Down Payments 101: Is It Worth It to Put More Than 20 Percent Down?Are you thinking of buying a new home this spring or summer? If so, you’re not alone. Many thousands of individuals and families alike will become homeowners this year. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned veteran of the housing market, you probably know there are significant choices to make. One of the big decisions you will have to ponder is how much you want to invest in your down payment.

With that in mind, let’s try to answer the question of whether or not it is worth it to put more than 20 percent of the home’s price in your down payment.

Ask Yourself: How Liquid Are You?

Before you can decide how much to put down, you first need to determine how liquid your finances are. That is, how much cash do you have access to? For example, if you are considering a $300,000 home, a 20 percent down payment is $60,000. If you have more than $60,000, fantastic. However, if you have less than that, you might have to do a bit of work to save up the remainder.

Even if you do have enough available cash now, you won’t have access to it once you take possession of the home. It is important to leave yourself with some cash in case of emergencies or for other uses.

Higher Down Payment, Lower Interest Rate

If you do choose to invest more than 20 percent in your down payment, it’s possible that you will gain access to a lower interest rate for your mortgage. Many lenders look favorably on homebuyers that are investing more of their own money and borrowing less. Be sure to check with your mortgage advisor to find out if you qualify for lower rates.

Lower Monthly Payments Await

Finally, choosing a down payment higher than 20 percent means that you will have lower monthly mortgage payments in the future. You are borrowing less so you will owe less. This can provide a nice boost to your monthly budget moving forward as you will have more free cash flow each month.

Try to keep in mind that there is no perfect answer to the question of how big your down payment should be. Choosing the best course of action means taking a good, long look at your current financial situation and deciding what your goals are. When you’re ready to discuss buying a new home contact us. Our professional mortgage team is happy to share our experience!

What You Need To Know About A Closed-End Second Mortgage

A home is probably one of the most expensive purchases you will ever make. It is important for you to understand all of the options available to you, particularly if you need a quick source of cash, and you might be thinking about taking out a second mortgage. You can use a closed-end second mortgage to cover the cost of repairs, medical debt, and even consolidate your other sources of debt. How do you know if this option is right for you?

An Overview Of A Closed-End Second Mortgage

If you decide to take out a second mortgage, you will typically withdraw the cash you need. Then, if you need more cash in the future, you can take out more down the road. In contrast, with a closed-end second mortgage, you will receive the entire loan amount upfront. Then, you will not be able to withdraw any additional cash if you need more because you have already withdrawn the maximum limit. Generally, you can withdraw up to 80 percent of your home’s equity value, but there are many factors that will dictate your limit.

The Pros

Before deciding whether this is the right option for you, you must weigh the benefits and drawbacks. The biggest benefit is that it gives you access to a quick, large, lump sum payment. You can use this to cover home renovations and pay off debt. You also get access to a fixed interest rate. Unlike other options, you don’t have to worry about the interest rate changing.

The Cons

On the other hand, there are some drawbacks you might notice. You have to use your home as collateral, so you risk losing your home if you can’t meet the payments. In addition, you will probably incur higher closing expenses, and you may have to pay a higher interest rate. This is particularly true if you are taking out a large amount of money.

Weigh Your Options Carefully Before Deciding On A Second Mortgage

If you are looking for a second mortgage, you need to think about all of your options carefully before you decide which one is right for your needs. Consider reaching out to an expert who can help you.

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - January 30, 2023Last week’s economic reporting included readings on new and pending home sales, inflation, and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

New home sales increase in December

The Commerce Department reported new home sales rose to a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 616,000 sales in December as compared to the expected pace of 615,000  new homes sales and November’s revised reading of 602,000 annual sales. December was the third consecutive month that the pace of new home sales rose, but new home sales remained well below the 1.04 million sales peak reported in August 2020.

Pending home sales rose by 2.5 percent in December, which outpaced expectations of a one percent decrease in pending sales and November’s seasonally-adjusted annual decrease of  -2.6 percent in pending home sales. New home sales are 26.6 percent lower than they were one year ago.

Month-to-month inflation slows in December

The Commerce Department reported that month-to-month inflation rose by 0.1 percent in  December, which matched November’s month-to-month reading. Core inflation rose by 0.1 percent in December to 0.3 percent and matched analyst expectations. Core inflation readings exclude volatile food and fuel sectors that comprise major expenses for many U.S. households.

Year-over-year inflation rose by 5.0 percent in December as compared to November’s pace of 5.5 percent. Core inflation rose  4.4 percent in December, which matched analyst expectations, but fell short of November’s year-over-year reading of 4.7 percent for core inflation.

Mortgage rates, initial jobless claims fall

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week as the rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by two basis points to 6.13 percent. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by 11 basis points to 5.17 percent.

First-time jobless claims fell to 186,000 filings as compared to the expected reading of 205,000 initial jobless claims and the previous week’s reading of 192,000 new jobless claims filed. Continuing jobless claims rose to 1.68 million ongoing claims as compared to the previous week’s reading of 1.66 million continuing jobless claims filed.

Consumer sentiment strengthens in January

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index rose to an index reading of 64.9 in January, which surpassed the expected reading of 64.6 and December’s final index reading of 64.6. Readings over 50 indicate that a majority of consumers surveyed have a positive outlook on the economy. Falling gasoline prices contributed to an improved consumer outlook, but grocery prices remained high.

What’s ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings on U.S. home prices, The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting, and Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s scheduled press conference. Labor-sector reports on job growth and the national unemployment rate will also be released.

getting-a-mortgage-when-self-employed-what-you-need-to-knowThere is a common misconception that someone who is self-employed will not have the tax records or income necessary to qualify for a mortgage; however, that is not necessarily the case. In reality, if you are self-employed, there are a lot of home loan options available to you. It is true that it might require some additional paperwork and planning, but as long as you have the necessary information, you should be able to qualify for a mortgage. 

What Is Necessary To Qualify For A Self-Employed Mortgage Loan?

If you are interested in taking out a mortgage when you are self-employed, you will be held to the same standards as everyone else. This means that the lender is going to require a solid credit score, a long credit history, a favorable debt-to-income ratio, and enough money to cover the down payment. In addition, you will also have to demonstrate a solid income history, just like everybody else. 

That is where the difference comes into play. A W-2 employee may be able to provide a few pay stubs, but someone who is self-employed may be required to provide up to two years of self-employment income. 

How Do I Maximize My Chances Of Getting Approved?

If you are self-employed and want to maximize your chances of getting approved for a self-employed mortgage, there are a few steps you should take. First, you need to make sure your debt-to-income ratio is as low as possible. That way, you can reduce the risk to the lender. You can also improve your chances by preparing financial documents ahead of time. That might mean including profit and loss statements, two years of tax returns, and 2 years of business taxes if you have them. Do not forget that improving your credit score and putting more money down can improve your chances of getting approved. 

Lengthen Your Income History

Finally, if you are serious about getting approved, lengthen your income history. Show that you are willing to provide a longer track record of income, and the bank will feel better about providing you with a self-employed mortgage loan. That way, you have the financing to purchase the house of your dreams. 


On Time, Every Time: How Being Late on Monthly Payments Can Affect Your MortgageAre you the type of person that struggles with remembering to pay their bills on time? You’re not alone. People across the country regularly submit late monthly payments, inflicting terrible damage to their credit. Let’s take a quick look at how paying your loan or other monthly payments late can have a negative impact on your mortgage.

Your Credit Score Is At Risk

As you already know, almost all banks, credit cards, mortgage companies and other lenders rely on your credit score to help assess the risk of lending money to you. Paying any of your payments late – even something as small as your mobile phone bill or a department store credit card – can result in negative marks showing up on your credit report. If you are late enough times or fail to repay the late payment in full, then your score will start to drop.

Refinancing Can Be Affected

If you already have a mortgage, then a lower credit score can be a problem when you try to refinance. The process of refinancing involves taking out a new mortgage, in which your lender will reassess your risk using your credit score as one of the indicators. If you have been making late payments, you might end up having to settle for a higher interest rate or you may even be declined for the new mortgage.

Making A Late Payment? Contact Your Lender

If you are caught in a bind and have to make a late payment, it is best to get a call in to your lender as soon as possible. First, there may be a grace period in which you can be a few days late without any penalty. If that little bit of breathing room is all you need to get caught up, you’re set. If not, you can let them know your circumstances and discuss what options you have.

It is essential to pay your monthly payments on time, even if it means making some small sacrifices in other areas. The better your credit score looks, the more opportunities you will have to make positive financial moves in the future. To learn more about monthly mortgage payments or to take out a mortgage on a new home, contact us today. Our team of mortgage professionals is here to help you find a mortgage to buy the home of your dreams.

What Is A Loan Contingency: An OverviewIf you are in the process of looking for a new home, you need to find the right one to meet your needs. Sometimes, you want to learn more about specific properties before you decide if it is right for you. As a result, a lot of prospective buyers will include contingencies in their home offers that may allow them to back out without losing their earnest money. What are a few examples of loan contingencies, and how can you use them to protect yourself during the process? 

Examples Of Common Loan Contingencies

Even if you have agreed on a purchase price for the house, the closing date is probably not going to be for one or two months. This will provide you with time to complete your due diligence and make sure no issues come up. For example, there may be a contingency that allows the closing date to be extended if there are any issues with the financing process through the lender. 

You might also decide to include a contingency clause in case something develops with the home inspection. If something is wrong with the home inspection, you may provide yourself with an opportunity to pull out of the deal without losing your earnest money. 

How A Loan Contingency Clause Protects The Buyer

It is important for buyers to work with real estate agents who understand how loan contingencies work because this is an important protective measure. A contingency clause can protect the buyer because it provides the buyer with a way to back out of the contract without losing his or her earnest money. 

Typically, if the buyer backs out of the contract, he or she will lose his or her earnest money; however, if the buyer backs out for a reason that is protected by the contingency clause, then his or her earnest money might be protected. 

Some Buyers Waive Their Loan Contingency

If the housing market is particularly competitive, and you know you are going to purchase the house no matter what, then you might want to waive your loan contingency as a way to strengthen your offer. On the other hand, keep in mind that waving your loan contingency means sacrificing this important layer of protection. 


What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - January 23, 2023

Last week’s economic reporting included readings from the National Association of Home Builders on U.S. housing markets, and Commerce Department data on housing starts and building permits issued. The National Association of Realtors® reported sales of previously owned homes, and weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

NAHB: Homebuilder Sentiment Rises in December

The National Association of Home Builders reported increased homebuilder confidence in U.S. housing market conditions in December; this was the first time in 12 months that homebuilder confidence rose. Builder confidence in current housing market conditions rose by four points; builder confidence in home sales conditions over the next six months increased by two points. Builder confidence in prospective buyer traffic in new housing developments rose by three points.

Jerry Konter, a Georgia home builder and chairman of NAHB, said: “It appears that the low point for building sent in this cycle was registered in December, even as many builders continue to use a variety of incentives including price reductions to bolster sales.  The rise in builder sentiment also means that cycle lows for permits and starts are likely near, and a rebound for homebuilding could be underway later in 2023.”

Robert Dietz, the NAHB’s chief economist, predicted that single-family home building will increase as mortgage rates are expected to trend lower and boost housing affordability. Mr. Dietz said, “Improved housing affordability will increase housing demand as the nation grapples with a structural housing deficit of 1.5 million units.”

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week as the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by 18 basis points to 6.15 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.28 percent and were 24 basis points lower on average.

First-time jobless claims fell to 190,000 claims filed as compared to expectations of 215,000 initial claims filed and the previous week’s reading of 205,000 new jobless claims filed. Ongoing jobless claims increased to 1.65 million claims filed compared to the previous week’s reading of 1.63 million continuing jobless claims.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings on new and pending home sales, consumer sentiment, and predictions on inflation. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be published. 

An Often-Overlooked Trick Can Help You Afford A Second HouseThe whole idea of investing is to use a portion of your money now to get more down the road. It is important for everyone to diversify their investments, and you might be thinking about buying a second house to do so. Investing in real estate is a goal that a lot of people have, but how can you get started? It was challenging enough to buy your first house, so how can you afford a second one? 

Use A Cash-Out Refinance To Buy Your Second House

One trick that many people overlook is that they can actually conduct a cash-out refinance to purchase a second house. In general, your lender will allow you to cash out up to 80 percent of the value of your home during a cash-out refinance. This can give you a tremendous amount of flexibility that you can use to purchase a second house. For example, if your house is worth $300,000, you may be able to withdraw tens of thousands of dollars in equity.

What To Consider When Using A Cash-Out Refinance

When you apply for a cash-out refinance, there is a chance that the interest rate on your new loan might change. This might mean that you end up with a higher interest rate than before. You must make sure you can afford this new interest rate. Furthermore, you will be required to pay closing expenses. You need to have enough money set aside to cover those closing expenses. Keep in mind that the term of the loan might change as well. If you were close to paying off your house, this type of refinance might reset that clock. It might take you longer to pay off your mortgage than it did before. Consider these factors carefully before conducting a cash-out refinance.

A Cash-Out Refinance Might Be Right For You

In the end, a cash-out refinance could be a great way for you to withdraw equity from your home, using it to purchase an investment property. On the other hand, you need to ensure you can still afford the new loan after you take that equity out of your home. Work with an expert who can help you find the right option to meet your needs.


VA Loans: Are They Assumable?Members of the military, their family members, and veterans have access to a unique mortgage option called a VA loan. This can be a strong option because it provides borrowers with an opportunity to purchase a house for less than 20 percent down. While not everyone is eligible for a VA loan, there are a lot of people who are wondering, are VA loans assumable? There are a few key points to keep in mind.

What Is An Assumable Loan?

An assumable loan means that the buyer is essentially going to take over the mortgage held by the seller. Essentially, this means that the buyer is going to take over the remaining balance of the loan as well as the interest rate attached to that loan. The buyer will have to compensate the seller for any equity the seller has already accumulated. This means either providing the seller with cash for his or her equity or taking out a second mortgage to cover the difference. The biggest advantage of assuming a loan is that you may be able to secure a lower interest rate than you would in the current market. 

Who Can Assume A VA Loan?

The great news is that a VA mortgage loan is assumable. Even though a VA loan is only available to retired service members, active service members, and members of their immediate families, anyone the lender qualifies to take over the loan can assume it. In general, this means that the buyer needs to have a credit score of at least 580 and a debt-to-income ratio of 45 percent. The buyer and seller must also have at least 12 months without any missed payments. Finally, the person assuming the loan must also occupy the property and the buyer must be willing to take over the terms of the original loan.

Should I Assume A VA Loan?

Assuming a VA loan could be right for you because you can access a lower interest rate and potentially save thousands of dollars on closing costs and expenses if you do not have to take out a second mortgage. On the other hand, this also means that you might need to put more money down to compensate the seller for his or her equity. 


How Do You Actually Write The Check To Buy A House?After you have found the right house to meet your needs, you need to make the down payment to complete the transaction. Can you show up at the closing table with a suitcase full of cash? Of course, that would be a bit suspect, so that is not actually how it happens. What do you need to do to actually hand over the funds to buy the house? 

The Down Payment Is Verified Beforehand

First, understand that the down payment is usually verified before you agree to the deal. Your real estate agent will work with you and the seller’s agent to ensure that you actually have the funds needed to buy the house. For example, you might need to send screenshots of your bank balance or investment portfolio as proof that you have the money. Your agent will work with you to ensure your confidential information remains so.

The Funds Are Typically Given Using A Wire Transfer

When it is time for you to complete the actual transaction, the real estate attorney will handle just about everything. The attorney will be responsible for collecting the money from the sale and ensuring that everyone gets the money they are owed. The attorney will provide you with the account information for where you need to wire the money. Prior to the closing date, you need to go to the bank and work with one of their experts to ensure the money is in your account and wired to the correct account destination.

The Real Estate Agent Will Confirm The Process Is Done

It is best not to wait until the last minute to wire the money into the account. Try to do this process ahead of time, and make sure either the attorney or your real estate agent says that the process has been completed. You do not want to run the risk of missing your closing date. If you have questions about the process, make sure you give the attorney’s office plenty of time to respond to you.

Determine Your Budget With The Help Of Your Real Estate Agent

This process is important for making sure you can afford the house you want. Work with your real estate agent to ensure you have the necessary funds for the down payment.