Remember The Alamo

For Texans, the Battle of the Alamo (February 26 – March 6, 1836) became an enduring symbol of their heroic resistance to oppression and their struggle for independence.

Today, people worldwide “Remember the Alamo” as a heroic struggle against impossible odds — a place where men made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. For this reason, the Alamo remains the Shrine of Texas Liberty and hallowed ground for all Americans.

Mortgage Rates Rise On Fed’s Surprising News

Interest Rates Will RiseYesterday was not a good day for mortgage rates with the uneasy news that the Fed seems prepared to raise short-term interest rates sooner than expected. Stocks slipped and mortgage-backed-securities (the market that most directly affect mortgage rates) reacted with negative repricing. The net effect is that buyers hoping for lower borrowing costs can anticipate higher rates in the near term or be looking at higher closing costs (or a lower lender credit toward those costs, if applicable).

4.375% 30 year conventional fixed rate is now being quoted for borrowers with excellent credit scores, +20% equity in their homes; able to pay all closing costs and at least one point. Any variation in these criteria translates into a rate that could be a bit higher.

Get Pre-ApprovedIf your New Year Resolution is to buy a New Home (or Refinance) now is the time to get Pre-Approved and get a jump on the spring buying surge.

Call Me at 860.945.9284 to discuss the right mortgage option for your family and to take advantage of my FREE Mortgage Pre-Approval service. Then call your agent to schedule a showing and be ready to make an offer.

With today’s attractive rates, and my direct relationships with trusted lenders who offer a wide range of affordable mortgage programs, you just might be able to move in to a New Home this Spring.

3 Important Tips for Home Buyers

pretty GirlDreaming about buying a New Home this year? Maybe a warm and comfy vacation home in FL?

Here are 3 Important Tips every Home Buyer should consider.

1. Get Your Loan Pre-Approved. While knowing how much you can afford is the firstGet Pre-Approved step, sellers will be much more receptive to potential buyers who have been Pre-Approved. This way, the seller knows immediately that you are a serious buyer.

2. Hire Your Own Real Estate Agent. Hire an Agent who is working for you, the buyer, not the seller. Get one that’s honest and works for you only.

3. Be Objective. Instead of thinking with your heart when you find a home, think with your head. Asking yourself tough, practical questions will help you make the best choice when buying your first home.

For more Free Tips, visit Browse through the Buyer’s Guide which offers useful information and articles to teach you everything from “How to Negotiate with Sellers” to “Types of Mortgages.”

Handshake Licensed in CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT, NY & FL too! I’m here to help.

What To Do and What Not To Do After Mortgage Pre-Approval

Congratulations & Thank You! You’ve listened to my advice! You’ve decided to “Get Off the Fence” and buy your new Get Pre-Approvedhome. You’ve also done the smart thing and got Pre-Approval for a mortgage. Now you can shop for that home confident in knowing how much of a mortgage you can afford and how big a house you can buy.Shopping for a New Home
Now the “Fun” begins! It will be an anxious time deciding on the right house. But don’t forget, the mortgage application process is not over. Just because you have Pre-Approval, doesn’t mean you can sit back, wait for the appraisal, and expect the transaction to close easily. You still have to take action!

Here’s a list of What To Do and What Not To Do After Pre-Approval to be concerned about as you move through the next stages of your mortgage process:
Don’t Apply for New Credit. Don’t Make any Major Purchases do not enter
Lenders are required to pull a new credit report just before final approval of the loan. Don’t be tempted to take advantage of the great sale for furniture or lawn mowers you’ll need in the new house. Any new credit inquiry will have to be examined; any new debt could affect your debt: income ratio (DTI); and worse, adversely change your credit score that could affect the final rate and terms of your loan.
Even if you pay cash, you may have less money for the down payment and closing costs and/or less money cash reserves (monies left over in your bank accounts to cover future ability to make future mortgage payments)
Don’t Change Jobs. Tell Your Loan Officer About Any Pending Change in Employment Status.
new job
If a great opportunity comes along for career advancement after you’ve been Pre-approved, try to postpone the first day on the job until after your mortgage closes. Lenders are concerned about job stability and are well aware that most new jobs have a 30-90 day probationary period. Lenders might require you to provide a month’s worth of pay stubs to prove your new salary. They also might be concerned if the new job is not in the same line of work..
Conversely, you might be notified of a pending lay-off or worse. Even though you have provided the lender with current pay stubs, lenders will call your employer to verify current employment and the prospect of continued employment.
Be sure to discuss these situations with your loan officer as either one will require more paperwork and could delay your closing.
Do Not Pay-Off All Your Debt. Do Not Pay-Off Old Collection Accounts.
Consult with your loan officer before you do anything that will impact your credit score. Paying off credit card debt money managementwill reduce your cash reserves and could hurt you if the account is closed.
Paying off old collection debt will often signal to the credit reporting agencies that there is new activity on an a bad account and could actually lower your credit score.
Do Not Co-Sign for Any Loans
After 40 years of lending experience; I know that borrowers assume co-signing for your co-signchild’s car loan won’t affect their credit. “It’s not my loan, my kid pays for it.” The loan is considered a debt for both signers and will show up on the mortgage applicant’s credit report and will be included in their DTI. If the child has been late on any payments, the delinquent history will negatively impact the applicant’s credit score.
Do Not Ignore the Lender’s Request for Additional Information.
If your lender needs further clarification of the statements you made in your application, follow directions and do it ASAP! You must be prepared to provide all documents as soon as they are requested, because any delay on your part could delay closing and cost you money.
Do Not Move Any Money Around. Keep a Paper Trail of All Deposits.
Family Finances
To eliminate potential fraud, most loans require a thorough paper trail to document the source of all funds. It is okay to start packing up the dishes, but not your bank records.
Do Not start consolidating your bank accounts, do not make any large deposits to your accounts; Do Not make any large withdrawals either. If you do, document everything!. Keep copies of the check, the deposit ticket and the bank statements that were involved in the transaction.
Most important, Do Not Accept Any Gift Funds until your loan officer tells you how. There are very specific rules and paperwork that must be followed to document the use of gift funds for your down payment and closing costs
Do Not Continue Shopping For a Better Deal With Other Lenders.
This is not meant to be self-serving. Do your shopping for mortgage programs, rates, payments referraland closing costs first. Once you decide on a mortgage professional you trust, stick with them (unless you become completely dissatisfied with their service for some reason).
This is very important because all credit pulls when shopping for a mortgage will not hurt your credit as long as they are done within a 14 day period. If you continue to allow other mortgage companies to look at your credit and/or apply with other companies this can negatively affect your credit scores. I recall several situations where borrowers continued to shop for a better deal and it hurt their credit enough to disqualify them for the program they were Pre-Approved for, forced them to accept a higher interest rate and scramble to find additional monies for closing costs.
Do Stay Current on All Existing Accounts
Make sure you pay all your current obligations and you don’t have any overdrafts on any account. Overdrafts are a sign of “fiscal irresponsibility” and can kill an application quicker than many other factors.
Do Not stop paying your current mortgage, Do Not allow any utility or telephone bill to become collection accounts.
Remember, a Pre-approval is just a snapshot in time. Finding a new home may take awhile. So as time goes by, the lender will require more recent bank statements; and they will pull a new credit report just prior to closing. You want to stay as close to the original snapshot as possible.
Do Line Up an Attorney, and Insurance Agent and a Home Inspector
These professionals play an important role in your home buying experience. The attorney to review your Purchase Contract, defend your interests in the buying process, and represent your at the closing. You’ll need an insurance agent to provide you with home owners insurance; and a home inspector to make sure the property is in good physical shape.
Do Tell your Mortgage Broker and Your Attorney About Any Changes in the Purchase Contract and/or Statements Made in The Application
Situations may arise where the buyer and seller change the terms and conditions of the original agreement. Seller concessions, higher/lower sales price, closing date are some that come to mind. Any change to the LTV or the DTI will require re-submission of the loan documents and could delay the closing at additional expense.Similarly, let your loan officer and attorney know about any change in marital status or name change. This will help you avoid problems with the final closing documents and/or title problems.
Do Understand That Mortgage Pre-Approval is Not a Commitment to Lend.
A Mortgage Pre-Approval Letter can only be issued by an underwriter. The credit report that was pulled and all the documents you supplied form the basis of the snapshot of your financial situation at one moment in the process. It is typically issued with the caveat that it is subject to “receipt of a satisfactory appraisal of the property” and “final review of the complete application file” by the underwriter.
As the mortgage process evolves, borrowers are encouraged to stay as close to the original snapshot as possible.
Bottom Line.First Home Buyer
You chose your mortgage professional because you trust him. If you have questions about what to do or not to do throughout the mortgage process, do not hesitate to give him a call. Be honest and upfront with your concerns; ask questions if you don’t understand something; and keep in touch after application all the way through closing to guarantee a smooth hassle free transaction.

First Home Buyers and the Ability to Repay Rule. What It Means To You.

The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) has implemented certain laws decreeing that before banks grant a mortgage they must make a good-faith effort to determine that First Home Buyers, will be able to pay the loan back. The Ability to Repay Rule (ATR) went into effect in January 2014.

Why is the Ability-to-Repay Rule Important?

FHA MIThe Ability-to-Repay rule will make sure that consumers assume mortgage obligations that they can afford and it protects all parties from the negative effects of loan defaults.
Lenders must determine that applicants for mortgage loans will have the ability to repay the loan. All lenders must collect and verify certain consumer financial information including:
1.  Current or reasonably expected income or assets
2.  Current employment status
3.  Credit history
4.  The monthly payment for the proposed new mortgage
5.  Monthly payments on other mortgage loans you get at the same time
6.  Monthly payments for other mortgage-related expenses (such as property taxes, homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance, Condo fees)
7.  Other current debt obligations including child support and alimony payments
8.  Borrower’s current monthly debt payments plus the proposed monthly mortgage obligation compared to the borrower’s monthly income.Your monthly debt payments, including the mortgage, compared to your monthly income is … the all important “debt-to-income ratio”
You must have enough assets or income to pay back the mortgage.
Lenders have to verify income and credit information from a reasonably reliable third-party source. The lender must determine that you can repay the loan. If your income shows on yourMortgage Checklist tax return, you might be able to use it to qualify.
Be prepared to provide copies of bank statements, mutual fund and 401k statements to prove you have the ability to cover the down payment statements and closing costs and any reserves to cover any financial problems down the road.
The allowable Debt-to-Income Ratio is capped at 43 percent.
That is, once the mortgage is issued, the borrower’s fixed debt service costs, including the mortgage, credit cards, car loans, student loan debt, and nearly anything else recorded by the credit bureaus, a Borrower’s DTI cannot be greater than 43 percent of pre-tax income.
This isn’t a radical change. For years now, whenever I meet with a new buyer, I always ask about their comfort level with a mortgage payment. We discuss debt repayment, taxes, insurance and PMI and back into the mortgage amount they can afford. I can’t recall the last time we ever got close to this cap.
What will be the Impact on First Home Buyers?
Mortgage ApprovedBuyers will likely find a more stringent loan approval process that requires a lot more documentation verifying the statements made on the application. Lenders already pull a current credit report and verify employment just before issuing a “Clear-to-Close” on the file. Don’t be surprised if lenders start asking for additional documentation to re-verify income and assets just prior to closing too.
Bottom Line
It’s really back to basics in the mortgage industry. That’s what it should be and should have been. If a buyer has worked hard to deserve a new home and can afford one, then they should be able to buy one. Regretfully, it has taken federal regulation to try and strike a balance between protecting consumers from predatory lending to uneducated, unsophisticated consumers, and shutting off the flow of credit to the housing sector.

Call Me at 860.945.9284 to discuss the right mortgage option for your family and to take Get Pre-Approvedadvantage of my FREE Mortgage Pre-Approval service. Then call your agent to schedule a showing and be ready to make an offer.
With today’s attractive rates, and my direct relationships with trusted lenders who offer a wide range of affordable mortgage programs, you just might be able to move into your new home this spring.
Licensed in all 6 New England states; NY & FL too. I’m here to help.

Help For Boomerang Home Buyers?

I received a referral from a local savings bank last week. The loan officer explained that their customer just didn’t fit into any of their loan boxes and hoped I could help. He called them Boomerang Buyers.

boomerang buyerPersonally, I hate that term. Boomerang Buyers are former homeowners who lost their home through foreclosure, short sale or bankruptcy as a result of the real estate crash and the economic recession we’ve experienced in recent years.

In my case, the buyers lost their business, and their home, due to the closeddownturn in the construction industry in FL. They are now making excellent money from the booming oil industry in the Dakotas. However, the hell they went through these past several years drained all their cash reserves forcing them to pay cash for most everything, including their kids’ college education. Now he has a job lined up in CT, their son will graduate this spring and they want to move back to a small house in the area closer to their aging parents.

So … can I help? These new clients have already been home owners; they appreciate the freedom and feeling of self-worth in owning their own home; they understand the process and they are motivated.
Yes… I think I can! Each “Boomerang Buyer” is a unique situation. For them, buying another home depends on a multitude of factors. My job is to help sort them all out, develop a game plan and follow through to make sure it is executed. In my clients’ case, it will involve a lot of research, paperwork and perhaps a little time. Both of us are committed to the task!

referralThere are many potential homeowners out there that need special hand-holding and direction. Families in this predicament may be ashamed, frightened that they will never be able to own a home again, wonder who would ever give them a mortgage again, … the list of feelings is endless.

The sooner I have the opportunity to interact with someone that may have lost a home or had a bankruptcy, the better. I want to begin coaching them about how long they may have to wait to buy a home again, about their current credit situation, what they need to do to get where they want to be and how it’s going to cost

As I promised my new clients, I will do my best to help find the Right Mortgage at the Right Rate that suits their needs. If you know someone in this kind of situation, I will be happy to talk to them. Licensed in CT, MA, ME, NH, RI VT, NY & FL too!. I’m here to help!

First Home Buyer Tips for The Millennial Generation

The Millennial Generation grew up during the housing crash, so rightfully they are more cautious of becoming homeowners because of the foreclosure problems they’ve read about or their parents may have experienced.
Now, facing high student loan debt and a tough job market, studies show that Millennials are less likely than other generations to experience homeownership. And during the last few years, the real estate market has been especially scary for would-be homeowners. What’s a Millennial to do?

Here are a few First Home Buyer Tips for the Millennial Generation to help you pursue your dream of home ownership someday:

Get Pre-Qualified
Learn as much as you can from a local Mortgage Broker you trust “to really understand the mortgage process; what types of mortgage programs are available: and what types of paymentsconfused and upfront costs are associated with specific property types,” says Malcolm Hollensteiner, Director of Retail Lending Products & Services at TDBank.
By connecting with a lending professional beforehand, Millennials will be able to find out what it takes to qualify for a loan and maybe even get Pre-Qualified for one.
Buyers and SellersPart of the learning process also includes becoming knowledgeable about the real estate market you’d like to buy a house in. A Real Estate Agent who knows about the local markets will help you determine where you want to live, give you an idea of what properties are available in your price range, and allow you to develop a solid game plan.
Map Out Your Future.
Are you financially prepared to take on the debt of a mortgage? Do you have enough money saved up for a rainy day fund? Have you accounted for the maintenance costs of owning a home? How much of your hard earned savings are you willing to contribute toward the Down Payment on a First Home and the Closing Costs associated with the purchase? These are all very real questions that Millennials should ask themselves when dreaming about buying their First Home.
Plus, homes nowadays may not appreciative in value the same way they did during the boom years. So consider renting as an alternative if you can’t afford the costs of owning a home or are unsure of your plans five years from now.
Review Your Credit and Finances.
With many Millennials mired in high student loan debt, it’s important to take a good look at your credit and any outstanding debt you might have before you even begin thinking about money managementbuying your First Home. To determine whether you qualify for a loan, lenders will take a look at your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. Any student loan payments, expensive car payments or credit card debt you have will affect the ratio. Try to pay down as much student debt as you can, consolidating your student loans, to improve your debt-to-income ratio.
good-credit-vs-bad-creditAlso, resolve any credit issues before beginning the process of buying a house. You want to put yourself in the best position possible. So if you don’t have enough credit history, for instance, find out what you need to do in order to build credit.
Use Technology to Your Advantage.
More than previous generations, Millennials have at their disposal a number of online tools that can help ease and speed up the home-searching and home buying process. From online calculators that help you determine how much you need to save in order technologyto buy a home to real estate listing websites, the Internet can be your best friend as you navigate the real estate waters.
Even something like Google Street View can show you what a neighborhood is like and, of course, there are sites that review potential real estate agents you’re thinking of hiring. Many of these tools are available as apps as well, so take advantage of them.
Think Low-End.
New federal law says the maximum allowable DTI on a mortgage is 43% of a borrower’s gross monthly income. That includes the mortgage payment, monthly escrow for taxes and home shoppingHomeowners Insurance, monthly Mortgage Insurance plus  any other debt payments. “Just because you might be qualified up to a certain loan amount doesn’t mean you have to buy that much property,” says Hollensteiner.
Hollensteiner also says that Millennials are particularly good at looking at properties that are within their budget. “The millennial generation grew up during the housing crash, so rightfully they’re more trepidatious of becoming homeowners because of the foreclosure problems,” he says. “Understand that homeownership is as much an investment in the community as an investment in your own financial portfolio.”

dreamOwning your own home has been the American Dream for decades. It’s a dream that has been sorely tested by the real estate crisis and economic developments in recent years. I have the belief that anyone that deserves to own a home should be able to do so. The Dream is still attainable for those Millenials who do their homework, establish a game plan and work hard to achieve that goal. 

The article Tips for Millennials Hoping to Buy a Home originally appeared on and