Tag: realestate

Mortgage News Matters

What is Mortgage Insurance?

Mortgage Insurance, sometimes referred to as Private Mortgage Insurance, is an essential element of the home buying process. By making it possible for a homebuyer who does not meet the qualifications to receive a mortgage loan, mortgage insurance, provides assurance to the lender in the event that the borrower is unable to continue making their mortgage payments.

Mortgage Insurance, therefore, lowers the risk to the lender of loaning to an unqualified borrower and benefits the borrower by making it possible for them to receive a mortgage loan and purchase a home, they would otherwise be unable to purchase.

There are many types of loan programs that require mortgage insurance, and some that allow borrowers to roll insurance premiums into their monthly mortgage payments. To help you decipher which programs require which types of insurance plans, we’ve compiled a list for you below!

  1. Conventional Loans. Conventional loans require private mortgage insurance and vary depending on the amount you put down and your credit score. Insurance payments are made monthly and have little or no cost due at closing. One of the perks of conventional loans regarding mortgage insurance is that homebuyers – who put less than 20% down – can cancel their insurance once they own 20% equity in their home.
  2. FHA Loans. Though mortgage insurance is required for FHA loans, it differs from conventional loans as it does not depend on a borrower’s credit score. For this type of loan, insurance premiums change if a borrower puts less than 5% for their down payment. For FHA loans, insurance is included in the upfront cost, closing costs, and monthly payments.
  3. USDA Loans. Like an FHA loan, a USDA loan with an insurance premium includes costs at closing as well as in monthly payments. However, USDA loans typically have a lower insurance rate than FHA loans.

    It is important to note that for both FHA and USDA loans, the borrower has the option to roll the upfront portion of their insurance premiums into their monthly mortgage payments, rather than paying out of pocket. However, this option will increase both the borrower’s loan amount and overall costs.
  4. VA Loans. A much different type of loan program from the rest, VA loans are not required to have monthly insurance premiums, however, they do require an upfront funding fee that is based on a few factors.

    These are, type of military service of the borrowers, the amount the borrower can put towards their down payment, disability status, whether they are buying or refinancing their home, and whether or not it is their first VA loan.

    Like in the case of FHA and USDA loans, borrowers can roll this upfront funding fee into their monthly mortgage payments, but it will increase their loan amount and overall costs.

For more information on the different types of loan programs and mortgage insurance plans that we offer at VanDyk Mortgage, contact one of our Loan Originators today!

Mortgage News Matters

How to Choose a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to home buying – choosing the right real estate agent for the job is no easy feat. It is a decision that should be done with much thought and care.  And for that reason, we’ve provided a ‘How To’ guide to choosing the best real estate agent for you!

  1. Focus on an agent’s personality and your compatibility. The first thing you should consider when choosing the right real estate agent for you is your chemistry. Finding an agent who is compatible with you and who has your best interests at heart, is essential to any home buying or selling process. It is important to find someone whose values align with your own, by asking yourself, ‘What are some important qualities you want in an agent?’

    When working with an agent, it is important to have someone who is trustworthy, someone who listens to you, someone has a strong work ethic, is honest, and has conviction. The best way to decipher if an agent has these traits is by interviewing them beforehand. Experts recommend interviewing at least three agents before choosing which one to work with.

    Some important questions to ask in an agent interview are as follows,
  • How long have you been working in the real estate industry?
  • What is your specialty?
  • How will you market my home?
  • Can you put me in touch with some of your references?

2. Do your research and review their reputation. A real estate agent’s reputation speaks volumes. Through a web-based search, you should be able to discover pertinent information on any agent in the field and get a feel for them, before even conducting an interview. An agent’s online presence is just as valuable as any referral you can get from a friend or fellow homeowner. By researching each agent online, you can also identify any relevant certifications and specialties that are important to you in an agent.

3. Get referrals. Like online presence, a referral will tell you a lot about working with a specific real estate agent. Getting a referral from a trusted family member or friend is ideal, as you know they have your best interests at heart. However, a referral from any homeowner or seller that has worked with an agent in the past can be just as beneficial. This can help you weed out agents early, that may not be a good fit for you.

4. Gauge connections. Like referrals, it is important to look at an agent’s network and professional connections. Determining how well are they connected to other professionals in their industry speaks to their reputation and can prove their reliability and trustworthiness.

5. Offer adequate support and mitigate risk. One important characteristic to be sure your potential agent possesses is their ability to offer adequate support and mitigate risk. Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions one can make in one’s lifetime, it is important to find someone who can offer adequate support. The process will surely have obstacles and finding an agent who is able to deal with the inevitable stress that comes with the home buying process is vital in ensuring a smooth and successful homebuying experience.

6. Look to their experience. Lastly, it is important to look at an agent’s experience. Like referrals, reputation, and online research, you want to pay special attention to your potential agent’s track record and inventory. In addition to doing your own online research, you can browse potential neighborhoods and look for signs with agents that have sold properties, similar to ones that you are interested in purchasing. This is the most tangible proof that the agent and get the job one.

Once you’ve chosen your real estate agent, be sure to discuss a selling strategy and make sure to gauge your expectations. This is the best way to ensure a smooth home buying process and to set both you and your agent up for success!

Mortgage News Matters

Zero Down and Low Down Payment Mortgage Options

For buyers currently looking to purchase a home – affordability is the name of the game. And finding a mortgage loan that requires zero – or low down payments, is essential to their home buying process. Fortunately, VanDyk Mortgage provides a variety of mortgage loan options with low or no down payments required for our cost-conscious buyers.

Low-Down Payment Mortgage Loan Options:

30-Year Conventional: With consistent interest rates and monthly mortgage payments, the traditional 30-Year Conventional Loan is one of the most popular mortgage loan options. Programs with down payments as low as 3%, the 30-Year Conventional Loan is a great option for those seeking to purchase a home, before they have the funds necessary to do so. Keep in mind, whenever you put a less than 20% down payment on a home, you may be required to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) until you own enough equity in your home.

FHA: The Federal Housing Association, or FHA loan, is an ideal option for first-time homebuyers with less than perfect credit. With a down payment as low as 3.5% and lower than average interest rates, the FHA loan is a great option for buyers who do not meet the requirements for a traditional 30-Year Conventional Loan.

Zero or No Down Payment Mortgage Loan Options:

VA: A VA, or Veteran Loan, is the best option for Veterans or active duty military members looking to purchase a home of their own. There is no down payment required and low-interest rates. VA loans require no monthly mortgage insurance, making it possible for a buyer to purchase a home without paying out of pocket.

USDA: Backed by the US Department of Agriculture, a USDA, or Rural Housing Loan, is for buyers who are looking to purchase a home in a rural or suburban area with minimal investment. These loans require no down payment and provide flexible credit guidelines, as well as low monthly mortgage insurance costs.

To learn more about low and zero down payment loan options offered at VanDyk Mortgage, visit our website Loan Options.

Mortgage News Matters

Tips for Buyers in a Seller’s Market

Finding yourself a buyer in a seller’s market can often feel intimidating. When inventory is low, and demand is high, sellers are the ones who hold all the leverage.  This is why finding your competitive edge is critical to the home buying process. To make sure you stand out from the crowd, consider using our tips for buying in a seller’s market.

  1. Begin your search today! In a seller’s market, time is of the essence. It is important to do your research and prepare beforehand with important information, such as reports, open houses, and offer due dates, to avoid wasting precious time.
  2. Obtain pre-approval. Getting preapproved by a lender before making an offer tells you how much buying power you truly have and helps pre-determine your bottom line. 
  3. Reduce or eliminate certain contingencies, such as inspections or move-in dates. This reduces common time-consuming obstacles to the home buying process.
  4. Present a strong (or best) offer price. If it is in your budget to do so, consider offering more than the asking price. This will set you apart from other buyers and provide you a competitive edge.
  5. Consider a cash offer. A cash offer tells the seller you are a serious buyer, and not interested in wasting their time. Offering a cash deposit for up to 1% of the offer price is a great way to stand out from the rest.
  6. Do not present a counteroffer. In a seller’s market counteroffers are seen as mere time-wasters. In many cases, sellers will not even consider looking at them. Always start with a strong offer price.
  7. Know your budget and be ready to bid. In a market with more buyers than sellers, a bidding war is almost certain. Understanding your budget and preparing beforehand to bid, is the best way to ensure, both you and your offers are taken seriously.
  8. Avoid being too choosy. As houses move quickly on and off the market, it is important to reduce your non-negotiables. For example, location is important, but renovations can be done anywhere. Limiting various terms is crucial to buying a home in a seller’s market.
  9. Stay alert to new listings. You may think you have found your perfect home, only to find that it has just been sold. Do not get discouraged! The key to being a buyer in a seller’s market is remaining patient and vigilant for the next opportunity that comes along!