Winning the Heart of Your Special Woman!

February 13, 2015

I heart my houseOK, gentlemen. The pressure is on!  What to buy your special woman this Valentine’s Day? Flowers die in a week. Chocolates are eaten up in a day or two. Jewelry can only be worn occasionally. This year, why not buy her the HOUSE you both have wanted for years! Great interest rates and new $0 down or low down-payment programs are available for almost any home buyer. Contact me and let me help you know your home financing options. I’m local, licensed, certified and have 17 years of lending experience – Ready to go to work for you or those you know.

Advertisements

One More Chance to Refinance in 2015?

January 4, 2015

IS NOW A GOOD TIME TO REFINANCE?

2015 shirtHomeowners who missed the last refinancing boom have been given another chance.

According to a weekly survey by Freddie Mac, average interest rates for 30-year fixed mortgages fell last week to their lowest level in over a year and a half last week. Interest rates are the lowest the country has seen since mid-2013, and remain close to their lowest level in 50 years.

Not many experts expect rates to stay low, however.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, 30-year fixed mortgage rates are likely to rise as early as 2015’s first quarter; and should end the year at 5%. The mortgage industry trade group also predicts rates at 5.4% by 2016.

With current mortgage rates low (but expected to rise), U.S. homeowners are submitting applications to refinance by the tens of thousands.

Refinancing can be a great way to save money, but there are times a homeowner should choose to say “no”. For example, because there are costs associated with refinancing, sometimes, refinancing to a lower interest rate mortgage can be more expensive than keeping your current one.

So, how should you determine whether refinancing is right for you?

First, you will want to understand how refinancing works. Then, you should consider your current financial situation and what you plan to accomplish with a refinance.

Click to get today’s interest rates.

HOW REFINANCING WORKS

The mechanics of a refinance are basic — you give a new mortgage which pays your original mortgage in full, leaving you with just the “new” mortgage(s) on your home.

The interest rate of your new loan; and the term of your new loan may be different for your original, but the property securing the loan is the same.

Many people find it simpler to refinance a home than to get the loan needed at the time of purchase. This is because refinance transactions typically require less paperwork and documentation as compared to a purchase loan.

Refinance mortgage rates may be higher or lower than rates available on a home purchase.

Click to get today’s interest rates.

FACTORS TO CONSIDER PRIOR TO REFINANCING

Low mortgage rates are an excellent reason to refinance a home; however, for today’s homeowners, there are other considerations as well.

How Much Equity Do You Have In Your Home?

In general, homeowners may find it challenging to refinance without sufficient home equity. In mortgage terms, “sufficient home equity” can be defined as have a loan-to-value on your home of 80 percent or better.

However, there are a number of refinance programs available to homeowners with less than 20% equity. Two popular programs are the VA Streamline Refinance and the FHA Streamline Refinance.

Available to homeowners with existing VA and FHA loans, respectively, these two streamlined refinance plans ignore a homeowner’s home equity percentage and allow refinancing based on recent payment history. Homeowners nearly always qualify for the VA or FHA Streamline Refinance if when they’re current with their loans and the refinance shows benefit.

For homeowners with conventional loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two options exist. The first option is the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) which allows for unlimited loan-to-value; and the 97% LTV program for homeowners with at least three percent equity in their homes.

The 97% mortgage program is available to all homeowners who meet the program criteria; and can be used by homeowners with existing FHA mortgages to “cancel FHA MIP”.

What Is Your Current Interest Rate?

When you can lower your current interest rate, it may be worthwhile to refinance your home.

Lower mortgage rates can mean lower payments but, for many homeowners, the deciding factor in refinancing to lower rates is going to be some variation of “how long it will take recoup your loan closing costs?” For example, if your refinance carries total closing costs of $3,000, and you save $100 monthly with the transaction, the general thinking is that you should not refinance unless you’ll be in your home for at least 30 months.

However, there are other considerations with a refinance including getting “cash out”, and the value of having access to extra money today.

Choosing a lower mortgage rate can be a good reason to refinance — it just shouldn’t be the only reason.

Click to get today’s interest rates.

What Are The Closing Costs To Refinance?

Closing costs are an important consideration when deciding whether to refinance and there are three ways to handle your costs.

The first way to handle your costs is to pay the minimum at closing, in cash or as part of your loan balance. For example, if your closing costs total $2,500, you can opt to bring $2,500 to your closing in the form of a check; or you can add $2,500 to your loan balance.

In both instances, you are paying closing costs from your own money — either as cash or in the form of home equity.

The second way to handle your costs is to elect to pay discount points, which lowers your mortgage rate below “standard” market rates, in cash or as part of your loan balance. 1 discount point costs 1% of your loan size such that a $250,000 loan with 1 point will carry an additional loan fee of $2,500.

In general, paying 1 point will lower your mortgage rate 25 basis points (0.25%). This will result in lower monthly payments and, eventually, you will save more on your payments than you paid in points at your closing. Recouping your discount points could take as few as 12 months or as many as 60.

The third way to handle your closing costs is via a zero-closing cost mortgage. With a zero-closing cost, you willingly accept a slightly higher mortgage rate from your lender in exchange for having all of your loan closing costs paid on your behalf. In general, on a $250,000 loan, a mortgage rate increase of 25 basis points (0.25%) will convert your loan into a zero-closing cost mortgage.

Zero-closing costs mortgages can be sensible for homeowners whom expect to move from their homes in the next few years; or whom expect to refinance within the next 24 months.

For homeowners planning to make their next refinance last 30 years, zero-closing cost loans can be the most expensive route. Mortgage calculators can be a helpful tool to determine which program works best.

Do You Want To “Own Your Home Sooner”

Another consideration for refinancing households is whether you want to extend or reduce the number of years until your mortgage is paid in full.

For homeowners with an existing 30-year mortgage, refinancing to a new 30-year mortgage may yield tremendous monthly savings. However, the new loan will reset your years of indebtedness to thirty. Long-term, you’ll still save money, but you’ll be paying on your loan for more years overall.

Not wanting to “start over” is one reason why the 15-year mortgage is a popular refinance choice. 15-year mortgage offer low mortgage rates and fewer years to repay in full. It should be noted that payments on a 15-year mortgage are higher as compared to 30-year loans, but over the life of the loan, today’s 15-year mortgages save homeowners 65% in mortgage interest costs.

With its huge long-term savings, the 15-year mortgage can be an excellent way to save for homeowners to plan to retirement or to save for college tuition costs.

GET TODAY’S REFINANCE MORTGAGE RATES

Deciding whether to refinance is a personal decision. Consider how long you’ll be in your home, how much you’ll save each month, and how long it will take to recoup your costs. Thankfully, with mortgage rates low, the market is ripe for homeowners to take action.

Click to get started. 


The HomePath Renovation Buyers Guide eBook

January 19, 2013

by Brian Short

Navigating Renovation Mortgage BCS Cover The HomePath Renovation Buyers Guide with Brian Short – Today’s housing market offers a diverse selection of homes for buyers. One option you have available is a HomePath-eligible home. These Fannie Mae-owned properties are often priced relatively low. Some of them need a little TLC. That’s where the HomePath Renovation mortgage comes into play.

This free 13-page guide will answer several questions including:

  • What is a renovation mortgage?
  • What are the benefits to HomePath financing?
  • What makes a home a renovation mortgage candidate?

This free eBook is just 13 pages, and will take you through the renovation mortgage process, specifically the HomePath Renovation mortgage option.


The “BUT Loan”?

July 21, 2011

By Brian Short, CMC®, CRMS®, GMA®

How many times have you gone out to look at a possible house to buy and discover that you like everything about the house BUT – the windows, the flooring, the size of the closets, the way the bonus room is finished out (or not finished out) or the number of bathrooms? How many times have you thought, “There is no reason to move? We could just stay here in this house for 5-10 more years. Everything about this house still fits our needs BUT – the age of the kitchen and bathrooms, the size or number of bedrooms, the roof and siding need replacing, or the basement still leaks.”

What many homeowners and homebuyers don’t realize is that there is a loan available which will allow for the cost of repairs or renovation to be “rolled in” to a new loan used to buy or refinance an existing home. This loan is referred to by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) as the 203k loan but I like to call it the “BUT Loan” – for those who like everything about that house – BUT…!

Just think about your current home. Would you like to update the kitchen with granite countertops, new appliances and the latest cabinets? What could you do to your master bathroom to make it more useful or roomy when you both are getting ready for the day or to make room for your Jacuzzi tub which would help you unwind at the end of a busy day? Do the kids need an extra bathroom now that they are getting older? Do you love your neighborhood and everything about your location but desire to build a new master bedroom or family room to give your growing family the space they need?

Have you been shopping to buy a new house closer to work or the schools you like but can’t find a house which has what you need? Are you hoping to move out and far away from the rush of the sprawling city but are only finding old farm houses and houses which are very dated?

The FHA 203k – or the “BUT Loan” will allow you to borrow the money you need to make the house you are considering your DREAM HOUSE since you will be allowed to have the extra money upfront to contract with skilled workmen who will come in and kick out all of the “BUTS” which are keeping you from loving your house. The appraiser will assign the value of your new loan based on the final improved condition of your house after the repairs and renovation is complete. Matter of fact, if you are buying a new home you can even roll in the mortgage payments – up to 6 months – if you are unable to live in you new house while the rehabilitation is being completed.

The down payment on the purchase of a house using the 203k would still only be 3.5% of the improved value and if you are using the this loan to update or improve your current house this entire project could likely be completed at no out-of-pocket cost to you as a home owner except for an appraisal which would cost less than $500 and could likely be refunded at the closing. All other costs could likely be rolled into the new historically low rate loan.

Do you know of family members who are hoping to buy a foreclosed house at a great low price but keep finding houses which are beat up, stripped of the appliances or in dire need of repair or updating? The FHA 203k will make their dreams come true when they find out that they can pick out their own cabinets, counter tops, appliances, flooring, siding, paint and wallpaper and not have to drag out these projects over the next 1-3 years. They can have all of these updates and repairs completed even before they move in and roll all of these costs into their low rate 30 or 15 year mortgage.

This loan takes only a couple of weeks longer to close than a normal purchase or refinance loan to make sure all of the repairs have been carefully calculated and the work has been outlined in detail. Nearly any house would qualify for this “BUT Loan” and many borrowers – even those with some credit blemishes in their past – will qualify for this loan when they might have difficulty getting a conventional loan – with no money allowed to pay for the repairs.

If this sounds like something you might want to know more about check out the website: www.REbuildTennessee.com for more details and some “before and after” photos of houses which have benefitted from the “BUT Loan”. Happy dreaming!

Brian Short (NMLS # 168856) is a nationally certified, state licensed mortgage professional with over 13 years of experience as a “Dream Maker and Problem Solver” in middle Tennessee who works for AmeriFirst Home Mortgage (NMLS # 110139). He can be contacted through his website: www.ProMortgageMatters.com.


Just the Facts, Ma’am, Just the Facts!

May 19, 2011

 

Sgt. Joe Friday (Jack Webb) from 50's & 60's hit TV show Dragnet

Buying a home has always been a big decision. But for some people today it’s a difficult decision because of all the conflicting information coming from the media. To make matters worse, that information is often outdated…or even inaccurate.

If you know anyone who is thinking of purchasing a home this year, please share the following information with them:

FACT 1. Mortgage options are still plentiful for borrowers with good credit scores and documented income. All assets & income will need to be fully documented in most all cases for the past 2 years.

FACT 2. There are still programs available, like FHA, that allow as little as 3.5% down payment, and many others that allow less than 20% down.  VA Loans still allow an eligible Veteran to buy a house up to $417,000 with $0 down payment!

FACT 3. Jumbo mortgages are still available on loan amounts even in excess of $2 million dollars.

FACT 4. Vacation/second home financing can be obtained with as little as 25% down, even with jumbo mortgages.

FACT 5. There are FHA Renovation (203k) Mortgages available which can be used to update or repair an existing home. Small projects (under $35,000) can usually be done in such a way where the homeowner or buyer can use up to one-half of this money upfront to purchase materials and then pay the contractor once the project is completed. 

FACT 6. Senior citizens can use their current equity in their home and actually relocate and buy a house and have NO MONTHLY PAYMENT on their new home for the REST OF THEIR LIVES.  The FHA Reverse (Home Equity Conversion) Mortgage can be used by those 62 years of age or older to refinance their currnet home or buy their idea retirement home.

FACT 7. As of today, rates on most mortgages are still at historically low levels when compared to the last 30 years.  Every indication is that rates will likely begin to increase before the end of 2011 – so delay if low interest rates are desired.

FACT 8. Most homes are selling at a big discount relative to 5 years ago.

Make sure your friends and family know the facts! Owning the home of their dreams may not be as hard as they think. Send your friends and family this link and let them know I would be happy to meet with them and help them determine what options are available in their personal situation.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage BEFORE speaking to a Realtor could help make them a much stronger buyer in the eyes of a seller.

If there’s anyway I can lend a hand, I’ll be happy to do so. Thanks for your help and continued support, and if you have any questions about your own situation call or email me anytime!


Specializing in “BUT” Loans!

January 7, 2011

 

By Brian Short, CMC, CRMS, GMA

Tom and Sherry were looking for their “DREAM  HOUSE” and had been saving, planning, praying and preparing for months – even years – for this day.  Their Realtor had set-up viewing appointments on two other occasions when the three of them had spent over a half a day driving by houses and going into several on the list of their very detailed agent who was doing he could to narrow down what would be the ideal house for these seasoned home-buyers. 

This would be their third house since they were married 27 years ago and they wanted this house to be their last move.  Their kids were now on their own and this house would be the special house for the two of them for years to come.  The price of the houses available were unbelievable and the current low-interest rates allowed them to afford much more of a house than they originally expected.

Today they saw four houses and Tom and Sherry were now facing a dilemma:

1. The FIRST house was just what they were hoping for BUT the previous owner had not kept it in good shape and it needed new carpet, kitchen counter-tops and paint – inside and outside.  Now what could they do?  They didn’t have the money for these repairs in addition to their down payment and closing costs.

2. The SECOND house was in much better shape BUT they needed an additional bathroom and the kitchen appliances were dated and were a color that Sherry could not stomach.  Now what could they do?  They didn’t have the money for these improvements in addition to their down payment and closing costs.

3. The THIRD house was prefect, BUT it was older and the windows needed to be replaced with more energy-efficient windows and some additional insulation was needed in the attic to help make this home more energy-efficient.  Now what could they do?  They didn’t have the money for these energy-efficient improvements in addition to their down payment and closing costs.

4. The FINAL house they saw was just what they wanted BUT the bonus room would need to finished in order for them to have the space they needed to for their home-office and study they needed for Tom and Sherry’s desks and work spaces.  Now what could they do?  They didn’t have the money for this bonus room build-out in addition to their down payment and closing costs.

We are now offering the FHA 203k Rehabilitation Loan Program which would make ANY of these “BUT” HOUSES become the “DREAM HOUSE” for Tom and Sherry because they could borrow the money they need to make any of these updates or improvements – even before they move into their new house.  One half of the money they need to complete these projects would be fronted to the contractor so he could purchase materials and supplies and then he would receive the balance upon completion of the project. 

Any of these projects would qualify – all the way up to $35,000 and this extra money would simply be added to their loan balance at about $6 per month per $1,000.  Therefore, if their project cost them $20,000 to complete, their monthly payment would only increase by $120.  A small price to pay in order to have their “DREAM HOUSE”!  This could all be completed with one loan, one loan transaction and one smooth closing!

Get out there and find YOUR next DREAM HOUSE and don’t let a few “BUT’s” get in your way jumping in on these historically low-interest rates and an abundance of great inventory!

Contact Brian Short at BShort@AmeriFirst.com or CLICK HERE for more information.


4 Reasons to Buy a Home in 2010: Affordability returns to housing, and buyers have loads of negotiating power.

September 13, 2010

 

Brian Short, CMC, CRMS, GMA – Licensed Mortgage Professional

Many people are afraid to buy a home in times like these, with the economy tanking and home prices continuing to fall. But if you’re brave enough to stray from the herd, you might be in for the home-buying opportunity of a lifetime.

 Ask for price reductions, improvements, closing costs — whatever — and the seller, desperate to get a contract, is likely to work with you but when the market starts improving, your negotiating power will start to diminish.

 If you’re qualified to buy a home now, and the purchase makes sense for your situation, and you’re prepared to live in that home for at least five years, there are four reasons you may be headed for a great deal:

 1. Affordability is better than ever.

According to the National Association of Realtors’ housing affordability index, homes are more affordable now than at any other point since the group started the index in 1970. The NAR’s affordability index is a measure of the relationship between home prices, mortgage interest rates and family income.

 

 

 What’s your home worth?

 Not all markets have experienced huge drops, however, so it’s wise to take a look at how far prices have fallen in your area. The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Web site has a house price calculator that can help. Visit the calculator. http://www.fhfa.gov/

I have plugged in the information regarding my house in the Nashville market to see how values are beginning to turn in my favor as a homeowner.  This means that values are starting to go back up and will never be as cheap as they are now.

MSA: Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN

Purchase Date: Second Quarter 2000

Valuation Date: Second Quarter 2010

Purchase Price: $225,000

Extimated Value: $314,781

   
   
   
   
   
 

When using the House Price Calculator, please note that it does not project the actual value of any particular house. Rather, it projects what a given house purchased at a point in time would be worth today if it appreciated at the average appreciation rate of all homes in the area. The actual value of any house will depend on the local real estate market, house condition and age, home improvements made and needed, and many other factors. Consult a qualified real estate appraiser in your area to obtain a professional estimate of the current value of your home. Title XI of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 requires that any appraisal used in connection with a federally related transaction must be performed by a competent individual whose professional conduct is subject to supervision and regulation. Appraisers must be licensed or certified according to state law.The House Price Calculator uses the FHFA Purchase-Only House Price Index for all states, including the District of Columbia, and for the largest 25 Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Divisions.


 

 The median existing single-family home price was $184,200 in June, up 1.3 percent from a year ago. Single-family median existing-home prices were higher in 10 out of 19 metropolitan statistical areas reported in June in comparison with June 2009. The median existing condo price was $180,100 in June, which is 1.4 percent below a year ago. The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $183,700 in June, which is 1.0 percent higher than a year ago.

 2. You have a large inventory to choose from.

In many places it is taking months to sell a home, creating loads of inventory — from new homes to existing homes to foreclosures.   A large selection gives buyers more choices and drives down prices. And home sellers have gotten the picture.

 Total housing inventory at the end of June rose 2.5 percent to 3.99 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 8.9-month supply at the current sales pace, up from an 8.3-month supply in May. This is the largest amount of existing homes for sale, in terms of months of supply, since August 2009. Raw unsold inventory remains 12.7 percent below the record of 4.58 million in July 2008.

 

It’s fair to say that home sellers have become increasingly desperate.  People who have had for-sale signs in the yard for six months are starting to become in tune with the reality of the situation.   Buyers can take advantage.

 But if you put off a purchase until inventory shrinks substantially, you might not get as good a price.  And be forewarned: It’s nearly impossible to time the exact bottom of the housing market, and even if you do, there’s no guarantee you’ll make a killing.

 Buy for quality of life . . . don’t buy on speculation.  I wouldn’t buy a home expecting the housing market to rebound quickly in the next 10 years, and expect moderate gains in values when the turnaround does happen.

Historically, real estate appreciates about 5% a year over the long term. But as the country crawls out of a recession, many markets probably won’t see huge home-price gains any time soon.

3. Builders are offering big discounts.

Home builders are getting even more aggressive with their pricing.  You may consider looking at completed new homes first because builders are offering such steep discounts. Plus, you’d have a warranty not only on the home itself, but also on the home’s appliances, he said.

Builders want to save their credit, save their brand, save their reputation and clear out inventory.  They can go buy cheap land today with that cash.

My advice:  Walk in with a pre-approval for a mortgage, make an offer, and then walk away without making a deal if you have to. Chances are, a builder will call back and reconsider that offer rather than let a potential buyer get away.

4. Mortgage rates are historically low.

It’s not just the price of the home that will affect affordability; mortgage terms will also affect your monthly payments. These days, rates are very attractive for conforming loans, those that can be purchased by mortgage agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (The current limit is $417,000.)

Earlier this year, rates on the popular 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit a level not seen in decades, and rates have stayed relatively near that low for weeks.

More mortgage help could also be on the way. Recently, President Obama said that his new economic plan would help lower the cost of mortgages for home buyers, although he did not give specifics.

But low rates don’t mean lenders are handing out mortgages easily. You’ll need good credit, a substantial down payment and a willingness to document your income in order to qualify for those great rates.