Is Mortgage Insurance Really Worth It?

Is Mortgage Insurance Really Worth It?

If you’re considering a low down payment mortgage—less than 20%–you may have heard you’ll need to pay mortgage insurance (also known as MI, private mortgage insurance or PMI, and mortgage insurance premium or MIP) in addition to your monthly mortgage payment. While it adds another monthly payment to your mortgage, it may also help you get in a home sooner. Let’s look at your options and some hidden benefits of MI.

What is mortgage insurance?

MI helps manage risk for your lender and protect them if you fail to repay the mortgage, making the loan safer for investors. Investors have set parameters that loans must meet before they are purchased. One key parameter is that the mortgage has a loan-to-value ratio of at least 80%, meaning that the borrowers have made a 20% down payment.

MI was created to help more buyers get over that hurdle and afford to buy a home. With MI, you can put down less than 20% and still become a homeowner.

But, is MI really worth it or should you wait until you have 20% down?

Benefits of mortgage insurance

Before you write off mortgage insurance, let’s look at how it may provide valuable opportunities and options to you as a homebuyer.

Increased buying power. Say you’ve saved $20,000. You can use that cash to put 20% down on a $100,000 home OR you could make a smaller down payment on a more expensive home — for example, 10% down on a $200,000 home.

Expanded cash-flow options. Using MI to finance your mortgage, you can elect to put less money down and still have funds for home-related purchases and repairs or investments. For example, rather than putting 20% down ($40,000) on a $200,000 home, you could put down 10% ($20,000) and use the other $20,000 to remodel.

Lower monthly payments. If you have good credit, you may be eligible for lower borrower paid MI rates.

Predictable monthly payments. A fixed-rate mortgage with MI provides you with a locked-in monthly payment that will not increase and that will be reduced when MI coverage is cancelled.

Mortgage insurance may be cancelled. On most loans with MI, coverage must automatically be cancelled by the lender when the loan reaches 78% of original value through amortization. MI also may be cancelled when extra payments bring the loan below 80% of original value. Contact your loan servicer for a full description of cancellation requirements.

FHA or Conventional loan?

FHA is known for their low down payments for first-time homebuyers, but consider all your options. Many conventional fixed rate loans offer lower than FHA’s 3.5% down. Plus, when you use a fixed rate loan and borrower paid MI, you can cancel your mortgage insurance when you reach 20% equity in your home. With FHA, you must continue to pay MI for the life of the loan.

Down payment programs can give you a boost

Don’t overlook the homeownership programs available in every community. These programs offer grants and loans that can fund your closing costs and down payments, helping supplement your down payment savings and get you closer to that 20% threshold faster. Find out what programs may be in your area.

How do you pay for MI?

Talk to your lender about MI plans available. There are borrower paid and lender paid plans. If you have a higher credit score, you may get a reduced rate with a borrower paid plan. With lender paid plans, the MI premium is usually built into the mortgage interest rate or the origination fee. If a lender says they have a “no MI” option, look at all the fees and ask how MI is calculated.

Should you buy now or wait?

Take some time to evaluate your personal situation. Interview multiple lenders and shop your loan. It’s important to get your financing locked down before you begin shopping for homes. MGIC, a mortgage insurance provider, offers a calculator that can help you assess whether you should buy now or wait.

Contact The Caton Team any time with all your Real Estate questions.

The Caton Team is comprised of Susan and Sabrina Caton – a mother/daughter in law team.  We are full time, local Realtors with over 25 years of combined Real Estate experience.  How can The Caton Team help you?

I read this article at: http://downpaymentresource.com/mortgage-insurance-really-worth/

Remember to follow our Blog for the local real estate beat, a pulse on the San Francisco Peninsula at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

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

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

HomeSnaphttp://www.homesnap.com/Sabrina-Caton

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit our INSTAGRAM page:  http://instagram.com/thecatonteam

PINTREST: https://www.pinterest.com/thecatonteam/

Visit us on FACEBOOK:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

YELP us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or YELP me:  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheCatonTeam

Connect with us professionally at LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/sabrinawendtcaton

https://www.linkedin.com/in/susancatonrealtor

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Effective. Efficient. Responsive.  What Can The Caton Team Do For You?

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

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

What does Pre-Qualified and Pre-Approved mean in Real Estate?

As a full time, professional Realtor it is important that I guide my clients as best I can.  Even if it means not showing one single home until a buyer is fully, pre-approved.  I know this sounds very regimented, however in the San Francisco Bay Area Real Estate market – a buyer needs to present their very best if they want to compete.

There’s been a bit of confusion on what it means to be “pre-qualified” versus “pre-approved” by a mortgage lender. To the average Joe – isn’t a phone conversation just as good as a letter?   In one word –  NO!  It’s important to know the difference because it can have a major impact on your real estate transaction.  Here in our market – it is the difference between having your offer presented in its best light – or having your offer outright rejected by the seller.

Here’s what you need to know:

Pre-qualified means the buyer hasn’t yet been vetted by a third-party credit institution.  The underwriter, or he who makes the decision, hasn’t even seen the file.  Because their credit and documents haven’t actually been verified, a letter of pre qualification is the result of a conversation with a lender. Nothing more. That isn’t to say a talk with your mortgage broker about options is a bad thing.  It’s actually a buyers very first step.  It’s just that when it comes to your transaction, it carries little weight.  An offer with a pre-qualified letter will not gain any light in todays competitive market.  No seller needs to grant a buyer time to get their loan pre-approved.  Not when a buyer is one of several offers and the seller will pick the very best, buttoned down one.

That said, a pre-approval letter is truly valuable! In fact in our San Francisco Bay Area Market – a letter of commitment is becoming the new pre-approval letter.  Both the buyer’s credit (and documents) have been verified by a reputable third party and accepted by the lender. Meaning, the underwriter has seen the buyers credit report, reviewed all their supporting documents, called the employer to verify employment and is ready to order an appraisal once the buyer is in contract.  Ideal buyers are pre-approved – and in a hot market like ours, it makes a difference. Sellers want pre-approved buyers. Period.  In fact, The Caton Team will not show property to anyone until they have been pre-approved with a lender.  Our market moves fast, very fast.  Homes are sold within two weeks or less.  And often times, when a buyer finds a home they like, the offer date is usually just days away.  So having the buyer, fully pre-approved puts them in a position of best competition.  They buyers knows the loan they are getting, the payment to expect and are comfortable moving forward at a quick pace.

If you have any questions – we are here to help.  Email or call The Caton Team at any time.  We can answer your questions or refer you to our wonderful team of trusted lenders.  650.568.5522 / Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522

Want Real Estate Info on the Go? Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

VISIT OUR INSTAGRAM PAGE: http://instagram.com/thecatonteam

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or Yelp me: http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

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

 

Adjustable Rate Mortgages – Making a Comeback

When I read this article, I knew I had to share it. After the real estate bust – so many people turned conservative. But now with prices steadily rising on the San Francisco Peninsula – we’re seeing the adjustable rate mortagage make a comeback – enjoy this article…

Adjustable-rate mortgages regain popularity as prices, rates rise
In November, 11.2% of homes bought with loans carried adjustable-rate mortgages. That’s double the rate of a year earlier.

When Michael Shuken recently bought his family’s first home, a four-bedroom in Mar Vista, his adjustable-rate mortgage helped them stay on the pricey Westside.
For now, his interest-only loan costs him about 35% less per month than a 30-year fixed mortgage, he said. But he’ll have a much bigger monthly bill in 10 years, when the loan terms require him to start paying off principal at potentially high rates.
“What is going to happen if I can’t restructure my loan and extend it? Are interest rates going to be 7%, 8%?” the 43-year-old commercial real estate broker said. “The home is big enough for me to grow into. The question is, will I be able to?”
Adjustable-rate mortgages, which all but vanished during the housing bust, are again gaining popularity. Home prices and interest rates rose last year, and adjustable mortgages can help keep the monthly payment affordable — at least temporarily. Such mortgages offer a lower initial rate, but that rate can rise over time with market changes.
More homeowners in Southern California were willing to take that risk last year. In November, 11.2% of homes bought with loans carried adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs. That’s double the rate of the same month a year earlier, according to San Diego-based research firm DataQuick.
“You saw a big swing in people taking adjustable versus fixed rates” when prices and rates shot up last year, said John Ciolino, a senior loan consultant with Luther Burbank Mortgage.
With interest rates expected to rise this year, the proportion of ARMs could increase further.
“Generally, as rates increase ARMs become more popular,” said Guy D. Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance.
Last week, lenders offered, on average, a 3% interest rate for a 5/1-year ARM — which means a borrower receives that rate for five years, before the loan starts to adjust annually with the market. That’s compared with 4.48% for a 30-year fixed loan, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac.
Mortgage brokers say borrowers who plan to move after a few years, or those with considerable, but irregular, income could be well-suited for an ARM.
“A big percentage of my clients are freelance employees in entertainment,” Ciolino said. “So they are going job to job, and they are concerned with having a higher mortgage payment.”
ARMs have been most popular in the region’s higher-priced communities, such as Newport Beach, La Jolla and Pacific Palisades.
That’s a contrast to last decade’s housing bubble, when lenders flooded working-class communities with extremely risky mortgages. One such product — known as the option ARM — allowed borrowers to pay even less than the interest owed, swelling the size of the loan as unpaid interest was added on to principal.
In the first three quarters of 2006, the 16 ZIP Codes with the most ARMs were all in relatively affordable, working-class communities in the Antelope Valley and Inland Empire, according to DataQuick. Many borrowers bet home prices would continue to rise, allowing them to easily refinance or sell before the first adjustment. Many got burned when home prices plummeted, preventing any refinancing.
It’s unclear whether such thinking has changed, but the loans have. The crash stung lenders as well, making them skittish about offering the riskiest products.
Largely gone are option ARMs and loans with very low “teaser” rates that quickly exploded into payments that borrowers couldn’t afford. Lenders during the bubble years also qualified borrowers based on teaser rates, increasing the likelihood of default.
“The ARM products that remain in the marketplace today … are really venerable, long-dated products,” the most popular of which is the 5/1-year ARM, said Keith T. Gumbinger, vice president of financial publisher HSH.com.
New federal regulations taking effect this month should further curtail some of the riskier ARMs, including interest-only products and those with balloon payments.
Adjustable-rate loans may work for some buyers, such as a family in which one parent will return to work after staying home with the kids, said Gary Kalman, an executive vice president with the Center for Responsible Lending.
“I don’t think the product, in and of itself, is inherently a bad product,” he said.
Of course, rates could adjust downward in favorable market conditions. But ARMs are still riskier than fixed-rate loans — especially when rates remain at historical lows but are expected to rise.
Shuken, the Mar Vista borrower, says he understands the risks. He plans to pay down some principal before such payments are required, he said. And he’ll start planning years before the interest rate adjusts to either restructure the loan or sell the house.
“If people aren’t thinking about that,” he said, “they need to.”

By Andrew Khouri
I read this article at:
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-arm-loans-20140102,0,3920478.story#ixzz2pdrofw8K

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/
Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.
Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com
Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200
Want Real Estate Info on the Go? Download our FREE Real Estate App: http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp
Visit our Website at: http://thecatonteam.com/
Visit us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834
Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city
Or Yelp me: http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw
Check out my photos on Instagram: http://instagram.com/sunshineagogo
Check out our pins on Pintrest: https://pinterest.com/SabrinaCaton/
Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro
Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:
http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com
Thanks for reading – Sabrina
The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors
Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE#70000218/ 01499008

New VA Loan Limits

New VA Loan Limits

The Department of Veteran Affairs announced new Veteran Administration (VA) loan limits effective January 1, 2014.

VA loan limits are determined by the median home price in each county as reported by the Federal Housing Administration. For 2014, some limits increased, some stayed the same and a few decreased.

VA loans can help eligible borrowers purchase owner-occupied homes often without requiring a down payment or private mortgage insurance. A variety of VA home loan guaranty programs, including a refinancing option, are offered for active duty servicemembers, veterans, surviving spouses of veterans who died in active duty or as a result of military service, and National Guard and Reserve members.

VA Loan Benefits Include:

Cash Out Refinance Loans let buyers take cash out of their home equity to take care of concerns like paying off debt, funding school, or making home improvements. Learn More.

Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans (IRRRL), also called Streamline Refinance Loans, can help buyers obtain a lower interest rate by refinancing an existing VA loan. Learn More.

The Native American Direct Loan (NADL) Program helps eligible Native American Veterans finance the purchase, construction, or improvement of homes on Federal Trust Land, or reduce the interest rate on a VA loan. Learn More.

Adapted Housing Grants help Veterans with a permanent and total service-connected disability to purchase or build an adapted home or to modify an existing home to account for their disability. Learn More.

Other Resources: Many states offer resources to Veterans, including property tax reductions to certain Veterans. Learn More.

I read this article at: Ray Avanzino of Prospect Mortgage

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

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

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or Yelp me:  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE#70000218/ 01499008