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Posted by The Norton Group, Inc. on 12/16/2018

If you are thinking of buying a home in the near future, there’s one three-digit number that could be oh so important to you. That number is your credit score. Read on to find out how a credit score can affect you and the steps you can take to be sure that your credit is in good standing when you head to apply for a mortgage. 


What Is A Credit Score?


Your credit score is checked by lenders of all kinds. Every time you apply for a loan or a credit card, there’s a good chance that your credit score is being pulled to see if you qualify for the loan. Your credit score is calculated based on the information on your credit report. This information includes:


Payment history

Debt-to-credit ratio

Length of credit history

New credit accounts opened


The areas with the most impact on your score is your payment history and your debt-to-credit ratio. This means that on-time payments are super important. You also don’t want to get anywhere close to maxing out your credit cards or loan amounts to keep your score up. 


What’s A Good Score?


If you’re aiming for the perfect credit score, it’s 850. Most consumers won’t reach that state of perfection. That’s, OK because you don’t have to be perfect to buy a house. If your score is 740 and above, know that you’re in great shape to get a mortgage. Even if your score is below 740 but around 700 or above, you’ll be able to get a good interest rate on your mortgage. Most lenders typically look for a score of 620 and above. Keep in mind that the higher your credit score the better your interest rate will be.    



What If You Lack Credit History?


Most people should get a credit card around age 20 in order to begin building credit. You can still qualify for a mortgage without a credit history, but it will be considerably harder. Lenders may look at things like your rent payments or car payments. Lenders want to know that you’re a responsible person to lend to. 


What If Your Score Needs Help?


It doesn’t mean you’re a hopeless case if you lack good credit. Everything from errors on your credit report to missed payments can be fixed. The most important thing that you can do if you’re buying a home in the near future is to be mindful of your credit. Keep an eye on your credit report and continue to make timely payments. With a bit of focus, you’ll be well on your way to securing a mortgage for the home of your dreams.        






Tags: mortgage   credit score  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by The Norton Group, Inc. on 9/16/2018

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers multiple housing assistance programs for people hoping to achieve home ownership.

In spite of being offered by the USDA, you don’t need to be a farmer or rancher of any kind to qualify for a home loan. Similarly, you don’t have to buy a home miles from civilization--many popular, thickly-settled suburbs across the country also qualify for USDA programs.

In this article, we’re going to explain the different programs offered by the USDA, how to check your eligibility, how to find out which locations qualify, and how to get started with a loan.

USDA Assistance Programs

The USDA offers two types of home loans for prospective buyers. The direct program, or Section 502 Direct Loan Program, is designed to help low-income persons to acquire safe, affordable housing. The assistance for this loan comes in the form of a subsidy that can be applied directly to the applicant’s mortgage, reducing monthly mortgage payments for a certain period of time.

Another type of home loan offered by the USDA is the Single Family Home Guarantee. Much like an FHA or first-time homeowner’s loan, this type of mortgage is insured by the government. As a result, buyers can often qualify for lower interest rates and smaller down payments from their lenders.

Guarantees may be applied towards the purchase, rebuilding, or building of a rural home as an incentive to developing rural areas. Later, we’ll talk about what is considered “rural.”

Outside of help with buying homes, the USDA also provides grants and loans for repairing and modernizing rural homes.

Who is eligible for USDA mortgage assistance?

In general, those applying for USDA assistance must meet certain criteria. Applicants must meet income eligibility, be a U.S. citizen or qualified noncitizen, and must purchase a qualifying property.

For the Direct loan program, applicants must be without safe or sanitary housing and be unable to secure housing through other means. Whereas for USDA guaranteed loans, applicants need only fall under the maximum income limit.

To find out if you’re eligible immediately, fill out an eligibility form from the USDA.

How do I know which houses qualify?

Generally speaking, homes located within large, metropolitan cities won’t qualify for USDA loans. However, suburbs just outside of some larger cities often do. For example, towns located just a half hour’s drive outside of Boston have a good chance of being eligible.

To view the map of property eligibility, simply fill out the online eligibility form.

How Do I Get Started?

If you’re seeking a direct loan, you’ll have to contact your local Rural Development office. Applications for a direct loan are accepted year-round and are awarded based on funding availability.

For people looking for a private loan guaranteed by the USDA, applicants should contact an approved lender in the area. The lender will then work with the USDA loan specialist in your state.




Tags: mortgage   home loans   USDA Loans  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by The Norton Group, Inc. on 7/8/2018

Whether you’re a first time homebuyer or a seasoned homeowner, the terminology of mortgages can be confusing. Since buying a home is such a huge financial decision, you’re also going to want to make sure you understand every step of the process and all of the conditions and fees along the way.

In this article, we’re going to explain some of the common terms you might come across when applying for a home loan, be it online or over the phone. By learning the basic meaning of these terms you’ll feel more confident and prepared going into the application process.

We’ll cover the acronyms, like APRs and ARMs, and the scary sounding terms like “amortization” so that you know everything you need to about the terminology of home loans.

  • ARM and FRM, or adjustable rate vs fixed rate mortgages. Lenders make their money by charging you interest on your home loan that you pay back over the length of your loan period. Adjustable rate mortgages or ARMs are loans that have interest rates which change over the lifespan of your loan. You may start off at a low, “introductory rate” and later start paying higher amounts depending on the predetermined rate index. Fixed rate mortgages, on the other hand, remain at the same rate throughout the life of the loan. However, refinancing on your loan allows you to receive a different interest rate later down the road.

  • Amortization. It sounds like a medieval torture technique, but in reality amortization is the process of making your life easier by setting up a fixed repayment schedule. This schedule includes both the interest and the principal loan balance, allowing you to understand how long and how much money will go toward repaying your mortgage.

  • Equity. Simply state, your equity is the the amount of the home you have paid off. In a sense, it’s the amount of the home that you really own. Your equity increases as you make payments, and having equity can help you buy a new home, or see a return on investment with your current home if the home increases in value.

  • Assumption and assumability. It isn’t the title of a Jane Austen novel. It’s all about the process of a mortgage changing hands. An assumable mortgage can be transferred to a new buyer, and assumption is the actual transfer of the loan. Assuming a loan can be financially beneficial if the home as increased in value since the mortgage was created.

  • Escrow. There are a lot of legal implications that come along with buying a home. An escrow is designed to make sure the loan process runs smoothly. It acts as a holding tank for your documents, payments, as well as property taxes and insurance. An escrow performs an important function in the home buying process, and, as a result, charges you a percentage of the home for its services.

  • Origination fee. Basically a fancy way of saying “processing fee,” the origination covers the cost of processing your mortgage application. It’s one of the many “closing costs” you’ll encounter when buying a home and accounts for all of the legwork your loan officer does to make your mortgage a reality--running credit reports, reviewing income history, and so on.  




Tags: mortgage   terminology  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by The Norton Group, Inc. on 2/25/2018

Adjustable rate mortgages are also known as “ARM” loans. These are home loans with monthly payments that move up and down along with interest rates and the market. There’s different periods that occur throughout the time of the adjustable loan including an initial period where the rate is fixed for a certain amount of time. The rates will change along with preset intervals of change. 


Rates Start Lower Than Fixed Rate Mortgages


Interest rates during the fixed rate period of an adjustable mortgage are usually lower than that of fixed-rate mortgages. The most common type of adjustable rate mortgage is called the 5/1 ARM. This means that the rate is locked for a total of 5 years before it becomes truly adjustable. After the 5 years the rate will change every year. Other forms of ARM loans are the 3/1, the 7/1, and the 10/1.


Rate Indexes And Margins


Following the fixed-rate period, the interest rate adjusts with what’s titled the index interest rate. This rate is set by the market and is released periodically by an independent party. Since there are a variety of indexes, your loan will state which index your adjustable rate mortgage will follow. To set your exact rate, your lender will look at the index and then add a number of percentage points that has already been set in place. This is called the margin. For example, an index rate of 2.5 percent and a margin of 2 will equal an interest rate of 4.5 percent. As the index changes, this number will go up and down.


Adjustable Rate Mortgages Come With Caps


If you do decide to go with an adjustable rate mortgage, you should know that you’re protected from extreme rate increases. These loans come with caps that limit the amount that both rates and payments can change by. There are several different kinds of caps including:


Periodic Rate Cap

This limits the amount that an interest rate can change from one year to the next.


Lifetime Rate Cap

This type of cap limits how much the interest rate can change overall throughout the life of the loan. 


Payment Rate Cap

This limits how much the monthly payments can rise over the life of the loan in a dollar amount. This is different than other caps, since it denotes dollars instead of percentage points.


Is This Type Of Loan For You?

Adjustable rate mortgages can be good, depending on the state of the economy and your own financial situation. Stay educated and shop around in order to get the best rates available for you.





Posted by The Norton Group, Inc. on 9/17/2017

Being a first-time home buyer is tough. It can seem like you have undertaken one of the most overwhelming processes ever. There’s so much to learn in the process of securing a mortgage and closing on a home. If you go into buying a home prepared with knowledge, it will be that much easier for you. 


There’s a lot of terminology to learn about the home buying process. You’ll need to know who should be involved with the transaction including agents, lawyers and bankers. You’ll need to be prepared for the fees involved in buying a home as well. There are many different programs available to help first-time homebuyers that can help you save money and secure your first home. Here’s just some of those programs: 


FHA

This is the Federal Housing Administration and it’s a very popular go-to for first-time home buyers. It’s also great for people who have tarnished credit history. As a borrower with FHA backing, you can qualify for a loan with as little as 3.5% down. These FHA loans have an additional cost built into them which is mortgage insurance. In case you default on the loan, this protects the lender.


The Department Of Veteran’s Affairs


This resource helps veterans, service members and their surviving spouses to buy homes. Often, this program requires no down payment or mortgage insurance. The problem is that getting these kinds of loans can take awhile to process, so you can’t be in a big hurry to buy a home.


Good Neighbor Next Door


This program is meant for teachers, law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical responders, which is why it’s called the “Good Neighbor” initiative. This is a program sponsored as part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It allows 50% discounts of the price of homes in places considered revitalization areas. All you need to do is be in one of the said professions and commit to living on the property for at least 3 years. The catch is that these homes are listed for just 7 days on the Good Neighbor Next Door website.


Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac


These are government-sanctioned companies that work with local lenders to offer good mortgage options for first-time home buyers such as 3% down payment options.


USDA


The U.S Department of Agriculture has its own homebuyers’ assistance program. The benefits are for people who live in rural areas and allows 100% financing by offering lenders mortgage guarantees in return. There are income limitations that can vary by region.

Assistance Isn’t Hard To Find


As you can see, there are many programs available to help first-time homebuyers. From downpayment assistance to ways that you can keep your mortgage payments low, you can find some help if you need it. You may feel that purchasing a home is something that’s far in the future the future, but with federal programs, more people can realize their dreams of home ownership.        




Tags: mortgage   FHA loans   home loans  
Categories: Uncategorized