Tag Archives: mortgages

What does a mortgage broker do? Your step-by-step guide

What does a mortgage broker do? A mortgage broker is a licensed individual who helps you select the mortgage product that best suits your financing needs. They do this by comparing mortgage products offered by a variety of lenders. A mortgage broker acts as the quarterback for your financing, passing the ball between you, the borrower, and the lender.

To be clear, mortgage brokers do much more than help you get a simple mortgage on your home. They can help you access equity, refinance current properties, purchase investment properties, and a myriad of other tasks to support your financial well-being.

When you go to the bank, the bank can only offer you the products and services it has available. A bank isn’t likely to tell you to go down the street to its competitor who offers a mortgage product better suited to your needs. Unlike a bank, a mortgage broker often has relationships with dozens of lenders (oftentimes some lenders that don’t directly deal with the public), making his chances that much better of finding a lender with the best mortgage for you.

Now that you have a better understanding of what does a mortgage broker do, let’s look at how a typical mortgage application looks.

Step-by-step guide to a mortgage application

What does a mortgage broker do to win your business? Your relationship with a mortgage broker will usually start with an introduction from someone you trust like a family member or friend. Or, you may find your mortgage broker online. You’ll often set up an initial phone call to go over your mortgage financing needs.

Your mortgage broker will typically ask you some basic questions about how much you’re looking to spend on a property, how much you earn and how much you intend to put down on the property. If you’re looking to refinance, access equity, or obtain a second mortgage, they will require information about your current loans already in place.

Once your mortgage broker has a good idea about what you’re looking for, he can hone in on the best mortgage solutions.

In many cases, your mortgage broker may have almost everything he needs to proceed with a mortgage application at this point. If everything goes well, he’ll ask you to provide some documentation, such as a letter of employment, notices of assessment and pay stubs to submit your application to a lender.

If you’ve already made an offer on a property and it’s been accepted, your broker will submit your application as a live deal. Once the broker has a mortgage commitment back from the lender, he’ll go over any conditions that need to be met (an appraisal, proof of income, proof of down payment, etc.).

Once you’ve completed the mortgage commitment, your broker will usually submit the paperwork and any additional documentation to the lender to sign off on. Once all the lender conditions have been met, your broker should ensure legal instructions are sent to your lawyer. Your broker should continue to check in on you throughout the process to ensure everything goes smoothly.

This, in a nutshell, is how a mortgage application works.

Why use a mortgage broker

You may be wondering why you should use a mortgage broker. Isn’t it better to just go down to the local bank branch and get help with your financial needs there?

The main advantage of using a mortgage broker is that they deal with dozens of lenders and hundreds of products. Your broker should be well-versed in the mortgage products of all these lenders. This means you’re more likely to find the best mortgage product that suits your needs.

If you’re an individual with damaged credit or you’re buying a property that’s in less than stellar condition, this is where a broker can be worth their weight in gold. Since they have access to many lenders, they are more likely to find you a lender that can assist you, unlike the banks, which may turn down your mortgage application or offer your a higher interest rate.

Even if you’ve been offered a decent mortgage from your bank, using a mortgage broker means you’re doing your own due diligence. Your broker may be able to find you a better lending solution than your bank is offering. You won’t know unless you pick up on the phone and contact a mortgage broker.

Free service: When you work with a mortgage broker, in most cases you won’t have to pay them a dime. That’s because your broker is usually compensated directly by the lender. You can get unbiased mortgage advice at zero cost – it doesn’t get any better than that!

Just be aware that some lenders offer more compensation than others. You’ll want a broker who is honest and will put you with the best lender for you, despite another lender paying a higher finder’s fee.

Save time and money: By using a mortgage broker, not only can you save money, but you can save time. When you shop on your own for a mortgage, you’ll need to apply for a mortgage at each lender. A broker, on the other hand, should know the lenders like the back of their hand and should be able to hone in on the lender that’s best for you, saving you time and protecting your credit score from being lowered by applying at too many lenders.

Negotiate on your behalf: Your broker can negotiate on your behalf with various lenders to help find you the best mortgage solution. Be sure to ask your broker how many lenders he deals with, as some brokers have access to more lenders than others and may do a higher volume of business than others, which means you’ll likely get a better rate.

This was an overview of working with a mortgage broker. By working with a broker, you’ll better your chances of negotiating a better deal on your mortgage with a lender of your choosing.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , ,

Mark Cuban Says the Best Investment Is Paying Off Your Debt — Is He Right?

Mark Cuban Says the Best Investment Is Paying Off Your Debt -- Is He Right?

Image credit: Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock via GOBankingRates

Billionaire investor and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban said that the safest investment you can make right now is to pay off your debt, according to an interview with Kitco News earlier this year.

 

“The reason for that is whatever interest you have — it might be a student loan with a 7 percent interest rate — if you pay off that loan, you’re making 7 percent,” said Cuban. “And so that’s your immediate return, which is a lot safer than trying to pick a stock, or trying to pick real estate or whatever it may be.”

Cuban is mostly right: More often than not, paying down debt as fast as possible is going to provide the most value in the long run. And perhaps more importantly, it will do so without any real risk that comes with most investing. That said, each person’s financial situation is different, so it is worth a closer look at when it’s better to pay off debt or invest.

Debt is like investing but in reverse.

One important thing to note is that the same principals that make investing so important also make paying off your debt similarly crucial. As Cuban points out, the interest rate on your loan is essentially like the rate of return on your investments but backward. In fact, many investments are simply ways you’re letting your money get loaned out to others in exchange for them paying interest.

As such, it’s important to keep in mind that as satisfying as it might be to watch your money grow in investments, it’s doing just the opposite when you have debt.

Every loan is different.

Although debt chips away at your net worth through interest, it’s important to note that different types of borrowing do so in very different ways. Every loan is different, with some offering terms that are actually quite favorable and others that can be excessively costly.

An overdue payday loan can lay waste to your financial health in no time, but a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a competitive rate can be relatively easy to manage with good planning. Borrowers should be sure they understand what kind of debt they have and how it’s affecting their finances.

 

Focus on the interest rate.

The key factor to take note of when considering how to allocate funds is the interest rate — usually expressed as your APR. Debt with a high APR is almost always going to be better to pay down before you focus on any other financial priorities beyond the most basic necessities.

The average APR on credit cards as of August 2018 was 14.38 percent. That’s well in excess of what anyone can reasonably expect to sustain as a return on most investments, so it shouldn’t be hard to see that investing instead of paying down your credit card is almost always going to cost you money in the long run.

Does your interest compound?

Another crucial factor in understanding how your debts and your investments differ is whether or not your interest is compounding. Compounding interest — like that on most credit cards — means that the money you pay in interest is added to the amount due and you’ll then have to pay interest on it in the future. That can lead to debt snowballing and growing exponentially. So, not only do credit cards have high interest rates, but they also make for debt that’s growing faster and faster unless you take action to pay it down.

However, that same principle can work in reverse. Gains on something like stocks will also compound over time, so there’s a similar dynamic at work when comparing your investment returns to fixed interest costs.

Know your risk tolerance.

Another factor that plays a big part in the conversation is your level of risk tolerance. Note that the question Cuban was responding to earlier was about what the “safest” investment was. For most people, erring well on the side of caution when it comes to something like personal finance just makes sense, and in that case, focusing on paying off debt is pretty crucial.

However, others might decide that the long-term payoffs that are possible make it worth rolling the dice on their future. Borrowing money for investments is common despite the risks associated, with everyone from massive investment banks to investors with margin accounts opting to take a calculated risk that their returns will ultimately outpace the cost of borrowing.

 

Costs of debt are set, investment returns often are not.

One important aspect of understanding the risks involved is that the cost of your debt is usually set and predictable, but the returns on your investments are not. It might be easy to look at the historical returns of the S&P 500 at just under 10 percent a year and assume that it’s worth it to put off paying down debt for an S&P 500 ETF or index fund as long as your APR is under 10 percent.

However, that long-term average does not reflect just how chaotic the markets really are. Sure, it might average out to about 10 percent, but some years will be in the negative — sometimes over 30 percent into the red. Even with bonds — where your rate of return is fixed — there is always a chance that the borrower will default and leave you with nothing.

If you have a variable rate loan

Of course, if your loan has variable interest rates, the equation changes yet again. You could see your interest rate rise or fall depending on what the Federal Reserve does, adding another layer of uncertainty to the decision — especially when it’s impossible to say with certainty which direction interest rates are headed in for the long run.

So, although debt will typically have more certainty associated with its costs than investing, that’s not always the case and variable rate loans could change things for some borrowers.

Don’t forget taxes.

You should also remember that the tax code includes a number of provisions that promote investment, and those can boost the value of investing. In particular, contributions to a 401(k) or traditional IRA are made with before-tax income, meaning that you can invest much more of that money than you would have with your after-tax income that would be used to pay down debt.

That’s especially true when you have an employer who matches your 401(k) contributions. If your employer matches, you’re essentially getting a chance to not just avoid paying taxes on that income, but you’re doubling its value the moment you invest — before it’s even started to accrue returns.

 

Some opportunities are unique.

Another important factor to consider is what type of investments you can make. In some very specific cases, you might have access to an investment opportunity that brings with it huge potential returns that could tip the scale. Maybe a specific local real estate investment you’re particularly familiar with or a startup company run by a family member where you can get in on the ground floor.

Opportunities like this usually come with enormous risks, but they can also create transformational shifts in wealth when they pay off. Obviously, you have to gauge each opportunity very carefully and make some hard choices, but if you do feel like it’s a truly unique chance to get the sort of returns that just don’t exist with publicly-traded stocks or bonds, it might be worth putting off paying down debt — especially if those debts have fixed rates and a reasonable APR.

What really matters with debt and investments

At the end of the day, you certainly shouldn’t opt to invest money that could be used to pay down debt unless the expectation for your returns is greater than the interest rate on your debt. If your personal loan has an APR of 15 percent, investing in stocks is probably not going to return enough to make it worthwhile. If that rate is 5 percent, though, you could very well do better with certain investments, especially if that’s a fixed rate that doesn’t compound.

But, even in circumstances where you might have reasonable expectations for returns higher than your APR, you might still want to take the definite benefits of paying down debt instead of the uncertain benefits associated with investments. When a wrong move might mean having to delay retirement or delay buying a home, opting for the sure thing is hard to argue with.

Which decision is right for you?

Unfortunately, there’s no magic bullet for knowing whether your specific circumstances call for you to prioritize paying down debt over everything else. Although paying down debt is typically going to be the smartest use for your money, that doesn’t mean you should do so blindly.

Putting off paying down your credit card balance to try your hand at picking some winning stocks is a (really) bad idea, but failing to make regular 401(k) contributions in an effort to pay off your fixed-rate mortgage a couple of years early is probably going to cost you in the long run — especially if you’re missing out on matching funds from your employer by doing so.

So, in a certain sense, Mark Cuban is right: Paying down debt is very rarely going to be a bad idea, and it’s almost always the safest choice. But that said, it’s still worth taking the time to examine the circumstances of your specific situation to be sure you’re not the exception that proves the rule.

Source: Entrepreneur – Joel Anderson , 

Tagged , , , , , , ,

The main reason Canadian homeowners refinance

 

The main reason that 15% of Canadian homeowners refinanced their homes was to consolidate debt.

That’s according to the CMHC Mortgage Consumer Survey which shows that debt consolidation outranked home improvements and that one third of refinancers say that their debt, including their mortgage, is higher than expected.

That said, 69% say they are comfortable with their current level of mortgage debt and 63% said that, if they run into financial problems, they have other assets they can tap to meet their needs.

The survey also showed that 68% were satisfied with their broker and 79% were satisfied with their lender but would have liked to receive more information from their mortgage professionals about mortgage or purchase fees, types of mortgages, closing costs and interest rates.

Refinancer facts
The CMC survey revealed the following insights about refinancers:

  • 24% are Generation Xers (35 – 44 years old) and 35% are baby boomers (55+ years old)
  • 54% are married
  • 61% are employed full time, 7% are self-employed and 17% are retired
  • Refinancers, along with repeat buyers, represent the highest proportion of self-employed mortgage consumers
  • 72% own a single-detached home
  • 23% have a household income of $60,000 – $90,000

Source: Canadian Real Estate – by Steve Randall 19 Nov 2018

Tagged , , , ,

Homeowners’ typical mortgage payments are rising much faster than home prices

Homeowners’ typical mortgage payment is rising much faster than home prices, according to new data from CoreLogic.

The US median sale price has risen by just under 6% over the past year, according to CoreLogic. However, the principal-and-interest mortgage payment on a median-priced home has spiked by nearly 15 percent. And the trend looks set to continue – CoreLogic’s Home Price Index Forecast predicts that home prices will rise 4.7% year over year in August 2019. Mortgage payments, meanwhile, are forecast to have risen more than 11% in the same time period.

One way to measure the impact of inflation, mortgage rates and home prices on affordability is to use the so-called “typical mortgage rate,” CoreLogic said. That’s a mortgage-rate-adjusted monthly payment based on each month’s median US home sale price, calculated using Freddie Mac’s average rate on a 30-year mortgage with a 20% down payment.

“The typical mortgage payment is a good proxy for affordability because it shows the monthly amount that a borrower would have to qualify for to get a mortgage to buy the median-priced US home,” said CoreLogic analyst Andrew LePage.

While the US median sale price in August was up about 5.7% year over year, the typical mortgage payment was up 14.5% because of a neatly 0.7-percentage-point hike in mortgage rates over the time period, LePage said.

Source: Mortgage Professionals America – by Ryan Smith18 Nov 2018

Tagged , , , , , , ,

20 Common Home ‘Renovations’ That Can Accidentally Lower A House’s Overall Value

When it’s time to sell their house, a homeowner will want to do everything they can to increase its market value. Of course, they’re aiming to turn the best possible profit, so that means they’ll need to ensure their home is in pristine condition when realtors bring around potential buyers.

You’d think a home with all the latest bells and whistles would be a surefire target for buyers, but the truth is there are plenty of upgrades that actually decrease a home’s value—and therefore make it far less marketable than comparable listings. You’ll never guess some of the ways putting money into your home can actually work against you!

1. Fancy light fixtures: While you might think adding dramatic touches to your home’s decor would make a listing more appealing, it can actually turn potential buyers away. If the light fixtures don’t match the style of the home, it can be a huge turn-off.

2. Wallpaper: Wallpaper is notoriously difficult to remove, and sometimes the choices in patterns can be a little too “in your face.” Instead of fancy designs, go with neutral paint instead. This allows the buyer to envision their own decorating—and it makes for an easier sale for you!

3. Textured walls: As with wallpaper, ornate textures on walls and ceilings can be a real pain to remove. Instead, check out textured wall decor; it’s far easier to remove, not to mention it’s usually cheaper.

4. Unique tiling: Many people have a tendency to lay down tiles that fit their own personal style, but chances are a potential buyer won’t have the same taste. Go with a traditional neutral floor and customize your space with a unique (and easy to remove) rug instead.

5. Carpeting: According to a study, 54 percent of homebuyers are willing to pay more for hardwood floors, which means homes with a lot of carpeting are less desirable. Carpets show their wear earlier, and colors and styles are usually based on personal preferences.

6. Bold paint: Bold and vibrant paint colors usually turn off potential buyers since the hues here are limited to the current owner’s preference. Fortunately, repainting rooms is an easy and affordable fix—and it’s a worthy investment.

7. High-end kitchens: In 2015, the national average for a kitchen remodel was a little less than $60,000, but the resale value was only priced at $38,000. To avoid spending so much on a project that will cost you in the end, only focus on the aspects of a kitchen that truly need sprucing up.

8. Luxury bathrooms: As awesome as a whirlpool tub is, it can be difficult to clean and sometimes hard to step into for some people… and that will deter buyers. A simpler walk-in shower appeals to more people looking to buy a home.

9. Home offices: Modern technology has allowed for more and more people to work from home, and they usually convert a bedroom into a personal work space. However, that can knock as much as 10 percent off a home’s value. If you have to use a bedroom, avoid bulky desks and shelving units so the room can easily be converted back.

10. Combining bedrooms: Combining two bedrooms that are next to each other to create a bigger room is perfectly fine for couples without children, but if they don’t plan on living there forever, the removal of one bedroom will knock down a home’s value.

11. Closet removal: Some people make the decision to turn large walk-in closets into other spaces, but this can actually hurt a home’s resale value. People will always need closets; they won’t always need a larger bedroom or bathroom.

12. Sunrooms: Sunrooms are actually some of the worst renovations to make to a home when it comes to return on investment! Homeowners need to think carefully about how much they’ll actually use the space before splurging on the expensive addition.

13. Built-in aquariums: These aquatic additions might make a home feel modern, but they require a massive amount of upkeep that many potential buyers aren’t willing to put in. Opt for a standard stand-alone fish tank instead.

14. High-end electronics: As cool as in-home movie theaters and other high-end electronic equipment may be, they usually throw off potential buyers who aren’t looking for these types of luxuries. Certain built-in technologies can also quickly become outdated.

15. Swimming pools: Many people might think swimming pools increase a home’s value, but it’s actually the opposite. Sure, if a buyer has children who will use it every day, that’s one thing—but many times, people see pools as money pits!

16. Hot tubs: Just like pools, hot tubs are always a gamble. The constant maintenance can throw off a buyer, and they’re also potential hazards for small children. Portable hot tubs are a much smarter investment if you truly want one.

17. Garage conversions: Some homeowners park in their driveways so they can renovate their garages into custom spaces like home gyms. However, many buyers actually want to park in their garages, not work on their lifting form.

18. Intricate landscaping: Unless the person buying your home is a landscaper who intends to maintain an intricate garden, costly outdoor decor will deter potential buyers. Keep gardens beautiful—but easy for upkeep.

19. Messy trees: No one likes to spend their afternoons raking up massive piles of leaves, but many types of trees will ensure that happens every year. If you plan on planting vegetation, keep in mind which types will create a huge workload come autumn.

20. DIY projects: Many people come up with unique ideas while they’re living in their home, and they put the effort in to make the renovations. However, not everyone is going to want something like an attic bedroom when they’re looking to buy! Keep that in mind.

The takeaway? Don’t over-personalize your living space! Keep it neutral and appeal to as many potential buyers as possible. If you’re putting you home on the market any time soon, don’t make these mistakes!

Share these tips with your friends below!

Tagged , , , , , ,

Do You Know Your Clients?

No automatic alt text available.

Mortgage Professionals – get to know your clients! Millennials are just one of the surveyed groups from our Mortgage Consumer Survey. 

Tagged , , , , , ,

Here’s how much money you have to make a year to afford an ‘average’ home in the hottest US cities

Business district area of downtown San Jose, California.

Mark Miller Photos | Getty Images
Business district area of downtown San Jose, California.

The median U.S. household now earns about $61,372 a year, up nearly 2 percent from 2016. Still, in order to afford to buy a home in one of the country’s hottest and most expensive cities, like San Jose, California, you’d need to make more than four times that amount.

That’s according to financial website How Much, which crunched numbers from the National Association of Realtors and mortgage-information website HSH.com to determine where it’s most expensive to buy an “average-sized home.”

Researchers found the median price of homes in the 50 most populated metro areas across the country and “calculated monthly principal, interest, property tax and insurance payments buyers have to pay for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage,” says How Much.

They then calculated what salary would be needed to afford each home, assuming a 20 percent down payment and that the total housing payment would not make up more than 28 percent of gross income.

How Much: Annual income needed to buy a home

Based on the data, here are the top 10 cities where you to earn the most money to buy a typical home:

1. San Jose, California

Annual income needed to afford a home: $274,623

2. San Francisco, California

Annual income needed to afford a home: $213,727

3. San Diego, California

Annual income needed to afford a home: $130,986

4. Los Angeles, California

Annual income needed to afford a home: $114,908

5. Boston, Massachusetts

Annual income needed to afford a home: $109,411

6. Seattle, Washington

Annual income needed to afford a home: $109,275

7. New York, New York

Annual income needed to afford a home: $103,235

8. Washington, D.C.

Annual income needed to afford a home: $96,144

9. Denver, Colorado

Annual income needed to afford a home: $93,263

10. Portland, Oregon

Annual income needed to afford a home: $85,369

“Median household income across the United States recently reached a record high, which is great news for workers,” says How Much. “The bad news is that isn’t enough to afford a typical home in 25 out of the 50 cities on our map.” That’s especially true on the West Coast.

“Our map reveals three tiers in annual income workers need to earn to afford a median home. First, the West Coast stands out as by far the most expensive market in the country,” the report says, “with four out of the top four markets in California alone.”

In Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose, California, median homes range in value from $618,000 to more than $1.3 million, according to real-estate site Zillow. The U.S. national median home value, by comparison, is just above $216,000.

“Median household income across the United States recently reached a record high, which is great news for workers. The bad news is that isn’t enough to afford a typical home in 25 out of the 50 cities on our map.”-HowMuch.net

“The second tier of expensive locales is along the East Coast,” How Much reports, “led by the familiar hot spots of unaffordable housing like Boston, New York and Washington, D.C.

In Portland and Denver, meanwhile, homes aren’t as expensive as they are in California or New York, but workers would still need to make about $85,000 a year to afford to buy.

Some lower-profile American cities do still offer professional opportunities and good deals. In these three up-and-coming metro areas, for example, jobs are plentiful yet housing is affordable.

No matter where you fall on the map, though, living within your means and employing common-sense budgeting tactics can help you save in the long run. If you’re looking to buy a home, be sure you’re ready to transition from renting and if you’re going to continue to rent, check out these savings hacks and other ways to make your money stretch further.

 

Source: CNBC.com –  

Tagged , , , , ,