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Mortgage News Matters

What’s the Difference Between Refinancing & Home Equity Loan?

One of the major benefits of owning a home is that it is, in fact, a major financial investment. By obtaining a mortgage loan refinance or home equity loan, homeowners can access cash to cover events like unplanned emergencies, necessary repairs, and important updates.

So, what is the difference between the two and when should a borrower consider each?

What is a Mortgage Loan Refinance?

Refinancing is the act of paying off a borrower’s current mortgage with a new one, typically at a lower interest rate, saving them money in the long run.

What is a Home Equity Loan?

A Home Equity Loan gives homeowner’s cash in exchange for the equity they’ve built up in their property as a separate loan.

Both methods can be beneficial to homeowners who need to access a home’s equity. However, a borrower’s circumstances can determine which method is best for them.

When should a borrower Refinance?

Refinancing is ideal for homeowners who intend on staying in their current home for at least the amount of time that the benefits of reduced monthly payments or another tangible benefit will recoup the closing costs associated with a full new mortgage. Refinances can either be “rate and term” or “cash-out”, meaning the equity in the home can be leveraged to pay off just the current loan or both the current loan and receive additional equity as cashback at closing.

When should a borrower take out a Home Equity Loan?

A home equity loan is ideal for borrowers who are looking for a significant sum of money right away for a specific purpose, like paying for a major home improvement. A home equity loan may be the best option for borrowers who currently have a low-interest rate on their first mortgage and the “blended rate” and payment of their current 1st mortgage and new 2nd mortgage is less costly than replacing it with a whole new loan.

Another consideration to keep in mind is that Home Equity Loans are often structured as lines of credit with variable interest rates and payments which make them less predictable. Any borrower on a tight budget with limited disposable income would need to take this into account.

It is important to note that for borrowers to refinance or obtain a home equity loan, they must take into consideration their credit score. If their score is lower than when they originally purchased their home, refinancing may end up increasing their interest rate. Borrowers should obtain their credit report before going through the process of applying for either loan, to be sure it is the right decision for them.

To learn more about the differences between refinancing and home equity loans and to determine which method is right for you, contact a VanDyk Mortgage Loan Originator today!

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Mortgage News Matters

What are the Benefits of Buying a Foreclosed Home?

Buying a foreclosed home can be beneficial to home buyers in a variety of ways. The main one being – it’s attractively low price. With most sold well below market value, foreclosed homes can be a great option for homebuyers looking to spend less!

What is a foreclosed home?

A foreclosed home is a property that has been repossessed by the bank or government after the homeowner stops making payments and defaults on their loan.

Types of foreclosures:

  • Pre-foreclosure
  • Short sale
  • Sheriff’s sale
  • Real estate owned

How to find a foreclosed home?

Potential homebuyers who are looking to purchase a foreclosed home can look to some government-backed websites or simply take a drive throughout different neighborhoods, as they would for any other home. Another option is speaking to a real estate agent who may be more knowledgeable of foreclosures in the buyer’s preferred neighborhood.

What are the benefits of purchasing a foreclosed home?

  • Lower than market value price
  • Lower down payments
  • Lower interest rates
  • Elimination of appraisal fees and some closing costs

A foreclosed home is typically set at a lower than market value price. This is a great option for those homebuyers who are looking to purchase but cannot afford many of the homes on the market. Along with this, foreclosed homes tend to have lower down payments and lower interest rates, making them even more affordable. Lastly, when purchasing a foreclosed home, buyers can eliminate appraisal fees and some closing costs, making the home buying process just that much simpler.

To learn more about foreclosures and the process of buying one, contact a VanDyk Loan Originator today!

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Mortgage News Matters

How to Build and Maintain A Good Credit Score

A good credit score is essential to any new or prospective homebuyer. It’s what will show your lender the likelihood that you will be able to pay back your debt. So, we’d say it’s pretty important!

The first step towards building and maintaining a good credit score is to first determine your credit standing. You can do this by obtaining a free copy of your reports from annualcreditreport.com. Once you have this information, carefully look over your report and take note of any errors that you find. These errors can then be disputed with the credit bureaus.

If you find that you have a below-average credit score, it can be refreshing to know that most credit blunders disappear from your credit report every 7 years. For more information on understanding and managing your credit score, check out our Credit Clean-Up Guide.

To better assist you in your credit building process, we’ve listed a few techniques below:

  • Apply for a secured credit card. The purpose of a secured credit card is to build enough credit to qualify for an unsecured credit card, which offers more benefits to its borrowers. A secured credit card requires a deposit to open. And the deposit is typically the same number as the borrower’s credit limit on the card. These work the same as a credit card and you won’t incur interest as long as you pay your balance in full.
  • Credit-builder loans. These are a type of forced savings program where the lender holds the money you borrow in an account that isn’t released to you until the loan is repaid. This can be a great option for those who are looking to build their credit.
  • Becoming an authorized user on a friend or family member’s credit card who is currently in good credit standing. Many will start building their credit by becoming an authorized user on a relative’s credit card. This option adds their payment history to your credit, showing that you are a reliable borrower – if they are in good standing.
  • Get a co-signer. If you have a family member or friend who is in better credit standing, you can also ask them to be your co-signer. This means that if you default on your loan, they are responsible to pay for it, so it’s best to be upfront with your co-signer about all the terms.
  • Have a long history of credit (start building credit early). The best way to start building good credit is to, well, start building your credit. Make sure that you start as soon as you can and maintain good practices like paying regularly and on time.

Once you’ve built up a good credit score, it may be helpful to follow a few techniques you can use to maintain.

  • Pay regularly and on time. One of the most effective ways to maintain a good credit score is to make sure you are paying your bill regularly and on time. To help you with this, consider setting up automatic payments so that you don’t miss a loan or credit card payment.
  • Maintain reasonable credit. Experts recommend keeping credit at no more than 30% of your credit limit if you can help it. If you must go over 30%, make sure you pay it back down to that amount as soon as you are able to.
  • Only apply for the credit you need. Think of it like a loan, only borrow what you need. Anything more is too much.
  • Pay minimum monthly balance on time. Paying on time shows your consistency and reliability as a borrower.
  • Keep old credit cards open. Closing old cards can have a negative effect on your credit, so it’s best practice to keep them open even if you no longer use them.

*The three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – have recently extended their offering of free weekly credit reports through April 22, 2022, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. *

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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 servicemyloan@vandykmortgage.com or give us a call today!