How PMI can make your dream of home sweet home a reality

(BPT) – In the 2017 housing market, those who choose to pursue the dream of owning a home face several important decisions, such as how much to put toward a down payment. Twenty percent down is typically recommended by most lenders.

While 20 percent is not a requirement, paying less can have a big impact on the amount you pay monthly. It is important for home buyers to know that when seeking a conventional loan with less than 20 percent down of the sales price or appraised value of the home, lenders will often require Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).

This article takes a deeper look at PMI by answering the most common questions on the topic.

What is PMI?

PMI is a type of mortgage insurance. Like most other types of mortgage insurance, it protects the lender in the event the borrower is unable to repay the remainder of the loan. In many cases, PMI is required on conventional loans when the buyer has a down payment of less than 20 percent.

Some lenders may offer conventional loans that require a smaller down payment without PMI, but the tradeoff can typically be a higher interest rate.

How does PMI affect your loan?

PMI can affect your loan in several different ways depending on the loan type and the lender. In some cases, the PMI will be required in a lump sum at the time of closing. This PMI payment type is called an upfront premium.

Other PMI plans call for monthly payments where the total value of the PMI is divided and factored into your monthly mortgage payments. The PMI can generally be cancelled under certain conditions once 20 percent of the amount borrowed has been reduced from the principal balance, or amount borrowed.

Finally, the lender may also opt for a plan that requires both upfront and monthly PMI payments. In this case a portion of the PMI is paid at the time of closing, and then the remaining PMI is paid as part of the monthly mortgage payment.

Alternatives to PMI

Some government-backed loans offer alternative options to buyers paying less than 20 percent down on a home loan. There are several of these loans and each has a different approach to handling down payments and mortgage insurance. By being educated on the different types of loans you will have an easier time finding which best suits your needs.

Learning more about PMI

While PMI is an additional fee, it helps those with less than a 20 percent down payment realize their dreams of home ownership.

To learn more about financing options that can make your dreams of homeownership a reality, visit VMFhomeloan.com.

NMLS Disclosure

Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc., 500 Alcoa Trail, Maryville, TN 37804, 865-380-3000, NMLS #1561, (http://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org/), AZ Lic. #BK-0902616, Loans made or arranged pursuant to a California Finance Lenders Law license, GA Residential Mortgage (Lic. #6911), Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee, Licensed by the NH Banking Department, MT Lic. #1561, Licensed by PA Dept. of Banking.

An affordable way to qualify for a home loan without that big down payment

(BPT) – For many Americans, the biggest hurdle in buying a home is the 20 percent down payment they think is required for mortgage approval. According to a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors, 34 percent of respondents believe they need more than 20 percent. Meanwhile, low down payment mortgages account for a significant amount of home buying annually.

Families with down payments as low as 3 or 5 percent have been able to purchase a home thanks to private mortgage insurance (MI) for 60 years. Since 1957, MI has helped 25 million families become homeowners. In the past year alone, MI helped more than 795,000 homeowners purchase or refinance a mortgage. Nearly half were first time homebuyers and more than 40 percent had incomes below $75,000.

How MI works

Mortgage insurance is simple. In addition to the other parts of mortgage underwriting process — such as verifying employment and determining the borrower’s ability to afford the monthly payment — lenders traditionally required 20 percent down to ensure the borrower had some of their own money committed before the bank would provide a loan. This is where MI enters, bridging the down payment divide to qualify borrowers for mortgage financing.

Benefits of MI

* It helps you buy a home, sooner. For the average firefighter or school teacher, it could take 20 years to save the typical down payment. Private mortgage insurers help borrowers qualify with as little as 3 percent down.

* It’s temporary, leading to lower monthly payments. MI can be cancelled once you build 20 percent equity, either through payments or home price appreciation — typically in the first five to seven years. This is not the case for FHA loans, the federal government’s form of MI. The majority of which require MI for the life of the loan.

* It provides several flexible payment options. Your lender can offer several options for MI payment; the most common is paid monthly along with your mortgage.

* It’s tax-deductible. Subject to income limits, MI premiums are tax deductible — similar to interest paid on a mortgage. In 2014, 4 million taxpayers benefited from this deduction with the average being $1,402.

MI is a stable, cost effective way to obtain low down payment mortgages, and offers distinct benefits to borrowers. It’s been a cornerstone of the U.S. housing market for decades, providing millions the opportunity to own homes despite financial barriers. Ask your lender for low down payment options using MI. Visit www.USMI.org for more information.

Tech tools that can help you find a mortgage and home faster

23482146(BPT) – Whether you’re a first-time or experienced homebuyer, chances are a good portion of your real estate journey will take place online. In fact, four in 10 homebuyers start their house-hunting with an online search, according to the National Association of REALTORS. It’s easy to understand why: Online tools and apps can make the homebuying experience — including finding a mortgage — easier and more enjoyable.

If you’ll be shopping for a home this fall and winter, use the tools homebuyers find most useful, according to the Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report:

* Mortgage calculators — It’s important you’re as comfortable with your mortgage terms and lender as you are with the home you’re paying for. An affordable mortgage helps homebuyers reap the full benefits of home ownership, including building equity and long-term financial security, and a mortgage calculator can help you understand what you would pay each month, as well as estimate monthly mortgage payments and rate options. As the Homebuyer Insights Report revealed, more than half of Generation X homebuyers and 46 percent of millennials and baby boomers use mortgage calculators during the home shopping process.

* Finance websites — Home shoppers can learn a lot about mortgage options and a bank’s customer service through websites that feature reviews of mortgage loan officers and lending institutions. More than a third (36 percent) of first-time homebuyers and over a quarter (28 percent) of experienced homebuyers use bank apps or websites to research reviews of lenders and loan officers.

* Loan status portals — Applying for a mortgage can sometimes be overwhelming, but real-time loan status information is transforming the process. For example, Bank of America’s Home Loan Navigator allows mortgage applicants to securely upload, submit and sign documents, get real-time status updates on their application and loan, receive important documents and disclosures and even communicate with experts via secure messaging.

* Mobile real estate listings — With many home listing websites available, it can be difficult to narrow down online searches to homes that meet all your criteria in your location of choice. Using a bank’s online real estate center can help you refine your home search or, if you’re selling, it can help you determine your home’s estimated value. And some even provide the ancillary information you’re looking for – like school data and walkability scores — to make a home purchase decision.

* Down payment sources — Saving for a down payment can be one of the most challenging tasks of buying a house. It’s sometimes difficult to know how much you’ll need for your down payment, or to figure out how to fit the extra savings category into your monthly budget. You can find numerous down payment calculators online, but Bank of America’s Down Payment Resource Center goes a big step further than most by offering a searchable database of more than 1,000 local and national assistance programs that may be able to save you money on your down payment.

* Social media — Decorating your home is one of the most enjoyable aspects of home ownership. Many buyers turn to social media resources like Pinterest for home decor inspiration. In fact, 49 percent of millennials use Pinterest, 37 percent Facebook and 33 percent Instagram for home decorating ideas, while 32 percent of Gen Xers use Pinterest, 37 percent like Facebook and 11 percent favor Instagram, according to the Homebuyer Insights Report.

* Home design apps — With inspiration in hand, homebuyers can use home design apps to put their ideas into virtual reality. These apps allow you to take and store room measurements, make notes on design ideas and see virtual representations of what your decor plans will look like in your home. From white walls to fully-furnished, many design apps can help you visualize your dream interior for free, and more robust versions are available for purchase.

To learn more about home buying and mortgages, visit Bank of America — Home Loans.

An affordable way to qualify for a home loan without that big down payment

(BPT) – For ma30200199ny Americans, the biggest hurdle in buying a home is the 20 percent down payment they think is required for mortgage approval. According to a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors, 34 percent of respondents believe they need more than 20 percent. Meanwhile, low down payment mortgages account for a significant amount of home buying annually.
Families with down payments as low as 3 or 5 percent have been able to purchase a home thanks to private mortgage insurance (MI) for 60 years. Since 1957, MI has helped 25 million families become homeowners. In the past year alone, MI helped more than 795,000 homeowners purchase or refinance a mortgage. Nearly half were first time homebuyers and more than 40 percent had incomes below $75,000.

How MI works

Mortgage insurance is simple. In addition to the other parts of mortgage underwriting process — such as verifying employment and determining the borrower’s ability to afford the monthly payment — lenders traditionally required 20 percent down to ensure the borrower had some of their own money committed before the bank would provide a loan. This is where MI enters, bridging the down payment divide to qualify borrowers for mortgage financing.

Benefits of MI

* It helps you buy a home, sooner. For the average firefighter or school teacher, it could take 20 years to save the typical down payment. Private mortgage insurers help borrowers qualify with as little as 3 percent down.

* It’s temporary, leading to lower monthly payments. MI can be cancelled once you build 20 percent equity, either through payments or home price appreciation — typically in the first five to seven years. This is not the case for FHA loans, the federal government’s form of MI. The majority of which require MI for the life of the loan.

* It provides several flexible payment options. Your lender can offer several options for MI payment; the most common is paid monthly along with your mortgage.

* It’s tax-deductible. Subject to income limits, MI premiums are tax deductible — similar to interest paid on a mortgage. In 2014, 4 million taxpayers benefited from this deduction with the average being $1,402.

MI is a stable, cost effective way to obtain low down payment mortgages, and offers distinct benefits to borrowers. It’s been a cornerstone of the U.S. housing market for decades, providing millions the opportunity to own homes despite financial barriers. Ask your lender for low down payment options using MI. Visit www.USMI.org for more information.

How to Make a Down Payment Possible

MORTGAGE CALCULATORSEvery month you pay the rent, you’re probably thinking, “I wish this money was going into my future.” For a lot of would-be first-time home buyers, it’s the down payment which makes home ownership seem impossible. Climbing the “down payment mountain” isn’t impossible. Like any major challenge, it’s all a matter of breaking your big, hairy, audacious goal down into practical steps.

Here are some tips to conquer saving for a down payment:

Find out where your money goes. You can’t start saving if you don’t know where you’re spending. For a month or two, track each expenditure, no matter how small. Get an objective picture of where you’re spending the cash.

Get specific about how much you need to save. Even if you’re not 100% sure what your down payment needs to be yet, it’s good to start doing a little math to figure out how much you need to save. Pick a dollar amount and a timeline to hit that dollar amount. For example, a $25,000 down payment in two years comes to $1,041/month. Sound unrealistic? Either scale down your home desires to something smaller or scale up your timeline. If you can wait three years, that monthly savings goal drops to $694/month.

Determine the big moves you can make. If you’re in a three bedroom apartment and can stomach the idea of scaling down to a one bedroom, how much would you save in rent? What about going from two cars down to one? If you can make it work, these sacrifices will have a huge impact on your savings goals.

Setup a separate savings account. Don’t let your dream home money mingle with your regular checking or savings account. Establish a high-yield savings account with a credit union or money market account to protect and build your stash. It’s important to have a separate account with a “hands off” attitude.

Mind the risky investment schemes. Once you have a little momentum, you might be tempted to take some of that cash and invest it in order to make it grow faster. Be very prudent about this, as investing in stocks, startups, or high-yield funds can easily decimate your savings. Be conservative.

Of course, it’s important to know how much home you want to buy when you’re saving up for your down payment. I’m happy to give you an idea what homes are selling for in your area. Feel free to get in touch any time if you have questions: Teresa Butler, 614-565-8161, Teresa@TeresaButler.com

8 ways first-time homebuyers can make themselves mortgage-ready

21203990(BPT) – It’s rare to get something right the very first time you try it, but when it comes to buying your first home, a lack of knowledge and experience can lead to costly mistakes. One in four first-time homebuyers say they are completely unfamiliar with the mortgage financing process, according to a report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Even among those with an understanding of the overall process, the report found that many first time homebuyers still had significant knowledge gaps in important areas such as available mortgage rates, closing costs, down-payment requirements and income required to qualify for a loan.

“Not having all the information available could lead to consumers paying a higher interest rate or failing to secure an affordable mortgage for the home they want,” says Eric Hamilton, President of Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance. “While most first-time homebuyers understand the importance of their credit report score in securing a mortgage, it’s important they arm themselves with comprehensive knowledge. Fortunately, there’s plenty of useful information out there for borrowers who want to do their homework before diving into the loan process.”

Vanderbilt Mortgage offers eight tips for first-time homebuyers:

1. Adjust your budget. A mortgage payment can increase your monthly housing expenses, so prepare by calculating what that amount will be and begin saving that same amount every month so you can get used to the budget change in advance. Use a free online payment calculator to help you predict your payment and understand your current debt-to-income ratio.

2. Plan for a down payment. Nearly all home loans will require you to put some money down as a down payment. Some home loans may require as much as 20 percent of the purchase cost as a down payment, although some Federal Housing Administration loans may require less. Decide on the amount you think you’ll need and create a savings plan to help you reach that goal.

3. Consider the location and type of home you want to buy. Many factors influence the cost of a home, including its location, size, style and more. A larger home in a high-income area will generally cost more, and property taxes will be higher on a bigger, newer, well-located home. Many first-time homebuyers find manufactured or mobile homes are a good option. Knowing the estimated cost of the type of home you want to purchase can help you better manage your budget.

4. Stay on top of your credit. Lenders will consider your credit score and report history when determining your mortgage eligibility and the interest rate they may offer you. Make sure to review your credit report in advance. You can download a free credit report once a year from all three major bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com. If you’re planning to apply for a mortgage, it’s a good idea to review your report more frequently and to consider paying to obtain your credit score from at least one major bureau. If your report contains errors, work with the credit bureaus to have them corrected before you apply for a mortgage.

5. Keep current on monthly bills. While it’s important to save toward a down payment, don’t let monthly bills slide. Paying your bills on time every month can help increase your credit score, and a good payment history is something lenders look for when reviewing your credit report. Use online tools like email reminders and automatic payment options to help ensure you never miss or make a late payment.

6. Work on your debt. If you have delinquent balances, bring them up to date as quickly as possible. If you carry a lot of revolving credit card debt, you may want to work to reduce it by paying more than the monthly minimum payment. While it helps to have a report that shows no late payments, the most important thing is to not have any delinquent balances before you apply for a mortgage.

7. Plan for escrow. In addition to the amount you will need each month toward repaying your mortgage, you’ll need escrow – an amount added to and collected with each monthly mortgage payment that is applied toward annual homeowners’ insurance premiums and/or taxes. Estimating taxes and total insurance costs can help you better understand how much your escrow will be each month, and you’ll be able to budget more accurately as you prepare for home ownership. Don’t forget that this amount may adjust every twelve months if your insurance premium or taxes change for the next year.

8. Take advantage of educational resources. From lenders’ websites to government agencies, it’s easy to find plenty of information online. Check out resources like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Housing Administration.

5 Mortgage Tips for Home Buyers

Bankrate.com offers some tips for your home buyers on securing a mortgage, getting the best rate, and more.

  1. Be prepared to document your finances. Buyers should be prepared for extra review by lenders when underwriting mortgages due to new mortgage regulations that took effect in January, particularly in proving borrowers’ ability to repay their loans. Borrowers should be prepared to show bank statements, tax returns, W-2s, investment accounts, and documentation of any other assets they own. Also, they should be prepared to explain any large deposits to their accounts—even a $500 check from a family member during the holidays. If they can’t prove where the money came from, it has the potential to delay closing.
  2. Lock in a rate soon. Mortgage rates are expected to rise in 2014 as the Federal Reserve winds down its $85 billion per month bond-buying stimulus program. A rate lock is usually good for 30, 45, or 60 days, although that time period can vary among lenders.
  3. Shop around. Buyers may have the upper hand in 2014. Lenders have lost a large amount of their refinance business this year as rising rates encourage fewer home owners to refinance. That means they are turning their attention to home buyers and may be more willing to compete for their business. Home buyers will want to shop around for more than just the best interest rate on the loan, looking at points and closing costs as well.
  4. Pay careful attention to credit. The best mortgage rates often go to borrowers with credit scores of 720 or higher, Bankrate reports. While those with a credit score of 680 can still likely qualify for a loan, they may end up paying higher rates or higher closing costs.
  5. Watch your spending. Make sure your buyers aren’t tempted to go outfit their new home with all new furniture—on credit—before closing on the home loan. Lenders will be carefully scrutinizing their debt obligations, such as credit cards and student loans. Borrowers are advised to keep their monthly debt obligations, including mortgage and property taxes, to below 43 percent of their income.

Source: “10 Mortgage Tips for 2014,” Bankrate.com 

The One Expense Buyers Underestimate

Sixty-five percent of home owners with private mortgage insurance say that the additional cost of PMI prompted them to pay a higher monthly mortgage payment than they had originally expected, according to a new survey released by TD Bank of more than 2,000 Americans who purchased a home in the past 10 years.

“PMI has had a definitive impact on many home buyers – including making them rethink or delay the purchase of a home in light of not being able to meet monthly mortgage payments,” says Michael Copley, executive vice president of retail lending at TD Bank.

Borrowers are required to get PMI if the loan exceeds 80 percent of the home’s value. The insurance protects the lender in case the borrower defaults on their loan.

Many buyers say that PMI has an impact on their home purchasing decisions. For example, 35 percent of people who purchased a home in the past two years said that PMI influenced their decision of which house to buy. Also, 53 percent reported facing a negative impact due to the additional cost of PMI. About 40 percent of those surveyed said that having to pay PMI forced them to curtail small and daily purchases or larger household purchases.

The survey showed that PMI is fairly common: 37 percent of those who purchased a home in the past 10 years said they were required to have PMI, and 43 percent in the past two years. Forty-five percent of home owners aged 18 to 34 years old have PMI; 37 percent of home buyers aged 35 to 54 have it; and 23 percent of people older than 55 had required mortgage insurance on their loans over the past decade, the TD Bank study found.

On average, home owners reported that PMI cost about $100 extra a month, according to the study.

Source: TD Bank and “Most Homebuyers Don’t See This Cost Coming,” Credit.com

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