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Budgeting Down Payment First-time Homebuyer Homebuying Homebuying Tips Mortgages Pre-approval Purchase Self-Employed

How to Get a Mortgage if You’re Self-Employed

You’ve finally put some action behind the go-getter title your friends gave you and started a successful business. Now you’re looking for the perfect place to wind down after putting in the work. But as a self-employed individual, are there extra hoops you’ll need to jump through to buy your new home? Let’s find out. 

Does Being Self-Employed Make it Harder to Get a Mortgage?

The answer depends on what you consider harder. The biggest difference between a self-employed and an otherwise employed person is the documentation a lender may request to increase your chances of approval. 

When applying for a mortgage while self-employed, you need to be realistic about your income and what you can afford, prepared to submit more paperwork, and willing to pay constant attention to detail. 

Understanding Your Unique Self-Employed Situation

When assessing a self-employed borrower, most lenders will want to have a good understanding of the nature and location of your business, your business’ financial viability when it comes to current and future income generation, and your personal income stability.  

Employment Verification

Employment verification is the first step in proving you are successfully self-employed. Documents verifying self-employment status can include written communication from the following:

  • Current (and past) clients indicating services performed
  • A letter from your licensed CPA, or tax preparer
  • A professional organization that can attest to your membership
  • Any state or business license that you hold
  • Evidence of worker compensation and insurance for your business
  • A Doing Business As (DBA) issued at least 2 years prior to your application date.
Income Documentation

You’re much more likely to be approved for a mortgage if you can provide proof of a steady income. You may think you only need a few tax documents to breeze through the income verification portion of the approval process, but there have been recent changes in requirements, and you need to be prepared.

In June 2020, mortgage organizations Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac instated specific income verification practices for self-employed borrowers. According to a bulletin posted by the organizations, “the mortgage file must include a written analysis of the self-employed income amount and justification of the determination that the income used to qualify the borrower is stable.”

Because of these new stipulations, your lender will now ask for the following to verify your income:

  • 2 years of personal tax returns (this includes W-2s if you’re paid through your corporation)
  • An unaudited year-to-date (YTD) profit and loss statement that is signed by the borrower and reports business revenue (i.e., gross receipts or sales), expenses, and net income                      Note: The statement must cover the most recent month preceding the application received date.
  • 3 months business account statements no older than the latest two months represented on the YTD profit and loss statement                                                                                                                Note: Personal asset account statements evidencing business deposits and expenses may be used when the borrower owns a small business and does not have a separate business account.

The Road to Approval

Documentation is not the only thing you should consider when it’s time to submit your mortgage application. The road to approval may be clear of speedbumps if you have these four segments of your financial portfolio in order.

Credit Score

If there’s one thing self-employed mortgage applicants share with every other applicant out there, it’s what lenders will view as an acceptable credit score. 

Lenders look to your credit score for information on your debt repayment history, and a better score may equal more favorable loan terms, so be sure to keep your credit score as high as possible at all times.

Debt-To-Income-Ratio 

When it comes to getting a mortgage while self-employed, underwriters look at your existing debts instead of your income. This is how your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is calculated.

Your DTI is a measurement of your income against your recurring debts, and it determines how much money you have available for potential monthly mortgage payments. 

DTI may hold more weight for self-employed borrowers because lenders might view tax write-offs as lowered income. This could result in existing debts becoming a larger share of your approved budget. 

If your DTI is 50% or higher, it may be wise to pay some current debts down before you apply for a mortgage. 

Downpayment

Your lender will also require proof that you have the funds for a down payment, miscellaneous fees, and enough funds to cover the initial monthly mortgage payments. 

This is why having a thorough understanding of your financial situation is so important. If you know that you will not be able to afford these expenses or you’re not willing to make the necessary financial adjustments, you should hold off on applying for a mortgage.

Separate Personal & Business Expenses

People who own businesses tend to intermingle business and personal debts, but this can backfire on those seeking a mortgage. The increase in credit usage may hurt your mortgage application if you charge business purchases, such as office phones or other supplies, to your personal cards or accounts.  

Keeping your business and personal accounts separate will more accurately reflect your financial profile (and increase your chances of being approved for a mortgage). 

Ready to Be a Self-Employed Homeowner?

Landing a mortgage while self-employed doesn’t have to be difficult! All you need is the RIGHT information and the RIGHT preparation to become a homeowner. Think you’re ready to take the next home-buying step? Click here to get started. 

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How to Get a Mortgage in 2021: A Step-by-Step Guide 

For many people, getting a mortgage can feel like learning to walk all over again—that is, if they go into the process uninformed. Information is what separates the runners from the crawlers, and knowing how to prepare will make it that much easier to walk into the front door of your dream home.

Ready to make strides in the home-buying process? Let’s look at how to get a mortgage, step-by-step. 

Step 1: Financial Preparedness is Key

When looking to get a mortgage, be sure you’re financially prepared to take on homeownership. Buying a home is a major investment, and you need to consider how it will affect your finances. Can you save enough for a down payment? Are you deep in debt? Can you cover closing costs? 

If you answered no to any of those questions, you may want to improve your financial situation before applying for a mortgage. 

Additionally, lenders take a close look at your credit score when determining your mortgage eligibility; so make sure your credit score is in good condition before applying for a mortgage. If your credit score needs a little work, give it a boost by paying off debts or holding off on opening new lines of credit until you can secure a mortgage. 

Step 2: Decide Which Mortgage Loan Type Suits Your Needs

There are many loan types out there with different eligibility requirements, so it’s best to learn which one will fit your unique home-buying needs before you apply. 

Here are some loan types you might be interested in:

  • FHA loans have features, such as low down payment options, flexible credit & income guidelines, and a fixed rate, that may make it easier for first-time homebuyers to achieve the dream of homeownership.
  • USDA loans are popular among today’s home buyers because the USDA program offers no-money-down financing where homebuyers can finance 100% of a home’s purchase price.
  • Conventional loans are home loans not insured by the federal government. This type is best suited for borrowers who have a strong credit score, stable employment history, and can make a down payment of at least 3% of the home’s cost. 
  • VA loans are most beneficial for the vast majority of military borrowers. These versatile, $0-down payment mortgages have made it possible for more than 24 million service members to achieve their dream of homeownership. 
  • Jumbo loans are for home prices that exceed federal loan limits. These are best suited for affluent buyers with good credit, a high income, and who can offer a substantial down payment. 
Fixed or Adjustable Rates?

Fixed-rate mortgages keep the same interest rate over the life of your loan. They also provide a consistent monthly payment on your mortgage and come in 15-year, 20-year, or 30-year loans. 

Adjustable-rate mortgages have flexible interest rates that change with market conditions. These come with a certain level of risk but are beneficial if the home is temporary. 

Step 3: What Documentation Is Needed?

You’ll need to have all of your documentation in order before you apply for a mortgage. Here’s a rundown of the paperwork your lender will request.

Proof of Income

A lender will ask for a variety of documents to verify your income. Some items you might need to provide include:

  • 2+ years of federal tax returns
  • 2 most recent W-2s and pay stubs
  • If you’re self-employed, 1099 forms or profit and loss statements, or other additional documents.
  • If applicable, legal documentation that proves you have been receiving child support, alimony, or other types of income for at least 6 months.
Credit Documentation

A lender will always ask for verbal or written permission to view your credit report. While looking at your credit report, lenders will keep an eye out for factors that might exclude you from getting a mortgage (e.g., bankruptcy or foreclosure). If bankruptcy or foreclosure are present on your credit report, you might have to wait a number of years before you’ll become eligible for a mortgage.

Proof of Assets & Liabilities 

It’s possible that a lender might request some of the following documents to verify your assets: 

  • Up to 60 days’ worth of account statements that confirm the assets in your checking and savings accounts
  • The most recent statement from your retirement or investment account
  • Documents highlighting the sale of any assets you released before you applied (e.g., a copy of title transfer for a sold car)

How To Get A Mortgage With MortgageRight

Step 4: Preapproval

Preapproval is the process of learning how much a lender is willing to lend you to purchase your home, and there are some big advantages of getting preapproved before starting the mortgage application process. 

For one, it shows sellers that you can make a solid offer up to a specific price. Preapproval also gives you a better understanding of your mortgage costs because lenders will determineand provide details on your interest rate, APR, fees, and other closing costs.

During the preapproval process, MortgageRight will seek to provide the mortgage option(s) we think best fit your needs. We will show you different mortgage solutions and how much you can qualify for.

Step 5: Submit your Application

Even if you have already been preapproved, you still need to formally submit your most recent financial documents when you apply for a mortgage. Outside of the previously mentioned Proof of Income documents, these can include:

  • Proof of other sources of income
  • Recent bank statements
  • Details on long-term debts (e.g., car or student loans)
  • ID and Social Security number
  • Documentation of recent deposits in your bank accounts
  • Documentation of any funds or gifts used for a down payment

*Depending on the type of mortgage you’re getting, other documentation may be required. 

Within three business days, MortgageRight will give you an initial loan estimate, which consists of:

  • The cost of the loan
  • Associated fees and closing costs
  • Interest rate and APR.
Step 6: Enter the Underwriting Process

During this process, an underwriter will verify your assets and finances with the documentation you have provided during your application submittal.

MortgageRight will also verify details about the property you want to purchase. This usually encompasses:

  • Ordering an appraisal 
  • Verification of the home’s title
  • Scheduling any state-required inspections. 

When underwriting is finalized, you’ll receive a Closing Disclosure document.

A Closing Disclosure will tell you important information about your mortgage, including your monthly payment, down payment, interest rate, and closing costs. If you have any questions regarding the Closing Disclosure, you may discuss them with your Loan Originator prior to the scheduled closing date. 

Step 7: Close on Your Home

When your loan gets approved, you will be scheduled to attend closing at the closing agent’s office. This closing session is the perfect time to ask any last-minute questions you may have about your loan. Remember to bring your Closing Disclosure, a valid photo ID, and your down payment. Once you sign on that dotted line, you will officially become a homeowner!

Are You Ready To Secure A Mortgage?

A lot of organization, documentation, and time goes into getting a mortgage, but if you prepare as much as you can beforehand, things should go smoothly for you. Think you’re ready to take that first step toward getting a mortgage? We’ll walk beside you! Click here to get started!

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Budgeting Down Payment First-time Homebuyer Homebuying Homebuying Tips Mortgages Pre-approval Purchase

Cease Your Lease: Advantages of Buying a Home

Owning a home has been a rite of passage for generations, but in recent years, one obstacle has kept people from their home-buying goals—rent. While many have broken free from the leash of a lease, one group still clings to the world of renting.

Millennials: Stuck in The Rent Ring

For the millennial generation (those born between 1981 – 1996), rent is an ever-present—and often welcome—expense. According to data from the Pew Research Center, more millennials choose to rent over buying a home compared to generations prior. Several factors play into many millennials’ decision to continue renting. Past economic decline, postponement of marriage, the housing bubble, and freedom to apartment hop have all lead millennials to stick with their landlords. But as the housing market continues to improve, millennials need to know that the American Dream of owning their own home is still within reach. 

Top 3 Reasons to Buy vs. Rent 

1). Owning a home will benefit you in the long run

Renting your home (or apartment) means shelling out income to a landlord and putting nothing toward an investment you own. Buying a home trumps renting because it can result in financial gain in the future. When you buy a home with a 30-year mortgage and make the required payments, you will come out owning your home, and money will stop coming out of your pockets. However, if you rent a property, you will have nothing to show for all the time and money you put toward paying your rent. 

2). Boosted equity as property values rise

Rising home values are the name of the game (and are expected to be on the ups for the foreseeable future), which makes homeownership a profitable long-term investment. According to Zillow, the average U.S. home price has increased 13.2% from May 2020 to 2021—a record rise since the company began aggregating housing data in 1996. 

This increase in property values is critical when deciding to buy versus rent because owning a home can result in a significant return if your home is sold at a higher value than it is purchased. And, with each monthly mortgage payment, you boost the amount of equity—a tangible growth in your home value that you can borrow against—you have in your home. 

3). Avoid constant rent increases

Though the amount may be unpredictable, one thing is for sure, your rent is going to rise (likely every year). With steadily rising rent comes constant budget changes and potential overpayment for a property that does not live up to its price tag in living conditions. Sound like a nightmare? Well, with a fixed-rate mortgage, you will always pay the same amount each month on a home you own, and you can’t be kicked out by a landlord!

*The Principal and Interest payment remains the same on a fixed-rate mortgage. Typically, only the escrow portion of the payment (insurance and property tax amount) increases. 

Breaking the Cycle: Letting Go of Beliefs That Keep You with a Lease

Bright lights can bog you down

We get it—the lure of living in the big city is strong for millennials, but a large metropolitan area could only offer you sky-high rent prices (as opposed to a fixed-rate home with a backyard). If those city lights are beginning to blind you, consider moving to a more rural area just outside and landing a home that suits you with a USDA loan

Don’t let debt stop you from getting a house with a deck

Student loan debt is a massive concern for many who want to leave renter life behind, but being debt-free isn’t a requirement when buying a home or qualifying for a mortgage. Lenders do consider your current debt, including any associated with student loans, but only to determine your DTI (Debt-to-Income Ratio). Your DTI is simply a measurement of your income against recurring debts, and lenders look to it to decide whether you will be in a financial position to make payments on a possible mortgage. The more debt you have, the more likely you are to fall behind on your payments. But don’t lose hope—lenders have varying options when it comes to DTI ratios. 

*Most lenders prefer a potential borrower’s DTI to be about 35% or lower during the approval process. 

Tie the knot after finding your way home

In a report about millennial home-buying trends, Bank of America states, “Life events such as getting married or having children are typical triggers to buying a home. The longer this age group lives with parents or independently, the more homeownership will be delayed,” However, this does not have to be the route you take. Even if your social media status says single, you should still be seeking to own a home to build wealth for your future—and an FHA loan (or a VA loan if you are military-affiliated and eligible) can help a new home be your plus one.

Ready To Leave Your Lease Behind? 

Buying a home is a huge step for up-and-coming generations, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. If you’re ready to let go of the leasing life and start living life, we can help! Getting a quote or pre-approval letter is easy. To get started, click here

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‘C’ Your Way to a New Home

Worthiness. For some, it is innate. For others, it is forged by a lifetime of trial and error. And when it comes to buying a home, creditworthiness is a determining factor in whether you will be handed the keys to your new haven. 

 

The Five Cs of Credit

 

The Five Cs of Credit is a classification of characteristics—character, capacity, capital, collateral, and conditions—that lenders use to ascertain the creditworthiness of a potential borrower. 

 

Character – Not to be confused with Luke Skywalker or James Bond, the first C refers to a borrower’s general trustworthiness, credibility, and personality. The function of this C is to determine whether the borrower is responsible and can be relied upon to make on-time payments on their mortgage (or other debts). Lenders typically look to a borrower’s credit history and interactions with previous lenders to evaluate their character; work experience, references, credentials, and overall reputation may come under the microscope as well. 

 

Capacity – The second C refers to a borrower’s ability to repay a mortgage loan by measuring income against recurring debts. This process is known as the debt-to-income ratio (DTI), which is calculated by adding up a borrower’s total monthly debt payments and dividing that summation by the borrower’s gross monthly income. Though acceptable DTI ratios vary between lenders, most prefer a potential borrower’s ratio to be about 35% or lower during the approval process. 

 

Capital – If you’re a borrower, putting money down is one of the best ways to up your chances of securing the mortgage you’re seeking. Lenders want to see a borrower that is committed to their investment, and what better proof is there than putting your own capital on the line? Typically, when it comes to the third C, the higher the down payment, the more vested the borrower is in the property. 

 

Collateral – A borrower’s assets are the key to this C. When it comes to landing a mortgage, the home is the collateral the borrower pledges to obtain the loan. It is important to maintain your account to avoid compromising your new home.

 

Conditions – The final C consists of lenders focusing on financial factors outside of the borrower’s control. The overall health of the economy and other loan specifics—such as interest rates and the amount of the principal—come into play here. If the lender determines that any of these external factors will inhibit a potential borrower’s ability to repay the loan, the loan my not be approved. 

 

Improving your worth

 

It’s one thing to understand the five Cs, but you may need to take steps to improve one or more components when considering purchasing a new home. Here are a few ways you can better your overall financial situation and bolster your creditworthiness using the five Cs:

 

Be consistent with payments – Credit score is one of the largest determining factors of your FICO score, and it typically increases when making monthly payments on time. If you find yourself lost in the onslaught of monthly bill payments, consider adding an automatic payment system into the mix to keep payments consistent and demonstrate your good character to future lenders. 

 

Consider paying your debts off early – In both nature and lending situations, the old adage “the early bird gets the worm” rings true. Making extra payments or paying off debts early can improve your credit score and decrease your debt-to-income ratio. These factors tie into your capacity to repay your mortgage and lower the risk you pose to a lender. 

 

Boost your savings – Extra funds can mean easier approval when it comes to landing a mortgage. Having the capital on hand to use as a down payment on your home will make you more desirable in the eyes of the lender. To increase your savings, try implementing an easy-to-follow budgeting strategy

 

 

You’re Worthy? We’re Ready.

 

If you think you’ve mastered the five Cs of credit, it’s time to get a quote! Do you have more questions about increasing your creditworthiness? Download our FREE Credit Repair Guide.

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Bring Home the Bacon: The Ins & Outs of a Cash-Out Refinance

Picture This: You come home from a hard day’s work only to find the paint chipping from your walls and high-interest debt chipping away at your bank account. With a sigh, you throw yourself down in your favorite recliner and stare up at the ceiling in defeat—until it hits you. There is a reason a home is considered one of the best investments you can make in your lifetime, and using the roof over your head to put cash in your pocket might be just what you need to get your life back on track.

What Is a Cash-Out Refinance?

When refinancing a mortgage, you replace your existing loan with a new one for the same amount—usually at a lower interest rate to reduce mortgage payments. But with a cash-out refinance, you substitute your current home loan with a new mortgage that is higher than your outstanding loan balance. 

A cash-out refinance makes the most of the equity you have built over time by letting you pocket the difference between the two mortgages in cash. This lump sum opens the door for consolidating high-interest debt, making important purchases, or tackling large-scale home renovation projects.

The Equity of It All

Home equity is the backbone of a cash-out refinance, so let’s look at the numbers. 

Say you purchased a home at $250,000, and its value has risen to $300,000. Having lived in the home for five years, you have managed to pay your mortgage down to $215,000. 

The equity built in your home is simply the difference between your mortgage balance and your home’s value. Which, in this example, is $85,000.

*Though you might be itching to utilize the entire amount, lenders generally only allow you to withdraw a portion of it. Assuming you can only refinance 80% of the home’s value, you take out $17,000 in cash, while $68,000 remains in the home. 

Yays & Nays of a Cash-Out Refinance

Yays:

The advantages of a cash-out refinance often outweigh those of other loan options. Here’s how a cash-out refinance can help your finances thrive:

  • Land a lower interest rate – Generally, a mortgage refinance is an opportunity to get a lower interest rate than you would if you opted for a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) or a home equity loan. This benefit also applies to a cash-out refinance with the added perk of pocketing some cash you might need. 
  • Fund home improvement projects – One of the easiest ways to add value to your home and boost your overall homeowning experience is to start home improvement projects. Renovating your bathroom or giving your kitchen a facelift can increase your home’s appeal and future selling potential. 
  • Consolidate high-interest debts and pay them off – Are you drowning in debt? Using a cash-out refinance to pay off high-interest credit cards (and other debt) can bring you back above water and save you thousands in future interest payments.  
  •  Pay for other expenses – Have a child going off to college soon? You can use your home’s equity to pay for your child’s tuition in the event of student loan interest rates being higher than the rate of your refinanced mortgage. Just want the money to splurge? Have at it! You can use the lump sum you receive from a cash-out refinance to purchase virtually anything.
Nays:

Though beneficial for many homeowners, a cash-out refinance isn’t always the best choice for every situation. Here’s why you might want to consider alternatives:

  • Higher interest rate than expected – Getting a cash-out refinance might seem like a no-brainer, but be sure it is working in your favor. Generally, you want to refinance if the outcome will be a lower interest rate. If a cash-out refinance ends in an interest-rate spike, it might not be the route you want to take. 
  • You can’t avoid closing costs  – Because a cash-out refinance is still a refinance, you have to pay closing costs. Typically, the closing costs are deducted from the cash you are receiving and not out of pocket. It is always a good idea to consider the overall financial benefit of a cash-out refinance. If your potential savings are less than the costs, a cash-out refinance might not make sense for your situation. 
  • Taking a chance with your home – Though a cash-out refinance is yours to use however you choose, always be aware of the risk that comes with using your home as collateral. Be sure to take out no more than the amount you need, and put it toward a project that is guaranteed to benefit you financially.
  • Enabling unhealthy financial habits – As tempting as it may be to use your home as a cash cow, tapping your home’s equity to finance every expense could cause a sense of false security and, ultimately, lead to a resurfacing of the debts you initially paid off.  

Do You Qualify?

To reap the benefits of a cash-out refinance, you need to qualify. Much like getting a mortgage for a new home, if you are considering a cash-out refinance, your qualification for the loan will be based on your credit score, finances, and property. 

While requirements for a cash-out refinance differ between lenders and the type of loan, these are the general criteria: 

  • More than 20% equity in your home 
  • Verification of the home’s value with a new appraisal
  • A minimum credit score of 620
  • Debt-to-income ratio (including the new loan) of 43% or less
  • Employment and income verification

The Big Picture: Is a Cash-Out Refinance Your Best Option?

Whether you want to revamp your basement or knockdown debt, a cash-out refinance can be an attractive option when it comes to meeting your financial goals. Are you still on the fence about a refinance? Reach out to MortgageRight, and we’ll help you down. 

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Budgeting Homebuying Homebuying Tips Interest Rates Loans Mortgages Purchase Refinance

Take Advantage of Unheard-Of Interest Rates

2020 is shaping up to be an interesting year for the US housing markets. The combination of a global pandemic and an election year has led to historically low-interest rates. Now is a great time to assess your financial situation and develop a plan to take advantage of this unprecedented time in the housing market. And these low-interest rates are no secret; applications to refinance have gone up by 80% to the highest level since the financial crisis of 2009. Even though this may be a stressful time in the stock market with uncertainty about the future, taking advantage of these low-interest rates is a concrete step you can take towards financial security in insecure times. Don’t get anxious, get proactive! We don’t know how long rates will stay this low, so now is the time to act!

 According to the Federal Reserve, the rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage has been about 3.75% in early 2020, and recent events have taken it even lower. That means if your rate is above 4%, you could benefit from refinancing! If you currently have a VA, FHA, or USDA loan, we have even more good news. You don’t have to have an appraisal to refinance to a lower rate.  

Here are some ideas for ways to take advantage of low-interest rates:

  • Refinance your mortgage – lower your payments by thousands of dollars or cut your term in half!
  • Refinance other loans such as student loans 
  • Make large, one-time payments on other debt.
  • Consolidate and pay off your debt – pay off high-interest credit cards to save money.
  • Purchase a new or second home – whether you’ve been looking for a vacation house, an investment property, or an upgrade for your family, now is the time! 
  • Start a business – use your savings as a nest egg to finance your dream company.

Call (205) 776-8401 to speak to any of our Mortgage Loan Experts to discuss your financial goals and find out how we can help you save thousands with a refinance. Or, head on over to our website and click the Apply Now button for an online application. 

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Budgeting Credit Homebuying Tips Interest Rates Loans Mortgages

How Do Interest Rates Work?

Although we may not like it, loans come with interest, and that includes mortgages. While this is unavoidable when securing a mortgage loan, understanding how interest rates work can help you determine the type of loan that is best for your situation. 

Banks and lenders offer two primary types of loans: fixed-rate and adjustable-rate. Let’s explore the differences between the two. 

Fixed-Rate Mortgages

In a fixed-rate mortgage, the interest rate does not change. Therefore, the monthly payments will be the same over the entire life of the loan. Most loans have a 30-year repayment period, although shorter loan periods are available. Shorter loan terms come with higher monthly payments, but the interest rate and the total amount of your payments will be lower. 

Your annual loan interest rate will be divided by 12 to get your monthly interest payment. If your annual interest rate is 4%, your monthly interest rate is 0.3%. Take this example:

Loan Amount: $180,000

Loan Period: 30 years

Monthly Payment before Interest: $500 

Annual Interest: 4%

Monthly Interest: 0.3%

Monthly Mortgage Payment: $650

Part of your monthly payment goes toward paying off the principal, or mortgage balance, but a significant portion goes toward interest on the loan. With each passing month, the principal gets a little smaller, meaning the percentage of your payment that goes to interest gets smaller. 

Adjustable-Rate Mortgages

With an adjustable-rate mortgage, the interest rate can fluctuate, allowing the monthly payment to change over time. While this inconsistency can cause hesitation, most adjustable-rate mortgages limit how high the interest rate can go and how often it can change. Your monthly payment will recalculate every time the rate goes up or down. 

These rates usually start significantly lower than rates on fixed-rate mortgages, and they are guaranteed to last for the first few years. This benefits individuals who do not plan to live in the home longer than the rate is guaranteed. 

What Affects Mortgage Interest Rates?

Several factors affect mortgage interest rates, including inflation and monetary policy. Inflation is an estimate of the change in the value of the dollar. $1 buys more today than it will ten years from now, so lenders charge interest to cover the cost of inflation while earning a profit. The Federal Reserve’s monetary policies also have effects throughout the economy, including interest rates. Mortgage lenders monitor these factors and adjust rates accordingly. 

Another factor that affects interest rates is supply and demand. Downward pressure on interest rates increases when demand for homes decreases as more people opt to rent. 

Those outside environmental factors affect the market rates, but your financial history and credit score significantly affect the individualized interest rate you will receive. 

The good news is that mortgage rates are some of the lowest they have ever been, although they won’t stay that way forever. 

How Will Interest Rates Affect My Mortgage Payment?

To get an idea of how much your payment will be each month, try our free mortgage calculator! While many factors affect your monthly payment, this tool will give you the insight you need to get started.

If you’re ready for a quote or preapproval, visit our homepage for thee resources, or email us at contact@MortgageRight.com to lock in a low mortgage rate today! 

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Budgeting Credit Down Payment First-time Homebuyer Home Inspections Homebuying Homebuying Tips Interest Rates Loans Mortgages Purchase

Mortgages 101: Everything You Need to Know About This Home Buying Process

Purchasing a home is an exciting process. However, it can be intimidating when you consider all the decisions and details leading up to closing day. 

We want to help make the process just a little easier. To do so, we put together some of the most frequently asked questions about mortgages and the mortgage process – a Mortgage 101, if you will. By the end of this blog, you’ll be even closer to getting your dream home!

  1. How do I start the mortgage process?

Before submitting your mortgage application, you’ll need to have an idea of the type of mortgage loan you want, ensure your credit report is error-free, choose your lender, get pre-approved, and assemble your loan paperwork. 

If that sounds like a lot — just hold tight. We are going to break each of these down further in the following questions. 

  1. How do I know which type of mortgage loan is right for me?

There are many types of mortgages available to choose from based on requirements, interest rates, and availability. Some of the most common are conventional mortgages, government-insured mortgages, fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, and jumbo mortgages. 

To help you get an idea of the mortgage that’s right for you, we wrote a blog on each of these types (and more!) and broke them down into their characteristics and benefits. Read about them here!

  1. Can I get a mortgage loan without a credit score?

It is more challenging to get a mortgage loan without a credit score, but it’s not impossible. As we mentioned in the previous question, you can get an FHA loan with low or no credit. However, this can incur greater costs in the long run with fees and insurance. 

If you don’t have a credit score — the best process for you is finding a lender who does manual underwriting. Manual underwriting is a hands-on process that reviews your proof of income, rental history, and other documents to evaluate your ability to pay debts. In addition to documentation, you’ll need to have a sizable downpayment (20% if possible), allowing you to get a mortgage loan — suggest going for the 15-year conventional. 

  1. How should I choose a mortgage lender?

First and foremost, do your research. What are your options? Should you check out a credit union, mortgage banker, or smaller financial institution?

Come with the right questions. The more you know beforehand, the more you are positioned to ask the relevant questions to help you make your decisions. This guide can help! Start by figuring out what type of loan(s) you are interested in and what you can afford. 

  1. What is pre-approval? How do I get pre-approved?

A pre-approval determines how much money you can borrow to purchase your home. Lenders will analyze your income, assets, and credit score to determine the type of loan you can get approved for, how much you can borrow, and what the interest rate will be. 

Pre-approval is a practical step in the mortgage process, as you can show sellers that a lender is willing to loan you the money. It makes the searching process more straightforward and can make your offer on a home stronger. 

  1. Are pre-qualification and pre-approval the same?

While they ultimately aim to reach the same goal, a pre-qualification is not as accurate as a pre-approval because it is less in-depth. A prequalification is more of an estimate because you do not have to provide as much information, such as your credit report. However, both are beneficial in giving insight into your loan opportunities. 

  1. What information should I have available when applying for a loan?

You’re getting closer and closer to locking down that mortgage loan! First, you’ll need to submit the official mortgage application through your lender. You’ll also need your ID, proof of income, tax returns, bank statements, retirement or investment account statements, rent history, credit report, and possibly a few others if specified by your lender. You may even have most of these nearby if you have gone through the pre-approval process! 

  1. Do I need to do a home appraisal and inspection? Why?

Yes! Lenders require a home appraisal before issuing a mortgage. Although it’s a worst-case scenario, they want to make sure the home is valued high enough to recover the cost of the loan if the buyer defaults on the mortgage. 

Inspections, however, are optional — but highly beneficial. It can often be the deciding factor in finding the home right for you. Here are 10 things buyers should know about home inspections!

  1. What homes can I afford, and what will my mortgage payments cost?

One of the most important factors to consider before beginning the search for a new home is your budget. You have to consider the down payment necessary for your new home and the monthly cost of the mortgage. Your mortgage payment is affected by a few factors, including your credit, DTI (debt-to-income ratio), and current assets. It also depends on how many years you want to spread the payment over. 

Once you have an idea of how much your home will cost, try our mortgage calculator! It will provide a helpful estimate of what your mortgage payment will be each month. 

  1. What does a lender look for when approving my mortgage loan?

As we have mentioned, your mortgage loan approval is affected significantly by your credit history, debt-to-income ratio, and current assets. When checking your credit history, lenders will look for:

  • Few to no recent credit applications
  • Positive payment history
  • Credit utilization (only using around 30% of your credit limit at once)
  • Being an authorized user on another account (their activity can reflect your credit)
  • Bankruptcies or other negative marks (delinquent account, charge-offs, etc.)

In addition to making sure you have a stable income, your lender will also assess how much of your current income goes to pay off debts. If this is a significant amount, the lender may determine that you are not well-suited to take on more debt, or your interest rate may be higher. 

Lastly, lenders will often want to see any bank statements or investments, as high-value assets will reflect positively on your ability to make a sizable down payment or pay your mortgage on time each month. 

Bonus Question: Can I Start Now?

Absolutely! At MortgageRight, we help people like you find the mortgage that’s right for you by securing your pre-approval letter and low rates. To start your home buying journey today, head over to our home page and click the quote or pre-approval button in the top right-hand corner. Just a few clicks will get you that much closer to the long-awaited move-in day! Do you have a question that’s not on this list? Feel free to email us at contact@mortgageright.com or give us a call at (205) 776-8401, and we will be happy to answer it for you!

Categories
Budgeting Homebuying Tips Loans Mortgages

What Is Your Next Big Investment? These Budgeting Tips Will Help Make It Happen.

Budgeting seems such a daunting task. We start with our monthly income, then start carving it up into smaller and smaller pieces as we subtract expenses. Take another look, and you just might realize the process is really an empowering experience.  

That’s because budgeting gives us something akin to superpowers in helping us reach our goals. That said, we offer the following ideas on how to set up a budget, as well as a few tips on how to tackle debt, pay bills on time, and boost your credit score.  

What Is Your Budget?

In its most basic sense, a budget is your income after taxes, minus all your monthly expenses. Some of the costs you want to be sure to account for are:

  • Mortgage (or rent, if you’ve yet to purchase your first home)
  • Utilities
  • Insurance (health, life, car, etc.)
  • Groceries
  • Phone bill
  • School/Childcare
  • Subscription services (lawn care, cable, gym memberships, etc.)
  • Vehicle (payments, maintenance, and gas)
  • In addition to making automobile payments, consider adding line items to pay down other debt (see below).
  • Lastly, if at all possible, add a line item for savings. This could be for unforeseen expenses, as well as for things like gifts, a child’s college fund, and retirement.

Write out your budget, and most importantly, track it. Your budget will probably change slightly from month to month, but it will still provide a good overview of your expenditures. Tracking allows you to analyze and make changes if needed in the future. 

Minimize Your Debt

Prioritize paying off any outstanding debt by including it in your budget as a “necessary” expense. While you can still buy a house if you have outstanding debt, eliminating or reducing it will allow you to do any number of things, not the least of which is raise your credit score and help you in the home loan approval process. 

Set Up Automatic Bill Pay

Late fees are the worst — especially when they’re the result of an unfortunate mix up about a due date or just plain old, ordinary forgetfulness. Automatic bill pay can help eliminate such mistakes by paying your bills on a schedule that you set up. 

One suggestion, however – before your start auto-pay, make sure your budgeting work doesn’t need adjustments by tracking it for a few months. A simple error in math or a forgotten bill could result in those very late fees you’re trying to avoid. For extra assurance, you might also set reminders for due dates, even with auto-pay, to remember how much money will come out of your account and when. 

Keep Yourself Accountable

It can be easy to lose sight of your budget goal if you’re the only one responsible for it. Share your expectations with a spouse, friend, or family member who is willing to check-in and make sure you’re on track. Let them know where you plan to cut back and ask them to help hold you to it. 

Set benchmarks for each month! Determine how much you want to save and celebrate each success along the way to your goal. You’ll soon realize your new home, special occasion/holiday gift, or home improvement project is within reach … 

Reach Your Goal With MortgageRight!

Whether you’re looking to purchase a new home or refinance your current home, MortgageRight is lending as it should be. We can help you apply your budget to a low-rate mortgage that is right for you. 

To learn more about how we can help you plan for tomorrow – including that all-important step of getting pre-approved — give us a call at 205-776-8401!

Categories
Budgeting Down Payment Homebuying Homebuying Tips Mortgages Purchase

Mortgage Loans Offering Down Payment Assistance

Assistance for First-Time Homebuyers

Many first-time buyers think they need to have 20% saved up for a down payment, plus funds to cover closing costs. But if not having these funds is the only thing standing between you and buying your first home, don’t worry. Gift funds, down payment assistance, and specialty programs tailored specifically for first time buyers can help you move forward to get the home today.

First-time homebuyer programs are designed to help new buyers achieve their goals of homeownership. These programs generally help remove one of the largest obstacles first-time buyers must overcome when purchasing a home – The Down Payment.

There are even opportunities to qualify for a first-time program even if you have purchased a home before.

A larger down payment is generally recommended for buyers who want to avoid paying mortgage insurance, but saving those funds can take time. For many buyers, the money needed for a down payment can be one of the biggest hurdles to buying their first home.

Fortunately, there are loan programs that contain down payment assistance programs specifically designed to help first-time buyers who have little, or even no cash saved for a down payment.

So, if you have been worrying about where to find the funds needed to purchase your very first home, take a look at a few of the first-time homebuyer down payment assistance programs currently available today:

Loan Products

FHA Loans – FHA loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration, and these government backed loans have been designed specifically to help buyers achieve their goal of homeownership. FHA loans have lower down payment requirements compared to conventional (private lender) mortgages. With an FHA loan, your down payment can be as low as 3.5% and can be gifted to you from a family member or friend. FHA loan guidelines are also more lenient, and allow for lower credit scores and lower debt ratios. They will also allow the seller to contribute towards closing costs.

USDA Loans – The only government backed loan program that offers 100% financing for all qualifying borrowers, a USDA loan is a great option for first-time buyers looking for a zero down payment option. USDA loans do have some very specific eligibility requirements, including the location of the property. USDA 100% financing loans are intended for buyers who want to purchase rural property outside of major metro areas.

VA Loans – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs insures VA loans and helps veterans, active military persons, and surviving spouses purchase their dream homes. VA loans are available with up to 100% financing, have no mortgage insurance requirements, and offer more flexible eligibility guidelines.

From help with closing costs to 100% financing, MortgageRight can help you understand the many programs available to help first-time homebuyers achieve their goal of homeownership.

Buying your first home is exciting and you have many loan programs and options available to you. Partnering with an experienced mortgage loan officer is an important part of buying your first home. From help with closing costs to 100% financing, MortgageRight can help you understand the many programs available to help first-time homebuyers achieve their goal of homeownership.

Contact MortgageRight at 205.776.8401 or Contact@MortgageRight.com for more information.