own home provides several benefits. In addition to the
satisfaction of being a homeowner, you can build equity,
enjoy tax deductions, say "good bye" to your landlord and
take control of your living environment.
are a first-time home buyer, renter, or are purchasing a new
or second home, we have an assortment of tools and
programs to meet your individual financing needs.
We can help
you realize your homeownership dreams by offering you all
the best advantages:
Home Buying Resources
10 Things to avoid before buying a home
Ten Things Home Buyers Should
Avoid Doing Before Closing on a Home
Your home buying process is well underway. The sellers
accepted your offer to purchase. The home is officially
under contract and you're counting down the days to closing.
The lender pre-approved you, so buying the house is a sure
Not quite. Nothing is certain
until the keys are in your hand and the deed is recorded.
There are still hurdles to get past before it's yours, and
your actions between now and closing can create headaches,
slowdowns and even stop the transaction.
1. Don't Make a Major
You've just found out your credit is A+. That's great news,
because a new car would look fantastic in the driveway of
your new home. But hang on--if you are depending on a
mortgage to move in, you'd best wait until after closing to
buy that car.
increase in your debt to income ratio reduces the amount of
monthly income available for your mortgage payment. If you
tack on a higher car payment, the bank might decide you
can't afford the home.
Using cash to purchase the car could also create a problem,
since banks consider cash reserves when approving your
mortgage. If you must make a major purchase before closing,
talk to your loan officer before you do it.
2. Don't Change Jobs Unless
Lenders like to see a consistent job history. They aren't
usually as nervous if you change jobs within the same field,
but it's better to stay put until the house is yours.
3. Don't Give an Earnest Money Deposit Directly to a For
Sale By Owner Seller
good faith deposit should go into a trust account. Some
for sale by owner sellers don't understand that funds are
not their to spend until closing.
I've heard many stories about sellers who spent the deposit
money prior to closing. When the transactions didn't take
place for valid reasons--such as financing or repair issues,
the buyers had to fight for a refund.
Find an attorney or other neutral party who will hold the
deposit for you until closing day and make sure your
contract dictates what happens to the funds if the
transaction doesn't close.
4. Don't Let Your Emotions Take Over
Keep a cool head during the entire home buying process,
especially during and after a home inspection. Be realistic.
No home is perfect, especially older homes. It's not unusual
for new owners to take care of some repairs themselves.
Don't let the seller's refusal to do a small repair kill the
deal on a home you truly love.
On the other hand, don't fall so much in love with the house
that you'll buy it no matter what needs to be done--unless
you're sure you can handle it emotionally and financially.
Decide what type of repairs you can realistically tackle,
then stick with the decision.
5. Don't Forget to Switch Utilities
That sounds simple, but you'd be surprised how many people
forget to apply for utility service at their new home. Call
the utility companies as soon as you have a contract. Find
out how many days lead time they need to switch the service,
then get back with them when you have a firm closing date.
Don't forget to discontinue services at your old home.
6. Don't Forget to Line Up Your Hazard Insurance
A no-brainer, right? But it's another often-forgotten task
that buyers scramble to take care of at the last minute.
Before closing, your lender will want to see an insurance
binder showing you have coverage for the new home. Get it as
early as possible so that closing isn't delayed.
In some locations, additional types of insurance coverage
might be necessary. Talk to your lender about insurance
requirements well before the closing date.
7. Don't Become Best Friends with the Seller
I'll get some flack on this one. It's great to be friendly,
but don't get into too many long discussions with the
sellers, because personality conflicts often cloud
Remember, this is their home. You're no doubt excited about
moving in, and if you didn't like the house you wouldn't
have offered to buy it. But you'll make changes--everyone
does. A casual statement about "ripping up that ugly carpet"
might be hurtful enough to keep the seller from negotiating
with you about repairs or other issues that crop up.
8. Don't Panic if the Appraisal Comes in Low
At least not at first. There are some things you (and your
agent) can do to correct the problem. Study your options.
9. Don't Go It Alone
If you're working with an agent, it's the agent's duty to
track many of the day to day details that involve the
lender, the seller, or the seller's agent. Be sure your
agent schedules a final walkthrough just before closing.
10. Don't Ignore Lender Requirements
Know what is expected of you and take care of it. For
instance, a Certificate of Eligibility is required to move
forward on a VA loan. That's something you must handle
yourself. Answer lender questions and provide required
paperwork as quickly as possible--moving into your new home
depends on it.
certain standard costs associated with closing the sale of a
house. These fees are split between the buyer and the
seller, as spelled out in the sales contract.
negotiate the sales contract for you, we will not only work
to get the sales price you want, we will also work to limit
the number of closing costs for which you will be
walk you through the closing costs, answering any questions
you may have explaining which costs are decreed by law to be
yours and which are negotiable.
Buyers will receive a "Loan Estimate" of
closing costs at the time the loan application is submitted
to the lender. The estimate is based on the loan officer's
past experience and may not include all the closing costs.
We will be glad to review the "Good Faith Estimate,"
answering questions and highlighting missing costs and
estimates we believe to be low.
Loan-Related Closing Costs
Loan Origination Fee
This covers the administrative expenses in setting-up
and processing the loan. The loan origination fee may be
a percentage of the mortgage amount.
An option for the home buyer is to pay points to lower
the interest rate at which the loan will be repaid. Each
point equals 1 percent of the mortgage amount. For
example: on a $150,000 loan, 1 point would equal $1,500.
The fee for having the house appraised may be
incorporated into the closing costs or payment may be
required by the lender at the time the loan application
The lender uses a credit report to determine the
creditworthiness of the loan applicant. This fee is
often paid when the loan application is submitted.
Typically the buyer is required to pay interest on the
mortgage loan to cover the time between the closing date
and when the first mortgage payment period begins. For
example: If closing is on May 15. Your first monthly
payment begins to accrue interest on June 1 with your
first mortgage payment due July 1. At closing an
interest payment covering the accrual period between May
15 and May 31 may be required.
At closing a payment may be required to fund the escrow
account if the lender is paying home insurance, property
taxes and/or other expenses out of the escrow account.
This is the one closing cost that is often prorated
between the buyer and seller. If the seller has already
paid the annual property taxes, the buyer typically
reimburses the seller for the period in which the buyer
will be occupying the property. Likewise, if the taxes
have not yet been paid, the seller typically reimburses
the buyer for the period in which the buyer occupied the
Transfer Taxes and Recording Fees
This is the cost for transferring ownership of the
property and recording the purchase documents. The fee
is often calculated as a percentage of the sales price.
Insurance Closing Costs
This insurance covers replacement costs for damages
caused by fire, wind or other disaster that might affect
the value of the property. Typically, the insurance also
includes personal liability and theft coverage.
Flood or Quake Insurance
Additional hazard insurance coverage that is required
for homes located in a designated hazard zone as
established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
As we tour houses, I will let you know if the property
resides in a hazard zone.
Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)
Insurance required for conventional mortgage loans
when the borrower's down payment on the house is less
than 20 percent of the loan value.
This policy protects both the buyer and lender by
insuring a clear chain of title. (In other words, it
insures that that the person who sells the house has the
legal right to do so.)
Why you should get a Home Inspection
are buying or selling a home, you should have a professional
home inspection performed.
inspection will look at the systems that make up the
building such as:
Structural elements, foundation, framing etc
Cosmetic condition, paint, siding etc
If you are
buying a home, you need to know exactly what you are
getting. A home inspection, performed by a professional home
inspector, will reveal any hidden problems with the home so
that they may be addressed BEFORE the deal is closed. You
should require an inspection at the time you make a formal
offer. Make sure the contract has an inspection contingency.
Then, hire your own inspector and pay close attention to the
inspection report. If you aren't comfortable with what he
finds, you should kill the deal.
if you are selling a home, you want to know about such
potential hidden problems before your house goes on the
market. Almost all contracts include the condition that the
contract is contingent upon completion of a satisfactory
inspection. And most buyer's are going to insist that the
inspection be a professional home inspection, usually by an
inspector they hire. If the buyer's inspector finds a
problem, it can cause the buyer to get cold feet and the
deal can often fall through. At best, surprise problems
uncovered by the buyer's inspector will cause delays in
closing, and usually you will have to pay for repairs at the
last minute, or take a lower price on your home.
to pay for your own inspection before putting your home on
the market. Find out about any hidden problems and correct
them in advance. Otherwise, you can count on the buyer's
inspector finding them, at the worst possible time.
How much can your afford?
How much can you afford?
Deciding how much house you can afford is a personal
decision. Many factors come into play. How much can I
borrow? How much can I put toward my down payment? What size
monthly payment can I afford?
There are no black and white answers to these questions. Its
a matter of give and take. If you plan on a 30 year
mortgage, you can probably make a lower down payment (or
perhaps no down payment at all) and still manage the monthly
payments. If, on the other hand, you plan on a 15 year
mortgage, you'll probably want to make a larger down payment
to keep your monthly payments in line with what you can
How large a down payment can I make?
Many buyers look at their cash on hand as their only source
for their down payment. This simply is not the case. One way
to fund or partially fund a down payment is by using a gift.
Parents, grandparents and other family members are often
eager to help by making a cash gift toward the purchase of
There are also down payment assistance charities that can
help you. And, of course, if you are selling a home, the
equity you've built up can be applied to your down payment.
But these are not your only options. We can help you explore
all your down payment options, including low down payment
and 100% mortgage financing options that might be right for
What size monthly payment can I afford?
When determining what size monthly payment you can afford,
you'll want to consider what other monthly expenses you have.
Tangible expenses such as car payments, day care and utility
bills, all play a role in how large a monthly payment you
There are also the intangible expenses or lifestyle expenses
that you'll want to consider. Things such as dining out,
travel and when you buy your next car can effect how much
you can afford. Are you willing to curtail or delay some of
these expenses in order to afford a larger monthly payment?
How much can I borrow?
This is a question you'll want to get answered before you
begin your home search. This is something that were here to
help you with.
We can answer any questions you may have about the mortgage
process. But the best way we can help is by getting you
pre-qualified for a mortgage loan. To get started, simply
complete the form below to let us know a good time to
contact you. We look forward to helping you buy your dream
The Home Loan Process
mistake, there's a lot involved in getting a mortgage loan.
You wouldn't be here on our website if you could fill out a
one-page application and get the best loan for you funded
the same day. What we do is do most of the heavy lifting for
you, so you can concentrate on what's important -- preparing
to move into your new home, saving money, or making plans
for your home equity check.
four main steps involved in getting a loan. You'll see that
we've made your part in them as easy as possible, and we do
all the work! That's what we're here for.
Step one: determine how much you can borrow
This is a
function of a couple things. How much of a monthly payment
can you afford? And given your unique credit and employment
history, income and debt, and goals, how much will a lender
loan you? The first part you can get a rough idea of by
using the calculators on our website. We'll also help you
through different scenarios by asking a few simple
questions. Based on standard lender guidelines, we'll get
you a good idea of what kind of terms and loan program you
can expect to benefit most from.
Step two: pre-qualify for your loan
where the rubber meets the road and you save the most money.
You supply information about your employment, your assets,
your residence history, and so on. We get your permission to
run your credit score. When we review all this information
we give you a Pre-Qualification Letter. Handle it with care
-- to a home seller, it's like a suitcase full of cash! Your
realty agent will use your Pre-Qual (as they may call it) to
make the best offer on the home you choose, and the seller
knows you're pre-qualified. It gives you buying clout! And
while you're picking out the home that's right for you,
we're busy finding the loan that's right for you.
Step three: apply now! We make it easy
made an offer and it's been accepted, it's time to complete
the loan application. It couldn't be easier, and you can do
it online, right here at our website. When the time is
right, we'll order an appraisal of your new home.
Step four: your loan is funded
agent and the seller's will work together to designate an
escrow/title company to handle the funding of your loan once
it's approved. We'll coordinate with the escrow company to
make sure all the papers your lender will need are in order,
and you'll sign everything at the escrow/title company's
answered a few questions, given us some detailed
information, applied online, and next thing you know, you're
moving in! We're in the business of mortgage loans,
you're not -- so we do most of the work. Doesn't
that make sense?
- Past two (2) years W-2
- Pay Stubs covering the
last (30) thirty days
- Three most recent
monthly bank statements
- Most recent
transaction summary of 401K, IRA, or Mutual Fund
- Photocopies of any
stocks or certificates of deposits
- Copy of the purchase
and sale agreement
- If you are currently
renting….either 12 months canceled rent checks or the
name and address of your current landlord
- If divorced…a fully
executed divorce decree
- For a refinance...a
copy of the deed, and most recent tax bill
- A letter of
explanation for any known credit problems
For self employed
borrowers, employed in sales, paid by commission, or owns
rental real estate:
- Two (2) years signed
personal tax returns - including all schedules
- If self-employed
through a corporation, last two years corporate returns
as well as a year-to-date profit and loss statement and
Different programs require
varying amounts of documentation. The loan program you
select may require more or less documentation. Please
contact us for a free,
Homeowner's Insurance, PMI, Title Insurance
What are homeowner's insurance, private mortgage insurance
and title insurance?
homeowners insurance policy is a package policy
that combines more than one type of insurance coverage in a
single policy. There are four types of coverages that are
contained in the homeowners policy: dwelling and personal
property, personal liability, medical payments, and
additional living expenses. Homeowner's insurance, as the
name suggests, protects you from damage or loss to your home
or the property in it.
that flood insurance and earthquake damage are not covered
by a standard homeowners policy. If you buy a house in a
flood-prone area, you'll have to pay for a flood insurance
policy that costs an average of $400 a year. The Federal
Emergency Management Agency provides useful information on
flood insurance on its Web site at
www.fema.gov. A separate
earthquake policy is available from most insurance
companies. The cost of the coverage will depend on the
likelihood of earthquakes in your area.
Private mortgage insurance (PMI) and
government mortgage insurance (MI) protect the lender
against default and enable the lender to make a loan which
the lender considers a higher risk. Lenders often require
mortgage insurance for loans where the down payment is less
than 20 percent of the sales price. You may be billed
monthly, annually, by an initial lump sum, or some
combination of these practices for your mortgage insurance
premium. Mortgage insurance should not be confused with
mortgage life, credit life or disability insurance, which
protect you and are designed to pay off a mortgage in the
event of your death or disability.
also encounter "lender paid" mortgage insurance ("LPMI").
Under LPMI plans, the lender purchases the mortgage
insurance and pays the premiums to the insurer. The lender
will increase your interest rate to pay for the premiums --
but LPMI may reduce your settlement costs. You cannot cancel
LPMI or government mortgage insurance during the life of
your loan. However, it may be possible to cancel private
mortgage insurance at some point, such as when your loan
balance is reduced to a certain amount. Before you commit to
paying for mortgage insurance, ask us about the specific
requirements for cancellation in your case.
Title insurance is usually required by the lender
to protect the lender against loss resulting from claims by
others against your new home. In some states, attorneys
offer title insurance as part of their services in examining
title and providing a title opinion. The attorney's fee may
include the title insurance premium. In other states, a
title insurance company or title agent directly provides the
lenders title insurance policy does not protect you.
Neither does the prior owners policy. If you want to protect
yourself from claims by others against your new home,
you will need an owner's title policy. When
a claim does occur, it can be financially devastating to an
owner who is uninsured. If you buy an owner's policy, it is
usually much less expensive if you buy it at the same time
and with the same insurer as the lender's policy.
money on title insurance, compare rates among various title
insurance companies. Ask what services and limitations on
coverage are provided under each policy so that you can
decide whether coverage purchased at a higher rate may be
better for your needs. However, in many states, title
insurance premium rates are established by the state and may
not be negotiable. If you are buying a home which has
changed hands within the last several years, ask your title
company about a "reissue rate," which would be cheaper. If
you are buying a newly constructed home, make certain your
title insurance covers claims by contractors. These claims
are known as "mechanics liens" in some parts of the country.
The American Land Title Association has consumer title
insurance information available at its website,
In many cases, lenders need a
professional, independent appraisal of the property you want
to buy or refinance to ensure that it is worth at least as
much as they are being asked to lend on it. If you are
making a smaller down payment and have a lower credit score,
the lender is going to be even more interested in making
sure the property that will be collateral for the loan is
worth lending the amount requested.
A professional, independent appraiser will usually visit
your home and inspect its interior and exterior. The
appraiser doesn't want to buy your home, and isn't a
visiting head of state. So whatever you do, do not postpone
the appraisal until you get a chance to "clean up a little."
Cleaning does not make your appraised value higher! And
delaying adds time to an already lengthy process.
The appraiser will form an opinion on the probable market
value of the property considering sales of similar homes in
the area among other factors. He or she will prepare an
appraisal report explaining the conclusion. The appraisal
belongs to the lender considering lending money with the
home as collateral. Often, you can receive a copy of the
appraisal either as a courtesy or in keeping with state law.
Let us know you're interested and we'll help.
The lender wants to know first of all whether the property
is worth at least as much as the loan amount. In the
unlikely event the lender would have to foreclose, it wants
to know it should be able to recoup at least the loan
amount. But if your loan program depends on your borrowing,
for example, 95 percent of the property's value and no more,
the appraisal can impact your eligibility for the loan
that's right for you. In a "close" case like that, the best
solution is almost always to increase your down payment, or
we can help find another solution such as another loan
program that works.
An appraisal can cost from $350 to $700 or more for very
complex properties. You as the borrower repay the lender for
its cost in paying the appraisal fee upon settlement of the
Obtain your free credit report
The information in your
credit report has a huge impact on whether or not you
qualify for a mortgage loan and what interest rate a lender
will offer. Therefore, it’s important your credit report
reflects a positive image of the way you manage your money.
If you're getting ready to buy a home, checking your credit
report is the best way to ensure you get the loan and
interest rate you deserve.
How do I order my free report?
The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have set
up a central website, a toll-free telephone number, and a
mailing address through which you can order your free annual
To order, visit
annualcreditreport.com, call 1-877-322-8228, or complete
the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual
Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA
30348-5281. The form is on the back of this brochure; or you
can print it from
Do not contact the three nationwide consumer reporting
companies individually. They are providing free annual
credit reports only through
annualcreditreport.com, 1-877-322-8228, and Annual
Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA
You may order your reports from each of the three nationwide
consumer reporting companies at the same time, or you can
order your report from each of the companies one at a time.
The law allows you to order one free copy of your report
from each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies
every 12 months.
New law promotes free access to credit reports
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the
nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax, Experian,
and TransUnion – to provide you with a free copy of your
credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. The
FCRA promotes the accuracy and privacy of information in the
files of the nation’s consumer reporting companies. The
Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer
protection agency, enforces the FCRA with respect to
consumer reporting companies.
A credit report includes
information on where you live, how you pay your bills, and
whether you’ve been sued, arrested, or filed for bankruptcy.
Nationwide consumer reporting companies sell the information
in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other
businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for
credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home.
Here are the details about
your rights under the FCRA and the Fair and Accurate Credit
Transactions (FACT) Act, which established the
free annual credit report program.