Be a Better Buyer: Ramp Up Your Homeownership Knowledge

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We’ve all heard it before — financial literacy and education is key to helping us become more prepared homebuyers. But, the internet is a big place. So, where do you begin? What experts should you follow?

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We pulled together a shortlist of resources recently highlighted at an Urban Institute seminar about Barriers to Accessing Homeownership.  Whether you want a person to be your guide or favor online tools, you’ll find something that fits your needs in this line-up.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

Did you know that data shows mortgage shopping can lead to an improved mortgage rate or solution? Before you make an offer on a home, check out the CFPB’s guide for owning a home, including resources on preparing to home shop and exploring loan choices. The CFPB also has a loan estimate explainer to help you navigate estimates from different lenders.

You can also learn about special loan programs for which you may qualify by contacting DJ Riley at United Family Mortgage in Elk River at 763-276-3960.

The CFPB includes information about HUD-approved housing counselors who can provide advice on buying a home, renting, defaults, foreclosures, and credit issues. Search for one in your area.

NeighborWorks America

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If you are interested in a personal guide to help you prepare for homeownership, NeighborWorks can help you locate services in your area.  Their counselors are knowledgeable about homeownership programs. In fact, 83 percent of their buyers use some type of down payment assistance with their loans.  You can also check out their homebuyer tips.

Credit Smart curriculum

The CreditSmart curriculum, offered by Freddie Mac, includes financial education modules on credit, money management, homeownership, foreclosure avoidance, and more. The 12-module curriculum is available in five different languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese. Organizations can offer this curriculum in community settings or individuals can complete it online.

Better Money Habits

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Some lenders are introducing their own educational content. In partnership with Khan Academy, Bank of America has a financial education curriculum with 10 different categories.  The homeownership segment goes over budgeting, questions to ask lenders, credit score, and much more.

Trusted Advisors

In addition to online tools, cultivate a group of trusted advisors you can turn to during this process.  DJ Riley at United Family Mortgage in Elk River is an expert in down payment assistance programs in our area.  Contact DJ directly at 763-276-3960.

Learn more about the latest research on homeownership barriers and what the industry is doing to help.  Watch the full Urban Institute Seminar below.

 

Get Help with Down Payment Assistance

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Down payment help sounds great, but how does it actually work?  What process should you follow?

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While down payment programs vary greatly by state and community, there are some universal steps that will help you stay on track if a homeownership program is part of your home financing plan.  Let’s look at how it worked for one Florida buyer highlighted in Business Insider.

One buyer’s story

Willy Harris, 24, and his girlfriend used a Florida first-time homebuyer program to purchase a $204,000 new construction home in Jacksonville, FL. The program allows first-time homebuyers within the qualified income and purchase-price limits to receive up to $15,000 in secondary financing toward down payment and closing costs.  If the homebuyer lives in the home for five years, the secondary loan is forgiven. Harris used an FHA home loan that required a 3% down payment.

They put down a $1,000 deposit to reserve the lot, while the grant covered their $7,750 closing costs and $6,150 down payment.  The remaining amount of the grant went toward the principal of the home loan.  Because they put 3% down, they also paid a monthly mortgage insurance premium of $109.  Their first mortgage payment is currently $1,503 a month.

Harris recommends setting up a budget and savings plan and researching programs that can give you a boost.

 

Similar Down Payment Assistance Programs are available in Sherburne County and throughout Minnesota.

 

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Follow these steps to get the most of using a homeownership program:

• Do some upfront homework.  Research local homeownership education and counseling resources that can help you with the process.

• Determine your budget.  Figure how big a monthly mortgage payment you can afford on your salary. Don’t forget that your mortgage payment may include taxes and insurance too which you can estimate.

• Create a savings plan. Build a spreadsheet (or use an app) to track your expenses.

• Research down payment assistance programs in your area. Contact the agency offering the program or a homeownership counselor who can help you with the process.

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• Both the buyer and the home must qualify for the assistance. Find out the home price limits and any community or neighborhood boundaries for the program that may impact your home search. Find out if you can use the program on new construction.

• Get a list of participating lenders for the homeownership program, available on the program provider’s website. Not all lenders offer every program.

• Get prequalified for a loan so you can review the numbers and make an educated decision on the type of financing.

• Compare offers and ask lenders about any other programs for which you may qualify. You may even be able to layer programs, for example down payment assistance plus a tax credit.

• Review mortgage insurance options with your lender.

• Complete homebuyer education courses that are often required when using a down payment assistance program.

• Ask about your options for using the funds. Can they be used for down payment or closing costs, or both?

Pre-Approval Is the First Step in the 2020 Home Buying Journey

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When the number of buyers in the housing market outnumbers the number of homes for sale, it’s called a “seller’s market.” The advantage tips toward the seller as low inventory heats up the competition among those searching for a place to call their own. This can create multiple offer scenarios and bidding wars, making it tough for buyers to land their dream homes – unless they stand out from the crowd. Here are three reasons why pre-approval should be your first step in the home buying process.

1. Gain a Competitive Advantage

Low inventory, like we have today, means home buyers need every advantage they can get to make a strong impression and close the deal. One of the best ways to get one step ahead of other buyers is to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you make an offer. For one, it shows the sellers you’re serious about buying a home, which is always a plus in your corner.

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Pre-approval can also speed up the home buying process, so you can move faster when you’re ready to make an offer. In a competitive arena like we have today, being ready to put your best foot forward when the time comes may be the leg-up you need to cross the finish line first and land the home of your dreams.

3. Know What You Can Borrow and Afford

Here’s the other thing: if you’re pre-approved, you also have a better sense of your budget, what you can afford, and ultimately how much you’re eligible to borrow for your mortgage. This way, you’re less apt to fall in love with a home that may be out of your reach.

Freddie Mac sets out the advantages of pre-approval in the My Home section of their website:

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

Local real estate professionals also have relationships with lenders who can help you through this process, so partnering with a trusted advisor will be key for that introduction. Once you select a lender, you’ll need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”

Freddie Mac also describes the ‘4 Cs’ that help determine the amount you’ll be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or Cash Reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

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Bottom Line

Getting started with pre-approval is a great way to begin the home buying journey. Let’s get together today to make sure you’re on the fastest path to home ownership.

For a Hassle-Free consultation with United Family Mortgage on: Home Refinancing, First-Time Home Buyer Mortgage, Zero-Down Mortgage, Home Construction Loan or VA Home Loan, contact DJ Riley today at 763-276-3960 or via email djriley@unitedfamilymortgage.com.

 

*Re-posted by: https://www.mykcm.com/2020/02/03/three-reasons-why-pre-approval-is-the-first-step-in-the-2020-homebuying-journey/

Renters Who Want to Buy a Home

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Rents in the United States have been skyrocketing since 2012. This has caused many renters to face a tremendous burden when juggling their housing expenses and the desire to save for a down payment at the same time. The recent stabilization of rental prices provides a great opportunity for renters to save more of their current income to put toward the purchase of a home.

Just last week the Joint Center of Housing Studies of Harvard University released the America’s Rental Housing 2020 Report. The results explain the financial challenges renters are experiencing today,

“Despite slowing demand and the continued strength of new construction, rental markets in the U.S. remain extremely tight. Vacancy rates are at decades-long lows, pushing up rents far faster than incomes. Both the number and share of cost-burdened renters are again on the rise, especially among middle-income households.”

According to the most recent Zillow Rent Index, which measures the estimated market-rate rent for all homes and apartments, the typical U.S. rent now stands at $1,600 per month. Here is a graph of how the index’s median rent values have climbed over the last eight years:mortgage broker Zimmerman, VA home loan Ramsey, veteran home loan Elk River, veteran home loan Ramsey, zero down mortgage Elk River, zero down mortgage Ramsey, 0 down mortgage Ramsey, mortgage interest rates Zimmerman, zero down home loans Ramsey, apply for VA home loan Ramsey

Is Good News Coming?

There seems, however, to be some good news on the horizon. Four of the major rent indices are all reporting that rents are finally beginning to stabilize in all rental categories:

1. The Zillow Rent Index, linked above, only rose 2.6% over the last year.

2. RENTCafé’s research team also analyzes rent data across the 260 largest cities in the United States. The data on average rents comes directly from competitively rented, large-scale, multi-family properties (50+ units in size). Their 2019 Year-End Rent Report shows only a 3% increase in rents from last year, the slowest annual rise over the past 17 months.

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3. The CoreLogicSingle Family Rent Index reports on single-family only rental listing data in the Multiple Listing Service. Their latest index shows how overall year-over-year rent price increases have slowed since February 2016, when they peaked at 4.2%. They have stabilized around 3% since early 2019.

4. The Apartment List National Rent Report uses median rent statistics for recent movers taken from the Census Bureau American Community Survey. The 2020 report reveals that the year-over-year growth rate of 1.6% matches the rate at this time last year; it is just ahead of the 1.5% rate from January 2016. They also explain how “the past five years also saw stretches of notably faster rent growth. Year-over-year rent growth stood at 2.6% in January 2018, and in January 2016 it was 3.3%, more than double the current rate.”

It seems tenants are getting a breather from the rapid rent increases that have plagued them for almost a decade.

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Rental expenses are beginning to moderate, and at the same time, average wages are increasing. That power combination may allow renters who dream of buying a home of their own an opportunity to save more money to put toward a down payment. That’s sensational news!

For a Hassle-Free consultation with United Family Mortgage on: Home Refinancing, First-Time Home Buyer Mortgage, Zero-Down Mortgage, Home Construction Loan or VA Home Loan, contact DJ Riley today at 763-276-3960 or via email djriley@unitedfamilymortgage.com.

 

*Re-posted by: https://www.mykcm.com/2020/02/06/great-news-for-renters-who-want-to-buy-a-home/

VA Loans: A Home for the Brave

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Since the creation of the Veterans Affairs (VA) Home Loans Program, over 22 million veterans have achieved the American Dream of homeownership. Many veterans do not know the details of the program and therefore do not take advantage of the benefits available to them.

If you are a veteran or you know someone who is, here is a breakdown of the VA Home Loan benefits that can be used to achieve the American Dream!

Top 5 Benefits of a VA Home Loan

  1. The greatest benefit of a VA Loan is that borrowers can buy a home with a 0% down payment.In 2016, 82% of all VA Loans put down 0%!

 

  1. Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is not required! (Most other loans with down payments under 20% require PMI, which adds additional costs to your monthly housing expense!)

 

  1. Credit Score requirements are also lower for VA Home Loans. The average FICO®score of a borrower for an approved VA Loan is 620, compared to 676 (FHA) or 753 (Conventional).

 

  1. There is also a limitation on a veteran buyer’s closing costs.Sellers can pay all of a buyer’s loan-related closing costs and up to 4% in concessions in some cases.

 

  1. Even with interest rates rising, VA Loans continue to have the lowest average interest rates of all loan types.

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One of the most important first steps when applying for a VA Home Loan is obtaining your Certificate of Eligibility (COE). “The COE verifies to the lender that you are eligible for a VA-backed loan.”

You Can Apply for a VA Loan if You:

  • Serve 90 consecutive days during wartime
  • Serve 181 consecutive days during peacetime
  • Have more than 6 years in the National Guard or Reserves
  • Are the spouse of a service member who has died in the line of duty or as the result of a service-related disability

You Can Use a VA Loan To:

  • Purchase a Home
  • Purchase a Condo
  • Build a Home
  • Refinance an existing home loan
  • Make improvements to a home by installing energy-related features or making energy-efficient improvements

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Bottom Line

For more information or to find out if you or a loved one would qualify to use the VA Home Loan Benefit, let’s get together! Thank you for your service!

 

 

For a Hassle-Free consultation with United Family Mortgage on: Home Refinancing, First-Time Home Buyer Mortgage, Zero-Down Mortgage, Home Construction Loan or VA Home Loan, contact DJ Riley today at 763-276-3960 or via email djriley@unitedfamilymortgage.com

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*Re-posted by: https://www.mykcm.com/2018/07/04/va-loans-making-a-home-for-the-brave-possible/

5 Reasons to Sell This Winter

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Below are five compelling reasons to list your house this winter.

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing, and able to purchase, and are in the market right now. More often than not, in many areas of the country, multiple buyers are competing with each other to buy the same home.

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  1. There Is Less Competition Now

Inventory is still under the 6-month supply needed for a normal housing market. This means in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in the market.

Historically, a homeowner would stay an average of six years in his or her home. Since 2011, that number has hovered between nine and ten years. There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years due to a negative equity situation. As home values continue to appreciate, more and more homeowners will be given the freedom to move.

Many homeowners were reluctant to list their homes over the last couple of years, for fear they would not find a home to move into. That is all changing now as more homes come to the market at the higher end. The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until additional inventory comes to market before you decide to sell.

  1. Buyers Are Serious at This Time of Year

Traditionally, homeowners think about spring as a great time to list their homes, when more buyer traffic may be out there actively searching. In the winter the buyers who are seeking a home, whether for relocation or whatnot, are serious about buying a home. They’re ready to make offers and they’re eager to move, often quickly. Your house may be exactly what they’re looking for, so listing when other potential sellers are holding off may be your best opportunity to shine.  mortgage broker Albertville, mortgage broker big lake, mortgage broker Elk River, mortgage broker Monticello, mortgage broker Otsego, mortgage broker Ramsey, mortgage broker rogers, mortgage broker St. Michael, mortgage broker Zimmerman, veteran home loan Elk River, veteran home loan Ramsey, veteran home loan Zimmerman

  1. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If your next move will be into the premium or luxury market, now is the time to move up. There is currently ample inventory for sale at higher price ranges. This means if you’re planning on selling a starter or trade-up home and moving into your dream home, you’ll be able to do that now. Demand for your entry-level home is high, and inventory in the luxury or premium market is too.

According to CoreLogic, prices are projected to appreciate by 5.6% over the next year. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and in your mortgage) if you wait.

  1. It’s Time to Move-on with Life home loans with no down payment Elk River, home loans with no down payment Ramsey, home loans with no down payment Zimmerman, mortgage broker Albertville, mortgage broker Big Lake, mortgage broker Elk River, mortgage broker Monticello, mortgage broker Otsego, mortgage broker Ramsey, mortgage broker Rogers, mortgage broker St. Michael, mortgage broker Zimmerman

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it’s worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Are you ready to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to these questions. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market this winter. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

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For a Hassle-Free consultation with United Family Mortgage on: Home Refinancing, First-Time Home Buyer Mortgage, Zero-Down Mortgage, Home Construction Loan or VA Home Loan, contact DJ Riley today at 763-276-3960 or via email djriley@unitedfamilymortgage.com.

 

*Re-posted by: https://www.mykcm.com/2019/12/02/5-reasons-to-sell-this-winter-3/

When to dump your mortgage insurance payment?

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VA Cash-Out Refi & Use 100% of Home’s Equity

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How Quickly Can You Save Your Down Payment?

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Saving for a down payment is often the biggest hurdle for a first-time homebuyer. Depending on where you live, median income, median rents, and home prices all vary. So, we set out to find out how long it would take to save for a down payment in each state.

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By determining the percentage of income spent renting in each state, and the amount needed for a 10% down payment, we were able to establish how long (in years) it would take for an average resident to save enough money to buy a home of their own.

According to the data, residents in Kansas can save for a down payment the quickest, doing so in just over 1 year (1.12). Below is a map that was created using the data for each state:

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What if you only needed to save 3%?

What if you were able to take advantage of one of Freddie Mac’s or Fannie Mae’s 3%-down programs? Suddenly, saving for a down payment no longer takes 2 to 5 years, but becomes possible in less than a year in most states, as shown on the map below.

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Bottom Line

Whether you have just begun to save for a down payment or have been saving for years, you may be closer to your dream home than you think! Let’s get together to help you evaluate your ability to buy today.

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For a Hassle-Free consultation on Home Refinancing, First-Time Home Buyer Mortgage, Zero-Down Mortgage, Home Construction Loan or VA Home Loan, contact DJ Riley today at 763-276-3960 or via email djriley@unitedfamilymortgage.com.

The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

A Rent Payment is Your Landlord’s Mortgage Payment

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What is going to come out our your wallet this year? Your mortgage payment or your landlord’s?

There are some people who haven’t purchased homes because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. However, everyone should realize that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

As Entrepreneur Magazine, a premier source for small business explained in their article, “12 Practical Steps to Getting Rich”:

“While renting on a temporary basis isn’t terrible, you should most certainly own the roof over your head if you’re serious about your finances. It won’t make you rich overnight, but by renting, you’re paying someone else’s mortgage. In effect, you’re making someone else rich.”

With home prices rising, many renters are concerned about their house-buying power. Mike Fratantoni, Chief Economist at MBAexplained:

“The spring homebuying season is almost upon us, and if rates stay lower, inventory continues to grow, and the job market maintains its strength, we do expect to see a solid spring market.”

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings,’ which allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person building that equity.

As mentioned before, interest rates are still at historic lows, making it one of the best times to secure a mortgage and make a move into your dream home. Freddie Mac’s latest report shows that rates across the country were at 4.46% last week.

Bottom Line

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, now may be the time to buy.

For a hassle-free first-time home buyer mortgage consultation, contact DJ Riley today at 763-276-3960  or via email @ djriley@unitedfamilymortgage.com

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