FHA insured mortgages serve a sector of the market that is not necessarily being met by other loan programs.
Securing an 80% conventional mortgage that doesn’t require mortgage insurance may be the lowest cost of financing but if the buyer doesn’t have 20% down payment, it isn’t really an option.
Securing a 100% VA loan doesn’t require a down payment or mortgage insurance but if the buyer isn’t a veteran with his/her eligibility intact, it isn’t an option either.
There are conventional loan programs with as little as 3% down payment but they not only require mortgage insurance, they also require a credit score of 740 or above which may eliminate some buyers.
For these reasons, FHA is a viable alternative to about 20% of new and existing home sales. The Federal backing of these mortgages makes it easier for first-time and low-income buyers to qualify because the requirements are not as demanding. They’re even more lenient towards buyers who have previously experienced bankruptcy, foreclosure or a short sale.
Finding the right mortgage for the right home is a team effort where both mortgage and real estate professionals work in harmony to get a buyer into their own home. Call us at (503) 238-1700 for a recommendation of a trusted mortgage professional.
General FHA loan requirements include:
- The loan is for primary residences only but can include two, three or four units.
- The property must be appraised by an FHA-approved appraiser.
- The property must be safe, sound and secure, in compliance with minimum property standards as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
- The borrower must be a legal resident of the U.S. and have a valid Social Security number.
- The minimum credit score of 580 with a down payment of at least 3.5 percent, or a minimum credit score of 500 with a down payment of at least 10 percent.
- The borrower may not have delinquent federal debt or judgments, or debt associated with past FHA loans.
- The borrower must have steady employment history.
- Documentation is required if the down payment was gifted by a family member.
- The borrower must have a debt-to-income not exceed limits of 31% for front-end and 43% back-end ratio (some exceptions may apply).
- Any judgments or collections on the credit report must be resolved or satisfactorily explained.
In 2007, Congress passed an energy act that required new energy-efficient standards for basic light bulbs. Standard incandescent bulbs are being phased out and eventually will be unavailable.
The alternative bulbs differ considerably in price. LED bulbs are the most efficient but they also cost the most. CFLs are a less expensive alternative. Interestingly, the more expensive replacements offer lower operating costs and longer economic life.
One approach will be to inventory the different types and quantities of light bulbs you need in your home. Then, research either online or a big box store to find out what each type of bulb costs. This information will give you a total budget for converting your lighting.
It could be a significant expense to replace all the bulbs in a home at one time, especially when most of the bulbs still work. That’s where a plan might make sense.
Replace the bulbs in the rooms where the lights are used the most such as kitchen, family rooms and bathrooms. There may be other “rooms” where the lights are used frequently like certain hallways or stairs. Outside flood lights for security purposes may be a large energy consumption.
Bulbs can vary in light output measured in lumens as well as color of light from warm white to bright white and daylight. The lighting label required by the Federal Trade Commission on all packaging will help you determine which will give you the most bang for your buck.
The last thing you want if you’re traveling these holidays is to worry about someone burglarizing your home. Use this check list to add some peace of mind while you’re out of town.
- Ask a trusted friend – to pick up mail, newspaper and keep yard picked up to avoid an appearance of being empty.
- Consider discontinuing your mail (USPS Hold Mail Service)
- Don’t post about your trip on Facebook and other social media until you return – some burglars actually look for this type of announcement to schedule their activities.
- Do notify police or neighborhood watch – especially if you’re going to be gone for more than just a few days. Let your monitoring service know when you’ll be gone and if someone will be checking on your home for you.
- Light timers make it look like someone is home – use several sets for different times to better simulate someone being at home.
- Do unplug certain appliances – TV, computers, toaster ovens that use electricity even when they’re off and to protect them from power surges.
- Don’t hide a key – burglars know exactly where to look for your key and it only takes them a moment to check under the mat, above the door, in the flower pot or in a fake rock.
These easy-to-handle suggestions may protect your belongings while you’re gone while adding a level of serenity to your trip.
Would someone really refinance their home and not take money out of it? Certainly, if they could get a lower rate, build equity faster and pay off the home sooner.
For people with extra cash available, this can be very attractive compared to the low savings rates being paid by banks.
In the example below, the current mortgage is 5% for 30 years after 48 payments of $1,342.05. The owner can refinance for 15 years at 3.37%. If they put $36,000 into the refinance, their payments will be slightly more but the mortgage will be paid off in 15 years. At that same point, if they keep the current mortgage, their unpaid balance will be $136,049.03.
If you have a goal to get your home paid off and have the available funds, a Cash-In Refinance may be just the strategy for you.