Mortgage News Matters

How Much is Your Home Worth?

Understanding how much your home is worth is extremely valuable information for any homeowner. It can help you to better make decisions when pricing to sell or deciding whether or not to refinance.

Though some may assume you need to seek professional guidance, there are many steps you can take on your own before doing so.

To help you take these steps and determine the value of your home, we’ve put together 5 useful tools that can give you all the information you need!

  1. Use automated valuation model or AVM. An automated value model is a tool that helps determine the value of your property by looking at public records, such as local market information, price trends, and tax assessments. Leading AVM providers, such as FreddieMac, Equifax, and VeroValue can deliver this information extremely quickly and can be a major reason many homeowners choose to utilize their services.

    Keep in mind that these results are mostly accurate, however, they do not account for the property’s current condition and can be slightly off. If you’re considering using the AVM, it is important to talk with a real estate expert for more information.
  2. Get a CMA, competitive market analysis. Though not as accurate as getting an appraisal, a competitive market analysis is a great way to get a good estimation of your home’s value. Homeowners can perform their own market analysis by researching comparable properties in their area or areas like theirs. Homeowners can also receive this information easily through a real estate agent.
  3. Use the FHFA House Price Index Calculator. The FHFA House Price Index Calculator projects the value of a home in today’s market that was purchased at a specific time, based on the average appreciation of homes in the area.

    It is important to keep in mind other factors that will affect the actual value of the home, like its condition or whether major renovations need to be made, just to name a few. The calculator just provides a projection of the home’s value.
  4. Get an appraisal. One of the best ways to determine the value of your home is to get an appraisal. One thing that many homeowners might not realize is that you don’t have to be associated with a lender before ordering an appraisal on your home – you can get one at any time. Professional appraisers evaluate the market, your property, and comparable properties to create an official report.
  5. Look at comps in your neighborhood. Comps are comparable properties for houses in similar markets to yours. Homes are compared by certain factors, such as size, location, conditions, and upgrades.

    Keep in mind that you may have to adjust your findings when it comes to the major differences in homes, such as the number of bedrooms or renovations that have been made. Experts suggest finding at least three valid comps to most accurately determine your home’s market value.
Mortgage News Matters

5 Reasons to Refinance

Refinancing can be beneficial to homeowners who are hoping to get cash out for a home project, or those who are simply looking to lower their interest rate.

Though a borrower’s reason to refinance is unique to them, it may be helpful to look at a few common reasons one might want to consider refinancing their current home loan.

  1. Finance home improvements and upgrades. Whether you’re looking to increase the value of your property through a home addition or you’re finally ready to make that much-needed upgrade, cash-out refinancing can help you fund these goals.
  2. Lower your interest rate. If refinancing can reduce your interest rate by even 1%, it can ultimately save you money in the long run, while also allowing you to build equity at a faster rate.
  3. Consolidate high-interest debt, such as credit cards or other personal loans. When consolidating, it is important to be mindful of how much equity you currently have in your home. This way, you can avoid paying private mortgage insurance, if your equity dips lower than 20%.
  4. Reduce or eliminate mortgage insurance. If your property value has increased, you may find yourself currently with 20% equity in your home. In this case, you could reduce or eliminate your PMI.
  5. Purchase an investment property. Like financing improvements and upgrades, a cash-out refi will give you the capital to invest in other projects, such as the purchase of an investment property.

If you’re considering refinancing your home and want to find out more about the benefits that come along with it, email us at or give us a call today!

Mortgage News Matters

8 Reasons that Could Delay Closing on a New Home

At VanDyk Mortgage, we are determined to provide you with a seamless and efficient experience, from the moment you apply for your loan until you close on your new home.

Though we work tirelessly to make sure you close on time, want wanted to share some common reasons that could cause a delay.

  1. Pest Inspection. Ideally, these issues are resolved before escrow closes, but sometimes there are issues and further action may need to be taken by either the buyer or the seller.
  2. Low Appraisal. In the case of a lower-than-expected appraisal, the seller may have to lower the selling price, or the buyer will have to pay the difference in cash. In this case, we always think it is a good idea to get a second opinion before moving forward.
  3. Claims to the Title. Title insurance protects both the buyer and lender against claims on the property. If there is in fact a lien or a claim, this will have to be resolved before the transaction can move forward. By simply performing a title search, you can ensure that no party – including the IRS, state, or relative of the seller – has any legal claim to the property.
  4. Home Inspection Defects. Most individuals sign a home inspection contingency, which allows the purchaser to back out of a deal without penalty in the case that there is a major defect in the home inspection. If a contingency is not put in place, the purchaser could lose the entirety of their earnest money down. If the sale proceeds, there may be a delay due to the time it took to go through negotiations.
  5. Buyer or Seller Doubt. Having cold feet is very real, and something that can certainly delay the closing of a new home. Unless there is a legitimate reason to back out of the purchase, i.e., not waiving a contingency or a deadline not being met, the buyer will be at risk of losing their earnest money, should they decide not to go through with the sale.

    This money is used to compensate the seller for the time that the property was taken off the market, missing out on other possible offers. Likewise, in the case of a seller having cold feet, the buyer is eligible for damages from the seller.
  6. Financing Falls Through. It is best practice to get pre-approved, at the very beginning of your homebuying journey, in order to secure the best mortgage loan program for you. However, there are cases, such as a drastic increase in interest rates, a change or loss in employment, or a decrease in credit score, when financing falls through. If this happens, the homebuying process can be delayed or even stopped altogether.
  7. High-Risk Location. In some locations, homes may require Hazard Insurance. To determine if you will need this type of insurance for your new home, you can request a National Hazard Disclosure Report, and see if any national hazards in the area could affect you.

    Hazard Insurance is often greater than homeowner’s insurance and can cause a delay in the closing process. To avoid this, you can ask your agent or city planner about national hazards in your area.
  8. Survey Issue. Before closing on your home, a qualified land surveyor will draw up the boundary lines for your property. In the case of an infringement, either by a neighboring tree or fence, you may have to hire an attorney to facilitate a lot-line agreement.
Mortgage News Matters

How to Apply for a Mortgage: The Loan Process

Navigating the steps of the loan process can feel complex – especially if it’s your first time doing so.

To help you out, we’ve put together a helpful list that breaks down the process, step-by-step, so you can focus your efforts on preparing to move into your new home, rather than worrying about how you’re going to get there.

  1. Pre-Approval. The first stage in the mortgage loan process is to apply for a pre-approval. Getting pre-approved is a more in-depth process than getting pre-qualified and will require more paperwork from you. The upside? It shows the seller that you are serious. This information will tell the seller that you can secure a mortgage and you are ready to find your new home. Once you receive your pre-approval letter, it will be valid for 90 days. For more information on pre-approval, refer to our Pre-Approval Document Checklist.
  2. Submit an application. After you’ve received pre-approval, you’re ready to submit your application! At VanDyk Mortgage, there are 3 ways you can apply; either online, over the phone, or in person. Some documentation, such as a government-issued photo ID, home address, and income, are required at this stage. For a full list of required documentation, please refer to our Application Checklist in our helpful Loan Survival Guide.
  3. Loan Submission. Once your offer is accepted, your loan package will be sent to you for the required signatures. At this time, all documentation is sent to underwriting for approval.
  4. Conditional Approval. At this stage, underwriting has reviewed, and your loan is conditionally approved contingent on the receipt of additional documentation.
  5. Final Approval. A loan processor will review the materials for completeness and send them back to underwriting for final approval. At this stage, your loan officer will begin to prepare you for the closing process.
  6. Closing. A title company or closing attorney prepares documents that are reviewed and signed by you. And… voila! You’ve just become a homeowner! Congratulations and welcome to your new home! See, it wasn’t that hard!

To get you started on your Mortgage Loan Process, reach out to one of our experienced Loan Originators today!