Danny Resendes' Blog
Interest rates rise in correlation to inflation and other economic activity. When that happens, it can increase housing costs. But the question is, should it prompt you to buy sooner than you’re ready?
The Right Time Is Now
In real estate, the right time is always now for someone. Is it the right time for you? There’s more to determine than interest rates.
Here’s how to break it down:
- Rising interest rates: as interest rises, even a quarter of a point increase can add more than $10,000 to a two hundred-thousand-dollar mortgage. If you can lock in the lower rate, you’ll save nearly thirty dollars each month over the life of the loan.
- Rising housing prices: In addition to the increase in interest rates, as housing prices trend upward, the combination can push you out of contention for certain homes. If you’re on the fence about buying but know where you want to live and what you want to pay, what you know now is more useful than speculating on what might be later.
- Changes in the tax laws: Recent changes mean that writing off interest is limited, but your standard deduction probably offsets it. Work with your tax advisor to see if a mortgage improves your tax situation, remains neutral, or increases your outgo.
- Down payment savings: As prices go up, the amount you need for a down payment goes up too. If you currently have the cash you need to lock in the home you want, you might not want to wait.
- Know your expenses: Buying a house locks you in for the life of the loan or until you sell it. So, if you’re in need of a new car, or have another large expense coming down the pike, calculate it into your monthly budget what you’ll need to handle those expenses as well as your mortgage payment. Avoid stretching yourself so thin that your house payment becomes a burden.
- Review your employment stability. Is there a chance you’ll move away? Change jobs? Retire? Many of the benefits of homeownership come after the first five or six years when you’ve mostly recovered the closing costs with the rising equity. If your intention is to move sooner than that, consider buying now with the intention to turn the property into a rental, or wait until you’re more settled in your location.
The bottom line is that it’s your bottom line that matters. Just because interest rates rise doesn’t mean you should jump into ownership before you’re ready. But don’t let it stop you either. Discuss your plans with your real estate professional. They have a finger on the pulse of the market to help you time when a purchase is right for you.
Property buyers today may think of a credit union as an alternative form of lending and ultimately meant for people who don't fit the stereotypical borrower. But this assumption may a little unfair once you learn the facts. Credit unions present several unique opportunities that you simply won't find anywhere else. We'll give you both the good and bad, so you can make a better decision.
A Non-Profit Oasis
As a non-profit institution, credit unions tend to have better rates than traditional banks. Plus, they're a little more personal than a regular bank in that they're investing in a single community as opposed to the whole country. So while you may not get the level of sophistication you would from a well-known bank, you will get the kind of personalized service that's hard to find today.
Before you finance a property, you first need to qualify for your credit union. This essentially means proving you're connected to the credit union somehow. Often, it's based on where you live, but you may be able to join based on anything from your employer to your church to your family members. Before you dismiss your eligibility, talk to a credit union officer to see if there's a connection.
Once you qualify for the institution, you'll need to become an official member. To do this, credit unions typically have its customers purchase shares in the organization. (These fees are generally affordable and they're the key to securing your membership.
The practical advantages of a credit union mortgage are the flexible terms and requirements as well as the reasonable fees and rates. Plus, the credit union staff tend to take into account the relationship you've built with them. So while a national bank will encourage you to apply for a mortgage through the company, the fees may not change significantly from those of a stranger — regardless of your track record with the bank.
Why Skip the Credit Union
There are a few reasons not to finance with a credit union. For one, a credit union isn't going to have as many products as a bank would, which could inevitably cause you to miss out on a worthwhile opportunity. It's also likely to be a more traditional style of banking, meaning you may not have options for online banking. And as with a regular bank, a credit union may change leadership, which can, in turn, change the terms of your mortgage for the worse.
Regardless of where you finance, it's probably worth discussing your options with a credit union. As you shop around, you'll get a better sense of which products and terms are right for you.
Most homebuyers take out a mortgage when they purchase a house, and there are several different types of mortgages to choose from. Here are some of the more common mortgage options and the benefits of each one.
Conventional 30-Year Fixed Mortgages
Perhaps the standard starting point for a mortgage is the conventional 30-year fixed home loan. This mortgage is underwritten by a private lending institution but conforms to standards set forth by federal programs. The terms of the loan last for 30 years, and the interest rate is fixed so that it doesn’t change throughout this period.
A conventional 30-year fixed mortgage is a good option for many homebuyers. It lets you spread out the cost of a house across three decades, and you know what the interest and payments will be for the full duration of the loan.
Conventional 15-Year Fixed Mortgages
Conventional 15-year fixed mortgages are just like their 30-year counterparts, except these last half as long. Because the duration of these mortgages is half as long, homebuyers end up paying a lot less in interest.
You’ll have to pay more per month if you cram your mortgage into 15 years, but the interest savings are substantial. If you can afford higher monthly payments, this option will end up saving you a lot.
Adjustable-rate mortgages come in various durations, just as fixed-rate mortgages do. The difference between the two is that the interest rate on an adjustable-rate mortgage can adjust. The interest rate is set according to an index, and as the index changes so does the interest rate on the loan. Which index is used and how adjustments are made are detailed in the paperwork of a loan.
Most adjustable-rate mortgages come with lower initial interest rates than fixed-rate mortgages offer, although the rates on adjustable mortgages can end up being much higher. If you can financially manage an increase in your mortgage’s interest rate, this option might be a way to save a little bit of interest (although there is risk involved).
The federal government offers several guaranteed mortgage options for qualifying individuals. Some of the most common ones are VA and FHA guaranteed home loans.
In these programs, the government guarantees a mortgage if the homebuyer fails to make their payments. This reduces the risk to the lender, and many lenders relax their qualification requirements as a result.
If you can’t get a conventional mortgage and qualify for a federally guaranteed program, one of these could help you attain the dream of home ownership.
We all know that buying a home is expensive. For first-time buyers who don’t have the luxury of equity for a down payment, it can be difficult to find a way to finance your home without taking on a huge interest rate and mortgage insurance.
Fortunately, loan programs like those offered by the U.S. Veterans Affairs can be a godsend. However, there is a great deal of confusion around who is eligible for VA loans and how to acquire them.
So, in today’s post, we’re going to cover some of the frequently asked questions of VA loans. That way, you can feel confident in knowing whether or not it’s a good financing option for you and your family.
VA Loans FAQ
Who is eligible for a VA Loan?
VA loans aren’t just for veterans. Most members of the military, including Reserve and National Guard members can apply. Additionally, spouses of service members who died from a service-related disability and those who died on active duty can apply as well.
How long do you have to service to be eligible?
The VA defines eligibility as having served no less than 90 days of service during wartime and 181 days of continuous service during peacetime.
Who are VA Loans offered by?
Like any other loan, VA loans are offered by private lenders. The difference is that VA loans are guaranteed by the government. That means that the federal government takes on some of the risk of lending to you, therefore making it possible to secure a loan with little or no down payment.
Should I make a down payment on a VA loan?
If you have the means, making a down payment will almost certainly save you money in the long run. If you can put down 10% of your total mortgage amount, you can also significantly reduce the VA Funding Fee.
Will I have to pay private mortgage insurance?
Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is something that borrowers pay on top of their mortgage payments and interest. This additional insurance helps borrowers buy a home with a small down payment. VA loans allow you to secure a mortgage without PMI.
Are VA loans different for active duty, National Guard, and Army Reserve members?
Each type of service member is eligible for a VA loan. However, there are some minor differences regarding the VA Funding Fee. With no down payment, an active duty member would pay 2.15% of the loan amount in fees. National Guard and Army Reserve members pay around 2.40% with no down payment.
What does my credit score need to be to get a VA loan?
The VA doesn’t have a set minimum credit score. However, the private lenders that offer the loan do. On average, the lowest credit score that you can secure a VA loan with is around 620. That being said, a higher score will secure you a lower interest rate, saving you money over the lifetime of your loan.
There’s numerous reasons why the name on a title to a home may not be the same as the name that’s on the mortgage loan. These reasons include:
- Only one buyer had stable credit
- Only one person was on the loan application
- One person was released from the mortgage
No matter why this is the case, having your name on the mortgage but not on the title to a home can affect you and people residing in the home in different ways.
Why Would Only One Name Be On The Mortgage?
If people are looking to get a home or refinance a home, but only one person has good credit a decision must be made. For the best possible mortgage rates, you’ll want to person with the best credit to be the primary loan holder. This may mean that you need additional legal documents in the process.
The person with lower credit may still be able to have their name placed on the title to the home. Anyone who plans to contribute financially to a home, even if not on the mortgage, should place their name on the title. This would be one instance when a name would be on the title to a home and not on the mortgage loan. In this case, a person has property rights, but no legal-financial responsibility to the home. It’s important to agree on the home arrangement that you’re considering. This would be done through a will or a legal contract. This way, all parties are protected in regards to the ownership of the home should something happen to the individual whose name is on the mortgage.
Legal Things To Consider
Those who are listed on the mortgage are the people who are responsible for house payments. If a person’s name isn’t on the mortgage, it doesn’t release them from complete responsibility from the home. If your name is on the title to the home but not on the mortgage, the bank generally has first dibs on the home if there’s a lapse in payments. If you want to keep living in the house, you’ll have to keep making payments on the home. If you can’t make the mortgage payments, you’ll risk going into foreclosure.
An issue that can come up if your name is not on the mortgage is that you cannot use the home you’re living in as a tax deduction. Even if you make payments on the home, in order for you to get tax benefits, your name must be on the mortgage stating that you’re legally responsible for the home. If you are paying for the mortgage because your name appears on the title to the home, you aren’t legally entitled to pay, giving away your rights to tax benefits. If you’re married, filing jointly, and only one name appears on the mortgage, however, you can use this as a tax deduction. This becomes an issue if two unmarried people buy a home together.
Ask For Legal Assistance
Whenever you have an issue with the title of your home or with names on the mortgage, it’s good to consult legal counsel. The attorney can assist you in determining who is legally responsible for the home and if the people listed on the title of the home are correct. This can help save you from trouble at a future date.
Since credit scores and loans can get messy at times during the home buying process, it’s good to understand all the implications of home mortgages and titles.