Locking In Your Refinance Rate

Today, my focus is on locking in a mortgage rate, which is very challenging, since rates fluctuate continuously.

When you lock a rate, you’re banking on the fact that interest rates will rise over the short term (typically 45 to 60 days). You ‘win’ if that happens. However, you can ‘lose’ if the opposite occurs.

No one can predict with certainty what interest rates will do over a short period of time. But, you can help set yourself up for a good outcome by knowing the answers to the following questions:

  1. How long can you lock the rate?
  2. What happens if the lock expires and the loan isn’t closed?
  3. Can the lock-in period be extended?
  4. What happens if interest rates fall during the lock period?

Does Your Refinance Math Add Up?

Is there a formula that determines whether it makes sense for you to refinance? Yes and no. The math isn’t the same for everyone, but it always revolves around the payback period…and shorter is always better.

To make your calculations, we must know:

  • Your current loan amount and interest rate
  • The interest rate of your new loan
  • Can the lock-in period be extended?
  • How long you plan to stay in your home

As a general rule of thumb, you should consider refinancing if you can recoup the finance charges within 14 months.

You may have heard it only makes sense to refinance if you can lower your interest rate by 1.5 to 2 points, but I find that’s not always the case. Every situation is different, and you deserve to know what your options are.

I’d be happy to meet with you to discuss whether refinancing now makes sense for you. Let’s crunch the numbers together. Please give me a call at {!User.Phone} to get started.

Make House-Hunting Easier

Knowing how much house you can afford is just a starting point in your search for a new home. By answering the following questions, you can narrow down what features are most important to you:

•    How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need?
•    Do you want a new home or would you prefer an older one?
•    Are there special features you must have?
•    Is the school district a factor for you?
•    Do you want to be close to a shopping center?
•    Is commuting to work an issue? If so, how far are you willing to drive?
•    Will you accept any style of home? What about colors?
•    Do you want a fireplace, pool and/or air conditioning?

Searching for a new home can be overwhelming.
Here are a few tips to make it a bit easier!


•    Take a notepad and map with you. Save each home’s fact sheet.
•    Limit the homes you look at in one session to three, so you can focus on the details.
•    Take a picture of the homes that appeal to you, so you can remember their features.
•    Make sketches of floor plans to help you compare the homes you like.
•    Ask questions about any problems in the home before you make an offer.


I hope these tips help you find the home of your dreams!

I look forward to assisting you with financing, and please keep me in mind if you know anyone who could benefit from my services.

Survival Guide to a Real Estate Closing

As your mortgage consultant, my team and I provide you with more than just a loan. We want to do everything we can to make your loan closing as easy as possible for you!

When the time comes to close the deal on your new home, a lot of things are happening all at once. You can expect the real estate transaction and the financial transaction to close on the same day! With that in mind, I wanted to share some tips to help you prepare for this exciting day.

Important Tips for a Smooth Real Estate Closing

You’ll be reviewing many legal documents that will require your full attention, so make sure your calendar is clear of any other appointments.

Review Loan Documents in Advance – We will touch base in advance to prepare you for your loan closing. There should be no surprises at this point, providing we have locked in the interest rate for your loan to coordinate with the timing of your real estate purchase.

At the final closing, you will need to review every legally binding document carefully and make sure there are no typos or errors, and the loan terms are listed as we have discussed. Any typos or errors must be corrected prior to closing. We will go over each document with you, so you have a clear understanding of your financial commitment.

One important document you will be signing is the HUD-1 Settlement Statement. This document lists all the final credits and charges relevant to both you and the seller, based on the terms of your contract. You should receive this at least 24 hours prior to  your closing. Compare this to your Good Faith Estimate to make sure your rate and terms are written as you expected them to be. The lender is bound to honor the Good Faith Estimate for 10 days.

Be Prepared for Closing Costs – Prior to closing, you should know exactly what your closing costs are. It’s best to have a cashier’s check ready to pay your closing costs. (An electronic funds transfer could delay the process, depending on what time the transfer posts.) This includes any fees, taxes, charges and your down payment. Again, we will review this with you, so you have a full understanding of your closing costs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! We’re here to help.

Make Sure Your New Home is Ready to Live In – When you do your final walk-through of the property, make sure all repairs have been made that were agreed upon and the home is ready to occupy. Otherwise, your Buying Agent can make additional negotiations with the Selling Agent to resolve any outstanding issues. Your final walk-through should be done before the final real estate closing documents are signed. Allow for at least 30 minutes to do your final walk-through.

I hope you find these tips helpful. My team and I will be in touch with you on a regular basis to make sure this transaction goes smoothly as possible. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give me a call.

Why Should I Improve My Credit Score?

A higher credit score can benefit you in many different areas of your life. Here are a just a few advantages that you may not have even considered yet!

•    Lower interest rates on loans
•    Higher credit limits on credit cards
•    Easier to rent a house, apartment or vacation rental
•    Lower security deposits or reduced fees
•    Better rates on car insurance
•    Lower rates on car leases
•    Better cell phone contracts
•    Better chance of getting a business loan
•    Past credit problems fade away with time
•    Easier to get approval for a mortgage loan
•    MORE NEGOTIATING POWER!

When it comes to applying for a home loan, a high credit score is one of your greatest assets. After you’ve completed your loan application, the mortgage lender requests a copy of your credit report. This detailed report gives the lender a clear idea of how well you manage your credit.

That’s why it’s so important to examine your credit reports in advance and find out if all the information is correct. Then, you can determine if it’s in your best interest to create an action plan to improve your credit score. Make sure you get copies of all three credit reports (one each from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) from a secure and reliable source, such as AnnualCreditReport.com.

8 Tips to Make Your Move Easier

Tip #1: Choose a Reputable Moving Company
If you’re hiring a moving company, make sure you select a reputable company. The Internet can be a great resource for this, if you’re not sure where to start. Angie’s List, Yelp and The American Moving and Storage Association (www.amsa.org) are a few good resources to check out. It’s important to shop around, interview several movers and get written estimates for the job. Make sure you’re working with an insured service that provides compensation for loss and breakage.

Tip #2: Plan Your Move Early
Ideally, you should start planning your move two months in advance. Don’t forget, lots of people move around the first of the month when leases expire, so it’s a good idea to reserve your truck and moving crew a minimum of two weeks in advance.

Tip #3: Label Your Boxes & Take Inventory
Labeling your boxes and keeping an inventory for each room will help you get organized quickly in your new location. You can also use this for insurance purposes to determine your declared value for the moving company.

Tip #4: Secure Your Valuables
Consider locking valuable jewelry in your safety deposit box on moving day. Or, if you’re moving a long distance, carry precious items yourself to prevent them from being lost or stolen.

Tip #5: Back Up Your Computers
Make sure you have a backup of your computers, and put the disks or external drive in a separate box from the computer. That way, if by some chance your computer is lost or damaged in the move, you will have a backup of all your important files.

Tip #6: Take Photos of Computer & TV Wiring
If you’re not entirely computer or electronics savvy, take a photo of the back side of your computer or television setup, so you know where the wires are plugged in before you take it apart. This could be a huge time-saver when you put everything back together in your new home.

Tip #7: Keep a Record of Your Moving Expenses

Your moving expenses may be tax deductible, so keep a list of all your expenses, including miscellaneous expenses for packing, truck rental, etc. This will be convenient to have at tax time.

Tip #8: Pack Your Survival Gear
Get a clear plastic box (it will be easy to find amongst the other boxes) and pack it with the things you will need the first day in your new home. If you have children, pack a box of their favorite toys to keep them busy in a safe area while the rest of the house is being unpacked. Have each family member pack a personal overnight bag with basic essentials such as toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, change of clothes,
etc.

Important Tips for a Smooth Real Estate Closing

Important Tips for a Smooth Real Estate Closing

You’ll be reviewing many legal documents that will require your full attention, so make sure your calendar is clear of any other appointments.

•    Review Loan Documents in Advance – We will touch base in advance to prepare you for your loan closing. There should be no surprises at this point, providing we have locked in the interest rate for your loan to coordinate with the timing of your real estate purchase.

At the final closing, you will need to review every legally binding document carefully and make sure there are no typos or errors, and the loan terms are listed as we have discussed. Any typos or errors must be corrected prior to closing. We will go over each document with you, so you have a clear understanding of your financial commitment.

One important document you will be signing is the HUD-1 Settlement Statement. This document lists all the final credits and charges relevant to both you and the seller, based on the terms of your contract. You should receive this at least 24 hours prior to  your closing. Compare this to your Good Faith Estimate to make sure your rate and terms are written as you expected them to be. The lender is bound to honor the Good Faith Estimate for 10 days.

•    Be Prepared for Closing Costs – Prior to closing, you should know exactly what your closing costs are. It’s best to have a cashier’s check ready to pay your closing costs. (An electronic funds transfer could delay the process, depending on what time the transfer posts.) This includes any fees, taxes, charges and your down payment. Again, we will review this with you, so you have a full understanding of your closing costs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! We’re here to help.

•    Make Sure Your New Home is Ready to Live In – When you do your final walk-through of the property, make sure all repairs have been made that were agreed upon and the home is ready to occupy. Otherwise, your Buying Agent can make additional negotiations with the Selling Agent to resolve any outstanding issues. Your final walk-through should be done before the final real estate closing documents are signed. Allow for at least 30 minutes to do your final walk-through.

Mortgages and Divorce

Normally, this is something one researches only when already deeply entrenched in divorce. But, some forethought could preserve finances, and work to make a sometimes deeply contentious situation, less contentious. By utilizing calm decision making skills—free of emotion—both parties may be better prepared for their new lives. Time.com has some advice on their site.

Couple Fight Over House