Customize your own mortgage terms

The cat is out the bag…you can customize your loan terms and potentially get a much lower rate.

Odd term mortgages, almost unheard of years ago, are becoming more and more prevalent in today’s marketplace. The simple idea is that you can customize the loan term to match a financial goal or a major life event. In the past, these loans were only available through small banks or credit unions, but now most lenders can provide this option.

There is nothing unusual about this loan except the terms. The terms can range from 8 years to 29 years. They can be used for a new home purchase, cash-in or cash-out refinance with one of the most popular ways being a refinance.

There are several reasons why you would want to be in control of setting your own terms.

• You want to refinance but not extend the term of your loan. This loan is for you if you don’t want to re-set your loan terms back to 30 years when doing a traditional refinance. Example: You purchased your home three years ago and rates are lower, but the notion of “re-setting” your loan back to 30 years seems wasteful given all that you’ve paid the last three years. A 27-year loan is the perfect solution, so your payments are not in vain.

• You want to lower your interest rate and build equity faster. This loan is for you if you pay a little extra toward your mortgage every month as an attempt to pay it off sooner, but you would like to refinance to a lower rate. These loans tend to have lower interest rates.

• You want to customize your loan to your budget. This loan is for you if you want to customize a loan around what you can afford to pay by controlling the terms and possibly lowering the interest rate. This product can potentially shave years off the term of the loan and save you thousands of dollars in interest payments.

• You want to free up money to use for a major upcoming life event. This loan is for you if you have a major life event that you want to plan for such as retiring soon or sending a child to college. You can free up some money by paying off your loan early and eliminating the monthly mortgage payment at a time when you will need that money the most.

If you are an extremely disciplined person, you can accomplish strict payoff goals without the odd term loan by calculating the extra amount you would have to make to the principle each month and tailoring your payments to meet that date. If, however, you don’t have the financial discipline to make the extra payments consistently, you might want to consider a customized mortgage. The only downside is if your mortgage is paid off early, you lose the mortgage interest deduction on your taxes.

The odd term loan should be considered a financial tool for building equity quicker and shortening the term of your loan.

Smaller lenders and specialty lenders can run different amortization tables, so you can compare the payment and other details to see if this option is right for you.

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Mortgage Memo #16

Everything is marketing, for all businesses, no matter what business you are in, from Real Estate to Mortgages, to Accounting to a Medical practice, we are all customers and they are all a service in one form or another. If a Doctor consistently keeps patients waiting for 30 minutes at some point that Doctor is going to lose business, there are other doctors with more organized practices.

Marketing begins with first impressions, from how you look to how you shake hands. Are you dressed professionally? Do you smile, make eye contact, have a firm and friendly handshake?

How does your office space present, is it clean and neat and organized? What impression does your business give when people walk in the door? Is the staff energetic and friendly? Is the customer made to feel like they are the top priority?

How is your communication, is it clear and well written in email, or articulate and clear on the phone or in person?

Whatever business you are in, your marketing department starts with you. Your company could be spending millions on radio, television and billboard marketing, but if your personal brand is not in great shape no amount of marketing dollars will help you win in the game of sales.

Remember we are all in sales no matter what, and all day what we are doing is selling ourselves.

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Ready Set Go! – Preparing to Purchase a Home in 2018

8 tips for a successful purchase in 2018

By all estimates and gut feelings, 2018 is going to continue to present the same challenges for buying real estate as in the past few years, too few properties for too many buyers, multiple offers and finally…. heartbreak. In fact, 2018 could be even more challenging for buyers if the fed continues to raise interest rates which could heat up the market even more.

Here are a few things you can do to prepare to win in the real estate game in 2018:

Talk to a lender – Your first step is to find a local lender. You will typically find that local lenders tend to be more hands on and available and can offer a variety of loan programs to fit your needs. They will help determine how much house you can afford and walk you through the approval process.

Keep your finances in order, document and keep records – This is vital as these items will have a bearing on your final approval. It is imperative that you don’t make any large purchases or open any new lines of credit. You want to make sure you have all your financial statements, tax returns and income documents ready to present to your loan officer.

Save, save, save… Although you can purchase a home with as little as 3.5% down a 20% down payment is ideal. Either way homeownership can cost money, so saving now will help you when you buy your new home and want to make improvements or need to do any repairs.

Keep your credit clean and improve it if needed. With the Fed looking at possibly raising rates this year, your credit score will play a big role in obtaining the best interest rate you can. Pay off what you can and be extra diligent with all your credit card and loan payments. Your loan officer can help determine how you can improve your credit and put you in the best position to buy.

Consider buying a property that needs works, this could mean less competition! If you are handy around the home, maybe a house that needs a little extra TLC may be the way to go. You should have more negotiating power with the price and you can really make the home your own. There are renovation loan programs which will help you purchase less desirable properties and you can improve them to your taste so don’t shop for home beautiful, look for an ugly duckling that you can turn into a swan.

Prepare to be aggressive. If you want the property, offer at or above the list price with your agent’s recommendation. It is no secret that it’s a seller’s market. The days of low offers are far behind us. I would strongly advise hiring a buyer’s agent that will represent you in the transaction. They can help craft an offer that has real teeth but still makes financial sense for you.

Now is the time to start getting everything in order to make your move for 2018!

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Mortgage Memo #14

Yes, we have been here before, another amazing win by our beloved Patriots and another trip to the Super bowl!

I have observed this before; how a Pats’ trip to the big game impacts sales in the Greater Boston Market. I might be crazy, but this is what I have witnessed:
Forget about open houses between now and the big game, everyone is too distracted by another potential Super Bowl win that they are afraid to chance disrupting karma or angering the football gods by making offers on a house.
All energy must be focused on the upcoming game and what food to prepare to soak up the alcohol that is going to be consumed.

Then what:
If karma turns against us and (gulp, we actually lose the big one) the buyers will have to sit at home and nurse their wounds and their hangovers and slowly but surely, over the next couple of weeks as their depression eases, they will return to their house hunting duties.

BUT if they WIN…. Irrational exuberance abounds, and a great euphoria will erupt over New England! Monday morning MLS will be buzzing, phones will be ringing, and the buyers will be buying in droves, because everyone wants to own a piece of Patriots Nation.

Ok, that is my take on the Patriots real estate meter, I hope that you have had some fun with me. Let me know if this proves true in you practice. While your buyers are waiting anxiously for Super Bowl Sunday be sure that they get in touch with a lender and are thoroughly qualified and prepared to buy, there will be a lot of competition post game and as the Pats have taught us, among many things, being prepared is essential for the big wins.

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Preparing to buy a home in 2018

By all estimates and gut feelings, 2018 is going to continue to present the same challenges for buying real estate as in the past few years, too few properties for too many buyers, multiple offers and finally…. heartbreak. In fact, 2018 could be even more challenging for buyers if the Fed continues to raise interest rates, which could heat up the market even more.

Here are a few things you can do to prepare to win in the real estate game in 2018:

Talk to a lender – Your first step is to find a local lender. You will typically find that local lenders tend to be more hands-on and available and can offer a variety of loan programs to fit your needs. They will help determine how much house you can afford and walk you through the approval process.

Keep your finances in order, document and keep records – This is vital as these items will have a bearing on your final approval. It is imperative that you don’t make any large purchases or open any new lines of credit. You want to make sure you have all your financial statements, tax returns and income documents ready to present to your loan officer.

Save, save, save – Although you can purchase a home with as little as 3.5 percent down, a 20 percent down payment is ideal. Either way home ownership can cost money, so saving now will help you when you buy your new home and want to make improvements or need to do any repairs.

Keep your credit clean and improve it if needed – With the Fed looking at possibly raising rates this year, your credit score will play a big role in obtaining the best interest rate you can. Pay off what you can and be extra diligent with all your credit card and loan payments. Your loan officer can help determine how you can improve your credit and put you in the best position to buy.

Consider buying a property that needs works, this could mean less competition – If you are handy around the home, maybe a house that needs a little extra TLC may be the way to go. You should have more negotiating power with the price and you can really make the home your own. There are renovation loan programs which will help you purchase less desirable properties and you can improve them to your taste so don’t shop for home beautiful, look for an ugly duckling that you can turn into a swan.

Prepare to be aggressive – If you want the property, offer at or above the list price with your agent’s recommendation. It is no secret that it’s a seller’s market. The days of low offers are far behind us. I would strongly advise hiring a buyer’s agent who will represent you in the transaction. They can help craft an offer that has real teeth but still makes financial sense for you.

Now is the time to start getting everything in order to make your move for 2018.

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Why the Holidays is a Perfect Time to Refinance

Why on earth would anyone even think of refinancing their mortgage around the holidays? Believe it or not there are a lot of reasons why now is the perfect time to refinance!!
New home purchases have slowed down with the kids settled back in school, and the holidays on the way. In the Northeast, the upcoming weather makes viewing properties uncomfortable and difficult. These are the cyclical fluctuations that correspond to seasonal changes that take place every year. The real estate market will heat back up in the Spring just like it does every year.
For homeowners that aren’t planning to move now is a good time to look at finances. Did I mention the holidays? If you overspent on credit cards or maybe need a tropical vacation it is a great time to cash in on the equity in your home. It is your money! A cash out refinance at Mortgage Equity Partners can be done in no time, and you will have your money and a new lower rate before next month’s credit card bill arrives.
But seriously, there are lot of significant reasons to think about a refinance, and what you might be able to do with the equity in your home.
Home values have risen dramatically due to the lack of inventory in the housing market. As a result, the value of your home has probably risen too. Rates are still extremely low. According to BankRate.com the interest rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan in October, 1981 was 18.5%. Today, rates are in the 3’s and 4’s depending on your personal financial situation.
With Mortgage Equity Partners Fast Track Underwriting Program all you need to do is apply for a loan with one of our talented loan officers and provide the required documents, (but you really do have to provide all the required documents). The loan will go directly to underwriting and we guarantee a 3-day turn around. The loan will be subject to the appraisal and other property information, but you can sleep well knowing that the basics of the loan approval process have been completed.
Contact us today to learn more about the fast track program at MEP at 877-866-4511 or visit us on the web at meploans.com.
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We’re the Biggest… We’re number one…. We’ve been voted the best….

Best of lists don’t always reflect what’s best for your needs

When selecting a lender to work with, do any of these attention-grabbing phrases matter to you? Does being the ‘top’ lender necessarily make them a better lender? Does closing across the nation make them more knowledgeable in the market area that you care about? Should rankings or popularity polls inform your decision on who to select for a professional service?

Perhaps recognition and awards may be one measure to use when selecting a service provider, however the lack of those should not be the only deciding factor when choosing a professional. Many of the most talented people in the mortgage industry work for lesser known firms; those small independents and local institutions. Many companies large and small do not submit their numbers to the ranking organization. As a matter of fact, many of these rankings are not even consumer-driven. There are quite a few companies who offer incentives to their employees to insure multiple votes in the ‘best places to work’ polls that are run locally and nationally. Like opinion polls in politics, the results can vary depending on how the questions are worded and how the participants are selected. So many times, these polls are not a direct reflection of client satisfaction.

In the end, you want people to connect with you because of a strong referral, or because of your terrific reputation, one that is built upon integrity, hard-work, knowledge and superior customer service. If you happen to be numero uno on some list, well that’s just a cherry on top.

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Millennials can get real with real estate

In recent years, hundreds of researchers have discussed the “millennial” as a strange breed of human, likely to spend more than $100 on a nice dinner, unlikely to buy a home, and likely to buy products branded with a particular shade of pink – millennial pink that is. But few have explored the real reasons behind the home ownership issue and provided real, actionable advice based on said reasons.

Let’s put it out there: millennials watched as their parents struggled through the Great Recession, graduated college when the job market was at an all-time low and lived through some of the most confusing political and economic shifts. So it’s no wonder they want to wait, date, mate, then procreate before buying a home. That said, these five steps can be taken by millennials of any age, in any financial situation.

1. Talk to a loan officer. I know, I know, it seems so far off, so why bother? But it is never too early to have a conversation about where you are today, where you’re going and what you need to do to achieve your goals. A loan officer cannot only do a credit review and provide advice on how to repair or build up credit, but can also provide you with a good sense of what your income today might support, and how you can work toward saving for a down payment.

2. Start saving – every little bit helps. You may want to think about co-housing while you’re still young, or cutting down on some of the pricier expenses in your day-to-day life (cough cough, food delivery). Every dollar that typically goes toward those expenses can be put in a savings account and, one day, used for a down payment – the most difficult part of buying a home.

3. Consider: where do you want to be in five years? It’s clear that the days of staying at one job for five to 35 years are over. Whether it’s to find the right career or to make more money, most millennials have had to hop jobs and/or cities on a yearly basis, and many see their current situation as temporary. But it’s also important to consider where you are today, where you’re hoping to go and when you want to settle; that way, you can plan thoughtfully and appropriately for your future.

4. Be realistic. What kind of lifestyle do you want? If you want to be in a new construction building with fancy amenities, you may need to consider where you can realistically make that happen – the answer may be Chicago instead of New York City. If you’re locked into a more expensive city because of a particular career, consider what sacrifices you might be able to make in order to make your current lifestyle and your future finances work for you.

5. Stop watching home improvement shows. This point goes hand in hand with the above question, but you’ll need to start thinking about setting realistic expectations for yourself and your future home. You may not be able to get an all-white, stainless steel appliance apartment, but you could get an apartment that needs a little elbow grease, then put in just a bit more money to get the clean, finished dream home you imagined.

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Let the Construction Begin!

When buying a new construction property there is a lot to think about, from finishes to paint colors, appliance choices to flooring. The one thing you don’t want to worry about is what the interest rate will be on your loan.

Mortgage Equity Partner’s long lock program protects you from market movement for up to 270 days, that’s 9 months to get the property completed!

And you get a free one-time float down or a free 30-day extension if you find you need more time.

So, stop worrying about rates and start shopping for furniture, you can be confident when you work with a Mortgage Equity loan officer that we have your needs front and center.

** One time float down to current 60 day rate allowed at any time during the process. Must meet investor specific qualification guidelines. 30-day extension cannot be used with float down. Borrower gets one or the other.

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No, I didn’t send you that letter…

Good consumers should be educated in marketing ploys to stay out of trouble. We are here to help.

If you recently closed on a mortgage you might find that you are getting lots of new types of mail. Because a mortgage is recorded with the registry of deeds it becomes public record. Many service providers purchase lists of newly purchased homes in order to market their services to the new homeowners. That’s why you are seeing mail from landscapers to heating companies. But there is another type of mail that you might get, mail that isn’t from your lender but appears to be.

Insurance companies and other financial service companies seem to specialize in this. The letter may reference “your mortgage from ___________ lender” and go on to mention the lender along with the service they are trying to sell you as if the two are connected when they are not.

We get weekly calls from borrowers who are being offered ‘Mortgage Insurance’ to protect their home investment. It takes a while to explain that the letter did not come from us and that the product being sold is not likely one that the borrower should invest in. What they refer to as mortgage insurance is simply a life insurance policy that covers your loan amount. Basic life insurance is more reasonable.

The mail barrage happens at other life events, having a baby or with a death in the immediate family, marketers love to target life events as a way to sell you more, generally insurance but other products as well.

It is important to understand what you are getting in the mail and why. Call your lender if something does not sound right, or call your financial advisor, accountant or insurance agent with questions, if you don’t have any of these advisors give us a call and we can provide you with referrals to excellent professionals.

Good consumers should be educated in marketing ploys to stay out of trouble. We are here to help.

Cheers!

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