Posts in Home Loans
What are Interest Rate Caps?

When you get an adjustable rate mortgage, the interest rate changes at set intervals in accordance with the market. In order to keep the rate from rising too high too fast, interest rate caps were introduced, to ensure the rate could only change at a manageable pace.

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What is a 1-Year Adjustable Rate Mortgage?

The 1-Year ARM, though rare, is yet another hybrid adjustable rate mortgage option available to borrowers. As the name suggests, a 1-Year ARM has an initial period of one year with a fixed interest rate. After the initial year, the fixed interest rate converts into an adjustable interest rate, that can be adjusted or “reset” on a yearly basis (annually).

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What is Imminent Default?

Many borrowers are unaware that lenders have the ability to determine and designate when borrowers reach a state of what is known as “Imminent Default”. This is when a borrower is more than likely to default on a mortgage loan agreement.

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DTC: Debt to Credit Ratio in Relation to Home Loans

Your debt-to-credit Ratio (DTC), sometimes known as your credit utilization ratio, is a value that expresses the relation between the amount of credit you have used and your credit limit. DTC is often expressed as a percentage; the higher the percentage, the closer you are to reaching your credit limit. DTC is an important factor in many financial transactions, the most important of which is being one of the factors that helps determine your credit score.

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What are Assumable Mortgages?

An assumable Mortgage is a home loan that can be transferred from the seller to be taken over or “assumed” by the buyer, becoming their responsibility to pay off. Of course, this requires the approval of the lender servicing the loan, and even then, not all loans are assumable.

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What Is A Piggyback Loan?

When purchasing a new home, you may need or want a “piggyback loan” which is  literally a loan that piggybacks off another loan. Basically, it’s two loans that are opened simultaneously. The first loan is generally 80 percent of the purchase price of home. The second is typically a home equity line of credit (HELOC) on top of the first mortgage.

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What is an 80-10-10 Loan?

Private mortgage insurance, or PMI, is one expense that most homeowners would rather live without. While you can ask your lender to cancel PMI once you’ve accumulated 20% equity in your home, that could take a while. So, to sidestep PMI, many borrowers have decided to take out an 80-10-10 loan -- effectively taking out two mortgages at once in order to avoid mortgage insurance altogether.

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Is a VA loan Better Than a Conventional Loan?

If you’re a veteran or surviving spouse who qualifies for a VA loan, you might be wondering if it’s really the most cost-effective way to buy a home. Since VA loans do have a wide variety of benefits, most people would say yes. But, in reality, the truth can be more complex; while VA loans are often the best option for eligible borrowers, they aren’t always the smartest choice. Keep reading to learn when to use a VA loan and when to stick to a conventional mortgage, and why.

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How to Save Your Home and Avoid Foreclosure

If you’ve fallen behind on your mortgage payments -- or you think you’re about to, you could be in a sticky situation. You want to keep your home and avoid defaulting (or contributing to default) on your mortgage, but you’re not sure what to do. One potential solution may be a loan modification program, in which your lender amends the terms of your home loan in order to make it easier for you to pay them back.

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How do I check my VA loan eligibility?

Loans from the Department of Veterans Affairs, commonly known as VA loans, are some of the most attractive home loans out there -- offering the potential for zero down payments and qualification with credit scores as low as 620. If you served in any branch of the U.S. military and separated under any condition that is not dishonorable, you might qualify for a VA loan.

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How do you qualify for a jumbo loan?

If you want to buy a particularly expensive home -- one above the conforming loan limits in the state and county where you’re buying -- you’ll likely need a jumbo loan. While jumbo loans can often allow you to purchase a bigger and better home, they can also be more difficult to qualify for. Here are the basics of qualification for a jumbo loan.

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FHA 5/1 ARM: FHA 5/1 Adjustable Rate Mortgage in Home Loans

A FHA 5/1 ARM is a kind of hybrid mortgage in which interest rates remain fixed for a 5-year period, but can then increase after that due to changes in market interest rates. Unlike regular ARMs, an FHA 5/1 ARM is insured by the government, which can give you some serious benefits.

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All About FHA Construction Loans

If you can’t find your dream home on the market, you might just want to build it yourself! But traditional construction loans can often be complex and expensive-- so what if you could turn to the trusty FHA to get a home construction loan that won’t completely empty your bank account? Well, it turns out you can.

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Savings Comparison: 15-Year Fixed-rate vs. 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage?

While a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is currently the most popular home loan product in the United States, another type of home loan, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, is growing in popularity. A 15-year FRM allows borrowers to save thousands in interest, while having their home paid off significantly faster. Of course, borrowers will have to fork over more each month in payments, but that can be well worth it due to the long-term benefits of this kind of loan product.

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What Is Underwriting for a Home Loan?

Loan origination for mortgages is a slightly more complex process that involves a step known as underwriting. Mortgage underwriting is a process in which the lender determines the risk of offering a home loan to a borrower, based on certain parameters. It is up to an underwriter to make the final decision on whether or not to approve a mortgage.

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What is Loan Origination?

The term loan origination encompasses the process that begins when a borrower applies for a new loan, through the processing of the application by the lender, and ultimately ends with either an approval and disbursement of funds, or a declination. If the loan is approved, the loan origination date is the date at which the loan is funded.

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What are 97% LTV Loans?

If you want to buy a home but have very little cash, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac might have a solution for you. A 97% LTV loan allows you to make a down payment that’s as little as 3% of your home’s purchase price. That means these homes have an even smaller down payment requirement than FHA loans, which typically require at least 3.5% down.

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What is a Payment Option ARM?

A payment option ARM is a kind of adjustable rate mortgage that provides a borrower with a variety of methods to pay off their loan each month. At first, borrowers will be required to make a specific payment based on a temporary, starting interest rate. After a certain period, they can switch to any other of the payment options, including a minimum payment, which often doesn’t cover the interest of the loan.

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What is Negative Amortization?

Most home loans are fully amortizing. This means that the borrower makes monthly payments of both interest and principal, typically, allowing the homeowner to build home equity over time. Despite that, some loans are negatively amortizing, meaning that the borrower is making payments that are actually less than the interest owed on the loan. This means that the principal owed on the loan increases over time -- which can often leave borrowers in a sticky position when it comes time to pay up.

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What do you need to qualify for a conventional loan?

Qualifying for a conventional loan varies by lender. Many different factors come in to play, such as credit score, employment history, debt to income ratio, how much you are willing to spend on a down payment, and even the amount you are trying to borrow.

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What is the best type of mortgage for me?

As a future homeowner, choosing the best mortgage for you is like choosing the best career path: there are tons of options, but only a handful that you’ll qualify for, and even fewer that will really make you happy. The good news is that by asking yourself which mortgage is best for you, you’re already thinking like a savvy consumer -- you recognize that you have a choice between many different mortgage products, and it’s just a matter of narrowing them down.

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What Is the Difference Between a Conventional Loan and an FHA Loan?

A conventional home loan and an FHA loan are both mortgage products that make it possible for home buyers to finance the purchase of a house. While they both help prospective home buyers to get the funding they need to buy a house, they have very different qualities, requirements, and terms.

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What Does a Mortgage Broker Do for You?

Mortgage brokers act as intermediaries whose job is to help connect buyers with investors and banks. Essentially, they collect your information and shop around for relevant mortgage options based on the information they collect from you. Mortgage brokers take care of all of the dirty work, so you don’t have to deal with the stress of finding lenders, getting quotes, and sitting in those highly uncomfortable waiting areas that most banks have.

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What Is a Floating Rate Loan?

A floating interest rate is also known as an adjustable or variable interest rate. The name comes from the fluidity of the interest rate that borrowers must contend with, as the interest percentage fluctuates throughout the life of the loan (for hybrid ARMs, the rate fluctuates after the introductory period ends). The interest rate is affected by the market’s margins or mortgage index.

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What is an FHA 245 Mortgage Loan?

Under section 245 of the FHA home loan program, home buyers with low income who expect their monthly earnings to increase may be eligible for a growing equity home loan. These home loans are designed to cushion the upfront costs for home buyers that may not be able to afford them. This is especially well-suited for first-time home buyers.

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What is a Balloon Home Loan?

A balloon loan is a type of mortgage that doesn’t fully amortize over the life of the loan, leaving a large “balloon payment” due at the end of the mortgage. Home loans with balloon payments have lower monthly payments in the years leading up when the balloon payment is due, but the size of many of these payments often makes it difficult (or impossible) for borrowers to pay them off. For example, many balloon loans have a term of 5 to 7 years (after which the balloon payment is due), while the regular, monthly mortgage payments are based off a 30-year loan term.

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When to Consider a Reverse Mortgage

Reverse mortgages can be a useful tool for seniors and retirees for a variety of reasons. Much like with social security, the value of a reverse mortgage increases the longer you can hold out. The benefit of aging is qualifying for more money from your reverse mortgage. After all, the maximum amount you are eligible to borrow uses your age as one of the determining factors.

You must be 62 years of age or older to be eligible for a reverse mortgage, but that doesn’t mean you should jump at the opportunity right after blowing out your birthday candles. Remember, it pays to wait.

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30-year FRM: 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgages Explained

What’s it mean to have a 30-year mortgage? Simply put, your loan rate, plus the principal and interest payments, are secured for 30 full years. Because your loan amortizes, it will be paid in full on that last payment in year 30. You’ll never have to pay another cent to the mortgage company after that. Your insurance, homeowners’ association fees, and taxes may continue to slowly climb, but those are the only expenses you’ll have to worry about if you never refinance or take out a second mortgage.

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What are the FHA Lending Rates?

The major banks in the United States use the Federal Funds Rate as a rule of thumb for establishing their own Prime Rates. Most of the time, any individual bank’s Prime Rate is the FFR plus about 300 basis points, or three percent. So, if the FFR is 1.5 percent, the FHA lending rate might be 5.5 percent. Or it could be 3 percent. This all depends on how badly those banks want to do business with FHA borrowers.


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How Do I Get a Home Loan Quote?

You’ve been saving money for awhile and working on your credit, and you’re pretty sure you’re ready to buy a house. But how do you get the ball rolling? Don’t you need a home loan quote or something?

Although getting started with a mortgage is both stressful and filled with paperwork you never knew you’d need, it’s not impossible. Let’s walk through what’s required for a home loan quote, otherwise known as a mortgage pre-qualification.

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What is a 40-Year Mortgage?

If you’ve been house hunting before, or even paying attention to some of the commercials for mortgage products, you’ve no doubt seen tons of references to the 30 year mortgage. This is the gold standard and default mortgage for most of the industry, but it’s not the only loan out there. In fact, it’s not even the longest term mortgage available.

There’s another loan that no one really talks about these days: the 40 year mortgage.

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What is a 30-Year Mortgage?

The 30-year mortgage, the steak and potatoes of the home lending world, is the most common type of mortgage you’ll run into as a home buyer. It’s so common that the Consumer Expenditure Survey provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics determined that between 2004 and 2014, 61.49 percent of all mortgages were 30 year fixed rate mortgages. The second most common type, 15 year fixed rates, only made up 14.64 percent of the market.

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Home Loans with Bad Credit and No Down Payment

When you were in school, it was horrifying to hear that something would be put on your “permanent record.” But, as it turned out, that wasn’t such a big deal. The only permanent record you have to fear as an adult is your credit file. A rocky start or even a prolonged hard spot can make it very difficult to buy a home of your own. When you couple that problem with having a small or nonexistent down payment, there aren’t a lot of options for purchase.

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What credit score do you need to qualify for a conventional home loan?

Everyone’s heard tales of how difficult it is to qualify for one of the most coveted products in the mortgage world: the conventional loan. Although there’s nothing particularly exciting about these mortgages, they do offer lower mortgage insurance rates and fewer fees at closing than other types of home loans.

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Are mortgage closing costs negotiable?

First and foremost, it is imperative to remember that you ultimately choose your mortgage lender, which means, there are choices – and the lender has the primary impact on the charges tacked on to your closing costs. This fact is advantageous to the buyer and should be used as a tool to compare estimated closing costs that lenders detail in the Loan Estimate.

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Are closing costs included in the mortgage loan?

Closing costs are the fees charged for services provided by your lender to assist in closing on a property. The fees are typically required to be paid upfront at closing; however, depending on your specific loan to value ratio, and the equity in your home or loan type, you may be able to roll the closing costs into the mortgage loan. 

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What is the Meaning of Amortization?

Amortization refers to a type of payment schedule that some home loans utilize. The payment schedule is made up of equal payment amounts that are stretched over a designated amount of time (the loan term). For the purpose of an amortization schedule, each payment is divided into two portions. There is a portion that is made up of interest (the cost of the loan), and a portion that is made up of principal (the value of the borrowed sum).

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What is an Interest-Only Mortgage?

When most homeowners get a mortgage, they start paying both the interest and the principal immediately -- but they don’t always have to. One kind of home loan, called an interest-only mortgage, allows the buyer to put off paying any of the principal for a number of years while they save money and strengthen their financial position. But, just because you don’t have to pay principal doesn’t mean you can’t; many homebuyers just like to have an option that frees up more cash for their budget.

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What Credit Score Do You Need to Get a Home Equity Loan?

Can you get a home equity loan with a bad credit score? You’re hoping so, now. When you bought your house, the pink bathroom was cute and retro, but after living with it for years, you’re about ready to spray paint the whole thing just to get a break. But with bad credit, what are your options when it comes to renovating?

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Acceptable Credit Score for a Home Equity Loan

Home equity loans can help homeowners pay for big expenses without having to refinance their homes or take out a personal loan. Instead, the equity in your home acts like a piggy bank, allowing you to take out a separate loan for a specific purpose (or, in the case of a HELOC, establish a credit line) and repay it over a longer period of time than other types of credit generally allow. It’s an affordable option for many people, but there are guidelines for underwriting home equity loans, and credit scores are included in that mix.

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DTI: Debt to Income Ratio in Home Loans

DTI, or debt-to-income ratio, is a measurement that banks and other lenders use to compare an individual’s debt payments to their overall income. They usually use this as a way to determine someone’s predicted ability to repay future debts. You can calculate DTI by dividing your total monthly debt (recurring expenses only), by your gross monthly income.

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Finding Home Equity Loans with Bad Credit

When the going gets tough, sometimes, the tough get a home equity loan. There are always going to be times in life when you could use an injection of cash, whether that’s because you’re trying to breathe life into a startup, needing to update your kitchen, or you just got a little behind on bills. A home equity loan can be an excellent weapon in your life improvement war, but if your credit is on the poor side, it can make finding a home equity loan tricky.

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What Is Jumbo Adjustable Rate Mortgage Loan?

An ARM jumbo loan is an adjustable rate mortgage that exceeds the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan-servicing limits. This amount, for most American counties, is $453,100. For more expensive areas, that limit can go as high as $679,650. Right now, ARM jumbo loans are becoming incredibly popular -- with statistics suggesting that around 75% of ARMs currently issued are actually for jumbo loans. Of that 75%, 47% of those home loans are for more than $1 million.

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Hybrid ARM: Hybrid Adjustable Rate Mortgages in Home Loans

A hybrid ARM is a mortgage that combines elements of a traditional fixed-rate mortgage and an adjustable-rate mortgage. To do this, a hybrid ARM has two parts, or stages: during the first part of the loan, the interest rate is fixed, meaning it doesn’t change. During the second part, the rate will change based on a specific market index. 

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FHA 7/1 ARM: FHA 7/1 Adjustable Rate Mortgage in Home Loans

An FHA 7/1 ARM is a kind of hybrid home loan that’s insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). If you get a FHA 7/1 ARM, your interest rate will be fixed for the first seven years of the loan, and can then be adjusted afterward when the variable interest rate portion of the loan begins. Like other ARMs, FHA 7/1 ARM variable interest rates are based on a index rate -- which is usually the rate at which banks in a certain area lend money to each other.

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3/1 ARM: 3/1 Adjustable Rate Mortgage in Home Loans

A 3/1 ARM is an adjustable-rate mortgage in which the rate is fixed for the first three years of the loan. As a hybrid mortgage, it has elements of both a traditional fixed-rate mortgage and an adjustable (or variable) rate loan. As with pretty much all hybrid rate mortgages, the shorter the period of the fixed-rate part of the loan, the lower the initial interest rate. That’s the bank’s way of compensating you for the increased risk you’re taking on when the adjustable part of the mortgage kicks in.

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10/1 ARM: 10/1 Adjustable Rate Mortgage in Home Loans

A 10/1 ARM is one type of hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage. Much like other hybrid loans, a 10/1 ARM has a fixed period (in this case, 10 years) during which your interest rate won’t change. That makes it one of the safest types of hybrid mortgages, as it gives you a lot of time to figure out your financial situation and determine whether you want to continue owning your home after the adjustable-rate period begins.

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7/1 ARM: 7/1 Adjustable Rate Mortgage in Home Loans

A 7/1 ARM is a kind of adjustable rate mortgage -- in this case, one that has a fixed interest rate for seven years. After that, the interest rate can change, usually depending on changes in the market interest rate. Like its cousins 3/1 ARMs and 10/1 ARMs, a 7/1 ARM is considered a hybrid mortgage because it has both a fixed-rate and a variable-rate interest period.

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What are the Requirements for an FHA Loan?

In basic terms, an FHA loan is a government-insured mortgage. Due to the fact that these loans are being offered by the government, instead of a for-profit company, FHA loans have a variety of benefits that can make it easier for you to buy your dream home without breaking a big sweat.

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How do you calculate mortgage insurance?

Mortgage insurance is a type of insurance policy that covers the lender in case the borrower defaults on the loan. It is usually required in the form of private mortgage insurance (PMI) when borrowers don’t make a down payment of at least 20% on most conventional loans. For FHA loans, it’s called a mandatory mortgage insurance premium (MIP).  If you fit into either of those categories, then mortgage insurance is something you’ll have to deal with.

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What Is a Variable Interest Rate on a Home Loan?

Much like vanilla and chocolate ice cream, home mortgage loans come in two main flavors: adjustable rate home loans, and fixed rate home loans. While the interest rate on a fixed rate loan stays the same throughout the entire life of the loan, an adjustable (or variable) interest rate loan can go up or down, depending on market conditions.

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Reverse Mortgages: How Much Money Do You Get (and When Do You Get It)?

The amount of money you get from a reverse mortgage is dependent on the type of loan and the method you choose to receive your payments. There are three types of reverse mortgages: Single Purpose, Proprietary, and the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM).

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What Does It Take to Qualify for a Jumbo Loan?

While things have loosened up since the first few years after the crisis, requirements are still a bit stricter, and most potential jumbo loan borrowers should expect to make at least a 15% down payment. They should also carefully record and document their income. Plus, they may have to be okay with getting an adjustable rate loan, and making sure that their monthly payment does not exceed 38% of their income before taxes. 

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What Is Considered a Jumbo Loan in Each State?

A jumbo home loan is a loan that exceeds a specific amount, called the conforming loan limit. The conforming loan limit is actually calculated by county -- not by state, so depending on where exactly you live, you could face a different conforming loan limit. For most U.S. counties, the limit is set at $453,100, a nice increase from 2017’s $424,100.

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Is It Worth It to Take on a Loan with PMI?

Taking on a loan with PMI can often increase the amount of options you have, meaning that you may be able to take on a larger or riskier loan than you would regularly qualify for. Often, this means you can buy a home earlier, and start building up its equity without having to save up the full 20% of the home’s purchase price before doing so.

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LTV: Loan to Value Ratio in Regards to Home Loans?

A loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is the ratio of a loan amount to the value of the asset it’s being used to purchase. Lenders often refer to a borrower’s LTV in order to assess the risk involved in entering a loan agreement with that borrower. The higher your LTV, the riskier the loan is for the lender. Generally speaking, LTVs of 80% and up are considered high. 

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What Is a Jumbo Home Loan or Jumbo Mortgage?

A jumbo home loan, or jumbo mortgage, is a type of non-conforming conventional loan. This means it’s a loan that isn’t backed by FHA, it has nothing to do with VA or USDA, and neither Fannie Mae nor Freddie Mac will buy it. It makes a person wonder why a bank would even deal in these, but the truth is that they’re reasonably low risk and very high profit from the lender's perspective. 

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What is a Good Down Payment on a House?

A good down payment on a house largely depends on your circumstances and the loan you've applied for. Based on loan requirements and your risk profile the lender will determine the minimum down payment for the loan. In other words, it may not be up to you how much you pay -- though generally, a higher down payment will equate to lower fees and better loan terms.

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The Different Types of Mortgages

There are many different mortgage options for homebuyers to choose from. For starters, mortgages are usually categorized as either a fixed rate or adjustable rate. Then there are various loan programs to choose from including FHA Loans, VA Loans, USDA Loans, or Conventional Loans

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Criteria for First-Time Home Buyers for Home Loans

To help first-time home buyers, federal, state and local housing agencies have programs to make the home buying process easier and cheaper. The agencies and lenders in your area can offer you various FHA loans, VA loans, down payment grants, and other programs to make it easier to qualify and buy your first home. The definition of a first time home buyer

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What is a Fixed-Rate Mortgage?

A fixed-rate mortgage is the simplest and most common mortgage for homebuyers. It simply has a fixed interest rate, that does not go up or down, throughout its lifespan. Since it never changes, a fixed-interest-rate mortgage isn't associated with indexes, margins, floors, or caps. As the interest rate is fixed, the monthly principal and interest payment are the same throughout the mortgage’s lifespan.

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How to Calculate a Fixed Mortgage Rate

Calculating a fixed mortgage rate is relatively simple: You take the annual figure and turn it into a monthly figure. To calculate the monthly fixed mortgage rate, just do the following steps:

  1. change the annual rate to a decimal number by dividing it by 100;

  2. take the resulting decimal figure and further divide it by 12; and

  3. voila!, You have the monthly fixed mortgage rate.

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Home Loans for First-Time Home Buyers

Buying your first home is a challenging but important first step in securing your future. There are many financial products available on the market for first-time homebuyers. Each product has its target market, so it’s important to understand your needs so as to match them to the products on offer.

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Applying for a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan

Like with most housing assistance programs, you can start at your local housing agency. You’ll be provided with a breakdown of the FHA loan-approved lenders in your area, whom you can apply to. If you qualify for the program, simply apply to these lenders. If you get more than one quote, you’re more likely to find a better deal.

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Amortized Loans with Regard to Home Loans

An amortized loan is a debt that’s paid off over time in equal installments. Each payment pays off the interest and the principal.

In the beginning, the installments prioritize paying off the interest and a portion of the principal. Over time, the interest will become a small part of the installment, as the principal will have become a larger component. 

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FHA 7 year ARM: Federal Housing Administration 7 Year Adjustable Rate Mortgage

The FHA 7 year ARM is a hybrid mortgage that is guaranteed by the Federal Housing Authority. It is deemed a “hybrid” mortgage because it has a fixed interest rate in the beginning for 7 years and then switches to a variable interest rate. As with all adjustable rate mortgages (ARMS) the rate is composed of an index rate and the lender's margins.

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HELOC: Home Equity Line Of Credit

A home equity line of credit (HELOC), is a pool of credit you can draw from using your home equity as collateral. Your home equity is the difference between the value of your home and the mortgage balance. So if your home is valued at $250,000 and your mortgage is $150,000 then your home equity is at $100,000 ($250,000-$150,000).  

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Cash Out Refinance in Relation to Home Loans

A cash out refinance uses your home equity to issue a new loan to replace the old one and give you a cash payout. Say your home is valued at $400,000 and your mortgage stands at $250,000 which means that your home equity is $150,000 ($400,000-$250,000). Using your home equity as collateral you can take out a new loan of $320,000, which will cover the $250,000 mortgage and get a cash payment of $70,000 ($320,000-$250,000).

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A Complete Guide to Balloon Mortgages

Balloon loans are usually short-term and only a small portion of the principal will be paid by the end of the term. They look something like this, a $400,000 loan is to be amortized over 30 years but due in 5 years. The borrower will make payments like they are on a 30-year amortized payment plan, but the loan will be due in 5 years. The amortized payments will pay for mostly interest and a small portion of the principle, the balloon payment is likely to be close to the principal.

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FHA 5/1 ARM: Federal Housing Administration 5/1 Adjustable Rate Mortgage

A 5-year ARM FHA mortgage is a loan with a fixed and variable interest rate that is guaranteed by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA). The loan is a hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM): it starts out with a fixed interest rate for the first five years, then the rate becomes variable. The loan comes with a guarantee to the lender that the FHA will pay it off if the borrower fails to pay.

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