3 Finance Tips For New Home Owners

3 Finance Tips For New Home Owners

Stone Bridge Mortgage Group_3 Finance Tips For New Home Owners

 

Tips To Help You Prepare For The Financial Responsibility Of Owning Your First Home

Although it is widely known that buying a home is easily one of if not the most important financial responsibilities you can take on in your life, many first time homeowners still underestimate just home much home owning can cost. There are a lot of variables and, depending on your mortgage, monthly payments may be subject to change. Preparation is key when it comes to home-owning. After all, you don’t want to purchase your Portland home only to realize you can’t keep up with the payments. It is better to wait and save until you are sure you are financially comfortable enough for home ownership.

To make sure that Portland locals are prepared for home ownership, Stonebridge Morgage Group offers the following tips:

1. Create A New Budget

Given that your monthly mortgage payment is bound to differ from your previous rent payment, it might seem like a no-brainer that you’ll need to adjust your budget accordingly. However, Portland locals looking to buy a home for the first time will find that there’s more to it than that. You may find that other costs change specifically because you are in a house for the first time, rather than an apartment.

For example, your heating and electricity bills will easily be higher in a 2,000-square-foot house than they were in a small, two-bedroom apartment. Similarly, if you suddenly have a lawn to maintain, you can expect to spend more than you would while renting an apartment. Portland first time home buyers shouldn’t make the mistake of just substituting their new estimated mortgage payment for their previous rent payment. Instead, spend a few months tracking all of your expenses and update your budget to reflect the actual costs of living in your new home. You may come to find that you’re spending more than expected, and you’ll need to make the appropriate adjustments to your budget.

If you’re a first time homebuyer, call Stonebridge Mortgage Group at 503-661-5580

 

2. Be Prepared To Spend Money On Repairs & Maintenance

Portland first time home buyers may well expect to spend some money on maintenance and repairs for their new home. However, it is easy to make the mistake of underestimating just how much you may need to spend. Portland homeowners should expect to spend 1% to 4% of their homes’ value each year on repairs and maintenance.

How much does that add up to? If your Portland home is worth $300,000, expect to shell out anywhere from $3,000 to $12,000 a year on upkeep. Costs can be even higher for larger repair jobs, like a heating system or a roof. Make sure your emergency savings are padded out well so that you have funds to tap if a significant repair pops up unexpectedly. As a homeowner, you should aim for six months’ worth of expenses or more.

For More Mortgage Tips, Call Stonebridge Mortgage Group at 503-661-5580

 

3. Expect Your Property Taxes To Go Up

Your property taxes are based on the assessed value of your home coupled with local tax rates. First time home buyers will be advised of their current property tax liability during the process of home buying. However, it is almost certain that property taxes will rise from that initial number. Even when home values drop, property taxes have a tendency to rise.

Additionally, some localities require property reassessments, which can happen in intervals such as every year, every other year, or every three years. If your home is reassessed at a higher amount, you could see an instant hike in taxes. To protect yourself, leave some wiggle room in your budget. You don’t want to be left struggling to pay your new monthly costs, after all.

Call Stonebridge Mortgage Group for Mortgage Advice at 503-661-5580

 

Stonebridge Mortgage Group Offers Guidance On All Mortgage Matters

For professional assistance with mortgages and related services, look no further than Stonebridge Mortgage Group. You can rely on Stonebridge Mortgage Group to help guide you through the home buying process. We help get you pre-approved for a mortgage and help with your real estate loans and other mortgage solutions, both residential and commercial. Stonebridge Mortgage Group serves the greater Portland area and is located in Gresham, Oregon. Don’t wait to get quality assistance with buying your home! Call us today!

Call Stonebridge Mortgage Group Today at 503-661-5580

 

 

 

 

The Difference Between Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval, Part Two

The Difference Between Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval, Part Two

Stone Bridge Mortgage Group_The Difference Between Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval

 

Portland first time home buyers may often feel in over their heads when starting the home buying process. Stonebridge Mortgage Group is here to help our Portland clients understand the ins and outs of preparing to buy a home.

You may have heard the terms “pre-qualification” and “pre-approval” in regard to mortgages. Although sometimes these terms are used interchangeably, there are differences between the two.

Pre-Qualified

Getting pre-qualified is a simpler, more informal process than getting pre-approved. This process involves supplying a bank or lender with your overall financial picture, including your debt, income, and assets. The lender reviews everything and gives you an estimate of how much you can expect to borrow. Portland home buyers can get pre-qualification over the phone or online, and there’s usually no cost involved. It usually only takes one to three days to get pre-qualified.

Portland home buyers should keep in mind that mortgage loan pre-qualification does not include an analysis of your credit report or an in-depth look at your ability to purchase a home. It’s based solely on the information you hand over to the lender, so it doesn’t mean much at all if you don’t provide accurate data.

A pre-qualified buyer doesn’t carry the same weight as a pre-approved buyer, who has been more thoroughly investigated. After all, the amount a Portland home buyer pre-qualifies for isn’t a sure thing. It is only the amount for which you might expect to be approved.

Nevertheless, pre-qualifying for a mortgage loan can be useful when it comes time to make an offer. Sellers don’t want to enter into a contract with a Portland buyer who isn’t committed. Sellers will often ask about pre-qualification status. In today’s competitive housing market, having a pre-qualification letter can make all the difference.

For more information on pre-qualifications and pre-approvals read, The Difference Between Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval, Part One, where Stonebridge Mortgage Group walks Portland first time home buyers through the specifics of what it means to get pre-approved for a mortgage loan.

Stonebridge Mortgage Group Offers Guidance On All Mortgage Matters

Stonebridge Mortgage Group offers experienced loan officer and mortgage broker services in Gresham. You can rely on Stonebridge Mortgage Group to help guide you through the home buying process. We help get you pre-approved for a mortgage and help with your real estate loans and other mortgage solutions, both residential and commercial. Stonebridge Mortgage Group serves the greater Portland area and is located in Gresham, Oregon. Buying your first home? We can help!

Call us today at 503.661.5580

 

 

 

The Difference Between Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval, Part One

The Difference Between Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval, Part Two

Stone Bridge Mortgage Group_The Difference Between Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval

Stonebridge Mortgage Group aims to help Portland home buyers to understand the intricacies of buying a home. First time Portland home buyers might be understandably confused by all of the different terms and phrases used in various points of the process of buying a home. For example, the terms pre-qualification and pre-approval are often used interchangeably when seeking out information about mortgages. However, they are not the same.

Our last post explains the specifics of a getting pre-qualified for a mortgage. Now, Stonebridge Mortgage Group will explain the details of getting pre-approved for a mortgage.

Mortgage Pre-Approval

Mortgage pre-approval comes after mortgage pre-qualification. The process of getting pre-approved for a mortgage is much more involved. While a pre-qualification acts as a good indication of creditworthiness and the ability to borrow, a pre-approval acts as more definitive proof.

In order to get pre-approved for a mortgage, you must complete an official mortgage application and you must supply the lender with all the necessary documentation to perform an extensive check on your financial background and current credit rating. The lender will then review your finances, and can pre-approve you for a mortgage up to a specified amount. The interest rate you’ll be charged on the loan is based in part on your credit score, so this is when you’ll get a better idea of what that interest rate may be. You might even be able to lock in an interest rate. Some lenders charge an application fee for pre-approval, which can amount to several hundred dollars.

After you are pre-approved for a mortgage, your lender will provide you with a conditional commitment in writing for an exact loan amount, allowing you to look for a home at or below that price level. This gives Portland home buyers an advantage with the seller because the seller will know they are one step closer to getting an actual mortgage.

How Pre-Qualifications and Pre-Approvals Differ

The following is a brief comparison to show how a pre-qualification and a pre-approval differ:

 

Pre-qualification

Pre-approval

1. Do I need to fill out a mortgage application?

No

Yes

2. Do I have to pay an application fee?

No

Maybe

3. Does it require a credit history check?

No

Yes

4. Is it based on a review of my finances?

No

Yes

5. Does it require an estimate of my down payment?

No

Yes

6. Will the lender give me an estimate for a loan amount?

Yes

No

7. Will the lender give me an estimate for a loan amount?

Yes

No

8. Will the lender give me interest rate information?

No

Yes

For more information on pre-qualifications and pre-approvals read, The Difference Between Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval, Part Two, where Stonebridge Mortgage Group walks Portland first time home buyers through the specifics of what it means to get pre-qualified for a mortgage loan.

Stonebridge Mortgage Group Offers Guidance On All Mortgage Matters

For professional assistance with mortgages and related services, look no further than Stonebridge Mortgage Group. You can rely on Stonebridge Mortgage Group to help guide you through the home buying process. We help get you pre-approved for a mortgage and help with your real estate loans and other mortgage solutions, both residential and commercial. Stonebridge Mortgage Group serves the greater Portland area and is located in Gresham, Oregon. Don’t wait to get quality assistance with buying your home!

 

Call us today at 503.661.5580

 

How To Shop Around For A Mortgage, Part Two

How To Shop Around For A Mortgage, Part Two

Stone Bridge Mortgage_Mortgage Broker vs Bank Lender

 

Gresham first-time home buyers may feel daunted with all that the information that comes along with buying a home. However, Gresham home buyers shouldn’t feel overwhelmed. By carefully educating themselves, they can ensure that they get the best experience when shopping for a home. Stonebridge Mortgage Group is eager to help our Gresham clients understand the ins and outs of mortgage.

Keep in mind that shopping around for your mortgage is important. Just like you wouldn’t settle on the first house you saw, you shouldn’t settle on the first mortgage you discuss with one lender. Shop around and do your research to find a mortgage that truly works for you.

To aid in shopping for your mortgage, here are a few more terms you should know about when shopping for a mortgage:

Interest Rates

To make sure your mortgage is affordable, it is crucial to get the best interest rate possible. Do your research to find out what the latest mortgage interest rates is before seeking out a mortgage lender. This means you will know what to expect and prepares you for potential negotiations. For example, if you know that the national interest rate average is around 4.5% in the morning and a particular lender offers you 5%, you know you have room to negotiate. Get quotes from at least four lenders to compare your options, but make sure you are comparing rates on the same types of loan.

Points

When speaking to potential lenders, ask about how many points you will have to pay to obtain the specific interest rate. Mortgage points are pre-paid interest. One point equals 1% of the loan amount. The more points you pay upfront, the lower your loan’s interest rate. This can be beneficial for Gresham home buyers in the long run.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

Although some people use “APR” and “interest rate” interchangeably, your APR is something very specific. Your Annual Percentage Rate shows the true cost of obtaining a loan, including points, the interest rate, broker fees, and any other charges. Ideally, Gresham home buyers want to aim for an APR that is as low as possible, because a lower APR means you are getting a better deal.

After taking into consideration the type of loan, interest rate, repayment terms, and APR Gresham home buyers can sit down and make the choice about which loan is best.

Locking In Your Rate

The next step for Gresham home buyers, after finding a mortgage loan that suits them and receiving preapproval, is to ask the lender to lock in the interest rate and provide you with a document in writing that states the interest rate you locked in, the number of points you must pay, and how long the interest rate will be locked in before the offer expires.

This is a way to secure your mortgage being what you need it to be. Locking in an interest rate means that even if interest rates rise within the specified time that you were guaranteed, you can still option a mortgage loan for the lower rate that you locked in. However, this can also work the other way. Should the interest rate lower within that time, you could be stuck with a higher rate. All things considered, though, it is generally a wise idea if to lock in your interest rate if you are serious about purchasing a home soon.

After all of the above, it is time to shop around. There are a variety of ways to shop around for a mortgage in today’s market – whether it be by going to an independent mortgage broker, calling local banks and credit unions, or shopping online. Carefully consider your options before committing. If you have any questions about mortgages, you can always rely on Stonebridge Mortgage Group for help.

Stonebridge Mortgage Group Offers Guidance On All Mortgage Matters

For professional assistance with mortgages and related services, look no further than Stonebridge Mortgage Group. You can rely on Stonebridge Mortgage Group to help guide you through the home buying process. We help get you pre-approved for a mortgage and help with your real estate loans and other mortgage solutions, both residential and commercial. Stonebridge Mortgage Group serves the greater Portland area and is located in Gresham, Oregon. Don’t wait to get quality assistance with buying your home!

Call us today at 503.661.5580

 

How To Shop Around For A Mortgage, Part One

How To Shop Around For A Mortgage, Part Two

Stone Bridge Mortgage_Mortgage Broker vs Bank Lender

 

Shopping for a Home Mortgage

Most home buyers, even beginners, know that you don’t settle on the first home you find. You’re meant to shop around. Something else Gresham home buyers may not know, however, is that it’s wise to shop around for a mortgage, too. Finding the right mortgage loan is incredibly important. Choosing your mortgage has a big impact on your finances for the foreseeable future.

Gresham home buyers should consider all of their mortgage options before settling on just one. Here’s a quick guide to understanding mortgages as you start shopping around:

The Stages of a Mortgage Application

  1. Pre-qualification: Before shopping for a house, Gresham home buyers should get a mortgage pre-qualification letter. In today’s competitive housing market, a pre-qualification letter lets your Realtor and other potential sellers know that you are serious about looking for a home. It acts as an assurance that you have the ability to by the home you are interested in. Remember that having a pre-qualification letter does not mean you’re approved for a mortgage. These letters informal and optional, but they just might ease sellers’ fears that financing will fall through if they accept your offer.
  2. Pre-approval: Gresham home buyers can get mortgage pre-approval after putting an offer on a home. Getting a pre-approval involves submitting a mortgage application to the bank. The bank will run your credit and research the home you want to buy. If you meet qualifications, they’ll give you pre-approval. This means that if all the conditions are met, the bank agrees to finance the home.
  3. Closing: This is where the mortgage is finalized and you become a homeowner.

Loan Types

The four most common types of institutional mortgage loans include conventional, FHA, VA, and jumbo mortgages. Gresham locals looking to buy a home should first research which types of loans they qualify for and which would be best suits your needs. Each type of loan has benefits and drawbacks.

  1. VA loans are guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA mortgages require as little as no down payment, but they are only available to qualified veterans.
  2. FHA loans are backed by the Federal Housing Administration and require as little as 3.5% down if you qualify. For Gresham home buyers who have trouble putting back savings, this can be a good option. The drawback, however, to putting less than 20% down payment is that you will be required to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI), a monthly payment used for security in case of default.
  3. Conventional mortgages require at least 20% down and don’t require PMI. Generally, a conventional loan the best choice for Gresham home buyers who have enough money in savings to cover the down payment and associated closing costs.
  4. Lastly, jumbo mortgages must be used if you are financing more than conventional conforming loan limits. Due to their amount, these loans have special restrictions and credit requirements.

Repayment Terms

Your repayment term is the term over which you pay back your mortgage. The two choices Gresham home buyers have for repayment terms include a fixed interest rate mortgage, where the interest rate remains the same over the life of the loan, or an adjustable interest rate, where the interest rate can decrease or increase at specific intervals such as annually.

  1. Fixed-rate mortgages tend to be a safer option, especially for Gresham families who plan on staying in a home for more than a few years. There are many different mortgage terms to choose from, such as mortgage terms of 15, 20, or 30 years. 30 years is the most common mortgage rate terms and keeps your monthly payments low. However, while monthly payments on a 15-year mortgage are higher, you ultimately save money because there is less interested accrued over 15 years than over 30.
  2. Adjustable-rate mortgages can save you a lot of money if you play on living in the residence a short time. Your interest rate is much lower than a fixed-rate mortgage for the first five or seven years, but will then adjusts to the average interest rate every year thereafter, which could be much higher. If you still own the home, your mortgage payment could go up dramatically, so it is riskier.

Stonebridge Mortgage Group Offers Guidance on All Mortgage Matters

For professional assistance with mortgages and related services, look no further than Stonebridge Mortgage Group. You can rely on Stonebridge Mortgage Group to help guide you through the home buying process. We help get you pre-approved for a mortgage and help with your real estate loans and other mortgage solutions, both residential and commercial. Stonebridge Mortgage Group serves the greater Portland area and is located in Gresham, Oregon. Don’t wait to get quality assistance with buying your home!

 

Call us today at 503.661.5580

 

Mortgage Rates Explained For Gresham First Time Home Buyers

Mortgage Rates Explained For Gresham First Time Home Buyers

Stone Bridge Mortgage_Mortgage Loans - Fixed Rate vs Adjustable Rate

 

What is the difference between a fixed-rate mortgage and an adjustable-rate mortgage?

Gresham home buyers will be faced with many decisions over the course of their home buying process. One of the things Gresham locals looking to buy a home need to be prepared for is choosing the type of mortgage they want.

Buying a home for the first time is a big responsibility. Stonebridge Mortgage Group helps first time home buyers in the Gresham area find the answers to their home buying questions so they can make the best decisions toward achieving their home buying goals. By arming yourself with common sense and the right knowledge, you can make the search for your home all the easier.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage vs. Adjustable Rate Mortgage

Gresham home buyers can get an idea of what each mortgage offers based on its name alone. A fixed-rate mortgage is, like it sounds, a mortgage that stays at the same interest rate for as long as you are paying down the loan, regardless of whether interest rates, in general, go up or down. On the other hand, an adjustable-rate mortgage can go up or down based upon the overall interest of the rate market. Some home buyers find adjustable mortgage rates tempting because it is sometimes possible to get an adjustable-rate mortgage at a much lower interest rate than a fixed-rate mortgage. However, the rate of an adjustable mortgage could rise quickly in a matter of a few years.

Other adjustable rate mortgages include a very low introductory mortgage rate for five or seven years, followed by a much higher rate. These loans are designed to be useful to Gresham home buyers who expect to live in their home a very short period of time, to refinance at a later date, or to flip the home for investment purposes. Gresham locals looking to buy a home should remember that while adjustable-rate mortgages can be a valuable home buying tool in certain situations, they can also be dangerous. Consider the possibility of your mortgage rate rising dramatically, and think seriously about the flexibility of your finances and whether it could support those types of fluctuations.

Stonebridge Mortgage Group Offers Guidance On All Mortgage Matters

For professional assistance with mortgages and related services, look no further than Stonebridge Mortgage Group. You can rely on Stonebridge Mortgage Group to help guide you through the home buying process. We help get you pre-approved for a mortgage and help with your real estate loans and other mortgage solutions, both residential and commercial. Stonebridge Mortgage Group serves the greater Portland area and is located in Gresham, Oregon. Don’t wait to get quality assistance with buying your home!

 

Call us today at 503.661.5580