Rachel (Hillman) Foy - Hillman Homes



Posted by Rachel (Hillman) Foy on 2/5/2020

Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay

One of the biggest hurdles people face when looking for a home is applying for a mortgage. While applying for a mortgage is relatively straightforward, finding favorable terms might be more challenging. Many buyers are surprised by how broad the terms of a mortgage might be. With this in mind, it is critical to understand the most common mistakes people make when looking for a mortgage.

Not Looking Locally First

The most common mistake people make when looking for a mortgage is not looking locally first. Many are tempted to use the internet to seek out a loan. While there is nothing wrong with looking around (in fact, this is encouraged), don't forget to head to the traditional bank or credit union a few miles down the road. There are professionals who are interested in building a relationship with the local community often providing more favorable terms.

Assuming All Mortgages are the Same

Don't assume all mortgages are the same. This is far from accurate. Applying for a mortgage can be an involved process that people rarely want to do this more than once. You may assume the next lender will offer similar terms. In reality, some lenders might be willing to wave origination fees or points on the mortgage. Some might even offer a lower interest rate, be sure to ask what special offers may be available.

Not Locking In the Rate

One of the common questions people face when applying for a mortgage is whether or not they would like to lock in the rate. The fear of locking in the rate is that, if the mortgage rates drop, they might miss out on the opportunity to save money. On the other hand, people also forget the alternative. The rate might actually go up. The downside to this is that their monthly mortgage payments may not be affordable anymore. Go ahead and lock in the rate.

Not Putting Enough Money Down

Lastly, many try to save money by not putting enough cash down. When you don't put enough money down, you may end up with a higher interest rate and a higher monthly mortgage payment. Additionally, you may have to purchase Private Mortgage Insurance, also known as PMI, for the lender making the monthly payment even higher. To prevent this from happening, make sure the down payment is large enough to satisfy the lender, usually between 10 and 20 percent.




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Posted by Rachel (Hillman) Foy on 10/16/2019

In real estate terminology, you may hear about various ratios and where you need to fall within the ratio to qualify for the home you want. A ratio simply expresses a relationship between two values: they compare two things, so a student/teacher ratio might be shown as 18:1, or one teacher for every 18 students. Different ratios apply to residential home buyers, investors, sellers, and lenders, but here are a few that might apply to you.

Loan-to-value or LTV

A comparison between the amount of a mortgage loan and either the home’s purchase price (for new buyers) or its appraised value (in a refinance) is its loan-to-value ratio. Lower LTVs typically qualify a buyer or homeowner a lower interest rate because there is less risk of default to the lender. So, a conforming mortgage with 20 percent down often garners a lower rate than an FHA loan with only five percent down.

Higher LTVs place more risk on the lender so if the market drops, the home could be “upside-down” or worth less than the amount of the mortgage.

Debt-to-income ratio or DTI

More important to home buyers is the debt-to-income ratio. Also called a debt-service ratio, it expresses how much money the borrower makes monthly compared to the monthly ongoing debt payments and obligations. A lender uses this figure to determine how high a mortgage payment you can handle. The first number is your income (gross) from your job, plus any other income that can be counted such as child support or a trust disbursement that you can use to make your mortgage payment plus taxes and insurance, and if applicable, association dues.

The second number uses the same calculation as the first plus any long-term debt such as a vehicle or school loan and consumer debt. This amount is the percentage of your income used to pay housing and long-term debt. So, a ratio of 30:37 (also written 30/37) means you spend 30 percent of all your income on housing with no more than seven percent obligated to debt service. That leaves you with 63 percent of your income for food, auto insurance, medical bills, clothing, and other expenses. Qualifying ratios adjust over time, but the Federal Housing Administration lists the qualifying ratio and the formula to determine it to qualify for an FHA loan.

Price-to-income ratio

Your DTI comes from your personal debts and income, and the LTV comes from a specific home's value, but the price-to-income ratio expresses the affordability of housing in a given locale. Most often, it is the ratio of the median home price to the median household disposable income. This ratio helps you determine if the home you want to buy is overpriced (it will be hard to sell) or under-priced (super good deal) for its geographical location. Lenders use this ratio as one additional factor in determining risk for that specific home.

To learn where your ratios fall and to determine if an area is right for your household budget, let your local real estate professional guide you.





Posted by Rachel (Hillman) Foy on 2/28/2018

Credit is tied to most big financial decisions you will make in your life. From things as little as opening up a store card at the mall to buying your first home, your credit score is going to play a factor. When it comes to mortgages, lenders take your credit score, particularly your FICO score, into consideration in determining the interest rate that you will likely be stuck with for years. How is your credit score determined and what can you do to use it to get a better rate on your mortgage? We'll cover all of that and more in this article.

Deciphering credit scores

Most major lenders assign your credit score based on the information provided by three national credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These companies report your credit history to FICO, who give you a score from 300 to 850 (850 being the best your score can get). When applying for a mortgage (or attempting to be pre-approved for a home loan), the lender you choose will weight several aspects to determine if they will lend money to you and under what terms they will lend you the money. Among these are your employment status, current salary, your savings and assets, and your credit score. Lenders use this data to attempt to determine how likely you are to pay off your debt. To be considered a "safe" person to lend money to it will require a combination of things, including good credit. What is good credit? Credit scores are based on five components:
  • 35%: your payment history
  • 30%: your debt amount
  • 15%: length of your credit history
  • 10%: types of credit you have used
  • 10%: recent credit inquiries (such as taking out new loans or opening new credit cards)
As you can see, paying your bills and loans on time each month is the key factor in determining your credit score. Also important, however, is keeping your total amount of debt low. Most aspects of your credit score are in your control. Only 10% of your score is determined by the length of your credit history (i.e., when you opened your first card or took out your first loan). To build your credit score, you'll need to focus on lowering your balances, making on-time payments, and giving yourself time to diversify your credit.

What does this mean for taking out mortgages?

A higher credit score will get you a lower interest rate. By the time you pay off your mortgage, just a hundred points on your credit score could save you thousands on your mortgage, and that's not including the money you might save by getting lower interest rates on other loans as well. If you would like to buy a home within the next few years, take this time to focus on building your credit score:
  • If you have high balances, do your best to lower them
  • If you have a tendency to miss payments, set recurring reminders in your phone to make sure you pay on time
  • If you don't have diverse credit, it could be a good time to take out a loan or open your first credit card
When it comes time to apply for a mortgage, you'll thank yourself for focusing more on your credit score.




Tags: credit score   Mortgage   loan   credit   home loan  
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Rachel (Hillman) Foy