Ellen McLaughlin - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 5/5/2019

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) refers to mortgage refinancing as a crucial aspect of all mortgages. This is partly because comparatively, low mortgage interest rates have encouraged homeowners to restructure their financial situations using their home equity. Homeowners should base their refinancing decision on their circumstances rather than mortgage interest rates. Here are tips to consider when considering refinancing your mortgage: 

Home Equity

You need to have home equity before you can even consider refinancing your home mortgage. Home values are steadily rising which means that with conventional lenders, you can have enough equity to get a loan. Most lenders will allow a homeowner with at least 20% equity to get credit quickly.

Credit Score 

In recent years, lenders have made the requirement for loan approval stricter. Therefore, some consumers with good credit may not qualify for the lowest interest rates. Typically, the acceptable credit score by most lenders is 760 and above. Borrowers whose credit scores are not up to the satisfactory score may still obtain a new loan but with higher fees or interest rates.

Refinancing Cost

Refinancing costs usually take between three to five percent of the loan amount. Borrowers can look for ways to reduce this cost or incorporate it into the loan. The cost can also be rolled into a new loan if you have enough equity. With some lenders, you are likely to pay an interest rate that is slightly higher to balance the closing cost when you take a loan with them. Make sure that you negotiate and ask several lenders so that you get the best fees for your refinancing loan.

Rates vs. Term 

A borrower needs to have a goal when refinancing to know the exact mortgage product that is most favorable. If all you want is to reduce your monthly payment to the minimum, a loan with a long-term interest rate will be beneficial. If your goal is to pay a reduced interest rate over a short period, you should consider the lowest interest rate in the shortest term. 

Break-Even Point

Before deciding to refinance your mortgage, determine the break-even point. The break-even point is the time at which your monthly savings have covered your refinancing cost. Beyond this point, your monthly savings belong to you. This also means you know how long it will take before your refinancing makes sense if you intend to sell or move from the home in some years.

Mortgage refinancing can be quite confusing, so you need to be sure you completely understand the terms and conditions. Do your research and also speak to a financial planner to give you professional advice.




Categories: Mortgage   refinance   homeowners  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 7/1/2018

A fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) offers one of many financing options for homebuyers. It enables homebuyers to lock in an interest rate on a home loan and pay a set amount each month for the life of a mortgage. As such, an FRM remains a popular option for homebuyers across the United States.

Ultimately, there are many benefits to choosing an FRM, including:

1. Easy Budgeting

With an FRM, your mortgage payments will always stay the same. Thus, after you get approved for an FRM, you can budget accordingly.

An FRM often serves as a great option for homeowners who struggle to maintain a budget. It ensures your mortgage payments will never rise or fall for the life of your loan, which may make it easier for you to map out a weekly, monthly or annual budget.

In addition, an FRM will stay intact regardless of market conditions. This means you won't have to worry about your mortgage costs rising even if interest rates increase nationally.

2. No Price Fluctuations

An FRM minimizes headaches for homebuyers, and for good reason. After you agree to FRM terms with your lender, you will know precisely what you'll be paying for your home.

Comparatively, an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) may be difficult for homebuyers to understand. This type of mortgage may fluctuate over time, which means the amount you pay in the first few years of your loan could escalate.

For example, a 5/1 ARM ensures that your interest rate will remain intact for the first five years of your loan. After the initial period, the interest rate may change annually. As a result, your monthly mortgage payments may fluctuate over the life of your loan.

3. Simple to Understand

Your lender will be able to outline the terms of an FRM with ease, as this type of mortgage ensures an interest rate is set in stone until your loan is paid in full. Plus, after you receive an FRM, you can focus on what's important – acquiring your dream home and enjoying this residence for years to come.

With an ARM, the interest rate for your loan may move up and down over the years. The factors that cause the interest rate to fluctuate are based on numerous market factors as well. Therefore, it can be tough to plan ahead for your monthly mortgage payments due to the fact that various factors may impact your loan's interest rate.

Determining whether an FRM is right for you can be challenging. Thankfully, banks and credit unions can define all of your home financing options and respond to any concerns and questions.

Furthermore, your real estate agent may be able to put you in touch with lenders in your area. This real estate professional also is happy to offer tips and recommendations to ensure you can get the financing you need to secure your dream house.

Examine all of your home financing options closely, and you should have no trouble obtaining a home loan that matches your budget.





Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 8/6/2017

One of the best ways to lower your monthly mortgage payment is to make a sizable down payment when you buy your new house. In fact, a significant down payment could make the difference between whether or not a bank or other mortgage lender approves you for a loan. A lot of it has to do with the past.

Time is of essence when it comes to building a mortgage down payment

Since the Great Recession, lenders have become more conservative during the loan approval process. Even if you work for a bank, you might not get approved by your employer for a mortgage. It's not just your credit rating and your salary. The amount of disposable income and down payment you have are also key.

The time that it could take you to save a mortgage down payment depend on several factors. Among these important factors are:

  • How much student loan debt you have to pay off
  • Money management habits that you have developed
  • Your income and how much job security you have (For example, did you just start your job or have you worked for your employer for five or more years?)
  • The number and amount of financial obligations you currently have
  • Location, size and amount of house you want to buy

What is a good mortgage down payment?

Even if you have been working for your employer for five or more years, don't have a lot of debt and practice healthy money management habits, it still could take you several years to save for a sizable mortgage down  payment. This is because a good mortgage down payment can start at ten thousand dollars and quickly rise. Factors that help to create a good mortgage down payment include:

  • A good down payment on a mortgage generally equals about 20% of the overall cost of the house (For example, if the house that you're buying cost $225,000, you'd put at least $22,500 toward your down payment.)
  • Rising rates could lift the amount of money that you need to put toward a down payment.
  • Your down payment is separate from other housing costs like mortgage application and homeowners association fees, title search and title application fees and closing costs.

All is right with saving for a strong mortgage down payment

You could start saving for a mortgage down payment as soon as you start working. You could also save for a mortgage down payment even if you're on the fence about buying a house. The self-discipline that you use to build the savings can help you to develop the money management skills to get out of debt, invest in your education and start building a strong retirement account.

Several years of saving for a healthy mortgage down payment helps you to develop an appreciation for your finances. It helps you to see the correlation between your hard work and how you treat the money that you work so hard for. When you get ready to buy a house, it also helps you to get a great mortgage deal, the type of deal that finds you with more money left in your wallet after you pay your monthly mortgage.





Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 5/14/2017

If you’re finding that your finances are a bit tighter these days, you might need to adjust your budget a bit. Have you ever thought about alternatives in helping you to pay your mortgage? There’s a few things that you might be able to do in your home to save a few bucks and be more comfortable with your budget and finances. 


Share The Space


This might sound crazy, but it works for many people. If you’re willing to share your living space with others, it could help you to make a dent in your mortgage. This works especially well if you have a home with a separate entrance like an in-law apartment or something similar. 


Make Adjustments To Your Expenses


There are many different costs that come along with owning a home. If you reduce some of these expenses, you’ll be able to cut your overall spending. You don’t need to completely adjust your entire way of living to do this. Some ideas:


  • Cut the cord on cable and install streaming devices
  • Go on a family cell phone plan
  • Skip the gym membership
  • Use public transportation
  • Cook at home instead of eating out
  • Use coupons


Put Tax Refunds To Good Use


If you normally get a tax refund, you can apply that money to your mortgage instead of using it to buy something else. You could also adjust your withholdings. This would allow you to get a bit more money in your paycheck each week. You’ll get less of a refund during tax time, but the extra money may help you to pay down bills throughout the year. 


Pay More Towards The Principal 


To make the most of your hard-earned savings, use your money wisely and pay down the mortgage faster. Just be sure that there’s no penalty for a prepayment of the loan. You can either make an extra loan payment each month or you can pay a bit over what you owe on the mortgage each month. If you pay the mortgage faster, you’ll save potentially thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan. You’ll need to check with your mortgage company to see what their process is for paying more towards the principal of the loan. Keep in mind that the first few years‘ worth of your mortgage payments will be going towards interest unless you specify extra payments to go elsewhere.


Whether you’d like a little more of a financial cushion or are just looking to get rid of all those pesky monthly bills, it’s never a bad idea to focus on paying your mortgage down as quickly as possible.




Tags: mortgage   finances  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 8/7/2016

Credit is tied to most big financial decisions you will make in your life. From things as little as opening up a store card at the mall to buying your first home, your credit score is going to play a factor. When it comes to mortgages, lenders take your credit score, particularly your FICO score, into consideration in determining the interest rate that you will likely be stuck with for years. How is your credit score determined and what can you do to use it to get a better rate on your mortgage? We'll cover all of that and more in this article.

Deciphering credit scores

Most major lenders assign your credit score based on the information provided by three national credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These companies report your credit history to FICO, who give you a score from 300 to 850 (850 being the best your score can get). When applying for a mortgage (or attempting to be pre-approved for a home loan), the lender you choose will weight several aspects to determine if they will lend money to you and under what terms they will lend you the money. Among these are your employment status, current salary, your savings and assets, and your credit score. Lenders use this data to attempt to determine how likely you are to pay off your debt. To be considered a "safe" person to lend money to it will require a combination of things, including good credit. What is good credit? Credit scores are based on five components:
  • 35%: your payment history
  • 30%: your debt amount
  • 15%: length of your credit history
  • 10%: types of credit you have used
  • 10%: recent credit inquiries (such as taking out new loans or opening new credit cards)
As you can see, paying your bills and loans on time each month is the key factor in determining your credit score. Also important, however, is keeping your total amount of debt low. Most aspects of your credit score are in your control. Only 10% of your score is determined by the length of your credit history (i.e., when you opened your first card or took out your first loan). To build your credit score, you'll need to focus on lowering your balances, making on-time payments, and giving yourself time to diversify your credit.

What does this mean for taking out mortgages?

A higher credit score will get you a lower interest rate. By the time you pay off your mortgage, just a hundred points on your credit score could save you thousands on your mortgage, and that's not including the money you might save by getting lower interest rates on other loans as well. If you would like to buy a home within the next few years, take this time to focus on building your credit score:
  • If you have high balances, do your best to lower them
  • If you have a tendency to miss payments, set recurring reminders in your phone to make sure you pay on time
  • If you don't have diverse credit, it could be a good time to take out a loan or open your first credit card
When it comes time to apply for a mortgage, you'll thank yourself for focusing more on your credit score.




Tags: mortgage   credit score   loan   home loan   credit  
Categories: Uncategorized