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

Category: Mortgage (Page 1 of 33)

Down Payment Options – 20% Down Not Necessarily Required

“How much should my down payment be for a house?”

It’s a question that I hear all the time from would-be home buyers.

And, the answer is:  “it depends,” as it really will vary by buyer.

I’d highly recommend that you check out Dan Green’s article at The Mortgage Reports for more.

Per Mr. Green: “If you’re a home buyer with a good deal of cash saved up in the bank, for example, but you have relatively low annual income, making the biggest down payment possible can be sensible. This is because, with a large down payment, your loan size shrinks, reducing the size of your monthly payment.”

Or, perhaps your situation is reversed.

“Maybe you may have a good household income but very little saved in the bank. In this instance, it may be best to use a low- or no-down-payment loan, while planning to cancel your mortgage insurance at some point in the future.”

Dan continues: “One thing is true for everyone, though — you shouldn’t think it’s “conservative” to make a large down payment on a home. Similarly, you shouldn’t think it’s “risky” to make a small down payment. The opposite is actually true.”

“About the riskiest thing you can do when you’re buying a new home is to make the largest down payment you can. It’s conservative to borrow more, and we’ll talk about it below.”

For today’s most widely-used purchase mortgage programs, down payment minimum requirements are:

Remember, though, that these requirements are just the minimum. As a mortgage borrower, it’s your right to put down as much on a home as you like and, in some cases, it can make sense to put down more.

Larger Down Payments Actually Increase Risk

Green continues: “As a homeowner, it’s likely that your home will be the largest balance sheet asset. Your home may be worth more than all of your other investments combined, even.

In this way, your home is both a shelter and an investment and should be treated as such. And, once we view our home as an investment, it can guide the decisions we make about our money.

The riskiest decision we can make when purchasing a new home?

Making too big of a down payment.”

The Higher The Down Payment, The Lower Your Rate of Return

The first reason why conservative investors should monitor their down payment size is that the down payment will limit your home’s return on investment.

Consider a home which appreciates at the national average of near 5 percent.

Today, your home is worth $400,000. In a year, it’s worth $420,000. Regardless of your down payment, the home is worth twenty-thousand dollars more.

That down payment affected your rate of return.

  • With 20% down on the home — $80,000 –your rate of return is 25%
  • With 3% down on the home — $12,000 — your rate of return is 167%

That’s a huge difference. Please do reach out to me for more information so we can figure out the best down payment strategy for you!

The Fed’s Latest Announcement Has Little To Do With Mortgage Interest Rates

The Federal Reserve board announced last week that they think the federal funds rate will remain at close to zero through at least 2023. 

That’s pretty bizarre…and they must have some sort of an amazing crystal ball that we don’t know about.  I don’t know of any Federal Reserve Board that has given 2+ years of guidance in one day. Evidently they’ve turned into economic soothsayers.

As a reminder, the federal funds rate that is set by the Fed and mortgage rates (not set by the Fed) are two totally completely different instruments. 

The Federal Funds Rate

The federal funds rate is the target interest rate set by the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee at which commercial banks borrow and lend their excess reserves to each other overnight.  It really has limited impact on the mortgage market.

I’d invite you to read this article that I’ve written that outlines what really drives mortgage interest rates: https://lendingcoach.net/mortgage-rates-the-fed/ (hint…it isn’t the Federal Reserve).

Mortgage Interest Rates

This graph shows the deviation of the 30-year mortgage versus the federal funds rate – and you can see there’s quite a dramatic difference.

Inflation Worries

Secondly, the fact that the Federal Reserve stated that they are OK with inflation levels over their original 2% target will not help the bond market or mortgage backed securities (the true drivers of mortgage interest rates). 

They stated that they would allow inflation to run moderately above 2% “for some time” – and many in our industry are worried that once inflation gets rolling (and it has been moving up, even in today’s COVID economy) it will be impossible to stop. 

Mortgage rates will be affected by inflation because inflation erodes the buying power of the fixed return that a mortgage holder receives.  And interestingly, the best way to combat inflation is by raising the Fed Funds Rate. 

If inflation begins to rise, and there are already some signs of this, Mortgage Rates will start to climb in response.  All this can absolutely still occur while the Fed Funds Rate is at zero. 

Today’s Opportunity

With all of that said, the current mortgage rate environment presents an incredible opportunity that should be taken advantage of for either a purchase or refinance. Contact me so I can help you benefit before things change too dramatically!

Is Making an Offer Over Asking Price a Good Idea?

Making an offer over the asking price on a house often makes buyers wince.

But let’s face it, paying above list price is just a reality in certain circumstances—at least if you really have any hopes of getting that house!

Is it a good idea?  Well, this article from Realtor.com outlines a few reasons why it might be.  It’s a good read and I highly recommend it.

Reasons to Offer Over Asking

In many parts of the country we are in what would be considered a “sellers market”, so buyers must adapt.  A good rule of thumb: ‘If houses are selling in your neighborhood in less than 10 days, it’s a strong seller’s market’.

Here are a few other reasons you may want to bid more than list price:

  • You love the home and want to make sure you get it
  • You know there’s a bidding war or lots of competition for the property
  • The house is undervalued (comparable sales can help you judge this)
  • There are cash bids on the table

How To Decide

With that said, does it really make financial sense to pay more for a home than the asking price?

The answer is…it depends – and you should do the math to make sure.

My friends at The MBS Highway have put together a tool that helps buyers decide if making an offer over the asking price is a good financial decision. 

Their “Buy Over Ask” tool takes into account a myriad of factors – from the asking price itself to expected appreciation – even to a break-even point that shows the exact month you should expect your return.

In the example above, by offering $7,500 over the seller’s asking price, a buyer’s break-even point is only one month away…and they can expect appreciation of nearly $100K over the next 5 years.  In this case, it looks like paying a bit over asking would be a good idea, indeed.

Find Out If Offering Over Asking Is Right For You

It would be my pleasure to help any potential buyer find out if bidding over list is a good idea. 

Reach out to me and I can easily put together a summary just like the one above for you to help determine if making an offer over the asking price is something you should consider!

Now Is A Great Time To Refinance That Investment Property

Mortgage rates are at all-time lows.  Many homeowner’s are taking advantage and locking in for the long term.  But what about investors, are they doing the same?

Refinancing rental properties can unlock a good deal of wealth-building opportunities for investors, including the ability to lower interest rates and monthly payments, improve loan terms, and earn additional cash flow.

Interestingly, many investors have not taken advantage of today’s market.

For one reason or another, there are a number of investors that don’t even realize the opportunity that’s in front of them.

Should I Refinance My Rental Property?

In most cases, investors should consider a refinance to:

  • Lower the mortgage rate
  • Convert from an ARM to a fixed-rate
  • Turn a hard money loan into a conventional one
  • Pay off the loan more quickly
  • Upgrade a current investment property

Much has changed in a relatively short period of time regarding rates and valuations…and they are almost all in favor of the investor.

As mentioned earlier, interest rates are historically low…and they look a lot better than they did even this time last year, let alone a few years ago.

5.75% versus 4.5% example

If you purchased an investment property in October of last year, for example, many borrowers took on mortgages with an interest rate in the high 5% range.

Today, if that investor were to refinance their $250,000 loan from 5.75% to 4.5% for example, they would save nearly $200 per month.

There might be some discount points involved depending on the scenario, but they can be financed into the loan amount, so the only out-of-pocket cost would be that of an appraisal.

Assumptions: $250K loan, 70% loan-to-value and 760+ credit score

In Conclusion

When you own an investment property, the goal is to earn a solid rate of return…and refinancing that property can increase your short-term cash flow and help you build longer-term wealth.

Do reach out to me for more, as it would be my pleasure to help you look at different options and programs that might help you in today’s market.

Recession and the Housing Market

Earlier this month, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) announced that the U.S. economy is officially in a recession.

Many experts had been predicting recession even before the Covid-19 virus, so it didn’t come as a surprise.  The new economic pressures added by the pandemic just intensified the problem and brought it to light more quickly.

The definition of a recession has been typically recognized as two consecutive quarters of economic decline, as reflected by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in conjunction with monthly indicators such as a rise in unemployment.

Many are concerned that the recession will dramatically and negatively impact the housing market…but historically that isn’t the case.

Real Estate During Recession

Believe it or not, outside of the “great recession” of 2007 (which was caused, in part, to a housing crisis), home values and real estate generally appreciate historically during times of recession.

That seems counter intuitive…but because interest rates generally drop during recessionary periods, homes become MORE affordable to potential buyers. Even though property values are higher, buyer see lower payments provided by those lower rates.

When more people can qualify for homes, the demand for housing increases – and so do home prices.

Mortgage Rates During Recession

When a recession hits, the Federal Reserve prefers rates to be low. The prevailing logic is low-interest rates encourage borrowing and spending, which stimulates the economy.

During a recession, the demand for credit actually declines, so the price of credit falls to entice borrowing activity. 

Here’s a quick snapshot of what mortgage rates have done during recessionary periods:

Obtaining a mortgage during a recession might actually be a good opportunity. As mentioned, when the economy is sluggish, interest rates tend to drop.

Refinancing or purchasing a new home could be a great way to get in at the bottom of the market and make a healthy profit down the road.

With that said, borrowers should be market-wise and financially savvy when considering large real estate purchases in a recession.

The Great Recession and Home Prices

Home price appreciation continued during previous downturns, except for what is called the “Great Recession”.  While the recession officially lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, it took many years for the economy to recover to pre-crisis levels of employment and output.

So what made the Great Recession different? The housing boom that preceded the last recession was largely driven by an explosion in both home-building activity and mortgage credit.

Home buyers were able to get mortgages with no documentation of their income and no down payment. Many loans had introductory 0% interest periods that made them cheap to start but more expensive as time wore on.

Today, those loan products are no longer in existence.

Today’s Market

The growth in home prices seen during the current economic expansion has not been fueled by increased access to mortgage credit. In essence, today’s recession isn’t at all similar to the prior one.

Rather, it’s a simple reflection of supply and demand. Many Americans want to become homeowners, but the supply of homes available for sale is very low, pushing prices upward.

The housing market saw a drop in activity when stay-at-home measures went into effect throughout the U.S. in March. However, the good news is that home prices continue on an upward trend compared to last year.

The National Association of Realtors reports that the median price for existing homes in April was $286,800, a 7.4% increase from April 2019.

In Conclusion

Although no one likes to see recession, you can observe that it actually can be beneficial for homeowners and would-be purchasers to refinance or purchase during these periods.

If you have more questions and or would like to strategize about purchasing or refinancing, don’t hesitate to contact me, as it would be my pleasure to help you!

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