Category: Mortgages

How To Save $100000 On Your Next Mortgage Loan

When you’re shopping for a mortgage, the two most common fixed-rate mortgage terms you’ll come across are thirty years, and fifteen years.  There are other options, sure, but those are the most common. Fifteen years is a long time. So is thirty years. Looking at today’s interest rates on both 30-year and 15-year loans, the 30-year rate right now (remember they change a lot) is 3.94%, while the 15-year rate is 3.24%.  While the rate on the 30-year term is higher than the 15-year, the monthly payment is actually lower, because the term of the loan is longer.  Confused yet? …

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What Is HARP?

harp noun 1. a musical instrument consisting of a triangular frameformed by a soundbox, a pillar,  and a curved neck, and having strings stretched between the soundbox and the neck that are plucked with the fingers. But we’re not talking about that kind of harp.  The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) is a program established by the White House that allows for homeowners to refinance at today’s historically low interest rates even if they’re property is underwater (translation – they owe more than what the house is worth).  In theory, the thought is that if homeowners are able to spend less on their mortgage than they’ll spend more on other goods and services, thus stimulating the economy.  In reality, I suspect it’s more political than anything else, but that’s the …

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USDA Loans Are Changing Oct 1 2011

The loans, they are a’ changing. When I wrote that 100% USDA loans were available in parts of the New River Valley, I failed to mention that everything was changing.  Well, not everything, but several items related to USDA 100% mortgages are changing, beginning October 1st, in two important ways. First, the good news – each USDA mortgage has an upfront fee that’s used as a mortgage guarantee fee.  That premium, which has been set at 3.5%, is going down to 2%. Now, the bad news – prior to October 1st, USDA mortgages don’t have monthly mortgage insurance, but after October 1st that’s …

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The New Rural Housing (USDA) Guidelines – the Fall 2011 edition

Dan Green at The Mortgage Reports wrote a post this morning that talks about the new USDA guidelines for 100% mortgage loans, and I want to repost it here, because (a) I have two USDA loans going with Dan right now and his team is fantastic, and also because (b) he references Blacksburg VA and that’s kind of cool.  Oh, and (c) because 100% loans are still available in some areas of the New River Valley. USDA loans, or Section 502 loans, are designed to provide borrowers 100% financing when they purchase real estate in USDA-eligible areas, and you can …

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When Buying A Home, Start With the Monthly Budget First

Budgets.  Aren’t they great? But without them, the bills don’t get paid.  And that includes the mortgage. Read a good piece by Dan Green last week – it reminded me that when shopping for a home, it’s important to determine what your budget can afford first. When you buy a home, you should search by cost, not price. After all, cost is what you pay monthly. It’s your mortgage, your taxes, your insurance, and assessments. It’s your costs of homeownership and maintenance. Start with the budget, and arrive at the price … not the other way around. Also don’t forget …

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What A Government Shutdown Means for Real Estate

All the talk, particularly this week, seems to be centered on whether or not the government is actually going to shutdown today as predicted.  Well, that’s not entirely true – if you look at the timeline on my Facebook and Twitter feeds, who got voted off of American Idol might be public topic #1, but the government shutdown is a close second. A government shutdown is supposed to close down only non-essential services.  Things like national parks and museums are closed, as is the IRS (but they still want your money).  And the Post Office will still run, since they’re …

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How Often Do Mortgage Rates Change?

From Dan Green and TheMortgageReports.com: Mortgage Rates Are “Good” For Less Than 4 Hours In February, lenders issued 2.45 rate sheets per day. This means that mortgage rates changed every 3 hours, 16 minutes on average last month. It also means that the rate quote you picked up by email yesterday isn’t worth the pixels it’s printed on today. More than 3 hours have passed and your quote has since expired; it’s a relic of some other day’s mortgage market conditions. In a market that moves this fast, you not only lose the ability to “sleep on it” with respect to …

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How Is A Credit Score Broken Down?

Credit scores.  Can’t understand them, but without a good one – or lots of cash – buying a house is not attainable. Without a good credit score, the best interest rates aren’t available to you. Without the best interest rates available to you, homes at good values rapidly become unaffordable. A while ago, Marianne Lane gave us a two-part series on credit scores.  I was cleaning some things up yesterday, and came across a visual of how a credit score is actually determined, and I thought this might be even more helpful. Clear as mud, right? Two quick points that …

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Well? Is It Really A Good Time To Buy New River Valley Real Estate? Part One …

Reprinted from the Wall Street Journal – see the full article here.  Part Two forthcoming, with my thoughts.  What do you think? Enough with the doom and gloom about homeownership. Sure, maybe there’s more pain to come in the housing market. But when Time magazine starts running covers that declare “Owning a home may no longer make economic sense,” it’s time to say: Enough is enough. This is what “capitulation” looks like. Everyone has given up. After all, at the peak of the bubble five years ago, Time had a different take. “Home Sweet Home,” declared its cover then, as …

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