Learn

Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts When Preparing a Home Loan

Don’t apply for new credit of any kind. If you receive invitations to apply for new lines of credit, don’t respond. Likewise, don’t establish new accounts or incur more debt.

Do keep all existing credit card accounts open. If you close a credit card account, it can affect your ratio of debt to available credit and impact your credit score.

Don’t MAX OUT or overcharge existing credit cards. Running up your credit cards could negatively impact your credit score. Try to keep your credit card balances below 30% of the available limit.

Do maintain your employment and income at your current job. Employment stability is a big factor in the underwriting loan process. Quitting or changing jobs or even positions within the same company can greatly affect your loan approval. Notify us immediately of any changes to your job, position or income.

Don’t consolidate debt to one or two credit cards. Look to maintain your ratio of debt to available credit. You want to keep an active beneficial credit history.

Do pay off collections, judgments or tax liens reported within one year.

Don’t make any large purchases or change your asset picture. Maintain your current assets. Don’t change investments, close or open accounts during the loan process.

Do stay current on your existing accounts. Maintaining a good account history is important to the loan process.

Don’t make any large deposits into any of your accounts. Deposits exceeding past history will be questioned and must be documented and explained.

Do call us. Our team stands ready and prepared to help through the loan process.

Why Use a Broker?

Independent mortgage brokers have had a significant positive impact on the lending industry. Today, the use of a professional mortgage broker is one of the key strategies used by sophisticated borrowers.

What is a Mortgage Broker?
A mortgage broker is an independent real-estate financing professional who specializes in the origination of residential mortgage loans. Mortgage brokers normally pass the actual funding and servicing of loans on to wholesale lending sources. A mortgage broker is also an independent contractor working with (on average) as many as 40 lenders at any one time. By combining professional expertise with direct access to hundreds of loan products, your broker provides the most efficient way to obtain financing tailored to your specific financial goals.

What Do Mortgage Brokers Do?
In the volatile home-lending market, mortgage brokers can serve as safeguards, offering their clients security, safety, and peace of mind. One of the broker’s most important functions is escorting your loan application through the entire process, constantly patrolling the component transactions for possible breakdowns. A professional mortgage broker can wade through the mountains of rate data and program options, researching current market conditions to find the most accurate and up-to-date information about cost-effective loan options.

Brokers Handle the Details!
There are literally thousands of variables that can affect the outcome of your mortgage transaction. That’s why you need a mortgage broker to act as a liaison between the title and escrow company, real estate agent, lender, appraiser, credit agency, the underwriters, the processors, attorneys, and any other services which may affect your transaction.

A mortgage broker also:

  • Discusses and explains financing program options
  • Informs you, in writing, of lock-in options
  • Explains all documents of the loan application
  • Explains all associated costs of the loan application
  • Explains the disbursement of all loan applications
  • Explains the loan process, from application to closing
  • Provides you with a good faith estimate of cost and fees
  • Communicates with you throughout the loan process in a timely manner
  • Coordinates the final closing of your transaction

How to Get a Loan

Once you select us to obtain your home loan, you’ll be amazed at how quickly and simply the loan process moves. Before you know it, you’ll have a mortgage that suits your lifestyle and saves you money.

Throughout the loan-application process, we provide you with regular updates. You can also e-mail us with questions or new information. And if you want assistance, a mortgage expert who can answer questions is just a phone call away.

Here’s an overview of the loan-application process

STEP ONE —Getting started is easy

Before house hunting, you should get pre-approved so that you know how much house you can afford. If you are refinancing, there is no need to get pre-approved; simply turn in the documents from the checklist.

At the appropriate time we’ll order a property appraisal for you.

STEP TWO

Once you are under contract or ready to start your refinance, we will submit your documentation to the bank. This initial submission usually takes around five business days. At this time, the bank reviews audits your file for compliance and issues a conditional approval or denial.

If your loan is approved with conditions, you must supply the other required documentation and resubmit the file for audit. This process usually takes 1-2 business days. One all your conditions are cleared, you are issued a clear to close and your closing disclosure is sent out. From this point, you must wait 3 days to comply with TRID. Once the 3 day waiting period is over, you are ready to close.

STEP THREE — Your Loan is Approved and Funded

If you are purchasing, your Real Estate Agent or the Seller will designate an Escrow/Title Company to handle the funding of your loan, along with many other factors which make your purchase go smoothly.

We will coordinate with the escrow team and you’ll sign the final papers at their office.

Types of Loans

Thirty-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage
The traditional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has a constant interest rate and monthly payments that never change. This may be a good choice if you plan to stay in your home for seven years or longer. If you plan to move within seven years, then adjustable-rate loans are usually cheaper. As a rule of thumb, it may be harder to qualify for fixed-rate loans than for adjustable rate loans. When interest rates are low, fixed-rate loans are generally not that much more expensive than adjustable-rate mortgages and may be a better deal in the long run, because you can lock in the rate for the life of your loan.

Fifteen-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage
This loan is fully amortized over a 15-year period and features constant monthly payments. It offers all the advantages of the 30-year loan, plus a lower interest rate—and you’ll own your home twice as fast. The disadvantage is that, with a 15-year loan, you commit to a higher monthly payment. Many borrowers opt for a 30-year fixed-rate loan and voluntarily make larger payments that will pay off their loan in 15 years. This approach is often safer than committing to a higher monthly payment, since the difference in interest rates isn’t that great.

Hybrid ARM (3/1 ARM, 5/1 ARM, 7/1 ARM)
These increasingly popular ARMS—also called 3/1, 5/1 or 7/1—can offer the best of both worlds: lower interest rates (like ARMs) and a fixed payment for a longer period of time than most adjustable rate loans. For example, a “5/1 loan” has a fixed monthly payment and interest for the first five years and then turns into a traditional adjustable-rate loan, based on then-current rates for the remaining 25 years. It’s a good choice for people who expect to move (or refinance) before or shortly after the adjustment occurs.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM)
When it comes to ARMs there’s a basic rule to remember…the longer you ask the lender to charge you a specific rate, the more expensive the loan.

2/1 Buy Down Mortgage
The 2/1 Buy-Down Mortgage allows the borrower to qualify at below market rates so they can borrow more. The initial starting interest rate increases by 1% at the end of the first year and adjusts again by another 1% at the end of the second year. It then remains at a fixed interest rate for the remainder of the loan term. Borrowers often refinance at the end of the second year to obtain the best long-term rates. However, keeping the loan in place even for three full years or more will keep their average interest rate in line with the original market conditions.

Annual ARM
This loan has a rate that is recalculated once a year.

Monthly ARM
With this loan, the interest rate is recalculated every month. Compared to other options, the rate is usually lower on this ARM because the lender is only committing to a rate for a month at a time, so his vulnerability is significantly reduced.

Negative Amortization (Neg. Am) Loan
This is a deferred-interest loan which is very powerful — and the most misunderstood mortgage program because of its many options. Basically, the lender allows the borrower to make monthly payments that are less than the accruing interest. Therefore, if the borrower chooses to make the minimum monthly payment, the loan balance will increase by the amount of interest not paid on the loan. The power of this loan lies in the borrower’s ability to choose between making the full loan payment, or the minimum payment, or any amount in between. If a borrower’s income varies throughout the year (due to commissions, bonuses, etc.), the borrower can make a lower payment during the “lean times”, and then make higher payments when funds are readily available.

Home Purchase Basics

A home purchase may be your largest financial transaction to date, so it’s important to make the right decisions and to keep an eye on the details. With the assistance of your Real Estate Agent and Loan Officer, it should be an efficient, pleasant, and ultimately rewarding experience.

Count On Your Real Estate Agent To:

Preview available homes to weed out those that are overpriced, or undesirable in some other way.
Present the homes that suit your needs as you’ve defined them.
Help you determine the difference between a “good buy” and a property which, because of its nature (neighborhood, market appeal, etc.), might have to be discounted if you decide to sell in the future.
Negotiate the best deal for you. With a Pre-Qualification letter from us in hand, your Real Estate Agent will be able to demonstrate that you are a qualified and capable borrower. This will strongly influence the Seller, and may make the difference between the Seller accepting your offer or someone else’s — even if your offer is lower!

Count On Your Mortgage Broker and Loan Officer To:

Assist you in selecting the best loan to meet your personal situation and goals. (This single decision can save you thousands of dollars throughout the years!)
Keep you informed of your loan status throughout the entire process.
Keep your Real Estate Agent informed of our loan progress (Note: your personal information is always kept confidential between you and us; only deal points and progress are shared).
Get the appropriate loan for you at the best rates and fees. This will save you significant money “up front” and throughout the years to come.

Count On Yourself To:

Keep your Real Estate Agent informed of any questions or concerns as they develop.
Keep the process moving by providing documentation and decisions as soon as reasonably possible. By doing so, many of the details are taken care of early in the process so you can comfortably concentrate on any last-minute details or events that require your attention.
Enjoy purchasing your home, but do remain objective throughout — to make the business decisions that are best for you.
Make sure you are pre-approved as early as possible. This will put the power of financing behind you so you can concentrate on selecting your home.

Mortgage Glossary

2/1 Buy Down Mortgage
The 2/1 Buy Down Mortgage allows the borrower to qualify at below market rates so they can borrow more. The initial starting interest rate increases by 1% at the end of the first year and adjusts again by another 1% at the end of the second year. It then remains at a fixed interest rate for the remainder of the loan term. Borrowers often refinance at the end of the second year to obtain the best long term rates; however, even keeping the loan in place for three full years or more will keep their average interest rate in line with the original market conditions.

Acceleration Clause
Provision in a mortgage that allows the lender to demand payment of the entire principal balance if a monthly payment is missed or some other default occurs.

Additional Principal Payment
A way to reduce the remaining balance on the loan by paying more than the scheduled principal amount due.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM)
A mortgage with an interest rate that changes during the life of the loan according to movements in an index rate. Sometimes called AMLs (adjustable mortgage loans) or VRMs (variable-rate mortgages).

Adjusted Basis
The cost of a property plus the value of any capital expenditures for improvements to the property minus any depreciation taken.

Adjustment Date
The date that the interest rate changes on an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).

Adjustment Period
The period elapsing between adjustment dates for an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).

Affordability Analysis
An analysis of a buyer’s ability to afford the purchase of a home. Reviews income, liabilities, and available funds, and considers the type of mortgage you plan to use, the area where you want to purchase a home, and the closing costs that are likely.

Amortization
The gradual repayment of a mortgage loan, both principal and interest, by installments.

Amortization Term
The length of time required to amortize the mortgage loan expressed as a number of months. For example, 360 months is the amortization term for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
The cost of credit, expressed as a yearly rate including interest, mortgage insurance, and loan origination fees. This allows the buyer to compare loans, however APR should not be confused with the actual note rate.

Appraisal
A written analysis prepared by a qualified appraiser and estimating the value of a property.

Appraised Value
An opinion of a property’s fair market value, based on an appraiser’s knowledge, experience, and analysis of the property.

Asset
Anything owned of monetary value including real property, personal property, and enforceable claims against others (including bank accounts, stocks, mutual funds, etc.).

Assignment
The transfer of a mortgage from one person to another.

Assumability
An assumable mortgage can be transferred from the seller to the new buyer. Generally requires a credit review of the new borrower and lenders may charge a fee for the assumption. If a mortgage contains a due-on-sale clause, it may not be assumed by a new buyer.

Assumption Fee
The fee paid to a lender (usually by the purchaser of real property) when an assumption takes place.

Balance Sheet
A financial statement that shows assets, liabilities, and net worth as of a specific date.

Balloon Mortgage
A mortgage with level monthly payments that amortizes over a stated term but also requires that a lump sum payment be paid at the end of an earlier specified term.

Balloon Payment
The final lump sum paid at the maturity date of a balloon mortgage.

Before-tax Income
Income before taxes are deducted.

Biweekly Payment Mortgage
A plan to reduce the debt every two weeks (instead of the standard monthly payment schedule). The 26 (or possibly 27) biweekly payments are each equal to one-half of the monthly payment required if the loan were a standard 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. The result for the borrower is a substantial savings in interest.

Bridge Loan
A second trust that is collateralized by the borrower’s present home allowing the proceeds to be used to close on a new house before the present home is sold. Also known as “swing loan.”

Broker
An individual or company that brings borrowers and lenders together for the purpose of loan origination.

Buydown
When the seller, builder or buyer pays an amount of money up front to the lender to reduce monthly payments during the first few years of a mortgage. Buydowns can occur in both fixed and adjustable rate mortgages.

Cap
Limits how much the interest rate or the monthly payment can increase, either at each adjustment or during the life of the mortgage. Payment caps don’t limit the amount of interest the lender is earning and may cause negative amortization.

Certificate of Eligibility
A document issued by the federal government certifying a veteran’s eligibility for a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mortgage.

Certificate of Reasonable Value (CRV)
A document issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that establishes the maximum value and loan amount for a VA mortgage.

Change Frequency
The frequency (in months) of payment and/or interest rate changes in an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).

Closing
A meeting held to finalize the sale of a property. The buyer signs the mortgage documents and pays closing costs. Also called “settlement.”

Closing Costs
These are expenses – over and above the price of the property- that are incurred by buyers and sellers when transferring ownership of a property. Closing costs normally include an origination fee, property taxes, charges for title insurance and escrow costs, appraisal fees, etc. Closing costs will vary according to the area country and the lenders used.

Compound Interest
Interest paid on the original principal balance and on the accrued and unpaid interest.

Consumer Reporting Agency (or Bureau)
An organization that handles the preparation of reports used by lenders to determine a potential borrower’s credit history. The agency gets data for these reports from a credit repository and from other sources.

Conversion Clause
A provision in an ARM allowing the loan to be converted to a fixed-rate at some point during the term. Usually conversion is allowed at the end of the first adjustment period. The conversion feature may cost extra.