Don’t Skip Your Mortgage Payment. There’s Help If You Need It.

Let’s set the record straight first—there’s no such thing as “skipping” a mortgage payment.  

The recently announced mortgage payment relief through the CARES Act provides mortgage forbearance for those who have lost a job or are suffering financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic and whose loan is federally owned or backed by a federal agency. 

Reach out using the contact info on your loan statement to determine what help may be available to you. It’s vital that you discuss the options based on your situation. If assistance is available, be sure to get your agreement in writing.  

Please Remember: 

A forbearance is not a holiday. A forbearance allows you to pause or reduce your payments for a limited time. Deferred payments may be due in full at the end of the forbearance period. Sometimes, these payments may be stretched over a short time period or perhaps added to the end of your loan term. 

If you have an escrow account, 
deferring payments will mean you will also have to make up the shortage as part of your repayment plan.The CARES Act intends to prevent negative impacts to your credit if you undertake a forbearance for your government backed loan. However, changes to reporting between servicers and credit agencies may not occur seamlessly. If you do pursue a forbearance, you will need to monitor your credit report to catch and report any errors. 

Think it through. 
A forbearance is not forgiveness. It does not eliminate payments; it only delays them. If you have emergency savings, available lines of credit or other means to pay, these may be better options to get you through these difficult times.
We cannot help you with forbearance arrangements directly, but we’re here for you if have questions or would like further guidance. Reach out if you need us.

How Has the Home Appraisal Process Changed?

If you’re looking to buy a home this season — or thinking about refinancing — you may be wondering how things have changed to in recent months.

Many routine activities, including parts of the home financing process, look a little different now due to social distancing and other safety guidelines.

Getting a home appraisal is one such step that you may be curious about. Whether you’re moving up, downsizing or refinancing, we have answers to your home appraisal questions and more:

Q: What is a home appraisal?

A: Typically, it’s a process in which a licensed professional assesses the home and learns as much as they can. Then, they compare it to nearby homes that have recently sold. The appraiser’s job is to gauge the home’s value based on the property and data from the community.

Q: How are home appraisals being conducted right now?

A: Many appraisers are doing desktop and drive-by appraisals. The former means that they’re doing research based on local data, comparable sales and other recent appraisals. The latter involves the appraiser literally driving by the home to look at its exterior and the surrounding neighborhood. In both cases, they might also ask for videos and photos of the home’s interior if they’re unable to visit in person.

Q: When should I get a home appraisal?

A: The process of verifying a home’s value begins after you sign a contract to purchase or refinance it. The home appraisal is generally scheduled for you. It would normally happen within the first few days after all parties agree to the terms of the home’s purchase, but it may be postponed in some cases due to social distancing guidelines.

Q: How much does a home appraisal cost?

A: The cost depends on various factors, including the property size and the type of home. Most often, an appraisal is a few hundred dollars, which is typically wrapped up into closing costs.

Please reach out to our team if you have questions about any part of the homebuying and home appraisal process.

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How to Buy a Home When Self Employed

While being an independent contractor, freelancer or entrepreneur can certainly be a freeing career choice, it also comes with some challenges. For instance, being self-employed can make it harder to buy a home.

Without W-2s, a consistent salary and an employer to back you up, it’s harder to prove your income as a self-employed professional — let alone show you’re not a risk as a borrower.

Are you planning to buy a home or refinance while self-employed? These five tips could improve your chances of approval:

  1. Get your finances in order. You’ll need to prove your income through bank statements, invoices, profit-and-loss statements and balance sheets. Be sure they’re ready and organized before applying for your loan.
  2. Reduce your tax write-offs. Maxing out your deductions can seem smart, but when a home loan is on the line, it can actually hurt you. The more write-offs you take, the lower your income looks, meaning you seem like a riskier bet.
  3. Boost your credit score. Higher credit scores are always more appealing when it comes to getting a loan, so take time to improve yours. Pay down debts, settle any overdue accounts and ensure your credit report is accurate.
  4. Bring in a co-borrower. When you add a second borrower to the loan, their income is factored in, too. Make sure you choose a co-borrower with good credit, a low debt-to-income ratio and steady pay.
  5. Keep your work consistent. Don’t switch industries just before applying for your loan. It’s best if you’re in the same line of work for at least two years.

Getting a mortgage while self-employed certainly has its challenges, but it’s not impossible by any means. Reach out today for more home financing guidance.

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