Tag Archives: mortgages

TRID – A Year Later

On October 3rd 2015, history was made in the mortgage industry when the TRID Rule, or the “Know Before You Owe” Rule was implemented in the United States. TRID was created in order to bridge the gap of transparency between borrowers, regulators, and lenders through more consumer-friendly documents and additional time restraints in the lending process with the hope of creating a more informed, and therefore better protected consumer. In the two years leading up to the implementation of TRID, those in the lending industry feared that additional paperwork and time would deter potential buyers. Once TRID was implemented, there were a few hiccups in the road, but the mortgage industry has been changed forever.

With a year of the implementation of TRID officially under America’s belt, we want to take a look back on the up’s, down’s, and still-to-come’s.

THE TRID TRAIN, A TIMELINE:

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November 2013: TRID unveiled to the lending industry with the proposed roll-out date to take place August 1st 2015. Cue industry-wide panic attacks due to the copious amounts of work they will have to do in order to adhere to the new rule (think technology and work process overhauls).

November 2013- June 2015: Everyone freaks out about the implementation of TRID, concurrent with an “administrative error” prompting the CFPB to change the start date to October 1st, 2015.

June 24th 2015-  A proposed amendment to TRID is released where the official start date of the “Know Before You Owe” rule will be October 3, 2015.

October 3, 2015- TRID goes into effect, and companies are mandated to comply. Many express concern and complaints that the CFPB is vague in some sections of TRID and the lack of guidance offered in the following months.

January 2016- Ellie Mae’s Origination Insight Report shows that total time to close has reached a high of 51 days, an indicator that the 6 days added in the process were being added to the total time instead of integrated in. Lending companies continue to complain about vagueness and lack of education from the CFPB regarding TRID.

July, 2016- The CFPB responds to concerns by lending companies and other businesses impacted by TRID and put some new changes into place regarding the secondary market to better help and inform lenders. The proposed changes include: tolerances for the total of payments, expanding the number of housing assistance loans that would qualify for exemptions, including cooperatives in the rule, and clarifying how a creditor could provide separate disclosure forms to the consumer and the seller.

August 2016- NAR surveyed 2,500 REALTORS to get their perspective of how the TRID rule was working which revealed that the majority saw no changes through the implementation of the rule.

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TRID IN 2017

While there were a few up’s, down’s, and hiccups in the past year for the lending industry (as expected with any major industry overhaul), it is apparent that TRID has been a mostly beneficial and much needed industry update for the consumer. As Pete Mills from the Mortgage Bankers Association stated, “TRID was a massive undertaking from a systems and business processes standpoint,” Although many anticipated the rule would significantly disrupt the closing process for consumers, the impact of TRID on consumers was mitigated because lenders and other participants in the closing process dutifully prepared for the final rule.”

Many lending companies are still making adjustments in their strategy with the implementation of the new rules, but with a year of adhering to TRID under their belt, lending companies are now analyzing ways to better streamline processes and resources to better serve their clients and integrate the additional 6 days in the process instead of adding them. Ready to own the house of your dreams? We’re here to help you from the beginning steps of your planning period all the way until you step through the doors of your new home. Contact us today at Alpha Mortgage!

 

The Importance Of Good Credit

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It’s no secret when we tell you that the better your credit score is, the easier your life can be. Your credit score is a three-digit number that represents how trustworthy you are from the perspective of someone that would lend you money for something like a loan or a mortgage. In fact, your credit is THE single most important determining factor from a lending perspective. Our economy runs on credit. So what is so important about those 3 numbers, and how does it impact your mortgage rates when you decide to buy a home? Here’s what you need to know:

  • Your credit report = Your financial report card. You want all A’s – Like we mentioned before, your credit score is a representation of how well you can handle your money, and can make or break a lender’s decision to approve you for a loan or mortgage, and impact your interest rates majorly. Your credit report is made up of how much money you’ve borrowed, your history of paying it back, and how much open credit is available to you. Here is what appears on your credit report: debts and a history of how they’ve been paid, public record information (tax liens, bankruptcies), bills referred to collection agencies, and inquiries made about your creditworthiness.
  • Credit score: Credit scores range from 300-850 points and are based on debt, amount of time you’ve used credit, debt totals, how often you apply for new credit, and types of credit you currently use based on information received from your credit report.
  • The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rates will be, and vice versa- The better your credit score is, the more banks and lenders can trust you, resulting in much lower interest rates for loans and mortgages. Don’t think interest rates are that big of a deal? Consider this- for a long-term credit loan such as a mortgage, interest alone can add thousands of dollars to your original buying price. Ouch.
  • Banks aren’t the only ones who look at your credit – so do landlords, employers, insurance companies, utility companies, phone companies, and more!

Having good credit is essential for having a healthy financial presence. So now that you understand how vital it is, check out these tips for improving your credit before shopping for a mortgage!

Credit Checklist Preparing for a Mortgage:

  • Start early – A year to a year and a half before you will be buying a home, do a deep analysis of your credit report. This will give you time to make minor changes to your score that can save you big bucks in the end when you start shopping for mortgage rates.
  • ALWAYS pay your bills on time- This is a given! It is also important and make an effort to pay more than the minimum balance if possible.
  • Have a mix of credit (auto, credit cards, student loans, etc.) – Lenders like to see a long and versatile credit history.
  • Keep a low balance – on any given credit card try not to use more than 30% of your limit.
  • Start saving now– It is ideal to try and aim to put a 20% down payment on your home, which requires a decent amount of cash upfront. Start bulking up your savings account now!
  • Don’t forget about closing costs!
  • Whatever you do- do not do these 5 things that will destroy your credit while looking for a mortgage!

When it is time to find a mortgage for your dream home, be sure to contact us so we can help make your dream rate a reality!

 

 

 

 

Should I choose a 15-Year Mortgage or a 30-Year Mortgage

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So you’ve found your dream house, and have decided to start the lending process so that you can own the keys and start making it a home. Congratulations! Once you’re sure that you can afford the home, and have found an informed and transparent loan officer, the next thing as a buyer that you need to consider is whether you should choose to secure 15 year fixed mortgage, or a 30 year fixed mortgage. When determining which loan option is best for you, it is important to weigh out the differences in affordability, your degree of job security, as well as your saving habits.

The main difference between a 15 and 30-year loan is that fifteen-year loans typically have higher monthly payments with less interest, and thirty-year loans usually have lower monthly payments in which you end up spending more interest over time. The first step in determining which term to choose is using a mortgage calculator and crunching the numbers to figure out your specific individual options and the difference in monthly payments and total amount spent. Then, ask yourself what you can honestly afford. If you can comfortably make the 15-year fixed mortgage rates, do so. If not, the 30-year option is probably best for you. Remember that making extra payments when possible is always an option (although according to the FDIC, 97.3% of people do not consistently pay extra on their mortgages).

It is also essential to evaluate your job security and emergency funds when determining which loan to choose. Are you in a position/job with a paycheck steady enough to make those payments every month? It is important to remember that once you sign the loan, you will be required to make the same payment each month, and if you choose to go with a higher monthly payment (15-year loan) it is a good idea to have an emergency fund in place just in case something happens. If you don’t have adequate savings in place, or lack an emergency fund, it is a safe bet to go with a 30-year option.

Financial saving habits are also important to consider when determining whether to go with a 15-year or 30-year loan. Before choosing which term you want to have your loan on, evaluate your spending habits. According to USA Today, many people may lack the discipline needed to save long-term, especially in amounts that would offset what they would save by switching (from a 30-year) to a 15-year mortgage. A lot of times people need that extra money for something else, so they choose to keep their money in a 30-year mortgage with lower individual monthly payments. It is important to realize that you can always pay more of your mortgage off monthly, however, many people lack the discipline to send in the extra money every month when it isn’t required by the bank. If you are confident in your financial personal discipline, and do not tap into your savings (or will need to in order to afford a shorter term), a 15-year loan might be a good option to consider.

Be sure to consider your age and professional plan for the next 15-30 years when deciding whether you want to choose a 15 or 30 year loan. Are you planning on retiring? Do you plan on having children? What about other expenses that you will have (car, student loans, etc.)? Once again, it is important to answer these questions as honestly as possible, and to go over your options with your loan officer, who will be able to give his/her honest opinion based on individual circumstances and plans and which term will be best in your scenario.

Remember – in the end, your individual financial situation, goals, and comfort levels will determine which mortgage term you should choose, and what may be right for someone else doesn’t necessarily mean it will be right for you. However, a good rule of thumb remains: if you’re comfortable making higher payments (and have an adequate emergency fund), can meet other important financial milestones such as retirement and large expenses like cars and student loans, and have strong personal discipline when it comes to finances, a 15-year mortgage is a great option to own your home in half the time you would otherwise. If any of these conditions make you uncomfortable, it is better to go with the 30-year fixed loan and add in extra payments if you can. Let Alpha Mortgage help you make the right decision when it comes to choosing your loan term.

Best Time to Refinance Your Mortgage

 

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In order to best understand the most opportune time to refinance your mortgage, it is essential to understand how the process works. Refinancing is the process of trading in your old mortgage for a new one that features a new interest rate and term. When you refinance your mortgage, the loan officer who grants you the new mortgage basically pays off the remainder of your old mortgage and provides you with a new mortgage- by refinancing the remaining amount. Another way you can think about refinancing is that you are “resetting your mortgage” – not getting rid of existing debt.”

When you’re considering refinancing, it is important to do your research and crunch out the numbers to make sure that the deal is better over time as opposed to being beneficial short-term. Interest is the silent killer when it comes to refinancing homes; so planning into the future and weighing out scenarios is essential when you’re considering refinancing. This being said, there are major benefits to refinancing with the top three being lower interest rates over time and the opportunity to reduce the term of your original mortgage through standard refinancing, and to acquiring cash from the home’s equity value to use on other purchases through cash-out refinance transactions.

So once you figure out that refinancing is for you, when exactly is the best time to refinance your Mortgage?

  • You plan on staying in your home for a long time– Most of the time, when one refinances their mortgage, they end up extending the term of the loan. This means that you will be paying smaller amounts for a longer time. It is important to look at the savings compared to cost as well as how long you want to stay on your property. If you plan on staying for a while, and the numbers are right, refinancing is a good option to save money.
  • You want to shorten your Mortgage term– Refinancing your mortgage presents the opportunity for borrowers to reduce their mortgage term under reduced interest rates. As long as you’re able to pay the increased monthly payments (which vary from a little to a lot depending on the cost of the mortgage) this is a great option for people looking to pay off their loan sooner rather than later under ideal circumstances.
  • Current interest rates are at least 2% below your existing mortgage interest rate-The University of Minnesota reports that “Most lenders agree that the greatest gain in refinancing your home occurs when the current interest rate stands at least two percentage points below your existing mortgage loan interest rate and refinancing costs are affordable. If those two conditions exist, you should look into refinancing, which offers potential benefits, depending on your situation.”
  • Refinancing costs are reasonable– Most people don’t take into account that there are costs associated with refinancing mortgages. Usually one will have to pay closing costs (in the thousands), taxes, insurance, and prepaid items. Factor these costs into your refinancing decision. If the costs are reasonable and you are still saving money, go for it!
  • It will save you money in the long run– The ultimate goal of refinancing is to save money. By calculating monthly payments and long-term interest costs, borrowers can get a better picture and see if refinancing is a good option. If the conditions are right and you’re saving more money than you would on your existing mortgage, refinancing is a great option to save cash.

Remember: refinancing is a great option for homeowners under the right conditions. A tip to keep in mind if you’re considering refinancing your mortgage is to do it only once to keep incurring home equity (since refinancing resets your mortgage clock). If you are interested in refinancing your mortgage, our expert loan officers can help. Contact Alpha Mortgage today!

Mortgage Market Update 12-16-14

Home builder sentiment across the nation edged lower in December, but still remains robust as 2014 comes to an end. The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index fell to 57 this month, which was just below the 58 expected and down from the 58 recorded in November. Any number above 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good rather than poor. Within the report it showed that current sales conditions and expectations for future sales declined, while the traffic gauge of prospective buyers held steady.

In another sign that the U.S. economy has improved from the depths of the Great Recession, the Federal Reserve reported on Monday that factory production rose by 1.1% in November from October. Output at factories has risen 4.8% over the past year, which is above levels seen before December 2007. Despite a global slowdown, the U.S. has continued to recover, led by a boost in auto sales, food, wood, plastics and rubber products.

Today is the busiest day of the shipping season for the U.S. Post Office and FedEx with just 10 days until Christmas. The nation’s largest shipper, the Post Office, says it will process 640 million pieces of mail on Monday, up 33 million from last year. The Post Office further reported that between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it expects to deliver 12.7 billion cards, letters and packages. FedEx reports that it will ship 22.6 million packages on Monday while it will deliver 290 million packages during the same period, up 9% from 2013.

Mortgage Market Guide 12-01-14

The National Federation of Retailers (NRF) reported today that Black Friday weekend sales didn’t sizzle, which could be attributed to deals that began before Thanksgiving. The NRF said that sales from Thanksgiving through Sunday is estimated to hit $50.9 billion, down from the $57.4 billion in 2013, an 11% decline. The NRF went on to say that during the four-day period, 2014 online sales will be flat from last year. Another reason for the ease in sales could be that shoppers are holding out until later in the holiday shopping season to see if they can get better deals.

In a move that could potentially make it possible for hundreds of thousands of additional consumers to get mortgages, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have relaxed lending standards beginning today, December 1st. The new measures stem from an agreement in October where lenders had blamed the lack of clarity on when they would be penalized for making mistakes on mortgages they sell to Fannie and Freddie. The new standards should include faster turnaround times for mortgage applications to be processed. In addition, lenders be able to consider reduced credit scores and look past one time events when consumers suffered a hit on credit scores.

Fannie Mae released its Economic and Housing Outlook report for November late last week revealing that “economic growth in the U.S. is slowing from the strong mid-2014 numbers to a more moderate pace heading into next year.” Fannie Mae said that full economic growth is expected to be around a modest 2.5% in 2015. Fannie went on to say their view of housing starts, home sales, and home price trends will be largely unchanged next year and that “mortgage activity in 2015 will be very similar to 2014.”

Mortgage Market Guide

Americans filing for first time unemployment benefits fell to multi-year lows in the latest week as the sector continues to recover and move into greener pastures. The Labor Department reported that Weekly Initial Jobless Claims fell by 10,000 to 278,000 and is the second lowest level since the Great Recession ended. The four-week moving average of claims, which irons out seasonal abnormalities, fell to a 14-year low of 279,000, down 2,950 from the previous week. Since June, claims have averaged 293,000 per week compared to last year’s same time period of 343,000 and well below the 594,000 average per week in 2009.

Global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported today that after falling to a 14-year low in September, planned layoffs by employers across the nation surged by nearly 70% from September. U.S. employers announced planned cuts of 51,183 in October, well above the 30,477 planned in September. October is the second highest amount of planned cuts since the May 2014 figure of 52,961 and marks only the fourth time in the last 22 months that planned cuts were above 50,000.

With the Thanksgiving Holiday quickly approaching, more Americans are expected to take to the skies to visit friends and relatives this season. Airlines for America reports that 24.6 million passengers will fly domestically between November 21 and December 2. That’s up about 1.5% from 2013, or 31,000 more passengers per day. U.S. carriers have reaped some big profits in that past year and are making sure that there is enough room to meet the growing demand. The top three destinations for Thanksgiving are Chicago, Orlando and Cancun.