PMI or Larger Down Payment?

Determining whether it’s cheaper to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI) or to put up a larger down payment on a house depends on your specific financial situation and goals. Here are some steps to help you make an informed decision:

Calculate the cost of PMI: If your down payment is less than 20% of the home’s purchase price, your lender may require you to pay PMI. PMI costs can vary based on the loan amount, credit score, and other factors. Your lender can provide specific details on the PMI costs associated with your loan.

Assess the cost savings with a larger down payment: Compare the total cost of PMI over the time you expect to pay it (until the loan-to-value ratio reaches 78%) with the potential savings of making a larger down payment. A larger down payment means a smaller loan amount, which can result in lower monthly mortgage payments and less interest paid over the life of the loan.

Consider alternative uses for your cash: If you have the money for a larger down payment, weigh the opportunity cost of using that money for a down payment versus other financial goals. For example, paying off high-interest credit card debt or investing the money might yield higher returns compared to the savings from a larger down payment.

Factor in future home value appreciation: If you expect the value of the home to appreciate significantly in the coming years, it may impact when PMI gets automatically canceled (at 78% loan-to-value ratio). If the home appreciates rapidly, you may reach that threshold sooner, reducing the overall cost of PMI.

Evaluate your overall financial situation: Consider your long-term financial goals, current income, job stability, and other financial commitments when deciding between a larger down payment and paying PMI.

Consult with a financial advisor or mortgage professional: Seeking advice from a financial advisor or mortgage expert can help you better understand the trade-offs and make a decision that aligns with your financial objectives.

Ultimately, the decision depends on your unique circumstances and financial priorities. Whether you choose a larger down payment or opt for PMI, buying a home should fit comfortably within your budget and contribute to your overall financial well-being.

Credit or Debit?

Once, someone inquired about the benefits of using cash or credit cards, considering my assertion that I maintain a surplus over my expenditures. There are indeed advantages to both options, but some considerations need to be taken into account.

Firstly, it’s essential to recognize the fundamental differences between credit and debit cards. While both offer fraud protection, fraudulent activity on a debit card immediately withdraws money from your account, potentially leading to significant problems. On the other hand, with a credit card, disputing a charge results in an immediate credit to your account.

Personally, I settle all my credit card balances monthly, ensuring that I avoid any interest charges. This approach allows me to enjoy various rewards, such as cash back, discounts, and airline miles, essentially offering a no-cost bonus. Moreover, I utilize Quicken to download and easily monitor all my transactions.

Nevertheless, credit cards can lead to overspending due to the ease of swiping the plastic, which somehow feels less like spending real money. Consequently, when the statement arrives, many individuals opt to pay only the minimum amount, succumbing to the less painful option. Credit card companies capitalize on this aspect of human psychology, earning substantial profits each month. They also make significant income from late fees when people overlook due dates. To avoid this, I ensure that all my cards are set up for automatic minimum payments before the due date, as paying unnecessary late fees is an avoidable and wasteful expense.

I hope this explanation proves helpful!

5 tips to refinance

The Resolution you Should Keep. Refinance.

5 reasons to refinance

“Should I refinance my mortgage?”

This is one of the most common questions we help our clients answer. 

When you refinance your existing mortgage, you are essentially paying off the existing mortgage debt and replacing it with a new loan. Many of the same costs are involved in refinancing a loan as are in first−time financing.

There is an old adage in the mortgage business that states that if you can improve your interest rate by at least two percentage points, then it is a good time to refinance. While that may work as a general rule of thumb, the truth is that there are many reasons to refinance. Here are the top five we see.


1. Lower Interest Rate 

Securing a lower interest rate is one of the top reasons for refinancing. A lower rate can make a large different in your monthly payments, and save you money on the financing fees! 

 

2. Build Equity Faster 

If you’re in a position to make a higher monthly payment due to a salary increase or other good fortune, you may want to refinance from a 30-year loan to a short (15 or 20 year) term loan. Adjusting the term enables you to build equity faster and save a large amount of money on the interest paid over time! 

 

3. Change your Loan Program 

Some homeowners who start in an ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage) discover they’d rather switch to a more stable Fixed Rate mortgage. While an ARM may have been the more attractive loan program when you first purchased, we can compare different Fixed Rate programs to find which would save you more money. 

 

4. Credit Score Improvement 

If you’ve increased your credit score since you first applied, you may be in position to refinance with a lower rate with your higher score! We’ll evaluate your current loan, then compare the rates with your new score to find you the best program that’ll lower your monthly payments! 

 

5. Getting Cash Out 

With a Cash Out Refi you’re able to tap into the equity that you’ve built in your home. You may want to put money towards home improvements, send a child to school, or pay off other debt with the equity you’ve accrued through your mortgage.  

 

Before you decide to refinance, think back to when you purchased your home.

  • Did you pay points to get a lower rate?
  • Has it been long enough that you’ve made your money back?
  • Is there a pre-payment penalty on your loan?
  • What is the purpose of this refinance? 

Refinances EMPOWER you to change

the terms of your original mortgage!

All of these factors are important to consider when you’re weighing if you should refinance your home. Give us a call at 952-405-2090 to set up your FREE initial consultation. We can help you determine if now is the right time for you to refinance. 

Are you ready to resolve your refi questions?


Refinance: refinance

 verb

re·​fi·​nance | \ ˌrē-fə-ˈnan(t)s  , (ˌ)rē-ˈfī-ˌnan(t)s, ˌrē-(ˌ)fī-ˈnan(t)s \

refinanced; refinancing; refinances

Definition of refinance

to renew or reorganize the financing of something to provide for (an outstanding indebtedness) by making or obtaining another loan or a larger loan on fresh terms refinance a mortgage

Vacation Homes in High Demand!

Vacation homes increasingly in demand because of remote work trends. It’s not something you’d expect during a pandemic and recession, but numbers don’t lie…

It’s not something you’d expect during a pandemic and recession, but numbers don’t lie. According to a PRNewswire report, sales of vacation homes are soaring. According to Redfin’s report, October saw demand for second homes skyrocket 100% from a year earlier—the fourth triple-digit increase in the last five months. That outpaces the demand for primary homes.

Home sales are on the rise across the board due to record-low mortgage rates but also because of a wave of relocations during the pandemic. Demand for second homes rises to the top among more affluent Americans who work remotely, no longer need to send their kids to school in person, and are limited by travel restrictions, according to Redfin’s lead economist Taylor Marr.

“With mortgage rates at all-time lows and offices shut down across the country, the dream of having a second home outside of the city is becoming a reality for many wealthy Americans,” Marr said. “Unfortunately, at the same time, millions of less-fortunate families are behind on their mortgage or rent payments due to financial hardship brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.”

Some of these second homes may eventually turn into primary homes, as it’s not uncommon for a buyer to close a deal on a second home before putting their current house on the market. It seems resort towns across the U.S. have attracted more homebuyers. Hotspots include Lake Tahoe, Cape Cod, Palm Springs, the Jersey Shore, and Bend, OR.

Marr adds,” Even when offices reopen, folks will be able to spend more time than ever before in their second homes because many employers will continue to offer flexible remote-work policies. With workers still commuting in one or two days a week, resort towns that are near major cities will likely continue to heat up.”

Source:PRNewswire, Redfin, TBWS

Keeping your credit score STRONG!

Cards that offer miles, cashback, or some other perk aren’t offered to just anyone, but if your credit is good…

When they say “it ain’t over ’til it’s over” they must not have been talking about credit scores. Keeping your score high is just as important after you buy a home as it was before you closed escrow, so don’t go on autopilot or revert back to old habits.

According to RealtyTimes’ Jaymi Naciri, while you may have met the goal of homeownership, keeping your scores up can benefit you in several ways. For one, you can get more credit cards, including those cards offered by stores with 0 percent financing for things like furniture, appliances and outdoor fixtures with no interest for several months. But watch out. Once your happy no-interest period expires, your rate can skyrocket if you don’t pay the entire balance. Still, if you just want to buy a little time until a few more paychecks or commission checks roll in, it’s not a bad way to go, using their money instead of your own for a short time.

Cards that offer miles, cash back, or some other perk aren’t offered to just anyone, but if your credit is good, they may be knocking down your door. “If you keep your credit score high enough to snag one, you’ll love being able to rack up miles to use for travel or apply a cash back bonus to everyday expenses to keep costs down,” says Naciri.

And here is something you may have forgotten: many employers run your credit as part of the hiring process. Let your credit drop, and it could keep you from getting a new job.

On top of all this, you never know what’s going to happen to interest rates. Good credit means that when rates drop you can jump in a heartbeat if you want to refinance, sell or buy another home.

VA Loan Right for You?

Why should you use VA loan:
________________________________________
The VA loan is hands down the best mortgage loan there is. Here are some reasons why.

First, VA guarantees the loan for 100% of the appraised value of the property (technically, the loan is for the Notice Of Value amount, which in most cases is the same thing). This guarantee means that the lender is willing to make the loan. The loan amount for 100% financing goes as high as the maximum amount in each county.

Veteran buyers can get a loan for more than the county maximum; they just have to pay 25% of the amount above the county maximum. In pricey California, for example, a veteran could buy a home for $800,000 with a $40,963 down—roughly 5%. Which brings me to the next reason to get a VA loan:

There is no mortgage insurance. A buyer with a 700 credit score will pay about $400 per month for mortgage insurance if he puts 3% down on a conventional loan.

The rates are slightly lower in some cases. Also, underwriting standards are easier. Where conventional loans use dent-to-income ratios to qualify, VA loans use “residual income.” This looks at how much money they actually have available each month after meeting normal expenses from their take-home pay. Conventional loans are typically capped at a 45% debt ratio (or thereabouts). VA loans can many times be approved above 50% depending on the overall strength of the borrower.

When rates drop, refinancing is easy. VA loans offer a “streamline” refinance option, called an Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL). This allows the veteran borrower to reduce his or her rate with no appraisal, and very little underwriting of income. The primary criterion for approval is that the borrower has an acceptable payment history and that they are improving their position.

If a veteran wants to refinance and get cash out of his or her equity, there is no pricing adjustment for that process. A conventional loan will typically be about .25% higher in rate to get cash out.

For anyone who is a qualifying veteran, NOT getting a VA loan would be a costly mistake.

Hope this helps!

Taking Money Out of 401K- Smart?

Someone once asked: As a first-time buyer, is it a good idea to take money out of my 401K to avoid mortgage insurance?
________________________________________

It’s not a sin to pull money from your 401K, but whether you decide to put down more cash to avoid mortgage insurance is entirely up to you. Here’s some information to help you decide.

When lenders consider risk on a loan, the loan-to-value ratio is one of the factors they evaluate. A loan for more than 80% of the property’s value presents a greater risk in their view. To manage that risk, they require mortgage insurance which is usually paid monthly and added to the payment.

Depending on the total cost of your 401K loan vs. the cost of borrowing more money, and potentially paying mortgage insurance.

You should keep in mind that mortgage insurance on a Conventional can be temporary. Once you can prove to the lender that your loan is 80% of the property’s market value, they’ll allow you to drop it. Check with a licensed real estate professional to see what they think of the future market conditions.

One other thing to consider is that even though most 401K loans have a 15-year term, nothing is stopping you from paying it off faster. Nothing that is, except human nature. 🙂 The fees for the loan may be the deciding factor for you.

Bottom line, this is something to take up with your licensed lender and real estate professional. Be sure you have written details about the 401K loan with you when discussing it with them.

Hope this helps…good luck!

First Time Homebuyer?

14 First Time Homebuyer Mistakes to Avoid!

#1. Failing to Budget for a Home Loan

Home ownership is a cheaper alternative to renting in the long run. But in the beginning, it can be much pricier. This is especially true if you intend to get a loan to purchase your dream house.

If you do acquire a loan, remember that you will be making monthly mortgage payments for a number of years.

Therefore, it is important to budget for a home loan, beforehand. You need to determine whether your income can accommodate an extra expense or not.

If you are unable to afford making monthly payments on your home loan, it would be a mistake to try to own a house at this time.

#2. Ignoring Your Credit Score

If you thought that finishing school meant being done with competitive scoring, think again!

Apparently, your creditworthiness can be summarized in just 3 digits. Those three numerals will draw the line between owning a house and renting one.

Even if you have an impeccable sense of financial responsibility right now, your credit past can haunt you.

You could have a hard time getting a home loan if your past record shows problems with payments, or if there’s an error in your credit report.

If you go ahead and apply for a mortgage loan without checking your credit score, you could end up paying a lot more than you expected.

It’s best to perform a credit check beforehand.  This way, you will be allowed to get loans without being obligated to pay hefty amounts in interest.

#3. Disregarding Housing Marketing Trends

Just like other financial markets, the housing market fluctuates from time to time. Sometimes it favors the buyers, and sometimes it favors the sellers.

There are a number of factors that affect housing marketing trends. This includes the ratio between supply and demand, interest rates and the overall condition of the economy.

It’s also imperative that you consider how the housing market changes in your ideal location, as home prices vary from one location to another.

If you disregard housing marketing trends when hunting for a house for sale, you might end up signing for a deal that favors the seller.

#4. Lack of a Preapproved Home Loan

Some people are anxious to shop for a house and want to do it quickly, before they are financially able to afford it.

If you have already started talking to sellers before having a hard talk with home loan lenders, you are making a mistake. In fact, not many sellers will want to work with you if you promise them a certain amount and then can’t fulfill that promise.

To avoid any disappointments, it’s wise to have your home loan pre-approved first, then go ahead and look for a house to buy.

#5. Overlooking the Home Resale Value

Another huge mistake you can make when buying a house is not considering the fact that you may need to resell the house you intend to buy.

There are lots of unexpected changes that can occur, such as job transfers, financial problems, or falling in love with another bigger or prettier house.

When this happens, you might find the need to sell your house, obviously at a profit. You should never overlook the resale value of the home you intend to purchase.

What you need to do is to ask yourself several questions such as: Will it be easy to sell this house? Will buyers be interested in buying it? Will this house fetch me a good amount if I decide to buy another one? Is it situated in a preferred neighborhood?

#6. Trusting an Unprepared Agent, not getting a Good One

Involving an agent is highly recommended in the home buying process.

There are pros and cons to dealing with real estate agents. A real estate agent can take a huge burden off your shoulders when it comes to looking for the right house.

An unprepared agent can cost you money and set the deal back.

Also, if you talk to the seller’s agent, he will be representing the seller and he may not be truthful about the negative aspects of the house.

If you trust this kind of agent blindly, you may have regrets later on. Make sure your agent is prepared and well versed.

#7. Settling on a Verbal Agreement

Double crosses are bound to happen when agreements are made verbally. It would be difficult for you to prove in court that a promise was made or a handshake was made.

Therefore, it’s best that you and the seller get everything down in writing to avoid future miscommunications.

This way, you will have something to present in court should the seller fail to keep their word.

#8. Disregarding Hidden Costs

This is another common mistake that many first-time homebuyers often make.

If you neglect to prepare for hidden fees, you might be in for a big surprise. Closing costs are a good example of hidden fees, which usually include a number of fees that cover final housekeeping matters.

Before signing the homebuyer’s agreement, it would be wise on your part to determine what hidden fees are there.

#9. Ignoring Professional Home Inspection

You will be making a costly mistake if you rely on the seller to inform you about the house problems you should expect.

Before you make any payment towards the purchase of the house, it’s imperative that you first hire a professional home inspector to ascertain that the house is in good condition.

#10. Following your “Love-at-First-Sight” Gut

Not everyone or everything that you fall in love with at first sight ends up being your one true love. A house may appear to be everything you ever dreamed of, but it might not live up to your expectations.

Before following a dream house blindly, be sure to check it out thoroughly. Make sure it has all the right qualities that make it a perfect home for you and your loved ones.

#11. Being Indecisive

As unwise as it is to rush into making a purchase, it is equally dumb to take too long without making up your mind. If you take too long to make a decision, another home buyer will take advantage of your indecisiveness and buy your dream house.

Since market trends change from time to time, you could also find out that the house you took too long to buy has a new (and higher) price tag attached to it.

#12. Relying on Online Services Only

Now that many services are obtainable at the click of the mouse, most people have become too dependent on them. It’s true that loans can be obtained online and houses can be bought online as well. But failure to establish personal touch with lenders or home sellers could present a huge and costly misunderstanding in future.

#13. Forgetting the Costs Associated with Owning a Home

Just like a car, a home requires money to maintain. The pain of parting with your hard-earned cash will not end on the day you finish your last mortgage payment.

You have to brace yourself for other costs for maintaining a safe, secure, and environmentally friendly home. You have to also be ready to meet certain costs such as association fees, insurance, taxes, utilities, maintenance and major/minor repairs.

#14. Entering into Multiple Agreements

While it’s a smart thing to compare different houses before buying, you might end up biting off a lot more than you can chew.

This is especially true if you meet up with sellers and make offers or promises that you don’t intend to honor.

Before entering into any agreement with a seller or an agent, it’s imperative you ensure that you are ready to honor your end of the deal.

If you can avoid the above mentioned mistakes that are commonly made by first-time buyers, you will be more like a pro homebuyer instead of a rookie.

Avoiding these mistakes can help you make the right choices when it comes to finding a home you and your family can take pride in. Keeping in mind the resale value will also help you avoid problems moving on in the future. 

Be a pro!

cash back refinance

Cash out and rate-and-term will save you money

How can a cash out refinance save me money?

There are 2 categories of refinance

1.“rate-and-term” 

2.“cash out”


Both will save you money

rate-and-term

The First type, rate-and-term, replaces your existing loan with one that has a better rate and/or terms. You might replace an ARM or balloon loan with a fixed-rate loan, for example. Or you may decide to lower your rate AND shorten your term. Some borrowers have been able to refinance from a 30-year loan into a 15 or 20-year loan, reducing the term, without appreciably raising their payments.

A borrower does not receive any significant amount of cash in a rate-and-term refinance; lenders generally consider that any cash proceeds above $2,000 pushes the loan into a cash out category.

There are always certain costs involved in any mortgage transaction; there will always be fees for title, escrow, underwriting and document preparation, for example. Borrowers can add these fees to their new loan to avoid having to pay them in cash. Financing these items is not considered cash out.

When you are deciding whether to do a rate-and-term refinance, you should evaluate it in two primary ways: first, how long will it take to recover the cost of doing the loan? For example, if the closing costs amount to $3,000 and the reduction in rate gives a saving of $1,500 per year in the first year.” For most people, this time frame is more than satisfactory, but you should make your own decision. The second criterion is net savings over some time, say five years, ten years or more. 

Homeowners with adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) may decide to refinance into a fixed rate loan, even though their rate may initially be higher, they might feel more secure knowing that their rate will never change. This is more of a defensive strategy to guard against the possibility of a higher rate in the future, but it may not “save money.”


cash out

The other type of refinance, a “cash out,” the borrower receives cash of more than $2,000 at closing. This is accomplished by getting a new loan that is larger than the balance of the old one plus closing costs. Borrowers can use that money for anything. Homeowners have used cash out refinances to pay off consumer debt, like car loans, student loans, and credit cards. Using home equity to pay off credit cards can drop the payment dramatically! But paying down installment loans can create a false economy. A $30,000 car loan with an interest rate of 6% will have a payment of $500. Paying off that loan with the proceeds of a home refinance will effectively drop the payment to $150. It does NOT make sense to finance a car for 30 years. 



Contact Us. We can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage and determine how much house you can buy this next time around.  Rainbow Mortgage, Inc. is a broker so we have access to many different lenders and their loan programs which translates into more options for you!

 

How Can a Mortgage Professional Help With Divorce?

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway…divorces are complicated! There are many questions that an experienced mortgage professional can help answer before you finalize your divorce.

 

For example:

Can one of us afford the family home or do we need to sell it?

Will I have enough income to qualify for a mortgage after the divorce?

Is my credit score good enough to qualify?

Will I have enough assets to refinance or purchase a new home?

Do I have the right job and/or job history for mortgage qualification?

What’s my home worth?

Will the family home appraise high enough to pull out equity to cover the cash I owe my spouse, or do I need to pull funds from another source?

What’s the consequence if my Ex-spouse keeps the home but can’t refinance it into their name after the divorce?

What’s the best loan for me post- divorce?

Attorneys are not mortgage experts and there are many nuances in the mortgage world that can totally derail the perfect divorce settlement. Rainbow Mortgage Inc. takes a very proactive role in assisting our attorney friends and their clients in making sure their post decree housing goals are met.  We help you to (1) make realistic decisions about what is possible, (2) understand your loan options, and (3) structure a mortgage loan focusing on your post-divorce goals.  We are happy to help you by participating in client-attorney meetings to discuss potential initial options, provide revised options (if necessary) prior to the final signing of the decree, provide an estimate of what your home is worth using our AVM tool (which is the same tool used by lenders to evaluate whether a value on an appraisal is reasonable) and at no cost to you or your attorney, review the decree prior to it being sent to the judge.

Here are a few examples of items in a divorce decree that have caused client issues in the past:

(1) The length of time that a person is to receive support payments does not meet lender guidelines to qualify for a mortgage loan.   Different loans have different guidelines however, standard guidelines require that a borrower prove that they will receive the income for a minimum of three years following the funding of the mortgage loan.  The dates listed in the decree must be carefully monitored and possibly adjusted if the divorce process goes on for an extended period before it’s finalized.

(2) Child care expenses are being shared and the decree lists a payment that is to be made monthly to a specified bank account- underwriters will sometimes consider this child support which can throw off a person’s monthly budget causing them to no longer qualify for a loan.


Divorces are complicated but the mortgage doesn’t have to be with the right professionals in your corner. We can offer you the help you need and why wouldn’t you take it?  Contact us for a FREE consultation and decree review.  We only get paid when you are happy with our service and your loan closes.  It’s a Win-Win for you!