Tag Archives: Buying a Home

What Does My Credit Score Even Mean?

What does my credit score even mean?

As we all know, credit can either help us turn our dreams into a reality or it can be the one road block that keeps getting in the way. What does my credit score even mean?

What is credit?

The credit scoring system was originally designed in the 1950’s to help lenders determine how well consumers could pay back borrowed money. While there have been many updates to how this system is used, the components of a credit score consist of these major factors:

  • Payment History – 35% Impact
  • Outstanding Credit Card Balances – 30% Impact
  • Credit History – 15% Impact
  • Inquiries or New Credit – 10% Impact
  • Types of Credit – 10% Impact

 

What can impact my credit score?

Paying off debts on time has the greatest positive impact on your credit score. Late payments, judgments and charge-offs all have a negative impact. Keeping lower balances on the open credit accounts you have is a sure way to keep that score going up! The longer you have positive credit history, the better. However, multiple credit inquiries in a short period of time, such as applying for multiple credit cards, can have a negative influence on your score. The type of credit you have is also a factor. Having a mix of credit, such as an auto loan and a credit card, is more positive than a combination of debt from multiple credit cards.

What if I don’t have any or enough credit?

There are simple ways to begin building credit history. Start establishing credit history by opening  a small line of credit with your bank or credit union and begin making minor purchases that can be easily paid off. Your bank may offer a secured credit card if this is your first time applying for credit. This type of card works like a debit card and will require deposited funds for purchases; just be sure your history will be reported to all three credit bureaus.

What if I have less than perfect credit when applying to purchase a home?

Knowing what is on your credit report is the first step. Obtaining a credit report will show which areas are helping your score and which areas need to be worked on. When applying for a mortgage, your loan officer will be able to see if there are any areas that need work to help you get on the right track for a future purchase.

Want to find out where you stand? Let’s get the conversation started.

https://alphamortgageapplication.com/

 

To keep up with all things mortgage, housing, and real estate, be sure to subscribe to our blog! Here at Alpha Mortgage, we’re proud to be North Carolina’s #1 mortgage company. Contact us today to make owning your dream home a reality.

How to sell your home fast!

In today’s market, homes are selling faster than ever. Have your sights set on your next dream home and need to get your current home ready to sell? Let’s take a look at a few ways to help you get your house to SOLD!

We can’t stress enough how important it is to get connected with an experienced real estate agent right away. Working with a quality real estate agent will not only give you the advantage of having their experience on your side but they can also help you get more from the sale of your current home, giving you a healthier budget for furnishing your beautiful new home!

Now, how do we get this place sold? One thing your real estate agent may share with you upfront is that the home needs to be priced appropriately. Okay, we can get a bit sentimental when it comes to putting a price on the house we made a home. After all, how can you put a price on the whole summer it took to get those flowers to grow in the back yard or the upgrades you paid an arm and a leg for to make the kitchen your morning oasis? While those items need to be accounted for to determine the home’s total value, the price that is set needs to be realistic for where your home is located and what it has to offer.

Vamp up your curb appeal:

This will be a potential buyer’s first impression of your home. The moment they pull into the driveway, buyers will make a snap decision before they even step out of the car. Bringing life to your home’s exterior is easier than you think.

  • Give a fresh coat of paint to old front and garage doors.
  • Clean the siding and clear out cobwebs and debris from the entryway.
  • Revamp landscaping by adding potted plants to the front porch and walkway.
  • Trim back overhanging tree limbs and lay down fresh mulch.
  • Lastly, don’t forget the welcome mat!

Create an inviting atmosphere:

Now that you have ensured potential buyers want to enter your home by dazzling them with newly enhanced curb appeal, it’s time to awaken their senses. When potential buyers are walking through your home, you want their first impression to be a great one! There is nothing that turns people away like a stinky sink or foul-smelling carpet. While getting the carpets cleaned may be an obvious check off the to-do list, adding simple scents to the atmosphere have been shown to help sell your home!

  • vanilla
  • orange
  • lavender
  • fresh baked cookies

Yes, fresh baked cookies! Popping a couple rounds of cookie dough in the oven when you have a showing will help buyers feel warm and invited into your space and make them want to stay.

Declutter, depersonalize and brighten up the place:

When families are walking through your home, they want to feel at home themselves. Clearing all the clutter and stowing all personal items will help open up the space and let their imagination run freely. Removing excess items will allow potential buyers to visualize the space with their own furniture. Painting the walls a neutral color and opening the blinds to brighten up the place will insure your home is looking its best.

The forgotten details:

Taking the time to check off a few last items on the list will ensure your home is walk-through ready.

  • Park vehicles down the street to allow for easy access
  • Take the pups for a walk or arrange for a place for pets to stay while your home is being shown by a real estate agent. An anxious pet can cause tension during a walk-through and deter potential buyers.
  • Leave a detailed list on the kitchen countertop describing the features of your home and neighborhood. Buyers want to know as much as possible, such as history of the home, upgraded features, school districts and amenities that set your neighborhood apart. Do you have great neighbors? Tell them about it! After all, who could know better than you?

 

Which Loan Type is Right for Me?

Searching for the right loan program

Cutting Through the Confusion

Getting lost in all the mortgage lingo? You are not alone. According to a study performed by the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, “many borrowers say they get too much information when they go through the home-lending process…” Working with an experienced mortgage lender will save you a world of frustration by cutting through all the confusion. Your Lender will present the relevant information to get you on your way to moving day!

Which Program is Right for Me?

When purchasing a new home, a little research can go a long way. Asking the right questions will help us identify the right program that meets your needs.

  • Are you a first-time homebuyer?
  • Are you active or retired military?
  • Where is your future home located?
  • Which government programs do you qualify for?\

Common Loan Programs

You may have heard of these common loan programs: Conventional, VA, FHA, USDA, ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage), Jumbo…but what do they mean?

Conventional

The conventional mortgage is the most commonly used loan program for borrowers with good credit and steady income and can be used for purchasing a primary residence, second home or rental property. Conventional loans do require a down payment that can be as low as 3% of the purchase price of the home. PMI, or private mortgage insurance, is required when the down payment on the home is less than 20%. After 20% equity has been built up, the loan becomes eligible to have PMI removed.

VA

As a thank you in advance for those who are currently active duty, retired military or eligible reservists, this loan program offers veterans 0% down payment! The VA loan is guaranteed by the Veterans Administration and is government insured. Rather than having a monthly mortgage insurance fee, this loan program has a VA funding fee that is calculated into the initial loan amount. For borrowers who are considered disabled, the VA funding fee is waived entirely.

From all of us here at Alpha Mortgage Corporation, thank you for your service!

FHA

Insured by the Federal Housing Administration, the FHA loan requires a down payment as low as 3.5% and comes with a maximum loan amount that is determined by the location of the property. The FHA loan is helpful to borrowers who may have a higher debt to income ratio and allows for less than perfect credit. The FHA loan program does require PMI, or private mortgage insurance.

USDA

The USDA loan is insured by the US Department of Agriculture and is offered if your potential property is located in a USDA acceptable rural area. One of the benefits of the USDA loan is that it offers 0% down payment. Check here for USDA eligibility and income limitations: https://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov/eligibility/welcomeAction.do;jsessionid=12MOUsHhXtG476sIGOnK5FRY#

JUMBO

The Jumbo loan is meant for loan amounts exceeding $453,100. In order to qualify for the Jumbo loan, borrowers must have a higher credit score.

 

To keep up with all things mortgage, housing, and real estate related, be sure to subscribe to our blog! Here at Alpha Mortgage, we’re proud to be North Carolina’s #1 mortgage company. Contact us today to make owning your dream home a reality.

 

Can I Afford A House?

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When it comes to purchasing a new home, there are always many questions and factors to consider before putting down an offer. “Why is the owner selling? Do I like the location and surrounding area? Does the home have all of the amenities I am looking for?” The first, however, should be “Can I afford this home?” What would seem to many to be a simple ‘yes or no’ is actually one of the more complex questions when it comes to home-buying-101.

The question, ‘Can I afford this home,’ seems for the most part straightforward. You either can or you can’t. But what goes into determining the answer is where the complexity sets in. Below we have compiled a list of 5 important things to keep in mind when determining if you can afford a home or mortgage that you are interested in purchasing.

  1. Income Factors
    • Income before taxes is one of the most important factors in determining if you can afford a home and mortgage payment. But “income” doesn’t only refer how much you make per year before taxes. Income should also be evaluated by job security (the probability that you will keep your job), opportunity for raises and bonuses, confidence in keeping steady commission if your job operates off of this, chances that salary will stay the same or increase, and other considerations such as if you are planning on having kids soon.
  2. Monthly Spending
    • Monthly spending or your typical monthly budget is another factor that should be evaluated when determining if you can afford a house. Living expenses such as bills/utilities, transportation, health, fitness, home, kids, travel, personal care, pets, shopping, taxes and other expenses should be calculated, multiplied by 12, and then subtracted out of your income to get a clear picture of how much money you have left to work with. It is extremely important to be honest with yourself when calculating your monthly budget.
  3. Down Payment & Closing Costs
    • Monthly mortgage payments are not the only thing that you have to worry about paying when you plan to purchase a home. Once you decide on a home and have calculated your monthly spending and compared it to your yearly income, the next things that should be considered are down payments and closing cost. According to Mortgage 101, ‘Traditionally mortgage down payments range from 10 to 25 percent of the total purchase price of the property.” However, there are now more options that can potentially lower your down payment that our loan officers can help you decipher and apply for. Just as a rule of thumb, it is best to prepare to pay within that percentage for a down payment. Along with a down payment, closing costs should also be considered when determining if you can afford a home. Closing costs vary individually based on location and property values, but typically will include the costs to transfer property deeds, titles, land transfers, legal fees, loan fees, etc. On top of this remember that typically the closing itself will usually cost you 2-3% of the home price.
  4. Taxes/ Insurance
    • Once you purchase a home, taxes and insurance must be paid in order to protect both you and the lender. The main tax that a homeowner will pay is a yearly “Property Tax.” What a property tax does is quantifies the value of your property and home and gives the tax money you pay to the government. Normally, people set up Escrow Accounts that take money from your accounts monthly to go towards your end-of-year property taxes and insurance bills, and then accumulates that money until it is due (so you don’t have to come up with the lump sum all at once, which can be overwhelming). If you own your property outright, some people do choose to pay their yearly property tax at outright without an Escrow Account.
    • Homeowners insurance varies based on many factors including location, and risk factors, but is also something that you are required to pay. This can also be deposited monthly into an Escrow account. The main thing to remember with homeowners insurance is the more risk your property has, the more money you will pay on a policy. Basic homeowner policies usually include (but are not limited to) Dwelling Protection, Personal Property Protection, Natural Disasters, Other Structure Protection and Injury Liability. Another insurance you will likely have to pay is a mortgage insurance to ensure you will pay your monthly dues. Sometimes Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is required if you as a buyer are putting less than 20% down on a house and better protects the lender.
  5. Monthly Mortgage Payment
    • Monthly mortgage payments will be what you pay every month that goes towards the principal (money you borrowed) and interest on that money. They also sometimes include some of the home’s insurance and taxes. Mortgage payments vary depending on the home, location, money put down on the property and individual’s credit score. To see an estimated monthly mortgage payment you can click here, but until you meet with a lender, this will just be a projection.

Along with income factors, monthly spending, down payments and closing costs, taxes and insurance, and monthly mortgage payments, there will usually always be random “other” costs included when purchasing a home including homeowners dues, home maintenance, home inspection, etc. When predicting if you are going to be able to afford a house, it is always best to over-price your projected spendings. Don’t forget that according to CNN, Total debt payments (credit cards, student loans, car payments, etc.) should be less than 36% of gross income because that has been shown to be a level of debt that most borrowers can pay back comfortably.

Buying a house is a difficult process, but here at Alpha Mortgage, we are ready to assist you in any way possible. Contact us today!