If you want to get an equity line of credit, you need to go to your bank or credit union and you need to know what to shop for. I give advice to my clients as part of my ongoing service and it can be a useful tool for some and it can be a bad idea for others. Banks and credit unions generally don’t offer advice, they just offer financial products. I offer advice and here is some on HELOC’s
A lot of people can’t refinance because they owe more than their house is worth or they have a 2nd mortgage or Mortgage Insurance (MI) and we have solutions for many of those issues. There are several programs here now or coming but let’s start with the HARP which stands for Home Affordable Refinance Program.
Everyone is talking about HARP 2.0 and so let’s define it. First of all, since it is 2.0 that means that the program was already around and we are talking about changes so let’s show you what it looks like now and then discuss changes that are sort of in effect now and really in effect after March 19th 2012 when the new changes will be coded into the automated underwriting systems so we can actually approve these loans.
The first thing that you need to know is that this is only for people who have a mortgage already owned by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. People tell me all the time that their mortgage is owned by a big bank but if you have a 30 year fixed rate mortgage and it is not interest only, it is probably owned by Freddie or Fannie and I will show you how to find out a little later. Currently you can refinance your home even up to 125% Loan To Value (LTV) and there are different rules and pricing at different levels (95%, 105% etc.). Currently it is a little more difficult if you have a 2nd mortgage or MI. This is what HARP 2.0 is looking to fix.
The first part is easy, they have removed the LTV issue altogether. There will definitely be approvals where we do not need an appraisal but there will also be instances where appraisals will be required but in all instances, any LTV can be approved. Next, it is getting easier to keep a 2nd mortgage or HELOC in place while refinancing the first mortgage and we will be able to accommodate many loans with MI. There is another enhancement that limits the fees on these loans and the qualifying ratios will most likely be relaxed. My suggestion is to look online and see if your loan fits and if it does, gest started with your favorite lender. Start by going to www.FreddieMac.com/mymortgage/ and/or www.FannieMae.com/loanlookup/ to see. Loan applications can be taken in mid February 2012 but may not be able to be fully approved until March 19th if you need the new rules. This program makes sense because they already own these loans and so giving people lower payments makes them more stable so everyone wins.
What if I don’t have a Freddie or Fannie Loan?
On the flip side, you can see why if Fannie or Freddie does not own your loan currently they may not be too excited to take on a new loan of $250,000 on a home that is worth only $200,000 but there may be hope for these people as well. There is talk of using FHA to help these folks even if they do not have a current FHA loan. I think this will probably come true but I do not know how long it will take or what the rules will look like so stay tuned.
One more note is that if you currently have an FHA, USDA or VA loan, you can get a streamline loan without an appraisal and with relaxed qualifying guidelines. We do not use debt ratios at all and we weigh heavily on whether the house payment has been made on time in the last 12 months. This program has been around for the entire 22 years I have been in business so the model is strong.
Please send me your real estate and mortgage related questions. I am happy to answer you and it may become the topic of a future article.
Hans Bruhner is a branch manager for First Priority Financial. Hans is licensed by the CA DRE # 01085398 and NMLS #243484 and First priority is licensed by the CA DRE # 00652852 and NMLS #3257. If you have a question, please contact him at (707) 347-9250 or firstname.lastname@example.org
In order to apply for a VA loan you will need a Certificate of Eligibility, or COE for short.
There are different steps required to receive a Certificate of Eligibility depending on your personal situation and branch of the military.
NOTE: You will need your DD214 Discharge papers no matter what route you take below. An honorable discharge and completion of your tour of duty are typically required in all cases. This will determine if you are eligible for this benefit, you will need to contact a VA lender to determine if you qualify.
Group 1: Veterans, Activity Duty, Reservists and National Guard Members Who Been on Active Duty
If you belong to one of the above categories then you have three different ways that you can receive a COE:
- Apply Through Mail: Fill out VA Form 26-1880, which you can find on va.gov, the official VA website. You can then mail it to the address that is listed on the form.
- Apply Through A Lender: Your lender may be able to acquire your COE for you online; if so, the process typically only takes a few minutes. Be sure to speak to your lender beforehand to determine whether or not this is an option.
- Apply Online: Visit the Veterans Information Portal at http://www.ebenefits.va.gov to request the certificate.
If for whatever reason you cannot print out Form 26-1880 you can contact the VA at 1-888-244-6711 and request a copy be mailed to you.
Group 2: Reservists and National Guard Members Who Have Not Been On Active Duty
Group 2 enjoys the same options as Group 1 above.
Group 3: Spouses of Veterans Who Either Passed Away During Service or As a Result of Service
Unlike the application options for Groups 1 and 2, you are required to mail your application.
If your spouse passed away during service, the process is relatively quick and straightforward. However, if your spouse passed away after service, the VA must first confirm that the death resulted from a disability connected to the service.
This process can take anywhere between 2 to 3 months depending on the current caseload of the VA.
To apply, download and fill out VA Form 26-1817, which you can find on http://www.va.gov, the official VA website. The address you should mail the form to is:
VA Loan Eligibility Center
PO Box 20729
Winston-Salem, NC 27120
Similar to above, if for whatever reason you cannot print out Form 26-1817, you can contact the VA at 1-888-244-6711 and request a copy be mailed to you.
Regardless of the category you personally fall into, you will have to provide some sort of evidence to prove you are eligible for a COE. The eligibility graph on the VA website (located at http://benefits.va.gov/homeloans/eligibility.asp) details exactly what kind of evidence will be required from you.
A mortgage is generally the largest debt most homeowners have to manage. It’s a good idea to give your personal real estate finance portfolio a check-up at least once a year.
Since there are many reasons a homeowner may choose to refinance, we’ll take a look at the four most common.
1. Mortgage Rates Drop:
Typically, the most common reason that homeowners refinance their mortgage is to secure a lower interest rate. Interest rate and loan amount determines the total cost that a borrower will pay. The lower the interest rate, the less the overall cost will be. Interest is calculated on a daily basis and usually paid back to the lender on a monthly basis.
2. Lower Payments:
Lowering a mortgage payment can be achieved by lowering the mortgage rate, lengthening the loan term, combining two or more loans or removing mortgage insurance.
3. New Mortgage Program:
Refinancing an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) to a new Fixed Rate Mortgage (FRM), combining a first and second mortgage or paying off a balloon loan are three possible reasons to explore a refinance.
4. Debt Consolidation:
If there is sufficient equity, sometimes paying off consumer debt by combining all debts into one lower monthly mortgage payment can significantly reduce the short-term deficits in a budget. However, it’s important to keep in mind the total cost of that debt by adding it into a 30 year mortgage payment.
Frequently Asked Refinance Questions:
Q: Do I have to refinance with my current mortgage company?
No, you may choose any company to refinance your mortgage since the new loan will replace the existing mortgage.
Q: Is it easier to refinance with my current mortgage company?
It is possible your current mortgage company may require less documentation, but this could add additional cost or a higher interest rate. Do your homework and shop around to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
Q: Will I automatically qualify if I’ve never made any late payments?
No, you will have to qualify for your new refinance. However, certain programs will allow for reduced documentation like a FHA to FHA Streamline Refinance.
Related Article – Refinance Process:
- Refinance Process Overview
- Mortgage Approval Process
- Calculating The Net Benefit Of A Refinance
- Should I Refinance Or Get A Home Equity Loan To Make Improvements?
- What Do Appraisers Look For When Determining A Property’s Value?
- Understanding The Difference Between Appraised Value vs Neighborhood Listing Comps
- Five Myths About Home Values
How much mortgage money can I qualify to borrow?
This is typically the number one question mortgage professionals are asked by new clients.
Of critical importance when considering mortgage financing: There is sometimes a difference between what a client ***can*** borrow and what they ***should*** borrow.
In other words, what makes for a comfortable long-term mortgage payment?
The Quick Answer:
If we’re simply considering the financial math, lenders will calculate your Debt-to-Income Ratio and generally allow for 28-31% of your gross income to be used for the new house payment with up to 43% of your gross income to be used for all consumer related debts combined.
Sample Mortgage Scenario:
Let’s use a gross monthly income of $3000 and a qualifying factor of 30% Debt-to-Income Ratio:
$3000 multiplied by .3 (30%) = $900 max monthly mortgage payment
“Ballparking” a Qualifying Loan Amount:
Simple step: We use a safe average of $7 per month in payment for every $1000 in purchase price so…
Step 1) $900 a month divided by $7 = $128.50
Step 2) $128.50 multiplied by 1000 = $128,500 loan amount.
Remember, these are average ratios and guidelines set by most lenders for common mortgage programs.
Keep in mind, while most consumer debts are listed on a credit report, there are some additional monthly liabilities that may contribute to the overall qualifying percentages as well.
Regardless of how your personal income and credit scenarios factor in, it is important to consider your overall budget when trying to determine how much of a mortgage you should qualify for.
Other items to consider in your monthly budget:
1. Confirm all debts are taken into account
2. Any private notes or family loans
3. Short-term expenses – medical, auto repairs, travel, emergencies
4. Plan on additional expenses for the home such as water, electric, maintenance, etc…
5. Keep a cushion for savings and financial planning
Related Articles – Mortgage Approval Process:
Simply checking online for today’s posted rate may not lead to your expected outcome due to the many factors that can cause each individual rate and closing cost scenario to fluctuate.
We can preach communication, service and education all day long, but it’s our ultimate goal to earn your trust so that you can be confident in our ability to successfully lead you through this complex mortgage process.
Since mortgage rates can change several times a day, the following questions will help determine whether or not your lender truly knows what to look for so that they can provide you with the best rate once you’re in a position of locking in your loan:
Who determines mortgage rates, and what are they tied to?
Mortgage interest rates are determined by the pricing of Mortgage Backed Securities or Mortgage Bonds. The media often implies mortgage rates are based off the 10-year Treasury Note, which is incorrect.
While the 10-year Treasury Note has been known to trend in the same direction as Mortgage Bonds, it is not unusual to see them move in completely opposite directions.
How often do mortgage rates change?
Mortgage rates may change throughout the day, however they only change on days when the Bond markets are trading securities since mortgage rates are based on Mortgage Bond prices.
Think of a Mortgage Bond’s sales price similar to that of a Stock that trades up and down during the course of a day.
For example – let’s assume the FNMA 30-Year 4.50% coupon is selling for $100.50. The price is 50 basis points lower from the previous day’s closing price of $101.00.
In simple terms, the borrower would have to pay an additional .50% of their loan amount to have the same rate today that they could have locked in the previous day.
Mortgage Bonds are largely affected by various market forces that influence the changing demand for bonds within the market. Some of the key economic factors that have the greatest impact are unemployment percentages, inflationary fears, economic strength and the overall movement of money in and out of the markets.
Like stocks, most fluctuation is caused by consumer and investor emotions.
What do you use to monitor mortgage rates?
There are several great subscription based services available to monitor Mortgage Bond pricing.
The key is to make sure the lender is aware they should be monitoring Mortgage Bond pricing, such as the Fannie Mae 30-Year 4.50% coupon… and not the 10-Year Treasury Note or the news media.
It is a common misconception that when the Federal Reserve implements a rate cut it is immediately correlated to a reduction in mortgage rates.
The Federal Reserve policy influences short term rates known as the Fed Funds Rate (“FFR”). Lowering the FFR helps to stimulate the economy and increasing the FFR helps to slow the economy down. Effectively, cutting interest rates (FFR specifically) will cause the stock market to rally, driving money out of bonds and creating potential for inflation.
Mortgage Bond holders need to obtain a higher rate of return on their money if inflation is increasing, thus driving up mortgage rates. With the Federal Reserve Board meeting every six weeks, this is an important question to ask. If your lender does not have a firm understanding of this relationship, they may leave your rate unprotected costing you thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage.
Do different programs have different interest rates?
Conventional, FHA and VA loans can all carry different rates on a 30-Year fixed mortgage. FHA and VA loans are insured by the Federal Government in the event of defaults. Conventional mortgages are insured by private mortgage insurance companies, if insurance is required.
Typically, FHA and VA loans carry a lower rate because the investor views the government backing as less of a risk. While rates are usually different for each program, it may be more important to compare the monthly and overall cost during the life of the loan to determine which program best suits your needs.
Why is an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) rate lower than a fixed rate mortgage?
An Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) is usually fixed for a specific period of time. The period is typically 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, 5 years or 7 years. The shorter time period the rate is fixed, the lower the interest rate tends to be initially.
This is due to the borrower taking the future risk of increasing interest rates. The only instance where this would not be true is when there is an inverted yield curve where short-term rates are higher than long-term rates.
Why are rates higher for different property residence types?
Mortgage interest rates are based on risk-based pricing. Risk-based pricing allows adjustments to par pricing for risk factors such as; FICO scores, Loan-to-Value percentages, property type (SFR, Condo, 2-4 Units), occupancy (Primary, Vacation or Investment) and mortgage type (Interest Only, Adjustable Rate etc).
This allows the investors who lend their money for mortgages to receive additional compensation for taking additional risk.
If the borrower encounters a financial hardship, are they more likely to make the payment on the home they live in or the one they rent out?
Related Mortgage Rate Video:
Related Mortgage Rate Articles:
Thank you for stopping by our mortgage web site. Even though we have taken special care and consideration to pack this online resource with a wealth of knowledge about the mortgage and real estate process, we want you to feel comfortable calling us at any time to discuss your unique needs and expectations.
Our company is committed to higher education, which means we are dedicated to helping our clients and referral partners make the most informed decisions.