Before Buying Your First Home…Read This!

Are you one of the many Millenial Americans dreaming of Buying Your First Home, but don’t quite feel ready? People delay homeownership for many reasons; some are unsuredream home where to settle down, some have poor credit and fear they won’t get approved. As a Mortgage Loan Officer, I understand that every person has a different path to homeownership. If you foresee a home purchase in the next few years, now is the best time to start preparing, and I’m here to help!
Just as with any project, your preparation will set the stage for your success. Think of your First Home Buying experience as your largest personal project yet!

Step One: Identify Your Goal
*Phew*, that one was easy! You’ve already completed step one, your goal is to purchase a home.

Step Two: Research
Have you made a choice about where you’d like to live? Researching towns is an important part of the process. You will want to evaluate average home prices for the neighborhood, consider potential property taxes, crime rates, and school ratings, and, more personally, determine the proximity to amenities that are important to you.

Step Three: Set a Timeline
Just like registering for a race inspires a runner to kick start their training, establishing a home buying timeline can help a prospective homebuyer kick start their preparation! Most importantly, be sure to set a realistic and achievable goal. If your aim is to purchase a home within two years, think about what you will need to do over the next 24 months to make that a reality. Are you allowing enough time to improve your credit score? Is there enough time and money each month to save for an ideal down payment?

Step Four: Take Action
With a prospective closing date in mind, do your best to stay on track toward your goal:
•   If you haven’t yet, you should check your current credit score. It is wise to figuregood-credit-vs-bad-credit this out as soon as possible. Once you know, you will be able to see where you need to do work to improve it. Whether it is paying down credit cards, or enlisting the help of a credit repair service, your credit score is crucial to the mortgage application process. It is best to start preparing now!
•   It is wise to start saving what you can, even though there are loan products that offer little or no down payment options. Remember that there will be closing costs, Family Financesmoving expenses, as well as repairs and furnishings to include in your budget. For a goal of collecting $20,000 over the next two years, you would need to save $833 each month. If you can’t find room in your budget to set that aside every month, consider extending your timeline a bit longer. If someone in your life will be gifting you funds to assist in the home purchase, try to discuss what that amount will be, so you can adjust your own savings plan accordingly.
(If you plan to use gifted funds, you will need to have a gift letter documenting it; as your Mortgage Loan Officer I will be happy to assist you with preparing one.)

Step Five: Talk to your Mortgage Loan Officer
Following these preparatory steps, you will be in a good place when you are ready topre-approval-2 start the official home buying process. When the time is right, reach out to Me to talk about your mortgage options and to take advantage of my FREE Jumpstart Mortgage Pre-Approval service.

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Consider These FAQ Before Purchasing a New Home

How do you know if owning a home is right for you? Buying a home is a big step. Here are some FAQs to consider before purchasing a home.
family financeHow would a buyer know if they are ready to buy a house?
A home is a lifestyle & commitment change, which may include many factors when deciding to purchase a home. Growing a family, relocating, an extended family living together, or low interest rates are all examples that can be the deciding factor when a new buyer is ready to purchase a home. Buying a home is a good investment in your future.
What are some ways to ensure a buyer’s finances are in order before they buy a house?
The first discussion that the agent will have with the buyer is if the buyer is Pre-Approved for a mortgage. They should always be Pre-Approved by a mortgage loanpre-approval 2 officer at a local lender whom they trust. Some of the factors that are taken into consideration to be Pre-Approved are to always maintain a good credit score, income and asset verification and employment status.
It is imperative that the buyer is educated on what they should or shouldn’t do while the mortgage is in the process. Also, the buyer should never over extend themselves with a mortgage payment. A little hand holding goes a long way!
If a buyer has found a house that fits their needs, what can they do to get more information about the neighborhood?
Before a buyer signs on the dotted line they should always educate themselves on the neighborhood. They should visit during the day, night, and weekends, check out local online forums, talk with neighbors, review crime stats, and the amenities that the town offers. Location, location, location is the most important factor when purchasing a home!
How can buyers better prepare themselves for the home buying process?
The home buying process should not be stressful or problematic. It should be a great and happy experience, but unfortunately not every buyer will agree. It is a team effort… the agent, the mortgage officer and the buyer.
cooperationThe agent and the loan officer should never pass any stress onto the buyer. The agent’s responsibility is to find the buyers a home. The agent should be knowledgeable in explaining the following steps to the buyer: contract, home inspection, mortgage commitment, and closing.
The loan officer’s job is to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. He is responsible for educating and guiding the buyer through the complicated mortgage process, He must understand the details of the transaction and the buyer’s needs. He assembles all relevant documents to support the mortgage application and submits them to his underwriter for approval.
The buyer’s job is to keep the agent and loan officer informed and comply immediately with any questions or concerns they may have. When the agent and the loan officer prepares the buyer, their buying experience should be pleasant and happy. The only thing that the buyer should be worried about is packing.
What are some important things that buyers should consider when buying a home?
It is the agent’s responsibility to keep an open dialogue with their buyers and explain to them what will sell and what may not sell in the future. Location is the number one factor when buying a home, try not to purchase a home that has less than 3 bedrooms, don’t purchase near or under a highway. These are some examples buyers should think about when purchasing a home. Don’t be afraid to ask your agent and loan officer the hard questions

Rick Cignoli

Then reach out to Me at 860.945.9284 to discuss the right mortgage option for your family and to take advantage of my FREE Jump Start Mortgage Pre-Approval service and be ready to make an offer on your dream home.

It’s Small Business Saturday! Don’t Keep Me a Secret!

saturdayIt’s Small Business Saturday! Don’t Keep Me a Secret!

If you or your friends meet someone over the holidays who could benefit from working with a professional Mortgage Loan Officer, please reach out to Me their contact information. I will follow-up and take good care of them for you.refer a friend

Purchase or Refinance. I’m never too busy for your referrals.

First Home Buyer Checklist

For Millennials, buying your First Home is an exciting adventure. Owning a home is the American dream. It’s also the largest investment most of us will ever make (aside from perhaps the cost of a college education), Knowing what you’ll need before starting the trek is just as important as knowing what isn’t required. Here are some tips.

 Here’s what you’ll need:
♦   Get Mortgage Pre-Approval. A Mortgage Pre-Approval is a commitmenapp approvedt by your lender that they will lend you a specific amount of money when you find your new home.  By getting Pre-Approved for a mortgage before you start house hunting, not only can you shop with confidence, but you’ll be show sellers you are qualified and serious about buying their home.
♦   Enough income to pay monthly mortgage payments. Keep in mind that FHA MIyour monthly mortgage obligation will include not only the mortgage payment, it will also include an escrow payment for your home owners insurance (HOI), taxes, and your monthly mortgage insurance premium (commonly called PMI or MIP).
♦   The ability to maintain the property. You must keep a home in good repair or it will lose value and you’ll lose money. One of the “joys” of homeownership is keeping up with the chores around the house.  You’ll need a lawnmower to maintain curb appeal and you can’t ignore peeling paint or unexpected repairs that eventually come along. If you’re handy you can DIY or you can hire someone to do it for you. Either way, it will cost money. And you ‘d better be prepared.
♦   A decent credit record. Your credit score is the major determining factor in your ability to get a mortgage at the best terms. Low scores are caused by late payments, bankruptcy or collection accounts
There is only one Website authorized by law to provide the Free Annual Credit Report you are entitled to under the Free Credit Reporting Act – annualcreditreport.com. Check it out! And if you see any problems, take action.

Here’s What You Won’t Need:
♦   A big down payment. Sure, it would be nice to be able to make a 20% down payment on your new home. With equity in your home, you canInterest Rates avoid paying PMI, you might get a better rate and you’ll lower your monthly payments.
But it is possible to buy a home with a small down payment. There are several loan programs available to qualified home buyers that allow for down payents as low as 3 to 3.5%; there’s even one that allows for up to 100% financing of eligible properties. Talk to a professional mortgage loan officer about the best option for your family.
♦  Experience. There is a lot of information on the internet about the whole home financing/home purchase adventure. It all tends to result in a giant house puzzlejigsaw puzzle. Look to the experts for help putting those pieces together. A professional mortgage loan officer has the experience to guide you through the complicated mortgage application process. A trusted Realtor can help find the right house, assist with your negotiations and address other issues with the home purchase.

Resource:  http://www.hgtv.com/design/real-estate/a-checklist-for-first-time-homebuyers

 

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