The Lending Coach

Coaching and teaching - many through the mortgage process and others on the field

Category: Interest Rates (page 1 of 4)

Tips on Interest Rates and Mortgage Shopping

During the home buying process, one key component for borrower consideration is the mortgage interest rate. As many know, rates vary widely from lender to lender.

You might wonder if the lowest rate is the best way to go…but please know there are other factors to take into consideration besides an advertised rate.

With that in mind, here’s a list of tips to help give the buyer confidence as they enter down the path of home ownership or refinancing a current home loan. The single best thing a potential borrower should do is to reach out to a trustworthy mortgage lender!

Do Your Research as You Compare Lenders

Be wary of rates that seem too good to be true. If a rate is far lower than most others, there may be significant extra costs involved – remember, there’s no such thing as a free lunch!

Be skeptical of lenders that have little to no reputation. Check the web for testimonials, run some Google searches and find out mor about them and the firms they work with. Consider how many years the lender has been in business and any complaints or bad reviews online.

If your lender can’t provide you with a solid list of references and referrals, they might not be the right one for you!

Education is Key: Learn About Loans and Rates in Order to Compare Them

It’s important that buyers decide what their goals are regarding that home purchase and whether you need a fixed or adjustable interest rate. A fixed interest rate means that the rate stays the same throughout the life of the loan. An adjustable rate starts off lower and then increases gradually, usually annually, but not beyond a maximum amount.

Talk to trusted industry experts, then with family or friends about what types of home loans they have had and what their experiences were with each type of loan and lender to get a better idea of what might work well for your situation.

Look Beyond the Actual Percentage Rate

Learn about the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) and points. The APR is the cost of credit, expressed as a yearly rate including interest, mortgage insurance, and loan origination fees.

With that said, the APR isn’t necessarily the best benchmark to utilize – find out more about that here….there really are other factors that weigh into this equation.

It’s important to know whether points are included with the APR as it will affect your costs of the loan. A rate may be lower, but may include points, which you will pay for and should account for when comparing home loan interest rates.

Look into other fees that are included with the loan. These might include Lender Fees, Appraisal Fee, and Title Services Fee to name a few.

In Conclusion

Taking the extra step to educate yourself on interest rates and your potential lender will really help you gain a better understanding of the process and options available.

I would be happy to give you the tools and information you need to make wise choices during your home buying journey. Got questions?  Don’t hesitate to reach out to me, as I’d be happy to answer any questions as you might have!

FHA Loans – Closing Costs and Down Payments

One of the reason FHA home loans are so popular is their low down payment requirement. As long as your credit score exceeds 579, you are eligible for 96.5 percent financing, with a 3.5 percent down payment.

The big question is….how much will your down payment and closing costs be?

Source: The Mortgage Reports – Gina Pogol

FHA Down Payment: Higher Is Better For Bad Credit

If your credit score is 580 or higher, your minimum down payment for FHA financing is 3.5 percent. If your FICO is between 500 and 579, you are eligible for financing with ten percent down.

Keep in mind that being eligible for financing is not the same as being approved for financing. You can apply, but very few people with the minimum scores get approved for FHA home loans. So if your credit score is marginal, consider coming in with a higher-than-required down payment.

With that said, with credit scores over 620, buyers should generally be OK regarding credit and FHA loans.

Down Payment Gifts

With FHA homes loans, you can get your entire down payment as a gift from friends or family. Your employer, church or other approved organization may also gift you down payment funds.

Gift funds must come with no expectation of repayment. The loan applicant must show that the giver intends the funds to be a gift, that the giver has the money to give, that the money has been transferred to the applicant, and that the funds did not come from an unapproved source.

If you’re lucky enough to be getting a gifted down payment, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Get a signed “gift letter” from the giver, indicating the amount of the gift, and that it is a gift with no expectation of repayment.
  • Document the transfer of funds into your account — a deposit receipt or account statement is good.
  • Get a copy of the most recent statement from the giver’s account, showing that there was money to give you.

The reason for all this documentation is making sure that the gift does not come from the seller, real estate agent, or anyone else who would benefit from your home purchase.

Help From Sellers

As noted above, you can’t get a down payment gift or loan from the home seller, or anyone else who might benefit from the transaction. However, you can get help with your closing costs from a motivated seller.

FHA loans allow sellers to cover closing costs up to six percent of your purchase price. That can mean lender fees, property taxes, homeowners insurance, escrow fees, and title insurance.

Naturally, this kind of help from sellers is not really free. If you want six percent of the sales price in concessions, you’ll have to pay six percent more than the price the buyer is willing to accept.

That’s okay, as long as the property will appraise at the higher price.

FHA Closing Costs

Closing costs for FHA loans are about the same as they are for conventional loans, with a couple exceptions.

  • The FHA home appraisal is a little more complicated than the standard appraisal, and it often costs about $50 more.
  • FHA requires an upfront mortgage insurance premium (MIP) of 1.75 percent of your loan amount. However, most borrowers wrap that charge into their loan amount.

If you wrap your FHA insurance into your loan amount, your mortgage starting balance looks like this:

  • $200,000 purchase with 3.5% down = $193,000 loan with $7,000 down
  • Add 1.75 percent of $193,000 = $3,378
  • Total loan amount: $196,378

Note that you can wrap the FHA MIP into your new loan amount, but not your other closing costs. When you refinance, if you have enough equity, you can wrap all your costs into the new loan.

Help From Your Lender

If your seller isn’t interested in covering your closing costs, your lender might be. Here’s how that works.

There are many ways to price a mortgage. For instance, here’s what you might see on a rate sheet for a 30-year fixed mortgage:

The rates with negative numbers have what’s called rebate pricing. That’s money that can be rebated to the borrower and used for things like closing costs.

So if you have a $100,000 loan with a three percent rebate (the 4.125 percent rate in the chart above), you get $3,000 from the lender to cover your closing costs.

How can lenders do this? They do it by offering you a higher interest rate in exchange for an upfront payment now. So, you’d get 3.75 percent if you paid the normal closing costs, while 4.125 percent would get you a three percent rebate. If you only keep your loan for a few years, you can come out ahead with rebate pricing.

Contact me to find out more about FHA pricing and options – it would be my privilege to help!

 

Understanding Discount Points – A Primer

There is a fair amount of confusion from prospective buyers about mortgage “points”.  What are they? Why do they exist?

Discount points are a one-time, upfront mortgage closing costs, which give a mortgage borrower access to “discounted” mortgage rates as compared to the market.

In general, one discount point paid at closing will lower your mortgage rate by 25 basis points (0.25%).

Do they help or hurt they buyer?

The answer, of course, is “it depends”.

Dan Green at The Mortgage Reports does a fantastic job in highlighting the definitions and costs/benefits of the paying points. You can find out more here….

By the way, the IRS considers discount points to be prepaid mortgage interest, so discount points can be tax-deductible.

What Are Mortgage Discount Points?

When your mortgage lender quotes you the interest rate, is typically quoted in two parts.

The first part is the mortgage rate itself, and the second part is the number of discount points required to get that rate.

You’ll notice that, in general, the higher the number of discount points you’re charged, the lower your mortgage rate quote will be.

Discount points are fees specifically used to buy-down your rate.

On the settlement statement, discount points are sometimes labeled “Discount Fee” or “Mortgage Rate Buydown”. Each discount point cost one percent of your loan size.

Assuming a loan size of $200,000, then, here are a few examples of how to calculate discount points for a mortgage loan.

  • 1 discount point on a $200,000 loans costs $2,000
  • 0.5 discount points on a $200,000 loan costs $1,000
  • 0.25 discount points on a $200,000 loan costs $500

Discount points can be tax-deductible, depending on which deductions you can claim on your federal income taxes. Check with your tax preparer for the specifics.

How Discount Points Change Your Mortgage Rate

When discount points are paid, the lender collects a one-time fee at closing in exchange a lower mortgage rate to be honored for the life of the loan.

The reason a buyer would pay discount points is to get the mortgage rate reduction; and, how much of a mortgage rate break you get will vary by lender.

As a general rule, paying one discount point lowers a quoted mortgage rate by 25 basis points (0.25%). However, paying two discount points, however, will not always lower your rate by 50 basis points (0.50%), as you would expect.

Nor will paying three discount points necessarily lower your rate by 75 basis points (0.75%)

As outlined by Dan Green in his Mortgage Report article, here’s an example of how discount points may work on a $100,000 mortgage:

  • 3.50% with 0 discount points. Monthly payment of $449.
  • 3.25% with 1 discount point. Monthly payment of $435. Fee of $1,000.
  • 3.00% with 2 discount points. Monthly payment of $422. Fee of $2,000.

You’ll note that when you pay discount points come, it costs at a cost, but it also generates real monthly savings.

In the above example, the mortgage applicant saves $14 per month for every $1,000 spent at closing. This creates a “breakeven point” of 71 months.

Says Green, “Every mortgage loan will have its own breakeven point on paying points. If you plan to stay in your home beyond the breakeven and — this is a key point — don’t think you’ll refinance before the breakeven hits, paying points may be a good idea.”

Otherwise, points can be waste.

“Negative” Discount Point Loans (Zero-Closing Cost)

Green highlights another helpful aspect of discount points is that lenders will often offer them “in reverse”.

“Instead of paying discount points in order to get access to lower mortgage rates, you can receive points from your lender and use those monies to pay for closing costs and fees associated with your home loan,” he says.

The technical term for reverse points is “rebate”.

Mortgage applicants can typically receive up to 5 points in rebate. However, the higher your rebate, the higher your mortgage rate.

Here is an example of how rebate points may work on a $100,000 mortgage:

  • 3.50% with 0 discount points. Monthly payment of $449.
  • 3.75% with 1 discount point. Monthly payment of $463. Credit of $1,000.
  • 4.00% with 2 discount points. Monthly payment of $477. Credit of $2,000.

Homeowners can use rebates to pay for some, or all, of their loan closing costs. When you use rebate to pay for all of your closing costs, it’s known as a “zero-closing cost mortgage loan”.

When you do a zero-closing cost refinance, you can stay as liquid as possible with all of your cash in the bank.

Rebates can be good for refinances, too, as loan’s complete closing costs can be “waived”. This allows the homeowner to refinance without increasing its loan size.

When mortgage rates are falling, zero-closing cost mortgages are an excellent way to lower your rate without paying fees over and over again.

Please do reach out to me to find out more about how utilizing discount points can help you in your next transaction!

Home Buyers Should Know These 5 Things for 2017-2018

There’s a lot of advice online for homebuyers these days. But, hey, who’s got the time to do all of that research. So I’ve selected five things prospective buyers should know about purchasing your house in the next 18 months.

The real estate market is getting more competitive by the day, due to limited inventory. On the other hand, mortgage qualifications have loosened a bit and rates are still near historic lows.

Home prices have risen steadily in recent years, and they continue to do so. Mortgage rates are expected to inch upward in the coming months. Most analysts are predicting a rate increase by the fed in the fall of 2017.

With those things in mind, let’s take a look at 5 key issues:

Mortgage rates are expected to slowly climb into 2018

The Federal Reserve will be reducing the amount of mortgage-backed securities in their portfolio relatively soon – and they have hinted at another rate increase or two over the next 6 months.

In its latest forecast, the Mortgage Banker’s Association economists predicted that the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage loan would rise to 4.5% by the fourth quarter of 2017. Looking beyond that, they expect 30-year loan rates to rise above 5% by around the middle of 2018.

With that said, these rates are still extraordinarily low compared to historical standards.

Home prices are rising

According to Zillow, the real estate information service, the median home value across the US has risen by over 7% in the last year – and many experts see that pace staying consistent. Most economists expect prices to rise by another 6% over the next 12 months, extending into the summer of 2018.

As a result, homebuyers will encounter higher housing costs than those who purchased over the last couple of years. So be sure to research the market ahead of time, work with the right real estate agent, and go into it with a realistic view of what you can afford.

Mortgage qualification is easier today

The mortgage industry has loosened up a bit over the last two or three years. Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have relaxed debt-to-income ratios. As a result, it’s slightly easier to qualify for a mortgage loan today than it was in the past.

For example, many first-time homebuyers think they must have 20% or more ready for a down payment. But that isn’t true at all. Today, there are mortgage programs available that allow for down payments as low as 3%, or even 0% if you’re military or live in rural areas.

Don’t make assumptions about your ability to qualify for a home loan. Reach out to me, and we’ll review your situation to determine if you’re a good candidate for a home loan.

Housing inventory is getting tighter

The reason why home prices are rising has to do with inventory – or the lack of it. It’s just supply and demand at work, really.

In most cities across the west, the current supply of homes is falling short of demand.

What does this mean to the homebuyer? It means you should be prepared for some competition, and be ready to move quickly when the right house comes along.

It’s a sellers market right now

Due to the lack of inventory, this will directly impact you as the buyer. In 2017, most of the major cities across the state are experiencing sellers’ market conditions. In short, there aren’t enough homes for sale to meet the current level of demand.

This is an important factor to remember when it comes time to make an offer and negotiate with sellers. This is where the right real estate agent can really help.

The reality is that current real estate market conditions favor sellers over buyers.

My opinion is that it isn’t worth your time to haggle with the seller over the small stuff. When you find a home that meets the majority of your criteria and falls within your budget, you should move quickly with a legitimate, competitive offer.

In conclusion

With that said, this is my reading on current trends in the real estate and mortgage marketplace. The continuation of rising home prices and more-than-likely mortgage rate increases makes a compelling argument for buying a home sooner rather than later.

As always, please do contact me for more, as it would be my privilege to help you!

Cash Out Refinances for Student Loans

Mortgage giant Fannie Mae has once again re-tooled some of their guidelines. This time it is regarding student loans and how they are treated in debt-to-income ratios for qualifying for a mortgage. This really is fantastic news.

It gets even better for homeowners who have student loans, as Fannie Mae is offering improved pricing on cash out refinances for paying off student loans.

The Big News

Effective immediately, Fannie Mae will waive the “loan level price adjustments” (LLPA), or rate increase adjustment, on cash-out refinances when student loan are being paid off. LLPA’s are intended to adjust for the “risk based” pricing and they directly impact mortgage rates.

Here’s a practical example: a cash out refinance with a loan to value of 80% and credit scores of 740 or higher, has a price adjustment of 0.875 points! This is typically factored into the cost of the rate. (you can click here for Fannie Mae’s LLPA matrix).

The lower your credit score, the higher the adjustment is because of the anticipated higher risk for the loan.  Get this….if student loans are being paid off, the extra cost of the LLPA is waived!

The Specifics

In order to qualify for the new special student loan cash-out refinance, the following must take place:

  • at least one student loan must be paid off;
  • loan proceeds must be paid directly to the student loan servicers at closing;
  • only student loans that the borrower (home owner) is personally obligated are eligible;
  • student loan must be paid off in full with the proceeds from the refi. No partial payments are allowed;
  • property may not be listed for sale at the time of the transaction.

Homes in the California and Arizona area have appreciated at a solid rate over the last few years. Now may be a great opportunity to eliminate student loan debts…especially with the preferred lower mortgage rate!  Please do contact me for more regarding this program.

Raise Your FICO Score by 100 Points In 2017

How To Increase Your Credit Score Fast

You can raise your FICO and reduce what you pay for a mortgage, automobiles, and credit cards. And it’s not that hard to do.

Gina Pogol at The Mortgage Reports has put together a step-by-step guide to get your credit score up and start paying less for everything you finance. Below is a sampling from her article that you might find very useful….

How Much Can You Save?

Per Pogol and MyFICO.com, improving your score by 100 points can save you thousands per year – although that’s not enough to make you rich overnight, it certainly is enough to improve your life.

The average home purchase mortgage, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), was $324,844 in May 2017.

MyFICO says that you’d pay 5.15 percent with a 620 credit score, and 3.78 percent with a 720 credit score.

The difference in payment for an average loan amount and a 30-year fixed mortgage is $264 a month. And that’s really just the start.

The First Step – Assessment

Your first task, when raising your FICO, is to see what you’re up against.

You can get a copy of your credit report from all three major bureaus for free at the government’s site, annualcreditreport.com. Pay the small charge to obtain your FICO scores as well.

Your “representative” score is the middle score of the three. So if your scores are 598, 602 and 623, your representative score is 602. Note that there are many variations on the FICO score, and not every lender uses the same one.

What’s The Reason For Your Low Scores?

Your plan of action depends on the reasons for your low FICO score.

If the cause is inaccurate information, you can clean up your report yourself by contacting all three credit bureaus, Trans Union, Experian, and Equifax, and the company reporting inaccurately, providing proof that you paid on time.

This can take weeks to fix. If you have a mortgage in process, your lender can bring in a rapid re-scoring company to expedite the process at a reasonable cost.

There is no guarantee that correcting information will raise your score by any specific amount.

Know The Codes

If your report is accurate, your scores have “reason codes” you can use to determine the biggest factors bringing your score down. The most common, according to Equifax, include:

  • Serious delinquency.
  • Public record or collection filed.
  • Time since delinquency is too recent or unknown.
  • Level of delinquency on accounts is too high.
  • Amount owed on accounts is too high.
  • Ratio of balances to credit limits on revolving accounts is too high.
  • Length of time accounts have been established is too short.
  • Too many accounts with balances.

Note that the most often-used word in those codes is “delinquency.” If your credit history looks like a rap sheet, littered with late payments, charge-offs and judgments, you’ll need to put some time between your mistakes and your next loan application.

You might even want to reach out to an expert for credit repair.

You won’t be able to start the process until you bring your accounts current. However, your creditors may be able to help you out.

Make Sure You Pay On Time

Next, get a system to ensure on-time payment. It takes about six months of on-time repayment to make a meaningful difference in your credit score, so start as soon as possible.

Set your accounts up on autopay from a checking account. Choose a payment date that follow your paydays and make sure money is there to cover your debts.

If you can’t afford your payments, enlist the help of a non-profit credit counseling service. They can possibly lower your monthly payments, bring accounts current, get penalties waived and help you toward debt-free status.

This may be called a debt-management plan, or DMP. A DMP is not a debt settlement plan, which you should probably avoid.

Some experts recommend that you consider bankruptcy if a DMP won’t pay off your unsecured debts within five years.

High Balances on Existing Debt

The other main category of reason codes concerns the amount of debt you’re carrying. FICO looks at the amount of credit you have with the amount used (utilization ratio), the balances and number of accounts with balances.

Credit bureaus look for spending patterns that are unsustainable. For instance, if every month you spend more than you earn, your payments increase each month, leaving even less disposable income.

Eventually, you have no more available credit and you can’t make your payments.

Fortunately, fixing this changes your score almost immediately. If you have savings to pay off your accounts, consider using it. It’s a safe bet that the interest you’re getting is a lot less than what your creditors are charging.

If you don’t have savings to cover this, you may be able to improve your score by paying off your credit card balances with a personal loan or home equity loan. Lowering your revolving (credit card) account balances drops the utilization ratio.

Don’t do this unless you are 100 percent confident that you will not use your credit cards until the new loan is repaid.

If you have more questions regarding your FICO score and getting into a home loan, please contact me, as it would be my privilege to help!

Fannie Mae Eases Qualification Requirements

The country’s largest source of mortgage money, Fannie Mae, soon plans to ease its debt-to-income (DTI) requirements, opening the door to home-purchase mortgages for large numbers of new buyers.

This move by the mortgage giant will dramatically increase the number of people who will now be able to qualify for a home loan.

Per The Washington Post, “Studies by the Federal Reserve and FICO, the credit scoring company, have documented that high DTIs doom more mortgage applications — and are viewed more critically by lenders — than any other factor.”

Using data over the last 15 years, Fannie Mae’s researchers analyzed borrowers with DTIs in the 45 percent to 50 percent range and found that a significant number of them actually have good credit and are not prone to default.

Simple Definition : Debt-To-Income (DTI)

Debt-to-Income (DTI) is a lending term which describes a person’s monthly debt load as compared to their monthly gross income.

Mortgage lenders use debt-to-Income to determine whether a mortgage applicant can maintain payments a given property.

DTI is used for all purchase mortgages and for most refinance transactions.

It can be used to answer the question “How Much Home Can I Afford?

Debt-to-Income does not indicate the willingness of a person to make their monthly mortgage payment. It only measures a mortgage payment’s economic burden on a household.

Most mortgage guidelines enforce a maximum debt-to-Income limit – and Fannie Mae has essentially “upped” that ratio to help more borrowers qualify!

Housing Ratio or “Front-End Ratio”

Lenders add up your anticipated monthly mortgage payment plus other monthly costs of homeownership. These other costs of homeownership could include homeowner association (HOA) fees, property taxes, mortgage insurance, and homeowner’s insurance.

Normally, some of these expenses are included in your monthly mortgage payment. To calculate your housing ratio or front-end ratio, your lender will divide your anticipated mortgage payment and homeownership expenses by the amount of gross monthly income.

Total Debt Ratio or “Back-End Ratio”

In addition to calculating your housing ratio, lenders will also analyze your total debt ratio. At this time your other installment and revolving debts will be analyzed and added together. Installment and revolving debts will appear on your credit report.

These payments are expenses like minimum monthly credit card payments, student loan payments, alimony, child support, car payments, etc.

Your monthly installment and revolving debts are then added in addition to your estimated monthly mortgage payment and housing expenses and divide that number by your monthly gross income.

Because of these changes by Fannie Mae, many individuals that did not qualify for a home loan might now be eligible under these new regulations.

Please contact me to find out more!

New Fannie Program to Solve Student Loan Debt Qualification Issues

A truly groundbreaking mortgage solution is now being offered by Fannie Mae, as the country’s biggest mortgage agency is making getting approved for a mortgage much, much easier.

Fannie Mae announced three new features that will help those burdened with student loans to qualify to buy a house, or pay off their student loans via a refinance.

“We understand the significant role that a monthly student loan payment plays in a potential home buyer’s consideration to take on a mortgage, and we want to be a part of the solution,” said Jonathan Lawless, Vice President of Customer Solutions, Fannie Mae.

The new program is called Student Loan Solutions, and represents a huge shift by Fannie Mae.

Source: The Mortgage Reports and Tim Lucas

Change #1: Student Loan Payment Calculation

Fannie Mae has changed how lenders calculate student loan payments.

Lenders may use the student loan payment as it appears on the credit report for qualification. Period. That may seem like common sense, but it’s not how things have been done in the past.

Change #2: Student Debt Paid By Others

Just because a payment shows up on a mortgage applicant’s credit report does not mean he or she pays it.

Often, that obligation is taken care of by a parent or another party.

In these cases, Fannie Mae is disregarding the payment altogether. That applies not only to student loans, but payments for all debts.

Change #3: The New Student Loan Cash-Out Program: Pay Off Education Loans With A Refi

Perhaps the biggest shift of all is Fannie Mae’s rework of cash-out rules regarding student loans.

Typically, cash-out refinances come with higher rates. They are considered higher risk by lenders and Fannie Mae.

So, according to Fannie Mae’s loan level price adjustment matrix, a lender must charge an extra 1%-2% of the loan amount in fees or more, just because the loan is deemed “cash-out”.

Now, Fannie Mae does not consider the loan a cash-out transaction if loan proceeds completely pay off at least one student loan.

This loan classification has never been seen before — a kind of hybrid between no-cash-out and cash-out financing. Fannie Mae simply calls it the Student Loan Cash-Out Refinance.

Please do reach out to me to discuss these significant changes to see how I might be able to help you either purchase or refinance!

How Credit Scores Impact Loan Interest

It seems like those with good credit catch all the breaks when it comes to getting lines of credit. It’s easier for them to qualify, and they get lower interest rates.

Well, there’s a pretty good reason for it.

A person that has good credit has a low statistical probability of defaulting on a loan. Therefore, they are given a lower interest rate. A person with a lower credit score has a much higher probability of defaulting, therefore they are charged a much higher interest rate to cover the losses incurred by lenders by those who do default.

It’s all about mitigating risk.

One of my favorite finance bloggers, Cleverdude, has a great piece with specific examples of credit scores and interest rates that shows how much you can really save by working on that credit score.

Find out more here….

He concludes that “people with good credit also have an easier time keeping and improving their credit because they get lower interest rates, which lowers their monthly payments. This makes loans easier to pay back, and keeps more money in their pockets.”

Wise words from the Cleverdude, indeed.

 

 

Is A Jumbo Mortgage Better Than A Conforming Home Loan?

What Is A “Jumbo” Mortgage?

A “jumbo” mortgage is a loan that larger than the current conforming  guidelines established by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Today, a mortgage that exceeds $424,100 is considered “non-conforming.”

So, when you finance expensive property, you need a jumbo mortgage. Interestingly, the borrower has to play by different rules, because mortgages for high-priced homes are not necessarily standardized.

Jumbo Mortgages: They Are Back

During the mortgage crisis a number of years ago, jumbo loans all but vanished. The ones that remained came with guidelines that were nearly impossible for homeowners to meet.

Jumbo loans generally meant high down payments, higher interest rates, and high credit standards – which made these loans essentially obsolete.

But as the real estate market steadily recovered, jumbo loans have been re-entering the lending landscape.

In fact, homebuyers in the market for a larger loan may be pleasantly surprised to know that jumbo mortgage rates are nearly as low as conforming rates.

Source: The Mortgage Reports

Conforming Rates vs. Jumbo Mortgage Rates

Years ago, the difference between conforming mortgage rates and jumbo rates ranged between half a point to two full points.

These days, however, the spread between jumbo rates and conforming rates is minimal – sometimes as little as 1/10th of a percent, according to a number of surveys out in the marketplace.

Look At Jumbo ARMs

Adjustable rate mortgages can be over one percent lower than fixed-rate jumbo loans. For borrowers with larger loans, ARMs are popular alternatives.

That’s because with bigger balances, the effect of a lower interest rate on what you pay each month is more pronounced.

In addition, jumbo ARM rates can sometimes be lower than their conforming counterparts.

Many jumbo ARMS are not sold to investors, but are instead held by lenders on their own books. These “portfolio” mortgages can be made according to whatever guidelines and pricing the lenders establish.

The market is much less homogeneous, and the smart shopper can often find a bargain with a lender trying to expand its market share or build up its pipeline.

Jumbo ARMs come with introductory periods in which their rates are fixed. You can find loans fixed for three, five, seven, or ten years.

If you don’t keep your mortgage for more than the introductory period, you’ll never even have to deal with rate adjustments. And interestingly, most borrowers don’t hold on to those mortgages for more than 7 years.

Compare and Shop Jumbo Mortgage Rates

Unlike conforming mortgage rates, which typically differ by .25 to .5 percent between competitors, jumbo mortgage rates can vary largely from one lender to the next.

Jumbo lenders can serve different markets — alternative documentation, non-prime, unorthodox properties, or borrowers with big down payments and perfect credit — and that affects the rates charged.

This means that when conforming mortgage rates are higher, jumbo rates don’t necessarily follow that the same path.

It definitely pays to shop and compare.

Unlike smaller mortgage loans, a half percent difference in the interest rate on a $700,000 loan amount can add up over time.

  • $700,000 at 4.375% = $3,495
  • $700,000 at 4.875% = $3,704

The difference between these two scenarios adds up fast. Over five years, $209 per month saves over $12,500.

Let’s Talk

If you are interested, please do reach out to talk in further detail about jumbo mortgage products.  It would be my pleasure to help!

The views expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of American Financial Network, Inc.

 

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