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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M.B.A. Shows Mortgage Applications Decreasing

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The Mortgage Bankers Association released a weekly survey as of Aug. 21st, 2013 that spoke about mortgage applications. We recently had been seeing the market increase at a rapid rate and it is surprising that applications would decrease so suddenly.
The MBA stated that their finding s shows, “The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 4.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 5 percent compared with the previous week.”
Form the press release we can see that this drop is not due to the lack of people buying home, but rather people no longer refinancing. “The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 1 percent from one week earlier,” where as “The Refinance Index has dropped 62.1 percent from the recent peak reached during the week of May 3, 2013.”
It seems that this recent shift away from refinancing is really affecting the real-estate market. The MBA state that this change has greatly to do with rate changes in the past month, “The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) increased to 4.68 percent from 4.56 percent, with points increasing to 0.42 from 0.39 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan- to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate increased from last week.”
This is speaking on a national level. The MBA covers 75% of retail residential mortgage applications in the U.S. . People should not be afraid to purchase or refinance right now. Rates being in the mid 4’s are truly not bad. In the time I have spent working in the mortgage industry I have seen rates more than twice that and people were still buying homes.
Buyers need to be aware of that is happening in the market and not hesitate to ask questions and seek out answers. For the full press release please visit http://www.mortgagebankers.org/NewsandMedia/PressCenter/85394.htm .
For any questions of suggestions please feel free to email me at Ingrid.Quinn@cobaltmortgage.com of visit me at http://www.CobaltMortgae.com/IngridQuinn or http://www.ScottsdaleMortageExpert.com


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Locking, What is it?!

Lock on Chains
In today’s volatile market, consumers need to understand what a lender offers as options for locking in their loan. Many consumers think that when they begin speaking to a lender, the rate they discuss that day will be the rate they carry from there on. However, this is not the case. Laws govern what constitutes a loan application. An actual loan application requires that 6 pieces of information are received, which triggers disclosures for the good faith estimate and the ability to lock in loans. These items are social security number to pull credit, borrower name, estimated value, monthly income, loan amount sought & property address. These six things are important because without these six items a lending company is not able to give a borrower a locked rate.
A borrower is required to give all of the information except the address when prequalifying. Once you have a property under contract then you have the ability to lock in a rate for the loan. Loan rates are locked in for a specific period of time. This time frame is based upon the close of escrow date. Typically loans are locked 15, 30, 45 or 60 days. There is the option of locking in rate for a longer period of time, but this is mainly used when you are purchasing a home that is being built for you and will not be completed with in 60 days.
What does locking in a rate/loan actually mean? When you lock your loan your lender should provide you the rate and/or points as well as the specific date of expiration of those terms. Regardless of how the market changes, your rate will continue to hold as it was locked. This can be both a good and bad thing.
Whether the market improves and rates lower or the market worsens and rates increase you are guaranteed to have the rate you have in writing. There can be an exception to these rules, but only with some lenders. This is called a renegotiation policy. This can typically occur when the market improves at least .25%(depending on your lender’s rules) and your lender will allow you to change your locking contract. Keep in mind that when you choose to lock in your rate, you are asking the lender to protect you and you are making a commitment to do the loan with your lender. The shopping rate time is over. Renegotiation is a courtesy provided by your lender.
Borrowers need to make sure that when they go to lock in their rate, that their lender gives them their terms in writing. You should never assume something has been done without seeing it in writing. Be safe, talk to your lender about locking and what their renegotiating options are. Never hesitate to ask questions and learn as much as you can.
For questions for suggestions 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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Mortgage Points, What are They?

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Mortgage points generally refer to a loan origination fee and/or discount points. Discount points refer to the amount of money that a person pays to a lender to get a loan at a specific rate. Points are paid when discounting the rate for a loan. A lender usually has a menu of rates available on any given day at a variety of costs. Par pricing is when no discount points are required.
An origination fee is what a borrower will pay the lender for their services. Since the change in lending and disclosure rules in 2009, the term origination fee was changed to origination charge. The origination charge will include any lender admin fees and an origination point if applicable.
Before you can even consider whether or not purchasing points is a good idea, you have to make sure that you will have the extra cash because points will increase your total closing costs. Points can be financed into a refinance transaction but not into a purchase. Sellers can pay points for a buyer as part of a closing cost concession.
Positive mortgage points can be viewed as a form of pre-paid interest. Each point is equal to 1% total loan amount. Why would you want to pre-pay a part of your interest? The buyer is offering to pay an up front fee to receive a discount on the interest rate. The reduction in interest will give the buyer lower monthly mortgage payments. With mortgages duration of typically 15, 20 or even 30 years, the discount points will help save you a huge amount of interest over the life span of the loan. Positive discount points are usually worthwhile to a home buyer if he or she will maintain the mortgage for a while.
There is a second type of mortgage points, negative mortgage points or as termed, Yield Spread, work very much like positive mortgage points except in reverse. Instead of you paying the bank to lower your rate, the bank will pay you to take a higher rate. As an example, if you were offered a rate of 5.5 percent on your $100,000 loan. The bank is now offering you one point to raise your rate to 5.75 percent. Therefore, they are basically giving you $1,000 in order to raise your interest rate. This will also result in you paying a higher mortgage payment every month. These points don’t end up as a written check for the money. The yield will just be applied to your total closing costs on the loan.
Closing costs can result in a few thousand dollars of out-of-pocket expense. Amounts for closing cost vary by state, location and amount of loan requested. Purchase transactions and refinances can have a difference in costs too.
“Breaking even is a major factor in deciding what to do with points. Something the buyer will want to inquire about is how long it will take to “break even” in regards to possibly selling the home before their loan is paid in full. You will want to have retained the mortgage at least until you “break even”, if not longer, to make it worthwhile to reap benefits from discount points. Keep in mind there may also be a tax benefit to paying points and you will want to consult a tax advisor on this subject and what may be beneficial to your individual circumstance.
For questions of suggestions please feel free to email me at Ingrid.Quinn@cobaltmortgae.com or visit me at http://www.ScottsdaleMortgageExpert.com or http://www.CobaltMortgage.com/IngridQuinn


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How Much Can I Qualify For? DTI, What is it?

canada-cut-interest-rateIf you talk to a lender, they are going to drill down to the 4 most important aspects of your loan when trying to purchase or refinance a home. What do you make, Who do you owe, How much cash do you have to work with and What is the property value?
I am going to focus this blog on the numbers involved in qualifying income and what the rules are to get someone an approved loan. Growing up in the mortgage business, I learned the rule of 28/36. Back in the 80s those were important numbers. What do they mean? They stand for the debt to income (DTI) ratios that lenders use as a basic qualifying guideline.
28% of someone’s gross monthly income (or determined self employed income or passive income of some kind) could be tied up in housing expense. That includes principal, interest, taxes, insurance, HOA/condo fees, and possible 2nd mortgage, if applicable. 36% of your income could be tied up in total debt. That includes house expense plus monthly debt like car payments, student loan debt (see Student Loan blog) or credit card payments.
Now, we hear how the mortgage market has tightened up, but the ratios we work with have relaxed over the years surprisingly. It is not uncommon to see ratios in the 35/45 range or even 35/55. Different types of loans, such as FHA, Conventional, VA or Jumbo have different thresholds for approval. You will see more flexibility when the quality of the loan is stronger. Larger down payments, high credit scores and/or cash reserves after closing are all qualities that could command a lower risk loan and therefore allow a higher DTI.
Many loans are run through automated underwriting systems such as DU (Desktop Underwriter) or LP (Loan Prospector) that measure the risk of a loan. Lenders take those results and continue to process the loan if an acceptable response/approval has been received. Knowledgeable loan officers and processors can work with these systems and try to figure what characteristic of the file may need to be improved to reach an acceptable response. Then the loan officer will be able to tell the borrower how much of a loan they are qualified for.
For further questions or suggestions, 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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HARP Has Been Extended Through 2015

ImageThe Federal Housing Finance Agency has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to extend the current expiration date for the HARP refinance program until December 31, 2015. The program was set to expire the end of 2013.

The program has provided many homeowners the opportunity to refinance an underwater or high loan to value mortgage to a lower rate. Over 2 million homeowners have taken advantage of refinancing since the program inception in 2009.

 Am I eligible? To be eligible, you must have a mortgage owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, sold to those agencies on or before May 31, 2009. The current loan-to-value ratio on the mortgage must be greater than 80%. Borrowers cannot have missed mortgage payments in the past 6 months and cannot have had more than one missed payment in the past 12 months.

How do I take advantage of HARP? The first step homeowners should take is to see whether their mortgages are owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Homeowners can log on to:

https://www.knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup to look up on Fannie Mae’s website

https://ww3.freddiemac.com/corporate/ to look up on Freddie Mac’s website.

If you are still unsure contact your servicer and ask. Any comments please feel free to email me at ingrid.quinn@cobaltmortgage.com or visit www.scottsdalemortgageexpert.com.


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How A Refinance Can Change Your Life

I continue to get calls for refinancing. A lot of people who were eligible for HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program) refinancing have already done so. Hopefully, if they haven’t yet they will do so and take advantage of what I believe is a great opportunity for negative equity clients. But, there is renewed interest in other refinance programs because home values have rebounded in many markets.

Homeowners who have equity in their homes can do a regular refinance without HARP and lower their rate or they can get out of their FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums to possible lower conventional premiums or they are opting to reduce the term of their mortgage.

A client should consider what their goal is with a refinance:

• Do they need to lower monthly payments and/or interest rate?
• How long will they be in the home?
• What are their long term wealth management/ equity position goals?
• What are the tax benefits or ramifications of a refinance?
• Do they want to build equity and lower rate?

An example of an analysis between staying with a current 30 year fixed loan Vs. a 15 year or 30 year refinance is outlined below. Please be advised this is not a rate quote. :
Say for example, you have a 30 year loan taken out for $150,000 with a rate of 5.25% 5 years ago. You have a balance now of about $140,000. The loan over 30 years would cost $150,000 in interest charges when finally paid back. The monthly P& I payment is $828 a month.

The same loan refinanced today with a $140,000 loan amount for a 15 year loan at 3% will have total interest paid of $36,000 over the term and the payment will only rise by $139 a month. HUGE savings!

The other alternative is to take the $140,000 and refinance for 30 years again at a rate of 4%. The loan will cost over the 30 years $102,000 in interest charge and the payment will drop by $160.

Wouldn’t you rather have the extra $100,000 in another form of investment or have your home paid off when you retire or when the kids go to college? Rumor has it 15 year loans have payments that are not manageable. It is not true. Speak to a mortgage professional about your options and don’t completely rule out a 15 year mortgage. It can change your life. For more information or to comment please contact me at Ingrid.Quinn@cobaltmortgage or visit my website at http://www.ScottsdaleMortgageExpert.com.