Credit, Closing & Federal Programs 

Everything you need to know about Financing your new home.

What Is A Credit Bureau Score And How Do Lenders Use Them?

As we show you in this video, a credit bureau score, or “credit score” is a number based upon your credit history that represents the possibility that you will be unable to repay a loan.

Lenders use it to determine your ability to qualify for a mortgage loan.

The better the score, the better your chances are of getting a favorable loan.

Know your score and ensure that lenders have current information about it.

How Can I Find Out Information About My Credit History?

There are three major credit reporting companies:

Obtaining your credit history is as easy as calling and requesting one. Once you receive the report, it’s important to verify its accuracy.

What Is An Escrow Account? Do I Need One?

an escrow account is an account, established by your lender,

 

to set aside a portion of your monthly mortgage payment to cover annual charges for homeowner’s insurance mortgage insurance (if applicable), and property taxes.

Escrow accounts are a good idea because they assure money will always be available for these payments.

If you use an escrow account to pay property tax or homeowner’s insurance make sure you are not penalized for late payments since it is the lender’s responsibility to make those payments.

Closing Costs Explained.

Purchasing a home is exciting. Once escrow begins, the excitement can change to frustration, particularly if you are not ready for the closing costs that quickly accumulate.

Closing costs simply refer to the fees associated with various things associated with the escrow process in a real estate transaction. In the excitement of having an offer accepted for your dream home, you can easily lose track of the fact you are going to need to have some serious cash on hand to pay them. Many people make the mistake of only assuming they need the down payment money, and have to rush around town trying to come up with money for the closing fees.

Do yourself a favor, and discuss closing costs in advance with your real estate or mortgage person.  And watch this video to have a good mental picture of the costs that you’re likely to incur.

Title Insurance Explained

What is title insurance and why should any buyer get it when purchasing a home (single family, townhouse, condo, apartment, or whatever format your home purchase takes)? Doesn’t the attorney or settlement company handling the closing see to it that you have a clear title? Isn’t this just another way for someone to siphon a few coins off a real estate transaction?
 

Title insurance prevents the property owner from suffering financial loss if, at any time during his ownership of the property, someone comes along who can show that they have full, or partial, ownership of the property instead.
 

A careful title search is done at the time property changes hands. On rare occasions mistakes are made anyway. Property can change hands in a number of ways including by deed, by will and by court action. Typically, these proceedings are recorded in different places. Searching the history of ownership to be sure nothing has fallen through the cracks is a tedious job that requires alertness, intelligence, and skill. It is very likely that the value of your property will go up over the years. As time passes, these elements are likely to result in your home equity’s being your largest asset. Just how devastating would it be if you eventually discovered that someone else owned what you’d always thought was your home?
 

Do yourself a favor. When you buy a home, buy title insurance.  And watch the video to understand the essentials.

What Are Real Estate Commissions?

real estate agents aren’t paid by the hour!They’re paid a percentage of the purchase price in a successful real estate transaction.

When one agent represents the sellers and another represents the buyers the commission is typically split between them.


In the US, real estate commissions are commonly 6% of the transaction usually 3%/3% when split.

No government or industry body sets commission rates.  Legally, commission rates ARE negotiable.  However, remember that agents only earn their commission on successful sales.

Consider the work you want them to do for you to evaluate the value you should put on the commission they earn.

What Can I Expect To Happen On Closing Day?

you’ll present your paid homeowner’s insurance policy or a binder and receipt showing that the premium has been paid. The closing agent will then list the money you owe the seller remainder of down payment, prepaid taxes, and so on. and then the money the seller owes you unpaid taxes and prepaid rent, if applicable.

The seller will provide proofs of any inspection, warranties, and so on. Once you’re sure you understand all the documentation you’ll sign the mortgage, agreeing that if you don’t make payments the lender is entitled to sell your property and apply the sale price against the amount you owe plus expenses.

You’ll also sign a mortgage note, promising to repay the loan. The seller will give you the title to the house in the form of a signed deed. You’ll pay the lender’s agent all closing costs and, in turn, he or she will provide you with a settlement statement of all the items for which you have paid.

The deed and mortgage will then be recorded in the state Registry of Deeds and you will be a homeowner.

What Do I Get At Closing?

For most real estate loans, you will receive a Closing Disclosure 3 business days before loan consummation –
which frequently happens at the closing meeting.


At the meeting itself you should receive a copy of your Mortgage Note – your obligation to repay- your Mortgage or Deed of Trust the binding Sales Contract and – in some states – you may get the keys to your new home.

What Makes Up Closing Costs?

There may be closing costs customary or unique to a certain locality but closing costs are usually made up of the following:

  • Attorney’s or escrow fees (Yours and your lender’s if applicable)

  • Property taxes (to cover tax period to date)

  • Interest (paid from date of closing to 30 days before first monthly payment)

  • Loan Origination fee (covers lenders administrative cost)

  • Recording fees Survey fee First premium of mortgage Insurance (if applicable)

  • Title Insurance (yours and lender’s)

  • Loan discount points

  • First payment to escrow account for future real estate taxes and insurance

  • Paid receipt for homeowner’s insurance policy (and fire and flood insurance if applicable)
     

And any documentation preparation fees.

How Can The FHA Assist Me In Buying A Home?

Remember these points from the video:the FHA works to make homeownership a possibility for more Americans. With the FHA, you don’t need perfect credit or a high-paying job to qualify for a loan. The FHA also makes loans more accessible by requiring smaller down payments than conventional loans.


In fact, an FHA down payment could be as little as a few months rent. And your monthly payments may not be much more than rent.

What Are The Steps Involved In The FHA Loan Process?

With the exception of a few additional forms the FHA loan application process is similar to that of a conventional loan.

With new automation measures FHA loans may be originated more quickly than before. And, if you don’t prefer a face-to-face meeting, you can apply for an FHA loan via mail, telephone the Internet, or video conference.

What Types Of Closing Costs Are Associated With FHA-Insured Loans?

except for the addition of an FHA mortgage insurance premium, FHA closing costs are similar to those of a conventional loan.

As of 2013, the FHA requires a single, upfront mortgage insurance premium equal to 2.25% of the mortgage to be paid at closing (or 1.75% if you complete the HELP program).

This initial premium may be partially refunded if the loan is paid in full during the first seven years of the loan term.

After closing, you will then be responsible for an annual premium – paid monthly – if your mortgage is over 15 years or if you have a 15-year loan with an LTV greater than 90%.

What Are 203(B) And 203(K) Loans?

The video puts this in more visual terms, but 203(b) is the most commonly used FHA program. It offers a low down payment, flexible qualifying guidelines limited lender’s fees, and a maximum loan amount.

203(k) loans enable homebuyers to finance both the purchase and rehabilitation of a home through a single mortgage. A portion of the loan is used to pay off the seller’s existing mortgage and the remainder is placed in an escrow account and released as rehabilitation is completed.

Basic guidelines for 203(k) loans are as follows:
 

  • The home must be at least one year old.

  • The cost of rehabilitation must be at least $5,000, but the total property value – including the cost of repairs must fall within the FHA maximum mortgage limit.
     

The 203(k) loan must follow many of the 203(b) eligibility requirements. Lenders will know specifics about improvement, energy efficiency, and structural guidelines.

What Are VA Home Loans?

What Are VA Loans?

As the video says, the name is misleading – they’re not loans FROM the VA. The VA – short for “US Department of Veterans Affairs” – is the Federal military veteran benefit system. The VA administers benefits and services for Service members, Veterans their dependents and survivors. Programs related to home loans are one of their key services.

The VA is not a bank; they do not provide home loans themselves. But they do guarantee a portion of home loans provided to veterans and other eligible people by banks and mortgage companies. These guarantees enable lenders to provide more favorable terms. They are are commonly called “VA Loans”.

They cover buying, building, repairing, retaining and adapting homes for personal occupancy by eligible Veterans and survivors.

What Are The Major Types Of VA Loans?

Major Veterans Affairs loan programs include:

1) Purchase Loans - These help eligible parties buy a home at competitive interest rates with little to no down payment and little or no private mortgage insurance.

2) Cash Out Refinance Loans - These enable taking cash out of home equity to pay off debt, fund school or make home improvements.

3) Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans - also called Streamline Refinance Loans - can help veterans obtain lower interest by refinancing existing VA loans

4) Native American Direct Loans - these help eligible Native American veterans finance homes on Federal Trust land.

5) Adapted Housing Grants to help veterans with service -connected disabilities buy, build or modify a home suited to their disabilities.

Many states offer additional resources to veterans, too. Talk to your home lender about your situation.

What Is A Certificate of Eligibility, or COE?

What Is A Certificate of Eligibility, or COE?

The COE is the key document that verifies to lenders that someone is eligible for a VA-backed loan.

Service members,

 

Veterans and National Guard and Reserve members may apply online or through their lender; most lenders have access to the system and can verify eligibility IF the VA has records on file.

The VA also maintains a hotline for assistance.

Surviving Spouses can use VA Form 26-1817 to request determination of their eligibility for VA Loan Guarantees.

Your lender may be able to assist with processing or contact the VA for information this video did not address.