Call in the Pros: 4 Ways That Using a Mortgage Professional Will Save You a Lot of Money

Call in the Pros: 4 Ways That Using a Mortgage Professional Will Save You a Lot of MoneyIt may seem better to go it alone when it comes to acquiring a mortgage, but there are many benefits associated with using a mortgage professional that can make finding your dream home a lot easier. If you’re currently getting prepared to hit the market and are weighing your options, here are some reasons that a professional who knows the neighborhood will save you money.

Strong Market Knowledge

Many homebuyers can take a look at the MLS listings to find the price of properties selling in the area, but a mortgage professional will know the market without having to look at a book. This means that if you have an ideal house in mind, they’ll be able to determine the right offer for the home you’re interested in so you don’t end up spending time on research and paying more than you should.

Access To Lenders

It may seem like you can get in touch with any lender and they’ll be happy to provide you with a great deal, but because a mortgage professional will have a business relationship with many lenders, they will be able to get you a better rate. While you can approach lenders on your own, there’s a good chance you won’t get as competitive a rate.

Time Is Money

You may have set aside the time to invest into your home search, but trying to find the right home at the right price can end up taking a lot of time. You’ll also need to know the ins and outs of the procedures when it comes to making an offer and closing the deal. The benefit of a mortgage professional is they’ll already have experience at their disposal and will be able to do the legwork for you.

Closing Time

It’s great to find the house of your dreams on your own, but a mortgage professional will be well versed in closing the deal. Instead of having to go back and forth on any home inspection issues or final offers, they’ll be able to advise you so that you can get the home you want at the price you’re looking for.

While many people want to go it alone on the real estate market, using a mortgage professional can save you both time and money in finding the right place. If you’re preparing to buy a home, contact one of our trusted Mason-McDuffie Mortgage professionals for more information.

4 Misconceptions About Reverse Mortgages — and Why You May Decide You Want One

4 Misconceptions About Reverse Mortgages -- and Why You May Decide You Want OneWith so many mortgage products available on the market, it can be hard to know which ones will serve you best as a homeowner. As a result, there are many mistruths surrounding the reverse mortgage products. If you’ve heard of this homeownership option and are wondering what it can do for you, let’s clear away some of the misconceptions.

You Must Own Your Home

It can certainly be helpful to own your home outright if you’re looking into a reverse mortgage, but it’s not actually necessary. Instead, it’s important for you to have a high amount of equity in your home so that lenders can be sure that you’re a solid financial bet. While the balance you should have on your home varies based on a number of conditions, it’s important to talk to your lender for the specific details involved.

Few Conditions Apply

You may have heard that any homeowner who acquires a reverse mortgage must be 62 years of age or older, but because a reverse mortgage is a mortgage product, there are a number of requirements involved in order to apply. In addition to having enough equity in your home, it must be your primary residence and you will have to prove that you can pay the property taxes, insurance charges and any maintenance costs consistently.

Home Ownership Is Relinquished

Due to the nature of reverse mortgages, many people believe that this type of loan gives the bank ownership of your home. However, the homeowner retains ownership because they are borrowing money against the value of the equity in their home. This means that as long as the payments on the home are maintained, the home will continue to belong to the homeowner.

Expensive Loan Fees

While reverse mortgages can come with more expensive rates because the monthly payments are deferred, it’s important to talk to a mortgage lender about these details to determine what they’ll mean for you. The associated fees will depend on the price of your home, your loan type and your interest rate, so you’ll need to be aware of what the costs are to you before moving forward.

There is a lot of information out there regarding reverse mortgages, but it’s important to do the research so you can be aware of how this product can benefit you. If you’re currently considering this type of mortgage, contact one of our trusted Mason-McDuffie Mortgage professionals for more information.

Worried About Future Mortgage Rate Increases? Here’s How to ‘Stress Test’ Your Finances

Worried About Future Mortgage Rate Increases? Here's How to 'Stress Test' Your Finances When it comes to real estate, there are always going to be upswings in the market that will have an impact on your mortgage payment and overall financial health. However, with a fluctuating market here to stay, you may be wondering how you can guard your biggest investment and your finances against rate increases. If you’re concerned about rates on the rise, here are a few tips to test out you’re fiscal well-being.

Calculate Your Debt-To-Income Ratio

It’s beneficial to determine your DTI ratio prior to purchasing a home, but since debt and housing costs are always fluctuating, calculating this number again can be a wakeup call. By adding up your monthly expenditures (including any debt), and dividing that number by your pre-tax income, you’ll be able to determine your DTI percentage. While it’s ideal to have a percentage of less than 28%, if your expenditures have risen above this number, it may be time to take a look at your monthly budget and see what you can cut out.

Do You Have Emergency Savings?

Many people make a habit of putting money into their retirement funds each paycheck, but it’s equally important to have emergency savings you can access in the event of car repairs, home maintenance issues or an unforeseen medical problem. While it’s often suggested that a person should have a minimum of 3 months of expenses at their disposal, saving more than this can make you even more prepared in the event that a rate increase requires you to dive into other funds.

Review Your Budget

It’s easy enough to have a monthly budget, but the hard part for most people is sticking to it on a day-to-day basis. If you’ve veered off the trail a little bit in this regard, sit down to review your expenditures and determine what your financial outlook would be if you experienced an interest rate bump next month. In the event that there’s very little cushion and no money for savings, it may be worth your time to craft a new budget that gives you a bit more wiggle room.

Many people are uncertain about what the short-term economy will bring for their mortgage rates, but by reviewing your budget and maintaining emergency savings, you can be better prepared for the future. If you’re currently considering purchasing a home,  contact one of our Mason-McDuffie Mortgage professionals for more information.

The 2017 Mortgage Rate Outlook: Here’s What the Experts Are Saying

The 2017 Mortgage Rate Outlook: Here's What the Experts Are SayingThe post-election period is often one of uncertainty, and the time since the 2016 election has been no different with regards to market force and the financial world. With a new administration taking office, there are many questions regarding how Donald Trump’s presidency will impact the market and your mortgage. If you’re wondering what the predictions are for the coming year, here are a few things the experts are considering.

An Increase In Rates

Due to an expected hike in rates by the Federal Reserve, it’s unlikely that potential homebuyers will be able to get the low interest rates of previous years. While higher rates are likely, the proposed tax plan and budget of Donald Trump may lead to increased inflation and could also have an impact on rates down the road. The low rates of previous years certainly made homeownership a more feasible option, but it’s still a good time to get into a home before they rise even more.

Less Red Tape

The money invested into regulations is something that Donald Trump was highly critical of in the run up to the election, and this may mean many opportunities for home ownership that did not exist before. While a poor credit history can make or break a mortgage application, in a time of loosening regulations there will likely be more available mortgage products for those who have a less than stellar financial situation.

Privatizing Loan Programs

There is the possibility that government-sponsored home loan organizations like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will come under new ownership. While this may provide an opportunity for potential homeowners, because the risk will be taken on by private owners – and not the government – this may lead to higher rates. As Jordan Levin of the California Association of Realtors says, “I can say with a pretty good level of confidence that it will increase the cost of borrowing because there’s going to be more risk from those pools being borne by the private sector and they’re going to want to be compensated for that additional risk that they’re bearing.”

While the economic policy of the coming years has yet to take shape, the mortgage rates are on the rise and the regulations surrounding home ownership are likely to loosen. If you’re currently waiting out the 2017 market and are considering your options for home ownership, contact one of our trusted Mason-McDuffie Mortgage professionals for more information.

The First-Time Home Buyer’s Guide to Getting the Best Possible Mortgage Rate

The First-Time Home Buyer's Guide to Getting the Best Possible Mortgage RateWhether they’re found online or heard from family and friends, there are so many mortgage tips out there that it can be hard to know exactly how to proceed. But, if you’re new to the market, there are a few surefire things you can do to get a mortgage rate you’ll feel good about. For some of the best tips on getting a great loan, look no further than the following.

Know Your Credit History

It’s a simple fact that one of the most important factors in your mortgage application is your credit history, so good or fair, it’s important to be aware of where you stand. While the acceptable credit score for mortgage approval can fluctuate, the best rates are often available to those with a score that is higher than 760. In order to improve your chances, get a copy of your credit report and pay attention to any discrepancies that might be in it. These can have a negative impact on your score and your application, so you’ll want to have them revised if they’re incorrect.

Save Your Down Payment

It’s not a requirement of mortgage approval to put 20% down, but a down payment of this size will lower your debt-to-income ratio and will make you a more solid bet for the lender. By having 20% in the bank to go towards your home investment, you will also be able to qualify for a lower rate. Not only this, you will not be required to pay mortgage insurance which means a lowered monthly payment and a higher disposable income in the event of market fluctuations.

Consult With A Mortgage Professional

You may want to pursue a mortgage on your own, but having a professional to help you with the process can be beneficial for a number of reasons. A mortgage expert will not only be aware of market conditions, they will have a relationship with the lenders that means they may be able to get you a rate you wouldn’t be offered on your own. While you may want to go it alone, there are benefits to consulting a professional.

There’s a lot involved in the mortgage process, but by putting 20 percent down and having a good credit history, you’ll be well on your way to a great rate. If you’re currently on the market for a home, contact one of our Mason-McDuffie Mortgage professionals for more information.

Refinancing Your Mortgage: How To Get The Most Out of Your Home Equity

Refinancing Your Mortgage: How To Get The Most Out of Your Home EquityWith interest rates on the rise following the 2016 election, it’s possible that you’re now considering your options for refinancing your current mortgage. It can sometimes be hard to know all of the ins and outs of making this choice, though, and it’s important to know what’s involved. If you’re trying to determine if refinancing will work for you, here are some of the basics on this option and what it can mean for your equity.

Acquiring A Lower Interest Rate

One of the most common reasons for re-financing is to get a lower interest rate on a mortgage in times of a fluctuating market. While it may seem like this is more hassle than its worth, if you are able to get an improved rate, this can add up to considerable savings over time. While the once suggested percentage for refinancing was 2%, with economic times changing it can be worth looking at the numbers to determine if this option is financially viable for you.

Building More Equity

The great thing about negotiating a better interest rate for your mortgage is that it will not only lower your monthly mortgage payment, it can be a greater financial benefit over time. For example, if you have an 8% interest rate on a $250,000 home, adjusting your rate to 6% per month will mean a decrease in your monthly expenditures. Since you’ll be paying less interest overall, you can up your monthly payment and pay off the principal even more quickly.

Will Refinancing Benefit You?

While refinancing can be a great option if you’re able to get a better rate and are planning on staying in your home to reap the benefits, there are things to consider when making this choice. If you’re refinancing in order to make a big expense or renovate, these may be financially beneficial choices, but they can also be bad for the bank if budgeting isn’t kept in mind. It’s also worth realizing that there will be fees associated with refinancing, from the appraisal to the application, so ensure the new rate makes up for these costs.

There are many benefits associated with refinancing your mortgage, but it’s important to be aware of the costs involved and the financial benefit to you in the long term before making a decision. If you’re currently reconsidering your mortgage, contact one of our Mason-McDuffie Mortgage professionals for more information.

How Will Having a New President Impact Your Mortgage? Let’s Take a Look

How Will Having a New President Impact Your Mortgage? Let's Take a LookThere is always uncertainty in the market in an election year, but many people are wondering exactly what kind of impact Donald Trump’s election will have on their mortgage and the real estate options available. Whether you are still paying off your home or have been shopping around for the right one, here are some possibilities for the real estate market following the results of the 2016 election.

An Increase In Luxury Properties

With the release of Donald Trump’s tax plan which provides the most sizeable tax cuts to the wealthy, it could be the case that there will be an increase in the demand for high-end properties which may lead to less availability and a higher price point. As this kind of demand could also work to bump up the median price of real estate in urban areas, it could have an adverse impact on low-income earners who may see themselves priced out of a more expensive market.

Rising Mortgage Rates

Most people that have been perusing the market recently have heard about the low interest rates that make purchasing a home a good financial decision. However, following the uncertainty of the election, interest rates are on the rise. While the sense of instability may persist until potential homebuyers know more, this boost in the rates since the election may mean that many buyers will decide to hold off until the new year.

A Loosening Of Regulations

The concept of the cost involved in regulation was something that Donald Trump brought up many times on the campaign trail, and this could be a sign that he is ready to make adjustments when it comes to housing regulations. While there may be little he can do at the local level, if regulation changes take hold, this could mean more loan opportunities for those with a poor credit history who may not have been a shoe-in for a mortgage previously.

With the fluctuations of the market dependent upon a variety of factors, it’s hard to say what will occur in the mortgage market in the next few months and years. However, with mortgage rates on the rise and the potential change in regulations, it could continue to fluctuate until there is more certainty on the horizon. If you’re currently on the market for a home and are curious about your options, contact one of our Mason-McDuffie Mortgage professionals for more information.