Falling mortgage rates will likely hit a floor. Here’s why.

I thought I would share this info on Interest Rates…

Falling mortgage rates will likely hit a floor. Here’s why.

The Federal Reserve has taken emergency action to cut rates to zero. While 0% interest rates sound great to anyone who owns a home or is planning to buy, it’s important to slow down and talk through a couple of things.

First, the Fed does not control mortgage rates. Their cuts apply to rates for loans between the Fed and banks or from one bank to another.

Second, the Fed’s actions most quickly impact the rates on U.S. Treasury Securities. These markets can influence Mortgage Backed Securities, which will then influence mortgage rates. 

However, in times of uncertainty, other factors can overrule the norm. This happened in 2008. Despite aggressive cuts by the Fed, mortgage rates hit a floor and never fell further. The same is happening now.

Why?

The volume of business. Demand for mortgage loans is stretching the industry’s capacity to serve. To slow demand, rates may hover at higher levels.

Reduced investment. When investors know borrowers will refinance early, they expect to lose income. This risk means fewer investors will buy new mortgage backed securities. Less demand equals higher rates.

Extra costs to lenders. When loans are refinanced quickly, lenders often pay back their earnings. Similarly, additional expenses can occur when rates shift too quickly for in-process loans. These costs are reflected in higher rates.

The Bottom Line

A 0% Fed funds rate will not lead to a 0% mortgage loan rate. Mortgage bonds will always have a level under which investors simply will not purchase them, and mortgage rates reflect that.

The Good News

Mortgage rates are at or near their lowest levels ever. That spells opportunity to save significantly by refinancing or locking in a great rate on a purchase.

I read this article from Welcome Home Funding  

Got Real Estate Questions?   The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the utmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.  How can The Caton Team help you?

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 | Susan 650.796.0654

Email |   Info@TheCatonTeam.com

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials | The Caton Team Blog – The Real Estate Beat | TheCatonTeam.com | Facebook | Instagram | HomeSnap | Pintrest | LinkedIN Sabrina | LinkedIN Susan

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  Mobile Real Estate by The Caton Team

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

DRE # |Sabrina 01413526 | Susan 01238225 | Team 70000218 |Office 01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.

Homebuyer Do’s and Don’ts

Buying a home is serious business and your home loan is your number one most important TO DO on your list – even more important that the home itself!  Please do and don’t do the following….

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Got Real Estate Questions?   The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the utmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.  How can The Caton Team help you?

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 | Susan 650.796.0654

Email |   Info@TheCatonTeam.com

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials | The Caton Team Blog – The Real Estate Beat | TheCatonTeam.com | Facebook | Instagram | HomeSnap | Pintrest | LinkedIN Sabrina | LinkedIN Susan

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  Mobile Real Estate by The Caton Team

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

DRE # |Sabrina 01413526 | Susan 01238225 | Team 70000218 |Office 01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.


 

First Time Home Buyer Loan Programs

Happy New Year!

I wanted to share this article about loan programs becuase owning your own home is a goal near and dear to my heart.  If you’re looking to make homeownership your goal – contact The Caton Team – we love what we do and we love helping people achieve their goal of homeownership!

Summary: First-time homebuyer loans and programs

  1. FHA loan program: A loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration. Good for those with low credit scores and little money saved for a down payment.
  2. USDA loan program: A loan program 100 percent guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for lower-income borrowers in eligible rural areas.
  3. VA loan program: A loan backed by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs that allows no down payment for military personnel, veterans and their families.
  4. Good Neighbor Next Door buyer aid program: A HUD program that provides housing aid for law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and teachers.
  5. Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan program: Conventional loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac require 3 percent down. Good for those with strong credit.
  6. HomePath ReadyBuyer Program: A program that provides 3 percent in closing cost assistance to first-time buyers. Must complete an educational course and buy a foreclosed Fannie Mae property.
  7. Energy-efficient mortgage program: Backed by FHA or VA loan programs and allows borrowers to combine the cost of energy-efficient upgrades onto a primary loan upfront.
  8. FHA Section 203(k) loan program: Borrow the funds needed to pay for home improvement projects and roll the costs into one FHA loan with your primary mortgage.
  9. Local first-time homebuyer programs and grants: Many states and cities offer first-time buyer programs and grants for down payment or closing cost assistance.
  10. Native American Direct Loan: This VA-backed program provides direct home loans to eligible Native American veterans to buy, renovate or build homes on federal trust land.

1. FHA loan

Best for: Buyers with low credit and smaller down payments.

Not having enough money for a 20 percent down payment may deter you from buying a home, but it shouldn’t. Insured by the Federal Housing Administration, FHA loans typically come with smaller down payments and lower credit score requirements than most conventional loans. First-time homebuyers can buy a home with a minimum credit score of 580 and as little as 3.5 percent down or a credit score of 500 to 579 with at least 10 percent down.

FHA loans have one big catch called mortgage insurance. You’ll pay an upfront premium and annual premiums, driving up your overall borrowing costs. Unlike homeowners insurance, this coverage doesn’t protect you; it protects the lender in case you default on the loan.

Learn more about finding the best FHA lender for you.

2. USDA loan

Best for: Borrowers with lower or moderate incomes purchasing a home in a USDA-eligible rural area.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, or USDA, guarantees loans for some rural homes and you can get 100 percent financing. This doesn’t mean you have to buy a farm or shack up with livestock, but you do have to buy a home in a USDA-eligible area.

USDA loans also have income limits based on where you live, meaning they’re geared toward folks who earn lower to moderate incomes. Typically, you need a credit score of 640 or higher to qualify for a streamlined USDA loan. If your score falls short, you’ll have to provide extra documentation on your payment history to get a stamp of approval.

3. VA loan

Best for: Active-duty military members, veterans and their spouses.

Many U.S. military members (active duty and veterans) are eligible for loans backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA. VA loansare a sweet deal for eligible borrowers because they come with lower interest rates than most other loan types and require no down payment. A funding fee is required on VA loans, but that fee can be rolled into your loan costs and some service members may be exempt from paying it altogether.

Other VA loan perks include no PMI or minimum credit score. If you struggle to make payments on the mortgage, the VA can negotiate with the lender on your behalf to take some stress from the equation.

4. Good Neighbor Next Door

Best for: Teachers, law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical technicians.

The Good Neighbor Next Door program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It provides housing aid for law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers.

Through this program, you can receive a discount of 50 percent on a home’s listed price in regions known as “revitalization areas.” Using the program’s website, you can search for properties available in your state. You must commit to living in the home for at least 36 months.

5. Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac

Best for: Borrowers with strong credit but minimal down payments.

These government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs, set borrowing guidelines for loans they’re willing to buy from conventional lenders on the secondary mortgage market.

Both programs require a minimum down payment of 3 percent. Homebuyers also need a minimum credit score of 620 (or higher, depending on the lender) and a relatively unblemished financial and credit history to qualify. Fannie Mae accepts a debt-to-income ratio as high as 50 percent in some cases. You’ll still pay for PMI because you’re putting less than 20 percent down, but you can get it canceled once your loan-to-value ratio drops below 80 percent.

6. Fannie Mae’s HomePath ReadyBuyer Program

Best for: First-time homebuyers who help for closing costs willing to buy a foreclosed home.

Fannie Mae’s HomePath ReadyBuyer program is geared toward first-time buyers interested in foreclosed homes that are owned by Fannie Mae. After taking a required online homebuying education course, eligible borrowers can receive up to 3 percent in closing cost assistance toward the purchase of a HomePath property. The trick is finding a HomePath property in your market, which might be a challenge since foreclosures account for a smaller chunk of listings today.

7. Energy-efficient mortgage (EEM)

Best for: Homebuyers who want to make their home more energy-efficient but lack up-front cash for upgrades.

Making a home more energy efficient is good for the environment, and good for your wallet by lowering your utility bills. Making green upgrades can be costly, but you can get an energy-efficient mortgage, or EEM loan, that’s insured through the FHA or VA programs.

An EEM loan lets you tack the cost of energy-efficient upgrades (think new insulation, a more efficient HVAC system or double-paned windows) onto your primary loan upfront — all without a larger down payment.

8. FHA Section 203(k)

Best for: Homebuyers interested in purchasing a fixer-upper but who don’t have a lot of cash to make major home improvements.

If you’re brave enough to take on a fixer-upper but don’t have the extra money to pay for renovations, an FHA Section 203(k) loan is worth a look.

Backed by the FHA, the loan calculates the home’s value after improvements have been made. You can then borrow the funds needed to pay for home improvement projects and roll the costs into one loan with your primary loan amount. You’ll need a down payment of at least 3.5 percent, and improvements must cost more than $5,000.

9. State and local first-time homebuyer programs and grants

Best for: First-time homebuyers who need closing cost or down payment assistance.

In an effort to attract new residents, many states and cities offer first-time homebuyer grants and programs. The aid comes in the form of grants that don’t have to be repaid or low-interest loans with deferred repayment to cover down payment or closing costs. Some programs may have income limits, too. Before buying a home, check your state’s housing authority website for more information.

Contact a real estate agent or local HUD-approved housing counseling agency to learn more about first-time homebuyer loans in your area.

First-time homebuyer programs by state:

10. Native American Direct Loan

Best for: Eligible Native American veterans wishing to buy a home on federal trust land.

The Native American Direct Loan provides financing to eligible Native American veterans to buy, improve or build a home on federal trust land. This loan differs from traditional VA loans in that the VA is the mortgage lender.

The NADL has no down payment or private insurance requirements, and closing costs are low. And you’re not limited to only one property; you can get more than one NADL. Not all states are eligible, though.

Learn more:

I read this article at: LOAN PROGRAMS

Got Real Estate Questions?   The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the utmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.  How can The Caton Team help you?

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 | Susan 650.796.0654

Email |   Info@TheCatonTeam.com

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials | The Caton Team Blog – The Real Estate Beat | TheCatonTeam.com | Facebook | Instagram | HomeSnap | Pintrest | LinkedIN Sabrina | LinkedIN Susan

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  Mobile Real Estate by The Caton Team

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

DRE # |Sabrina 01413526 | Susan 01238225 | Team 70000218 |Office 01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.


 

How to apply for a mortgage: Your 4-step guide.

Applying for a home loan is the first step to take when getting serious about buying a home. It will help you understand how much house you truly can afford. Get ready for the application process by gathering your financial info, finding a lender to work with, and getting pre-approved. You can always shop around and pick another lender once you get an accepted offer.

Mortgage loan pre-approval means approaching a lender with financial, credit, debt, and other information that will help them determine if you qualify for a loan at a certain amount.

There are four essential steps involved with mortgage pre-approval:

  1. Gather financial information
  2. Select a lender
  3. Get a mortgage pre-approval
  4. Close on your home

This article will give you an idea of how to get pre-approved for a mortgage and why pre-approval is important for buying a home.

 

How to get pre-approved for a home loan

Step 1: Gather financial information

Before heading to your lender’s office, gather and prepare the following financial information:

Credit Information: Your credit score and reports will determine the size of loan you may qualify for and the type of financing plan you will be offered. For example, a borrower with a credit score below 740 will usually have a higher interest rate associated with their loan. A borrower with a score below 580 will usually have to put down a higher down payment.

Pro Tip: Check your credit score for free with credit.com.

Debt Information: Gather and prepare any of your debt obligations. This includes student loans automobile loans, and credit card payments.

Pro Tip: If you have a significant amount of debt, the amount that you’re pre-approved will likely be smaller or rejected. Before applying for your pre-approved mortgage, try paying off your debts and minimize the number of new debts you take on.

Income Information: Gather and prepare income information from the previous two years. This includes tax returns, W-9s, pay stubs, and additional income information (from second jobs, overtime pay, social security payments, alimony or child support payments, etc.).

Asset Information: Asset information refers to assets you own other than your income. This involves gathering bank statements, property statements, investment information, and money received by family members.

Personal Information: Bring a personal ID such as a driver’s license or passport and your social security number to your lender’s office.

Employment Information: This includes your proof of employment and the length of time you’ve been with your employer.

Budget Information: Before going to see a lender, determine your budget for buying a new home.

Pro Tip: Your total housing payment budget should not exceed 35% of your pre-tax income. The ideal percentage is 25% of your pre-tax income.

Step 2: Select a lender to work with

There are two types of lenders you can work with (1) big lenders (aka the bank) or (2) small lenders (aka small, community banks or small mortgage lenders).

There are pros and cons associated with each type of lender:

Pros of big lenders:

  • Security: You can trust that big banks will protect your sensitive information as it’s a crucial part of their reputation.
  • Customer support: Banks usually offer 24/7 customer support.
  • Availability: Making an appointment for a loan will be easier with big banks as they have a larger number of loan officers available.

Cons of big lenders:

  • Rates: The rates of the big banks are usually higher than the rates at small loan offices.
  • Approval: Banks have a specific ‘credit model’ that they like to use as a guideline for approving people looking for loans. You may have a hard time being approved for a loan by a big bank if you don’t fit this ‘credit model.’

Pros of small lenders:

  • Rates: Small lenders tend to have better rates than the big banks. Furthermore, smaller lenders generally let their customers exit early. In other words, small lenders allow their customers to pay off their mortgage early and either sell their house or find a better mortgage.
  • Approval: Small lenders will generally approve loans to freelance workers, property investors, or someone who doesn’t fit the bank’s credit model.
  • Customer Service: Small lenders provide more personalized customer service and usually have faster response times.
  • Specialized Financing: Smaller lenders offer more specialized financing options than big banks. For example, if you’re looking for a small mortgage, most big banks won’t accept your application because it’s not worth their time. The smaller lender, however, will be happy to work with you.

Cons of small lenders:

  • Vulnerability: Due to their size, small lenders are more sensitive to market fluctuations.
  • Availability: Smaller lenders may not have as many available lenders as the big banks.

Should I get pre-approved by multiple financial institutions to compare rates?

  • Yes, because you can still shop rates before locking into a rate and accepting an offer. Research different lender’s reputation, search for their past clients, read their online reviews, and give them a call to get a ‘feel’ of whether or not you want to work with them.

Step 3: Get pre-approved

Most first-time home buyers are confused about the pre-approval process. So, to clear things up, we answer “how to get pre-approved for a mortgage” and the 6 other common questions first-time home buyers ask about mortgage pre-approval:

1. How do I get pre-approved for a mortgage?

  • Gather Documents: Gather the necessary documents (as listed in step 1).
  • Organize Documents: Create a Google Drive or Dropbox where you can organize all information in one, easily-accessible place.
  • Contact a Lender: Call, go online or visit a loan office/bank. The loan officer will review your documents and give you a preliminary estimate of how much house you can afford, your monthly mortgage payments, and mortgage interest rate.
  • Find out if you’ve been pre-approved: You will receive a pre-approval letter that secures your interest rates for the next 90-120 days (more on this below). On the other hand, your lender will notify you that you have not been pre-approved.

2. Why get pre-approved for a mortgage?

Benefits of Pre-Approvals:

  • Accurate: The best pre-approvals will give you an accurate idea of how much house you can afford. Furthermore, you’ll get an idea of your monthly mortgage payments and your short-term mortgage interest rates.
  • Protection: When you apply for a mortgage pre-approval, there is usually a 90-120 day protection against rising rates. In other words, pre-approvals lock-in interest rates and allow you to search for a home without worrying about interest rates increasing significantly.
  • Trustworthy: A pre-approved mortgage signals to sellers and real estate agents that you’re serious about buying a home.
  • Advantage: A pre-approved mortgage may be the deciding factor between you getting a home over another home buyer.
  • Free: Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is free, and there is no obligation to use the lender that pre-approved your mortgage.

3. What is the difference between pre-qualification and pre-approval?

  • Pre-qualification: During the pre-qualification stage of securing a mortgage, a lender will interview you to determine your income, expenses, and assets. The purpose of getting pre-qualified is to give you a rough estimate of how much house you can afford.
  • Pre-approval: During the pre-approval stage of securing a mortgage a lender will look through your income, expenses, and asset more thoroughly. A pre-approval is a more concrete estimate of how much house you can afford.

4. What if I don’t get pre-approved for a loan? Now what?

If you don’t get pre-approved for a loan, your lender can tell you why you were rejected. Lenders can also offer advice of how to get approved in the future.

For example, you may have to:

  • Build Credit: If bad credit was the reason you aren’t pre-approved, then pay off your credit cards and try not to miss your debt payments for the next 6-12 months.
  • Build Savings: Lenders usually want to see a significant amount of cash reserve in your savings account. Again, pay off your debts and try to save some money before applying for a pre-approval again.
  • Build Income: If your lender says that you don’t make enough income for a certain loan amount, either try applying for a smaller loan or, if you’re married, ask for a joint-loan with your spouse.
  • Build Employment History: Usually, lenders don’t like to see inconsistencies in employment history. Wait until you’ve been at the same job for two years before applying for a loan.

5. Does pre-approval guarantee a loan?
Pre-approval does not guarantee a loan. It is only a review of your qualifications for how much you might be able to borrow.

A buyer receives their pre-approval letters, searches for their dream home within their pre-approved amount, has their offer and financial structure accepted by the sellers, and then submits their proposal to the lender.

The lender then reviews the proposal, the buyer’s finance details, and the details of the property. If everything goes smoothly (i.e., the home doesn’t look like a money pit), the buyer will be approved for a mortgage.

However, the pre-approval letter alone does not guarantee a mortgage.

6. How long does it take to get pre-approved for a mortgage?

Depending on who you’re working with, you can get pre-approved for a mortgage in minutes. Sometimes all it takes is a phone call.

7. What impact (if any) will this have on my credit?

The short answer here is that it depends.

As mentioned above, lenders will look at your credit score and history to determine if you’ll be pre-approved. These are called credit report inquiries.

First-time home buyers usually don’t have to worry about inquires damaging their credit score. However, the more inquires your credit history shows, the more it can damage your credit score.

Inquires hurt your score because it shows lenders that you could be doing something with your credit that puts you at risk.

Step 4: Close on your home

Once you’re pre-approved for a mortgage, you can start the process of searching for a home, within your pre-approved amount.

The process of closing your home looks like this:
1. Application: The mortgage application involves submitting the documents outlined in step 1.

Time it takes: 1 day

2. Loan estimate: The lender analyzes your financial information and produces a loan estimate. A loan estimate describes the details of your loan including the terms and the predicted costs associated with your loan.

The loan estimate does not tell you if you have been approved for a loan. It simply estimates what your loan would look like if you’re approved and will help you determine if you would like to move forward with the mortgage application process.

Time it takes: The law states that you must receive your loan estimate 3 days after submitting your mortgage application.

3. Open a file: Your file is submitted to a loan processor who analyzes your financial documentation and property information. The loan processor places all this information into a loan package that is to be submitted to the underwriter.

Time it takes: 1 day

4. Loan underwriting: An underwriter analyzes your loan to determine the risk of approving your mortgage. Essentially, the underwriter is the key-decision maker and determines if you’re a good candidate for a loan based on the likelihood of you paying your mortgage each month.

The duties of an underwriter:

A. Assess: The underwriter assesses your risk by verifying that your credit, debt, income, and savings information is true. For example, they may call your employer to confirm that you do in fact work x amount of hours and are paid x amount of dollars.

B. Appraise: This is where the underwriter determines if your desired property’s price is comparable to the prices of similar properties. The purpose of the appraisal is to determine if the money you would like to borrow matches the value of the home you would like to purchase. If the appraisal is less than the loan amount, the underwriter will usually disapprove the mortgage or suggest another loan amount.

C. Approve or reject: The underwriter considers all this information and then approves or rejects your loan application.

Time it takes: 1-7 days

Pro Tip: The underwriting process generally takes longer and requires more documentation if you’re self-employed.

5. Mortgage Commitment: If the underwriter approves your loan, you are officially locked-into an interest rate.

Time it takes: 2-4 days

6. Closing: This is the step in the home-buying process where you sign all the necessary documents to own the home officially.

 

I read this article at: Open Listings

Got Real Estate Questions?   The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the utmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials

The Caton Team Blog – The Real Estate Beat

The Caton Team Website

The Caton Team Advantage

How to Buy While Selling Real Estate

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  Mobile Real Estate by The Caton Team

Visit us at:  Our Blog * TheCatonTeam.com * Facebook * Instagram * HomeSnap* Pintrest * LinkedIN Sabrina * LinkedIN Susan

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina DRE# 01413526 / Susan DRE #01238225 / Team DRE# 70000218/ Office DRE #01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.

How Long Does It Take to Improve Your Credit Score Enough to Buy a Home?

A new year means new goals.  If home ownership is one of them – it’s time to make sure your credit is in check.

How long does it take to improve your credit score? If you’re hoping to buy a home, having a good credit score is key, since it helps you qualify for a mortgage. So if your credit score is low, knowing how long it takes to raise it to home-buying range can help you plan.

While raising a credit score can’t happen overnight, it is possible to raise your credit score within one to two months. However, it could take longer, depending on what’s dragging down your score—and how you handle it. Here’s what you need to know.

How long does it take to raise a credit score?

First off, what’s considered a good score versus a poor one? Here are some general parameters:

  • Perfect credit score: 850
  • Excellent score: 760-849
  • Good credit score: 700 to 759
  • Fair score: 650 to 699
  • Low score: 650 and below

While it varies by area and type of loan, generally lenders will look for a score of 660 or higher to grant a mortgage (here’s more on the minimum credit score you need for a home loan).

If you’re looking to boost your credit score fast, here are some actions you can take.

Correct errors on your credit report

Correcting errors on your credit report is a relatively quick way to improve your credit score. If it’s a simple identity error—like a credit card that’s not yours showing up—you can get that corrected within one to two months.

If it’s an error on one of your accounts, though, it could take longer, because you need to involve your creditor as well as the credit bureau. The entire process typically takes 30 to 90 days. If there’s a lot of back-and-forth between you, the credit bureau, and your creditor, it could take longer.

The first step to correcting errors is to get a copy of your credit reports from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian (the three major credit bureaus), which you can do at no cost once a year at annualcreditreport.com. Next, review them for errors. If it’s an error on one of your accounts, you must refute that error with the bureau by providing documentation arguing otherwise. For example, if you paid a credit card on time and the card issuer is reporting a late payment, find a bank statement showing that you paid on time.

Credit bureaus typically have 30 days to investigate the error. If they agree that it’s an error, they will remove the item. The credit bureau may also ask for additional information or ask you to discuss the information with the creditor involved. If that’s the case, stay on top of communications with your creditor so you can get things resolved as quickly as possible.

Deal with delinquent accounts

Bringing delinquent accounts current and settling accounts that are in collections can also boost your score fairly quickly. Once the creditor or collection agency reports your account update, you should see a positive bump in your score. Keep in mind, though, that your late payment history will remain on your credit report for seven years.

If you have bad accounts that have been on your report for six years or more, you may not want to worry about settling them or bringing them up to date. This can re-age the account, and if you fall behind again, it will stay on your credit report for another seven years.

“Make sure you don’t re-age these accounts, because they’re going to drop off soon,” says Nathan Danus, CDMP and Director of Housing and Community Development at DebtHelper in West Palm Beach, FL. Negative information typically “falls off” your credit report after seven years, so if you’re close, it’s best to just wait it out.

Lower your credit utilization

Credit utilization refers to how much you owe compared with the amount of credit you have available. For example, if you have a $10,000 credit limit across all your credit cards and you have balances totaling $9,000, you’ve utilized 90% of your credit. This drags down your credit score.

“What these consumers often need to do is pay down the balances on their existing credit accounts, which can be a challenge if they’ve allowed the balances to creep up over time,” says Martin H. Lynch, compliance manager and director of education at Cambridge Credit Counseling of Agawam, MA. “The ratio of what’s owed to the amount of credit available represents 30% of the consumer’s score, so rapid improvement is possible if there’s a large amount of money available to pay down balances.”

Linda L. Jacob, a financial counselor at Consumer Credit of Des Moines, IA, recommends paying down balances to below one-third of your credit line. Any payments you make will be reflected on your credit report as soon as your creditors report your payment to the credit bureaus. Credit scores are updated on an ongoing basis, and creditors typically report once per month, so if you make a payment that lowers your credit utilization, that should be reflected on your credit score within two months.

If you’re regularly using your credit card but you want to keep your utilization low so you can apply for a mortgage, you may want to pay down your credit-card balance on a weekly or biweekly basis. This ensures that your balance is as low as possible whenever your creditor reports your payment history to the credit bureaus.

You can also decrease your card utilization by getting more credit, but this approach can backfire. Consumers sometimes assume that by getting more credit, their credit score will improve. If you have a $3,000 balance on a card with a $4,000 credit limit and you’re approved for a new credit card with a $1,000 limit, you now have $5,000 in total credit lines. Instead of using 75% of your available credit, you’re now using 60%. That’s better, right?

Not necessarily. “Just applying for credit lowers your credit score, and that effect lasts for months,” warns Mike Sullivan, personal finance consultant at Take Charge America in Phoenix, AZ. “For the first few months after you apply for credit, your credit score may actually go down.”

You can try getting around this by asking a credit limit increase on a card you already have. Be sure to ask whether they do a “soft” credit pull rather than a “hard” credit pull, though, since hard credit inquiries are the ones that impact your credit. A creditor may be willing to give you a credit line increase with a “soft” pull, which will not hurt your credit score.

Soft inquiries are for background purposes only. For example, a credit card company may do a soft pull to see if you’re eligible for certain credit card offers, or an employer may do a soft pull before offering you a job. Soft pulls can be done without your permission and do not impact your credit score. Hard pulls require your permission, and are done when lenders or credit card companies are assessing whether to grant you a loan or line of credit.

How to raise your credit score for the long haul

Once you’ve corrected errors, settled your delinquent accounts, and brought your credit utilization under control, the only other things that will improve your score are time and developing good payment habits. For example, if you tend to forget to make payments, you can set up automatic payments so you don’t forget.

And here’s some good news for people with bad credit: Generally, people with the lowest scores will see the biggest gains the fastest.

“It’s a lot like dieting,” says Sullivan.

For instance, if your score is 550, “you could probably get it up 30 points in a matter of a couple months, if you’re really dedicated and really careful,” he explains.

On the other hand: “If your credit score is already a 750 and you’re trying to get it to 780, that can take double or more the time.”

Still, it’s worth doing whatever you can to get the best interest rate possible.

For more smart financial news and advice, head over to MarketWatch.

Melinda Sineriz is a writer living in Bakersfield, CA. She writes about personal finance and real estate for several websites and businesses.

I read this article at:  Realtor.com

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Conventional Financing for Manufactured Homes Coming

What a great way to start the new year – new options in financing!

 

Freddie Mac has announced that it will start financing manufactured housing, which it hopes will help make homes more affordable to buyers. The mortgage financing giant says it will conduct a two-year pilot called CHOICEHome to grant conventional financing for manufactured homes with certain features, such as permanent and pitched roofs. Many of the manufactured homes also have energy-saving features, such as Energy Star Qualified Low-E windows, programmable thermostats, and minimum insulation values.

Factory-built homes that meet Freddie Mac’s specifications will be eligible for a CHOICEHome certification and CHOICEHome financing. Freddie Mac’s HomeOne and Home Possible loan programs will also be available for manufactured housing. Freddie Mac also says appraisers will now be able to use site-built housing as a comparable valuation. “Today’s manufactured homes can deliver outstanding quality at prices that are up to 50 percent less per square foot than conventional site-built homes,” Freddie Mac notes. “These savings can enable more Americans to own their own home, even in the face of an ever-widening housing affordability gap.”

Currently, more than 22 million families live in factory-built housing. That number is expected to grow, says Mike Dawson, vice president of single-family affordable lending strategy and policy at Freddie Mac. “There’s an opportunity for factory-built homes to address the housing supply shortage and quality housing overall,” Dawson says. “This new generation of manufactured housing might just be the best option for first-time home buyers, millennials, and empty-nesters looking to downsize.”

Source: Freddie Mac  

I read this article at: Realtor Magazine

Got Real Estate Questions?   The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the upmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

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Do Low Down Payments Make Mortgages More or Less Affordable

Do Low Down Payments Make Mortgages More or Less Affordable

File this question under “it depends.”

It’s true that loans with down payments of 20 percent or more cost borrowers less over time than low down payment loans. Low down payments leave larger principals to pay off, and those principals create more interest over time. Low down payment loans also require mortgage insurance.

However, a low down payment itself can actually boost affordability by getting you off the sidelines and into a home of your own sooner.

Let’s look at the numbers.

 

At current interest rates and based a median family income, you’d need about 22 percent of your income for monthly payment with a 20-percent-down mortgage and about 24 percent with a 3.5 percent down payment. And, should rates rise to 4.75 percent by the end of this year, a buyer putting 20 percent down would pay about 25 percent of his monthly income and a buyer using a low-down payment loan at 3.5 percent down payment would pay about 28 percent of the buyer’s monthly income.

While 20 percent isn’t necessary and isn’t even the average (7.6 percent), it will help reduce the monthly payment simply because your total mortgage loan is less than with a lower down payment. But, it’s important to evaluate the cost-benefit of a lower down payment.

Why low down payments help

Forgoing a low down payment today to save for a 20 percent down payment in the future changes the equation for first-time buyers. With home prices and rates on the rise in 2018,  affordability will likely worsen in the months ahead.

In fact, a recent survey by Apartment List found that it takes many millennials a decade or more to save enough to make a 20 percent down payment. By that time, the costs of waiting so long will outweigh the advantages of a larger down payment.

Since 2012, it has been cheaper to buy than rent in most markets and rents today are consuming an even larger share of monthly disposable income. By the end of this year, rates could rise as high as 4.75 percent, and prices are forecasted to continue to rise in 2018. Rising rates and prices will increase the cost of a 20 percent down payment for those who delay.

In the Barriers to Accessing Homeownership study released in November, analysts at the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center concluded that “with rising home prices and interest rates, access to sustainable mortgage credit is often only possible with low–down payment loans.”

Evaluate your options

Don’t aim for a 20 percent down at all costs. Yes, it can help drive down your monthly payment, but you also want to ensure you have a strong financial cushion when you become a homeowner. And, if you wait too long, you may end up paying more with a higher interest rate and home prices.

Search for homebuyer programs available in your market and for your personal situation. You may find a program that can help with the down payment and/or closing costs.

Find a knowledgeable agent or lender who is eager to teach — you want someone who can help you evaluate all your options.

For more data and information on down payment trends from a variety of sources, subscribe to our monthly Down Payment Report.

I read this article at: https://downpaymentresource.com/low-payments-make-mortgages-less-affordable/

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