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Month: November 2010

Four Reasons To Refinance

Four Possible Reasons To Refinance

A mortgage is generally the largest debt most homeowners have to manage.  It’s a good idea to give your personal real estate finance portfolio a check-up at least once a year. Since there are many reasons a homeowner may choose to refinance, we’ll take a look at the four most common.

1)  Mortgage Rates Drop

Typically, the most common reason that homeowners refinance their mortgage is to secure a lower interest rate. Interest rate and loan amount determines the total cost that a borrower will pay. The lower the interest rate, the less the overall cost will be. Interest is calculated on a daily basis and usually paid back to the lender on a monthly basis.

2)  Lower Payments

Lowering a mortgage payment can be achieved by lowering the mortgage rate, lengthening the loan term, combining two or more loans or removing mortgage insurance.

3)  New Mortgage Program

Refinancing an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) to a new Fixed Rate Mortgage (FRM), combining a first and second mortgage or paying off a balloon loan are three possible reasons to explore a refinance.

4)  Debt Consolidation

If there is sufficient equity, sometimes paying off consumer debt by combining all debts into one lower monthly mortgage payment can significantly reduce the short-term deficits in a budget.  However, it’s important to keep in mind the total cost of that debt by adding it into a 30 year mortgage payment.

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Frequently Asked Refinance Questions:

Q:  Do I have to refinance with my current mortgage company?

No, you may choose any company to refinance your mortgage since the new loan will replace the existing mortgage.

Q:  Is it easier to refinance with my current mortgage company?

It is possible your current mortgage company may require less documentation, but this could add additional cost or a higher interest rate. Do your homework and shop around to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Q:  Will I automatically qualify if I’ve never made any late payments?

No, you will have to qualify for your new refinance. However, certain programs will allow for reduced documentation like a FHA to FHA Streamline Refinance.

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Related Article – Refinance Process:

New Versus Resale – Pros and Cons

Let’s start off by saying that purchasing price aside; it is obvious that a new Las Vegas home will be relatively free of the aging problems that require maintenance in older homes. Kitchen and laundry room appliances will be under temporary warranty for a year or so, the a/c system may be under a manufacturers warranty for five to ten years, the hot water heater is usually under warranty for about five years, sometimes longer.

In regard to purchasing however, due to the higher costs of land today, the price per square foot of new construction will be considerably higher than in an older home. The interior design of new homes, however, makes more efficient use of space than most older homes.

A builders warranty covers structural defects, and the buyer’s homeowner insurance adds further protections. New, energy-efficient appliances, Energy Star windows and improved insulating materials make for lower utility costs than older homes.

Older homes, those that are in move-in condition, and are about five to ten years old may have added amenities that might be very expensive to add to a new home.  Older homes than that may have architectural features that are more pleasing to the eye than many of the newer “cookie cutter” designs seen in many communities.

Many older homes were made with sturdier building materials than today’s homes, and the exorbitant costs involved in building a home today has forced builders to compromise in certain expenditures affecting the home’s construction.

Older homes will unquestionably require more maintenance and a home owners warranty would be a sound investment. Well-kept older homes are usually on larger lots and have mature landscaping, that lends ambience to the property. Shrubs and trees on new property may take years to mature, and the expense of lushly landscaping a new property can be cost-prohibitive.

Some buyers look for quiet, well-kept and stable, established neighborhoods where older homes are located. Others may prefer a modern sub-division with amenities such as a clubhouse, tennis courts, and a workout room.

As it can be easily seen, age of the buyers, number of children, if any, overall family lifestyle – active or sedentary – financial resources, etc. will generally dictate the preference for housing type and neighborhood.

As with any purchase, “let the buyer beware.” What that means is if you are buying a new home, check the builder’s reputation and net worth, and make sure it is the builder and not some subsidiary you are dealing with.

An older home’s overall health should be verified by a certified home inspector before you take the plunge.

 If you have any questions about buying a home in Las Vegas, feel free to give us a call at 702-376-0088.

Do I Need To Sell My Home Before I Can Qualify For A New Mortgage On Another Property?

Although every situation is unique, it is not uncommon for home-buyers to qualify for a mortgage on a new home while still living in their primary residence.

Perhaps you are outgrowing your current house, or have been forced to relocate due to a job transfer?  Regardless of the motivation for keeping one property while purchasing another, let’s address this question with the mortgage approval in mind:

So, Do I Have To Sell?

Yes. No. Maybe. It depends.

Welcome to the wonderful world of mortgage lending. Only in this industry can one simple question elicit four answers…and all of them may be right.

If you are in a financial position where you qualify to afford both your current residence and the proposed payment on your new house, then the simple answer is Yes!

Qualifying based on your Debt-to-Income Ratio is one thing, but remember to budget for the additional expenses of maintaining multiple properties. Everything from mortgage payments, increased property taxes and hazard insurance to unexpected repairs should be factored into your final decision.

What If I Rent My Current Property?

This scenario presents the “maybe” and the “it depends” answers to the question.

If you’re not quite qualified to carry both mortgages, you may have to rent the other property in order to offset the mortgage payment.

In that scenario, the lender will typically only count 75% of the monthly rent you are proposing to receive.

So if you are going to receive $1000 a month in rent and your current payment is $1500, the lender is going to factor in an additional $750 of monthly liabilities in your overall Debt-to-Income Ratios.

Another detail that can present a huge hurdle is the reserve requirement and equity ratio most lenders have. In some cases, if you are going to rent out your current home, you will need to have at least 25% equity in order to offset your payment with the proposed rent you will receive.

Without that hefty amount of equity, you will have to qualify to afford BOTH mortgage payments. You will also need some significant cash in the bank.

Generally, lenders will require six months reserve on the old property, as well as six month reserves on the new property.

For example, if you have a $1500 payment on your old house and are buying a home with a $2000 monthly payment, you will need over $21,000 in the bank.

Keep in mind, this reserve requirement is incremental to your down payment on the new property.

What If I Can’t Qualify Based On Both Mortgage Payments?

This answer is pretty straightforward, and doesn’t require a financial calculator to figure out.

If you are in this situation, then you will have to sell your current home before buying a new one.

If you aren’t sure of the value of the home or how your local market is performing, give us a ring and we’ll happily refer you to a great real estate agent that is in tune with property values in your neighborhood.

As you can tell, purchasing one home while living in another can be a very complicated transaction.  Please feel free to contact us anytime so we can review your specific situation and suggest the proper action plan.