5 Tips to Making the House Buying Process Seamless

5 TIPS - - To Making The House Buying Process SeamlessWhether you’re a first time home buyer or going through the buying process again, being financially prepared and aware of the house buying process is key for a successful purchase. At Title Mortgage Solution, LLC we want to ensure that the process of buying a house is a seamless transaction, and in order to help you be prepared below are 5 valuable tips.

1. Know your Budget

Before you begin your quest for your new home, make sure you know just how much you can afford. Take a good look at your finances by evaluating your current debt to income ratio and carefully consider how financing a home will impact your budget. Please use our helpful loan calculators to estimate your payment for different loan amounts, interest rates, property tax, property insurance and amortization terms.

2. Get Your Finances in Order

Your credit scores and credit history will play a key role in securing a mortgage. When preparing to buy a home, it is a good idea to know what your credit is like. Take advantage of FREE credit reports to identify and correct any errors. By staying on top of your credit, you could secure lower, more affordable rates, which will award you with lower monthly payments, and potentially help bring down your closing costs.

3. Get Pre-Qualified

With today’s competitive housing market buyers should get pre-qualified for a loan prior to house hunting. During the pre-qualification process your loan officer is going to be reviewing your credit history, employment history, income, and assets. This essentially allows the lender to determine how much you can afford from a financing standpoint. Make sure that you share all past, current, and future financial information with your mortgage professional to ensure that there are no complications after you have gone under agreement to purchase a home. In order to get pre-qualified please contact one of Title Mortgage Solution licensed mortgage professionals. We are here to assist you 24hrs a day, 7 days a week.

4. Create a Wants vs. Needs List

When shopping for a home, list the features or amenities that are most important to you. Being in a certain school district, or homes with a pool etc. Establishing “your criteria for amenities” early on will save you time during the house buying process. Once you’ve written the specifics, prioritize your lists. Put things your new home must have at the top, and put wants (things you’d like to have but don’t need) towards the bottom.

5. Find a Real Estate Agent

Having a real estate buyer agent assist you when buying your new home will help you immensely. They provide you with key advice and resources throughout the purchase to help ensure a successful transaction. Get referrals from friends and family or search local realtors online to find one that is the best fit for you. Share with them your budget, pre-qualification, and wants and needs list and let them help find the perfect home for you.

If you are about to start the house buying process contact Title Mortgage today! Our loan officers can help you quickly obtain your pre-qualification and prepare you for the loan process. Call us at 603-643-1400.

Could New Standards Mean Higher Credit Scores?

credit-reportAccording to an article published by CNBC contributor Jessica Dickler, consumers may see higher credit scores if improved standards are implemented on July 1.

Equifax, Experian and Transunion are continually seeking ways to ensure they maintain accurate and current information, but the number one consumer complaint is that information is inaccurate, and the time it takes to update it is too lengthy. Changes will include improved standards, removal and updating of some civil debts and tax liens and stricter identity-matching criteria. The CNBC article states these changes could boost an estimated 12 million consumers’ FICO scores by up to 40 points or more, according to statistics provided by the Wall Street Journal.

These new standards could mean the difference in consumers’ ability to not only obtain a loan, but get more preferable rates on such loans.

What Does My Credit Score Mean?

Your credit score is an important factor in your daily life. The score is calculated by looking at your payment history and how timely you are at repaying your debts. Next it looks at how much debt you have. It will also evaluate the length of your credit history, the types of credit you have and any new credit.

A credit score above 740 is considered excellent, 680-740 is good credit and 620-680 is acceptable. Credit.org has a valuable infographic to better understand the credit score levels.

Your credit score determines the interest rate that you will have on your loans as well as if you will even be approved for the loan at all. The difference of 40 points can make a huge difference for the borrower. According to the CNBC article, if the issues with the reporting is addressed and rectified, it could result in billions of dollars in benefits for the consumer.

Jessica Dickler states in her article that, “The CFPB has come under fire by the Trump Administration with the White House and congressional Republicans exploring ways to fire CFPB Director Richard Cordray if not abolish the office altogether.”

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is credited with providing the supervision and attention that has resulted in the 3 largest credit score reporting agencies evaluating how they do things. The loss of this office or Cordray as the director would like result in this work in progress being “stopped dead in its tracks.”

If your credit score is holding you back from applying for a mortgage, don’t wait. You can start making changes to improve your credit score immediately. When you’re ready to apply for a home loan, contact one of the experienced loan officers at Title Mortgage today. We pride ourselves on offering a variety of loan programs to better meet the needs of all of our customers.

What is Escrow? Unraveling The Myth!

What-Is-EscrowWhat is escrow? “Escrow” is a term thrown around a lot in the mortgage industry, but to many clients it is a mysterious word their loan officer says when asking, “Would you like to escrow?” It can throw any first time buyer for a loop in a process that can already seem overwhelming. So what does it mean to “escrow” and what are the benefits? Escrowing typically involves the monthly tax and homeowner’s insurance payments, as well as private mortgage insurance. Most of our borrowers do choose to escrow these payments, but perhaps it’s not for you. So we will unravel the mystery to help you decide which option is best for you!

What if I choose NOT to escrow?

If you choose to NOT escrow, your monthly mortgage payment will consist of just the principal and interest. You will personally pay your property tax bill to your town office, typically two to three times a year. You will also pay your homeowner’s insurance directly to your insurance agency on a frequency based on what you establish with them. This can seem like a lot of work but is an option for borrowers who may like to have personal control over these payments.

What if I choose to escrow?

If you choose to escrow, your total monthly mortgage payment will include these items as well as the principal and interest for the loan. The payment goes directly to your lender each month and they will hold the escrowed amount until the taxes and insurance bills are due. As an example, say your tax bill is due twice a year. For the first six months of your loan you will pay the lender a monthly amount for taxes, and each month the escrow account grows by that amount. At the end of the six months and the tax bill is due, the escrow account will have enough in it to pay the bill. The lender will then pay the town office the tax due for you. The same applies to the homeowner’s insurance. The lender takes care of these bill payments which can take a lot of headache away, all by just including it in your regular monthly payment!

When choosing to escrow you will also “fill” these accounts initially at closing, paying for a full year of homeowner’s insurance up-front, as well as the first month for the escrow account and approximately six months for the tax escrow account. This ensures the first payments are made and the future monthly payments will apply to the next insurance and tax bill.

The mortgage process can be overwhelming, and we’re here to make it easy and convenient for our borrowers. If you have any questions about what escrow is and whether it’s the right choice for you, feel free to reach out to any of our loan officers here at Title Mortgage Solution!

 

Title Mortgage Offers Competitive Mortgage Programs for Residents

Physician SpecialTitle Mortgage Solution is a fully licensed mortgage lender servicing New Hampshire and Vermont with offices conveniently located in the Upper Valley and Burlington, VT. Both of these areas are college towns with a variety of professional studies including well respected medical schools. Title Mortgage Solution works with many mortgage partners to service your loan and we fund your purchase or refinance with our own money. This gives us the ability to offer innovative and competitive loan products such as our 100% financing program.

The 100% financing program is unique because it requires no money down, has no mortgage insurance requirements and there is no income limit. All of which makes it easier to qualify.

It is our goal to offer loan products that meet the needs of our customers. Vermont and New Hampshire continue to maintain a strong real estate market and the rental market can be competitive with a limited supply at a high cost. Graduate students and residents often opt to make a home purchase instead of renting. This program is the perfect solution for a medical or professional student who know they will be in the area for a few years.

Ideal for Professionals & Residents

 

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In addition to our 100% financing loan option, we offer a variety of other loan programs to meet your needs as a borrower.

  • Conforming Loans – The most common loan type used by borrowers today. We offer long-term fixed rate and adjustable loans that meet Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limits.
  • Non-Conforming (Portfolio) Loans – Portfolio loans do not meet secondary loan requirements for one reason or another. These loans are held by banks in their portfolio.
  • FHA Loans –  An FHA loan is a mortgage that is insured by the Federal Housing Administration. Borrowers with these loans pay mortgage insurance to protect the lender in the event that the borrower were to default on the loan.
  • VA Home Loans - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Loans are available to active duty service members and veterans who meet the requirements of credit score, income, and have a Certificate of Eligibility.
  • Jumbo Loans – Any loan amount over $417,000 is considered a ‘Jumbo’ loan.
  • Imperfect Credit Loans – At Title Mortgage we understand that no everyone has excellent credit. Imperfect Credit loans allow those with less-than-perfect credit scores qualify for competitive rate loans.
  • Unique Properties – For those trying to finance a property that doesn’t fit the mold, Title Mortgage can help.
  • Land – We offer aggressive financing options for the land you want to purchase.
  • Construction Loans – When you are looking to build a new home, discuss your loan options with us. We offer one-time closing construction loans, as well as both fixed rate and adjustable rate options.

Contact the Title Mortgage team today to discuss your lending needs and let us help you make your home ownership dreams a reality.

110 Main Street
Suite 4A
Burlington, Vermont 05401
Phone: (802) 242-2000

7 Lebanon Street
Hanover, New Hampshire 03755
Phone: (603) 643-1400

Title Mortgage Solution Introduces: The Second Look Program

SecondLook2Title Mortgage Solution, LLC is excited to introduce our new SECOND LOOK PROGRAM, and it’s FREE! The Second Look Program is a simple no obligation process that allows you to compare mortgage rates, closing costs, and service before committing to a lender. By having a licensed mortgage professional take a second look you could discover that your bank/lender is charging unnecessary fees, higher interest rates or steering you into their loan programs with risky features that don’t fit your financial goals. You might even learn you qualify for a loan where others have told you, you don’t.

When you have a major medical decision to make you get a second opinion. When you have major car problems you get a second opinion. When making one of the largest financial decisions of your life why not get a second opinion? Whether you’re a first time home buyer, upgrading your home, downsizing or just looking to refinance make sure to have Title Mortgage take a second look. With innovative loan products, and flexible lending guidelines you will find that we frequently have loan programs that other banks/lenders can’t offer. We are a local lender and have stripped away the layers of delays and frustration built into the old banking systems by using automated loan-decision software, electronic document gathering and secure online communications. Our goal is to offer a wide variety of home loan programs, processed quickly, efficiently and more importantly cost effectively to you.

How Does the Second Look Program Work?

1. Call us! If you are interested in our Second Look Program the first step is to reach out to one of our loan officers.

2. Set up an appointment! We will work with you to set up a meeting with your loan officer. For your convenience we can do this in person or over the phone.

3. Have your loan estimate or fees worksheet in hand. Bring your loan estimate or fees worksheet to your meeting or send it along in advance if you are having a phone meeting. Your loan officer will review the numbers and take the time to show you areas where you can save on your loan.

4. No loan estimate? No problem! Title Mortgage can often help people qualify for a loan when another lender cannot. Give us the opportunity to review your financial information and we may be able to help you find a loan program that works for you.

5. You decide what happens next! After you’ve completed the Second Look Program you decide what happens next. Title Mortgage Solution would love the opportunity to service your loan but this no obligation program requires no commitment so the next step is up to you!

Our new Second Look Program gives buyers the opportunity to shop for their loan before committing to one of the biggest financial agreements of their lives. You cannot lose by taking the time to have another mortgage professional look at your loan options. Contact Title Mortgage today to schedule your appointment with one of our loan officers and find out if we can save you money on your home loan.

Debunking The Myth of 20% Down!

Empty PocketsListen up! Did know you don’t need to put a 20% down payment on a house purchase?

That’s right! Today’s conventional loan requires a qualified borrower to put only 5% down, and an FHA loan only requires 3.5% down.

The National Association of Realtors recently noted that millennials represent the largest share of homebuyers, at 32%, and make up 68% of first-time homebuyers. This may come as a surprise to those folks reading articles about how millenials never buy homes. How can it be that so many millennials — a generation that is moving back in with mom and dad and has historic amounts of student debt — are managing to enter the housing market, even overcoming the mortgage rules of thumb of a 740 credit score, 43% debt-to-income ratio and a 20% down payment on a house?

Here’s How:

Here is a closer look at these programs:

FHA Loans

What is an FHA Loan?

FHA stands for the Federal Housing Administration, and its loans help borrowers who have less money to put down or may not qualify for other loan types. Through FHA, the U.S. government provides the lender with borrower-paid mortgage guarantee insurance. This means the borrower has to pay for mortgage insurance for the life of the loan. As a result, lenders are willing to approve borrowers that don’t meet the higher standards for conventional loans.

Why Would I Want an FHA Loan?

The primary reason people choose an FHA loan is simple: FHA loans allow you to put as little as 3.5% down when buying a house. FHA loans also offer relaxed credit and debt-to-income requirements compared with conventional loans. This is a prime way millennials are getting into the housing market. FHA also allows the seller to contribute up to 6% of the purchase price towards buyers closing costs & pre-paid items. This is twice the amount allowed on a conventional loan.

What is the Downside of an FHA Loan?

The biggest downside can be the cost — government-provided mortgage insurance adds 1.75% to the loan amount and requires a monthly fee of .85% of the loan amount. This monthly fee lasts the life of the loan.

How do I Get Rid of Mortgage Insurance on an FHA Loan?

An FHA loan carries mortgage insurance for the life of the loan. The only way to remove it is to refinance to a conventional loan when your home equity has increased to a point that you have an 95% loan-to-value ratio; remember that if you make a 5% down payment on your home, for example, your initial loan-to-value ratio would be 95%. Note that the loan-to-value on an FHA loan is 98.25% at time of closing ( 96.5% + 1.75% upfront fee) on average it takes two years for your loan to be at 95% of the original sales price.

Conventional Loan Programs

What is a Conventional Loan?

A conventional loan is neither insured nor guaranteed by the federal government, and it must meet guidelines set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

How do I Qualify for a Conventional Loan?

In general, there’s a limit of $424,100 for single-family homes. In some high-cost counties (counties in CA) the limit can be as high as $625,000.

These loans require that a borrower have a minimum FICO score to qualify. Lenders will have their own minimums beyond the Fannie and Freddie guidelines, but a 620 credit score is often a starting point. A score over 740 will most likely get you the best rates.

There are various loan programs and the minimum down on a conventional loan can be as little as 3%: the so-called “Conventional 97” is backed by Fannie/Freddie, so rates are low, borrowers may receive reduced private mortgage insurance, but income limits do apply per county.

What is the Downside of a Conventional Loan?

The downside of a conventional loan is that if you use one to buy a house with less than a 20% down payment — meaning your loan-to-value ratio is higher than 80% — you have to purchase private mortgage insurance, a monthly expense which is typically .52% but can be up to 1.5% of the loan amount depending on a borrower’s credit rating.

Make no mistake, putting 20% down is a good idea if you can do it. It’s how you avoid mortgage insurance. But paying PMI for a time might be acceptable if it means actually getting into the housing market and building equity.

How do I Get Rid of PMI?

Unlike an FHA loan — which carries mortgage insurance for the life of the loan — the mortgage insurance on a conventional loan will fall off as soon as the loan-to-value ratio reaches 78% because of the Homeowners Protection Act. At 80% a borrower can request that the PMI be eliminated.

What this means is that, if your home is appreciating steadily, you’ll be in good position to see your mortgage insurance disappear. Another way to get rid of PMI is to keep track of the comps for recently sold homes in your neighborhood. If you feel that your home is undervalued, you can always order a new appraisal to determine whether your home equity is such that you can eliminate the PMI.

You can also refinance your loan, if rates have dropped, which can both save you money while reducing or possibly eliminating the PMI.

VA Loans

What is a VA Loan?

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs backs loans as a benefit for active-duty military personnel, veterans and some spouses/widow(er)’s. VA loans come with great terms for those who qualify.

VA loans can be either fixed rate or adjustable rate mortgages. This type of loan can only be used for your primary residence, and you can only have one VA loan at a time.

Why Would I Want a VA Loan?

VA loans have 0% down requirement and do not require mortgage insurance. And while credit scores matter in order to qualify for the program, minimum requirements are currently 640.

How do I Qualify for a VA Loan?

You qualify for a VA loan if you are a veteran, active duty personnel in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, or a spouse/widow(er) of one.

The take away is that in today’s mortgage environment it is not necessary to make a 20% down payment on a house that will be your primary residence. At Title Mortgage Solution we offer a wide variety of loan programs to ensure we have the best options for our clients. When you sit down with one of our loan officers we will work diligently to find the loan program that is the best fit for your circumstances.

 

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What Is An 80/20 Loan Option and Why Should You Consider It?

Smiling young couple shaking hands with an insurance agentFor those of us who can remember back to the pre-crash days of the early 2000s, the term “80/20” or piggyback second mortgage was a very popular one, and a great loan option when financing a home. When the markets crashed c. 2008, these loan options became all but extinct. Well, they are back and they are more popular than ever!

80/20 refers to a loan option that offers borrowers the ability to finance 100% of the price of a home, or in the case of a refinance, 100% of the appraised value of a home. Essentially this is a creative way to avoid paying Private Mortgage Insurance (commonly referred to as PMI), but also not have to make a down payment in a purchase, or utilize the full equity of a home you already own. Lenders do this by offering one mortgage for 80% of the price/value of a home and another loan for the remaining 20%. In a purchase, you are essentially financing your 20% down payment that alleviates the need for PMI.

Who is this great for and why?

This is great for a person who has excellent credit, a steady job that can sustain the mortgage payments, but not a lot of cash in the bank to put into the purchase.

This option is favorable over a PMI loan in that you are potentially increasing your deduction for mortgage interest on your taxes, and mainly because you are building equity at a faster pace as the 20% secondary loan is typically for a shorter term.

Feel free to reach out to any of our Loan Officers at Title Mortgage Solution to learn more about 80/20 loan options and see if this may be a good fit for you!

 

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Title Mortgage Solution Upgrades to Larger Downtown Hanover, NH Office

7 Lebanon Street, Suite 105 Hanover, NHAfter 15 years on South Main Street in Hanover, NH, Title Mortgage Solution has relocated their mortgage lending office to a larger downtown location. The Title Mortgage Solution team can now be found at 7 Lebanon St., Suite 105 in Hanover, NH. The office is situated behind Salt Hill and Talbots, right next to the parking garage for easy parking.

According to Josh Bennett, Vice President and Loan Officer of Title Mortgage, “The new office is twice the size of our previous space and features more private offices as well as a closing conference room and state of the art technology. Our entrance is on the first floor in a courtyard and there is plenty of natural light. This new space is already feeling like home.”

Title Mortgage Solution has been servicing mortgage needs in the Upper Valley since 2000. Their very first office location was at 32 South Main Street in Hanover where they stayed for 5 years. This was followed by 10 years at the most recent 23 South Main Street location. It was in this last location that the Title Mortgage Solution team grew from 4 people to the current team of 13. The to move to 7 Lebanon Street is a mere 10 months after the Upper Valley mortgage lenders expanded their services by opening an office in Burlington Vermont in March of 2016. Owner Bill Vierzen has close ties to the Burlington area after growing up in Vergennes, VT. Title Mortgage Solution has always offered mortgage financing in both Vermont and New Hampshire so the expansion into Burlington was a smooth transition. As the business grew and adjusted to multiple locations it became apparent that the Main Street Hanover office was no longer meeting their needs.

Rob Messenger, Sr. Vice President and longtime Loan Officer of Title Mortgage Solution sees the new downtown Hanover office as a way to better serve clients. “Our team of loan officers and support staff work extremely well together. We simply got to a point where we couldn’t all fit in the space we had any longer. The new office space will allow us to continue our close working relationship while giving us significantly more room to grow. The best part is that it keeps us right in downtown Hanover but much closer to the parking garage!”

Title Mortgage Solution has done over $1 billion in mortgage financing since opening their doors in 2000. The mortgage team works with multiple lenders which allows them to offer competitive interest rates with low closing costs and a diverse portfolio of loan programs.

The team took residence in their new office on January 11th. Next time you’re in Hanover stop in and say hello!

The new Title Mortgage office is now at:

7 Lebanon Street, Suite 105
Hanover, NH 03755
Phone: 603-643-1400
Fax: 603-643-1201

Same great team, new convenient location!

 

5 Buyer Pet Peeves to Update Before You Sell

PaintingWhen you are getting ready to list your home on the real estate market you start thinking about keeping it clean and removing clutter. Most sellers aren’t looking to do major renovations at this time but there are a handful of things that make buyers cringe but are very low cost and low effort for the seller to fix in advance. A $40 fix could totally change the way a prospective buyer sees your home!

1. Chrome hardware – Chrome hardware and fixtures are no longer catching the eye of buyers in a good way. These shiny metal finishes are proving to be a buyer turn off. Knobs and fixtures can be expensive but updating to a brushed nickel or brass finish can turn up the sophistication in your kitchen or bathroom and please your potential buyers. The shorter their list of things they want to change the better!

2. Paint colors – Bright and bold paint colors may be your favorite but chances are your buyers won’t love them as much. If your home features loud paint colors or a funky accent wall, it’s probably best to update this before listing the home for sale. When selling a home it’s best to stick with gray, beige or white paint colors. This is something the buyer may update again but it’s important that they see the home as a blank canvas when they tour it with the intention to buy.

3. Carpeting – If you have to make any flooring updates before selling, keep in mind that buyers are not looking favorably a rooms with wall to wall carpeting. Some people love carpeting underfoot in a bedroom but at the end of the day hardwood is still king. If any of the rooms in your home require a flooring update weigh your options before laying more carpet. It could help your home sell faster and garner more interest.

4. Multi-use rooms – If your home has more bedrooms then your family needs, you may be using one of them as a gym, home office, wrapping paper room or catch all. The opportunities are endless. This is a great use of space for you but when it comes time to sell you need to show buyers the full potential of the home. If they are looking at your home you should assume that they intend to use all the bedrooms for their original purpose. Before the house goes on the market move your gym or office set up and stage that extra room as a bedroom again. When a room is filled with gym equipment it may give the illusion that a bed may not fit nicely in the space.

5. Maximize storage – You may struggle to fit all of your bath towels in your linen closet but you don’t want your prospective buyer to see that. Empty out that linen closet and put back in only what fits nicely and in an organized way. Put the extra items in storage until you move. Showing buyers an over stuffed linen closet gives the impression that the home lacks space. While that may be the case for your family you want to show your home with full potential and in a positive light.

Sellers often make the mistake that buyers can see past these things and that they would rather make their own updates once they move in. There are some buyers out there that can do this but the majority need to be able to walk through a home and picture themselves living there at that moment. A few smart update choices before listing your home can result in a faster sale and more interest overall.

2017 Real Estate Market And Interest Rates: What Do Experts Predict?

rising-interest-rates-mAs 2016 draws to a close, many people are wondering how mortgage interest rates will change in the New Year and how the housing market will perform if rates do rise. Despite the fact that interest rates have not trended up since December 2015, experts are suggesting that rates have begun to rise and they will continue to go up over the course of 2017.

According to a CBS News article, these rate increases do not pose a threat to the real estate market and they anticipate that house prices will continue to rise.

“But that small initial increase, which would be the first upward tilt in rates since December of 2015, is unlikely to reduce demand for housing. Home prices have continued to rebound this year. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index posted a 6 percent gain in the third quarter on a year-over-year basis.

Economist Andres Carbacho-Burgos of Moody’s Analytics expects nationwide housing prices as measured by that index to rise an average of 4 percent in 2017. Steve Hovland of online real estate management firm HomeUnion projects a similar uptick, while noting that some markets that have seen have seen the sharpest price increases during the recovery, such as New York, Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, could see a dip.”

According to the same article the biggest risk is to luxury homes. In many areas the mid level priced homes are seeing multiple offers while the luxury homes are having trouble attracting any buyers. This goes along with the fact that the average amount buyers are borrowing is very modest compared to where it was during the housing crash. This shows us that people are buying within their means and sticking to the mid-level priced homes. This is a trend that is not likely to change.

With the emphasis on these median priced homes the big issue to come about in the 2017 real estate market will likely be an inventory issue. There are fewer homes in this price range and with the bulk of buyers shopping in the same range this can cause the market to move quickly and you may see an increase in multiple offer situations.

Trends show that borrowers are coming to the table with bigger down payments then they have in the past which also helps to keep housing debt low.

What does this mean for you?

If you have been considering buying or selling your home in the next few months you should rest easy that the market will do fine despite a series of interest rate increases. The increases are only expected to increase the average monthly mortgage payment by $65.

If you are a homeowner who intends to stay in your home but wants to refinance, now is the time. Rates may never be this low again and talks of increases should be taken seriously.

The team of loan officers at Title Mortgage are here to work with you to secure the best possible rate for your home purchase or refinance to contact us or apply today!