Trick to Pay Off Your Mortgage In Half The Time

A Trick to Pay Off Your Mortgage In Half The Time

Minneapolis, Minnesota:  Sounds like a claim you might see on a SPAM E-Mail you receive. The fact is, smart people are doing this everyday to pay off their mortgage in half the time and there is nothing special about it.

What is it you ask?  Easy, simply shorten your term to a 10-year or 15-year mortgage loan.

Mortgage Refinance Rates in MN and WIMany homeowners are thinking of refinancing to today’s historically low mortgage rates here in MN, WI, and the rest of the country. Great, yet many people make the mistake of refinancing back into another 30-year loan.  Sure, you may save a few hundred dollars, but how much is it going to cost by adding back all those years?  How about retirement?  Wouldn’t it be nice to go into retirement WITHOUT a mortgage payment?

By lowering your term, you get a better interest rate than on a 30-year, and you save untold thousands of dollars in interest.

Fear of higher payments on the shorter term loans keeps many people from selecting this mortgage savings option.  But a quick peak at a mortgage calculator can show you the savings – and I’ll bet most people can easily afford the payment if they simply put their mind to it.


FHA Mortgage Insurance REFUND Chart

An FHA STREAMLINE REFINANCE is HOT right now because of the super low mortgage rates, so it is important to understand a possible FHA Mortgage insurance refund you may qualify for.

If you have an FHA loan, FHA charges an upfront MIP (mortgage insurance premium). This amount is calculated as a percentage of the loan amount, then added to your loan amount. That MIP amount you paid depends on when the FHA case number was requested.

If you’ve had your FHA loan for less than three years, and your are refinancing to a new FHA loan, you get a refund of some of the initial mortgage insurance premium (MIP) you paid on your FHA loan

The chart below is what FHA underwriters use to determine the amount of money refunded at the time of a FHA to FHA refinance. FHA will refund a percentage of that upfront MIP in the refinance. No refund check or anything is given to you, the refund is simply calculated into the costs of the new loan. The shorter the home owner has had the current FHA loan the higher the refund amount. This amount is displayed on page four of the application section called the “details of transaction” page.


FHA Mortgage Insurance Refund Chart

Example: You are refinancing, and at the time of closing, your current loan would be 2-years and 2 months old. Looking at the chart, you would get a 54% of the original MIP refunded to you as a credit on your new loans closing costs.

Lowest Interest Rate or Lowest Closing Cost – Which is better?

Lowest Interest Rate or Lowest Closing Costs – Plus No Lender Fee, or No Closing Costs Advertising


A common mistake shoppers make is to simply ask: “What’s your rate?” or “What are your closing costs?” Both logical questions to ask, but they do not give the response most borrowers need to make a proper decision. Borrowers must understand both rates and fees.  Interest Rates are only half the answer to getting the best mortgage deal. It is possible end up with the lowest rate, or with low or no closing costs, but not necessarily the best deal.

Remember that nothing is ever free. Lenders simply use “reverse points” whenever they claim to offer any sort of low closing costs, or no fee mortgage.

 Simply put, the lowest rate & the lowest fees do not go hand-in-hand. NO LENDER can offer both together. I can give you rock bottom rates, but it will cost you in fees. I can give you the lowest fees, but it will cost you in interest rate. Most lenders quote their best rate in combination with covering all third party fees (appraisal, credit report, title company, state taxes, county recording fees, etc) with 1% origination. See the example below.

Here is an example of Rate vs. Costs on a $150,000 – 30 year fixed loan

Here is an example of Rate vs. Costs on a $200,000 – 30 year fixed loan

Lower Rate Standard Quote

Low Cost

Total NO Cost











Discount Points





Closing Costs $5042 $5042 $3042  $0.00

Closing Costs with Points





Monthly P & I Payment





10 Years of Interest





20 Years of Interest





30 Years of Interest






The combination of rate & fees can be very confusing. One lender is screaming “No closing costs.” A second lender may quote you just $000 in fees, while another lender is offering an amazing rate.

So are closing costs and fees bad? Well if you ask everyone’s brother who has a real estate license and knows everything about mortgages, then the answer you will most likely hear is yes.  I am here to tell you everyone’s brother is probably wrong.

Good enough answer?  I didn’t think so…

Begin by asking yourself “How long am I going to be in this property?” This is the single most important question to determine which option is best for you. Now look at the chart above. It becomes very obvious based on how long you are going to be in the home if Best Rate or Lowest Cost‘ makes the most sense for you and your family.

Congratulations, you are now smarter than everyone’s brother, mother and sister with a real estate license.

Are mortgage rates going up?


Minneapolis, MN: Mortgage interest rates jumped up last week, putting a scare in those sitting on the fence, thinking about refinancing, yet waiting form rates to drop a bit lower. Lucky for them, Minnesota mortgage interest rates moved back down slowly to about where they have been holding for some time.

The big question is how long can mortgage rates remain this low? 

Mortgage rates have been stuck at these amazingly low levels for the past five months. According to Freddie Mac weekly survey of mortgage rates, last week was the first time that interest rates on a standard 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose above 4 percent, only to slip back below this week.
It’s very clear that mortgage rates can’t stay this low forever. It was big news when 30-year rates fell below the 5 percent mark in March 2009 – a level unimaginable just a few years before. Now we’re a full percent lower than that. When you consider that rates rarely fell below 7 percent prior to 2001, and often ranged much higher, it’s clear that rates will eventually move back toward more historical norms. When I bought my first house in 1981 – I paid 16% for an FHA 30-year fixed mortgage.
The question is, when will that happen – and what will trigger it?  So, is it smart to keep holding out for lower refinance rates? Probably not…  Is it wise to not buy a house today?  Probably not, especially with these interest rates and zero down programs like the VA loan program, and the USDA Rural Development Program.

FED leaves Funds Rate Unchanged


Minneapolis, MN: Today the FED (Federal Open Market Committee) voted to leave the Fed Funds Rate unchanged within its current target range of 0.000-0.250 percent.

Mortgage bonds are mostly unchanged since the Fed’s announcement, giving mortgage rates in Minnesota and Wisconsinlittle reason to move significantly in any direction.

Check live Minnesota Mortgage Insterest RatesWHAT IS THE FED FUND RATE? It is the interest rate at which a depository institution (Bank) lends immediately available funds (balances at the Federal Reserve) to another depository institution (Bank) overnight.  It has NO DIRECT BEARING on what you the consumer will get as a mortgage interest rate.

WHAT ARE MORTGAGE INTEREST RATES BASED ON?  The primary answer is mortgage-backed bonds, better known as Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS). Bonds issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (MBS) and the trading performance of those bonds will determine the direction of mortgage rates. Finding the catalyst that causes mortgage bonds to move will give you the keys to finding out what makes mortgage rates rise or fall.

Mortgage rates remain bouncing near all-time lows. If you’re thinking of buying or refinancing a home, it’s a good time to lock a great mortgage rate.

In its press release, the Federal Reserve said that the the U.S. economy is improving, noting that since its November 2011 meeting, the economy has been “expanding moderately”. The Fed also added that domestic growth is occurring despite some “apparent slowing in global growth” — a nod to ongoing uncertainty in  Europe.

The Federal Reserve expects a moderate pace of growth over the next few quarters, and believes that the jobs market will continue to improve, but slowly.

Other potential soft spots within the economy include :

  1. A slowdown in business investment
  2. A “depressed” housing market
  3. Strains in global financial markets

The Federal Reserve added no new policies at its December meeting, and made no changes to existing ones. It re-iterated its plan to leave the Fed Funds Rate within its current range of 0.000-0.250 percent “at least until mid-2013″ and re-affirmed “Operation Twist” — the stimulus program through which the Fed sells Treasury securities with a maturity of 3 years or less, and uses the proceeds to buy mortgage bonds with maturity between 6 and 30 years.

You just missed the mortgage interest rate boat… or did you?

Oops – you just missed the mortgage interest rate boat… or did you?

St Paul, MN:  The headlines are screaming… Mortgage interest rates just hit historic lows again for the forth straight weak. The morning talk shows are asking if it is a good time to refinance your home?  So is it a good time to refinance? The answer is probably yes, but let’s find out the truth about interest rates and how they work.

The main item to understand is simple. Mortgage rates go up and down everyday.  Sometimes a lot. Sometimes a little. There are many factors that contribute to rate changes, but a simple one to understand is that negative stock market and negative economic news is good for long-term mortgage interest rates. Good news is bad for rates.

The next big item to understand is all lenders are virtually the same. If one lenders rates do down, so does everyone else. They all underwrite to the same basic guidelines, they have all the same third party fees (appraisal, title company, underwriting, etc), and they all are transferring your file to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, etc.

Rates Change: I was quoting rates at 3.875% on Monday (10/3/2011) for an under 80% loan-to-value 30-yr fixed loan for someone with over a 740 credit score. By Friday (10/7/2011), the same deal was 4.25%. The bottom dropped out of the bond market during the week, rates went up, and every shopper who got quoted a great deal but asked if I thought rates were going to go lower just got burned.

BE CAREFUL: I just heard hear this morning another report from America’s most misleading rate information site, They just said that interest rates are in the 3’s. Hmmmm….  Really now? Be careful. On what program? With how many points, and how much blood do I have to give?

Each Thursday, Freddie Mac reports interest rates. This information is picked up by all the media and spread across all the TV, radio, and newspaper. This is perhaps the most misleading piece of news that is placed into consumers hands on a regular basis. The full story is usually edited down to Twitter sized chunks, and we only see the blurb…”INTEREST RATES HIT ANOTHER LOW” or “INTEREST RATES REMAIN LOW” and reporting about what that indicator is.

This is LAST WEEK’s news. They are telling you what closed and what was already locked previously. If you want to buy Google stock, does it matter what the average of the stock was last week, or today’s price? If the nationwide average was 4.123% two weeks ago, and the average last week was 4.122% – I guess that does count as “INTEREST RATES WENT DOWN AGAIN“.

As many of you who see the news and call around about rates have found out, that rate is not always available and now you know why.

No lender can offer you yesterday rates today. Nobody can offer you what you were looking for in the beginning: Monday’s rates! Frustration, hassle, pestering, over promising, ignorance, lies, demands, promises, etc all take place and you likely throw your hands in the air and say. FORGET IT! I’ll STAY WHERE I’M AT! You missed the boat!

You didn’t miss the boat. You almost got suckered in today’s over hyped mass media world. The reality is it is almost impossible to pick the day interest rates hit a low. Pretty much dumb luck.  On the other hand, getting a mortgage interest rate that is NEAR the bottom of the market is super easy.

Partner with a professional Loan Officer, and get your mortgage application started!

Float or Lock a Mortgage Interest Rate?

Mortgage interest rates — just like stock prices — change price daily and you can win big or lose big if you don’t know what you are doing.

Everyday Loan Officers are ask “what do you think interest rates are going to do?” Of course none of us know that answer, so except for the most extreme cases on a purchase transaction, I suggest you always lock, and to do it as soon as you can. The sooner you lock your rate, the less chance you have of losing in the mortgage interest rate game

If you have a signed purchase contract in hand, lock your rate as soon as possible. There is no better way to protect yourself from the fickle mortgage markets. Holding out for 1/8th – 1/4% more is just not worth the risk! If you want to gamble… go to Vegas.

With interest rates currently hovering near historic lows, the chance of any meaningful rate drop is low. The chance of rates going higher is very big.

It is better to win and lock on a known great rate, and be slightly annoyed if interest rates go down a little before closing, than to be floating and lose with rates dramatically higher before closing.

One other aspect… You have so many other things to do during the buying process than to keep stressing yourself out by looking at mortgage interest rates all day. Just lock and be done!

A refinance transaction on the other hand is different. The new refinance rate has to make sense to act. According to a recent survey, most people refinance when the difference between their current rate and any new rate is at least 1% or greater. You can potentially gamble a bit more because you are not under any time restraints, but if today’s refinance rate is close, take it and run.

Finally, we always suggest monitoring one of the interest rate advisory sites for good daily interest rate float or lock advice.

25% Equity Rule to Refi?

A proposal put forward by federal regulators to define “safe” mortgages would raise refinancing costs for half the nation’s homeowners with home loans, a coalition of industry and other advocacy groups has said.

The Coalition for Sensible Housing Policy says that 25 million homeowners could be affected by a rule that would effectively require borrowers to have at least 25 percent equity in their homes to qualify for the best terms when refinancing a mortgage. The number amounts to more than half of U.S. homeowners who currently have a mortgage.

Most Refinances are “Rate and term” only

“Savvy homeowners are taking advantage of some of the lowest fixed-rates in more than 50 years to lock in interest savings,” said Nothaft. “Over the first half of 2011, fixed-rate mortgage rates hit a low during June, with 30-year product averaging 4.50 percent and 15-year averaging 3.68 percent over the last four weeks of June

Freddie Mac has released the results of its second quarter refinance analysis showing homeowners who refinance continue to strengthen their fiscal house. The analysis shows that 77 percent of homeowners who have refinanced have been able to maintain or reduce their mortgage debt in second quarter of 2011.



Is refinancing easier than buying a home?

A refinance is just as easy to get as your first mortgage… right?

Many people think that refinancing is easier than buying a home for two main reasons:

1) you already have a loan on the home, you make your payments, so it should be easy to refinance.
2) your current mortgage lender already has all their information, so they with easily refinance you, and they are the best place to call **

Sorry… Not true on either count.

There are many factors that might make it hard to refinance:

First, understand that no matter who you call for the refinance – even your existing lender, you have to go through the full underwriting process again. With that said;

– Your financial situation could have changed. Do you have the same job, same income? Better or worse? How about credit. Better or worse?
– Mortgage loan Underwriting guidelines have changed. The crazy days of every getting a loan are long gone. Be are back to old school traditional financing guidelines. Did you buy the home on a program that no longer exists… like a no documentation loan?
– With all the foreclosures, your properties value probably went down. How does that play into your refinancing options?

Most people refinance for three main reasons.

1) Smaller payment
2) Shorter term
3) Cash out / consolidate debt

The good news is that mortgage rates in MN and WI are amazingly low right now, and lenders are still providing home loans everyday. If you are thinking of refinancing, but have been scared away by thinking you can’t for some of the reasons listed above, you are making a big mistake.

Contact a local MN or WI mortgage company with a licensed Loan Officer. Fill out a full application, and let them review your situation.

You may be very happy with the answer!

** WORD OF CAUTION: Many people make the mistake of just calling their existing lender. Almost exclusively, EVERY OTHER lender will have a better deal for you. Be sure to call more than just your current company.

Phony rate quotes, slick advertising, bait-n-switch… beware

Shopping for a home mortgage loan? Despite Government efforts, the industry is still full of slick advertising, phony rate quotes, and bait-n-switch offers from home mortgage loan companies and banks you probably don’t want to really do business with. Joe Metzler explains…

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