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Category: Refinance (Page 1 of 9)

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.

Shop for a Mortgage Without Hurting Your Credit Score

Make sure to do a little planning before you start looking for a mortgage.  With a some work, you can keep your score in top shape relatively easily as you shop for the right mortgage lender.

“Metaphorically, not letting your lender check your credit is like not letting a doctor check your blood pressure. Sure, you can get a diagnosis when your appointment’s over — it just might not be the right one.” – Gina Pogol, The Mortgage Reports

When you start looking for the right mortgage provider, shop carefully because your credit score might suffer if you don’t take care. Each time you apply for a home loan, a mortgage lender will make a credit inquiry to review your credit history. These inquiries are reported to the three major credit-reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

I’m linking to a great article by Gina Pogol of The Mortgage Reports that discusses credit inquires and how it impacts a borrower’s score – you can view the entire article here…

If there’s one thing to take away, from Pogol’s article…”do make sure to share your social security number with your lender so they can give you accurate mortgage rate quotes instead of just best guesses or ‘ballpark rates’.”

Mortgage vs Credit Card Inquiries

A hard inquiry generally means you’re searching for additional credit. “Statistically, you’re more likely to have debt problems and default on financial obligations when you increase your available credit. This is especially true if you’re maxed out or carrying credit card balances and looking for more”, says Pogol.

She continues, “Understanding this, it makes sense that your credit scores drop when you go applying for new credit cards or charge cards. Fortunately, credit bureaus have learned that mortgage shopping behavior does not carry the same risks and they no longer treat a slew of mortgage inquiries the same way.”

They key point here is that multiple mortgage companies can check your credit report within a limited period of time – and all of those inquiries will be treated as a single inquiry. That time period depends on the FICO system the lender uses. It can range from 14 to 45 days.

What FICO Says

This is what MyFICO says about its algorithms and how it treats rate shopping inquiries:

FICO® Scores are more predictive when they treat loans that commonly involve rate-shopping, such as mortgage, auto, and student loans, in a different way. For these types of loans, FICO Scores ignore inquiries made in the 30 days prior to scoring. 

So, if you find a loan within 30 days, the inquiries won’t affect your scores while you’re rate shopping. In addition, FICO Scores look on your credit report for rate-shopping inquiries older than 30 days. If your FICO Scores find some, your scores will consider inquiries that fall in a typical shopping period as just one inquiry. 

For FICO Scores calculated from older versions of the scoring formula, this shopping period is any 14-day span. For FICO Scores calculated from the newest versions of the scoring formula, this shopping period is any 45-day span. 

Mortgage rate shopping / credit score Q&A with Gina Pogol

Do mortgage pre-approvals affect credit score?

Yes, but only slightly. Credit bureaus penalize you a small amount for shopping for credit. That’s a precaution in case you are trying to solve financial problems with credit. But requesting a mortgage pre-approval without applying for other types of credit simultaneously will have little to no effect on your score.

Will shopping around for a mortgage hurt my score?

You have 14 days to get as many pre-approvals and rate quotes as you’d like — they all count as one inquiry if you are applying for the same type of credit.

How many points does your credit score go down for an inquiry?

About 5 points, but that could be lower or higher depending on your credit history. If you haven’t applied for much credit lately, a mortgage inquiry will probably have a minimal effect on your score.

How much does a mortgage affect credit score?

Having a mortgage and making all payments on time actually improves your credit score. It’s a big loan and a big responsibility. Managing it well proves you are a worthy of other types of credit.

What’s the mortgage credit pull window?

You have 14 days to shop for a mortgage once you’ve had your credit pulled. Within 14 days, all mortgage inquiries count as one.

The Final Take-Away

A mortgage credit inquiry does have a small effect on your score, but it’s still worth shopping around to find the right lender. Borrowers can save both money and headaches by doing some work to find the lender that you trust the most.

Economic Turbulence on the Horizon – Recession, Rates, and Real Estate

It does look like most economists are pointing to a recession (although most do think it will be relatively mild by historical standards) in the next 12 months.

A recession occurs when there are two or more consecutive quarters of negative economic growth, meaning GDP growth contracts during a recession.

When an economy is facing recession, business sales and revenues decrease, which cause businesses to stop expanding.

How do the economists know this?  And what does this mean for interest rates and real estate values?  Read on for more…

Recessionary Indicators

The Yield Curve

One of the major indicators for an upcoming recession is the spread between the 10-year US treasury yield and the 2-year US treasury yield.

While various economic or market commentators may focus on different parts of the yield curve, any inversion of the yield curve tells the story – an expectation of weaker growth in the future.

What does this inverted yield curve look like?  Here’s a good depiction:

Why does inversion matter?  Well, the yield curve inversion is a classic signal of a looming recession. 

The U.S. curve has inverted before each recession in the past 50 years. It offered a false signal just once in that time. 

When short-term yields climb above longer-dated ones, it signals short-term borrowing costs are more expensive than longer-term loan costs. 

Under these circumstances, companies often find it more expensive to fund their operations, and executives tend to temper or shelve investments.

Consumer borrowing costs also rise and consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, slows.

Unemployment

Unemployment is a recessionary factor, too – as economic growth slows, companies generate less revenue and lay off workers to cut costs.

A rapid increase in the overall unemployment levels—even if relatively small—has been an accurate indication that a recession is underway.

Here’s a chart that shows what happens when unemployment starts to trend upward – and notice that recessions follow shortly thereafter:

As you can see, when things in the economy starts to slow down, one of the first things business do is to reduce their labor force.  The curve is flatting now, and unemployment might be ticking up soon.

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. A borrower should be market- and financially savvy when considering large real estate purchases in a recession

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 actually 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), due to the lower payments provided by those lower rates.

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

In Closing

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!

Which Is Better: Cash-Out Refinance or a HELOC?

When you need cash for home improvements, school tuition, a down payment for a 2nd home, or debt consolidation, you might want to consider tapping into what could be your greatest source of wealth — your home equity.

Interestingly, there is more than one way to access your home equity – so it’s smart to compare available options to find the right fit.

Two of the most popular ways are a home equity line of credit (HELOC) and a cash-out refinance. Both of these loans can work if you want to access your home equity, but they do work rather differently.

The “Cash-Out” Refinance

Cash-out refinancing involves replacing your current home loan with a new one. The “cashing out” part of the equation means you essentially take out a larger home loan than you currently have so you can receive the difference as a lump sum. This strategy works for those who have equity in their homes due to paying down their mortgage balances or appreciation of their property.

To qualify for a cash-out refinance, you need to meet similar requirements as you would if you were applying for a first mortgage – and you must have the equity in your home to qualify, as well.  You can borrow up to 80% of your home’s value.

So, let’s assume your home has a value of $300,000 and you want to take cash out. In that case, you could only borrow up to $240,000 through a cash-out refinance. If you owe that much or more on your home already, you wouldn’t qualify.

The Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

While a cash-out refinance requires you to replace your current mortgage with a new one, a HELOC lets you keep your first mortgage exactly how it is.

Acting as a second mortgage, a HELOC lets you borrow against your home equity via a line of credit. This strategy allows you to withdraw the money you want when you want it, then repay only the amounts you borrow.

You now have two mortgage payments to make each month – your first mortgage payment and the new HELOC.

To qualify for a HELOC, you need to have equity in your home. Depending on your creditworthiness and how much debt you have, you may be able to borrow up to 85% of the appraised value of your home after you subtract the balance of your first mortgage.

For example, let’s say your home is worth $300,000 and the balance on your mortgage is currently $200,000. A HELOC could make it possible for you to borrow up to $255,000, because you would still retain 85% equity after accounting for your first mortgage and your HELOC.

Generally speaking, HELOCs work a lot like a credit card. You typically have a “draw period” during which you can take out money to use for any purpose. Once that period ends, you may have the option to repay the loan amount over a specific amount of time or you might be required to repay the balance in full.

Like credit cards, HELOCs also tend to come with variable interest rates, so you should be prepared for some rate volatility.

Key Differentiators

Before you decide between a HELOC or a cash-out refinance, it helps to do some analysis on your personal finances and your overall goals.

A cash-out refinance may work better if:

  • Your current home loan has a higher rate than you could qualify for now, so refinancing could help you save on interest
  • You need more than $50,000 overall
  • You prefer the stability of a fixed monthly payment or only want to make one mortgage payment every month
  • You have high-interest debts and want to consolidate them at the same rate as your new mortgage
  • What you save by refinancing — such as savings from a lower interest rate — outweighs the fees that come with refinancing
  • You are able to roll your closing costs/fees into the new loan amount so there are no out-of-pocket costs

A HELOC may work better if:

  • You are happy with your first mortgage and don’t want to trade it for a new loan
  • You need less than $50,000 overall
  • Your first mortgage has a lower interest rate than you can qualify for with today’s rates
  • You aren’t sure how much money you need, so you prefer the flexibility of having a line of credit you can borrow against
  • You want to be able to borrow up to 85% of your home’s value versus the 80% you can borrow with a cash-out refinance

Here’s a quick “snapshot” of two different options – notice how the smaller transaction works well with the HELOC, the larger one with the refinance.

As you can see, for the smaller transaction, the HELOC is less expensive overall – both in fees and monthly payment. However, once you go over the $50,000 mark in cash-back, it appears that the cash-out refinance is the most economical, all things considered.

I’d invite you to find out more from Gina Pogol at The Mortgage Reports here….and Holly Johnson at Magnify Money here….

HELOC Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Applying for a HELOC allows you to maintain the terms of your original mortgage, which can be an advantage if your rate is low.
  • You can use money from a HELOC for anything you want, and you only have to repay amounts you borrow.
  • HELOCs tend to come with lower closing costs than traditional mortgages and home equity loans.
  • HELOCs can generally be closed quicker than refinances

Cons

  • Taking out a HELOC means you’ll need to make two housing payments every month — your first mortgage payment and your HELOC payment.
  • Interest on a HELOC is no longer tax-deductible, unless the funds are used for acquisition or updating your home.
  • They are more expensive the more you borrow – if you are needing more than $50,000, your payments might be higher than that of a refinance
  • Since you only repay what you borrow and the interest rate on HELOCs is typically variable, you may not be able to anticipate what your monthly payment will be. Your monthly payment could also be interest only at first, meaning your payment won’t go toward the principal or help pay down the balance of your loan.
  • The interest rate on HELOCs tends to be higher than first mortgages, and their variable rates can seem riskier. You may also be required to pay a balloon payment at the end of your loan, so make sure to read and understand the terms and conditions.

Refinance Pros and Cons

Pros

  • You can use the money from a cash-out refinance for anything you want, including home upgrades, college tuition, a vacation or debt consolidation.
  • If rates have gone down or your credit has improved since you took out your original home loan, you could refinance your mortgage into a new loan with a lower interest rate.
  • You can choose from different types of loans for your refinance, with various terms and fixed or variable rates available.
  • Interest on your first mortgage may be tax-deductible.
  • Interest rates on first mortgages tend to be lower than other options, such as home equity loans or HELOCs.

Cons

  • Closing costs for a cash-out refinance are typically higher than those of a HELOC
  • If interest rates have gone up since you purchased your home, you could be trading your mortgage for a higher interest loan that will be more expensive.
  • Refinancing your home to take cash out may leave you in mortgage debt longer.
  • You won’t qualify for a cash-out refinance unless you have at least 80% equity in your home after the process is complete.

In Conclusion

As you can see, there’s really no right or wrong decision to be made here, but it is important that you know the benefits and drawbacks of both options. Please do reach out to me for more information, as I’d be happy to go over the specifics of your scenario to find the best option.

Mortgage Options for Newly Self Employed Borrowers

Self-employed mortgage applicants must prove stability of employment and income, traditionally going back at least two years.  This regulation is a bit tougher than it is for regular salaried employees.

Traditionally, mortgage lenders have required two years federal income tax returns in securing a mortgage for purchasing or refinancing real estate. 

Fortunately, there is a way to use just one year of tax returns to qualify for a mortgage. 

This can help newer business owners, as well as those who experienced a down year in the past.

Introducing Two-X Flex 1-Year

Finance of America Mortgage has a new, proprietary product that drastically reduces the amount of documents and simplifies qualification. 

Two-X Flex 1-year requires only one year of income documentation and offers borrowers more flexibility in qualifying for a mortgage.   

Product Details

  • 1-year of income documentation used for qualifying
  • Wage earner and self-employed borrowers
  • Up to 90% loan-to-value with no mortgage insurance
  • As low as 640 minimum FICO
  • $100,000 minimum loan amount
  • Up to $3,000,000 maximum loan amount
  • 30 year fixed
  • 5/1, 7/1 and 10/1 ARM –fully amortizing and interest only
  • Primary Residence, Second Homes, Investment Properties
  • Up to 50% debt-to-income ratio
  • 1-2 units, PUD and warrantable condos

In order to utilize this one-year requirement, it’s important to understand that your tax return must reflect a full year of self-employment income.

For example, if you became self-employed in April 2017, that year’s tax returns are not going to reflect a full year.  If you started your business in November 2016, then your 2018 tax returns will demonstrate a full year of experience running your business.

Give me a call to find out more – as there are multiple alternatives that we can examine!

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