Sonia Rollins
EXIT Premier Real Estate | 781-454-6043 | [email protected]


Posted by Sonia Rollins on 5/17/2020

Whether you’re a first time homebuyer or a seasoned homeowner, the terminology of mortgages can be confusing. Since buying a home is such a huge financial decision, you’re also going to want to make sure you understand every step of the process and all of the conditions and fees along the way.

In this article, we’re going to explain some of the common terms you might come across when applying for a home loan, be it online or over the phone. By learning the basic meaning of these terms you’ll feel more confident and prepared going into the application process.

We’ll cover the acronyms, like APRs and ARMs, and the scary sounding terms like “amortization” so that you know everything you need to about the terminology of home loans.

  • ARM and FRM, or adjustable rate vs fixed rate mortgages. Lenders make their money by charging you interest on your home loan that you pay back over the length of your loan period. Adjustable rate mortgages or ARMs are loans that have interest rates which change over the lifespan of your loan. You may start off at a low, “introductory rate” and later start paying higher amounts depending on the predetermined rate index. Fixed rate mortgages, on the other hand, remain at the same rate throughout the life of the loan. However, refinancing on your loan allows you to receive a different interest rate later down the road.

  • Amortization. It sounds like a medieval torture technique, but in reality amortization is the process of making your life easier by setting up a fixed repayment schedule. This schedule includes both the interest and the principal loan balance, allowing you to understand how long and how much money will go toward repaying your mortgage.

  • Equity. Simply state, your equity is the the amount of the home you have paid off. In a sense, it’s the amount of the home that you really own. Your equity increases as you make payments, and having equity can help you buy a new home, or see a return on investment with your current home if the home increases in value.

  • Assumption and assumability. It isn’t the title of a Jane Austen novel. It’s all about the process of a mortgage changing hands. An assumable mortgage can be transferred to a new buyer, and assumption is the actual transfer of the loan. Assuming a loan can be financially beneficial if the home as increased in value since the mortgage was created.

  • Escrow. There are a lot of legal implications that come along with buying a home. An escrow is designed to make sure the loan process runs smoothly. It acts as a holding tank for your documents, payments, as well as property taxes and insurance. An escrow performs an important function in the home buying process, and, as a result, charges you a percentage of the home for its services.

  • Origination fee. Basically a fancy way of saying “processing fee,” the origination covers the cost of processing your mortgage application. It’s one of the many “closing costs” you’ll encounter when buying a home and accounts for all of the legwork your loan officer does to make your mortgage a reality--running credit reports, reviewing income history, and so on.  




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Posted by Sonia Rollins on 11/10/2019

Securing a mortgage to buy a home is probably one of the best and most important milestones in a person's life. It comes with a lot of benefits and bragging rights.

But, even with all of the butterflies and feelings of being on cloud nine, the truth of the matter is that there are also costs in securing a mortgage — before and after the transaction.

The costs incurred before securing a mortgage.

The following are the costs incurred before you can secure a mortgage:

1. Before you obtain a mortgage, you need to pay for appraisal fees. An appraisal fee is a professional fee that you pay to get an estimated value of the house you want to buy. This one is the first step that you need to fulfill before securing a mortgage. It allows creditors to determine your loan-to-value ratio. A third party does it. The price ranges between $300 and $1,000.

2. You also need to pay for an inspection fee. The inspection fee is the amount that you spend for the potential house to get checked for leaks, pests, problems, and everything that may make or break your decision to purchase. It depends on the creditor if they require this, but it costs roughly around $300 to $500 for a home inspection service.

3. You also have to pay for your credit report fee. You may think that this should be free of charge, but it is not. More often than not, potential borrowers need to obtain a copy from each of the credit bureaus even before they apply for a loan. Some professionals would say that this is the first cost of securing a mortgage because if you have a bad credit rating, you might as well not push through with the loan. This aspect is all debatable. It will cost the borrower around $30 to $50 per report. If you are lucky, you can get this for free because some lenders cover the cost themselves as part of their credit check.

These three costs get incurred mostly before approval of the loan, and there are different costs once you get the approvals and purchase the house. The critical thing is for you to be a hundred percent committed to the purchase. Being fickle minded does not pay off in the real estate market. 

If you are still potentially on the fence with your mortgage needs, ask a real estate professional to help you decide on what mortgage options might work best for you.




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Posted by Sonia Rollins on 10/27/2019

When considering becoming a homeowner, one of the decisions you can make that will be beneficial to you is to deposit a down payment. However, the question is how do save up that hefty down payment?

One of the biggest roadblocks for prospective home buyers is securing a down payment. Fortunately, though, technology seems to be playing a huge factor in shrinking the burden of down payment. The whole saving process has become quite a bit less rigorous.

Below is a list of how you can overcome the down payment hurdle and ensure you have enough money when it’s time for you to buy.

Save A Fixed Amount Every Month

Saving a fixed amount is the simplest and most convenient way to save money. Open a savings account and discipline yourself to pay in a certain sum into the account every month. Discipline yourself not to use the money for any other purpose aside for your down payment.

Reduce Expenses

Save a lot more than you spend, review your expenses and cut down on items that are not necessary. Whatever money generated as a result of this should be added to your down payment account.

Skip Vacations for A Year

I know going for a vacation during the year is something you are looking forward to and you have it all planned out. However, if you are looking to save up enough money for your down payment, then you should consider scrapping out vacation until you have enough money for your down payment.

Reduce Your Debt

Having a credit card with a high interest rate can limit your ability to save. Pay off your interest debt starting with the highest; after that, you can close off that card while you proceed to pay off the next.

Borrow from Your Retirement Plan

You can ask human resources or your payroll officer if it’s possible to borrow against your savings to buy a home. Many profit sharing setups make provisions for employees to loan a certain amount from their retirement plan to become a homeowner.

Borrow from A Relative

When it comes to getting a home of your own, most family members and relatives would be willing to help; they can grant you loans without interest, gifts and other non-monetary items that will help you in your down payment quest.

Get Another Source of Income

Getting a second job would mean you would probably be working round the clock, but in the long run, it would pay off. Getting another job means another source of income and more money to save into your down payment accounting.




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Posted by Sonia Rollins on 10/7/2018

If you’re a first time homebuyer and want to start weighing your mortgage options, you’ll have much to learn. With so much at stake, you’ll want to make sure you choose the best mortgage for you now, and one that will still suit your needs years into the future.

Sometimes, first time buyers are hesitant to ask questions they may consider too basic because they don’t want to seem inexperienced to lenders, agents, or anyone else they’ll be in contact with throughout the home buying process.

So, in this article, we’ve compiled a list of commonly asked mortgage questions that first time buyers might want to ask before heading into the process of acquiring a home loan.

What is the first step to getting a mortgage?

This question may seem straightforward, however the first step can vary depending on your financial situation. For those who already have saved up for a down payment and built a solid credit score, the first step is probably contacting lenders and getting preapproved or prequalified.

However, if you aren’t sure about your credit score and haven’t saved up for a down payment (ideally, 20% of what you hope to spend on the house), then you should address those matters first.

To find a lender, you can do a simple Google search for the mortgage lenders in your area, or you can ask around to friends and family to find out their experience with their own mortgage lenders.

What does it mean to be pre-qualified and pre-approved?

If you think of the mortgage process in three steps, the first step would be getting pre-qualified. This means you’ve given the lender enough basic information for them to decide which type of mortgage you’re eligible to receive.

Pre-approval includes collecting and verifying further details. At this step, you’ll complete a mortgage application and the lender will run a credit check. Once you’re pre-approved, your file can be moved to the underwriting phase.

What are closing costs?

“Closing costs” is an umbrella term that covers all of the various fees and expenses related to buying or selling a home. As a buyer, you are responsible for paying numerous closing costs. These can include, but are not limited to, underwriting fees, title searches, title insurance,  origination fees, taxes, appraisal fees, surveys, and more.

That sounds like a lot to keep track of, however your lender will be able to give you an accurate estimate of the total closing costs when you apply for your loan. In fact, lenders are required to give you a list of these costs within three days of your loan application in the form of a “good faith estimate” of the closing costs.

What will my interest rate be?

The answer to this question is dependent upon numerous factors. The value of the home, your credit score, the amount you put down (down payment), the type of mortgage you have, and whether or not you’re paying private mortgage insurance all factor into the interest rate you’ll receive. Interest rates also will vary slightly between lenders.

You can receive a fixed-rate mortgage that does not fluctuate throughout the repayment term. However, you also typically have the option to refinance to acquire a lower interest rate, however refinancing comes with its own costs.




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Posted by Sonia Rollins on 3/18/2018

If you’re buying a home for the first time, you have a lot to learn. There are so many decisions that need to be made and new terms to be understood. While you may have been saving up for a downpayment, you’re most likely going to need t finance the majority of the cost of your home. Knowing how to deal with lenders, real estate agents, and other professionals involved in the process of purchasing a home will make your life that much more straightforward. Read on for some mortgage tips that every first-time home buyer should understand.


Know Your Budget


You may find when you apply for a mortgage that you’re able to finance more than you thought you could. Being able to borrow such a significant amount is where many home buyers get caught in a numbers trap. Although the bank may be willing to loan you a certain amount, you might not actually be able to afford it. While the bank looks at many of your financial numbers, the bank doesn’t know your entire budget. How much you spend on groceries each month or the cost of your monthly phone bill are out of the picture when the mortgage company approves you for a loan. Whatever amount of money you borrow to buy your house will result in a monthly payment amount. If you’re only paying $800 per month in rent but your mortgage payment will be $1400, that will result in a significant budget adjustment. Will you be able to come up with the additional $600 each month to pay the mortgage? You need to look at your entire budget seriously to be safe in your mortgage transaction. 


Plan For Out Of Pocket Expenses


You know that you need to save for a downpayment on the home of your dreams. What you may not know is that there are many other out of pocket expenses that you need to foot the bill for when you buy a home. These costs include:


Inspection

Legal fees

Insurance

Pizza for the people who help you move

Repairs to the home

Utility costs


There are so many expenses that you need to come up with when you buy a home. Don’t merely save enough for your down payment and stop. Make sure you have a financial cushion for emergencies, money to help furnish the house, and more. 


Mind Your Credit


When you buy a new home, it may be tempting to buy new furniture, decor, or other items for your property. Hold off on opening any new credit or making large purchases. While a new car will look great in your new driveway, it won’t look so good on your credit score. Be very mindful of your credit score when you are getting ready to buy a home.  





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