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Mortgage FAQ's

1.    What is APR?
The Annual Percentage Rate is the rate reflecting the actual cost of a mortgage as a yearly rate. This rate is likely to be higher than the stated rate on the mortgage because it takes into account any points, mortgage insurance (if applicable) and other credit costs. The APR gives the customer what the actual lender finds the true interest rate to be from its perspective. The APR allows homebuyers to compare different types of mortgages based on the annual cost of the loan.

2.    What is a 1st time homebuyer?
A first time homebuyer as defined as someone who has not owned a home within the past 3 years or claimed any real estate deductions for tax purposes.

3.    What are rates going to do tomorrow?
Rates are subject to change at any point in time. If the financial market is volatile, rates could change up to three times a day.

4.    How quickly can I get approved?
You can be approved in as little as 24 hours!

5.    What are points?
Points are prepaid interest. By paying points, the lender collects interest upfront at closing and lowers the rate of the mortgage. Each point is 1% of the mortgage amount.

6.    What is a buy-down?
When the lender and/or homebuilder subsidizes the mortgage by lowering the interest rate during the first few years of the loan. A 2-1 buy-down translates to an initial interest rate that is 2% below the note rate and the second year rate is 1% below the note rate. Qualifying may occur at the start rate. For example, if the note rate is 8%, the first year rate is 6% and the second year rate is 7%.

7.    What does Prime Rate mean?
The prime rate is the interest that a bank charges its "best" customers. There is no federal prime rate, but each commercial bank offers its own prime rate.

8.    What is PMI?
PMI stands for Private Mortgage Insurance. This insurance, provided by non-government insurers, protects the lender against loss if a borrower defaults. It is required on any loan with LTV greater than 80%. The amount of coverage depends on the loan program and level of down payment. PMI costs more on a 3-5% down mortgage than it does on a 15% down mortgage.

9.    Appraised v. Assessed Value?
The appraised value is a professional opinion of the market value of a property. The comparison is based upon recent sales of similar properties. The assessed value is the value placed upon the property by a public tax assessor for purposes of taxes. The assessment of a property may not equal the appraised value.

10.    Could switching jobs affect my mortgage application?
When someone switches to a new position, a lender's primary concern is whether or not the new position is permanent, not temporary and that the borrower has not been placed on any type of probationary period. Underwriters also look to see that you have a history of working in the same field.

11.    Deferred furniture payments…
Today many companies are trying to entice you to purchase their goods by offering special "buy now and make no payments for the next 6-12 months". What they fail to tell you is that you must be credit approved for those types of financing options. Therefore, the inquiry and the debt will be reflected on your credit report. Even though you are not responsible for a payment for the next 12 months, it is still reflected as a loan on your report.

12.    Is day care an expense I have to claim in qualifying?
Day care expenses are only used in qualification for VA mortgages. Even though it may be an expense that you incur every month, it is not factored into your debt ratio on many of our programs.

13.    Deferred student loans…
If a student loan is in a deferment stage, there are some parameters that may allow us not to include that debt in your qualifying ratios. On a FHA mortgage, as long as the student loan is deferred for one year from the closing, it will not be counted. On VA mortgages it must be deferred for 3 years from closing. On conventional, as long as you are putting 10% down payment, if the loan is deferred for one year after closing, it will not be included. In any other case, the debt must be included.

14.    Can a 2nd job be used in qualifying?
A second job income can be included in your qualifying ratios as long as you have had the position for the past two years. If you have been employed for less than 24 months, it will be looked at only as a compensating factor.

15.    What if my credit is less than perfect, can I get a mortgage ?
There are mortgage lenders that will grant mortgages for applicants with less than perfect credit. But that does come at a cost. Typically there are larger down payment requirements and higher interest rates.

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