Ingrid B. Quinn

NMLS ID #211652 Arizona, Loan Consultant


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Is Refinancing for You?

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Many of my clients are looking at the pros and cons of refinancing their current home loans due to rate and program changes in the past several years. There is potential to lower their rate or payment on their current mortgage. In the long run, refinancing can be very beneficial. There are many reasons why people will consider a refinance, so I will break it down into the top 4 reasons that I have had experience with.

Changing from an Adjustable Rate to a Fixed Rate Mortgage: Some homebuyers initially go for a low rate adjustable rate mortgage (ARM). This program allows for a fixed set interest rate for a period of time, typically 3, 5 or 7 years and when that time is up the mortgage will re-adjust based on the terms set forth in the initial note. The fixed interest rate allows buyers to refinance and lock in a similar monthly payment for the life of the loan.

Interest Rate or Monthly Payment: The most common reason to refinance is to lower your interest rate or drop mortgage insurance and in turn lower your monthly payment. For example, if you are five years into an existing 30-year mortgage and refinance for a brand new 30-year fixed loan, you are able to re-set the time clock back to 30 years. This extends the amount of time you have to pay off your loan and will possibly lower your monthly payments. If you have sufficient equity in your home you may also be able to refinance out of your current loan program that may have mortgage insurance.

Shorter Term to Amortize the Loan Faster: Some homeowners use the lower interest rates to pay down their mortgages faster. A basic example would be a homeowner with 20-25 years left to pay on a 30-year mortgage. By refinancing, they can move to a 15-year fixed rate or 20 year with usually only a modest change in their monthly payment. This would allow the homeowner to pay off their loan in a shorter time frame and lower the amount of interest they will pay overall.

Equity: Homeowners may want to use the equity that they have accumulated based on improving home values and do a cash out refinance. This money can be used for many things, from paying off other debt to doing home improvements.
Take some time and talk to a mortgage professional to figure out the best option for you. Some things you should think about are:
– Credit score (at least 620 or higher)
– Steady income for at least the past 6 months to 2 years
– Amount of equity in your home (at least 20% preferably)
– Will this make significant change?
– How long do you plan on staying in the home?

Each homeowner has their own special situation and should take the time to weigh the pros and cons of a refinance. Your mortgage professional is there to help you through this decision. For questions or suggestion please feel free to email me at Ingrid.Quinn@cobaltmortgage.com or visit me at http://www.scottsdalemortgageexpert.com or http://www.cobaltmortgage.com/ingridquinn


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Down Payment of Your Home Purchase

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Where is my money better spent if I have to make a choice, down payment or discount points? When it comes to putting a down payment on a home there are a number of different options available and each individual has a unique situation. It is best to weigh the options and determine what is going to be best for you in the long run. Different loan programs offer different down payment options:

VA Loans: 100% financing maybe available

USDA Loans: 100% financing maybe available

FHA Loans: minimum down payment is 3.5% of the sales price to FHA’s county maximum. Check your local market for FHA maximum loan limits. https://entp.hud.gov/idapp/html/hicostlook.cfm

Conventional Conforming Loans: 5% down payment is the minimum required for a Conforming Loan.

Non-Conforming Loans: check with your mortgage professional (programs may vary)

3 Things to Keep in Mind:

Larger Down Payment – Just remember, the larger your down payment means the less money you have to borrow. This also means you’ll have more equity already available in your new home. This is important for borrowers in many ways, including lower monthly payments, potentially better loan terms, and the possibility of not having to purchase mortgage insurance.

Discount points – The easiest way to think of discount points is that in order to lower or discount your interest rate, you pay a premium. This increases your closing costs and may have an impact on the money you have available for your down payment. Before you agree to pay discount points, you should consult your mortgage professional about the amount of money you are going to save monthly. From there you can decide if this route will benefit you in the long run. I have written in detail on the subject of discount/mortgage points. For more information on this subject please visit my blog Mortgage Points, What Are They?

Qualifying for a Loan- qualifying for a loan can be tricky, but with the help of a mortgage professional you can look at your options and determine what will be the best way for you to qualify. In some cases you may need to work with a combination of things to fully qualify for the loan you need.

There is no answer that is right for every borrower. Many factors play into a home loan and a mortgage professional is there assist you with the decision making process by laying out your options. Never hesitate to ask questions.

For questions or suggestions please feel free to email me at Ingrid.Quinn@CobaltMortgage.com or visit me at http://www.CobaltMortgage.com/IngridQuinn or http://www.ScottsdaleMortgageExpert.com


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Short Sale/Deed in Lieu Seasoning per Fannie Mae

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New Fannie Mae loan changes on the horizon could affect you! If you’ve recently had a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure (DIL) and are looking to purchase a home again, here’s what you need to know:
Fannie Mae announced that on August 16th of this year there will be changes to regulations. For several years now, Fannie Mae has allowed buyers that previously were involved in a pre-foreclosure hardship (short sale, or deed in lieu), to buy again using Conventional financing in as little as 24 months with a 20% down payment and a minimum 680 credit score.
After August 16th, this early purchase programs is being retired, and replaced with longer waiting period, but with much less strict down payment and credit score requirements. Buyers that experience a short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure are able to buy again using Conventional financing after a four (4) year waiting period.
From what we understand, it appears that after the four (4) years from a short sale or deed in lieu, that you can qualify using the standard Conventional qualifying requirements of a minimum 620 credit score, and 5% down payment.
Exceptions: If a homeowner can prove that the short sale was due to an extenuating circumstance such as job loss and can provide strong documentation, then the waiting period may still be reduced to two years.
There are still options other than conventional conforming programs to assist buyers purchasing a home prior to 4 years. FHA & VA financing have shorter waiting periods; 3 years for FHA financing and 2 years for VA. Also, there are portfolio products available where a time limit does not exist but terms of that type of a loan are significantly less favorable than previously described programs.
If you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. Visit http://www.cobaltmortgage.com/ingridquinn or email me at Ingrid.quinn@cobaltmortgage.com.


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Where to Begin The Home Buying Process

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When you meet with a Realtor, they will want to get some information from you. First, they will want to know if you have been prequalified with a mortgage lender. Then the Realtor will want to find out the features you are looking for in your new home. What type of home are you looking for single family, townhome, condo, square footage, location and the biggest question, what’s your budget? Knowing all of this information up front gives you an advantage. The home buying process can be overwhelming, unless you put together a plan for success right from the start. Be ahead of the game and meet with a loan officer. He or she will give you a realistic idea of what you can afford and provide you with information about the process you are about to embark on.

Every buyer has a unique financial situation, credit score, job history, income, debt and financial goals. A mortgage lender will analyze your information at the beginning of your home buying process, maybe before you even meet with your agent and in turn this will give you the ability to focus on the properties that are the best fit for you. Today, it is not uncommon for people to have small hiccups through out the home buying process. Meeting with your mortgage lender before you begin looking at homes will put you in the best position possible. Some of the simplest things can become a deal breaker if they are not addressed in a timely manner up front.

Over the past few years, the home loan process has undergone major changes. Government requirements, coupled with new banking standards have implemented procedures to help avoid future housing troubles. Meeting with a lender should be step number one. You should be prepared to provide copies of tax records, W2’s, complete bank statements and pay stubs. Having your prequalification or pre approval (both topics are discussed in a previous blog) in place will help you to have the greatest success with an offer on a new home.

For more information about the home buying process or if you have questions or comments please visit http://www.cobaltmortgage.com/ingridquinn or http://www.scottsdalemortgageexpert.com.


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Paying Off Your Mortgage Loan and FHA rules

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Why Is the Payoff Balance on a Loan Usually Higher than the Current Balance on your Statement?

When you receive your monthly statement from your mortgage lender, the unpaid balance IS NOT the amount necessary to pay the loan in full. This is merely the principal balance as of the first day of the previous month.

Your March statement shows a balance owing of $200,000. This figure is what is owed as of February 1 – not March 1. Why? Because when you made your February payment to the mortgage lender, you were paying interest in arrears – you pay the interest for the previous month – in this case interest that was due from January 1 through January 31.
You will pay interest to the lender until it receives the payoff from your settlement agent. The settlement agent will determine the amount to collect for payoff. At times there will be a few days interest as a cushion. Keep in mind that the lender being paid-off will refund to you any overpayment in daily interest.

So how do you determine your payoff amount?
The title company will order a payoff letter from your mortgage servicer to find out the precise payoff amount.

What if you’re trying to prepare an estimate and would like a figure?
You can always call your lender and obtain a payoff from them over the phone. Some lenders will calculate a payoff amount for you online as well. Just remember to add a few days to the closing date so that you have allowed for a cushion.

To estimate, use this trick: take your principal balance and add to it a monthly payment. Assuming that you are on time with your payments, this number should always be a bit higher than your actual payoff, but at least this way you will be overestimating instead of underestimating, which is typically the case when you use the principal balance as the payoff amount.

Paying Off an FHA Loan
The daily interest covers the period until the payoff date, except on FHA mortgages, where the payment covers the entire month. Evidently FHA’s accounting system can’t deal with days, only months. That means that it is a good idea for borrowers refinancing out of an FHA to close as close to the end of the month as possible. This rule may be changed in 2015.

For questions or comments please contact me at Ingrid.quinn@cobaltmortgage.com or visit http://www.cobaltmortgage.com/ingridquinn or http://www.scottsdalemortgageexpert.com.


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Pulling Credit Affects Your Credit Score

Credit Score

When I am talking to a client about preparing to buy a home, I always inform them to not apply for a new line of credit or credit card. Applying for a single credit card has a negligible effect on their score but applying for several in a short period of time does make a difference. Doing so can affect their over all credit score and can in turn change their eligibility for certain mortgage programs. When you apply for credit, an inquiry is generated. The creditor wants to determine what your current credit score is and what your credit history looks like in order to determine what program will best fit your needs and eligibility.

So, what is a credit inquiry? An inquiry is a notation on your credit report that someone has requested your credit file or that you have requested credit. Two types of inquiries may appear on a credit report. These are known as “hard” inquiries (can impact your credit score) and “soft” inquires (that don’t)

What counts as a hard or soft inquiry?

Applying for a loan or credit card can result in a hard inquiry, but applications not tied to a form of credit can result in a hard inquiry as well. A credit check for a new mobile phone or apartment, for example, can also generate a hard pull on your credit report. “The general rule is, if it is an inquiry that indicates that you may be taking on additional financial obligations, then that could be meaningful to your risk of being able to repay other debts,” says Maxine Sweet, vice president of public education for Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus. A cellular phone or apartment signifies the possibility of an additional monthly payment.
Soft Inquiries not related to a new financial commitment won’t hurt your credit score. These include credit checks from employers, companies sending preapproved offers of credit or insurance, existing creditors conducting periodic account reviews or your own request to see your credit file.

How inquiries are scored

Inquiries don’t count as much as payment history, revolving utilization and other factors that contribute to the calculation of a credit score. The actual impact of an inquiry can vary according to your credit history. If you have few accounts or a short credit history, inquiries can cost more points. The amount of points deducted may not be the same for each additional inquiry, as they might be scored in ranges. Past a certain threshold, the consumer could max out on the damage from numerous credit checks. Hard inquiries stay on credit reports for two years, but the length of time they impact the score depends on the scoring model (or credit bureau) used.

Multiple inquiries generated when rate-shopping for a mortgage, auto or student loan are consolidated by credit scoring models when done within a certain window of time. The FICO scoring model ignores multiple mortgage, auto and student loan inquiries in the 30 days prior to scoring but if shopping for all 3 in that window of time will alert lenders you are shopping for high priced items and reduce your score significantly. Stay off the new car lot when shopping for a home.
If you consider keeping credit inquiries to a minimum while shopping for a home loan you should be safe not to do any harm that will significantly impact your ability to get a quality mortgage. If you have questions or comments please contact me at Ingrid.quinn@cobaltmortgage.com or visit my website http://www.scottsdalemortgageexpert.com 


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Qualified Mortgage (Q.M.) What is it?

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Qualified Mortgage (QM) and Ability to Repay rules are in effect on loan applications received on or after January 10, 2014. Part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the new rules are designed to protect buyers from purchasing homes they can’t afford and provide lenders protection from liability when originating loans that meet the Qualified Mortgage standard.
What is a Qualified Mortgage?

A qualified mortgage is a home loan that has:
• Regular periodic payments in substantially equal amounts
• Been underwritten based on a fully amortizing payment schedule using the maximum rate allowable for the first five years after the date of the first periodic payment
• Verified the borrower’s income and assets; and current debts, including alimony and child support
• A borrower’s total debt-to-income ratio of no more than 43% (see “Temporary QM” for exceptions to this requirement)
• Met points and fees limitations
• None of the following features: negative-amortization, interest-only or balloon-payment features

Points and Fees

A loan must not exceed the limits listed below for points and fees for either Temporary or Standard Qualified Mortgages. These fees typically do not include those that are paid to third parties such as appraisers or title companies unless those companies are affiliated with the lender.

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Higher-Priced Mortgage Loans

For a lender to originate a Qualified Mortgage with safe harbor legal protections, the lender must ensure that the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) does not exceed certain thresholds. For 1st lien mortgage loans, the APR cannot exceed an index called the Average Prime Offered Rate (APOR) by more than 1.5%. For 2nd lien mortgage loans, the APR cannot exceed the APOR by more than 3.5%. FHA APR cannot exceed APOR +1.15% + annual NI%.

What does the Qualified Mortgage mean for you and your buyers?

Most loan programs today already adhere to the standards that make up the QM rule. The new rule simply formalizes that lenders must make – and document – a good-faith determination before closing the loan that the borrower has a reasonable Ability to Repay the loan. At minimum, this determination is made based on eight factors, which are already the tenets of mortgage underwriting:
• Current income or assets
• Current employment status
• Monthly mortgage payment
• Monthly payment on any simultaneous loan
• Monthly payment for mortgage-related obligations (taxes, insurance, HOA, etc.)
• Current debt obligations, alimony and child support
• Monthly debt-to-income ratio and residual income
• Credit history

There will not be a significant impact for loans that are eligible for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA or USDA. Although some jumbo and non-conforming programs will tighten their standards to the 43% debt-to-income threshold, most customers using these programs will still qualify.

The points and fees limitations and higher-priced mortgage loan limits are generally seen as a positive for homebuyers, as they will prevent many lenders from charging high ancillary fees, large amounts of discount points, and higher interest rates. However, there will be a small amount of riskier loan products that will be difficult to offer without violating the QM thresholds. Some lenders may decide to offer those mortgage products that are not eligible for QM safe harbor legal protection, but doing so will expose them to greater legal risks.