Wanda J. Hall - Westford Real Estate



Posted by Wanda J. Hall on 11/13/2017

Adjustable rate mortgages are also known as “ARM” loans. These are home loans with monthly payments that move up and down along with interest rates and the market. There’s different periods that occur throughout the time of the adjustable loan including an initial period where the rate is fixed for a certain amount of time. The rates will change along with preset intervals of change. 


Rates Start Lower Than Fixed Rate Mortgages


Interest rates during the fixed rate period of an adjustable mortgage are usually lower than that of fixed-rate mortgages. The most common type of adjustable rate mortgage is called the 5/1 ARM. This means that the rate is locked for a total of 5 years before it becomes truly adjustable. After the 5 years the rate will change every year. Other forms of ARM loans are the 3/1, the 7/1, and the 10/1.


Rate Indexes And Margins


Following the fixed-rate period, the interest rate adjusts with what’s titled the index interest rate. This rate is set by the market and is released periodically by an independent party. Since there are a variety of indexes, your loan will state which index your adjustable rate mortgage will follow. To set your exact rate, your lender will look at the index and then add a number of percentage points that has already been set in place. This is called the margin. For example, an index rate of 2.5 percent and a margin of 2 will equal an interest rate of 4.5 percent. As the index changes, this number will go up and down.


Adjustable Rate Mortgages Come With Caps


If you do decide to go with an adjustable rate mortgage, you should know that you’re protected from extreme rate increases. These loans come with caps that limit the amount that both rates and payments can change by. There are several different kinds of caps including:


Periodic Rate Cap

This limits the amount that an interest rate can change from one year to the next.


Lifetime Rate Cap

This type of cap limits how much the interest rate can change overall throughout the life of the loan. 


Payment Rate Cap

This limits how much the monthly payments can rise over the life of the loan in a dollar amount. This is different than other caps, since it denotes dollars instead of percentage points.


Is This Type Of Loan For You?

Adjustable rate mortgages can be good, depending on the state of the economy and your own financial situation. Stay educated and shop around in order to get the best rates available for you.





Posted by Wanda J. Hall on 5/1/2017

One of the best ways to lower your monthly mortgage payment is to make a sizable down payment when you buy your new house. In fact, a significant down payment could make the difference between whether or not a bank or other mortgage lender approves you for a loan. A lot of it has to do with the past.

Time is of essence when it comes to building a mortgage down payment

Since the Great Recession, lenders have become more conservative during the loan approval process. Even if you work for a bank, you might not get approved by your employer for a mortgage. It's not just your credit rating and your salary. The amount of disposable income and down payment you have are also key.

The time that it could take you to save a mortgage down payment depend on several factors. Among these important factors are:

  • How much student loan debt you have to pay off
  • Money management habits that you have developed
  • Your income and how much job security you have (For example, did you just start your job or have you worked for your employer for five or more years?)
  • The number and amount of financial obligations you currently have
  • Location, size and amount of house you want to buy

What is a good mortgage down payment?

Even if you have been working for your employer for five or more years, don't have a lot of debt and practice healthy money management habits, it still could take you several years to save for a sizable mortgage down  payment. This is because a good mortgage down payment can start at ten thousand dollars and quickly rise. Factors that help to create a good mortgage down payment include:

  • A good down payment on a mortgage generally equals about 20% of the overall cost of the house (For example, if the house that you're buying cost $225,000, you'd put at least $22,500 toward your down payment.)
  • Rising rates could lift the amount of money that you need to put toward a down payment.
  • Your down payment is separate from other housing costs like mortgage application and homeowners association fees, title search and title application fees and closing costs.

All is right with saving for a strong mortgage down payment

You could start saving for a mortgage down payment as soon as you start working. You could also save for a mortgage down payment even if you're on the fence about buying a house. The self-discipline that you use to build the savings can help you to develop the money management skills to get out of debt, invest in your education and start building a strong retirement account.

Several years of saving for a healthy mortgage down payment helps you to develop an appreciation for your finances. It helps you to see the correlation between your hard work and how you treat the money that you work so hard for. When you get ready to buy a house, it also helps you to get a great mortgage deal, the type of deal that finds you with more money left in your wallet after you pay your monthly mortgage.





Posted by Wanda J. Hall on 1/23/2017

A fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) offers one of many financing options for homebuyers. It enables homebuyers to lock in an interest rate on a home loan and pay a set amount each month for the life of a mortgage. As such, an FRM remains a popular option for homebuyers across the United States.

Ultimately, there are many benefits to choosing an FRM, including:

1. Easy Budgeting

With an FRM, your mortgage payments will always stay the same. Thus, after you get approved for an FRM, you can budget accordingly.

An FRM often serves as a great option for homeowners who struggle to maintain a budget. It ensures your mortgage payments will never rise or fall for the life of your loan, which may make it easier for you to map out a weekly, monthly or annual budget.

In addition, an FRM will stay intact regardless of market conditions. This means you won't have to worry about your mortgage costs rising even if interest rates increase nationally.

2. No Price Fluctuations

An FRM minimizes headaches for homebuyers, and for good reason. After you agree to FRM terms with your lender, you will know precisely what you'll be paying for your home.

Comparatively, an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) may be difficult for homebuyers to understand. This type of mortgage may fluctuate over time, which means the amount you pay in the first few years of your loan could escalate.

For example, a 5/1 ARM ensures that your interest rate will remain intact for the first five years of your loan. After the initial period, the interest rate may change annually. As a result, your monthly mortgage payments may fluctuate over the life of your loan.

3. Simple to Understand

Your lender will be able to outline the terms of an FRM with ease, as this type of mortgage ensures an interest rate is set in stone until your loan is paid in full. Plus, after you receive an FRM, you can focus on what's important – acquiring your dream home and enjoying this residence for years to come.

With an ARM, the interest rate for your loan may move up and down over the years. The factors that cause the interest rate to fluctuate are based on numerous market factors as well. Therefore, it can be tough to plan ahead for your monthly mortgage payments due to the fact that various factors may impact your loan's interest rate.

Determining whether an FRM is right for you can be challenging. Thankfully, banks and credit unions can define all of your home financing options and respond to any concerns and questions.

Furthermore, your real estate agent may be able to put you in touch with lenders in your area. This real estate professional also is happy to offer tips and recommendations to ensure you can get the financing you need to secure your dream house.

Examine all of your home financing options closely, and you should have no trouble obtaining a home loan that matches your budget.




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Posted by Wanda J. Hall on 9/5/2016

At a glance, buying a home seems like a daunting and complicated process. If it's your first time buying a home you're probably hearing a lot of terms that don't mean much to you like "rate commitment," "prequalify," and an array of acronyms that no one has ever really explained like APR and ARM. What many first time homebuyers don't realize is that the mortgage application process is relatively straightforward. It's a way for lenders to determine if they will lend money to the homebuyer. The lender will require some documentation on your part and you'll want to do your homework when it comes to choosing the right mortgage for you, but if you're confused about where to begin, here's everything you need to know about the home mortgage application process.

Gather your documents

Each lender will be slightly different when it comes to what records and documents they require from you. In general, lenders will require two years of work history, proof of income, and tax papers. They will also ask for your permission to run a credit check. Some things you should bring when applying for a mortgage include:
  • Your most recent pay stubs (at least two)
  • Your most recent W-2 forms
  • Completed tax returns
  • Bank statements
  • Gift letters
  • Debt - credit cards, student loans, etc.

Filling out the application

The actual application for the mortgage is pretty simple. Be expected to provide your personal and marital information, as well as your social security number. When you apply for a loan you'll also be determining if you're applying singly or with another person, such as a spouse. Some people apply jointly to seek a higher loan amount. However, you should be aware that if this is your plan of action the lender will require income and credit information from both of you. Keep in mind that it isn't easy to remove one person from a home loan once the contract is signed, so you should make certain of this decision before applying jointly.

Locked-in interest rates

It won't come as a surprise to you that, like in other industries, interest rates on mortgages fluctuate. For this reason, many home buyers attempt to "lock-in" their interest rate, meaning the lender is no longer allowed to change the interest rate after signing. The benefit of locking in your interest is that it can avoid having your interest rate raised before you sign on the home. The disadvantage is that since rates fluctuate, you could miss out on a lower one. This is also the difference between APR (annual percentage rating) and ARM (adjustable rate mortgage). With an APR, the cost of borrowing money (interest) is fixed. For an ARM, the interest rate can increase, decrease, or stay the same at different points in the repayment process.

Refinancing

Your financial situation is bound to fluctuate throughout your life, hopefully for the better. At some point down the road, it might make sense to refinance on your mortgage. Essentially this means you are agreeing to change the details of the mortgage to either accept a different interest rate or to alter the length of the loan term. Refinancing usually involves fees, however, so you don't want to rely on it too heavily as a fallback.





Posted by Wanda J. Hall on 7/25/2016

Paying off your mortgage early and having no bills sounds like a no brainer. The answer however is not so simple. The answer really is; it depends. First you need to ask yourself a few questions. 1. Have you capitalized your employer’s match to your retirement savings? If the answer is no and you are not contributing the maximum than you are throwing away free money. You may want to consider putting your money here before paying down your mortgage. 2. Do you have other debt other than your mortgage? Pay off high interest credit card debit first. It makes no sense to pay off a lower interest loan and carry high interest debt. 3. Do you have an emergency fund? Experts suggest at least a three month supply of living expenses. Some even go as much as twenty four months of living expenses after the turn in the economy and job market. It makes more sense to have money set aside for a sudden loss of income before you pay off your mortgage. 4. Do you owe more than your house is worth? If you are upside down you are more susceptible to foreclosure. Ask yourself how much how much you enjoy living there. Would you be willing to buy it again for more than it is worth now? 5. Do you have life, health and disability insurance? If you are the main source of income in your household what would happen if you were no longer able to make the payments? Putting safety nets in place first is a wise idea. 6. Do you believe you can get better return investing elsewhere? Paying off your mortgage is an investment decision. Ask how does paying off my mortgage stack up with other investment options? 7. Are you thinking of retiring and want to live with the worry of a payment? The thought of living on a fixed income can be scary. Paying off your mortgage may give you peace of mind. There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It really comes down to what is most important to you. Sometimes, the answer is not based just on dollars and sense and more on what works for you, your life, your family situation and just plain old personal preference.




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