Why It’s Important To Get 20% Equity For Your Home

Why It’s Important To Get 20% Equity For Your Home

Stone-Bridge-Mortgage-Group_Why-It’s-Important-To-Get-20-percent-Equity-For-Your-Home

Stonebridge Mortgage Group Helps Portland Locals Get The Most Out Of Homeowning

Buying a home, or even owning a home, can be a complicated process. Stonebridge Mortgage Group strives to make mortgage-related issues easier to understand for our Portland clients. If you live in the Portland area and are considering either buying or refinancing a home, allow Stonebridge Mortgage Group to help. We can make sure that you understand the ins and outs of the home buying or refinancing process. We offer a variety of mortgage-related services, including loan officer services, mortgage broker services, help with commercial or residential real estate, and help with reverse mortgages.

20% Equity In Your Home Is What You Want

Regardless of whether you are just buying a home or are thinking of refinancing, Portland locals should aim to have 20% equity in their homes.

What Is Equity?

Put simply, your home equity is the percentage of the home that you own. Although you are still considered the homeowner as you pay off the rest of your mortgage, the loan company you borrowed money from has interest in your home until it is paid off. Until then, your home can be used as collateral for your loan.

How Do I Know How Much Equity I Have?

Portland homeowners can figure out how much equity they have in their home or other property by beginning with the home’s current value and then subtracting what is owed on your mortgage. For example, if you purchased a home that was worth $200,000 and paid 20% down (or $40,000), you would need a loan to cover the remaining amount – $160,000. This means you already have 20% equity in your home. You own 20%, or $40,000’s worth, of your property.

Stonebridge Mortgage Group offers the best mortgage-related services!

How To Increase Your Equity

There are a few different ways Portland homeowners can increase their equity, too. By paying more towards your loan, you increase your equity in your home. Your equity can also go up if you value or price of your home increases. This is part of why it is smart to invest in home improvements.

Starting again with a home that is originally valued at $200,000 and which a 20% downpayment has been paid towards. The homeowners still owe $160,000, which means their home equity is 20%. If the home’s value were to double to $400,000, then the homeowners would still only owe $160,000. The homeowners would then have 60% equity in their homes.

How Do I Use My Home Equity?

Having home equity is useful in many ways. It is an important asset for Portland homeowners. Portland homeowners can use their equity by taking partial or lump-sum withdrawals against it, or you can even pass on this asset to your heirs.

Some of the most common ways one’s home equity can be useful are when selling your home, when you need to borrow against your equity, or when you want to fund your retirement.

Using Equity When Selling Your Home

Most people don’t live in the same home forever. Having equity when you decide to sell your home and move is useful because you will get your home equity back from the sales proceeds.

How To Borrow Against Equity

By taking out a home equity loan, or a second mortgage, you can tap into your home equity while you still live in that home. Keep in mind, however, that this can be risky. If you fall behind your payments and can’t catch up then you could lose your home.

Funding Your Retirement

If you have a lot of equity in your home, you could make your retirement comfortable by taking out a reverse mortgage. A reverse mortgage can provide income when you’re retired, and it won’t require payments until the homeowner leaves the house.

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 Stonebridge Mortgage Group today at 503-661-5580.

 

Act Now To Get Pre-Approval While Rates Are Low

Act Now To Get Pre-Approval While Rates Are Low

Now Is The Time For Home Buyers In Portland To Act

Now Is The Time For Home Buyers In Portland To Act

Stonebridge Mortgage Group is dedicated to helping home buyers in Portland! First time home buyers in the Portland area may find themselves at a loss when looking into purchasing a home. It can be a complex process, especially if you’re not familiar with it. Don’t worry, Portland locals. Stonebridge Mortgage Group is here to help. We are ready to offer Portland locals the information and advice they need in order to make the home buying process easier. Don’t wait to learn what you need to know about home buying in Portland – contact Stonebridge Mortgage Group today! Whether you’re looking for loan officer services, mortgage broker services, help with reverse mortgages, or if you’re in need of a real estate loan, Stonebridge Mortgage Group can help you.

Mortgage Interest Rates Continue To Be Low In The Portland Area

If you’re looking to buy a home in the Portland area, now is the time to act! Right now in Portland, it is a buyer’s market. Portland home values have declined -0.9% over the past year! The median price of homes currently listed in Portland is $450,000 while the median price of homes that sold is $424,300. Don’t miss out on the amazing deals you can get now when purchasing a home. However, it is important to note that low rates are never guaranteed to stick around. Take advantage of the low mortgage rates while you still can!

Lower Interest Rates Make For Easier Loan Approval For Portland Home Buyers

Did you know that lower interest rates can help some buyers have enough money to qualify for a mortgage that they wouldn’t qualify for otherwise? It can be incredibly difficult to save up enough money and get finances in order to a place where you can be approved for a loan. Some families even stretch themselves too thin to be able to purchase a home – leaving them in a precarious financial situation. However, a lower interest rate can sometimes make the difference between mortgage approval and waiting until some debt is paid off to qualify. With the low-interest rates in Portland, now it is easier not only to afford a home but to be approved for a loan as well!

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Looking To Be Pre-Approved To Buy A Home In Portland? Contact Stonebridge Mortgage Group!

At Stonebridge Mortgage Group, we’re eager to help Portland homebuyers through the pre-approval process! Pre-approval is an important part of the home buying process as it tells you how much of a home you can afford. Generally speaking, you want to aim for a home that is listed at a price less than the total of your pre-approval. Pre-approval helps give Portland home buyers a competitive edge in the home buying market. A pre-approval letter for a mortgage tells sellers that you are serious about seeking out a home. The housing market is extremely competitive, and you need all the edge you can get. Don’t make the mistake of leaving the boring paperwork for later while indulging in the excitement of looking for your Gresham home right away. You don’t want to make an offer against another buyer who has been pre-approved for a mortgage when you have not.

With Stonebridge Mortgage Group, Portland home buyers can get pre-approved over the phone or online! If you have any questions about pre-approval, feel free to contact us or call us. We can help. Once you have the necessary documentation ready, you’re ready to apply online for mortgage pre-approval!

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 every step of the home buying process. We help get you pre-approved for a mortgage, assist with real estate loans, and provide mortgage solutions — both residential and commercial. Stonebridge Mortgage Group serves the greater Portland area and is located in Gresham, Oregon. If you’re ready to buy your first home, we’re ready to help you get there.

Call us 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 One

How To Shop Around For A Mortgage, Part One

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

 

How To Get Approved For Your First Mortgage, Part 2

How To Get Approved For Your First Mortgage, Part 2

Stone Bridge Mortgage Group_How To Get Approved For Your First Mortgage Part 2

 

Portland locals looking into home-buying for the first time need to be prepared. A lack of preparation can, at best, lead to you feeling overwhelmed and out of your depth and, at worst, cost you being approved for a mortgage and being able to secure the home of your dreams.

Getting approved for a mortgage is one of the most crucial steps to preparing to buy a home in Portland. After getting your monthly income and debt sorted, and after getting your credit score in order, there are still more steps you need to take to get approved for a mortgage loan.

Determine Your Mortgage Budget

Before even speaking to a mortgage officer, Portland home buyers will want to determine how much house they can afford and are comfortable paying. A rule of thumb in the mortgage world is that your total housing payment, including fees taxes, and insurance, should be no more than 35% of your gross (pre-tax) income.

For example, say that the total you and your co-buyer earn in a year is $80,000. Your combined maximum housing payment would be $2,333 a month. Keep in mind, however, that that is your absolute max. Staying under that number is highly recommended. For example, if you can stick with a total housing payment that is only 25% of your gross income, that will put less of a financial burden on you.

Keep in mind also that your monthly payments may not be a fixed cost. Your monthly housing payment is subject to variables like mortgage interest rate, property taxes, the cost of home insurance and private mortgage insurance (PMI), and any condo or association fees. Portland home buyers should account for possible fluctuations and avoid stretching themselves too thin.

Figure Out How Much You Can Save For A Down Payment

Unless you’re getting an FHA loan or another special program loan, most mortgage lenders will require a 10% down payment. Portland home buyers should consider putting down 20% if they can afford it to avoid private mortgage insurance, also known as PMI. PMI is a costly insurance that protects your mortgage lender should you foreclose prior to building sufficient equity in the property.

Portland home buyers should determine the maximum they want to spend before beginning the mortgage approval process and commit to it. Real estate agents may try to convince you to spend more, or your own desires may tempt you, but remember that by overextending your funds you risk not being able to afford the home at all. Take a smaller payment that you can afford rather than risk foreclosure later.

Stonebridge Mortgage Group Offers Guidance on All Mortgage Matters

For professional mortgage services, look no further than Stonebridge Mortgage Group. You can rely on Stonebridge Mortgage Group to help guide you through the entire home buying process. We help you with the pre-approval process and assist with 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 buy your new home!

 

Call us today at 503.661.5580