Jill Kelly - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Westwood



Posted by Jill Kelly on 9/19/2017

Many Americans who purchased their home when they had lower credit, a shorter employment history, and less money stand to gain from refinancing their mortgages. However, most miss out on this opportunity or donít realize it in time to save potentially thousands in interest payments.

According to recent data, 5.2 million Americans could save, on average, $215 per month if they refinanced their loan. But many homeowners are hesitant to refinance.

Whether itís because of the inconvenience, the cost of refinancing, the worries about something going wrong, or uncertainty about whether theyíll actually save money if they go through the process, millions of homeowners are missing out.

So, in this article, weíre going to talk about some reasons it may be a good idea for you to refinance. If youíre one of the millions of Americans with a mortgage who are thinking about refinancing, this post is for you.

Riding the wave of the economy

Interest rates on home loans are historically low right now. As a result, homeowners can save by refinancing simply due to changing tides of the real estate market. Although mortgage rates have increased slightly over the past two years, theyíre still on the low end, so this could be your last chance to save.

To consolidate your debt

Credit cards, auto loans, and other forms of debt can add up quickly. If you have a high-interest rate on your other debts, refinancing could be a good way to consolidate and save.

This can be achieved through a home equity loan or by refinancing with a cash-out option. This means you refinance your mortgage for more than you currently owe and take the remainder in cash to pay off your other debts with high-interest payments.

Typically, you need to have at least 20% equity (or have paid off 20% of your mortgage) to be eligible for this option.

Small percentages count for more now

It was once said that refinancing only made sense if you would receive a lower interest rate of at least 1-2%. However, with the prices of homes increasing over the years, sometimes even a small change, such as .75% is enough to save you substantial money on your repayment.

Youíre able to repay early

One of the best ways to save on a home loan is by refinancing to a shorter term. Going from a 30-year loan to a 15-year loan can save you thousands. There are several calculators available for free online that will enable you to estimate how much you could save by refinancing to a 15-year mortgage.

You got a raise

One of the best times to refinance is when you can be certain that you can afford to pay off your loan sooner. As people progress in their career, it isnít uncommon for them to refinance their loan so that they can spend more each month but save in the long run.

Since you have a higher income, and likely higher credit, you can also refinance a variable rate loan to lock in a lower fixed rate.





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Posted by Jill Kelly on 9/5/2017

Find the right home and you could enjoy years of living at a beautiful, peaceful property. You might even get married at your house and start and raise a family. By the time they are your current age, your children may feel and think of your home as one of the safest, most inviting places on earth.

Here are 3 things that could tank your mortgage

That's if everything goes right. Those or other housing advantages may not be possible if  you make the below three mortgage mistakes. A clear goal, discipline and focus could help you to stay free of these mortgage mistakes:

Hiding financials from potential lenders - Top mortgage lenders will vet your home loan application thoroughly. They will check your credit history, current credit rating, tax returns and income, including income from part-time or contractor jobs. Outstanding debts that you currently have will also be reviewed. Yet, those thorough financial checks may not reveal the full details of your financial portfolio. For example, money that you owe a relative or friend may not show up during the reviews, even if you owe a relative or friend thousands of dollars. The fact that you know that you're planning on taking out another loan after you get approved for a mortgage also won't show up. Keeping these types of financial details a secret could help you to secure a home loan. Hiding financials from lenders could also cause you to take on more debt than you can handle. When you first move into your new home it might feel like a win. Months or years later, it could feel like one of the worst decisions you've ever made, especially if you start falling two or more months  behind in your mortgage payments.

Securing a home loan with the wrong lender  - There are several drawbacks to securing a home loan with the wrong lender. The lender may not be solvent and you could lose money on court fees should you challenge the home loan contractual language. Employees at the company may also not get fully vetted, putting you at risk of identity theft. You could also get involved with a company that's involved with illegal money schemes like money laundering or Ponzi schemes. Worst, the company that gives you a home loan might not actually have the funds to cover the cost of the loan.

Paying more for property than it's worth - Admittedly, houses are one of the more expensive purchases that you will make. But, that doesn't mean that you should pay as much as a seller is asking for a house. Buy a house that's over valued and you could end up losing thousands, even if you are able to sell the house to another buyer.

Assess homeownership over the long term

Even if you're diligent during the house hunting, closing and house buying processes, you could still fall prey to one or more mortgage mistakes. It's one of the reasons why owning and maintaining a house smartly is an ongoing effort. The good news is that you don't have to stay in a house for decades to benefit from the type of forethought that puts you in position to avoid the three mortgage mistakes.




Tags: Mortgage  
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Posted by Jill Kelly on 4/18/2017

At a glance, buying a home seems like a daunting and complicated process. If it's your first time buying a home you're probably hearing a lot of terms that don't mean much to you like "rate commitment," "prequalify," and an array of acronyms that no one has ever really explained like APR and ARM. What many first time homebuyers don't realize is that the mortgage application process is relatively straightforward. It's a way for lenders to determine if they will lend money to the homebuyer. The lender will require some documentation on your part and you'll want to do your homework when it comes to choosing the right mortgage for you, but if you're confused about where to begin, here's everything you need to know about the home mortgage application process.

Gather your documents

Each lender will be slightly different when it comes to what records and documents they require from you. In general, lenders will require two years of work history, proof of income, and tax papers. They†will also ask for your permission to run a credit check.†Some things you should bring when applying for a mortgage include:
  • Your most recent pay stubs (at least two)
  • Your most recent W-2 forms
  • Completed tax returns
  • Bank statements
  • Gift letters
  • Debt - credit cards, student loans, etc.

Filling out the application

The actual application for the mortgage is pretty simple. Be expected to provide your personal and marital information, as well as your social security number. When you apply for a loan you'll also be determining if you're applying singly or with another person, such as a spouse. Some people apply jointly to seek a higher loan amount. However, you should be aware that if this is your plan of action the lender will require income and credit information from both of you. Keep in mind that it isn't easy to remove one person from a home loan once the contract is signed, so you should make certain of this decision before applying jointly.

Locked-in interest rates

It won't come as a surprise to you that, like in other industries, interest rates on mortgages fluctuate. For this reason, many home buyers attempt to "lock-in" their interest rate, meaning the lender is no longer allowed to change the interest rate after signing. The benefit of locking in your interest is that it can avoid having your interest rate raised before you sign on the home. The disadvantage is that since rates fluctuate, you could miss out on a lower one. This is also the difference between APR (annual percentage rating) and ARM (adjustable rate mortgage). With an APR, the cost of borrowing money (interest) is fixed. For an ARM, the interest rate can increase, decrease, or stay the same at different points in the repayment process.

Refinancing

Your financial situation is bound to fluctuate throughout your life, hopefully for the better. At some point down the road, it might make sense to refinance on your mortgage. Essentially this means you are agreeing to change the details†of the mortgage to either accept a different interest rate or to alter the length of the loan term. Refinancing usually involves fees, however, so you don't want to rely on it too heavily as a fallback.





Posted by Jill Kelly on 2/28/2017

Thereís numerous reasons why the name on a title to a home may not be the same as the name thatís on the mortgage loan. These reasons include:


  • Only one buyer had stable credit
  • Only one person was on the loan application
  • One person was released from the mortgage


No matter why this is the case, having your name on the mortgage but not on the title to a home can affect you and people residing in the home in different ways. 


Why Would Only One Name Be On The Mortgage?


If people are looking to get a home or refinance a home, but only one person has good credit a decision must be made. For the best possible mortgage rates, youíll want to person with the best credit to be the primary loan holder. This may mean that you need additional legal documents in the process.  


The person with lower credit may still be able to have their name placed on the title to the home. Anyone who plans to contribute financially to a home, even if not on the mortgage, should place their name on the title. This would be one instance when a name would be on the title to a home and not on the mortgage loan. In this case, a person has property rights, but no legal-financial responsibility to the home. Itís important to agree on the home arrangement that youíre considering. This would be done through a will or a legal contract. This way, all parties are protected in regards to the ownership of the home should something happen to the individual whose name is on the mortgage.


Legal Things To Consider


Those who are listed on the mortgage are the people who are responsible for house payments. If a personís name isnít on the mortgage, it doesnít release them from complete responsibility from the home. If your name is on the title to the home but not on the mortgage, the bank generally has first dibs on the home if thereís a lapse in payments. If you want to keep living in the house, youíll have to keep making payments on the home. If you canít make the mortgage payments, youíll risk going into foreclosure. 


Taxes


An issue that can come up if your name is not on the mortgage is that you cannot use the home youíre living in as a tax deduction. Even if you make payments on the home, in order for you to get tax benefits, your name must be on the mortgage stating that youíre legally responsible for the home. If you are paying for the mortgage because your name appears on the title to the home, you arenít legally entitled to pay, giving away your rights to tax benefits. If youíre married, filing jointly, and only one name appears on the mortgage, however, you can use this as a tax deduction. This becomes an issue if two unmarried people buy a home together.  


Ask For Legal Assistance


Whenever you have an issue with the title of your home or with names on the mortgage, itís good to consult legal counsel. The attorney can assist you in determining who is legally responsible for the home and if the people listed on the title of the home are correct. This can help save you from trouble at a future date.


Since credit scores and loans can get messy at times during the home buying process, itís good to understand all the implications of home mortgages and titles.




Tags: Buying A Home   Mortgage  
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Posted by Jill Kelly on 1/19/2016

Paying off your mortgage early and having no bills sounds like a no brainer. The answer however is not so simple. The answer really is; it depends. First you need to ask yourself a few questions. 1. Have you capitalized your employerís match to your retirement savings? If the answer is no and you are not contributing the maximum than you are throwing away free money. You may want to consider putting your money here before paying down your mortgage. 2. Do you have other debt other than your mortgage? Pay off high interest credit card debit first. It makes no sense to pay off a lower interest loan and carry high interest debt. 3. Do you have an emergency fund? Experts suggest at least a three month supply of living expenses. Some even go as much as twenty four months of living expenses after the turn in the economy and job market. It makes more sense to have money set aside for a sudden loss of income before you pay off your mortgage. 4. Do you owe more than your house is worth? If you are upside down you are more susceptible to foreclosure. Ask yourself how much how much you enjoy living there. Would you be willing to buy it again for more than it is worth now? 5. Do you have life, health and disability insurance? If you are the main source of income in your household what would happen if you were no longer able to make the payments? Putting safety nets in place first is a wise idea. 6. Do you believe you can get better return investing elsewhere? Paying off your mortgage is an investment decision. Ask how does paying off my mortgage stack up with other investment options? 7. Are you thinking of retiring and want to live with the worry of a payment? The thought of living on a fixed income can be scary. Paying off your mortgage may give you peace of mind. There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It really comes down to what is most important to you. Sometimes, the answer is not based just on dollars and sense and more on what works for you, your life, your family situation and just plain old personal preference.