Sharp spike in mortgage rates hurting real estate sales?

Saint Paul, MN: A sharp spike in mortgage rates since the Presidential election is showing minor signs of hurting home sales.

Mortgage interest rates have jumped from around 3.625% for the weeks leading up to the election, and now are averaging about 4.125% for the best clients on a standard 30-yr fixed rate loan.images999888

This quick jump does phycological damage for anyone currently in the market who were initially quoted the lower rates. But most buyers are not going to stop looking over this rate increase, as they generally are able to financially handle this quick jump.

The loan payment on a $200,000 home at 3.625% for 30-years is $912.10 a month, but at 4.125%, the payment is now $969.30 a month, or $57.20 per month more.

Another way of looking at it, is that with the slightly higher rate, a person would need to have a $190,000 to keep the same payment as the $200,000 loan they could have gotten a few weeks ago.

The rate jump has motivated many buyers to act now, especially as predictions are for rates to move a bit higher, before leveling off again. Of course no one knows for sure, but assuming rates will go a bit higher is the smarter assumption.

First time home buyers will generally be the ones most concerned and most effected by rate increases, but should be reminded that while rates are up slightly from just a month ago, from an historical standpoint, current mortgage rates are still some of the best ever in history!

 

 


Interest Rates Post Trump Election

Interest rates post Trump election have surprised just about everyone.

It’s been a long time since anyone lender was quoting conventional conforming 30-yr fixed mortgage rates at 4% or higher for their best customers, but as of yesterday, every mortgage lender is doing so.

images999888What a difference a week makes, last Monday, the day before the election, rates averaged 3.625%.  Over the past 3 days business day (Friday the markets were closed for Veterans Day), rates have moved higher and faster than the last big 3-day move back in 1987, where rates moved higher more quickly on an outright basis.

If you were on the fence for a refinance. You just lost, and should seriously consider locking now if it even remotely still makes sense.

If you were in the market to buy a house, rates are still great, and there is no reason not to buy a home. But consider the average $230,000 home here in Minnesota will cost you $50 more per month at a 4.00% rate versus a 3.625% rate.

Why have mortgage interest rates gone up?

There are a lot of factors, but the biggest is simply the markets are feeling good about the direction of the country with the Donald Trump election. This has sparked the stock market, which has seen very nice gains. When stocks are good, mortgage rates are bad.  When stocks are bad, mortgage rates are good.

 


3% down mortgages for first time home buyers.

Just 3% DOWN PAYMENT MORTGAGES for First Time Home Buyers.

Low down payment mortgages for first time home buyers

Minneapolis, MN: Lack of down payment money is the biggest hurdle for most first time home buyers.  We eliminate that hurdle here at Mortgages Unlimited for low and moderate income buyers in MN, WI, and SD with the HomeReady Mortgage from Fannie Mae (R).

Conventional Loan – Low Down Payment Benefits:

  • More people qualify.
  • Just 3% down payment
  • Ideal for first-time homebuyers, millennials, and low- to moderate income borrowers.
  • Flexible sources of funds for a down payment, including gifts and grants.
  • Income limits as high as 170% of area medium income – no limits in underserved areas.
  • Mortgage Insurance drops off automatically at 80%, unlike FHA loans, which stays forever.
  • Avoid minor repair issues potentially associated with FHA loans
  • Standard conventional 30-yr fixed

Not every mortgage loan is right for every person or situation.  We’ll review your application to determine if this, or some other program works best for you. There is never any obligation to review your mortgage loan options.

Learn more at: http://firsttimehomebuyer-mn.com/homeready-conventional-loan.html

 


What is the Lender Criteria for Approving Home Mortgage Loans?

What is the Lender Criteria for Approving Home Mortgage Loans?

 Buying a home is a dream for most Americans.  The process is time consuming, paperwork intensive, and can seem overwhelming to many people. The reality is that the process, like anything other unknown in your life, really isn’t as bad as the hype.
Essentially the mortgage lender is going to check you out, evaluate your risk, and decide if they they are going to give you the loan.  It is important to understand how credit institutions evaluate home loan applications and what is required to ensure easy loan approval.

Loan Documentation

The first thing the lender needs is your basic application.  images98725You can provide that in person, over the phone, or with a secure online mortgage application.  Next will be a review of your basic documentation to verify and back up what you supplied on your application.  If you said you make $60,000 a year, great,  prove it with the last 30-days of pay stubs, the last two-years W2’s, and your federal Tax Returns.  If you said you have $20,000 in the bank for down payment, great.  Prove it by supplying your last two months bank statements.

Pretty straight-forward so far.  But each person is different, so you may need other documentation.  Recently divorced?  Provide your divorce decree.  Receiving alimony, child support, social security, pensions, disability, or other sources of income.  No problem, but again, prove it with the appropriate supporting documentation.  Have an old bankruptcy?  We’ll need a full copy of your bankruptcy papers, including the discharge notice.  Have an old foreclosure or short sale?  We’ll need the paperwork to verify the date.

Once all this is established, we can determine loan eligibility.

Income to Debt Ratio’s

Debt-to-income ratio’s, or DTI, is simply a calculation of how much money do you make, and how much would the new home itself cost as a percentage of your income. We also look at any other existing debt, then determine what the new house and existing debt would equal as a percentage of income.  If these numbers are too high, you’ll be denied because you are stretching yourself too thin.

DTI is one of the major deciding factors for your loan application. To understand how a loan application gets reviewed, here is a sample:.

Two individuals, Bob and Mary apply for home loan of $200,000.  Bob makes $40,000 a year salary, and Mary makes $30/yr, full time. This equals about $60,000 a year. So adding those two, their combined qualifying income is $100,000 yr, or $8333 a month before taxes.

Bob has a car loan of $300 a month, and one credit car, with a minimum monthly payment of $50 a month.  Mary also has a car payment of $275 a month, a $50 a month student loan, and credit card with minimum payment of $75.  All this debt equals $750 a month.  For most loans, mortgage lenders do NOT look at utilities, car insurance, day care, etc.  Just the items that show on your credit report.
The house they want to buy is $300,000.  They plan on putting a large down payment of 20% ($60,000).  Factoring in paying back $240,000 at 3.50% interest, homeowners insurance of $1320 a year, and property taxes of $3600 a year.  Their monthly payment would be $1497.
The house payment works out to be 17.9% of their monthly income (housing ratio), and with there $750 in other debt, their total debt ratio is $27%. Both of these numbers are below maximum debt-to-income ratio’s, so Bob and Mary are in good shape.  They are buying a home they can safely afford.
Credit Report and Score
The credit score works as a first impression for the lender, the higher the score, the better is your chance of the loan being  approved.  Credit scores are not perfect, but generally are a pretty good indicator of your risk.
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Poor credit scores, essentially anything below 640, and you should probably not bother applying, and work on improving credit first.

Down payment and Cash to Close

Buying a home is going to require money.  Even no down payment loans require some money, especially once you start factoring in closing costs.  Mortgage lenders care greatly about you proving the money needed to buy the house.  We will look at your last two months bank statements.  Did you have the money, did you transfer it from a different account, is it a gift?  If you show large non-payroll deposits, expect to be asked, and to prove where the money came from.
The reasoning behind this goes to many items, from fraud, to undisclosed debt.  Is that large deposit a gift, or really a loan that you’ll need to make payments on, for example.

The Bottom Line

To sum up, while a high credit score, strong credit history, big down payment, and good income will help in loan approval, they, by no means, guarantee one. Having manageable debt levels also plays an important role. Lenders make money by lending money. We want to give you a home loan. On the other hand, the whole purpose of underwriting is to minimize risk. A home buyer unable to safely afford the home is not good for them or the lender.


Mortgage Interest Rates are AWESOME

mortgage interest ratesIn terms of standard conventional 30-yr fixed mortgage rates, the BEST we’ve ever seen was for just a few days in 2012, when the best clients could get 3.125% – 3.25%.

Mortgage interest rates dipped back to 3.25% for a brief time back in July 2016, but since then have been hovering in the 3.375% to 3.50% range.

So what does all this mean for home owners?

It means if YOU ACT NOW, congratulations, because other than one week this past July, and one week back in 2012, you are getting the most awesome interest rates of all time right now TODAY!

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I provide Home Mortgage Loans in MN, WI, and SD and I can be reached at (651) 552-3681.

Of course rates effective at this time of this post and subject to change.  Not everyone qualifies, etc. Not an offer to enter into an interest rate lock agreement


Why free credit report scores are not accurate

Why free credit report scores are not accurate

Minneapolis, MN:  As a mortgage loan officer, every single day, someone tells me their credit score they received from Credit Karma, some “free credit report” web site, their Discover Card statement, or even directly from the actual credit reporting agency.

Everyday, I tell them that is NOT their correct mortgage credit score.

We jokingly call those score your “Fake ‘O’ Score”  – (joke for FICO score)

Why isn’t my credit score my credit score?

It is actually rather simple. There are multiple credit score models, and the models vary by what you are doing.

Your Credit Score

When you apply for a credit card, the credit card company cares most about how you handle credit cards, and the likelihood of you defaulting on a credit card. Like wise, when you apply for a car loan, the scores are based on the likelihood of you defaulting on an auto loan. The same holds true for mortgages loans.

When you obtain your credit score from ANY SITE that YOU as the consumer are able to get your credit report, you are getting a GENERIC score.  That is, a score NOT based on any one industry risk factor.

It is very common for mortgage lenders to pull scores that are 20 points, even 30-points lower that you just saw on one of those other sites…. and NO, it isn’t because we pulled your credit!!  That truth about inquiries NOT lowering your score is for another article

 


USDA to lower mortgage insurance costs

USDA to cut loan mortgage insurance costs

The USDA Rural Housing home loans will soon get  cheaper for homeowners with lower mortgage insurance costs.

USDA Rural Development LoansUSDA announced last month that it was lowering its upfront mortgage insurance premium fee to 1 percent of the total mortgaged amount, down from the current from 2.75 percent. This amount is added to the borrowers loan.  So someone today borrower needing a $100,000 loan would actually have a $102,750 loan. Under the new guidelines, the same borrower would have a $101,000 loan.

The monthly mortgage insurance on a USDA loan will also be reduced from the current .50% to just .35%.  On that same sample $100,000 loan, this means a monthly mortgage insurance drop from $42.84 a month to $29.99 a month.

The change becomes effective Oct. 1, 2016, and will bring the fees and insurance premiums down to pre-recession levels.

The agency said that the cuts were possible because of the bulk of the mortgage and housing crisis is over, and foreclosure rates have fallen to back to more traditional numbers.

Learn more about USDA rural housing home loans in MN, WI, and SD.


Consumers disqualify themselves for home loans

Consumers Misjudge Max Debt-to-Income ratios… and Disqualify Themselves from home loans

According to a survey by Fannie Mae’s Economic and Strategic Research Group, many consumers think it’s difficult to get a mortgage in today’s market.images98735

And forty five percent of those respondents cite too much existing debt as a top reason. Yet, in that same group, more than half don’t actually know the maximum debt-to-income ratio (DTI) required by lenders.

The result — potential buyers may be wrongly disqualifying themselves before they even apply for a mortgage.

That’s why it’s key to provide information, resources, and tools to educate consumers on the mortgage process, and any perceived barriers, including Debt-to-Income guidelines.

This is also why it is key for the consumer to work with a fully licensed and experienced Loan Officer, versus the more common unlicensed mortgage loan application clerk, who can help you determine the best home loan program, and explain the various program rules and guidelines. On a regular basis, I come across clients who think they can’t be approved for a home loan, yet they can. On the other hand, I also run across plenty of people who have no chance of getting a home loan today, yet they apply.

The bottom line is that it never hurts to apply. You may be given a pre-approval for your dream home, and if not, you’ll be given details on how to improve your situation to be able to qualify later.

Learn more about how to choose a mortgage loan officer here.

Download more insight on DTI and learn about the overall study here.


5 low down payment home loans

5 Low Down Payment Home Loans

Minneapolis, Minnesota:  Face it, for most people, the biggest obstacle to buying a home is a lack of down payment.  Here are 5 low down payment home loan options to help you get into your own home.

Zero Down Payment

  1. VA Loans: Available for U.S. Military personal, both current and former is a no down payment loan with no mortgage insurance. By far the most amazing home loan available.  Get VA Loan information
  2. USDA Rural Development Loans: Available for those wishing to buy in rural areas. This program is no down payment required. Income limits apply. Get USDA loan information.

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Low Down Payment

  1. Conventional 3% down. This low down payment loan for first time home buyers just recently came back into the market from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Good credit or better required, and must take first time home buyer education classes. Get 3% down HomeReady loan information
  2. FHA Loans: This program only requires 3.50% down payment, and is probably the most popular loan. Very flexible underwriting guidelines compared to other programs for everything from weak credit, to higher debt-to-income ratios, and shorter waiting periods than other loans for past bankruptcy and foreclosure.  Get more FHA LOAN information
  3. Down payment assistance programs: Combine one of the standard loans with a down payment assistance program to ease your out-of-pocket expenses to get into a home. Most of these programs are loans that need to be paid back, require you to be a first time home buyer, and to take home buyer education classes. Program vary greatly by city, county, state, or community programs. Talk to a Loan Officer in your area for local program information.  Learn more about down payment assistance programs in MN.

 


Six Steps to a getting a home loan

Six Steps to a getting a home loan

Minneapolis / St Paul, MN: Buying a first home is one of the biggest, most exciting decisions you’ll ever make. Let Mortgages Unlimited guide you toward your future home.

Step 1: Manage your Money and Credit

images124Be realistic. Have some down payment money and your overall finances in order before applying for a home loan. Know your credit score too, as you need a minimum credit score of 620.

 Step 2: Apply for your loan

Contact our loan experts at (651) 552-3681, or click here to APPLY ONLINE. Your Loan Officer will look at your monthly income, credit history and debt level to qualify you for whatever loan that best fits your needs.

Step 3: Choose your Loan

FHA, VA, USDA, standard conventional, and down payment assistance loans are all available, and tailored to your individual needs, whether you are purchasing, refinancing, a first-time, or repeat buyer. Your Loan Officer will go over what programs you qualify for, how much house you can buy, and what payments will look like.

 Step 4: Home Buyer Education

Most first-time home buyers DO NOT need to take any classes, but if you are getting down payment assistance, you will. These classes teach the buying process, financing options, and being a responsible homeowner. Your Mortgages Unlimited Loan Officer will let you know if you need to take a first time home buyers class, and help you get scheduled for your class.

 Step 5: Shop for your Home

With a pre-approval letter in hand, sellers will take your offer seriously, as they know you’ve gone through the initial process of a lender reviewing an application and supporting documents, and said it “Looks Good” Finding out how much house you can afford narrows your search saving you time. After preapproval, you can work with a qualified real estate professional to find a home in your target neighborhood and price range.

Step 6: Become a Homeowner

Congratulations! You’ve gotten pre-approved, found a home, made a successful offer, and gotten through the final underwriting process. You are now officially a homeowner!

How To Apply for First Time Home Buyer Loans

It’s easy!  Simply fill out the online mortgage loan application, or call us at (651) 552-3681. We can take your application over the phone, or schedule an appointment at our St Paul, MN office.

 


Spring real estate has sprung

Spring brings renewed real estate activity to Minneapolis / St Paul

Spring 2016 has seen a welcome2_FTHB_1nice increase in real estate activity in the Twin Cities, MN area, with pending sales rising 12.6% compared to March 2015, and with the median sales price rising to $222,000, a nice 5.7% increase. Buyers signed 5,861 new purchase agreements.

Supply on the market remains a concern, area Realtor associations reported Thursday, with new listings rising only 0.5 percent, keeping supply levels at a 13-year low. Compared with last March, inventory levels fell 20.6 percent to 11,893 active properties.

Low inventory levels, at about a 10-year low is causing increased values, and multiple offers over asking price just days on the market for many homes for homes under $250,000.  As the home price goes up, it typically take longer for the homes to sell.

Mortgage lenders saw a large jump in mortgage loan pre-approval activity in February, which brings anecdotal evidence that there would be a surge of buyers this spring.


Buying a home is Cheaper than Renting

Owning is cheaper than renting, so why do so many people choose to rent?

Historically, and even today, buying a home is still cheaper than renting, but it appears that isn’t what many people believe, according to new data from mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

According to recent survey, a full 70% of renters currently feel that renting is more affordable than home ownership, and 55% have no plans to buy in the next three years. Those percentages are pretty close across all demographic groups, from young to old.images98735Many people choose to rent for lifestyle reasons, citing age, and freedom from home maintenance as large factors. Lifestyle considerations for buying or renting aside, affordability is obvious. According to Trulia’s last Rent vs. Buy report, buying remains cheaper than renting nationally. Buying is an average of 23% cheaper than renting. Buying shows to be cheaper in almost every market, which owning being the winning choice in 98 of the 100 largest U.S. metro areas, according to Trulia’s survey.

The survey shows most renters still have favorable views toward homeownership, and many still spire to own a home, but more than ever before, many choose to rent because they view it as more affordable and a better fit for their lifestyle right now.

Many renters, even those who indicated they plan to buy, believe they face hurdles in down payment, and carry too much debt. While this may be true for some, the myth is not based in reality. Maybe you can’t buy the dream house, but they can easily afford a starter house.

Starter Homes

Starter homes lost their luster, especially in the boom years of 2000 – 2006, when many first time home buyers jumped right into large new construction homes, probably above their realistic affordability range, when they probably should have followed their parents path of buying a starter home, and moving up to bigger nicer homes as age, family size, and income dictated.

As a Mortgage Loan Officer, I speak to people everyday with the champagne taste of a new home, but the beer budget.  This attitude of “I deserve” prevents many of them from buying, when historically, real estate ownership has created more wealth for the average person in this country than anything else.

Finally, the survey indicated almost half of all renters whose rents rose in the last two years say they like where they live, and will likely stay stay regardless of rent increases, low mortgage rates, and home affordability.

 


Minnesota has Highest Credit Scores

Minnesotans have nations highest credit scores.

According to a survey by credit agency Experian, the highest average credit scores for both sexes are found in Minnesota, where men score 703 and women score 710, out of a range of 300 to 850.  The numbers reveals Minneapolis is home to the men with the highest average scores, at 705 in the nation. Women in Green Bay, Wis., do even better, with an average score of 709.

Average scores nationwide for men is 670, and for women 675.  A full 1/4th of people fall in the 600 to 699 range, with the higher 600 scores being considered average, and the lower 600 scores being considered poor.

Nevada has the lowest men’s score average at just 645, while the lowest for women is Mississippi with a 640 average score.FICO scores

Many factors determine your credit score, with the biggest one being payment history. Learn more about what makes your credit score.  The score needed to get a mortgage loan, or getting a mortgage loan with a credit score below 640 is very difficult, and getting a loan with a score below 620 is virtually impossible, regardless of what you may read.


Tips for a Smooth Mortgage Application

Tips for a Smooth Mortgage Application

Shopping for a new home can be fun.  Looking at new homes, seeing different style homes, see how others decorate and starting to imagine what the home would look like when you moved it.

Getting a home mortgage loan – not so fun. But you can make it a much easier and smoother process if you start by working with a good Minnesota, Wisconsin, or South Dakota mortgage professional. Quickly followed by being realistic, cooperative and responsive to the paperwork requirements of the loan process.

First step, be realistic. Are you ready to buy a home?  Is your credit OK?  Do you have stable employment?  Do you have some money for down payment?  Assuming YES, the first step is to complete a loan application.

How to Pick A Lender / Loan Officer

Always use a local lender.  There is nothing better online than you can down the street. More often than not, it is actually the other way around. For example, no big internet lender can offers your “local” down payment assistance programs.

Always work with an experienced and fully licensed Loan Officer (read my previous article on learning how to tell the difference).

Mortgage Application Documents

images98725The mortgage application process is cumbersome and paperwork intensive.  Everyone needs to supply basic documents, but depending on your individual situation, you may need more – sometimes a lot more.

Gather and have your basic document ready as listed below. Please do not argue with your Loan Officer. When they call asking for something, it is not them picking on you, it is required. Arguing will get you no place except denied if you don’t supply what is being asked for

Checklist:

  • Photo ID
  • Two most recent pay stubs for each person signing the loan.
  • Last two months bank statements (real statements, not printout or screen shots, all pages)
  • Your most recent 401(k) or other retirement account statement.
  • W2’s (all jobs, last two years)
  • Most recently filed Federal Tax Return (all schedules) State return NOT needed

Common Additional Items

  • Documentation to verify additional income, such as child support, alimony or a pension (recent award letters, and divorce decrees)
  • Last TWO years business and personal federal tax returns if self-employed or own rental property
  • Full copy of bankruptcy papers, including the discharge notice
  • Old Foreclosure? – Need the Sheriff Certificate of Sale (available from the county)
  • Old Short-sale?  Copy of HUD1 Settlement Statement from the actual sale


Get pre-approved, not just pre-qualified

Everyone knows it is smart to get lender Pre-Approved before starting to look for a home, yet many people are actively looking at homes thinking they are Pre-Approved, when in reality, they are only Pre-Qualified.

Pre-Approved or Pre-Qualified? So what is the difference?

welcome2_FTHB_1As a Loan Officer for over 20-years, I can tell you story after story of people who thought they were Pre-Approved, signed a purchase agreement, gave notice on their apartment, only to be told a week before closing that they were denied.  The vast majority of these people, calling me to see if I can magically help them had two big items in common:

  1. They applied at a bank or credit union
  2. They NEVER supplied the lender with all (or even any) basic supporting documents up front.

Simply put, if you didn’t supply current pay stubs, bank statements, W2’s, and Tax returns, YOU ARE NOT PRE-APPROVED – No matter what they tell you!

Looking to buy a home in Minnesota, Wisconsin, or South Dakota? Don’t have your dream fall apart at the last minute, get properly Pre-Approved for a home loan today.

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1 Million Homeowners Regain Equity in 2015

An estimated one million homeowners regained significant equity in 2015.

house_moneyThis is according to a report from CoreLogic,  The report indicated the total number of mortgaged residential properties with equity at the end of 2015 was about 46.3 million, or a full 91.5% of all properties that also have a mortgage loan.

Nationally, borrower equity showed a year-over-year increase of $682 billion in the fourth quarter.

The same report indicated the number of upside down properties (negative equity) stood at 4.3 million, or about just 8.5% of all mortgaged properties – at the end of 2015, according to CoreLogic.

That’s a 19.1% decrease year over year, and great news for homeowners!

Of the estimated 50 million home with a mortgage, the survey found that about 9.5 million, or 18.9%, had less than 20% equity, and 1.2 million, or 2.3%, had less than 5%.

The number of homeowners with more than 20% equity is rising rapidly, according to CoreLogic. Higher prices driven largely by tight supply are certainly a big reason for the rise, but continued population growth, household formation and low mortgage interest rates are also factors.

Looking ahead in 2016, pretty much everyone is expecting home equity  levels to continue to build, which is a good thing for the long-term health of the U.S. economy.