Christine Metros Natale's Blog
46 Superior Ave, Dracut, MA 01826
46 Superior Ave, Dracut, MA 01826
Finding financing for a home could be as simple as applying for a conforming FHA loan or it could be as difficult as having to locate a portfolio loan or even a combo loan. What you need depends on the real estate you are buying. Most people buying a primary residence get a conforming loan, whether it is conventional or government-backed.
Conforming vs. Non-Conforming
The first thing to determine is whether your loan is going to be conforming or not. A conforming loan for a single-family unit must be under $510,400 in most areas and $765,600 in other areas. The Federal Housing Finance Agency sets the rates. If you have to borrow more, you will need a jumbo loan or a piggyback loan. A common piggyback loan is where you pay 15 percent of the price, then take out two mortgages: one for 80 percent of the purchase price, then a second mortgage for 5 percent of the purchase price. You can work the percentages however you need them based on the purchase price. The piggyback loan keeps you from going into jumbo loan territory and possibly paying higher interest rates.
Conforming loans are conventional or government-backed loans. A conventional loan usually has a higher interest rate because it’s riskier to the lender. A government-backed loan, such as a VA or FHA loan is guaranteed by the federal government, thus it is less risky to lenders. Because of the lower risk, you get a better interest rate as long as your credit is good.
Adjustable vs. Fixed-Rate Loans
If interest rates are low and are projected to stay low, you can get an adjustable-rate loan to save a bit on the interest rate. As interest rates change, so does your mortgage payment. Adjustable rates are based on a certain index. For example, if your base interest rate is 4 percent, which means your interest rate will never go lower than that, and the Libor London rate is 1 percent, your rate is 5 percent. If the Libor London increases by a half percentage point, so will your loan. However, if it decreases by a point, your interest rate also lowers by a point.
Adjustable-rate loans are risky for the buyer because you don’t know if the rate will significantly increase over the life of the loan. If you plan on refinancing or selling the home after a few years, an adjustable-rate might be beneficial.
A fixed-rate loan means that your interest rate does not change over the life of the loan.
You might have a hard time finding a loan because you are self-employed, your credit isn’t the best, or you are buying a property that doesn’t conform to most lenders’ standards. A lender doesn’t sell the loan on the secondary market, but instead holds it in the bank’s portfolio. These loans are riskier for the lender and will often have a higher interest rate.
While the home buying process is exciting, applying for a mortgage can be time-consuming. Paperwork is a big part of the mortgage process and the better prepared you are, the more likely it is to go well. In fact, if you are considering getting preapproved for a mortgage, lining the paperwork up ahead of time will be very helpful. Remember, the more information provided to your mortgage lender, the easier it will be for them to get your approval. There are three categories of documentation your lender will want to see, income, expenses, and assets. Here are the documents they will likely require:
Verification of Income
Mortgage lenders will typically verify the income you are claiming in two ways. First, they will want to see your most recent Form W2 or Form 1099 (if you are self-employed) and they will generally ask you to provide tax returns. While some lenders will accept signed copies of your tax returns which you provide, many will also use the IRS income tax verification process to ensure what you are providing is the same as the forms filed with the IRS.
You should be prepared to provide at least a month’s worth of pay stubs to a mortgage lender. Keep in mind, in most cases, overtime pay, bonuses, and other “extraordinary” income will not be counted as part of your gross income by the lender.
Verification of Expenses
Your mortgage lender will need to verify your expenses. Since your mortgage application will ask you to list your debt, you should consider getting a free copy of your credit report for two reasons. First, the information on your application will be accurate, and you can verify the data contained in the report is correct. Should there be any errors, you should take the opportunity to have them corrected.
Your mortgage lender may also want to verify your rent payments for at least the last year. You can provide a copy of the checks used to pay your rent, although the lender may ask you to sign a form allowing them to verify your rent independently of any documentation you provide.
Verification of Assets
You may also be asked to provide verification of certain assets. For example, if you have a stock portfolio, IRA accounts, or other liquid assets, the lender may ask you to provide the most recent statements from the custodian of those accounts. Your mortgage lender will let you know what additional information they may need.
This list is not intended to be a comprehensive list of the documents your lender may request. Chances are you will also be asked to provide a copy of your driver’s license or other photo identification. Borrowers who have part of their down payment given to them as a gift may also be required to provide a gift letter indicating the funds were a gift and not a loan. The better prepared you are for the mortgage process the faster it will go.
We live in a world of convenience and endless choices. To watch a TV show, you can find it on cable, Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu, and more. Sometimes, all of these options make it easy to spend more than necessary on monthly services.
If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future, one way to save a bit more each month is to cut corners wherever possible.
In today’s post, I’m going to cover some tips that will help you start saving toward the down payment on your first home.
Cutting down on monthly services
They’re enticing, the myriad of entertainment services that we can now take advantage of. For a seemingly low monthly cost you can have hundreds of channels through cable. However, many cable users have noticed that their cable bill keeps creeping up each year and the service doesn’t get any better.
One way to start saving more each month is to ditch cable altogether. For news and the weather, there are many websites available. And, some local news stations stream live on their websites for free.
But, what about watching your favorite TV shows and movies? One of the world’s best kept secrets is that of interlibrary loans. Most public libraries are part of a system that allows you to get books, games, movies, and TV shows shipped to your local library for free. You simply reserve the latest season of Game of Thrones and wait for an email from your library.
Another issue many people have with monthly entertainment services is their tendency to add up. Reassess your monthly bills. If you’re paying for Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, do you really need all three?
Be smart about your savings
To save effectively, make sure your savings account is seeing a high return on its interest rate. Online banks tend to have higher returns than their brick & mortar counterparts, and most people don’t need to make regular visits to a bank anymore anyway.
Similarly, for credit cards, choose one with cashback rewards. Only use your credit card for necessities, like groceries and gas. Then, pay off each statement in full each month. Once you get your rewards, use them for more groceries and gas or put them in your down payment savings account, if possible.
Don’t forget about CDs (certificates of deposit)
One of the most effective ways of saving for a down payment is a certificate of deposit. CDs are perfect for down payments because you aren’t able to withdraw from them until they have matured--i.e., until you’ve reached your savings goal. They can be set for 6 months, a year, or more, and they tend to have higher returns than savings accounts.
Using a combination of these methods will help you start saving more each month so you can achieve your dream of owning a home sooner.