What Is A Qualified Mortgage?

 

Do you know what a qualfied mortgage means in the Fort Myers and Cape Coral areas?

As this video explains,  Federal laws put into effect in 2014 and  supervised by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau define lending practices and loan terms for a new category called “Qualified Mortgages.”

They provide stable loan features for consumers and improve legal protection for lenders who follow the guidelines.

These guidelines require lenders to assess each borrower’s ability to repay their mortgage loan to ensure the borrower’s monthly DEBT – including mortgage – be no higher than 43% of their monthly gross INCOME.

The laws also define unacceptable loan terms:

  • interest-only loans
  • terms over 30 years
  • negative-amortization loans that increase principal over time
  • most balloon loans

These terms do not meet the Qualified Mortgage guidelines.

The laws aim to provide consumers with objective guidance  about reasonable debt from the CFPB and in return, to grant lenders who follow that guidance with higher levels of protection from lawsuits.

Ask your lender about Qualified Mortgage options for your home purchase.

At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: Loan Officers, Underwriters, and Mortgage Brokers – Who’s Who?

Title Insurance Explained Visually

 

What is title insurance and why should any buyer purchasing a home in the Fort Myers or Cape Coral areas get it when purchasing a home (single family, townhouse, condo, apartment, or whatever format your home purchase takes)? Doesn’t the attorney or settlement company handling the closing see to it that you have a clear title?

Title insurance prevents the property owner from suffering financial loss if, at any time during his ownership of the property, someone comes along who can show that they have full, or partial, ownership of the property instead.

A careful title search is done at the time property changes hands. On rare occasions mistakes are made anyway. Property can change hands in a number of ways including by deed, by will and by court action. Typically, these proceedings are recorded in different places. Searching the history of ownership to be sure nothing has fallen through the cracks is a tedious job that requires alertness, intelligence, and skill.

It is very likely that the value of your property will go up over the years. As time passes, these elements are likely to result in your home equity’s being your largest asset. Just how devastating would it be if you eventually discovered that someone else owned what you’d always thought was your home?

Do yourself a favor. When you buy a home, buy title insurance.  And watch the video to understand the essentials.

At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: 5 Room Makeover Ideas.

What Does Ability To Repay Mean?

 

Looking to secure a home loan in the Fort Myers or Cape Coral areas and curious about the “Ability to Repay” rules?

In a nutshell, as this video shows, new laws require lenders to make a good-faith assessment of a borrower’s capacity to pay back their loan over time.

It’s a longer-term view that goes beyond immediate income, debt and credit rating.

These new Federal laws- supervised by the CFPB – require lenders to ask more questions –

about income, assets, employment, credit history, and monthly expenses –

as they relate to the proposed loan.

For example, a lender offering a mortgage with a low initial rate must try to assess how a borrower will handle the later, higher rate as well.

If you’re applying to borrow ask whether the program you’re considering is a Qualified Mortgage

Ability-to-repay rules are built in to loans that meet Qualified Mortgage guidelines.

At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: 5 Tips If A Storm Damages Your Home

What Is An Escrow Account? Do I Need One?

 

Shopping lenders for your Cape Coral or Fort Myers new home purchase? Have you come across the term “Escrow Account” and wondered what it means or if you even need one?

As we show you in this video, an escrow account is an account, established by your lender, to set aside a portion of your monthly mortgage payment to cover annual charges for homeowner’s insurance mortgage insurance (if applicable), and property taxes.

Escrow accounts are a good idea because they assure money will always be available for these payments.

If you use an escrow account to pay property tax or homeowner’s insurance make sure you are not penalized for late payments since it is the lender’s responsibility to make those payments.

At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: What Should I Know Before Investing In Real Estate?

What Is The Debt-To-Income Ratio (DTI)?

 

Starting the home buying process in the Fort Myers or Cape Coral areas? One term you may hear your lender use is “DTI” or Debt-To-Income Ratio.

Measuring your existing debts against your existing income is one part of a lender’s required assessment of your ability to repay a loan.

Like the video says:  debts are existing financial commitments like a car payment for example, whereas a grocery bill is not.

To calculate your debt-to-income ratio add up your monthly debt payments and divide them by your GROSS monthly income. (Gross income is generally the amount of money you earn BEFORE taxes and other deductions.)

The Federally-established debt-to-income target is a maximum of 43% for Qualified Mortgages.

If your ratio is higher there may be other loans available  – however, there may also be additional questions to establish your ability to repay, and the rates may be different than those available for Qualified Mortgages.

Studies suggest that a high debt-to-income ratio puts a homeowner at greater risk of challenges making monthly payments. So consider your situation and risks carefully before exceeding that suggested ratio.

At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: Should I Sell My Home?

What Is A Mortgage?

 

Are you looking for a mortgage to buy a home in the Fort Myers or Cape Coral area?

The original phrase “mort gage” translates as “death pledge”! But as this video explains, a mortgage is a loan obtained to purchase real estate.

The “mortgage” itself is a lien – a legal claim on the home or property that secures the promise to pay the debt.

All mortgages have two features in common: principal and interest.

The principal is the amount you are borrowing which is “secured” by the lender’s claim on the property.

The interest, usually stated as the percentage rate is the additional amount paid for borrowing. Mortgage interest is ‘compounded’ – interest on interest, over time.

At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: What Is A Counter Offer?

What Is A Counter-Offer?

 

Have you ever wondered about what an “offer” or “counter offer” means when buying or selling a home in the Fort Myers or Cape Coral area?

The video puts this in more visual terms, but basically, a seller can respond to a buyer’s offer with changes – a “counter” – that improves the terms.

You need to put yourself in their shoes and construct a modified offer that you think they might take that meets more of your needs. Then it’s their turn – accept, reject, or construct yet another counter.

It’s an efficient market process, but beware: clauses and costs matter. Your broker should be closely involved in constructing a counter. Successful bargaining is best done with a win/win approach where each side is meeting their biggest needs and compromising others to reach an agreement.

Remember that outside conditions like interest rates, and supply and demand, will keep evolving so you’ll need to be patient but decisive to craft an counter-offer that works for both sides.

At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: What Are Commissions?

What Are Real Estate Commissions?

 

Curious about real estate commissions in Cape Coral and Fort Myers Florida?

Like the video says – real estate agents aren’t paid by the hour! They’re paid a percentage of the purchase price in a successful real estate transaction.

When one agent represents the sellers and another represents the buyers the commission is typically split between them.
In the US, real estate commissions are commonly 6% of the transaction usually 3%/3% when split.

No government or industry body sets commission rates.  Legally, commission rates ARE negotiable.  However, remember that agents only earn their commission on successful sales.

Consider the work you want them to do for you to evaluate the value you should put on the commission they earn.

At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: How Large A Down Payment Do I Need?

How Large A Down Payment Do I Need?

 

In the process of looking for a home in the Fort Myers or Cape Coral areas and wondering how large a down payment you may need?

There are mortgage options now available that only require a down payment of 5% or less of the purchase price. You’ll see some pictures in this video to help you remember later – the larger the down payment, the less you have to borrow and the more equity you’ll have.

Mortgages with less than a 20% down payment generally require a mortgage insurance policy to secure the loan.

When considering the size of your down payment consider that you’ll also need money for closing costs moving expenses, and – possibly – repairs and decorating.

At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: What Is Loan To Value (LTV) And How Does It Affect The Size Of My Loan?

What Is Loan To Value (LTV) And How Does It Affect The Size Of My Loan?

 

Are you purchasing a home in Fort Myers or Cape Coral? Have you heard of the term “LTV” and wonder what it means?

While this video simplifies things to help you remember, the loan to value ratio or “LTV” is the amount of money you borrow compared with the price or appraised value of the home you are purchasing.

Each loan has a specific LTV limit. For example: With a 75% LTV loan on a home priced at $100,000 you could borrow up to $75,000 (75% of $100,000) and would have to pay $25000 as a down payment.

The LTV ratio reflects the amount of equity borrowers have in their homes. The higher the LTV the less cash homebuyers are required to pay out of their own funds.

So, to protect lenders against potential loss in case of default, higher LTV loans (80% or more) usually require mortgage insurance policies.

At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: How Does Purchasing A Home Compare With Renting?