Tag: mortgage

Decorating Your Home for the Holidays

With the holidays right around the corner, you should try to draw inspiration from these great holiday decorating tips. 

It’s time to strip away the Thanksgiving decorations and deck the halls with boughs of holly. The holidays are here and it’s time to get festive! Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza, or nothing at all, decorating your home puts you and any guests you may have over in the winter mood. Here are some quality and creative holiday decorative tips for you and your home.

Snowy Fruit

Even if it doesn’t snow where you’re from, you can still have snow-covered fruit in your home. Mix three parts white glitter to one part silver glitter. Then coat the plastic pears, limes, and grapes for a sparkly centerpiece.

Wreath of Ornaments

Spherical ornaments can serve more purpose than simply hanging on tree branches. With a bit of glue and a bit of patience, you can create your very own wreath made of ornaments! (Pro tip: We advise buying plastic ornaments, instead of glass ones to eliminate the cuts.)

Staircase Stockings

Your staircase railings can add the holiday feeling if you know how. From the railings, you can hang stockings with matching patterns. Then with a string of light, you can twirl it all the way around the railing.

Snowflake Coasters

Stitch up snowflake coasters for the holiday party if you’re rather skilled with a crochet and needle.

Decorating your home for the holidays is fun, but not as important as knowing your mortgage. Mortgages may seem like stressful contracts to obtain, but with the right preparation, they don’t have to be! Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

Mortgage Misconceptions: Busted

Looking for a mortgage for your dream home? Make sure you have the facts and then walk down to the bank with confidence. 

Misconceptions disallow us to make rational decisions, which end up hurting us immediately and down the road. And when it comes to something as important as your mortgage, being able to filter out fact from fiction could save you thousands of dollars. Getting a mortgage may not be the easiest thing in the world, which is why discerning myths from reality will only help you throughout the entire process. Here are a few mortgage misconceptions you may have which you should clear up right now.

Your Best Credit Score Is Used for Approval

You may think that lenders will use your highest credit score, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Lenders take the middle of three credit scores. If you are applying jointly, they will take the lower of both the middle scores.

The Rate You’re Quoted Is Final

Rates are tied to the daily trading of mortgage bonds, so most rates change on a daily basis. There are instances where the refinancers can like a rate when it’s quoted, but you must give your lender enough information and documentation to determine if you qualify for the quotes rate.

Mortgage Insurance Is Required if Your Down Payment Is Less Than Twenty Percent

Mortgage insurance is usually required if your down payment is less than twenty percent. The most common way to do this is with a combination mortgage. The first mortgage caps at eighty percent and the second mortgage takes care of the remaining twenty percent–often called a piggyback.

Mortgages may seem like stressful contracts to obtain, but with the right preparation, they don’t have to be! Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.


How to Shorten Your Mortgage by Year

Just because you have a 30-year loan doesn’t mean you have to be well into your 60s or 70s paying it off. These tips can help you cross the finish line early. 

No one wants to spend longer than they have to paying off their mortgage. The fastest way to pay off a mortgage faster is to get a shorter-term loan, like getting a 15-year instead of a 30-year. But that means higher monthly payments that not everyone will be able to afford. So how do you fix your budget with a loan you can afford and still pay it off early? Here are a few common approaches to this problem.

Biweekly Payments

A biweekly plan is the easiest way to shorten your mortgage without ruining your finances. This plan shaves about four to five year off your mortgage as you make half your payment every other week.

This means you’re making 26 payments, which is the equivalent of 13 monthly mortgage payments per year instead of just 12. The normal budget can absorb this blow because you are still paying your mortgage, only cutting in half every two weeks.

Increase Monthly Payment

If you can afford to pay more than a biweekly payment, you can opt to do so by increasing your monthly payment amount. Paying an extra $200, $300, or even $400 a month can shave off up to ten years on your mortgage!

If you can still afford more, you may want to consider a fifteen-year loan as they shave off about $100 a month off your monthly payment.

Mortgages may seem like stressful contracts to obtain, but with the right preparation, they don’t have to be! Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

Should You Lock Your Mortgage Rate

To lock or not to lock: that is the question…you should be asking if you own a home. 

Banks often encourage home buyers to lock in their mortgage rates to guard against any rising borrowing costs. But seeing as how bankers were responsible for the collapse of the real estate market in 2008, it’s easy to understand why one would be wary of what they tell you to do with your mortgage. Locking your mortgage rate to protect against any increases may sound appetizing, but is it the right move for you? Here are the reasons should you lock your mortgage rate?

Rate locks allow home buyers to guarantee a particular mortgage rate if they close on the home sale within a set period, no matter the influence outside factors may have on the market. This way, home buyers can avoid larger monthly payments on their loan.

Since interest rates had been at historic lows, many people did not opt for locking their rates, but now with interest rates finally rising, it became a very popular action within the last year.

But the drawbacks can be significant. Locking your mortgage rate is a double-edged sword.

Why? To start, locking your rate comes at a price–literally. They offer free rate locks for as long as 45 to 60 days, the amount of time it takes to process a mortgage. Additionally, locked mortgage rates are typically higher than the market rate by and eighth to a quarter percent.

Locking your mortgage ultimately depends on what you can afford. If you want help with the process of securing your mortgage, or advice on whether you actually should lock your house mortgage,  contact  Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

The Mortgage Checklist

Mortgage lenders require certain paperwork that verifies every single aspect of your life: income, debts, assets, and more. 

Being on the lender’s best side is a good idea. A substantial step in the right direction is by having everything you need before you apply for a mortgage. The lender will request the following documents, so gather them before you apply for a mortgage. Here is a mortgage checklist you should use before shopping for a mortgage.

Mortgage Checklist

  • W-2 – Lenders require the most recent W-2 wage and tax statements, but some will need two years of W-2s.
  • Profit and Loss Statements (or 1099, if you own a business) – Self-employed borrowers may have to submit a current-year profit and loss statement.
  • Payment Stubs – In order to verify that you make as much as you claim you make, loan guidelines say to have one month of verified income.
  • Tax Returns – Including all the pages and schedules will be expected. The returns will be scrutinized for unreimbursed employee business expenses, self-employment business losses, and signs of loan fraud.
  • List of Debt – On your list should be credit card debt, student loans, car loans, and child support payments.
  • List of Assets – Including bank statements, mutual fund statement(s), real estate, automobile title(s), brokerage statement(s), and records of any other investments or assets.
  • Cancelled Checks – If any checks have bounced, your mortgage company wants to know about it. They want to know if your rent payments are up to date. If you don’t have those checks from months or even years ago,  you can supply the mortgage company with the name of your ex-landlord.

Mortgages may seem like stressful contracts to obtain, but with the right preparation, they don’t have to be! Contact  Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

Questions You Should Ask Your Mortgage Lender

Are you ready to buy a home? Not so fast, cowboy. 

Do you think you’re ready to purchase a home? While the “perfect plan” is a myth, it definitely helps to have some guidelines to assist you along the way. Buying a home is likely the most expensive investment you will ever make in your life, and it is one that will be with you for decades, so being fully prepared is the best way to go about it. Here are some questions you should ask your mortgage lender before you apply for a mortgage.

  1. What is the interest rate on this mortgage?
    Ask to take a look at the lender’s loan estimate which breaks down the contract. It should include the annual percentage rate (APR) which includes: rates, points, fees, and other charges you’ll have to pay for the mortgage.
  2. How much are the closing costs? 
    Borrowers pay fees for the services that the lender and other parties provided to you. It is required for lenders to give you an estimate within three days of receiving a loan estimate.
  3. Will there be any origination/discount points for which I have to pay?
    Lenders have the option of charging origination points, discount points, or both. 1 point is equal to 1 percent of the total loan amount. DISCOUNT POINTS reduce the interest rate, and ORIGINATION POINTS are fees by the lender for originating the loan.
  4. Prepayment penalty
    Some lenders charge a penalty if you prepay your mortgage. If you want to pay off your mortgage faster and get rid of that incredible burden, you should know of any penalties that may come.

If you want help with acquiring the mortgage that’s right for you, contact  Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

How to Refinance Your Life

If you’re looking for a way to make a real difference in your financial life, refinancing your loans could be helpful. 

The word refinance is often associated with mortgages, but it’s not the only loan that can be refinanced. While refinancing helps people give their mortgages a makeover, it can also help individuals with any kind of loan; from your student loans all the way to your car loan. Do you know how refinancing can help you?

Refinancing Different Loans

What is refinancing?

In essence, refinancing means you’re replacing one kind of loan with another loan. You may refinance a loan to get a better interest rate or reduce your monthly payments.

What do you need to know about rate-and-term refinancing?

If you want to get a better interest rate or change the loan term, consider rate-and-term refinancing. This can be beneficial for borrowers if you initially took out your loan when interest rates were much higher than they are today. Additionally, it can help you change the monthly payment if you need to.

Can it help renters?

You can refinance almost any kind of debt, not just mortgages. Things like your student loans, for example, can be refinanced. If you rent your property and have student or car loans, you can refinance those to loosen your budget and have more cash for yourself.

Are there any downsides?

Good rarely comes into our life without a catch. Refinancing doesn’t guarantee that you’ll save money or even help you manage your repayments. Your loans have terms and conditions that may become void if you refinance. Some federal loans, like your student loans, are eligible for benefits like loan forgiveness or payment programs that you could be exempted from if you choose to refinance.

A refinance can help you get your financial life on the right track. Contact  Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

Renter’s Tip: How to Save for a Down Payment (Water Edition)

When looking to move out and finally purchase a home, you’re going to need a down payment, but, when already paying for rent, how can you save that much?

Whether you are responsible for the water bill, or your landlord covers the water but you are wise and want to conserve water, there are plenty of ways you can save on your utilities and decrease your carbon footprint. Maybe, some of your utility hacks are surprisingly creative and incredibly efficient. Water is a finite resource, so it’s important to save water wherever and whenever you can, even if you’re not paying for it yourself. Here are some ways which can save water and help you save up for a down payment.

Ways to Conserve Water

  1. Limit Your Water Usage

Long showers, running the water running while brushing your teeth, refilling the tub again and again: these are bad habits that are not only costing you money, but, are also a  huge waste of water. Water timers alert the user when they’ve had their fair share of water.

  1. Wash Wisely

If you are the proud owner of a dishwasher, make sure that you turn it on when loaded to capacity (not a glass before) and shut the water off when you are washing your pans and pots.

  1. Smart Toilet

While it may not connect to the internet, these “smart” toilets have two options when flushing. One uses much less water per flush which conserves water.

  1. Watch the Lawn

While a green lawn is something to behold, you don’t have to water your lawn every day. If you live in a rainy climate, you shouldn’t even be watering, as nature is taking care of that for you. Watering your lawn for about an hour every other day is all most lawns require.

Conserving water contributes to your savings. These savings may take a while, but you’ll have your down payment before you know it! Contact  Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy a home. We are happy to help you.

What to Know About Mortgage Points

You often hear mortgage companies and real estate agents discuss “Mortgage Points,” but what are they?

You may hear your mortgage lender utter the words “mortgage points” a few times while going over your loan. You merely nod pretending to know what they are in an effort not to appear dumb. This is a bad strategy when considering something as important as your mortgage–a contract that will be with you for 30-odd years. So, when trying to find out how much your mortgage will cost, what do these points mean and can you use them to your advantage?

What is a “point”?

A point is a fee that is equal to 1 percent of the loan amount. A 30-year, $150,000 mortgage might have a rate of 7 percent but come with a charge of 1 point (or $1,500). A lender may also charge 1, 2, or even more points. These points come split into two branches: discount and origination points.

Discount Points. These points translate to prepaid interest on the loan. The more points you pay, the lower your interest rate will be, and vice versa. You can pay anywhere from 0 to 4 points, depending on how much you want to lower your rates.

Origination Points. These are points charged by the lender to cover the costs of making the loan. Like a service fee when you buy event tickets: you don’t understand why, and there’s not much you can do about it. Luckily, these are tax deductible if you use them for mortgage purposes and not for any other closing costs.

These knowledge points you just earned will help you when it comes to the mortgage points you will inevitably come across. Contact  Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

Which Mortgage Is Right for You?

Mortgages come in many shapes and sizes, meaning that there is one that right for you.

A mortgage is something that is going to be with you for a significant portion of your life–30 years, on average. With the many mortgages that exist in the world, it’s important that you choose the one that will work best for you, instead of having one that will put you into a financial catastrophe! Here are the three kinds of home loans that you should be aware of before you go mortgage shopping.

Types of Loans

  1. Conventional Loans

Conventional mortgages are ideal for the hopeful homeowner with good or excellent credit. They’re relatively standard and follow conservative guidelines for credit scores, minimum down payments, and your debt-to-income ratio (the percentage of monthly income that is spent paying all debts).

  1. VA Loans

VA Loans are for active-duty military and veterans that qualify for Veterans Affairs mortgages. Spouses of a military member who sacrificed their life for our freedom on active duty or as a result of a service-connected disability may also qualify. No down payment is required with this kind of mortgage. The VA does not lend money but guarantees loans made by private lenders.

  1. FHA Loans

Federal Housing Administration mortgages were created for people whose house payment will be a big chunk of their “take home” pay, hopeful homeowners with low credit scores, and homebuyers with little down payments to offer. FHA loans allow the borrowers to spend up to 56 to 57 percent of their monthly income on monthly debt obligations.

It’s important to know about mortgage types, as it will be with you, potentially, for the next thirty years! Contact  Dean Rathbun when it comes time to determining the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.