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

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 Prep Your Credit To Buy A Home

Stone Bridge Mortgage Group_Loans to Help Gresham Borrowers Build Credit

 

Gresham Locals Looking To Buy Homes Need To Build Credit

One of the most important things to have in order as you prepare to buy a home is your credit score. Gresham home buyers should know that their credit score plays a huge role in being able to secure a mortgage. Conventional mortgage lenders will typically want a FICO score of at least 720, or in some cases 740, but those with a score above 580 may still qualify for an FHA loan.

In order to build your credit up to where you need it, try the following:

Review Your Credit Report

The first step Gresham home buyers should take, several months before they plan to get a mortgage, is to check their credit report for any issues. Checking two to three months in advance should suffice if you generally pay your bills on time. This leaves you time to correct any possible errors. However, if you have late payments or other derogatory items on your account, check six to nine months in advance.

Dispute Any Inaccuracies

Check closely for any inaccuracies on your credit report. For example, there may be an item you’ve paid for that is marked as unpaid, or an account showing up that isn’t your own. If this happens, file a dispute with the credit reporting agency.

Have Several Tradelines

Gresham home buyers will find that conventional loans require at least three tradelines (any combination of credit cards, student loans, car loans, and so on) that have been active within the past 12-24 months. FHA loans only require two tradelines. While it’s fine to have more, if you have fewer you won’t be able to qualify for a mortgage. If you need to open additional tradelines, try getting a major credit card like a Visa or a Mastercard at least six months before you apply for a mortgage and using it for items you would buy anyway. Never charge more than 30% of your allowed limit and be sure to pay it off in full when you get your bill.

Leave Older Credit Lines Open

Older tradelines actually help boost Gresham home buyer’s credit scores. Even if you don’t use them often, keep them open. Use those credit cards every few months and pay off the balance in full so those tradelines remain active.

Avoid Opening New Credit Lines

Don’t open any new credit lines within up to six months before applying for a mortgage, as this can temporarily lower your credit score. Because the credit bureau doesn’t know how you’ll handle the new credit, it is a risk factor.

Stop Buying On Credit

Gresham home buyers may be tempted to rush out and charge new appliances or furniture for a new house before closing. This is a bad idea. Having a debt utilization ratio above 30 percent right before closing could disqualify your loan. Unless you can pay cash, wait to purchase the new furniture until after the loan is closed.

Don’t Shuffle Money Around

When Gresham home buyers apply for a mortgage, you’ll find that you’ll need to provide several months of bank statements for your checking and savings accounts. Suddenly having large transfers between your accounts will show on those statements. Leave your money and accounts the same for at least 3 months.

Stonebridge Mortgage Group Offers Guidance On All Mortgage Matters

You can rely on Stonebridge Mortgage Group to help guide you through the entire home buying process. We can help get you pre-approved for a mortgage and assist with real estate loans and other mortgage solutions—both Stonebridge Mortgage Group serves the greater Portland area and is located in Gresham, Oregon. Don’t wait to get quality assistance with your home buying needs!

 

Call us today at 503.661.5580

 

Reverse Mortgages Gaining Acceptance In Gresham

Stone Bridge Mortgage Group_Things To Know About Reverse Mortgages

Once Controversial Reverse Mortgages Gaining Acceptance in Gresham

Though some people remain skeptical of reverse mortgages, many are beginning to see reverse mortgages as a useful tool for those who lack enough savings to augment their retirement income. The bad reputation that Reverse Mortgages gained over the years was mostly due to overly aggressive brokers, some of whom reaped outsized commissions on loans to financially unsophisticated seniors.

The Federal Housing Administration, which insures the mortgages, has recently taken steps to impose stricter lending standards. These stricter standards make reverse mortgages safer and more predictable than they once were. Gresham locals who need assistance with augmenting their income may find that a reverse mortgage is the way to go.

New Reverse Mortgage Reforms

How are reverse mortgage loans different for Gresham homeowners now?

To remove the temptation of taking out too much at once, the reforms limited the amount of equity a homeowner can take out in the first year to 60%. Additionally, credit standards have been tightened. Gresham homeowners whose finances were not quite up to par can be required to put money aside in an escrow account to cover future expenses. Other basic requirements to take out a reverse mortgage include the homeowner being at least 62 years of age and having substantial equity in our home, as well the ability to keep up with taxes, insurance, and home repairs.

How Can A Reverse Mortgage Benefit Gresham Homeowners?

When utilized correctly, reverse mortgages can be an extremely useful financial planning tool for Gresham homeowners. As mentioned above, reverse mortgages can provide Gresham homeowners with additional retirement income. They can also act as a more cost-effective replacement for Long Term Care insurance, or to help Gresham locals put off taking Social Security and reap a higher monthly payment by delaying retirement.

Gresham Homeowners Can Learn More About Reverse Mortgages With Stonebridge Mortgage Group

For professional assistance with mortgages, look no further than Stonebridge Mortgage Group. If you’re ready to apply for a loan and want to go through the process online, Stonebridge Mortgage Group offers online applications. We also help get you pre-approved for a mortgage and help with your real estate loans and other 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

 

Important Information to Understand

  1. At the conclusion of a reverse mortgage, the borrower must repay the loan and may have to sell the home or repay the loan from other proceeds.
  2. Charges will be assessed with the loan, including an origination fee, closing costs, mortgage insurance premiums and servicing fees.
  3. The loan balance grows over time and interest is charged on the outstanding balance.
  4. The borrower remains responsible for property taxes, hazard insurance and home maintenance, and failure to pay these amounts may result in the loss of the home.
  5. Interest on a reverse mortgage is not tax-deductible until the borrower makes partial or full repayment.

 

Reverse Mortgages Are Becoming More Accepted

Stone Bridge Mortgage Group_Things To Know About Reverse Mortgages

Though reverse mortgages were once considered highly controversial, financial planners are beginning to see reversing your mortgage as a legitimate option for those who struggle with retirement savings. More and more people are finding it difficult to save up for a retirement fund. However, home equity “conversion” loans can aid those who have struggled to save by augmenting their retirement income. Part of the widely growing acceptance of reverse mortgages is due to the Federal Housing Administration tightening lending standards. Reverse mortgages are now a good tool for retirees.

What gave reverse mortgages such a bad reputation?

Put simply, overly aggressive brokers took advantage of the reverse mortgage system. These brokers gave loans to senior citizens who lacked financial savvy and profited from them in the form of large commissions. The system of reverse mortgages wasn’t polished enough, and during the Great Recession as many as 10% of all reverse mortgages fell into default.

Growing acceptance and higher standards

The FHA tightening the standards for those looking to reverse a mortgage helped to rectify a system that had previously made it easy to take advantage of clients. The newer standards make it harder for clients to make themselves vulnerable to financial disaster. For example, now the amount of equity a homeowner can take out in the first year is limited to 60%, removing the obvious temptation of taking out 100%. Taking out too much too soon can easily lead to the client being overwhelmed and causing their loan to go into default.

Credit standards were raised as well. Homeowners who don’t have robust finances or who have struggled with making payments in the past may now be expected to put money aside in an escrow account to cover future expenses. Additionally, to qualify for a reverse mortgage you must be at least 62. You must not only have substantial equity in your home, but also be able to keep up with taxes, insurance payments, and home repairs.

Balancing your funds while in retirement

If you decide to take out a reverse mortgage, it is recommended that you have another source of money to draw upon. For example, being able to draw funds from cash, home equity, and investments, can make your finances more stable. Having the choice to tap into different funds, depending on how the market is doing, can be extremely useful. When the markets are up, you can tap into your investments. When they’re down, you can shift to real estate.

Talk to the professionals at Stonebridge Mortgage Group about the possibility of reversing your mortgage.

For professional assistance and advice on reverse mortgages, look no further than Stonebridge Mortgage Group. If you’re ready to apply for a loan and want to go through the process online, Stonebridge Mortgage Group offers online applications. We can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage, walk you through the real estate loan process, and assist you with Stonebridge Mortgage Group serves the greater Portland area and are located in Gresham, Oregon.

 

Call us at 503.661.5580

 

Important Information to Understand

  1. At the conclusion of a reverse mortgage, the borrower must repay the loan and may have to sell the home or repay the loan from other proceeds.
  2. Charges will be assessed with the loan, including an origination fee, closing costs, mortgage insurance premiums and servicing fees.
  3. The loan balance grows over time and interest is charged on the outstanding balance.
  4. The borrower remains responsible for property taxes, hazard insurance and home maintenance, and failure to pay these amounts may result in the loss of the home.
  5. Interest on a reverse mortgage is not tax-deductible until the borrower makes partial or full repayment.

 

Home Appraisals and Inspections

 

Stone_Bridge_Mortgage_Home Appraisals and Inspections

If you’ve begun looking for your first home, you’ve likely heard of a getting a home appraisal and home inspection. What exactly are home appraisals and home inspections, though? Is there a difference between the two? Are they really necessary?

Home Appraisals

A home appraisal determines the value of a house based on certain factors, including “comparables.” An appraiser will take a few things into consideration when deciding the market value of a home. For example, they often look at comparable homes in the area which have recently sold and certain amenities in the house. It is important to remember that an appraisal doesn’t decide the “worth” of the home, but the market value.

The appraisal helps determine how much money your lender will give you to buy the house. Having the home appraised is therefore necessary when seeking out a loan. If you’re selling a home, it’s more beneficial to you if the appraisal is high. When you’re buying, however, a low appraisal is better. Appraisals can differ from one appraiser to the next, but they’re usually closely based on the assessment of the above-mentioned factors.

Home Inspections

Home inspections involve an inspection of the house itself, focusing on things like structural issues. Generally, home inspections include a look at the roof, the heating and cooling system, plumbing systems, and electrical systems. While home inspections are not exhaustive and therefore may not uncover every possible issue, home inspections are still a very important step in the home buying process.

Some mortgage programs may require specific inspections. However, generally speaking, home inspections are not a hard requirement for every mortgage option. Still, it is best to choose to have a home inspection done anyway. Buying a home without inspections could potentially leave you open for some major issues. It’s better to spend the money on an inspection that could save you more costly expenses down the road.

Count on Stonebridge Mortgage Group for all your mortgage needs.

In addition to appraisals and inspections, there are a lot of ins and outs to familiarize yourself with over the course of the home buying process. For professional assistance with mortgages, look no further than Stonebridge Mortgage Group. If you’re ready to apply for a loan and want to go through the process online, Stonebridge Mortgage Group offers online applications. We also help get you pre-approved for a mortgage and help with your real estate loans and other Stonebridge Mortgage Group serves the greater Portland area and are in Gresham, Oregon. Don’t wait to get quality assistance with buying your home!

 

Call us today at 503.661.5580

 

Live/Work Spaces And How To Find The Perfect One

Stone_Bridge_Mortgage_Live-Work Spaces And How To Find The Perfect One

Artists, musicians, and performers thrive in spaces that house both their passions and their possessions, but finding those spaces can be such an effort that many creative types end up working out of their garages. That might be fine for some, but others require spaces that accommodate their work, their belongings, and themselves under one roof.

Live/work spaces may bring to mind images of urban lofts, exposed brick, concrete floors, and service elevators — and that’s not entirely incorrect, but they can be much more. Today’s live/work spaces are not relegated to the paint splattered artist or musically inclined recluse. Retailers, restauranteurs, and manufacturers are all finding utility in the live/work arrangement.

So how do you find the right live/work space for your particular working and living preferences?

Start with location. If your business needs foot traffic, urban areas are replete with spaces that cater to creatives and their livelihoods. These spaces are often renovated and reimagined buildings with historic value – which can also be an asset in your live/work space.

Next, consider the amount of square footage you need to peacefully coexist with your work. You may find yourself more suited to a converted warehouse or barn than an airy loft. Take the time to deliberately examine your footage needs before leaping to any live/work conclusions.

Finally, consult with a mortgage professional. Stonebridge can help you find the perfect financing options for your live/work space so you can finally get on with the business of living and working.

At Stonebridge Mortgage we are dedicated to making sure you end up in the live and workspace of your dreams. If you need any buying or financing for your home or office, we are here to help. Learn more about Loan Officers from Stonebridge Mortgage or you can check out all Stonebridge Mortgage’s services.

Contact Us Now to Start Your Financing Journey

Or Give Us a Call at 503.661.5580

 

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