If you’re shopping for a mortgage, you’re in the right place.Posted by: Greg Fischer Post date: October 2nd, 2009
Looking for a great rate on a new home mortgage? There is more to it than you may think.
The mortgage industry is complex and ever-changing. We understand that most people are not mortgage experts, and that it can be difficult to sort though the hype. At Radiant Mortgage, we are dedicated to understanding how to help our customers qualify for the best loan available, as well as how to improve their financial health by providing the tools and education to impact credit, maximize wealth and eliminate debt.
I hope that you find the information here useful. Please use the form to the right to ask any questions, and by all means, if something strikes you, leave a comment.
Greg Fischer, CMP 26086
Residential Mortgage Services, Inc. NMLS #1760
121 Bay Street, Manchester, NH 03104
We’re local. We’re experts. We’re still here.
Keeping Email Evoloution SimplePosted by: Greg Fischer Post date: November 26th, 2012
Nearly four years ago, I ended my relationship with Outlook.
It started with a Gmail account, and evolved into a full on Google Apps mail. I know – web mail interfaces stink. But message handling in Gmail is just SO SIMPLE.
I get a heap of email every day. Much of it is junk or glance-and-delete type, but it is also a primary means of communication and file exchange with my borrowers. As email is as a communication platform, it also becomes a sort of file system. I frequently need to find old messages to forward, resend, access an attachment or review a conversation. So maintaining a logical folder structure is critical.
Outlook has tools for folder management, categories, rules and a rudimentary Search tool. Compared to the raw seek and locate power of Gmail, it seemed like no strategy, no matter how complicated to engineer and manage could keep my email organized as well as Gmail’s “don’t file it, just search for it” mentality. If I did NOTHING, I could always find a message within a search or two and some conversation surfing.
I recently got the memo from IT saying that they are transitioning back to a full Exchange server for email. Where the email domain goes, so must I. So the search began for a tool that will help me make Outlook message filing tolerable.
SimplyFile is a smart, trainable Outlook extension that watches where and how you file messages, and makes it easier – and often does it for you – to keep email in the folder where it belongs.
After install, it recommends you put it in “Training” mode, meaning you tell it what folders you file to and let it have a look at what you’ve put there. Minutes later, it’s ready for you, and shockingly accurate in it’s suggestion.
If I have a borrower folder for Smith, John that I want all messages regarding his loan saved it, SimplyFile will let me move all messages, past and future from John into the Smith, John folder with a click. And when I’m SENDING a message to John, it asks me if I’d like my outgoing message to be stored there too. If I’m replying to John, it offers to put both his email and my response in the right folder together. An email from the title company with John’s name in the
subject? That too. And after it sees the property address in the message a few times, it assumes that this belongs in John’s folder as well.
Now everything is filed where I want it with a click any maybe a few keystrokes. If a new message to James Smith – a completely different client – trips the recommendation for Smith, John, I just type the first few letters of James and SimplyFile refines the recommended list from the ENTIRE Outlook folder structure on the fly. It doesn’t even matter how many folders, or how deep the folders are: “Smith, John” is just as accessible as Borrowers/FHA/Purchase/NH/Smith, John. Click, Click. Filed.
As a hot key junkie, SimplyFile keeps me smiling. Need a new Inbox message filed? Control-Shift-V (configurable), type a couple of letters for the folder and Enter to send it there. Need to jump from the Inbox to a deep borrower folder to scan the message there? Use Y instead. Now I’m flashing between any of hundreds of folders, each with all the messages relevant to that transaction that I want there.
Any email not borrower specific gets put aside. Sent mail I don’t need to file is dumped into the Sent Box. I’m confident that Sent Items aren’t critical. I know that Deleted Items are really deletable. All my file specific emails are pre-sorted where they belong, and wiith a few keystrokes at most.
Searching for emails in the Outlook ecosystem is still a pain in the neck. But now that each transaction is sorted into the scores of emails SPECIFIC to that transaction, I can see what related messages have attachments. I can see what came from the appraiser. I can see what I sent last Tuesday. And I never have to scroll through hundreds of unrelated items.
SimplyFile has completely saved me from my email OCD. Gmail made me ask “why file when you can search?” Now I’m wondering “why search when I’m already organized?”
If you’re an Outlook user and your Inbox has messages composting in it from years ago because you never did figure out how to make Outlook Rules work beyond a Junk filter, do yourself a favor and try the SimplyFile demo.
Streamlining your FHA RefinancePosted by: Greg Fischer Post date: September 18th, 2012
If your current home mortgage is an FHA insured loan at a rate that’s higher than what’s available today, you may be in luck. There is a special FHA to FHA refinance option called a Streamline that may hold the solution you need.
Here’s what you can do, the short version:
No appraisal required, so even if you owe more than your home is worth today, you may still qualify.
No income verification required. You do still need to be employed, but it is not usually necessary to verify your income with tax returns, W2’s, pay stubs and the like.
Asset verification (bank statements) will be needed to cover any funds due at closing.
If your current FHA loan closed before June 2009, you may also qualify for a HUGELY discounted mortgage insurance rate vs today’s FHA insurance rates.
Typically, you’ll look for the rate that drops your monthly interest substantially, yet still pays for all of your closing costs, so you come to closing at the end of the month with a check for about what you would pay for your next regular payment. The new loan balance is about the same as your current loan balance, and you make your first new monthly payment a month later.
The Long version, with some rules:
In today’s market, anytime you can close a loan without the need for an appraisal, that’s usually a good thing. On an FHA Streamline Refi, if you get an appraisal – and have the equity – you may roll closing costs into the new loan. This results in a slightly larger principle balance, but a slightly lower interest rate. Given the state of the housing market in 2012, many FHA homeowners who put little money down at purchase don’t have any equity, so the appraisal option often isn’t viable.
The alternative is the no appraisal Streamline. Going this route, you cannot roll any costs into the new loan – it’s payoff plus new financed MI premium only. To reduce the cost of closing, you can select a slightly higher interest rate that can pay for your closing costs, netting a healthy rate reduction with a minimum out of pocket expense.
There are cases where it is necessary to go through a full “credit qualifying” process with full income documentation. This can be because you’re removing a borrower, or if your credit score doesn’t quite meet very strict standards. In this case, the qualifications for the refinance aren’t any more stringent than for the original purchase, but additional documentation may be required.
FHA requires that the new loan payment (principle, interest and MI) be at least 5% lower than your current payment, unless you are refinancing an adjustable rate mortgage into a fixed rate.
You will need your current Mortgage and Note from your last closing.
Many lenders will only allow a Streamline refinance on a home that you still occupy – rental properties may not qualify.
You can’t have had any late payments in the last 12 months, and there are minimum credit score requirements.
The idea here is that if you can afford your payment at 6%, you should be able to afford it even better at 4%. The FHA Streamline Refinance process exists to help homeowners take advantage of lower rates with a minimum amount of typical refinance hassle.
If you aren’t sure whether or not your current mortgage is FHA insured, check your closing paperwork. The Mortgage and HUD-1 will have an FHA Case ID number if it is.
If your current home mortgage is not FHA insured, you may still qualify for other refinance options. Ask your mortgage professional what might be possible.
Stopping Foreclosure Before it StartsPosted by: Greg Fischer Post date: May 23rd, 2012
Thanks to George Alford
It is always important to consider this question – “how much house can I afford?”, before you take out a mortgage. If you fail to do so, you may struggle to pay for your mortgage later on. Are facing a similar situation? Have you defaulted on your mortgage payments and the fear of foreclosure giving you sleepless nights? Well, in that case you can alleviate your worries by adopting strategies that could prevent foreclosure. There are various ways by which you can avoid foreclosure and save your house. This article explores the different methods that you can adopt to avoid foreclosure.
How can you avoid foreclosure?
Given below are various methods by which you can avoid foreclosure and save your precious house:
Mortgage refinance can save your house by substituting your existing loan with a new one that offers more favorable terms and conditions for you. A new loan can allow you to make low monthly payments which in turn can help you to become regular with your payments. It is not necessary that you’d have to approach your existing lender to refinance your mortgage. You can compare the deals offered by other lenders in order to obtain the most beneficial one for you. However, by going for mortgage refinance, you would have to start paying for a new loan from the very beginning. This process can be quite tedious. This is way it is always recommended to consider this question – “how much house can I afford?”, before you buy a house. Nevertheless, mortgage refinance can save your house from foreclosure.
You can make your mortgage more affordable by going for mortgage modification. It is a process by which the terms and conditions of a mortgage are altered to make it more affordable to the borrower. The mortgage can be modified in several ways – reduction of the interest rate, lowering of the principal amount etc. In order to save your house, you can implement this strategy.
Forbearance is a process by which you’ll get a repayment plan from your mortgage lender which would be formulated in accordance to your financial situation. The repayment plan can allow you to make lower payments or no payment at all for a certain time period. After that period is over, you may be required to make up for the reduction. In order to qualify for a forbearance process, you would need to show your lender that your financial condition would improve after sometime. For example: you may receive additional cash or a major bonus which would help you to make payments on your mortgage.
Bankruptcy involves legal intervention to clear your debts. By filling for bankruptcy, you can save your house from foreclosure as bankruptcy can put a halt on foreclosure proceedings. For this purpose, you can either go for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In case of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, your non-exempt assets will be utilized to pay off all your unsecured debts. As all your unsecured debts will be cleared, it will become easier for you to make payments on your mortgage. On the other hand, Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be more helpful to pay off your mortgage. In this case, a court will provide you with a repayment plan to clear your debts within a period of 3-5 years.
If you wish to adopt any of the above mentioned means to save your house, you should research about each of them thoroughly. Such strategies can have some negative effects as well. For example: bankruptcy can drop your credit score by 200-250 points. Thus, it is always crucial to consider this question – “how much house can I afford?” before a home loan is taken out.
Buying a House without 20% DownPosted by: Greg Fischer Post date: March 16th, 2012
It’s true. There are fewer no money down mortgage options today than there were a few years ago, but if you’ve heard that today you need 20% down to buy a house, you’ve been misinformed.
In 2007, the mortgage industry was thick with mortgage lenders offering 100% financing. There were different rates and different PMI strategies, but if you had a credit score greater than 620 and weren’t late more than once in the past year on your rent, you could buy a house with no money down.
Post mortgage crisis, most of those options (and in many cases the banks who offered them) are gone. But if you have good credit, verifiable income, and can prove an ability to repay the loan, there are still ways to buy a house in New Hampshire without having a huge downpayment.
If you are putting down less than 20% of the purchase price, you are required to get some form of mortgage insurance (PMI). Today, conventional loans can still finance up to 97% of the sales price. The 3% money down needs to be YOUR money – meaning money already in the bank, or some other kind of account that you own like an IRA. At 5% down, the PMI cost is lower. At 10% down it is lower still. If you have excellent credit and at least 3% down payment, this may be the least complicated and cost effective mortgage option. The Seller is allowed to contribute up to 3% of the sales price towards closing costs at 95%-97% financing.
Currently requires 3.5% down payment. Gift from a family member is allowed. FHA is a government insured loan that finances a portion of the insurance, and requires monthly MI as well. In some cases, the monthly payment may be lower than a conventional loan, particularly if your credit isn’t perfect. The Seller is allowed to contribute up to 6% of the sales price towards closing costs.
If you are a veteran who qualifies for a VA insured home loan, you can get up to 100% financing with no monthly PMI. There is a VA guarantee fee that is financed into the loan to insure the lender. VA offers flexible credit and income requirements. The Seller is allowed to contribute up to 4% of the sales price towards closing costs, so it’s possible to use a VA loan to purchase a house with very little money out of pocket.
Can finance up to 102% of the APPRAISED value of the house, which can include closing costs. There is a guarantee fee that is financed into the loan, and there is now a small monthly MI cost as well. Income and property restrictions apply, but for many first time home buyers, this is an excellent low or no cost option.
Follows FHA/VA/USDA insurance guidelines, but maintains their own rates and has options for cash assistance grants. Income restrictions apply, but in some cases the low rates and up to 4% cash assistance make this a great alternative to non-Housing loans.
So if you’ve been waiting to buy a house because you thought you didn’t have enough money in the bank, you may qualify for today’s low rates with less money down than you think. If you’d like to review all of your options, email me to schedule a time to talk.
Your Credit vs Loan Quality InitiativePosted by: Greg Fischer Post date: February 2nd, 2012
Fannie Mae’s “Loan Quality Initiative”
What you need to know:
Fannie Mae doesn’t make loans. Banks lend money. Fannie Mae buys loans from banks and securitizes them into mortgage-backed securities that are sold in the bond market. As such, Fannie Mae wants to make sure that every loan it buys to meet its basic underwriting standards. That way, it can stand behind the quality of its securities.
Over the last decade, there have been a large number of loans that have gone bad and ended in foreclosure. When Fannie Mae researched what the cause of these delinquent loans was, they discovered that a great many hadn’t been approved by the highest quality standards – so many of these loans may have been iffy to begin with.
To limit “bad loans”, Fannie Mae created its Loan Quality Initiative, known in the business as LQI. LQI creates “extra steps” for a lender. It requires validation of things like social security numbers and borrower occupancy. They’re small tasks, but time-consuming, and there’s a lot of them.
Even after you’re approved and clear to close, just before funding, your credit will be repulled.
Here’s how it affects your approval:
This ensures that loans are priced properly, and are funded on the borrower’s risk at closing as opposed to at application; because a lot can change while a loan is in-process. Especially when the loan is in process for more than a few weeks.
Some of the things they’re looking for include:
- Did you apply for new credit cards?
- Did you run up existing cards?
- Did you finance an automobile or some other major purchase?
- Did you add new debts?
- Did you make your payments on time?
Each of the above is a red flag to underwriting. If your “final” credit report doesn’t match your original credit report, your mortgage may be subject to a complete re-underwrite and, in a worst case scenario, a loan application denial.
What the bank may do: Recalculate debt-to-income ratios using your “new” minimum payment due figures. If the DTI exceeds Fannie Mae’s maximum threshold, the loan will be denied.
What you should do about it: Don’t run up credit cards – or apply for new ones – prior to closing, even for layaway items. Consider paying more than the minimum due, just in case.
What the bank may do: Use your new credit score to assess loan-level pricing adjustments (read extra cost) or outright denials for when scores fall below Fannie Mae’s minimum credit score requirement.
What you should do about it: Follow the basic rules of keeping your credit score high — pay your bills, don’t let things go into collection, and don’t look for new credit unless necessary.
What the bank may do: Look at the Credit Inquiry section of your credit report to look for “non-disclosed liabilities”. If there are new credit inquiries, an explanation of what was applied for and what the result was will be required.
What you should do about it: Don’t go looking for new credit until after your loan is funded. Period. This may delay your closing, or get you denied outright.
All of this happens after your loan has reached “final approval” status. You were careful to make your credit good enough qualify for the loan: don’t finance that big purchase until you’re holding the keys to your new home.