Pamela McArdle's Blog
Mortgage scams are everywhere, and many times are well disguised so they can be hard to uncover. Not all mortgage lenders have your interest at heart so when you go out for a mortgage loan, keep an eye on these warning signs and Mortgage scams are everywhere, but this time around they come like a wolf in sheep clothing, so it is pretty hard to uncover them. Not all mortgage lenders have your interest at heart so when you go out for a mortgage loan, keep an eye on these warning signs and be prepared to run away from any lender who does the following shady actions:
They pressure you to borrow more than what you want or need
Even though you are eligible for a certain sum of money that does not mean you have to spend heavily on buying a home. Paying less on a home purchase will prevent you from living from hand to mouth in your new home. An honest lender understands and will respect your choice to borrow less than you can afford instead that encouraging you to overspend or splurge on a house.
They rush you into signing documents without reading it
Getting a mortgage is complicated. There are piles of complicated paperwork, so it is crucial that you wrap your head around every document before putting your pen on it. If a lender encourages you or uses the familiar phrase "Everything is fine," it is best you withdraw yourself f from the mortgage. No matter how busy the bank may be, they would give you time to read through the papers.
They don’t give you a Good Faith Estimate
According to law, after three days of applying for a mortgage, a bank must provide a Good Faith Estimate showing your mortgage rate, closing cost, and other mortgage-related expenses. This way, a borrower will clearly understand their cost and know the estimated amount you will pay at closing. A shady lender typically does not provide this, so make sure you request one. Many banks hide this information to prevent borrowers from comparing the cost with other banks.
They use the bait and switch on you
To get more borrowers and get them excited about taking a mortgage, disreputable lenders promise borrowers one set of terms, but when it gets to closing, they deliver a different set of conditions. It is the sad truth some lenders get borrowers excited and take advantage of them when they're in a state of euphoria to alter the loan terms at the dying minute. If a lender uses this tactic on you, request an explanation. And if their reasons do not seem reasonable to you or your realtor, do not sign the mortgage documents.
They give you a blank loan form to sign
When going over mortgage document with your loan officer, be watchful for any blank forms or lines, and make sure the lender fills in all relevant information before you sign.
Getting a mortgage is not a stroll in the park. Experts recommend that you consult your attorney, local credit counseling agency or financial advisor to be on a safe side.
Home buying and selling can be a complicated process, especially for first-timers. The vocabulary involved will only compound your confusion if you jump right into it without knowing what they mean. Real estate, like other fields, has some terms that are peculiar to it. Before you set out to list your home for sale or seek to buy one, it is good to understand some valuable real estate terms you will encounter in the process. Here are some words you must know when involved in a home purchase:
In the real estate market, every property has unique qualities owing to its different conditions and structures. An appraisal determines the estimated value of a piece of real estate based on specific criteria. Appraisal reports by a certified real estate appraiser are used to resolve mortgage loans and taxation issues.
A purchase contract is a written document that contains the contract price and other terms of a property sale. The property is said to be 'under contract' when both the buyer and seller have reached an agreement and signed a formal offer and acceptance on the sales price and contingencies.
A listing agent is a real estate specialist operating with a license. They are in the real estate market to help home sellers advertise, market, and sell their homes. They represent the seller during negotiations and charge a commission on the sale.
A buyer’s agent represents the interest of a buyer during negotiations on a home purchase. They usually charge commissions for bridging the gap between the buyer and the seller, but the seller pays the commission.
Debt-to-income ratio, or DTI, is an essential factor that mortgage lenders consider before granting you a mortgage for your new home purchase. It shows how much your debt load is. You can calculate your DTI by dividing the sum of your debt expenses and your monthly housing bill by your gross monthly income, and then multiply by 100. Arriving at a percentage higher than thirty-six percent, after calculating your DTI, points to the need for adjusting your budget.
An escrow company functions as an unbiased third party that monitors the transaction process. They ensure that all parties involved follow proper procedures before closing the deal and hold the earnest money until buyers and sellers sign all paperwork.
After a buyer indicates an interest in purchasing a home, a percentage of the selling price is paid immediately to the seller but placed into escrow. This money is called earnest money and indicates the buyer’s serious intent to purchase. If the buyers decide to back out, a contingency in place can help them recover their money. However, when the transaction goes through successfully, the money becomes a part of the buyer's down payment.
These are conditions that need to be fulfilled for the home sale to go forward. A home appraisal is a common contingency clause. Another is a financing contingency which is the required time frame for a buyer to raise funds to acquire the property. A popular contingency is the length of the closing process.
Always ask your real estate agent to explain any terms you do not understand so that you can make the right decisions.
Applying for a mortgage may seem like a long, stressful process at first. Fortunately, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of submitting a mortgage application.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you streamline the mortgage application process.
1. Ask Questions
A bank or credit union likely will ask you to provide a wide range of information as part of the mortgage application cycle. And as you complete a mortgage application, you may have questions along the way too.
Remember, a lender is happy to help you in any way possible. If you ever have concerns or questions as you complete a mortgage application, you should reach out to a lender for expert support. That way, you can reduce the risk of potential problems down the line that otherwise could slow down the mortgage application process.
Even a single mistake on a mortgage application may prevent you from getting a mortgage. Perhaps even worse, a delayed mortgage application may force you to miss out on an opportunity to acquire your dream house. But if you reach out to a lender as you complete your mortgage application, you can gain the insights you need to quickly and effortlessly finalize the necessary documentation to obtain a mortgage.
2. Be Thorough
A mortgage application may require you to look back at your financial and employment histories and provide information that a lender will use to determine whether to approve or deny your submission. Meanwhile, you should be ready to provide a lender with any requested information to ensure a seamless application process.
As a homebuyer, it is your responsibility to include accurate information on your mortgage application. In fact, failure to do so may cause a lender to reject your mortgage application. If you allocate the necessary time and resources to dot every I and cross every T on your mortgage application, you can boost the likelihood of a fast approval.
3. Shop Around
For homebuyers, it is crucial to check out all of the mortgage options that are available. If you meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, you can review myriad mortgage options and select a mortgage that complements your finances.
Banks and credit unions generally provide a broad array of fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages. If you learn about all of the mortgage options at your disposal, you can find one that enables you to purchase your dream house without breaking your budget.
Of course, once you are approved for a mortgage and are ready to launch your house search, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. A real estate agent will offer plenty of guidance at each stage of the homebuying journey. In addition, a real estate agent can make it easy for you to find a top-notch residence at a budget-friendly price in any housing market, at any time.
Start the mortgage application process today, and you can move one step closer to acquiring your dream residence.
Whether you’re a first time homebuyer or a seasoned homeowner, the terminology of mortgages can be confusing. Since buying a home is such a huge financial decision, you’re also going to want to make sure you understand every step of the process and all of the conditions and fees along the way.
In this article, we’re going to explain some of the common terms you might come across when applying for a home loan, be it online or over the phone. By learning the basic meaning of these terms you’ll feel more confident and prepared going into the application process.
We’ll cover the acronyms, like APRs and ARMs, and the scary sounding terms like “amortization” so that you know everything you need to about the terminology of home loans.
ARM and FRM, or adjustable rate vs fixed rate mortgages. Lenders make their money by charging you interest on your home loan that you pay back over the length of your loan period. Adjustable rate mortgages or ARMs are loans that have interest rates which change over the lifespan of your loan. You may start off at a low, “introductory rate” and later start paying higher amounts depending on the predetermined rate index. Fixed rate mortgages, on the other hand, remain at the same rate throughout the life of the loan. However, refinancing on your loan allows you to receive a different interest rate later down the road.
Amortization. It sounds like a medieval torture technique, but in reality amortization is the process of making your life easier by setting up a fixed repayment schedule. This schedule includes both the interest and the principal loan balance, allowing you to understand how long and how much money will go toward repaying your mortgage.
Equity. Simply state, your equity is the the amount of the home you have paid off. In a sense, it’s the amount of the home that you really own. Your equity increases as you make payments, and having equity can help you buy a new home, or see a return on investment with your current home if the home increases in value.
Assumption and assumability. It isn’t the title of a Jane Austen novel. It’s all about the process of a mortgage changing hands. An assumable mortgage can be transferred to a new buyer, and assumption is the actual transfer of the loan. Assuming a loan can be financially beneficial if the home as increased in value since the mortgage was created.
Escrow. There are a lot of legal implications that come along with buying a home. An escrow is designed to make sure the loan process runs smoothly. It acts as a holding tank for your documents, payments, as well as property taxes and insurance. An escrow performs an important function in the home buying process, and, as a result, charges you a percentage of the home for its services.
Origination fee. Basically a fancy way of saying “processing fee,” the origination covers the cost of processing your mortgage application. It’s one of the many “closing costs” you’ll encounter when buying a home and accounts for all of the legwork your loan officer does to make your mortgage a reality--running credit reports, reviewing income history, and so on.
Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or someone who has previously owned a home at some point in their life, you most likely know how expensive buying a house can be.
Fortunately, there are many organizations who would agree and who seek to help qualified buyers. There are a number of programs available at the state, local, and federal level designed to help certain buyers purchase a home.
There are also a number of myths around these programs, such as what the term “first-time homebuyer” really means.
In this article, we’ll talk about some of the programs you can look into to get help paying for a home.
Who Qualifies as a First-Time homebuyer?
Contrary to what it sounds like, you can still qualify as a first-time homebuyer if you’ve owned a home in the past. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has been helping people achieve their goal of homeownership since the 1930s. The FHA connects first-time homebuyers with lenders if the buyer meets certain criteria. Those criteria are:
Someone who hasn’t owned a home in the time previous three years. This includes spouses.
A single parent who previously owned a home with a former spouse, or a “displaced homemaker” who has only owned a home a former spouse.
People who have only owned homes that didn’t meet building code or a residence not fixed to a foundation.
The way the FHA helps buyers secure an affordable home loan is by insuring the mortgage. This makes it safer for lenders to approve you for a better rate for your home loan.
Veteran, Rural, and Native American Loan Programs
Aside from FHA loans, you might also qualify for a VA loan, a USDA program, or the Section 184 Indian Home Loan program.
VA loans from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs help veterans secure low-interest loans with affordable down payments. They will also help repeat veteran home buyers who have had financial difficulties in the past such as foreclosure and bankruptcy.
The Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program works similarly to an FHA loan in that the federal government insures the loan so that the buyer can receive a better rate and lower down payment.
This program is designed for American Indian and Alaska Native families. However, not every state is eligible for the loan.
The United States Department of Agriculture is another federal department that offers mortgage assistance. You don’t need to be a farmer or have agricultural aspirations to be approved for a USDA loan. Rather, these loans are designed to help develop rural areas by offering loans with no down payments.
State, Local, and Private Programs
Each state in the United States offers various buyer’s assistance and incentive programs. Be on the lookout for programs specific to your area to find low-interest rates and affordable down payments.
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other companies work with lenders to create affordable lending programs throughout the country. Remember to shop carefully when dealing with private lenders and look out for hidden costs.