Mortgage Glossary : Your Guide to Understanding Basic Mortgage Jargon

The  Mortgage Process can be confusing. Here’s a Mortgage Glossary to help you understand some basic mortgage jargon

PRE-APPROVAL LETTER:  A Pre-Approval Letter is a commitment from your lender pre-approval-2that will tell you how much of a home you can afford and the maximum amount of money you are qualified to borrow.
To become Pre-Approved you will need to provide all the documentation of your creditworthiness. An Underwriter will review and verify all your paperwork to determine how much the lender thinks you can afford to borrow,
Having a Pre-Approval Letter in hand before shopping for homes can help you move faster. And with greater confidence in a competitive market.

what-is-good-credit-scoreCREDIT SCORE:   A number ranging from 350 – 800 that is based on an analysis of your credit files. Your credit score plays a significant role when applying for a mortgage. The score helps lenders determine the likelihood that you’ll repay future debt payments. The higher your score, the lower the risk of default, the more mortgage program options available to you, including a lower interest rate and lower payments.

MORTGAGE RATE:   The interest rate you pay to borrow the money to buy your new home. It’s the cost of the money you pay to borrow the money over a time period. The lower the credit score, the lower the rate, the lower the mortgage payments.

APR:   The Annual Percentage Rate is broader measure of your total cost for borrowing the money to Interest Rates Will Risebuy your new home. The APR includes the not only the total interest rate cost, it also includes points, lender processing fees, and certain other credit charges a borrower is required to pay in order to get the loan Since costs are added to the total interest rate cost, the APR is usually higher than the interest rate.

APPRAISAL:   After you make an offer on a home, your lender will order an appraisal of the property to get a professional, unbiased opinion on the value of the house. This is a necessary step in getting your mortgage secured as it validates the worth of house both to you and your lender. The appraised amount is a key factor in determining your mortgage’s Loan-To-Value and confirming to you that you are paying a fair price for the property.

CLOSING COSTS:   The costs to complete the real estate transaction. These costs are in addition to the purchase price of the home and are paid at the closing of the transaction. They include points, appraisal cost, taxes legal fees, homeowners insurance, financing fees, and items that must be prepaid or escrowed. Closing costs are generally 2 to 5% of your home purchase price.

DISCOUNT POINTS:   A point equals 1% of your loan amount (1 point on a $200,000 loan = $2,000). A point is essentially prepaid interest. You pay an upfront interest payment to lock in a lower interest rate for the term of the loan.

DOWN PAYMENT:   The down payment is your equity in the property. It is that portion of the cost of your new home that you pay upfront to secure the purchase ofdown payment 2 the property. The larger the down payment the greater your share of ownership in the house and the lower the perceived risk by the lender. The lower the risk, the lower the interest rate on your mortgage. The reverse is true too. The smaller the down payment, the greater the risk of default and the higher the interest rate. Down payments are typically 3 to 20% of the purchase price of the home.

ESCROW (After Home Purchase):   In Connecticut, borrowers can consider escrow to be a savings account set up by the lender to pay for future taxes and the annual home owners insurance premium.
After the home is purchased, the buyer uses an escrow account to pay property taxes and home insurance charges incurred as a homeowner. The mortgage loan servicer makes these payments for you, and has direct access to the escrow account. Mortgage lenders prefer escrow accounts especially for property tax payments, as they don’t want the property, backed by their mortgage loan, to fall behind in taxes and risk a tax lien on the property. The same thinking applies to homeowner’s insurance, where the lender can’t afford the homeowner to miss payments, and thus risk losing insurance coverage on the property.
For homeowners dealing with an escrow account, a good rule of thumb is to expect to pay two months’ worth of taxes and insurance into the escrow account at closing. Typically, once per year your mortgage lender will review your escrow account to make sure you have sufficient funds in your escrow account to cover property tax and home insurance payments.

PRIVATE MORTGAGE INSURANCE (PMI):   Private mortgage insurance, also PMIcalled PMI, is a type of mortgage insurance you are required to pay for if you are financing more than 80% of the home’s appraised value. Like other kinds of mortgage insurance, PMI protects the lender—not you—if you stop making payments on your loan. PMI is the term commonly used for conventional mortgage. With FHA loans, it is known as the annual Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP). There is no PMI on VA Loans.
Confused
Confused? Let Me help put the pieces of your puzzle together. Call Me @ 860.945.9284 to discuss the right mortgage option for your family and to take advantage of my FREE Mortgage “Jump Start” Pre-Approval service.

 

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10 Signs That You Are Ready To Buy A Home

You’ve probably heard it time and time again, why you should consider buying a home instead of renting. Perhaps you’ve hit an age or professional milestone, or maybe you are tired of dealing with your landlord. Whatever the reason may be, here are 10 Signs That You Are Ready To Stop Renting, and Buy A Home:

1. You want to have the freedom to do what you want with your home, whether that is changing the paint color, installing solar panels, or getting a chicken coop!

2. You are tired of sporadic rent increases, and you want the peace of mind that your monthly payment will stay the same (with a fixed-rate mortgage).

3. You want to continue to build up your credit score, and paying for your mortgage on-time each month can help you accomplish this.

4. You want to save money, and you know that as a homeowner you can deduct the interest paid on your mortgage from your taxable income.

5. You are ready to be your own handyman or hire a contractor of your choosing for repairs, instead of waiting for your landlord to ‘stop by in a week’.

6. You want to adopt a rescue dog, and your new home can have a big yard for her to run and chase squirrels.

7. You are starting a polka band with your best friends, and you want your own living room to practice in – any time, day or night.

8. You are ready to have your own washer and dryer, and leave behind the surprise of finding someone else’s sock in your laundry!

9. You’ve taken up meal planning, and want all the space in your fridge to store your chicken, brocolli, and kale.

10. You are ready to build equity and invest in your own future!

If you or anyone you know think you are ready to become a homeowner,  reach out to Rick Cignoli to discuss your mortgage options and to take advantage of my FREE JumpStart Mortgage Pre-Approval with Rate Assurance service

First Home Buyer Tips They Don’t Teach You in School

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You don’t learn about how to buy a house in school. They don’t teach you  what you need to apply for a mortgage, what kind of loan you’ll need, or what PMI is (it’s called private mortgage insurance)

And let’s not mention that you need to shop around for the best deal — or you can hire somebody to do that for you.

So here are some First Home Buyer Tips to help guide you through the home buying experience. 

BEFORE YOU START LOOKING
♦  Have a conversation with your significant other about what you’re millenial 2looking for, what you need and what you can do without. Standing in the living room during an open house with your real estate agent isn’t the time to argue about wanting three bedrooms instead of four.
♦  Know your financial records. What’s your credit score? How much Low Monthly Paymentsoutstanding debt do you have? What monthly payment can you afford?
How much money did you make last year? You’re going to need to know all of this information. Have all of your paperwork ready to go.
♦  Know your limit — if you can’t afford a $450,000 house, don’t go look at $450,000 houses.
♦  Shop around. There are dozens of real estate agents, attorneys, and mortgage officers so don’t settle. These people are going to work for you, their job is to make you happy. You’re going to be on the phone and meeting with them frequently, so make sure you like who you’re working with.
♦  Do your research. When you do decide on a real estate agent, he or she isGet Pre-Approved going to want to know what your price range is, what neighborhoods you’re interested in, if you want to be close to schools, expressways, public transportation, etc. Know what you want and Get Pre-Approved! 

WHILE YOU’RE LOOKING
♦ This is the big one you’ll be glad someone told you about.
Don’t get too attached to a house, because if it the deal doesn’t work out, for whatever reason, you’re going to be devastated.
♦  Be willing to negotiate, it’s a big part of the game.
♦  This goes hand-in-hand with negotiating: put your foot down and don’t let anyone take advantage of you. If the seller is asking for way more than you’re told the house is worth, or if they’re not willing to fix something that is broken or at least negotiate the cost, you have to be ready to walk open houseaway. There will be more houses, trust me.
♦  Don’t just purchase a house by its listing. Go look at EVERYTHING. A lot of houses look different in person than they do on-line, good and bad.

First Home BuyerI have the belief that anyone that deserves to own a home should be able to do so. The American Dream is still attainable for those buyers who do their homework, establish a game plan and work hard to achieve that goal. I’m here to help.

Source: http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/06/buying_your_first_house_things.html

Credit Dos and Don’ts During the Mortgage Process

what-is-good-credit-score
A good credit score is critical when it comes to obtaining the best interest rates and terms on a mortgage. Here are some Credit Dos and Don’ts when looking for a mortgage.

  Do Stay Current on All Existing Accounts. One 30 day notice can hurt you.

­   Do Continue to Use Your Existing Credit As Normal. If it appears your are changing your pattern, it will raise a red flag and your score could go down.

 Don’t Apply for New Credit. Every time you have your credit report pulled by a potential creditor or lender, you can lose ponts on your credit score. This includes co-signing for a loan.

 Don’t Pay-Off Old Collection Accounts or Charge-Offs. Talk to your loan officer first. Yes, you are liable for these debts, but now might not be the time. If you must pay-off these old debts, do it through the closing process of your mortgage. Be sure to request a “letter of deletion” from the creditor.

 Don’t Close Credit Card Accounts. When you close an inactive credit card account, it may appear that your debt ratio has gone up. Closing a card will affect other factors in the score, including credit history.

 Don’t Max Out or Over Charge Credit Card Accounts. Don’t make any large purchases. Keep your credit card balances at 30% of your credit limit before and during the application process. If you do pay down balances, do it equally across the board.

 Don’t Consolidate Your Debt. When you combine all your balances into one or two credit cards, it will appear that you have “maxed out” on that card and you will be penalized.

­   Do Call Your Loan Officer. Talk to you Loan Officer before taking any action that may possibly affect your credit score.

What is A Mortgage Rate Lock?

At some point during the mortgage application process, the borrower must exercise their agreement with the lender to lock in the rate for their final mortgage. 

rate lockWhat is a Mortgage Rate Lock?
A Mortgage Rate Lock protects the borrower from the risk that interest rates will increase during the rate lock period. It guarantees that the lender will offer the borrower a specific combination of interest rate, points or interest rate credit at the closing of their loan.
If market rates rise after the rate is locked, the borrower will still get the lower rate, to the lender’s detriment. But there’s a downside: If rates fall after the rate is locked, the borrower might not be able to take advantage of that opportunity. 

When Can a Mortgage Rate be Locked?
Buyers typically must wait until a seller has accepted their purchase offer for a specific property before they can lock in an interest rate for their mortgage. In addition, the lender must have certain information about the borrower and the details about the transaction before a rate can be locked. This includes receipt of all signed legal disclosures, the borrower’s credit score, anticipated loan-to-value ratio, property type and the borrower’s signed intent to proceed with the transaction. Until all pieces of the puzzle are in place, the lender can not accurately commit to any final interest rate, cost and terms.

How Long Can a Mortgage Rate be Floated?
When a mortgage rate is locked depends on the borrower’s tolerance for risk. The purchase and sales contract dictates when the loan must close. The borrower may opt to let the final mortgage rate ride or “float” with the market until they feel they can get the best deal. Of course they run the risk that the market will turn in their time period and rates will rise from current conditions.
A good mortgage loan officer may have, in good faith, projected a final mortgage rate for processing purposes, but the mortgage application cannot be approved until the final rate has been locked in.
In today’s mortgage processing environment, a mortgage rate could be floated until about 14 days prior to the prescribed closing date. This should give the lender to deliver the final disclosures, the underwriter time for a final review of the application and to issue a “clear to close,” and time for the closing deportment time to deliver closing package to the closing agent.

Should You Choose a Longer Rate Lock Period?
Borrowers are well advised to choose a 45 to 60 day rate lock period to ensure they can get the agreed upon rate even if there is a delay in processing their mortgage application. If a loan fails to close within the rate lock period, the borrower will charged the higher of the original lock and the current interest rate. If rates are higher, the borrower may be offered the opportunity to extend the original rate at a cost of 0.25 points for each 7 day period. (A point equals 1.00% of the base loan amount)

How Much Does a Rate Lock cost?
lockMost lenders will not charge for a Mortgage Rate Lock.  . But a rate lock isn’t free. Rather, a longer rate lock typically involves a higher interest rate, which is more expensive for the borrower. The interest rate or “pricing” difference between a 15-day rate lock and 60-day rate lock might be as little as one-eighth or could be as much as half of a percentage point. The longer period protects the lender from potential market deterioration. The shorter the rate lock period, the more risk the borrower is taking on, but they should be getting a better price.”

No Mortgage Loan officer is an interest guru. But he does understand the lender’s commitment to you and will do his best to honor the rate lock obligation. However, the complexity of your application and issues like: failure to provide additional documentation in a timely manner, appraisal concerns, possible title problems all add time to the process.

There is rarely a reason not to lock a loan as soon as you can. Interest rates change daily, sometimes hourly. To protect yourself against the volatility of the marketplace, it’s a good idea to lock your rate once you are satisfied with the rate. The reason some buyers dislike loan locks is because they want to grind every dime out of a transaction that is humanely possible. Just remember that if the rate was acceptable when it was locked three weeks ago, a drop of an 1/8 of a point or so isn’t the end of the world. You don’t need to be that kind of borrower to get a good deal.

Read more: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/questions-rate-lock-answered.aspx#ixzz3cy8lb29i

The Mortgage Underwriter and Your Mortgage Application

The Mortgage Underwriter is one of the most important people in the Mortgage Application process. Without the approval of an underwriter, no lender will fund or close on a loan. It is the job of the underwriter to ensure a borrower can repay the loan they are applying for and to determine that the sales price is supported by the appraisal value before granting lending approval.

app approvedApproval of a Mortgage Application is based on several things: income, credit history, debt ratios, and savings.
♦  A borrower must be able to prove a stable income and job history needed to repay the loan.
♦  They also must have a credit history that reflects a stable record of repaying obligations and a balanced debt to income ratio. Additionally, a borrower’s monthly debt must fall within acceptable limits determined by the loan product’s guidelines.
♦  Lastly the borrower must show that they have enough money saved for their down payment and closing costs. It is also smart to have a few months of mortgage payments saved away in case of an emergency.

It is the Mortgage Underwriter’s job to make sure all of these factors meet particular loan guidelines. The underwriter will evaluate all of this information and sometimes ask for more information or explanations from a borrower to clarify and support their decision on the  Mortgage Application.

Mortgage Underwriters also review the Appraisal to make sure it is accurate and thorough, and that the home is truly worth at least the purchase price. A property’s appraised value is also reviewed by the underwriter to ensure the value supports the amount of the loan you are requesting. A good underwriter will also take into consideration the condition of the property, the location of the property and how it may be affected by natural disasters, such as floods.

An Mortgage Underwriter does his or her best to evaluate the potential risk involved when lending to a borrower. In January 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau enacted stricter requirements on some mortgages, which included tougher background checks into your bank account, spending and employment history.  If an underwriter does not follow all guidelines and makes a poor lending decision and the loan defaults, meaning a borrower stops making payments on their mortgage, it could result in a hefty cost to the lender.

The Mortgage Underwriter has final approval and final responsibility for the Mortgage Loan.  They must make important decisions based on the facts presented in the file, their own judgments and similar application experiences. The Mortgage Underwriter has to take a calculated risk and do his/her best to determine if a file adheres to not just the letter but the intent of the loan program guidelines. It is not an easy job.

Why Every First Home Buyer in CT Should Get Mortgage Pre-Approval In 2015

What is the benefit of having Mortgage Pre-Approval when looking for your First Home?

There is a difference between Mortgage Pre-Qualification and Mortgage Pre-Approval.
♦ Mortgage Pre-qualification is based solely on the you verbally share with your Mortgage Officer to qualify for a mortgage loan. The Mortgage Pre-Qualification Letter basically says that the lender will give your a mortgage when they see that the information you told us about is correct and meets certain qualifying standards.Get Pre-Approved
♦ With a Mortgage Pre-Approval, the buyer supplies all the written documentation of the information they claim to be true. This formal application is reviewed by and underwriter to be sure the credit, income and assets are sufficient to obtain the loan you are applying for. Loan Officers can not issue a Mortgage Pre-Approval. Only a Mortgage Underwriter can issue a valid Mortgage Pre-Approval Letter.

If you are looking to buy your First Home is 2015, a Mortgage Pre-Approval is the smartest to get into your dream home. Here’s Why …

1.  Knowledge is Key:   A Mortgage Pre-Approval gives you a firm idea as to how big a house you can buy and how much of a mortgage you can afford. Lenders base this amount using a formula (your Debt-to-income ratio) that compares your income to your total outstanding debts, including your proposed new housing expenses. This will keep you focused on the big picture and help to prevent being disappointed if you fall in love with a home that is too expensive for your means.

2.  Improve Your Negotiating Position: When a seller is comparing two offers and one of the buyers has Mortgage Pre-Approval, they have a high confidence level that their sale will go through and close sooner. This may help you to win in a competitive bidding situation.

3.  Confidence in Your Offer: Knowing the the paperwork supporting the key information needed to obtain a mortgage has been reviewed by and underwriter will give you, and the seller, confidence that your offer is bona fide.

4.   Keep Your Spending on Track: Having detailed information on your interest rate, down payment requirement, closing costs estimate and mortgage terms will help you stay with in your budget and be prepared for the closing of your loan.

5.   Time is Valuable: Knowing what you and cannot afford can save you time and frustration in the house hunting process. This will also help your Realtor find the perfect house in your price range.

6.  Move in Quicker: Having Mortgage Pre-Approval will save you time when your application is submitted for final approval. Most of the paperwork has been done, so all you should need to do is have the property inspected and appraised. The faster you can close, the quicker you can move into your dream home.

The Mortgage Pre-Approval process is not quick and not necessarily easy. But most REALTORS® will tell you that getting Mortgage Pre-Approval is the key to getting the new home you want.