Usually you will find like valued properties in company with with one another. When pricing property you will usually need to be priced in relationship to other properties in the immediate area.