Credit Dos and Don’ts During the Mortgage Process

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.

Get Mortgage Pre-Qualification in 2015

If you are thinking about purchasing a new home in 2015, it is important to be properly prepared. A homebuyer must lay down the necessary groundwork before they are able to purchase the home of their dreams. This is why Home Sellers and Realtors© require First Home Buyers to get Mortgage Pre-Qualification before they go too far into the home buying process.

In order to help you better understand what a Mortgage Pre-Qualification is all about, here is more information about the Mortgage Pre-Qualification process.

What is a Mortgage Pre-Qualification? Getting pre-qualified is the first stepFHA MI in the mortgage process, and it’s generally very simple. You supply a bank or lender with your overall financial information, such as your income, paystubs, W-2’s, and credit. After evaluating this information, a lender can give you an idea of the mortgage amount for which you qualify.

When Should You get Pre-Qualified? The best time to get pre-qualified is before you start looking for a home, as soon as you decide you are interested in buying.
Getting pre-qualified will give you a general idea of your home buying budget, how much of a monthly payment you can comfortably afford, and it will allow you to estimate the loan type that is right for you. Also, when you’re searching for a home, getting pre-qualified will help you and your Realtor to know which homes are in your price range.

How Do You Get Pre-Qualified? In order to get Pre-Qualified, you check out different lenders to find out which one is the best “fit” for you. Chose a Loan officer you are comfortable with and one you can trust to guide you through the lengthy home purchase process. There is usually no cost involved, and does not include an in-depth evaluation of your ability to purchase a home.

What’s the Next Step After a Pre-Qualification? After you have been Pre-Get Pre-ApprovedQualified, the next step is to be Pre-Approved. The Mortgage Pre-Approval process tends to be much more involved and much more thorough. In the Mortgage Pre-Approval process, your application will be reviewed by an underwriter and your Loan Officer will have more detailed information to advise you on the best mortgage options available to you.

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Call Me at 860.945.9284 to take advantage of my FREE Mortgage Pre-Approval service and discuss the right mortgage options for your family

Your Credit Score and Your Mortgage Application

Your Credit Score is the most obvious factor in your ability to getting your Mortgage good-credit-vs-bad-creditApplication approved. The higher your score, typically the less risk you pose to lenders and the lower your mortgage interest rate. So how is your credit score determined? And how can you improve it?

Your Credit Score is based on the following 5 factors:
1. Your Payment History. (35% of your score)
♦ Your payment history shows whether you make your monthly payments on time, how often you might miss making your payments, how many days past due the due date you eventually make your payments, and how recently your payments have been delinquent.
♦ How To Improve It: Make all your monthly payments on time. The more payments you pay     promptly, the higher your score. Each time you miss a payment, you risk losing valuable points on your score.

2. Amount Owed on Loans and Credit Cards.(30% of your score)money management
♦  Your score is also based on the entire amount you owe, the number and types of credit accounts you have, and the proportion of money owed compared to how much credit you have available.
♦  How To Improve It: Smaller balances on your credit cards can raise your score – if you pay on time. High balances and maxed out credit lines will lower your score. Keep your credit card balance to less than 30-50% of your credit line.
New loans with little payment history may drop your score temporarily because your report will show the recent inquiry into your report to obtain the new debt.
Loans that are closer to being paid off can increase your score because you have a longer track record of paying the installments on time.

3. Length of Credit History. (15% of your score)
♦  The longer you can show a history of meeting your obligations in a timely manner, the higher your score will be.
♦  How To Improve It: This simply takes time. No credit or no no recent credit is not necessarily a good thing. It may seem wise to avoid using credit, or to avoid applying for credit, but it can actually hurt your score if mortgage lenders have no credit history to review.

4. Types of Credit Accounts.(10% of your score)
♦  A mix of credit accounts is best.
♦  How To Improve It: If you only have one type of credit account, add another type when it makes financial sense to do so. A mix of car loans, personal loans, retail store accounts and major credit cards will improve your score – if you manage them wisely and make the payments on time.

5. Recent Credit Activity. (10% of your score)
♦  Steady credit activity is best.
♦  How To Improve It: If you’ve opened a lot of accounts recently, or applied to open new accounts, it suggests potential financial trouble and can lower your score. The lender will see the inquiry on your report and require a letter of explanation as to why you opened these accounts and whether there are balances  that haven’t shown up on your report yet.
However, if you’ve had the same accounts for some time and you repay them on time – even after some payment troubles – your score will eventually go up.

Review Your Credit Report Annually
It’s smart to stay on top of your credit report, and to kow what potential mortgage lenders will see. You can request a FREE Annual Credit Report from each of the 3 major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, TransUnion & Experian once a year at

Review your reports carefully, as each one may contain inconsistent information or inaccuracies. You have the right to dispute any error by contacting the agency with in 30 days of receiving your report.

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No Jobs Slows Housing Recovery

“While rising interest rates, inventory shortages and dwindling investor purchases have all weighed on home sales, “fundamentally … the slow pace of the single-family housing recovery reflects steady but unspectacular job growth” according to a recent Harvard University study.

kidsThe lack of jobs, coupled with large student loan debt caused the U.S. home ownership rate to drop again in 2013, thanks in no small part to the fact that 18 million 25 to 34 year old adults were found to be still living with their parents last year helping bring the home ownership rate down to 65.1 percent

It may take 10 years before those 30-somethings and Millennials make their presence known in the owner-occupied market. Until then, continue to expect rents to increase and property values creep up. The market will have changed by then and it will be more expensive to fulfill the American Dream of home ownership.

Now Is the Time to Buy .. if you can.
Call Me @ 860.945.9284 to discuss the right mortgage option for your family and to take advantage of my FREE Mortgage Pre-Approval service. We’re licensed in all 6 New England states; NY & FL too. I’m here to help.

What Determines a Borrower’s Mortgage Rate?

Here’s a follow-up to my blog What Makes Mortgage Rates Go Up and Down. Now let’s talk about What Determines a Borrower’s Mortgage Interest Rate?

As we discussed, many factors determine the interest rate on a particular mortgage. A Interest Rates Will Riseborrower’s rate will reflect general conditions in the financial markets, the type of mortgage they chose, the lenders assessment of the risk involved in your financial situation and, of course your credit history.
That’s why a quick “rate quote” over the phone or a rate you saw online or pulled from a newspaper advertisement may not reflect the interest rate you will finally be offered once a lender has evaluated your specific circumstances as presented in your mortgage application.

Risk Matters
When lending money to finance a home purchase, lenders and their investors seriously consider the risk that these borrowers may not repay the money loaned to them. For example: the larger the down payment, the greater the investment in the property and the lower the perceived risk. Therefore, the lower the mortgage interest rate. Vice versa: The smaller the down payment, the less equity in the home and the greater the risk of default. The higher the risk, the higher the interest rate

When someone calls me inquiring about interest rates, I tell them, “I don’t sell interest rates.” I go on to explain, “There is no “one low mortgage interest rate.” Rates fluctuate daily-even hourly-with movements in the financial markets. A borrower’s final interest rate is determined on the day it is “locked” by an assessment of:FHA MI
•  Mortgage type
•  Mortgage term
•  Loan amount
•  Type of property
•  Credit Score
•  Debt-to-Income Ratio
•  Amount of cash the borrower will contribute to the down payment, closing costs and points.
I might tell them, “Today, at noon on July 2, 2014, it is conceivable for a buyer want to buy a single-family home selling for up to $400,000 with a conventional 30 year fixed rate mortgage has a credit score greater than 740, is able to make a 20% down payment and is willing to pay all closing costs and about 2 points to get a rate in the 4.00% range. If any of these criteria do not fit your situation, then the rate will be higher. How does that sound to you?”

Bottom Line
In the final analysis, it is the borrower’s unique personal situation that determines his/her final mortgage interest rate. His financial position will help him decide which mortgage program right for him and what interest rate scenario is right for his family budget, how big a house he can buy and how large a mortgage he can afford to repay. My job was to guide you to that decision.

Do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or concerns you may have about how your situation might impact your mortgage interest rate. I’m here to help.

Is It Cheaper to Rent vs. Buy?

Is Renting or Buying a better financial bet? Trulia says No! One young family in Litchfield County CT agrees!

dreamAlthough mortgage rates have risen in the past 6 months, home price gains have slowed. Trulia says “Buying a home now is 38% cheaper than renting an apartment.”

They caution that the gap may narrower if spring demand causes prices to rise faster than rents and if – as most economists expect – mortgage rates rise, due both to a strengthening economy and Fed tapering.

I working with a young couple now who, with a new baby, are looking for a real home. I’ve Pre-usda 3Approved them for a mortgage sufficient to buy $185,000 house with mortgage payment, tax and insurance escrow plus MI that is $150 less than their current rent.
The Bonus is that with a USDA Rural Housing Development loan, they just might be able to move in with 100% Financing and roll their closing costs into the loan amount That $1800 savings per year is a lot of diapers.

The Spring 2014 Buying Season is near! Now is the Time To Buy!

Call Me at 860.945.9284 to discuss the right mortgage option for your family and to take Get Pre-Approvedadvantage of my FREE  Mortgage Pre-Approval service. Then call your agent to schedule a showing and be ready to make an offer.

Banks To Layoff Thousands! What It Means To You.

News FlashJPMorgan Chase plans 8,000 layoffs in 2014 on reports of double-digit declines in their mortgage and retail banking business. That’s in addition to 16,500 layoffs in those divisions last year. Other banks expected to make similar announcements soon.What does that mean to you?
1.      Rising Interest Rates. JPMorgan and other big-box banks expect interest rates to continue to rise in 2014. With higher rates, fewer Americans are walkingRising Home Prices through their doors seeking to refinance their mortgage. They expect that trend to continue.
2.     Service. Fewer loan officers in the branches means home buyers will be directed to a sales clerk at an 800#. Purchase or Refinance…borrowers will not be able to talk face-to-face with some about the most significant transaction in their financial lives.
3.     Products. As the level of service declines, the range  and complexity of the product line has to decrease also to adapt to the experience of the sales force.
So I ask …Do you want to be a faceless #, Or…do you want to work with a Mortgage Broker who will continue to meet up close and personal with his clients? I will bring 40 years of financial services experience to the table along with direct relationships with over a dozen trusted lenders who offer a wide range of mortgage options.
I have the keys to help families live comfortably and financially secure in their own home; and I will uphold my promise to ‘”Do my best to provide the right mortgage solution at the right rate to meet a family’s unique situation.”

Why Do Mortgage Rates Go Up and Down?

During every conversation with a new client, the question always comes up: So what are your interest rates?
Interest Rates Will RiseMy stock answer is usually: “Mortgage rates are subject to change on a daily basis and can change again at any time during the day depending on changes in market conditions. Typically, a borrower’s rate cannot be “locked” until a complete application file has been submitted to a lender for review. Any rate quoted today may or may not be what can be offered at that time.”
Granted, that is a pretty simplistic answer to a very important question. I am prepared to answer it in more detail because it does not really answer the underlying question of: What Are the Market Conditions That Make Mortgage Rates Go Up and Down? 

The Stock Market
This is the easiest benchmark to follow. In general … What’s good for your 401k is not good for mortgage rates.When the stock market indexes go up, mortgage rates typically go up. When themortgage rates2
When the stock market declines, investors are looking for a safer place to put their money. Mortgage Backed Securities are one of these places. When the demand for these bonds goes up, so does the price. When the price of MBS increases, mortgage rates typically go down.
Conversely, when the stock market increases, investors pull their money out of the bond market causing prices to drop. As prices of MBS drop, the market has to pay a higher return to retain investors and mortgage rates will increase.
Economic Data    Mortgage Rates reflect the relative strength or weakness of the overall economy on a daily basis. Rates will go up if the unemployment rate goes down and there is a better than expected economic data. Rates will go down if jobs and manufacturing is stagnant or on the decline; and when housing reports are weaker than expected.
Inflationary Pressure    Low interest rates depend on low inflation. High inflation causes wageseconomy and prices to rise and the cost of borrowing to get more expensive. Good news for the economy is often bad news for Mortgage Interest Rates.
The Federal Reserve    By controlling the flow of cash through the economy, the Fed attempts to keep inflation under control. The Fed’s bond-buying stimulus package added cash into the monetary system in hopes of creating a looser credit environment and an attempt to stimulate the economy with low borrowing costs aka mortgage rates. Their decision to pull money out of the system by pulling back on this package indicates they feel the economy is expanding and they anticipate inflation in the coming months.
Geo-Politics    Investors turn to the U.S. markets when things go wrong in their part of the world. The relative stability of our financial markets provides a “safe haven” for their money in times of global crisis.So when you watch TV and see acts of terror or conflicts in the Ukraine, you might see Mortgage Rates go down. However, if there are reports that China’s economy is improving or Mid-East tensions are easing. Mortgage Rates can be expected to go up.
weatherOther World Events    Let’s talk about the weather! What’s bad for the world is good for mortgage rates. Tsunamis in Japan, earthquakes in South America attract investors to our markets for safety. This flood of money puts upward pressure on bond prices and push mortgage rates down. A serene weather picture around the world could push rates up.

Now I’m just a small broker doing what’s right for my clients. I’m not an economist, nor do I have a crystal ball that enables me to tell anyone where mortgage rates are heading in 2014. But I have been challenged by senior bank executives across this country to look at the big picture when making small decisions that affect peoples’ lives. As my testimonials will confirm, all I can promise is that I will do my best to provide my clients with the Right Mortgage at the Right Rate for thier family situation.

Something Other Things To Consider.
In addition to market conditions, any borrower’s interest rate is determined by many other Get Pre-Approvedfactors including: type of loan, loan program, loan purpose, down payment or equity, and credit score. The interest rate one sees in newspaper articles is available to borrowers seeking a conventional mortgage with a 740+ credit score, have a 20% down payment or equity in their home, probably pay 1 point and is able to pay all closing costs. If a borrower’s real life situation differs from any of these criteria, lenders will perceive this as additional risk in the application and adjust the interest rate accordingly.

Mortgage Rates Rise On Fed’s Surprising News

Interest Rates Will RiseYesterday was not a good day for mortgage rates with the uneasy news that the Fed seems prepared to raise short-term interest rates sooner than expected. Stocks slipped and mortgage-backed-securities (the market that most directly affect mortgage rates) reacted with negative repricing. The net effect is that buyers hoping for lower borrowing costs can anticipate higher rates in the near term or be looking at higher closing costs (or a lower lender credit toward those costs, if applicable).

4.375% 30 year conventional fixed rate is now being quoted for borrowers with excellent credit scores, +20% equity in their homes; able to pay all closing costs and at least one point. Any variation in these criteria translates into a rate that could be a bit higher.

Get Pre-ApprovedIf your New Year Resolution is to buy a New Home (or Refinance) now is the time to get Pre-Approved and get a jump on the spring buying surge.

Call Me at 860.945.9284 to discuss the right mortgage option for your family and to take advantage of my FREE Mortgage Pre-Approval service. Then call your agent to schedule a showing and be ready to make an offer.

With today’s attractive rates, and my direct relationships with trusted lenders who offer a wide range of affordable mortgage programs, you just might be able to move in to a New Home this Spring.

What’s Bad For Your 401k Is Good For Mortgage Rates

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Fear is Back in the Market! That might be bad for your 401k; but it’s good for Mortgage Rates.
Fear of slow economic growth in China, a gloomy outlook for U.S corporate profits, global unrest, and an end to easy monetary policies caused a 318 point drop in the D.J.I.A. on Friday. Money flew from the stock market to the safety on bonds pushing prices up and yields down. Mortgage rates are at the lowest they’ve been this New Year and close to 2013 lows.
Purchase or Refinance…If either of these are among your New Year Resolutions, Now is the time to explore your options!