How Do Mortgage Lenders Decide How Much You Can Borrow?

When you visit your lender to get a mortgage for your home, they will tell you the maximum amount that you are allowed to borrow. But how do they reach this total and what factors do they take into consideration?

How do they determine that one borrower can take on a bigger mortgage than the next? This decision is made by mortgage companies by considering a wide range of factors, including your credit information, your salary and much more.21144862_S

Here Are Some Of The Common Ways That Lenders Determine How Much You Can Borrow:

1. Percentage Of Gross Monthly Income

Many lenders follow the rule that your monthly mortgage payment should never exceed 28% of your gross monthly income.

This will ensure that you are not stretched too far with your mortgage payments and you will be more likely to be able to pay them off. Remember, your gross monthly income is the total amount of money that you have been paid, before deductions from social security, taxes, savings plans, child support, etc.

2. Debt To Income Ratio

Another formula that mortgage lenders use is the “Debt to Income” ratio, which refers to the percentage of your gross monthly income that is taken up by debts. This takes into account any other debts, such as credit cards and loans. Many lenders say that the total of your debts shouldn’t exceed 36% of your gross monthly income.

The lender will look at all of the different types of debt you have and how well you have paid your bills over the years. By using one of these two formulas, your mortgage lender calculates the size of a mortgage that you can afford.

Of course, there are many other factors that need to be considered, such as the term length of the loan, the size of your down payment and the interest rate.

Remember that when factoring in your income, you usually have to have a stable job for at least two years in a row to be able to count your income. If you want to increase your chances, you could consider paying down your debts or buying with a co-borrower, which will improve your debt to income ratio.

For more info about mortgages and your home, contact your mortgage professional.

Written by Dennis Frank – Kent Real Estate Agent – Call Now @ 253-561-1763

What Financial Preparations Should I Make Before Applying For A Mortgage?

Getting a mortgage isn’t an easy thing to do. Before a lender will put down tens of hundreds of thousands of dollars, it wants to know that the borrower can handle the loan so that it will get paid back. to this end, there are three things that a potential homebuyer can do to prepare for the mortgage approval process.

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For many home buyers, managing their credit score is the biggest challenge. Mortgage lenders like buyers with strong credit. While getting strong credit usually isn’t something that can be done overnight, paying bills on time, all of the time can help to build a positive profile.

Using as little credit as possible is also helpful, since high utilization of existing credit lines can harm a borrower’s score. Having less debt can also reduce monthly payments, making it easier to qualify for a larger mortgage.

Managing Income

Lenders look for two things when it comes to a borrower’s income:

  • Stable incomes are preferred, so being able to prove the income with a W-2 form or other documentation is usually required. Self-employed people will typically need to prove their income with their tax returns, so taking high write-offs can make it harder to qualify.
  • A borrower’s income should be significantly higher than his total monthly debt payments. Lenders divide a borrower’s monthly payments including their proposed mortgage into the gross monthly income. If the payments exceed a set percentage, the lender will shrink the mortgage until it considers the payment affordable.

Managing Paperwork

To qualify for a mortgage, borrowers typically need to submit a comprehensive file of supporting documentation. This can include tax returns, pay stubs and bank and investment account statements.

Since lenders frequently want some historical data, it can be a good idea for people considering applying for a mortgage to start collecting documentation months before they actually begin the mortgage application process. That way, they will have everything the lender wants and when the lender needs it.

Written by Dennis Frank – Kent Real Estate Agent – Call Now @ 253-561-1763

4 Myths About Buying A Home That Just Aren’t True!

It can be pretty intimidating to dip your toes into the realm of home ownership, especially if you’re a first-time home buyer. To make things worse, there are a number of myths floating around out there surrounding the home buying process.

Such misconceptions have many kept many would-be home owners from realizing

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the personal and financial rewards of owning a property. To clear things up, here are 4 myths about buying your first home that simply aren’t true.

Myth #1 – It’s Cheaper To Rent Instead Of Own

If you buy a property that is within your budget and your mortgage terms allow you to make comfortable monthly payments, the cost of rent can often be higher than mortgage payments.

Sure, there are other expenses associated with owning a property that you wouldn’t be responsible for if you were renting, but one thing that many people forget is the fact that renting does not allow you to build equity.

The ability to build equity into a property that you own is like paying into a savings account – if you buy a home for $200,000, and pay down your mortgage to $175,000 in 5 years, you’ll have $25,000 in home equity that can be tapped into later if you need a lump sum of cash to pay for other large expenses.

If you sell your property down the line, any equity that the property has accumulated will provide you with more profit from the sale of the home.

Myth #2 – Whatever Shows Up On The Inspection Report Is The Seller’s Responsibility

Most offers on a home usually come with a home inspection condition that makes the offer contingent on the acceptance of a home inspection report by the buyer. Many buyers, however, are under the impression that sellers are responsible for any issues that show up on the inspection report.

Although the seller is required to make certain major repairs as stipulated by the lender, everything is still negotiable. A buyer may ask the seller to fix a minor crack in the basement wall or repair any scuff marks on the hardwood flooring, but the seller can essentially refuse, leaving the buyer with the decision of whether or not to continue with the offer anyway.

Myth #3 – The Perfect Home Is Out There – I Just Have To Wait For It

Buyers have a tendency to focus too much on all the little things that may be wrong about a house rather than on the majority of the things that are right. Homes are much like people – they aren’t perfect. Even brand new homes might have a few minor flaws.

The goal of a house hunt is to find the perfectly acceptable home – one that may have a couple of quirks that you can either live with or fix, but is otherwise ideal. An experienced buyer’s agent can help you identify issues that are deal-breakers, and help keep some perspective by separating irritating details from the big picture.

Myth #4 – I Don’t Need A Real Estate Agent To Buy A House

Without the proper team behind you – especially if you’re a first-time home buyer – you could potentially find yourself in a compromised position. Many buyers don’t take the time necessary to shop for an agent who can best represent them in their purchase.

Think about it this way – would you perform surgery on yourself? Do you feel comfortable filing your own income taxes, or do you opt to use the services of an accountant? Being represented by a licensed real estate agent will give you the benefit of professional skills and knowledge, including the ability to find financing and close the deal with your best interests put first.

It’s always in your best interests to have an experienced, knowledgeable agent representing you in a home purchase. With such a major investment on the line, you want to have someone who can help you complete a purchase leaving no stone un-turned, and ultimately saving you money – and a lot of headaches.

A professional real estate agent will be able to sort the myths from the reality and make your first home-buying experience a positive one.  Call me today at 253-561-1763!

Written by Dennis Frank – Kent Real Estate Agent – Call Now @ 253-561-1763

Important Legal Tips For Home Onwners!

Being a homeowner is exciting. It can be financially rewarding, too. Unfortunately, it can also put you in a tough legal position. Between the complexities of owning a house, having to deal with lenders and the risk that comes from owning something valuable, keeping yourself legally protected is a good idea.24930836_S

Here Are Some Risks — And Some Ways To Handle Them.

  • HOAs. If you own a condo, townhome or other property in an association, the homeowner association is extremely powerful. Not paying their dues, violating their rules, or doing just about anything else to end up on the wrong side of them could leave you subject to fines or even foreclosure.
  • Neighbors. Whether or not good fences make for good neighbors, bad neighbors make for legal problems. Before dealing with your neighbors, research your community’s laws to see what options you have to deal with their unlicensed backyard dog breeding facility, teenager that steals your oranges or their tree that keeps breaking your window. It’s good to know what your responsibilities are as a neighbor, as well.
  • Legal Paperwork. Part of having a house is having paperwork. Keeping it in a safe place where you can get to it when you need it is always a good idea.
  • Being A Landlord. If you’re thinking about moving out and turning your house into a rental, take the time to see if you can really do it. Your mortgage, your homeowner association bylaws and your community’s laws can all either prevent you from renting out your house or can impose conditions or extra costs.
  • Financial Scams. When you own a house, you’re at risk of being the victim of mortgage scams. If you also have strong credit, you could also be a target for identity thieves that want to steal your good name to steal money.
  • Insurance. Your insurance does more than pay if something happens to your property. It can also give you liability protection that pays off if you harm someone at or away from your home. Given that you could lose your house in a suit, this protection is particularly valuable.

Being a homeowner requires more than just mowing the lawn and painting on occasion. You will also want to pay careful attention to your legal exposure and manage it. A little bit of care could save you a lot of money and trouble down the line.

Written by Dennis Frank – Kent Real Estate Agent – Call Now @ 253-561-1763

Millenials Have Great Homebuying Tools Available To Them!

The economy seems to be finally turning, and home loan interest rates are still historically low. Real estate values are starting to climb as well, all of which makes for a growing opportunity for new homeowners to get into the market before it gets too expensive again.

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They represent the next generation of home buyers, but a number of barriers can seem to be smack in the way, discouraging many. Yet there are ways around these issues.

According to the Boston Globe, only 32 percent of Millennials are homeowners in 2014, either with a house or a condominium. A number of factors contribute to this situation, and the big issue is finding a viable career. The general unemployment rate for young people is at 16 percent nationwide, almost double the regular average for all ages combined.

Add in the fact that many have large student loans eating up what income is earned in loan payments, and that doesn’t leave much for saving into a down payment or a mortgage payment. In fact, one out of three college graduates right now has moved back in with the parents.

The career-chase situation is not a new one. The previous bunch, Generation X, experienced the same thing in the early 1990s with just as high an unemployment rate. The big takeaway from their experience is that the dip and labor famine is temporary. Most Generation X folks now are well-employed and living in regular, affordable homes across the country.

Further, Some Very Helpful Tools Are Still Available For New Buyers:

  • Any home buyer with military status can take advantage of Veterans Administration loans with far better rates than the normal market, making mortgage payments cheaper.
  • Those buying in rural areas can take advantage of rural homebuyer’s assistance programs provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help people move to small towns and similar communities.
  • The Housing and Urban Development Agency provides HUD loans that make it very affordable for those with limited income to purchase HUD-owned homes as first-time buyers and get into real estate.
  • And the current market still has plenty of quality used homes from prior foreclosures that are marked well below their real value to move these units in sales.

Of course, the big response from Millenials is how do I earn more to even get started. Like Generation X folks before them, Millenials can’t wait for a job to be made available on a platter. While looking, many smart folks have started their own businesses on the Internet. If a current job is enough to cover current bills, a second income can be entirely dedicated to saving, which can generate thousands of dollars quickly. Even a part-time second job that creates $1,000 a month produces $12,000 a year and in two years enough for a sizable down payment.

Don’t give up, but definitely try smarter.

How You Can Get The Full Selling Price You Want For Your Home!

When it comes to selling your home and getting the full selling price you want, there are certain tactics and methods you can employ to ensure that this wish becomes a reality.

Avoiding the commonly made mistakes that end up lowering the value of your home and discouraging people from viewing it is ultimately the key in getting top dollar, as well carrying out the showings and sale of your home in a professional manner.How_You_Can_Get_the_Full_Selling_Price_You_Want_for_Your_Home

Listen to the professionals, and make sure you employ these real estate sale methods to get your desired number on your home sale.

Listing Tactic: Adding A Buffer

Always dependent on the type of market you find yourself in, a common and successful tactic in getting the price you really want for your home is adding a buffer on the list price.

This means that if you want $500,000 for your home, you should list your home somewhere around $510,000 to $520,000 to allow for some negotiating room. Even if you’d prefer not to negotiate, the majority of buyers will always assume that you have room to come down on the price, and will put in their offers accordingly.

Overpricing: Avoid At All Costs

With that being said, you don’t want to overprice your home too much so as to discourage potential buyers from looking at it, or to put your home outside of a financial bracket. Make sure you speak to your trusted real estate advisor on exactly what the right list price should be to obtain your desired value.

Increase Desire: Have Your Home Staged

In order to get the price you want for your home, you need to make a good impression on the prospective buyers. Having your home professionally staged can dramatically increase the amount of interest you receive on your home, perhaps even creating multiple offers – which is the best situation a home seller can be in!

Appeal To Online Shoppers With Professional Photos

With so much of today’s modern real estate shopping happening online, you want to ensure that your home has a strong online presence with professional photos and a digital floor plan available to prospective buyers. Also make sure that all information online is full and complete, and presents your home in the best light possible.

Always Say Yes To Open Houses And Showings

Especially in a hot market, you want to ensure that you leave your home empty for your real estate agent on weekends so that they can hold it open to the public. This is especially important early on in your list date so that the buyers on the market who are ready to make a move can see your house right away.

You should also apply the same importance to showings, and ensure that each showing request is promptly responded to with an easy “yes.”

If you put these tactics into your home selling plan, you will find that it will be much easier to obtain more interest from buyers. And with more interest, it will be much more likely that you will be able to obtain the price you want for your home.

So don’t underestimate the importance of these factors, and discuss them today with your trusted mortgage professional.

Invest In Real Estate Like A Pro With These Quick Tips!

Real estate investments are still going strong and will probably continue to be a popular method of financial gain into the future.

Real estate is solid. It is a tangible product that is attractive to both beginnMoney-House-227ing investors and experienced pros. The most important part of getting started in real estate investing is knowing what you’re getting into and what to watch out for.

Here are 4 top tips from real estate investment professionals:

Understand The Realities

Real estate investment, like any form of investment, is risky. Do not use money you cannot afford to lose. Careful study, understanding the market, and practice help alleviate a lot of the risks but things happen in the best of situations so don’t play with what you can’t afford to lose.

Research Is A Constant

Research in real estate investment isn’t something you do once. Research is constant. It is a daily part of your efforts and should always be at the forefront of your mind. From changing banking methods to market changes, researching and learning must be ongoing to be a successful real estate investor.

Know The Property

Research isn’t limited to financing and the real estate market. You need to thoroughly investigate each property before you buy. Fill out an investment worksheet to see if all the costs associated with the purchase will allow a satisfying profit.

Learn About Personal Protection

Taking risks with the money you have set aside for investment is one thing. Taking risks with your family’s savings, property, and other assets is another. Consider starting an LLC. You can choose from a single LLC to cover all of your real estate holdings, or having a separate LLC for each property purchased.

It Pays Off To Refinance Your Mortgage!

To refinance a mortgage means to pay off your existing loan and replace it with a new one.
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There are many reasons why homeowners opt to refinance, from obtaining a lower interest rate, to shortening the term of the loan, to switching mortgage loan types, to tapping into home equity.

Each has its considerations.

Lower Your Mortgage Rate

Among the best reasons to refinance is to get access to lower mortgage rates. There is no “rule of thumb” that says how far rates should drop for a refinance to be sensible. Compare your closing costs to your monthly savings, and determine whether the math makes sense for your situation.

Shorten Your Loan Term

Refinancing your 30-year fixed rate mortgage to a 20-year fixed rate or a 15-year fixed rate is a sensible way to reduce your long-term mortgage costs, and to own your home sooner. As a bonus, with mortgage rates currently near all-time lows, an increase to your monthly payment from a shorter loan term may be negligible.

Convert ARM To Fixed Rate Mortgage

Homeowners with adjustable-rate mortgages may want the comfort of a fixed-rate payment. Mortgage rates for fixed-rate mortgages are often higher than for comparable ARMs so be prepared to pay more to your lender each month.

Access Equity For Projects, Debts, Or Other Reasons

Called a “cash out” refinance, homeowners can sometimes use home equity to retire debts, pay for renovations, or use for other purposes including education costs and retirement. Lenders place restrictions on loans of this type. A refinanced home loan can help you reach specific financial goals or just put extra cash in your pocket each month – just make sure that there’s a clear benefit to you.

Paying large closing costs for small monthly savings or negligible long-term benefit should be avoided. Many lenders offer low- or no-closing costs options for refinancing. Be sure to ask about it.

Five Questions You Might Want To Ask Before You Refinance Your Home!

Refinancing your home might be a great way to save money or tap into the capital needed to pay off large debts. However, a refinance can also be an expensive e2014-03-31-Whats-Aheadndeavor, and you could even risk harming your credit rating or risk foreclosure if you’re not careful.

Before you take the plunge with a refinance, here are five essential questions that you should ask before signing on the dotted line.

How Much Equity Do I Have In My Home?

Many homeowners today owe more on their mortgage than what the property is actually worth. For mortgage refinancing to be possible, a homeowner must have at least 20 percent equity in their home in order to avoid paying private mortgage insurance. The benefit of refinancing would be negated if PMI has to be added to the cost of the new loan.

 Do I Have A Good Credit Score?

The health of your credit score plays a huge role in the type of mortgage rate you’ll be able to qualify for.

Since mortgage rates operate on a sliding scale, the lowest rates tend to be offered to those with a credit score of 720 or more. Borrowers who have a score under 620 may have trouble qualifying for a decent rate, let alone getting approved at all.

Will I Qualify For The Rate I Want?

You might be able to get a general sense of the type of interest rate you could get for a refinance as quoted on major financial websites like BankRate.com, but your specific financial details, such as the type of loan you’d like to refinance into or your credit score, will influence the actual rates that will be available to you.

If you don’t qualify for the lowest advertised refinance rates, it’s important to determine if it’s still worthwhile to refinance your mortgage at the rate you qualify for.

Will I Have To Pay A Penalty?

Most mortgages have a number of rules attached to them, including penalties for breaking a current mortgage before it comes up for renewal. It’s in your best interest to find out if there are any penalties and, if so, what that dollar figure would be.

Some penalties are so high that that they no longer make the refinancing cost-effective. Reading the fine print on your mortgage contract is crucial.

Do I Have A Second Mortgage?

Borrowers who have a second mortgage might face additional challenges when it comes to refinancing their home. In this case, you may either pay off the second mortgage or combine both loans into a bigger first mortgage.

Otherwise, the lender providing the second loan has to agree to staying in second place behind the lender holding the first mortgage, which they might not necessarily be willing to agree to.

The bottom line is: refinancing might be a great way to help you pay off large debts or save money. However, it’s critical that you analyze your specific financial situation in order to avoid getting yourself into a worse position where the only party benefitting from the refinance is the loan officer.

Get in touch with an experienced mortgage specialist today to discuss your needs and to determine if refinancing your home is right for you.

How Will A Short Sale Affect Your Ability To Buy Another House In The Future?

The last 10 years or so have been financially difficult for millions of home owners, with job losses and decline in home values devastating families all over the US. As a result, a great number of homes have gone through short sales, which has had a detrimental effect on consumers’ credit ratings.

If you’ve considered or experienced a short sale, one of the biggest concerns How_Will_a_Short_Sale_Affect_Your_Ability_to_Buy_Another_House_in_the_Future_you may have is how it will impact your ability to purchase another property in the future. Here are five key variables on how a short sale can impact your next home purchase.

Duration Of Delinquency Plays A Big Role

Short sale transactions take a long time to complete, depending on the state that you live in and the bank’s policies. During this process, homeowners in a short sale may have trouble continuing to make monthly mortgage payments. The duration of delinquency can have a major negative impact on your credit score, even before the final short sale is reported.

Deficiency Judgments May Have Long-Lasting Effects

A short sale usually with comes a large debt that is left unpaid that banks look to settle. In the case of short sale, this debt is the difference between the amount owed and the amount for which the home is sold.

When you’re on the hook to come up with this difference, a deficiency judgment is filed through the courts and is attached to your credit rating as a negative debt outstanding. This can have a lasting effect on your credit rating, and can hinder your chances of buying a home in the future.

Lower Credit Scores Often Mean Higher Interest Rates

The poorer your credit rating, the more likely you are to be charged a higher interest rate when borrowing money. With the large cost of a home purchase, a high interest rate over a long amortization period can prove to be extremely costly, which many home owners may find difficult, if not impossible, to pay for.

Larger Down Payments May Be Necessary

Many banks and credit unions have specific guidelines that require you to put more money down on a future home purchase if you’ve experienced a housing-related credit issue in the past. Certain banks may request as much 20 percent for a down payment. Many homeowners may not be able to come up with such funds, or may need a lot of time to build up such capital before being able to buy a house.

A Long Waiting Period Might Apply

Since the housing crisis in the US, many major mortgage insurers and investors, like Freddie Mac, FHA, and Fannie Mae, have implemented new rules on how long you have to wait after a short sale before you can purchase again. Depending on the type of loan, this can be anywhere between two to four years on a short sale.

It’s critical to stay informed and understand how these rules can impact your ability to buy a home in the future after a short sale. Speaking with a seasoned mortgage specialist can help you stay in the know, and help you assess your finances and credit health before you plunge into the real estate market in the future.