Mortgage Myths: Here’s Why You Don’t Need a Full 20 Percent Down Payment

Mortgage Myths: Here's Why You Don't Need a Full 20 Percent Down Payment If you’re just getting into the real estate market, you may have heard that 20% down is the ideal percentage in order to lower your monthly payments and get your mortgage application approved. However, while 20% is often suggested, many people struggle to come up with this amount of money. If you’re staving off home ownership, here are some reasons you may not need to hold off as you long as you thought.

Minimizing Your Insurance Costs

Putting down 20% of the total purchase price of your home is often suggested, but it doesn’t definitively mean that your application won’t be approved if you don’t. If you have a good credit score and are in good financial standing, putting less than 20% down means you’ll have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI); however, it can be worth paying the extra funds in order to get into the real estate market sooner and start paying into your most significant investment.

Mortgage Programs For Less Than 20%

It may seem less possible to buy a home if you only have 5 or 7% of the purchase price, but there are many programs in the United States that enable those with limited funds to apply for a mortgage. From the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, there are many lenders that can offer you mortgage programs that will work for your situation. While higher rates come in tandem with a lower down payment, there are options out there for those who haven’t saved quite enough.

Why Put Down 20%?

Putting down 20% is not a necessity for mortgage approval or purchasing a home, but it can be a great means of saving money in the long run and reducing your interest rates. If you’re raring to get into the real estate market and don’t want to wait for the bills to stack up, that’s OK, but if you want to hold off and save up additional funds before diving in, this can mean more money and a more solid investment in the future.

20% is often the magic number when it comes to a down payment on a home, but you don’t require this percentage of your home’s price in order to get approved for a mortgage. If you’re currently considering diving into home ownership and would like to know more about the opportunities in your area, contact your local mortgage professional for more information.

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The Pros and Cons of Borrowing the Down Payment for Your Next Home

The Pros and Cons of Borrowing the Down Payment for Your Next HomeWith the rising cost of real estate, many people feel that now is a good time to buy a home to ensure a good financial future. However, if you haven’t saved up enough money to make a down payment, it’s possible you may be considering whether or not you should borrow the funds. If you’re considering a loan from friends or family, here are some points you may want to think about before asking for a loan.

Getting Out Of The Rental Market

With even the rental market seeing huge increases in its rental rates, buying a home can be an even more beneficial purchase then ever. While your rental check is gone once you’ve paid it each month, payments on your mortgage will become a part of the wealth you’re building and the equity in your home. It’s just important to consider the property taxes and maintenance that go along with purchasing a home beforehand, as these added costs might end up making for a poor investment if they’re too costly.

Saving Money On Insurance

You may have heard many different things about the percentage your down payment should be, but because you will have to pay mortgage default insurance if you put less than 20% down, it can be an added boon to borrow the additional funds needed. While borrowing the money can be great in terms of lowering your monthly payment and making your home less costly in the end, it can also cause financial strain for you since you’ll have to pay back the funds over time.

Testing Your Relationships

It goes without saying that money can often times get between people, and when it comes to borrowing a significant sum of money from family or friends, this can improve your relationship or even cause a rift. While you may be willing to take this risk if you have no concerns about paying those who have lent you money back, if something arises and you’re unable to give back the funds, this can create issues that may be more problematic than renting a little longer.

Many people consider borrowing the money for their down payment in order to come up with the 20%, but it’s important to consider what borrowing this money can mean for your financial future and your personal relationships. If you’re currently looking into a new home, you may want to contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

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3 Mortgage Mistakes That Could Be Costing You Money

3 Mortgage Mistakes That Could Be Costing You MoneyPurchasing a home can be one of the most exciting and stabilizing investments of your life, but because of the expense, there are many ways you may be spending more money than you should. If you’re wondering about the financial soundness of your home investment, here are some things to consider before putting anything down.

Investing In Too Much Home

Many homebuyers are so gung-ho about having their own home that they forget a mortgage takes many years to pay off and there’s a lot of living to do in the interim. While you may be looking at the monthly cost of your mortgage as something to get through, it’s more important to find a home that will provide you with a more flexible lifestyle. Instead of spending half your income on your home, it’s better to choose a more affordable option that won’t lead to buyer’s remorse.

Putting Less Than 20% Down

One of the greatest struggles for those who want to make the leap into home ownership is the down payment, and many buyers will put down a lot less than 20%. While this might seem like a better deal in the short term, putting 5 or 10% down means you’ll have to pay for mortgage insurance in case you default on your payments. It can be hard to come up with 20% for many buyers, but putting this amount down means you don’t have to pay for added insurance.

Not Asking The Right Questions

A house is likely your most valuable asset, so it’s a good idea to know as much as possible about your mortgage before you rush toward closing day. Starting with asking which mortgage option is best for you. Your mortgage lender will be able to answer this question once you’ve completed an application and the lender takes stock of your employment, income, assets, credit, debt, expenses, down payment and other information about your finances. Research the major questions you should ask your mortgage lender before signing up for a loan.

It can be overwhelming to buy a home with all of the information and energy that goes into finding the right place and the right price. However, by being realistic about what you can afford and searching for the best loan for you, you’re well on your way to a sound purchase. If you’re currently on the market for a mortgage, contact your trusted mortgage specialists for more information.

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Buying a New Home? Learn How the ‘Conforming Loan Limit’ Might Affect Your Purchase

Buying a New Home? Learn How the 'Conforming Loan Limit' Might Affect Your PurchaseFrom mortgage to equity to debt-to-income ratio, there are many terms associated with home ownership that can be quite confusing if you’ve never been on the market for a home before. ‘Conforming loan limit’ may be a less familiar real estate term than the rest, but here are some things you’ll need to know about it and what it could mean for your biggest investment.

What Is The ‘Conforming Loan Limit’?

The Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) are legally required to provide loans for balances below a specific amount, and this amount is what is known as the ‘conforming loan limit’. While the loan amount is determined by credit history and income amount, these conforming loans that are less than the specific amount are considered lower risk. If a loan amount is above the conforming loan limit, it is known as a jumbo loan and usually comes with higher rates.

How The ‘Conforming Loan Limit’ Is Determined

The Federal Home Financing Agency determines any adjustments made to conforming loan limits and the decided-upon amount is based on the home prices from October to October for the previous year. This amount is released annually in November and is enforced the following January. While this limit was continued at $417,000 through 2016, the amount for regions like Alaska, Guam, Hawaii and the United States Virgin Islands is significantly higher than the standard amount due to the cost of housing.

Going Above The ‘Limit’ And Combination Loans

While jumbo loans carry more risk, there are ways to avoid going above the conforming loan limit. There is the option of acquiring a conforming loan for $417,000, the amount established for 2016, and then utilizing a second mortgage for the remaining amount that will ensure you do not have to take out a jumbo loan; however, the rates for a second loan will likely be higher. In the event that you would like to avoid jumbo loans or a combination loan, you may want to consider putting more money down on your initial down payment.

The conforming loan limit changes each year, but it may have a significant impact on your home purchase if it falls below a certain amount. If you are curious about real estate terms because you’re considering a home purchase in the near future, you may want to contact one of our local real estate professionals for more information.

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How to Calculate Your True Cost of Living and Determine How Much Mortgage You Can Afford

How to Calculate Your True Cost of Living and Determine How Much Mortgage You Can AffordA monthly mortgage can seem like enough of a financial responsibility on its own, but there are many factors involved in home ownership that affect its fiscal feasibility. If you’re in the market for a house and are wondering how your income will stack up against the rest of your expenses, here’s how to determine a home cost that’s reasonable for you.

Determine Your Down Payment

Before you start with anything else, you’ll want to determine the amount of money you can put down so you can estimate your monthly payments. The traditional amount for a down payment is 20% of the home’s purchase price, so if you don’t have anything close to this amount it might be worth waiting a little longer so you can minimize your payments and the amount of interest or mortgage insurance you’ll be paying in the long run. Each person’s situation is different, and there may be programs available with less than 20% down. This is an excellent question to pose to your trusted mortgage advisor.

Calculate Your Monthly Budget

If your mortgage cost already seems high, it will definitely be worth carefully calculating your monthly expenditures. Instead of a wild guess, take the time to sit down and calculate what your costs are including food, utilities, transportation and any other monthly necessities. Once you do this, it’s also very important to add any debt repayments you’re making to the mix. The total amount of your estimated mortgage costs, debt payments and living expenses should give you a pretty good sense of if your mortgage is viable in the long term.

Don’t Forget About The Extras

When it comes to purchasing a home, many people envision that they will be eating and sleeping their new home so don’t pay attention to all of the additional costs that can arise with living life. A new home is certainly an exciting, worthwhile financial venture, but ensure you’re realistic about what it entails. If you’re planning to go back to school or have children in the future, you’ll want to add a little bit of extra cushion in your budget so that you don’t have to put your other dreams on hold for the sake of your ideal home.

It can be very exciting to find a home you feel good about, but it’s important before making an offer to realize the amount of house you can afford so you don’t find yourself in a hole down the road. If you’re currently on the market for a new home, contact your trusted mortgage professional for a personal consultation.

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Everything You Need to Know About Fannie Mae’s New Home Ready Mortgage

Everything You Need to Know About Fannie Mae's New Home Ready MortgageTraditionally, getting a mortgage requires you to have a level of income appropriate to the size of home that you’re buying. But for a lot of low-income and minority borrowers, a simple measure of one person’s income isn’t an accurate measure of whether or not that person can afford a home.

Now, with the Home Ready mortgage from Fannie Mae, multigenerational and extended households can have easy access to mortgage funds. How does the Home Ready mortgage work? Here’s what you need to know.

Flexible Down Payment Requirements Make Home Ownership More Accessible

Traditional mortgages require you to pay 20% of the home price upfront in the form of a down payment, or 5% if you register for Private Mortgage Insurance. And although 5% is a small down payment, it’s still a significant sum of money for a lot of low-income borrowers. But now, with the Home Ready mortgage, qualified borrowers can access financing with as little as 3% down, making it easier to become a homeowner.

Non-Borrower Household Income Is Now Counted As Income

Another big change that the Home Ready mortgage introduces is that lenders may now count all household income when determining affordability criteria (but not qualifying income). There’s no minimum requirement for funds to come directly from the primary borrower, which means that non-borrower members of the household can have their income counted when determining whether a mortgage is affordable. It’s also possible to use non-occupant borrower income – for instance, the income of a borrower’s parent – to be counted as income.

For extended and multigenerational households, this means mortgages are much more affordable as all household income can now be counted as eligible.

Eligibility Requirements: Who Can Qualify For A Home Ready Mortgage?

Home Ready mortgages come with certain eligibility criteria attached that homeowners will need to meet. In order to be eligible, a household must be below a certain percentage level of area median income (AMI) – that is, a household must fall somewhere in the lower half of their area’s income scale.

For properties that are located in “low-income census tracts”, there is no income limit. For properties in high-minority areas and designated disaster areas, borrowers at or below 100% of AMI can access Home Ready financing. And in all other census areas, borrowers can access financing if their annual household income is no greater than 80% of AMI.

The new Home Ready mortgage from Fannie Mae can make it easier for certain households to qualify for mortgages. Your local mortgage advisor can help you to understand how the program works. For more information, call your mortgage professional today.

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3 ‘Must Know’ Pieces of Advice for First-time Home Buyers

3 'Must Know' Pieces of Advice for First-time Home BuyersWhen delving into the realities of home ownership, there can be many factors involved that make it difficult to determine what you need to know and what can wait until later. If you happen to be a first-time buyer who’s looking for the best tips for purchasing a home, look no further than the following three pointers to set you on the right path.

Get Familiar With Your Credit Score

If you haven’t looked at your credit report for a long time, it can be a daunting task to request this information. Fortunately, your credit report is free from AnnualCreditReport.com and it will prepare you for what lenders are going to see. By taking this important step, you will be able to determine any delinquent accounts or balances owing that have gone to collections, and hopefully have these cleaned up before they can become a problem for your mortgage.

Determine The Price You Can Pay

While you may have a price in mind for what you’re willing to pay for a home, it’s important to determine your debt-to-income ratio before putting in an offer. Your DTI ratio can be determined by taking your total monthly costs, adding it to what you would be paying for a home and dividing it by your monthly gross income. If it’s a housing price that will work for you, this amount should equate to less than 43%.

Organize Your Housing History

If you have a good history as a tenant, the next step will probably be the easiest of all, but it’s very important in order to prove you’re a responsible candidate for home ownership. Once you’ve acquired a Verification of Rent from any applicable landlord in the previous year, you’ll want to ensure that you have money in the bank. While RRSP’s can make a good impression, make sure you have liquid assets available so you can convince the lender your home investment is manageable.

There are a lot of things to know when it comes to buying a home, but if you’re a first time buyer the most important thing is to ensure that your finances are organized and that you’re not diving into more house than you can afford. By taking the time to determine your debt-to-income ratio and looking into your credit, you can ensure a positive first-time buying experience. If you’re wondering about homes for sale in your area, you may want to contact your trusted real estate professionals for more information.

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5, 10, 20 Percent or More? How to Determine How Big of a Down Payment You Need

5, 10, 20 Percent or More? How to Determine How Big of a Down Payment You NeedWhether or not you’re new to real estate, there’s little doubt that you’ve heard the term down payment as it relates to purchasing a home. There’s a lot of different information out there in regards to how much this figure should be and it can be hard to determine exactly what the importance of this payment is. If you’re trying to determine the ideal amount to put down, here are some things to consider.

Explaining Down Payments And Why They’re Important

The down payment is probably one of the largest single payments you’ll make for anything, and this is why so many people save for years. When you buy a home, the down payment is the amount of money that goes into the initial home investment, and this is taken off of the cost of the house. In essence, while this money qualifies as an asset, it is tied up in paying off the total cost of your home.

The Differing Amounts For Down Payments

It’s often the case that many figures are thrown around in regards to the ideal down payment percentage, and they generally vary from 3-20% of the home’s cost. If you are paying a percentage on the low side of the scale, this can unfortunately mean that you will have fewer mortgage options and will be stuck with an increased interest rate. The amount you should pay depends on your financial health and purchasing commitment, but the larger the down payment is, the more minimal your monthly payments will be.

Deciding The Perfect Percentage

Saving up 20% of a home’s total price may seem like a lot of time and effort, but this can be the ideal amount to put down. In addition to lowered monthly payments and a better interest rate, you’ll also be able to avoid Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), which is required if you put down less than 20%. There is no right answer to the question of how much to put towards a down payment, but you may end up spending less in the long run if you can invest more in the beginning.

There are many figures thrown around when it comes to real estate, but the amount of a down payment should be economically feasible for you and enable you to make your monthly payments consistently. If you’re planning on purchasing soon and are looking for home options, you may want to contact your trusted mortgage professional for more information.

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Mortgages 101: How to Calculate How Much You Will Need for Your Down Payment

Mortgages 101: How to Calculate How Much You Will Need for Your Down PaymentIf you’re planning to buy a home in the near future, you’re probably already in the process of saving up for a down payment. But if you haven’t seen a mortgage advisor or started looking at properties yet, you probably don’t have a good idea of what a down payment will cost you. Different mortgages have different down payment requirements, and you’ll need to figure out ahead of time how much of a down payment you need to put forward.

Following are some general guidelines. Be sure to speak with a knowledgeable, local lender to get the best advice for your area

How can you calculate what you’ll need for a down payment?  Here’s what you need to know.

Look at What the Lenders Are Asking For

When it comes to down payments, you’ll need to take into account what lenders want to see. A lender wants to know that you can afford the home you’re planning to buy. That’s why a sizable down payment looks great on a mortgage application.

Although you can pay as little as 5 percent down, a 20 percent down payment looks better on paper. It also means you don’t have to get private mortgage insurance, which will save you money in the long run on a conventional mortgage.

Use Your Debt-to-Income Ratio as a Guideline

Your debt-to-income ratio is a measurement that you can use to determine what kind of a mortgage you can afford. Your down payment will be subtracted from your total mortgage, and it’s your monthly mortgage payment that will determine your debt-to-income ratio.  As a general rule, your non-mortgage housing expenses (or your back end ratio) should probably account for no more than 28 percent of your before-tax income.  With all housing costs included (mortgage or rent, private mortgage insurance, HOA fees, etc.) most lenders are looking for the debt-to-income ratio (the front end ratio) of 36 percent or less.

Lets say for example, you want to get a $300,000 mortgage amortized over 25 years and you expect to make a $25,000 down payment, your monthly mortgage payment will be approximately $916.67. To afford that mortgage payment, you’ll probably need to have a total before-tax household income of around $3273.82 per month. But if you were to increase your down payment to $50,000, your monthly payment decreases to about $833.33 making the debt-to-income ratio lower if you made the same amount of money.  

Doing the Math: Down Payment Requirements for Various Specialty Mortgages

Although there are certain laws around how much of a down payment you’ll need, in some cases the rules are different. The Veterans Affairs office provides mortgages through private lenders designed specifically for active military service people, veterans, and their spouses. A VA home loan requires zero down payment for loans that are within the maximum conforming loan limit, with a 25% down payment on the difference if you opt to buy a house worth more than the loan limit.

Your down payment size will influence a variety of other factors, like your mortgage terms and whether lenders are willing to give you a mortgage. A mortgage professional can help you understand the nuances of down payments. Check with your trusted mortgage advisor to learn what will for your particular situation.

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Can You Give a Relative a Gift of Cash for a Mortgage Down Payment? Yes – Here’s How

Can You Give a Relative a Gift of Cash for a Mortgage Down Payment? Yes – Here’s HowA new house is a major investment. Even if you have a mortgage, the bank and the seller will still expect a sizeable down payment. That’s why lots of people regularly gift down payments to friends and relatives – it’s a great way to help young people start out on the path of home ownership.

But what are the rules around gifting down payments? Can you simply give someone everything they need? Although it’s a generous thought, it’s not always possible – here’s what you need to know.

Make Sure You Write a Gift Letter

If you’re giving one of your relatives money for a down payment, you’ll need to accompany the money with a gift letter. A gift letter is a letter written to the mortgage company that clearly asserts the money is a gift, not a loan. There are several key components that mortgage companies need to see on a gift letter, so make sure you have everything they need.

You’ll need to include your name, address, and phone number, as well as your relationship to the homeowner and the amount of the gift. Your letter should list the date on which you gifted the money and clearly explain that you do not expect to be repaid. Finally, you’ll need to include the address of the property being purchased and then sign the letter.

Tell Your Relatives to Pay the Right Down Payment Amount

When your relatives give their down payment, they’ll want to ensure they pay the right amount from their own money to ensure they don’t run afoul of any mortgage laws. In a conventional mortgage agreement, the borrower can pay the entire down payment with a gift if their down payment is worth at least 20% of the purchase price. If the down payment is for less than 20%, then the borrower can use gift money, but must also put forward a certain minimum amount that varies by loan type. For mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration or the Department of Veteran Affairs, the rules are slightly different.

Giving the gift of a mortgage is a great way to help friends or family members become homeowners. But with mortgages, there are strict rules around gifts. Contact your trusted mortgage professional to learn more about giving the gift of a mortgage.

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