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How to Prequalify for a Mortgage

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Buying a home is the all-American dream. It starts with an idea, then saving for the down payment, and finally shopping for the perfect place to call home.

When you prequalify for a mortgage, your house shopping will run smoother, giving you—the future homeowner—some guidelines in regard to how much you can spend. There’s no point in falling in love with a house that you can’t afford. Prequalifying will keep your shopping in the reality zone and eliminate getting in over your head. Continue reading “How to Prequalify for a Mortgage”

Preparing your home for a tornado could be the difference between life and death for you and your family. In “Preparing Your Home for a Tornado Part I” we discussed steps to take before the storm hits. In Part II we discuss additional steps to take during and after the storm.

Find Immediate Shelter When you Hear the Sirens

Preparing Your Home for a Tornado

If you are fortunate enough to live in an area where there are tornado sirens, find out what they sound like. When you hear tornado sirens you and your family should find immediate shelter, moving to an interior room, storm shelter or basement. You and your family should listen for tornado watches and warnings. A tornado watch is issued when conditions are right for tornado development in your area. Whether a severe thunderstorm watch or tornado watch has been issued, you should be aware of weather conditions in your area. A tornado warning is issued when a tornado has been seen or radar indicated the presence of a tornado in your area. Seek immediate shelter when a tornado warning has been issued.

Tornado emergencies are tornado warnings that are issued because a tornado has been spotted and is heading to a densely populated area. This was the case in Oklahoma City, OK two weeks ago. When a severe thunderstorm warning is issued you and your family should take precaution, staying indoors and watching for the possible development of tornadoes.

Prepare your home for a storm

You may not always be at home when tornado warnings and watches are issued. If you’re in a structure, move to the most interior room on the first floor or to the basement. Stay clear of windows and anything that could hit you like chairs and bookcases. Mobile homes and trailers offer little protection. Move away from these structures to more secure locations. If you are in your car, drive to the nearest shelter away from the storm. If you can’t make it there in time, keep your seat belt on, duck below and cover yourself with a blanket or a coat. Don’t hide under overpasses or bridges. These places will not protect you from flying debris. If you’re caught in an open field during a storm, duck as close as possible to the ground and cover your head. Once you’ve reached a secure location, wait until high winds have died down before you go outside.

If a tornado has touched down in your area, here’s a list of things to do to keep your family and your home more secure. Address your injured family members first. Wait out the storm and seek medical assistance. Next, shut off your utilities. Turn off your water, electricity and gas. Gas leaks are extremely dangers and can cause explosions or fires. If you suspect a gas leak, refrain from using a lighter if you’ve not already turned off your utilities. Before leaving your house, inspect it for structural damage that could harm your family. If any part of your home is not safe, you need to find different shelter. Families whose homes have been damaged or destroyed should seek an evacuation center. While evacuation centers often have supplies, it’s a good idea to bring whatever emergency supplies you can with you.

If you were fortunate that your home was spared, join in the rescue efforts or volunteer. Help your neighbors with the clean-up, removing hazardous objects with care, taking pictures for insurance companies. Follow public officials orders so you are making a positive contribution and not damaging the situation any further.

You’ve seen the devastation caused by the tornado that touched down in Missouri last month. Weeks ago an F-5 tornado devastated Oklahoma City, OK just like the one that killed 161 people in Joplin, MO two years ago. With severe thunderstorms a common occurrence here in St. Louis, you know tornado warnings are not something to be taken lightly. You want to protect yourself and your family the best way you can. Here are some tips for preparing your home for a tornado. Continue reading “Preparing Your Home for a Tornado – Part One”

It’s a question that weighs on many homeowners’ minds these days. Is it wise to pay off your mortgage early? The answer depends on your financial situation and there are good arguments that can be made either way. Here are several reasons why you should and shouldn’t pay off your mortgage early. Continue reading “Is Paying Off Your Mortgage Early a Good Idea?”

Very frequently, we get borrowers who have gone through a divorce and due to lack of awareness of the items still on their credit report, are unable to qualify for the refinance or purchase mortgage they were hoping to obtain. You can still get a mortgage after divorce. Here are some tips to make sure this isolated event doesn’t affect your credit score, causing you to miss out.
Continue reading “Credit Qualifying for a Mortgage after Divorce: 3 Tips”

Spring is the busiest real estate buying season and if your home is on the market you might be a little stressed wanting your home and your “curb appeal” to look amazing. With so much rain and cooler temperatures in the Midwest, it may be tempting to let the outside appearance of your home slide until the warmer and dryer weather comes. Here are some ways for attracting buyers and increasing your homes curb appeal despite the weather. Continue reading “Attracting Buyers: Increasing Your Home’s Curb Appeal”

Underwriting a mortgage loan is as much an art as it is a science. Whether you’re in the market for a mortgage on a new home or refinancing, it helps to know what mortgage underwriters look for so you can meet the lender’s parameters for loan approval. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Mortgage underwriting is the analysis process an underwriter performs when trying to determine whether to approve or decline a mortgage loan. Mortgage lenders create mortgage programs with guidelines for acceptable risk factors to underwriters. When your loan reaches underwriting, an underwriter is ensuring your loan meets the mortgage lender’s parameters. Every financial situation is different which makes every loan unique. Continue reading “The Basics of Mortgage Underwriting”

Interest rates are still at historic lows and refinancing could save homeowners a bundle. Trouble is many homeowners aren’t refinancing because the process can be a bit tricky. Here are some refinancing mistakes to avoid.

Before starting the refinancing process it’s a good idea to know your credit score. Job loss and a tough economy have taken a beating on many homeowner’s credit scores. Seeking a way out of debt, many homeowners attempt to refinance only to receive refinancing offers that were actually worse than their existing mortgage and in extreme cases were rejected by lenders all together. To improve your credit score in the months before you refinance, don’t make big purchases like a car or a boat, pay down your credit cards and check your credit report for errors, like debts you’ve already paid off. Continue reading “Typical Refinancing Mistakes You Should Avoid”

Quite often we see mortgage applicants, generally single mothers applying for financing that have income from a job and child support.  Sometimes, the child support is the make or break item that is the difference in qualifying the applicant for a home loan.

However, due to the inconsistent nature inherent in some child support relationships, there are a number of rules that apply to getting the child support payments to qualify as income for a mortgage applicant.

Below are 4 tips to use in advance of your mortgage application to make sure child support income can be included by your mortgage lender.

1. 6 Months Backwards

In order for child support income to be considered, we must ba able to document a 6 month history of receipt. This is due to so many parents not making the required child support payments. Proving receipt for 6 months can be problematic though. In some cases where child support is administered by the state government, for example, state of MO Child Support Enforcement has a link to document payment history of their cases, which is available at https://dssapp.dss.mo.gov/payments/WbMdi3OrdersByCaseListSvr.ASP Each recipient is required t to obtain an 8 digit key code to access their account.

2. 3 Years Forwards

Also, like most income that is not directly derived from work, the rule of thumb to qualify for a mortgage is to show that the income stream will continue for at least 3 more years. Effectively, this means the children for which the borrower receives financial support can’t be any older than 15 at the time of application.

3. Check Please! 

If not paying via some online vehicle, try to be paid by check. It helps if there is a copy of the check which can be verified with the deposit receipt on the bank statements.

 

4. Deposit the check quickly, by itself and wholeSingle Dad Mortgage

The child support check should be deposited as quickly as you receive it, and should be deposited by itself and do not take any cash out of the deposit. So in other words, don’t hold on to the check to deposit with a payroll check and don’t take cash from the deposit.

So, for example, Sally, who lives in Warrenton, collects child support of $1,100 per month is paid by check for 2 children ages 12 and 10. She regularly copies the front of the check and deposits the check by itself and whole. A mortgage company will be able to use this as income towards qualifying for her mortgage by producing 6 months of bank statements and copies of the checks showing a check for $1,100 and deposits for $1,100.

To conclude, it is possible to include child support as income toward qualifying for a mortgage application. It does take some planning and documentation.

 

If you have anymore questions or want to discuss this further, please feel free to reach out to Jayson Hardie at 636-256-5712, it costs ZERO to find out!

Homeownership is the “Great American Dream”….it also happens to be one of life’s greatest stresses. However, if we pay attention to these simple 9 steps, we can maximize the “Dream” part while minimizing the “Stress” part of the process. Over the next series of articles, we will cover the necessary steps to buying a home.
Continue reading “Here to Home Ownership in Nine Steps Part Three”

Home ownership is the “Great American Dream” …it also happens to be one of life’s greatest stresses. However, if we pay attention to these simple 9 steps, we can maximize the “Dream” part while minimizing the “Stress” part of the process. Over the next series of articles, we will cover the necessary steps to buying a home.

This is part two of our three part series. Read part one here.
5. Making your mortgage application
Now that you have an accepted contract, it is important to quickly make your mortgage application. While you have gone to your licensed mortgage loan officer already for a pre-approval, you will now need to make application for your mortgage, if you have not already. Make sure to have your standard documentation ready. Continue reading “Here to Home Ownership in Nine Steps – Part Two”

Home ownership is the “Great American Dream” …it also happens to be one of life’s greatest stresses. However, if we pay attention to these simple 9 steps, we can maximize the “Dream” part while minimizing the “Stress” part of the process. Over the next series of articles, we will cover the necessary steps to buying a home. Continue reading “Here to Home Ownership in 9 Steps – Part One”

Good news. Your real estate agent just called with a buyer who would like to see your house. Trouble is, there’s only so much your real estate agent can do and it’s up to you to make your home as presentable and attractive as possible, with the goal of engaging the buyer emotionally. Here are some tips for showing your home. Continue reading “Tips for Showing Your Home to Buyers”

With spring just around the corner, you find yourself watching home improvement shows in the evening, dreaming of the different ways to spend your home equity line of credit. After all, you’ll recoup what you’ve spent when you sell your house. Right? Don’t kid yourself. While prices and returns on home improvements vary regionally, there are certain projects that should be avoided. Continue reading “The Worst Home Fixes for the Money”

Years ago, it was very easy to purchase a home with no money down, or 100% financing. Then this little thing hit called the “mortgage meltdown” hit in 2007 and everything changed where almost every program requires a borrower put some type of down payment on a purchase. However, there are still certain types of mortgages that will finance 100% of the purchase price of your home, they are a US Department of Agriculture(USDA) mortgage and a Veterans Administration(VA) mortgage. We will cover those today.
Continue reading “Buying a Home with No Money Down – VA”

Years ago, it was very easy to purchase a home with no money down, or 100% financing. Then this little thing hit called the “mortgage meltdown” hit in 2007 and everything changed where almost every program requires a borrower put some type of down payment on a purchase. However, there are still certain types of mortgages that will finance 100% of the purchase price of your home, they are a US Department of Agriculture(USDA) mortgage and a Veterans Administration(VA) mortgage. We will cover those today. Continue reading “Buying a Home with No Money Down – USDA”

While often confused, Mortgage Insurance(MI) and Homeowners Insurance are greatly different types of insurance that cover greatly different things.

Here’s the cleanest summary:

Homeowners Insurance covers you, and your home, you will always need this type of insurance. MI covers the bank, get rid of this as soon as you can. Continue reading “Difference Between Homeowners & Mortgage Insurance”

For anyone trying to save enough money to buy a home, especially their first home, the question always comes up about home much does a person need to put down on a home. This amount varies based on loan type. Here is a summary along with the pro’s and cons of each. Continue reading “What’s the Minimum Down Payment I Need to Buy a Home?”

Everyone wants the best rate possible, we all do, we want the best for us and for our family to free up as much money for the important things in life. Yet, when you are shopping for a mortgage, before application, make sure to keep these things in mind that are some of the mistake we’ve seen many borrowers make. Continue reading “What to Avoid When Shopping for a Mortgage”

Homeowners often ask if it is a good time to refinance their home loan. The answer is certainly yes.  In fact, interest rates are at their lowest levels since 1958 when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president.  Since interest rates are extremely low, this gives tremendous opportunity to credit worthy consumers to take advantage of a refinance home loan. Continue reading “Is Now a Good Time to Refinance my Home Loan?”