Ingrid B. Quinn

NMLS ID #211652 Arizona, Loan Consultant


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No Down Payment Means No House? Think Again

No Down Payment Means No House? Think Again

Arizona Down Payment Assistance Programs Are a Great Option

You want to buy a house and you’ve been trying to save the down payment for years. But something always gets in the way. Your car breaks down. Your eight-year-old needs braces. Rent keeps going up.

You’re beginning to think you’ll never own a home.

Think again.

Arizona has three great down payment assistance (DPA) programs for middle income borrowers. And they’re not just for first-time home buyers.
What is down payment assistance? Down payment assistance is a grant or a forgivable loan. Once you qualify for a first loan to buy a house, you receive the assistance money to pay the down payment and closing costs (prepaid taxes, home owners and mortgage insurance, and so on).

Two of the DPA programs are offered by the Arizona Department of Housing (ADOH) and the third by the Industrial Development Authority of the County of Maricopa (IDA). Note that the lender’s requirements may trump some of the assistance programs’ requirements based on the loan programs the buyer qualifies for.

Pathway to Purchase

The Pathway to Purchase program (P2P) helps home buyers in certain cities in Arizona put together a down payment. It works like this. You apply for a first loan through the Pathway program, which is a 30-year fixed-interest rate loan. Once you apply for the loan, you also receive a 2nd loan for the down payment and closing costs up to 10% of the purchase price with a max of $20,000. If the first loan is $100,000, for example, then the second loan will be $10,000. This second loan is forgivable—it has no payments and no interest, and after five years, it is forgiven.

There are a few stipulations. You can’t own another residential property at the time of close; your annual income can’t be more than $89,088; the purchase price can’t be more than $356,352; and your credit score must be 640 or greater.

This program is available only in these Arizona cities:

Arizona City, Avondale, Buckeye, Case Grande,
Coolidge, Douglas, El Mirage, Fort Mohave,
Goodyear, Huachuca City, Laveen, Maricopa,
Red Rock, Sierra Vista, Snowflake, Tucson,
Yuma

Arizona Home Plus HFA Preferred Loan Program

If you are eligible for the Home Plus program, you can get up to 5% of the loan amount (not purchase price) for down payment assistance, depending on the type of loan you qualify for—and as much as 6% if you are qualified military personnel, such as a veteran, active duty military, active reservist, and active National Guard. This program is not available in Pima County, and with some types of loans, it is not available in Maricopa County.

As with the Pathway program, the first mortgage is a 30-year-fixed loan, with no minimum loan amount. Your income can’t be more than $89,088, the purchase price can’t be more than $356,352, and your credit score must be higher than 640. If your credit score is higher than 680, however, you’ll get a higher percentage of the maximum assistance.

Arizona Home In 5 Advantage Loan Program

The Industrial Development Authority offers the Home in Five program, which is strictly for homes purchased in Maricopa County. Home in Five provides down payment assistance up to 4% of the loan amount for eligible buyers and up to 5% for “hero” buyers: qualified military personnel, first responders, and teachers. The actual amount depends on the type of loan and the buyer’s credit score. The first loan is a 30-year-fixed interest rate loan.

This program has certain requirements as well. Your income can’t be more than $88,340, the purchase price can’t be more than $300,000, and your credit score should be at least 640—but the higher your credit score, the higher the assistance up to the program’s maximum.

What Do the Programs Have in Common?

In all three programs, the loans must be for purchases of owner-occupied, primary residences. They cannot be for refinance or new construction loans or for manufactured or mobile homes, and buyers cannot receive cash back after the loan closes. Each type of loan and each program have their own requirements about the type of property allowed: new or existing homes, single family, multi-unit, condos, townhomes, and so forth.

All programs require a DTI of 45%. DTI is debt-to-income ratio—your total monthly debts divided by your gross monthly income. If you have a $1,000 mortgage payment, $200 in credit card payments, and a $300 car payment, for example, and a $5,000 monthly income, your DTI is $1,000 + $200 + $300 / $5,000 = 30%.

In addition, to participate in these programs, you must take a homebuyer education course. Generally, you can take the course online, in person, or by phone.

Next Step

Give us a call to see which program is best for you. We’ll walk you through the process, find you the right program, and get you into a home before you know it.

 

 


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Is Refinancing for You?

home-inspection1

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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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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Mortgage Points, What Are They?

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Mortgage points, also referred to as ‘discount points ‘or an origination fee are made payable at closing. Each point is charged at a portion of 1% of your mortgage loan. A discount point reduces your interest rate by a set amount. The amount by which the rate is reduced for each point varies according to your mortgage and your lender. On average it is 0.25% – 0.5%. A discount point is different than an origination fee; however it can also be termed ‘a point.’

The origination fee is a lender fee. Some lenders charge this fee while others don’t. You should always ask your mortgage professional whether the quote they are offering has an origination fee and/or discount points associated with it. This will allow you to know exactly what your monthly payment will be.

If you reduce your interest rate by paying discount points, your monthly repayment will also be reduced. It is a good idea to take into consideration what the monthly savings are by paying the additional cost of points and whether it is money well spent. You may want to use the funds to increase your down payment or do some improvements to your new home, which in turn will increase its value or make the home more enjoyable to you. Points can in some cases be tax deductible, so it is a good idea to check with your tax professional for advice.

Mortgage points can be a good investment for you. Your mortgage professional should help you with this calculation and find what will work best for you in the long run. As I always say, never hesitate to ask questions. Mortgage professionals are here to help you during this process and to make it go as smoothly as possible.

If you have any questions or suggestions on future topics please feel free to contact me at Ingrid.Quinn@cobaltmortgage.com or visit me at 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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Qualified Mortgage (Q.M.) What is it?

MortgageApproved
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.

qm pic

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.


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Bi-Weekly Payments, Good or Bad?

Occasionally, a client will ask about a program to make bi-weekly payments on their mortgage and I feel this subject should be discussed. If you have recently taken a mortgage, you will likely receive information in the mail about this type of payment plan, from your own lender or a third party. Please take the time to verify if it is coming from your lender servicer or a third party service that got your loan information from public records. The usual information states that for a few hundred dollars, you can save thousands in the long term interest, simply by having half your mortgage payment debited from your bank account every two weeks, instead of making one monthly payment.

Lenders often use an automatic bank draft for their biweekly plans, which means all your mortgage payments will be made on time. The main reason a homeowner may choose to take this option is if it makes their monthly budget work for their household and the long term effect on their accumulated interest is beneficial. By making 26 payments of half your mortgage, you are in effect making 13 monthly payments instead of the normal 12.

Depending on the terms of your loan, that extra payment each year may make a change in the principal amount of your loan and in turn lower the amount of interest accumulated over the life of your loan. There may be an up front fee to enroll or a monthly fee included in the payment which is typically charged by a third party servicer. The results of this type of payment plan can be achieved by homeowners taking the initiative themselves.

There are a two ways this can be done:

– saving money throughout the year for the extra payment and at the end of it

or

– dividing the cost of one monthly payment and add that amount to each monthly payment in principal reduction

When all is said and done, homebuyers should look at the big picture. How long are you planning on staying in the home? Can you comfortably make those bi-weekly payments? Homebuyers should not hesitate to speak to a mortgage professional about this type of payment program.

If you have any questions or suggestions for blogs please feel free to contact me at Ingrid.Quinn@cobaltmortgage.com or visit me at http://www.ScottsdaleMortgageExpert.com or http://www.CobaltMortgage.com/IngridQuinn