Category: Mortgage

What Is A Jumbo Loan?

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Jumbo loans are quite common now. As home prices have skyrocketed, the number of borrowers who need larger loans has also increased. A jumbo loan is a mortgage that exceeds the conforming loan limit set by the federal government every year. Jumbo loans can be used for primary homes, second or vacation homes or investment properties, and they are available as both adjustable- and fixed-rate loans.

Conforming Loan Limits Adjusted Annually

The conforming loan limit is adjusted annually. In 2020, the conforming limit for your typical home loan was $510,400 in most parts of the U.S., but went as high as $765,600 in higher-cost regions. For 2023, the limit for conforming loans in much of the country has increased significantly to $726,200 and up to $1,089,300 in more expensive areas.

Be careful, Jumbo loan limits vary by state and counties within a state may also have higher conventional loan limits. Higher-cost areas may also have higher conventional loan limits. In this case, buyers in states or counties with higher home prices may still be eligible for conforming loans when they buy a new home.

Do I need a Jumbo Loan?

Some borrowers prefer to finance more of the home’s cost rather than tying up cash, making the jumbo mortgage a helpful financial tool and part of an overall investment strategy. You can still get a competitive interest rate and finance the home of your choice without being restricted by the dollar limit on conforming mortgages.

These “Jumbo” loans are meant to finance expensive properties and cannot be purchased or securitized by the government-backed entities Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, which increases a lender’s risk because it will have to hold onto the loan for longer. Therefore, You’ll pay more for a jumbo mortgage than a conventional home loan, and you’ll have to meet tougher qualification guidelines. It’s not uncommon for some lenders to require an additional appraisal. Expect to submit to a second appraisal of the home you are buying so that a loan issuer can confirm the property’s market value.

Three common factors for getting approved for a jumbo loan:

Larger income requirements – You’ll typically need a low-debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, which is the percentage of your monthly income that goes to debt payments. If your income is on the lower end and you have a hefty sum of outstanding debts, you might not qualify for a jumbo loan unless your credit score is excellent or you have a sizable amount of reserves.

Higher credit score – The jumbo loan credit score requirement is usually higher than what you’ll find with a conforming loan. If you’re high-leveraged and you have a low credit score, it’s going to be hard to get a jumbo loan.

Larger reserves– The down payment on a jumbo loan is typically 10 percent to 20 percent. Be prepared to also show enough reserves, or liquid assets, to cover between six and 12 months’ worth of mortgage payments.

Is It For You?

Research the conforming loan limits in your region. If the homes you’re interested in buying do not fall within conforming loan guidelines, a jumbo loan might be an appropriate alternative. However, a jumbo loan is not for you to stretch your financial limits to the brink. It’s meant for buyers with a substantial stable income and ample resources.

The Self-Employed Home Buyer

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When you’re self-employed and you want to buy a home, you fill out the same mortgage application as everyone else. Mortgage lenders also consider the same things when you’re a self-employed borrower: your credit score, how much debt you have, your assets and your income. It is true that self-employed homebuyers do have to jump through a few more hoops than a W-2 employee. Specifically, you’ll have to validate your income and self-employment history and have a record of uninterrupted self-employment income, usually for at least two years.

Since business owners or freelancers usually have an income that fluctuates, lenders have to take a closer look at the vitality and stability of your business. As far as what type of loan you can apply for, independent workers are eligible for the same standard home loans, such as conventional, FHA, VA, USDA, and even jumbo programs, as everyone else.

What Lenders Will Look At

  • Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI)
  • Income stability
  • The location and nature of your self-employment
  • The strength of your business financially
  • The ability of your business to generate sufficient income in the future

Depending on how your business is structured, you might be asked for two years of your 1099s or a statement from your accountant as proof of self-employment history. Lenders look at the net income when you’re self-employed versus the gross income of W-2 workers.

If you’re a contractor, beautician or another professional requiring a license, you could show a lender your state license as proof of how long you’ve been in business. You’ll also need to bring a signed year-to-date profit and loss statement, balance sheet, and at least three months of business bank statements.

Self-employed For Less Than Two Years?

You can still get a mortgage on your home, even if you’ve been self-employed for less than two years. Ultimately, your business must be active for a minimum of 12 consecutive months, and your most recent two years of employment (including non-self employment) must be verified. Your lender will likely do an in-depth look at your training and education to determine whether your business can continue a track record of stability.

Things To Keep In Mind

Whatever money you’re earning—including tips—counts. Lenders are mainly looking to see if your income is stable. Make sure to also include money earned at part-time gigs, seasonal and odd jobs.

If you charge business purchases, such as office supplies and equipment, to your personal card, you’ll increase your credit utilization. This could have a negative effect on your application. Keep your business and personal expenses separate by giving them their own accounts and credit cards. This will project a more favorable, truthful profile on your application.

Generally, processing a mortgage application will take the same amount of time as it does for a traditional borrower. However, gathering all your documentation can sometimes stall the process, especially if your business has recently experienced changes.

Is Refinancing Now A Good Idea?

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The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate .75% in September and concerns over how this would affect the personal finances of millions of Americans started to arise.

While an increase in rates may help tame inflation, they don’t always help consumers. However, some homeowners may still benefit from mortgage refinancing. In fact, even with the rate jump, select homeowners can still save money with a refinance.

Pay Off Your Loan Early

The 30-year home loan is the most popular due to the fact that it spreads out to more manageable payments. This can take decades to pay off the loan. But what happens if you want to finish your loan sooner to eliminate what’s likely your biggest monthly bill. Then a mortgage refinance loan may be worth pursuing. By shortening the loan term you’ll be able to pay it off and build up equity in the house faster. Just be aware that reducing your loan term may make your monthly payments go up, albeit for a shorter period.

Drop Your PMI

If you originally purchased your home with a down payment of less than 20% of the home’s value the lender probably tacked on PMI, private mortgage insurance, to your monthly payment. If the value of your home has grown since the time of purchase you may be able to refinance your mortgage loan to remove this payment. Just make sure the numbers make sense.

Other Possibilities

Cash-out refinancing allows a homeowner to take out a new loan for a larger amount than what they owe on their current loan. They then use the new loan to pay off the old one and keep the difference between the two as cash that can be used as the home owner sees fit.

Reverse mortgages permit homeowners above the age of 62 who have completely paid off or paid off most of their mortgage to take out a portion of their home’s equity. This would qualify as tax-free income. It does need to be repaid if the homeowner dies or decides to sell the home. Still, it may be worth pursuing if the cash is needed.

Can’t Predict The Future

The current state of mortgage rates and mortgage refinance rates are clearly not as advantageous as they were in 2020 and parts of 2021. But, if inflation doesn’t cool, the current rate environment may be the best homebuyers and homeowners can expect for the foreseeable future. So don’t dismiss the potential benefits of refinancing, even now.

Using Your Home Equity To Help You Retire

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Over the last year the average homeowner in the United States gained roughly $64,000 in equity due to home price appreciation. Now, whether you’ve just retired or you’re thinking about retirement, you may be considering your options for this whole new stage of your life. Here are a few ways that you can go about converting your home equity into money for retirement.

Cash-Out Refinance

For retirees who don’t want to move, a cash-out refinance may be a viable option. A cash-out refinance is a new loan that replaces your existing mortgage. While other types of refinancing can result in a lower interest rate or change the length of your mortgage, a cash-out refinance leaves you with a new mortgage for an amount that exceeds what you currently owe. You then collect the difference in cash.

While the cash-out refinance will produce a lump sum of tax-free cash, there are risks and drawbacks associated with this type of transaction. In addition to paying closing costs, you also give up the equity you’ve presumably worked to build. And if the value of the home drops, you could end up owing more than the home is worth. Then again, if you’re committed to staying in your home and your retirement income can cover your monthly mortgage payments, a cash-out may be an option for you.


The most obvious option is to sell your home, purchase a smaller one and pocket the difference. Some retirees who downsize forgo buying a new home altogether and opt to rent instead. These retirees are less likely to be interested in building equity in their home over the course of several decades and instead view their home as an expense, not an investment.

Convert Your Home Into a Rental

Retirees with the energy and willingness to be a landlord can combine some of the above strategies to create a new income stream. If you own your home outright, you can take out a mortgage on the home and use the cash infusion to cover your retirement expenses, including buying a smaller home or renting an apartment. By converting your primary residence into a cash-flowing rental property, you’ll hang on to the home and use the monthly rent to cover your mortgage payments. pocketing whatever’s left over. Assuming the property remains rented, it will be a valuable asset to leave to your heirs as part of your estate.

Your Home’s Equity: How To Use It

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Over the last five years, a surge in home prices has created substantial wealth for the middle class. According to the latest Homeowner Equity Insights from CoreLogic, the average homeowner’s equity has grown by $64,000 just over the last 12 months alone. Since there’s an ongoing imbalance between the number of homes available for sale and the number of buyers looking to make a purchase, home prices are still on the rise.

Down Payment On A New House

When you sell your current house, the equity you built up comes back to you in the sale. In a market where homeowners are gaining so much equity, it may be just what you need to cover a large portion – if not all – of the down payment on your next home.

Cash-out Refinance

One way to get money from your home’s increase in value is to refinance. You’ll refinance your home with a larger mortgage than you previously had to get the difference back in cash. In some instances you’re able to refinance at a lower rate or reduce your monthly payments. It may not be the best option for homeowners right now, however. That’s because interest rates are rapidly rising, and with them, mortgage rates. You’ll also need to consider the extra closing cost fees to refinance.

Home Equity Loan

A home equity loan gives you access to some of your house’s appreciated value. It’s a loan that you take out against the value of your home and pay off over a set period, generally 10 to 30 years. These loans do include closing costs and can also include fees. In addition, you’re required to take out a lump sum, say $100,000, and pay off the entire amount plus interest. Usually, the interest rate is fixed, however, which can help you when budgeting long-term. According to Bankrate, home equity loan rates generally range from 3.5% to 12%, depending on the borrower.

Home Equity Line Of Credit

A home equity line of credit, or HELOC, is a type of home equity loan that allows you to draw funds as you need them and repay the money at a variable interest rate. Because of this, HELOCs are generally best for people who need funds for ongoing home improvement projects or who need more time to pay down existing debt. HELOCs typically have lower interest rates than home equity loans and personal loans; to get the best rates, you’ll have to have a high credit score, a low debt-to-income ratio and a lot of tappable equity in your home.

Loan Application Blunders

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There is a lot of competition in the real estate market today, so you do not want to do anything that could jeopardize your chances of getting your dream home. The home loan approval process is not as simple as most people believe, and it can take some time to process all the information required. Here are a few things you may not realize you need to avoid after applying for your home loan.

Avoid Making Large Cash Deposits

In order to source your money, lenders need to know where your money is coming from, and cash isn’t easy to trace. Before transferring any cash into your account, discuss documenting your transactions with your loan officer.

Avoid Making Big Purchases

As borrowers add new bills, their debt-to-income ratio will increase, and in the eyes of the lender, this makes their loans riskier, and in some cases, qualified borrowers will no longer qualify. Since higher ratios make loans riskier, qualified borrowers may no longer qualify.

Avoid Applying For New Credit

Regardless of whether you are looking for a new car or a new credit card, your FICO score will be affected by organizations like auto dealers, mortgage companies, and credit card companies every time they pull your credit report. This lowers your credit score and that can affect your mortgage interest rate and even your eligibility for credit.

Don’t Change Your Bank Account

When you transfer money between accounts, consult with your loan officer and ensure that they are notified before you do so. Lenders have to track and source your assets; this can be simplified if your bank accounts are consistent.

Avoid Closing Credit Accounts

It is a common misconception among borrowers that having fewer resources available to them would reduce their risks, and that closing some accounts would improve their chances of being approved. Credit history as well as overall usage, measured as a percentage of available credit, are important aspects of your score, and closing accounts hurts them both.

A Brief Summary

If you are planning on making any major purchases, moving your money around, or making any major changes in your life, it’s recommended you consult your lender first. Your lender is qualified to explain how your financial decisions may affect your home loan.If you need assistance in navigating the mortgage process, consult your loan officer. You can increase your chance of approval by being clear and honest with your loan officer.

Things To Avoid After Applying For A Mortgage

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Once you’ve applied for a mortgage, there are some key things to keep in mind before you close the transaction. It’s exciting to start thinking about moving in and decorating your new place, but before you make any large purchases, or move your money around, be sure to consult your lender. Here’s a list of things you shouldn’t do after applying for a mortgage. They’re all important to know – or simply just good reminders – for the process.

Depositing Cash

Lenders need to source your money, and cash isn’t easily traceable. Before you deposit any amount of cash into your accounts, discuss the proper way to document your transactions with your loan officer.

Large Purchases

New debt comes with new monthly obligations. People with new debt have higher debt-to-income ratios. Since higher ratios make for riskier loans, qualified borrowers may end up no longer qualifying for their mortgage.

Co-Signing Other Loans

When you co-sign, you’re obligated. With that obligation comes higher debt-to-income ratios as well. Even if you promise you won’t be the one making the payments, your lender may have to count the payments against you.

Applying for New Credit

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new credit card or a new car loan. When you have your credit report run by organizations in multiple financial channels (mortgage, credit card, auto, etc.), your FICO® score can be impacted. Lower credit scores can determine your interest rate and possibly even your eligibility for approval.

Closing Credit Accounts

Many buyers believe having less available credit makes them less risky and more likely to be approved. This isn’t true. A major component of your score is your length and depth of credit history (as opposed to just your payment history) and your total usage of credit as a percentage of available credit. Closing accounts has a negative impact on both of those determinants of your score.

Get The Best Rate Possible On Your Mortgage

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There’s no way around it, mortgage rates have been on the rise in 2022. With the uncertainty of where rates may go, you should do everything in your power to increase your chance at getting the best rate available to you. Your mortgage rate will depend on things such as your personal credit profile, income, current debt load, and down payment amount.

Improve your credit score

Your lender will check your credit score and report with the three major credit bureaus before they can secure the best rate for you. If your score is below 740, it’s worth the effort to boost your credit score. First, look for any errors on your report and dispute them with the bureau reporting it. Next, make steps to pay down all debts and maintain low credit card balances. Don’t close any accounts though, this will reduce the available credit you have. You should aim to use no more than 30% of the limit on any credit card while continuing to make payments on time.

Reduce your debts

If earning extra income isn’t possible, cutting expenses may be the way to lowering your debt-to-income ratio, also known as your DTI. Decrease entertainment related purchases, forgo the vacation this year and eat out less. Lenders use your DTI as a representation of your personal financial fitness and ultimately, as a way to judge how much of a risk you are to lend to. Ideally, your DTI should be around 36% or less making you a better candidate for a lower mortgage rate. For example, if you make $8,000 a month and you’ll only be spending $2,800 (35% of your income) on your mortgage payment and other debt payments.

Save for a bigger down payment

Most loans require a minimum down payment amount, with USDA and VA loans being the exceptions. Putting down more than the minimum shows the lender that you’re willing to invest more in the property, making you less risky and therefore eligible for a more attractive interest rate. If you put down less than 20% on the loan, you’ll most likely be required to have private mortgage insurance (PMI). Having to pay PMI premiums will affect you the same as a higher rate will be increasing your monthly payment and total borrowing costs.

Look into a shorter term loan

When you select a 15 year fixed rate mortgage instead of a 30 year fixed rate mortgage, the interest rate will typically be lower. Although this may mean a slightly higher monthly payment, you’ll have the benefits of paying interest on the loan and also paying off the home in half the time, potentially saving you thousands over the life of your loan.

Current market conditions, your credit history and other details about your financial life will be how lenders personalize your interest rate. Since you can’t control the markets, it’s up to you to build your creditworthiness and obtain the best interest rate available to you.

Ways To Utilize Your Home Equity

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Your equity is a powerful tool that can help you achieve your goals as a homeowner. And chances are, your equity grew substantially over the past year. According to the latest Equity Insights Report from CoreLogic, homeowners gained an average of $51,500 in equity over the past year. If you’re looking for the best ways to use your growing equity, here are some options:

Buy A Bigger Home

If you’re finding you no longer have the space you need, it might be time to move into a larger home. Or, it’s possible you have too much space and would like something smaller. No matter the situation, consider using your equity to power a move into a home that fits your changing lifestyle. Moving into a larger home can provide extra space for remote work or loved ones. Downsizing, on the other hand, may mean saving time and money by caring for a smaller home.


If the size of your home isn’t a challenge but your current location is, it could be time to relocate to a new area. Maybe you enjoy vacationing in the mountains, at the beach, or another area, and you’re dreaming of living there year-round. Or perhaps the distance between you and your loved ones is greater than you’d like, and you want to close the gap. No matter what, your home equity can fuel your move to the location where you really want to live.

Start A Business

If you’re not ready to move into a new home, you can use your equity to invest in a new business venture. While it’s not recommended that homeowners use their equity for unnecessary spending, leveraging your equity to start a business that you’re passionate about can potentially grow your nest egg further.

Higher Education

Whether you have a loved one preparing to head off to college or you’re planning to go back to school yourself, the thought of paying for higher education can be daunting. In either situation, using a portion of your growing equity can help with those costs, so you can make an investment in someone’s future.

First Home Buying Tips

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It’s an adventure when you’re ready to go house hunting. It’s even more exciting when you are ready to search for your first home. Whether you’re moving out of your parent’s house, or you have been renting and are ready to finally own your own place, you’re taking a big step in life. Here are some helpful tips which will make buying your first home a positive experience.

Budget Wisely

Far too many people make the mistake of buying a home that is beyond their means. This only adds stress to their lives and can even lead to moving out if the mortgage is too much to handle. Sit down and work out your budget. Look at all of your monthly expenses and remember that you’ll want to continue to set aside savings for a rainy day. Once you see how much is left for a mortgage payment, give yourself some wiggle room.

Location, Location, Location

If you’re going to take the plunge as a first-time homebuyer, be strategic about your search. What area calls to you? A great price or a beautiful home will not be enough if you’re unhappy with the location. Consider the school district if you have children and think about access to your favorite stores. Figure out if you want neighbors nearby or if you would prefer your own space. Perhaps most importantly, decide if you’re comfortable with the quality of the surrounding area you’re moving to. This will help you to trim down your list of potential homes.

Establish Financing

This may be the most important tip in obtaining your first home…make sure you have your financing in order before you go home shopping. Seek out a licensed mortgage professional in your area and begin the pre-qualification process. Getting pre-approved before you start looking at homes is extremely important in the event you decide to write an offer on one. In the competitive housing market we’re currently in, offers from pre-qualified buyers go to the front of the line.