All FAQs

Mortgages

There's no cost at all for completing our application. After your application is pre-qualified, you can decide whether you wish to pay the application deposit which covers the cost of the appraisal and final credit report so that you can lock in an interest rate. Then we can begin to process your request.

Yes, applying for a mortgage loan before you find a home may be the best thing you could do! If you apply for your mortgage now, we will issue a pre-qualification subject to you finding the perfect home. We will issue a pre-qualification letter online instantly. You can use the pre-qualification letter to insure real estate brokers and sellers that you are a qualified buyer. Having a pre-qualification for a mortgage may be helpful in any offer to purchase that you make. If you have submitted your application for a pre-qualification without a specific home, please call your loan advisor to submit your property information.

When you find the perfect home, you will simply call your loan advisor to complete your application. You will have an opportunity to lock in our great rates and fees then, and we will complete the processing of your request.

We take full advantage of an automated underwriting system that allows us to request as little information as possible to verify the data you provided during your loan application. The automated underwriting system compares your financial situation with statistical data from millions of other homeowners and uses that comparison to determine the level of verification needed. In some cases, a single W-2 or pay stub can be used to verify your income, or a single bank statement can be used to verify the assets needed to close your loan.

Mortgage interest rate movements are as hard to predict as the stock market, and no one can really know for certain whether they will go up or down.

If you have a hunch that rates are on an upward trend then you will want to consider locking the rate as soon as you are able. Before you decide to lock, make sure that your loan can close within the lock-in period. If you do not close within the lock period, the rate will not be guaranteed; however, once the rate is locked the loan must close at that rate. If you're purchasing a home, review your contract for the estimated closing date to help you choose the right rate lock period.

A 15-year fixed-rate mortgage gives you the ability to own your home free and clear in 15 years. And, while the monthly payments are somewhat higher than a 30-year loan, the interest rate on the 15-year mortgage is usually a little lower, and more importantly, you will pay less than half the total interest cost of the traditional 30-year mortgage.

However, if you cannot afford the higher monthly payment of a 15-year mortgage, do not feel alone. Many borrowers find the higher payment out of reach and choose a 30-year mortgage. It still makes sense to use a 30-year mortgage for most people.

You can lock in your interest rate and discount points as soon as your loan is pre-approved and you pay the application deposit to cover the cost of your appraisal and final credit report. If you are purchasing a property, you must provide us the property address prior to locking your interest rate. If you complete your application today, and your request is pre-approved online, you will have the opportunity to pay the application deposit via credit card and can lock in your great rate immediately.

If we need to review your information before providing your loan pre-approval, a loan advisor will contact you, and you will have the opportunity to lock your rate and fees then.

None of the loan programs we offer have penalties for prepayment. You can pay off your mortgage any time with no additional charges.

To determine the value of the property you are purchasing or refinancing, an appraisal will be required. An appraisal report is a written description and estimate of the value of the property. National standards govern not only the format for the appraisal; they also specify the appraiser's qualifications and credentials. In addition, most states now have licensing requirements for appraisers evaluating properties located within their states.

The appraiser will create a written report for us and you will be given a copy at your loan closing.

The closing will take place at the office of a title company or attorney in your area who will act as our agent. If you are purchasing a new home, the seller may also be at the closing to transfer ownership to you. In some states, these two events actually happen separately. During the closing you will be reviewing and signing several loan papers. The closing agent or attorney conducting the closing should be able to answer any questions you have or you can feel free to contact your loan advisor if you prefer.

Just to make sure there are no surprises at closing, your loan advisor will contact you a few days before closing to review your final fees, loan amount, first payment date, etc. The most important documents you will be signing at the closing include The Closing Disclosure, note, and the mortgage or deed of trust. Ask your loan advisor for details.

A home loan often involves many fees, such as the appraisal fee, title charges, closing fees and state or local taxes. These fees vary from state to state and also from lender to lender.

To assist you in evaluating our fees, we've grouped them as follows:

  • Third Party Fees: Fees that we consider third party fees include the appraisal fee, the credit report fee, the settlement or closing fee, the survey fee, tax service fees, title insurance fees, flood certification fees, and courier/mailing fees. Third party fees are fees that we will collect and pass on to the person who actually performed the service. For example, an appraiser is paid the appraisal fee, a credit bureau is paid the credit report fee and a title company is paid the title insurance fees. Typically, you will see some minor variances in third party fees from lender to lender. A lender may have negotiated a special charge from a provider they use often or chooses a provider that offers nationwide coverage at a flat rate.
  • Taxes and Other Unavoidables: Fees that we consider to be taxes and other unavoidables include: State/Local Taxes and recording fees.
  • Lender Fees: Fees such as discount points, document preparation fees and loan processing fees are retained by the lender and are used to provide you with the lowest rates possible.
  • Required Advances: You may be asked to prepay some items at closing that will actually be due in the future. These fees are sometimes referred to as prepaid items. One of the more common required advances is called "per diem interest" or "interest due at closing" . All of our mortgages have payment due dates of the 1st of the month. If your loan is closed on any day other than the first of the month, you will pay interest, from the date of closing through the end of the month, at closing. For example, if the loan is closed on June 15, we will collect interest from June 15 through June 30th at closing. This also means that you will not make your first mortgage payment until August 1st. An escrow or impound account will be established, you will make an initial deposit into the escrow account at closing so that sufficient funds are available to pay the taxes and insurance bills when they become due. If your loan requires mortgage insurance, up to two months of the mortgage insurance will be collected at closing. Whether or not you must purchase mortgage insurance depends on the size of the down payment you make. If your loan is a purchase, you will also need to pay for your first year's homeowner's insurance premium prior to closing. We consider this to be a required advance.

Ask your loan advisor for details.

Mortgage insurance makes it possible for you to buy a home with less than a 20% down payment by protecting the lender against the additional risk associated with low down payment lending. Low down payment mortgages are becoming more and more popular, and by purchasing mortgage insurance, lenders are comfortable with down payments as low as 3-5% of the home's value. It also provides you with the ability to buy a more expensive home than might be possible if a 20% down payment were required.

Mortgage insurance should not be confused with mortgage life insurance, which is designed to pay off a mortgage in the event of a borrower's death.

Yes, you can borrow funds to use as your down payment. However, any loans that you take out must be secured by an asset that you own. If you own something of value that you could borrow funds against such as a car or another home, it's a perfectly acceptable source of funds. If you are planning on obtaining a loan, make sure to include the details of this loan in the expenses section of the application.

VA loans are loans guaranteed and administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs and are offered as a benefit to qualified individuals who have served in the armed forces. The significant advantage of a VA loan is that a down payment is not required. If you are a qualified veteran and wish to purchase a home with little or no down payment, a VA loan may be your best bet. If you have funds that you wish to use for a down payment, it is wise to compare Conventional loans with VA loans to determine which financing type is best for you.

To officially determine if you are a qualified veteran, you must request a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the VA. This certificate indicates that the VA has determined you are eligible for a VA home loan and shows the amount of available entitlement or guaranty. To obtain a certificate of eligibility, complete the “Request for a Certificate of Eligibility for VA Home Loan Benefits (VA Form 26-1880)” form and submit it to the VA. This form, as well as additional information about VA home loan eligibility requirements, are available on the VA website at www.homeloans.va.gov.

  • Insurance and Requirements: VA loans are insured and administered by the federal government. Because the government insures a portion or the total dollar amount of these mortgage loans, VA loans generally require lower down payments and have lower qualification requirements than conventional loans. There are some conventional loans that allow for low down payments as well. It is always a good idea to compare all eligible loan programs before determining which is best for your situation. Your loan advisor can help you find which program is right for you.
  • Eligibility: Only qualified veterans can obtain VA loans.
  • Loan Amounts: The maximum guaranty amount for VA loans in all areas is $453,100 (as of 2018).

Purchase and rate & term refinances will allow the Veteran to borrow 100% of the value of the home or purchase price plus the VA funding fee. Cash-out refinances limit loan amounts to 90% of the value of the home plus the VA funding fee.