Is It Still Possible to Get a Mortgage With Zero Down? Yes – and Here’s How

Is It Still Possible to Get a Mortgage With Zero Down? Yes - and Here's HowWhen it comes to investing in a mortgage, the down payment is key in making your investment a reality and proving to lenders that you’re a safe bet. However, while most opportunities for putting zero down on a home have disappeared since the recession, there are still a few ways to buy without putting money down. If you’re currently weighing your options, here’s what you need to know if you don’t have a down payment ready.

Loan Programs With No Down Payment

There are still a number of zero down loan programs for those who qualify. Veterans and families of veterans can often qualify for a VA loan if they prove military service. The United States Department of Agriculture also offers the USDA Rural Development Housing loan, which is designed primarily for low-income buyers looking at homes in rural locations.

What Are The Requirements?

The requirements to get a zero-down loan vary, but because they involve a more significant financial risk for the lender, there are often many restrictions. In many cases, the homebuyer will be required to prove that they have the money to re-pay their loan and they will also have to have a good credit history. As well, because of the convenience of no money down, the homebuyer will likely be paying a higher interest rate than they would if they provided a down payment.

Should You Invest In Zero Down?

The idea of not having to put money down can be very enticing for many homebuyers, but this means that you will be paying a higher monthly payment and have no equity in your home to start out. If you are set on buying a home in the near future but don’t have the money for a down payment, you may want to look into these or other low down payment loan programs. It may also be worth holding off until you’ve saved up as this can be a more financially sound decision for your future.

There are a number of benefits to not putting money down on your home and getting into the real estate market more quickly, but it’s important to consider what’s financially beneficial for you before choosing a zero-down option. If you’re currently on the market for a home, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Buying a New Home? Three Major Mortgage Missteps That You’ll Want to Avoid

Buying a New Home? Three Major Mortgage Missteps That You'll Want to AvoidBuying a home is one of the biggest financial investments you’ll make in your life, and it’s important to make sure that you’re doing what will be right for you down the road. If you’re trying to avoid buyer’s remorse and are wondering what major missteps to avoid when diving into the market, here are a few things you may want to watch out for.

Buying Too Much Home

It’s often the case that a homebuyer will get so excited about a home they see that they need to have it, but putting all of your money into one investment can be difficult to sustain over time. Instead of deciding to budget and buckle down on your expenditures, ensure that your monthly budget still leaves room in the event of other expenses or financial setbacks. This will ensure that your home stays as something you can enjoy that won’t become a burden.

Not Saving Up Enough

Many people want to invest in the market right away and get into a home, but it can often be worth the wait to save up so that you have at least 20% for a down payment. Putting 20% down on a house means that you won’t have to pay the added costs for Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). Not only can this lead to smaller mortgage payments on a monthly basis, it also means that you’ll be able to pay off your mortgage loan that much more quickly.

Forgetting All The Associated Costs

It’s easy to be wooed by the cost of the monthly payment and think that it’s less expensive than you thought, but it’s important not to forget about all the other costs that go into owning a home. In addition to the closing costs of home ownership, there will also be property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and the maintenance fees required for home upkeep. If the monthly mortgage payment is already pushing it, costs like these can make your overall mortgage costs unmanageable.

There are many mistakes that can be made when it comes to purchasing a home, but by being aware of all of the costs of home ownership and taking the time to save up, you’ll be well on your way to owning a home that’s affordable and sustainable. If you’re getting prepared to delve into the real estate market, contact one of our trusted Mason-McDuffie Mortgage professionals for more information.

Mortgage 101: Five Key Mortgage Terms You Need to Understand

Mortgage 101: Five Key Mortgage Terms You Need to UnderstandFrom putting your home on the market to finding the lender with the best rates, there are so many things involved in buying a home that the terminology is just one more thing to add to the list. While there may be quite a few words you’ll hear that may be unclear, here are a few you’ll want to watch out for so you’ll be prepared for home ownership.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage

Often known as ARM, an adjustable-rate mortgage corresponds to the conditions of the market. This means that your interest rate will shift from day to day along with the market, and the amount of your monthly mortgage payment will fluctuate along with it.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage

Unlike an ARM mortgage, a fixed-rate mortgage will offer a predictable monthly interest rate that you can rely on. While this can be comforting for many homeowners who are market-weary, it can also end up costing more than an adjustable-rate mortgage by the end of the loan term.

Down Payment

Down payment is one of the most familiar mortgage terms out there, and refers to the amount of money you put down on your home to secure it. While putting 20% down will enable you to avoid having to pay private mortgage insurance, the amount that is required varies from lender to lender.

Private Mortgage Insurance

Often known as PMI, this type of insurance can often be confused with homeowner’s insurance, which protects your home in the event of fires, floods and other damage. PMI, however, is the type of insurance that is required for those who do not put 20% down and is there to protect the lender in case of loan default. For homebuyers who can put down 20% or more, PMI will not be an issue.

The Principal

With the costs involved in interest, insurance and the down payment, it can be confusing to keep all the mortgage fees straight. However, the principal is different from all of these things and is the total loan that you borrow to make your home purchase. When you hear the phrase “paying down the principal”, it refers to the total amount of your loan, without any interest.

There are many terms that may not be familiar to the layman, but there are a few that will be important to know when you’re hitting the real estate market. If you’re currently getting ready to purchase a home, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Are You ‘Mortgage Pre-approval Worthy’? Learn How to Assess Your Finances in 10 Minutes

Are You 'Mortgage Pre-approval Worthy'? Learn How to Assess Your Finances in 10 MinutesFinding the right home and the right mortgage can take a lot of time and energy, so it’s important to consider whether you’ll be prepared for approval before diving into the process. Whether you’ve had some financial setbacks or you just want to have an idea ahead of time, here are some ways to quickly determine if you’ll be pre-approved for a mortgage.

Do You Have A Down Payment?

You may have heard that the ideal down payment amount is 20% of the cost of the home, but this doesn’t mean you have to have this amount. However, it is important that you have a significant chunk of change put away so that it can signal to the lender that you’re financially sound and will be able to come up with your monthly payment. A down payment will not only minimize the amount of money you owe the lender each month, it will also show that you know how to save and can be trusted with a significant financial investment.

Determine Your Credit History

Many potential homebuyers have financial hiccups in their history, but it’s how they’re dealt with that determines the future. While you may have considerable issues getting a mortgage approved if you’re not paying your minimum payments on time and have debt, by making this change, you can have a positive impact on your credit history in a matter of months. You may also want to get a copy of your credit report to ensure there are no errors that have adversely impacted your score.

Do You Have A Solid Employment History?

It’s very important to have a solid work history in the event that you’re applying for a mortgage, as this will signal to the lender that you have the funds to make your monthly payment. Keep in mind that it’s good to have at least 2 years of solid employment under your belt, and you’ll need to provide paystubs. If you’re self-employed or your recent job opportunities have been sporadic, this can cause issues with getting pre-approved.

It can take a lot of time to find the right house and the right lender, but if you have a solid history of employment and a sizeable down payment you’re well on your way to pre-approval. If you’re preparing for purchasing a home and would like to learn more, please contact one of our trusted Mason-McDuffie Mortgage professionals for more information.

Thinking About Refinancing Your Mortgage? 4 Ways to Ensure It’s Worth Your Time

Thinking About Refinancing Your Mortgage? 4 Ways to Ensure It's Worth Your TimeIf you’re familiar with the real estate market, you’ve likely heard the term ‘refinancing’ and may be wondering what this can mean for your mortgage and your financial well-being. While refinancing can be a great benefit for those who are looking for a lower interest rate or a different mortgage type, here are the details on what it can offer and whether or not it will work for you.

Acquiring A Lower Interest Rate

The most common reason people consider refinancing their home is to take advantage of a lowered interest rate. While it might seem like a minimal savings each month, a lower interest rate can add up to considerable savings over time and help you pay off your home loan more quickly. It’s just important to ensure that you’re aware of all the associated costs with refinancing before pursuing this option.

Limiting Your Loan Term

Refinancing also offers homeowners the opportunity to change the term of their loan, which can offer improved financial stability much sooner than expected. Many homeowners may avoid this option because it can bump up their monthly payment, but the difference in cost can be relatively insignificant while still offering financial freedom in less time.

Changing Your Mortgage Type

There are benefits and drawbacks of adjustable-rate and fixed-rate mortgages, and that’s why many people make the decision to refinance and opt out of their rate profile. While fixed-rate mortgages offer stability since you’ll know what you’re paying, an adjustable-rate will move with the market and can actually mean more savings at the end of the day. The option that will work best for you is dependent upon how comfortable you feel with the market.

Consolidating Your Debt

For homeowners who have a high debt load, refinancing can be a means of paying less in order to pay down debt at a more rapid rate. However, it’s important before choosing this option to determine a budget plan you can stick with, as refinancing to consolidate your debt does not necessarily mean you’ll be successful at paying it down. Ensure you weigh your options and potential savings carefully before making a decision.

Refinancing may seem like a good financial decision, but there are costs that go along with this mortgage option so it’s important to crunch the numbers to ensure it will work in your favor. If you’re currently considering refinancing, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

3 Mortgage Scams to Be Aware of and How to Protect Yourself From Them

3 Mortgage Scams to Be Aware of and How to Protect Yourself From ThemIt’s easy to be enthusiastic and excited about the prospect of home ownership, but it’s important to be aware that there are many ways potential buyers can be taken advantage of. From courses for homeowners to companies trying to make a quick buck, there are many things to avoid. If you’re on the market for a home and are trying to find the mortgage that will best benefit you, here are some of the tricks you may want to be wary of.

Forgetting About The Finances

The amount of home you can afford and will be approved for largely comes down to your debt-to-income ratio and your credit history, so if you’re not getting the tough questions about money, this may be a bad sign. While it’s not the lender’s job to make a budget for you and decide your month-to-month expenses, if they’re embellishing your financial well-being and presuming you can take on more house, you may want to look into another lender.

High Loan Costs

Since a mortgage generally requires the homebuyer to borrow money, there is an associated interest rate on the loan that is a percentage of the total price. While this is the cost of doing business, rates that exceed more than 5% should be questioned to determine what they’re made up of. While there can be a legitimate reason for a higher cost, it’s important to understand your options and costs with a variety of lenders so you can make an informed, financially-wise decision.

Mortgage Offers For Everyone

For those who have a poor credit history and do not have any savings, the idea of home ownership can seem like a pipe dream. Unfortunately, there are lenders that are willing to capitalize on this hope and will feed people – particularly those at high risk – the idea that they have the ability to buy. Instead of relying on a company that may take advantage and charge high interest rates, research the lender you’re dealing with to ensure they’re known on the market and have your best interests in mind.

The ultimate dream for many people is to own a home of their own, but it’s important to be aware of your mortgage options and your financial stability so you can avoid a bad experience. If you’re currently on the market for a home, you may want to contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

If Your Home Is Destroyed in a Natural Disaster, What Happens to Your Mortgage?

If Your Home Is Destroyed in a Natural Disaster, What Happens to Your Mortgage? When you’ve been in your home for a while and have established a certain amount of equity, it can be a good feeling to know that you have an investment you can count on. However, with changing weather patterns you may be afraid of a natural disaster striking and what it could mean for your financial well-being. If you’re curious about how this can impact your mortgage, here are a few things to consider.

Determine Your Protection

The thought of having your home adversely impacted by a natural disaster is bad, but it can be even worse if the proper precautions haven’t been taken to insure your house against its wrath. While there are certain calamities that will be less likely in your area and may be difficult to get insurance for, if you live in an area prone to floods or earthquakes, you should have protection against their occurrence. In all likelihood, if you’ve taken the proper precautions when taking on home insurance, your home should be prepared for what nature unleashes.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Whether you’re certain that your home is covered in the event of a natural disaster or not, it’s important to contact your insurance company as soon as disaster occurs so that you can make the necessary claim. This means that you’ll need to be able to explain what happened, the extent of the damage and provide photographic evidence of your claim so that you have the evidence to back it up. Once the worst has occurred, you’ll want to file a claim with the company as soon as you can to ensure you’ll get back what you’ve invested.

What Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover?

Generally speaking, there are a number of natural disasters that are included under homeowner’s insurance including tornadoes, hurricanes and wildfires. Insurance for disasters like earthquakes, floods and tsunamis can be purchased separately, while the occurrence of landslides and avalanches may be covered separately. It’s important when purchasing a home that you are covered against natural disasters that can occur in the area so your biggest investment is not at risk.

The occurrence of a natural disaster is stressful enough without having to worry about the possibility of your insurance not covering the damage. If you are currently looking into homeowner’s insurance and are considering a home purchase, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.