Kris Zeigler's Mortgage Report

As you know, homeowners insurance is required in order to obtain a mortgage loan. There are a number of factors that can affect the cost of homeowners insurance. For instance, did you know that people with average credit are paying 29% more for homeowners insurance than those with excellent credit?

Maintaining your credit is one of the smartest things you can do as it affects so many important aspects of your life. While not all insurers use credit scores to determine insurance premiums there is a definite correlation between credit history and insurance risk.

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While it can be more difficult to obtain a mortgage if you are self-employed it is not impossible. The most important part of the process will be verifying your income as you will not have the paystubs like you would from a typical job. Therefore several tax documents and other forms will be required to prove your eligibility.

If you are self-employed and are applying for a mortgage you will be requested to provide a great deal of documents which can sometimes seem a little extreme, but rules and regulations must be followed. If you prepare ahead of time by gathering your documentation this will make the process much faster.

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If you have previously gone through the process of buying a home, you may have already experienced having your loan sold to another company. If not, don’t worry if/when this happens to you as this is a very common practice in the industry. Most all loans in today’s market will be sold at least once throughout the life of the loan.

There are two parts of the loan that can be sold – the mortgage note and the servicing rights. This means that in some cases the owner of your mortgage note is not the same company you’re paying each month. Whenever there is a transfer taking place, whether it is your mortgage note or the servicing, you will be notified at least 15 days ahead of time.

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It’s important to understand that there is not an exact time frame until your holding the keys to your new home. The home buying process is different for everyone but generally once you have a sales contract, you can expect to close anywhere from 30-45 days.

The first step in the home buying process is to analyze your finances to determine your budget. You will work with your mortgage lender on getting pre-approved for a mortgage which will let you know the loan amount you qualify for based on your credit and income. This is the first step towards financing your home and you can get preapproved within 24 hours.

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When you are in the process of obtaining a mortgage loan you will not only need to provide a lender with a down payment on the home, but also a variety of other fees called closing costs. Closing costs are generally paid by the homebuyer at the time of closing, but sometimes can be rolled into the loan amount, and other times a portion of the closing costs can be paid by the seller.

Closing costs vary depending on certain factors such as the loan amount, the type of loan, length of the loan, etc. You can expect to pay anywhere from 2-5% of the purchase price of the home in closing costs, which covers the expenses of both the lender as well as third party services such as inspections and appraisals. When you apply for a loan your lender will provide you with a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) which will outline all the costs that you will be charged.

Some of the items you may see on your GFE include:

Myth 1: The Interest Rate Determines the True Cost of the Mortgage
The annual percentage rate (APR) is what is used to determine the true cost of the mortgage. The APR includes the interest rates, points, mortgage insurance, and all other fees. This figure will give you a better idea of the total cost over the life of the loan.

Myth 2: Mortgage Rates Change Only Once Per Day
Mortgage rates change frequently often several times per day based on market activity. Work with your loan officer closely to determine the best strategy for locking in a good rate.

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If you have been through the process of buying a home or even a car you know the importance of your credit score and how it can impact your purchases. You probably know the most common things that can affect your credit, but there are some other things that may surprise you that you should be aware of.

For instance, it is widely known that things like late payments or high credit balances will hurt your credit score but did you know that closing a credit account could affect your credit as well? If you close an account you will lose all of the positive credit history that you have built with that account. The length of credit history accounts for 15% of your credit score so build your credit wisely.

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If you are interested in saving a significant amount of money each month you should consider refinancing your mortgage through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). Over three million homeowners have already taken advantage of this government program that gives homeowners the opportunity to refinance even with little or no home equity.

Even though HARP has been around since 2009 there are still nearly 700,000 people who may be eligible for HARP savings. In the Chicago area alone there are over 42,000 loans out there that could reap the benefits of this refinance program.

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Points, or discount points, in the mortgage industry are an upfront fee that you pay to lower your mortgage interest rate. One point equals one percent of the loan amount, so one point of a 200,000 loan would be $2,000.

For each point you pay, your rate will lower by 0.25%. A quarter point may not sound like much but it could save you hundreds of dollars in interest annually. Determining if you should pay down your interest rate with discount points will be based on your personal finances and whether you can afford to make an upfront payment, as well as how long you plan to stay in the home.

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When considering a refinance you want to make sure it’s the right move by comparing interest rates, weighing the cost, and analyzing your finances to determine what you can afford.

What is Your Current Rate?
If you are looking to refinance to save money on interest, compare your current rate to today’s rate. Utilize the mortgage calculator on my website to determine your interest savings.

How Long Do You Plan on Staying?
It is important to know how long you plan to stay in your home if you are considering a refinance because refinances come at a cost. You want to make sure you will break even before you sell the home.

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