Adjustable Rate Mortgage – Is it right for me?

Buying a home is a common rite of passage for most people. Settling down, creating stability, establishing a sense of community and responsibility are a just a few of the benefits of owning versus renting.  Another benefit is the investment, and the equity that a home can provide.  However, when it comes to the financing options – what should you do? When considering mortgage options, which can aid you as the buyer, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Am I interested in a low payment?
  • Do I intend to live in this house for more than 5 years?
  • Is a 30 year commitment unrealistic?

Electing to take an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) over a fixed rate loan is one of the financing options that you will be presented.  ARMs tend to carry lower mortgage rates up- front and, therefore, lower monthly mortgage payments. However, the word adjustable is in the very title, so it stands to reason that the mortgage payment will fluctuate as the rate adjusts over time.  While this might seem a bit scary, since you aren’t sure what the stock market will do tomorrow, it could still be a feasible option if you are not expecting to commit to your current home for more than 5 years. In other words, why pay a higher, set rate, when you know that you are vacating the home in 5 years or less.  However, as the loan adjusts, be prepared for the possibility of a much higher rate down the road.

On the other hand, if you plan on making a lifelong commitment to your property, and are more comfortable knowing what each monthly installment will cost you ahead of time and without variance,  then a conventional fixed rate mortgage is most likely what you will feel more at ease with.  While the initial rate may be slightly higher than the initial rate on an adjustable mortgage, the comfort of knowing is sometimes the best decision in a hectic life where most things are always changing.

As in any financial decision, it is best to consult an authority on mortgage lending. Find a mortgage loan expert who can explain the different options available, any risk factors involved, and the best solutions for you.

FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums Increasing April 9, 2012

Planning to use an FHA-backed mortgage for your next home loan? You might want to get your application in gear today.

Beginning next week, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is changing the way it charges mortgage insurance to U.S. homeowners. For the fourth time since 2010, FHA mortgage insurance premiums are rising for all FHA-backed homeowners.

For FHA Case Numbers assigned on, or after, Monday, April 9, 2012, there are two planned changes.

First, FHA Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premiums (UFMIP) will increase by 75 basis points to 1.75%, or $1,750 per $100,000 borrowed. Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium is paid at closing, and typically added to an FHA borrower’s loan size.

The current UFMIP rate is 1.000 percent.

Second, annual FHA mortgage insurance premiums are rising. All new FHA-backed loans will be subject to a 10 basis point increase in annual mortgage insurance premiums, costing homeowners an extra $100 per $100,000 borrowed per year.

The new FHA annual mortgage insurance premium schedule follows :

  • 15-year loan term, loan-to-value > 90% : 0.60% MIP per year
  • 15-year loan term, loan-to-value <= 90% : 0.35% MIP per year
  • 15-year loan term, loan-to-value <= 78% : 0.00% MIP per year
  • 30-year loan term, loan-to-value > 95% : 1.25% MIP per year
  • 30-year loan term, loan-to-value <= 95% : 1.20% MIP per year

In addition, for loans above $625,500, beginning with FHA Case Numbers assigned on, or after, June 11, 2012, there will be an additional 25 basis point increase in annual MIP.

To calculate your monthly MIP obligation as a FHA homeowners, multiply your starting loan size by your insurance rate from the list above, then divide by 12.

Note that the FHA mortgage insurance changes apply to new FHA Case Numbers only. If you have an FHA mortgage approval in-process, or an existing FHA home loan, you are not subject to the new MIP schedule. To avoid paying the FHA’s new MIP schedule, therefore, begin your FHA mortgage application today.

Once your FHA Case Number is assigned, you’re locked in to today’s lower premiums. 

Do us a favor if you or someone you know is about to buy that perfect home, please recommend us to them. When you find your dream home, make sure that you get a thorough home inspection in Atlanta, GA from the home inspector Atlanta, GA, David Lelak of IHI Home Inspections, they serve Atlanta and all of North Georgia. Call us today at 404-788-2581 for a thorough home inspection in Atlanta. We won’t let you buy the money pit.  You can also schedule your Atlanta home inspection today online.  We create Peace of Mind One Atlanta home inspection at a time.  Be sure to check out all the other reasons other customers chose IHI Home Inspections at our original website. 

Mortgage Rates Fall Back Below 4%

Freddie Mac Weekly Mortgage Rates

After a brief run-up two weeks ago, mortgage rates are back below 4 percent. It’s good news for home buyers and mortgage rate shoppers of Atlanta because with lower mortgage rates come lower mortgage payments.

According to Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the national, average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate fell to 3.99 percent this week from last week’s 4.08 percent.

Last week had marked the first time since December 2011 that the benchmark rate crossed north of 4 percent — a span of 16 weeks.

And, it wasn’t just rates that got cheaper this week — closing costs dropped, too.

Freddie Mac’s survey showed that the average number of discount points to accompany a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell one-tenth of a percent this week to 0.7, where one discount point is equal to one percent of your loan size.

As a real-life example, a $200,000 Bridge Mill mortgage with an accompanying 0.7 discount points would be subject to an additional $1,400 one-time closing cost. Last week, that cost was $1,600.

Note, though, that these are average mortgage rates for the nation. On a local level, rates may be higher or lower, and so may the accompanying number of discount points.

For example, in this week’s Freddie Mac survey, each U.S. region boasts its own “average rate” :

  • Northeast Region : 4.00% with 0.7 discount points
  • West Region : 3.94% with 0.9 discount points
  • Southeast Region : 4.01% with 0.8 discount points
  • North Central Region : 3.99% with 0.6 discount points
  • Southwest Region : 4.02% with 0.8 discount points

These rates are each well below the average rates of a year ago when the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 4.86%. 

Low mortgage rates can’t last forever so if you’ve been wondering whether now is a good time to buy a home or refinance one; or whether rising rates will harm your monthly budget, the answer may be yes. A weak economy held mortgage rates low last year. An improving economy should push rates higher this year.

Talk to your loan officer and review your home loan options. Looking ahead to spring and summer, mortgage rates appear poised to rise.

Mortgage Rates Influenced, But Not Set by the Federal Open Market Committee

Comparing the 30-year fixed versus the Fed Funds Rate

 

The Federal Open Market Committee  can influence mortgage rates but not set them. Mortgage rates are set by Wall Street.

Meeting today, the Federal Open Market Committee will vote on monetary policies that will affect Atlanta home buyers, Atlanta mortgage lenders, and Atlanta home inspectors. Most likely, mortgage rates are going to change.

The 12-person sub-committee within the Federal Reserve votes on the nation’s monetary policy. Led by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, the FOMC’s most prominent role is as steward for the Fed Funds Rate.

The Fed has said repeatedly that it intends to keep the Fed Funds Rate near 0.000. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that Atlanta mortgage rates will remain low as well. That all depends on Wall Street.

As proof that the Fed Funds Rate is distinct from mortgage rates, consider that, since 2000, the difference between the Fed Funds Rate and the average, 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate has been as wide as 5.25% and as narrow at 0.50%.

If the Fed Funds Rate was tied to mortgage rates, the chart at right would be linear.

After its meetings, the FOMC issues a standard press release to the public which reflects the group’s overall economic outlook. When the FOMC statement is generally “positive”, mortgage rates tend to rise in response. This is because investors often assume more risk in an improving economy and this can harm bond market prices — including those for mortgage-backed bonds.

Conversely, when the Fed is generally negative in its statement, mortgage rates can improve.

Since the FOMC’s last meeting, there has been little about which to be negative with the U.S. economy. Housing and manufacturing are improving; employment is higher; and global markets are regaining their respective footing. The Fed may make note of it. Or, it may not.

Regardless, mortgage rates are expected to move so consider locking your mortgage rate ahead of today’s 2:15 PM ET statement.

Do us a favor if you or someone you know is about to buy that perfect home, please recommend us to them. When you find your dream home, make sure that you get a thorough home inspection in Atlanta, GA from the home inspector Atlanta, GA, David Lelak of IHI Home Inspections, they serve Atlanta and all of North Georgia. Call us today at 404-788-2581 for a thorough home inspection in Atlanta. We won’t let you buy the money pit.  You can also schedule your Atlanta home inspection today online.  We create Peace of Mind One Atlanta home inspection at a time.  Be sure to check out all the other reasons other customers chose IHI Home Inspections at our original website. 

 

 

 

Are You Wasting $471 Per Month On Your Mortgage?

According to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rate survey, for 13 straight weeks, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage has held below 4.000% for mortgage applicants willing to pay up to 0.8 discount points plus a full set of closing costs.

These are the lowest mortgage rates in history and now — with a bevy of loan programs for the nation’s 11 million “underwater homeowners” including HARP, the FHA Streamline Refinance, and the VA IRRRL — millions of U.S. homeowners can exploit the current mortgage rate environment.

In this 4-minute clip from NBC’s The Today Show, you’ll learn about today’s mortgage market and your refinancing opportunities in GA.

The video begins by telling us that 14 million credit-worthy Americans have yet to refinance their respective mortgages, and are leaving an average of $471 in “wasted savings” on the table each month which adds up to more than $5,600 annually.

That’s a big number.

Some of the video’s other key points include :

  • Refinancing is “worth the hassle” when mortgage rates are as low as they are today
  • The best rates are reserved for homeowners with the highest credit scores
  • Comparison shop — your current mortgage lender may not offer you the best rates

Furthermore, the video reveals the characteristics of the homeowner type most likely to benefit from a refinance. These traits include having with 20% equity in the home; have plans to live in the home for at least the next 36 months; carrying a current mortgage rate of 5 percent or higher.

It should also be added that, with a zero-closing-cost or low-closing-cost mortgage, even a small reduction in your mortgage rate can make a refinance worthwhile.

Mortgage rates are low but can’t stay low forever. If you haven’t participated in the Refi Boom, talk with a loan officer and review your mortgage options. You may be able to save hundreds of dollars per month with just modest closing costs.

FHA To Raise Mortgage Insurance Premiums April 1, 2012

FHA MIP Changes April 1 2012Beginning April 1, 2012, the FHA is once again raising mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) on its newly-insured borrowers throughout Woodstock and the country.

It’s the FHA’s fourth such increase in the last two years.

Beginning April 1, 2012, upfront mortgage insurance premiums will be higher by 75 basis points, or 0.75%; and annual mortgage insurance premiums will be higher by 10 basis points per year, or 0.10%.

For borrowers with a loan size of $200,000, the new MIP will add $1,500 in one-time loan costs, plus an on-going, annual $200 increase in total mortgage insurance premiums paid.

All new FHA loans are subject to the increase — purchases and refinances.

The FHA is increasing its mortgage insurance premiums because, as an entity, the FHA is insuring a much larger percentage of the U.S. mortgage market than ever before. 

In 2006, the FHA insured 2 percent of all purchase-money mortgages. In 2011, that figure jumped to 18 percent. Unfortunately, as the FHA has insured more loans, it’s number of loans in default have climbed, too, forcing the FHA to boost its reserves.

Beginning April 1, 2012, the new FHA annual mortgage insurance premium schedule is as follows :

  • 15-year loan term, loan-to-value > 90% : 0.60% MIP per year
  • 15-year loan term, loan-to-value <= 90% : 0.35% MIP per year
  • 30-year loan term, loan-to-value > 95% : 1.25% MIP per year
  • 30-year loan term, loan-to-value <= 95% : 1.20% MIP per year

In order to calculate what your FHA annual mortgage insurance premium would be on a monthly basis, multiply your beginning loan size by your insurance premium in the chart above, then divide by 12.

In addition, for loans over $625,500, beginning June 1, 2012, there is an additional 25 basis point increase to annual MIP.

To avoid paying the new FHA mortgage insurance premiums, start your FHA mortgage application today. Existing FHA-insured homeowners will not be affected by the change.

Mortgage insurance premiums will not rise for loans already made.

Do us a favor if you or someone you know is about to buy that perfect home, please recommend us to them. When you find your dream home, make sure that you get a thorough home inspection in Atlanta, GA from the home inspector Atlanta, GA, David Lelak of IHI Home Inspections, they serve Atlanta and all of North Georgia. Call us today at 404-788-2581 for a thorough home inspection in Atlanta. We won’t let you buy the money pit.  You can also schedule your Atlanta home inspection today online.  We create Peace of Mind One Atlanta home inspection at a time.  Be sure to check out all the other reasons other customers chose IHI Home Inspections at our original website. 

Lock An Instant 13% Savings On Your Monthly Mortgage Payment

Mortgage payments down 13%

Falling mortgage rates make owning a home more affordable. Mortgage rates are directly tied to monthly mortgage payment so as mortgage rates drop, so does the cost of home-ownership.  

It’s a money-saving time to buy a home in Atlanta — or to refinance one. Mortgage rates have never been this low in history.

According to Freddie Mac, last week, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell to 3.87% nationwide for borrowers willing to pay an accompanying 0.8 discount points plus closing costs. 0.8 discount points is a one-time closing cost equal to 0.8 percent of your loan size, or $800 per $100,000 borrowed.

This represents an incredible value as compared to February of last year. 

It was exactly one year ago that mortgage rates begin their long slide lower. On February 11, 2011, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage reached its peak for the year, reading 5.05% in Freddie Mac’s nationwide survey. If you are among the many U.S. households that bought or refinanced a home around that time, you could choose to replace your current home loan with a new one and save close to 13% on your monthly mortgage payment.

13 percent saved on your mortgage is a noteworthy statistic.

Look at this 30-year fixed rate mortgage payment comparison over the last 12 months :

  • February 2011 : $539.88 principal + interest per $100,000 borrowed
  • February 2012 : $469.95 principal + interest per $100,000 borrowed

Because of falling mortgage rates, a homeowner with a $250,000 30-year fixed rate mortgage would save at least $175 per month just by refinancing into a new loan at today’s mortgage rates. That’s $2,100 in savings per year. 

Even after accounting for discount points and closing costs, the “break-even point” on a mortgage like that can come relatively quickly.

We can’t predict mortgage rates so there’s no promise rates will stay like this forever. If you’re planning to buy a home or refinance one, the best way to keep your monthly payments down is to lock your rate while rates are still low.

The market looks ripe for that now. 

Do us a favor if you or someone you know is about to buy that perfect home, please recommend us to them. When you find your dream home, make sure that you get a thorough home inspection in Atlanta, GA from the home inspector Atlanta, GA, David Lelak of IHI Home Inspections, they serve Atlanta and all of North Georgia. Call us today at 404-788-2581 for a thorough home inspection in Atlanta. We won’t let you buy the money pit.  You can also schedule your Atlanta home inspection today online.  We create Peace of Mind One Atlanta home inspection at a time.  Be sure to check out all the other reasons other customers chose IHI Home Inspections at our original website. 

Banks Start To Loosen Up In Underwriting

This is great news for the Atlanta housing market and other areas.  As busy as we have been as home inspectors in Atlanta, I can believe this.  We have been extremely busy for this time of year! Right now folks are buying!

After a half-decade of tightening mortgage guidelines, banks are starting to “loosen up”.

The Federal Reserve conducts a quarterly survey of its member banks and, last quarter, not a single responding bank reported having tightened its mortgage guidelines for prime borrowers.

A “prime borrower” is defined as one with a well-documented credit history, high credit scores, and a low debt-to-income ratio.

53 banks responded to the Fed’s survey and none said that mortgage guidelines “tightened considerably” or “tightened somewhat” between September and December 2011; 50 said that guidelines remained “basicaly unchanged”; 3 said that guidelines “eased somewhat”.

Mortgage applicants sometimes remark that the mortgage approval process can be challenging. Last quarter’s Fed survey hints that looser standards are coming.

Not since before the recession have banks lowered mortgage approval standards like this and it bodes well for this year’s Woodstock  housing market. Real estate agents report that 1 in 3 home sale contracts fail with “declined mortgage applications” as a leading cause.

Looser mortgage lending standards should mean more home loan approvals for buyers, and fewer contract cancellations. This can spur the housing market forward.

Make note, though. “Looser standards” should not be confused with ”irresponsible standards”. It remains more difficult to meet bank standards as compared to 5 years. Today’s underwriters are more conservative with respect to household income, overall assets and credit scores.

Even as compared to one year ago:

  • Minimum credit score requirements are higher
  • Downpayment/equity requirements are larger
  • Maximum allowable debt-to-income ratios are lower

For buyers and refinancing households gaining approval, though, the reward is the lowest mortgage rates in a lifetime. Mortgage rates in GA continue to fall, helping home affordability reach new highs.

If you’re in the market to buy a new home or refinance one, your timing is excellent.

Do us a favor when you or someone you know is about to buy that perfect home, please recommend us to them. When you find your dream home, make sure that you get a thorough home inspection in Atlanta, GA from the home inspector Atlanta, GA, David & Bonnie Lelak of IHI Home Inspections, they serve Atlanta and all of North Georgia. Call us today at 404-788-2581 for a thorough home inspection in Atlanta. We won’t let you buy the money pit.  You can also schedule your Atlanta home inspection today online.  We create Peace of Mind One Atlanta home inspection at a time.  Be sure to check out all the other reasons other customers chose IHI Home Inspections at our original website. 

Maximum FHA Loan Limits Restored To $729,750

FHA Loan Limits Restored

Good news for Atlanta area home buyers

After a brief return to lower, pre-2009 levels, FHA loan limits have been restored. As signed into law last Friday, maximum FHA loan limits are — once again — as high as $729,750.

The move creates additional mortgage financing possibilities in more than 650 U.S. counties, and promises to increase the FHA’s mortgage market share, which has grown from 6% in 2007 to roughly 30% today.

The change in FHA loan limits also marks the first time that FHA loan limits exceed those of conventional mortgage-backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Conventional loans remain capped at a maximum of $625,500.

For home buyers in Atlanta and nationwide, FHA-insured mortgage offer several advantages over comparable conventional loans, the most commonly cited of which is that FHA-insured loans require a down payment of just 3.5 percent.

FHA-insured mortgages carry other advantages, too, however.

First, FHA home loans are not subject to loan-level pricing adjustments (LLPA). This means that, all things equal, buyers and would-be refinancers with credit scores below 740; or, who live in multi-unit homes; or, who have high loan-to-values are not subject to additional loan fees as a conventional mortgage applicant might.

Second, after 6 months of on-time payments, FHA-backed homeowners are eligible for the FHA Streamline Refinance. The FHA Streamline Refinance is among the simplest loan products for which to qualify with no appraisal required. Even if you’re “underwater” on your mortgage, you can still be streamline-eligible.

And, lastly, at least in today’s market, FHA mortgage rates are below those of the conventional market.

The downside of FHA financing, however, is that all FHA mortgages require mortgage insurance and FHA mortgage rates are often higher versus a comparable conventional loan. This means that, although its mortgage rate may be lower, the payment for an FHA home loan may be higher as compared to a Fannie Mae mortgage with similar credit traits.

FHA loans aren’t always optimal, but with higher FHA loan limits, expect the FHA’s market share to increase.

Check your local FHA loan limit at the HUD website.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage – Is it right for me?

   Buying a home is a common rite of passage for most people. Settling down, creating stability, establishing a sense of community and responsibility are a just a few of the benefits of owning versus renting.  Another benefit is the investment, and the equity that a home can provide.  However, when it comes to the financing options – what should you do? When considering mortgage options, which can aid you as the buyer, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Am I interested in a low payment?
  • Do I intend to live in this house for more than 5 years?
  • Is a 30 year commitment unrealistic?

Electing to take an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) over a fixed rate loan is one of the financing options that you will be presented.  ARMs tend to carry lower mortgage rates up- front and, therefore, lower monthly mortgage payments. However, the word adjustable is in the very title, so it stands to reason that the mortgage payment will fluctuate as the rate adjusts over time.  While this might seem a bit scary, since you aren’t sure what the stock market will do tomorrow, it could still be a feasible option if you are not expecting to commit to your current home for more than 5 years. In other words, why pay a higher, set rate, when you know that you are vacating the home in 5 years or less.  However, as the loan adjusts, be prepared for the possibility of a much higher rate down the road.

On the other hand, if you plan on making a lifelong commitment to your property, and are more comfortable knowing what each monthly installment will cost you ahead of time and without variance,  then a conventional fixed rate mortgage is most likely what you will feel more at ease with.  While the initial rate may be slightly higher than the initial rate on an adjustable mortgage, the comfort of knowing is sometimes the best decision in a hectic life where most things are always changing. 

As in any financial decision, it is best to consult an authority on mortgage lending. Find a mortgage loan expert who can explain the different options available, any risk factors involved, and the best solutions for you.