When Can I Refinance?

What is a cash-out refinance?

If you have equity in your home — you owe less than the home is worth — you may be able to refinance and get some of the equity out in cash. Homeowners can use the cash for any reason, but a common use is for debt consolidation, or home improvements, which may increase the value of the home.

How long do I have to own my home before I can refinance?

Generally, you must be on title of the home at least 1 day prior to application to obtain a rate and term refinance. You must be on the title of the home for 6 months prior to application, before you can obtain a cash-out refinance.

How do I choose the right lender?

When it comes to choosing a mortgage lender, many borrowers’ top focus is on pricing. People want to go with the lender that’s going to give them the better deal. Even though pricing is the number one priority, there are other things to consider as well such as the loan programs offered, and the ease of working with the lender.

At AmeriSave, great rates and technology that makes obtaining a mortgage easy and efficient are our top priorities. We offer in-house processing, underwriting, closing, and funding, so that we can offer our very best rates and minimize delays.

It’s important to compare rates from multiple mortgage lenders to ensure you are receiving the deal that’s best for your needs. However, when comparing rates, keep in mind that in order to get the most accurate picture, you should compare rates for the same type of mortgage on the same day because the market changes daily. You will also need to review the cost of title insurance, closing/attorney and appraisal. Your Loan Estimate will show a breakdown of those fees.

For the financially savvy, refinancing your mortgage can be a very lucrative decision. Make sure you pick a lender that is going to offer you the best savings and meets all of your requirements.

How Do I Get A Rate Quote?

How do I get a rate quote?

You can obtain a rate quote in minutes at AmeriSave.com. On AmeriSave.com, go to the “Get Rates” box on the homepage, enter your information, and get rate quotes specific to the criteria you entered.

Please be sure that you have entered your information correctly, as our rates are driven by many different factors such as loan purpose, property type, loan-to-value, credit score, state, county, occupancy type, and lock period. Click the “Next” button next to the rate and terms that you desire.

Why do you show so many different rates and options?

Providing several rate and payment options is one of the many things consumers appreciate about AmeriSave. We provide all of the rates and options available to us for that day at the time of your search. This allows you to decide what rate/cost option works best for your needs. Some customers prefer to pay slightly higher fees in exchange for a lower rate and others prefer a higher rate with minimal or no closing costs. AmeriSave.com also allows you to compare our rates to other quotes you have received.

How often do the interest rates change?

Interest rates are influenced by the financial markets and can change daily – or multiple times within the same day. The changes are based on many different economic indicators. The rates published are updated as quickly as possible, based on market changes.

Why are your rates and costs lower than others?

AmeriSave is a company built on sophisticated technology. The AmeriSave business model is based on flexibility and lower overhead allowing us to pass along substantial savings to our borrowers in the form of competitive rates and fees.

What terms do you offer for your rates?

We offer 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 year terms for our conventional and FHA fixed rates. We offer 15, 20, 25, and 30 year terms for our VA loans. We offer 5, 7, and 10 year fixed terms for our ARM rates.

What are your minimum and maximum loan amounts?

The minimum loan amount we offer is $60,000.  The maximum loan amount we offer is $1,500,000.

 

What Income Documentation Do I Need?

We require full documentation for conventional loans (including all income and assets). We do allow for limited documentation on FHA and VA streamlines.

Acceptable types of income documents

W-2

Generally, the income of W-2 borrowers is verified by obtaining copies of the last two pay stubs and copies of the last two years W-2 statements.

Self- Employed

The income of a self-employed borrower is, generally, verified by obtaining copies of personal (and business, if applicable) federal tax returns for the most recent two year period.

We review and average the net income from self-employment shown on your tax returns to determine the income that can be used to qualify. We do not consider any income that has not been reported on your tax returns. Typically, we need at least a two-year history of self-employment to verify that your self-employment income is stable.

Bonus, overtime and commissions

In order for bonus, overtime or commission income to be considered, you must have a history of receiving it and it must be likely to continue. Usually, we will request copies of W-2 statements for the previous two years and two recent pay stubs to verify this type of income. If a major part of your income is commission earnings, we may need to obtain copies of recent tax returns to verify the amount of business-related expenses, if any. We then average the amounts you have received over the past two years to calculate the amount that can be considered a regular part of your income.

Bonus, overtime, or commission income should have been received for the most recent two years.  Periods of 12 to 24 months may be considered as acceptable income, if the borrower’s loan application demonstrates that there are positive factors that reasonably offset justifying use of a shorter income history.  Income received for less than one year would not be considered stable and reliable.

Second jobs

It may be possible to use income from a second job to qualify if a consistent two year history of secondary employment can be verified.

Retirement or Social Security

We generally ask for copies of your recent pension check stubs or bank statements if your pension or retirement income is deposited directly in your bank account. Sometimes it is necessary to verify that this income will continue for at least three years, since some pension or retirement plans do not provide income for life. This can usually be verified with a copy of your award letter. If you do not have an award letter, we may be able to contact the source of this income directly for verification.

If you are receiving tax-free income such as Social Security earnings, we require the award letter or proof of receipt in most cases.

Rental income

If you own rental properties, we generally ask for the most recent year’s federal tax return to verify your rental i

We may require that you have a one/two year history of rental ncome. We review the Schedule E of the tax return to verify your rental income after all expenses, except depreciation.income on your tax returns for the income to be considered.

Dividend and interest income

Generally, two years of personal tax returns are required to verify the amount of your dividend and/or interest income so that an average amount can be calculated. In addition, we need to verify your ownership of the assets that generate the income using current copies of statements from your financial institution, brokerage statements, stock certificates or promissory notes.

Typically, income from dividends and/or interest must be expected to continue for at least three years to be considered for repayment.

Child Support, alimony, or separate maintenance income

We will generally request a copy of the court order or divorce decree to verify this income and its continuance. We will need to document consistent receipt for the most recent six months or in some cases longer.

Foreign income

We may allow foreign income to qualify, depending on how that income is paid and documented on your personal tax returns.

What is a debt to income ratio (DTI)?

A debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is the percentage of a consumer’s monthly gross income that goes toward paying debts. DTI often covers more than just debts listed on your credit report; it will include other items such as taxes, home owner’s association fees, insurance premiums, etc. It is calculated by dividing total recurring debt by gross income. A lower DTI is preferable when applying for a loan.

The maximum DTI allowed varies, depending on loan type.

Why Do I Need An Appraisal?

Why do I need to have an appraisal done?

The appraisal is done to determine the value of the property you are purchasing or refinancing and to ensure the property type is eligible for financing.

Can I hire my own appraiser?

Due to the Appraisal Independence Requirements (AIR) issued by Fannie Mae, an appraisal must be ordered under specific guidelines to ensure the inspection and value assigned by the independent appraiser are completely unbiased from any outside influences.

Does someone have to be at the home for the appraisal?

Someone must be present as the appraiser will need to have access to the inside of the home.

Will the appraiser contact me before the scheduled appointment?

The appraiser will be in contact to confirm the scheduled date and time prior to arriving.

Can I use a recently completed appraisal for another lender?

In certain cases, it is possible to accept a transferred appraisal under the condition that we can verify that the Appraisal Independence Requirements have been complied with.

How long is the appraisal good for?

For conventional, FHA and USDA loans, appraisals are good for 120 days. For VA loans, appraisals are good for 180 days.

Can I dispute the appraisal if I don’t agree with the value?

Typically the appraisal can only be disputed if you have one or more of the following factors:

  • Viable comparable properties that were not included in the original report.
  • Information to support inaccuracies of the appraisal report.

How To Compare Offers From Multiple Lenders

How To Compare Offers From Multiple Lenders

First, make sure you are comparing current mortgage rates for the same type of mortgage. Mortgage rates and closing costs can change significantly from one day to another, so if you are comparing offers from multiple lenders it should be done on the same day. For example, if you are shopping mortgage rates and have a quote for a 30 year fixed at 5.75%, only compare it to other 30 year fixed quotes at 5.75%.

Next, compare the total of all points and lender fees for each mortgage. This information can be found on your Loan Estimate (LE).

If you are refinancing, you will also need to review the cost of title insurance, closing/attorney, and appraisal. Your Loan Estimate (LE) will show a breakdown of those fees.

What are closing costs?

Closing costs consist of three main groups: third party costs, mortgage taxes & lender fees.

  • Third party costs are fees that you or the lender pays on your behalf for you to obtain a mortgage, including appraisal fee, credit report fee, title fee and attorney fee. When refinancing, review these costs carefully as some lenders may have lower costs.
  • Mortgage taxes will be the same between all lenders.
  • Points and lender fees are essentially what the lender charges to originate your home loan.. Points and fees should be reviewed carefully.

Why Should I Choose AmeriSave?

Is Refinancing Right For You?

In today’s housing market, many homeowners may see advantages in refinancing their homes. Individuals impacted financially by the mortgage crisis in the early to mid-millennia have taken advantage of low rates and have refinanced, in some instances, multiple times. So, you may wonder, is refinancing right for you? Well, there are a number of things to consider and certain criteria that you must meet in order to begin the process.

Let’s start first by looking at the two types of refinancing options: rate-and-term and cash-out.

Rate and term refinancing occurs when you want to change the interest or term of your current mortgage without increasing your loan amount (excluding possible closing costs). This is best done when interest rates drop substantially lower than your current rate.

The next kind of refinance is a cash-out. If you have equity in your home (you owe less than the home is worth), you may be able to refinance and get some of the equity out in cash. Homeowners can use the cash for any reason, but a common use is for home improvements, which may increase the value of the home.

The next thing you must consider and evaluate is your financial standing. Depending on your reason for refinancing, you may not be able to take advantage of the lower rates without exemplary credit as well as sufficient equity in your home, meaning the value of your property must be at an amount that is higher than what is owed on the mortgage. Also, there may be out-of-pocket costs, such as appraisal fees and other closing costs. You should determine if your refinance will cover the additional costs in the long run.

At the end of the day, deciding to refinance your house is a decision that should be made carefully but could ultimately improve your finances or your home, depending on your needs. Referring to mortgage professionals and getting specific help can be a smart choice.

Click here to contact a licensed mortgage professional.

Consult an advisor and check out our financial calculators before making your decision!

Buying a Home with Student Loan Debt

Buying A Home With Student Loan Debt

The class of 2017 graduated college with an average of $37,172 in student loan debt; that’s up 6% from the previous year.

In the coming months and years these students are going to find jobs, start families, and begin looking for their starter homes, with many of them still carrying a handsome amount of student debt. That fact alone will keep many of them out of the running for purchasing a home and postponing until they feel they have reached a better financial standing, but is this necessary?

Can young professionals still purchase a home with student loan debt, and if so, how?

Despite popular beliefs, having student loan debt will not prevent you from buying a home. In fact, according to a report published by the Brookings Institution, by the age of 35, about 50% of college graduates who carry loans will own homes. However, debt is the key issue when it comes to graduates and homeownership. Whether it’s false beliefs or actual truths, student loans are deterring a large amount of students from taking the next step.

Purchasing your first home is a milestone, an accomplishment that many strive for and it can be in reach for you, even if you are carrying the burden of paying back loans on your education. First things first, create a plan. Taking on a mortgage without first planning how you will handle all of your financial responsibilities is setting yourself up for a possibly stressful financial failure.

Regular mortgage payments and regular student loan payments, how do you handle both?

Let’s start with student loans. There are many government and even private loan institutions that offer payment plans that help with managing a lower monthly payment. Anything from debt consolidation to income-based payments could go a long way to making your payments manageable. With that being said, consulting with an adviser is always best since these programs aren’t always well suited for every financial situation. Choosing the program that’s best for you will set you up for long term success.

Next, mortgage payments. Your debt to income ratio will be a huge determining factor when choosing which type of mortgage you should obtain. Although the amount of your student loan debt could affect mortgage eligibility, all is not lost. Putting away enough money in savings so that you can put down a sizable down payment will help, or you could use that money to pay down loan debt to decrease your debt-to-income ratio.

What about my credit?

Don’t forget to maintain your credit. A great credit history is a key factor in receiving a great mortgage rate even if you have student loans; so remember to pay your bills on time and keep your credit utilization low.

5 Thing That- Can Drive Up Your Mortgage Rate

5 Things That Can Drive Up Your Mortgage Rate

When applying for a mortgage loan, every borrower hopes to receive the best rate possible. However, many may not be certain what factors actually determine the rate they receive.

Check out our list below of the top 5 things that could be driving your mortgage rates through the roof!

1) Credit Score

This is a given and many are aware that in order to receive the best rate possible, your credit score must meet your lender’s credit threshold.

If your score is under that threshold, you could end up paying more interest as opposed to someone whose credit score is higher.

Check out our blog post on the 5 steps you should take to get your credit, mortgage ready!

2) Occupancy

If you are mortgaging a property that isn’t your primary residence, you could pay significantly more in interest.

Because second homes are riskier investments, interest rates reflect those risks lenders must take into account for negative possibilities.

3) Loan Amount

If your loan amount is really high or really low, you could pay more in interest. Loans over or under the conforming loan limit could possibly see raised interest rates due to lenders having to make up costs.

4) Down Payment

Generally speaking, putting down a higher down payment could make your interest rate lower. This is because the more stake you put into your future property, the less of a risk you become.

5) Type of Interest Rate

There are two types of interest rates: fixed and adjustable. A fixed interest rate stays the same whereas an adjustable rate changes based on the market.

You typically can get a lower adjustable rate; however, over time that rate could go up or down.

Getting The Most Out Of Your 401(K)

No matter your age, it’s always a good time to start, or continue, educating yourself about your retirement plan and how you can make the most of what’s offered to you.

Many individuals have heard of 401(k)s, but they may not be entirely aware of how they work, or how they can benefit from them.

A 401(k) is an investment retirement plan offered by most corporations to their employees. You specify the percentage of your paycheck you’d like to save and your company deposits that money into your account through a payroll deduction. Although they are sponsoring the plan, your company doesn’t actually invest the money, but instead hires a company to handle employee investments.

Company Matching Contribution

Every year maximum limits are determined by the IRS on how much an individual can contribute to their 401(k) depending on inflation. Currently, individuals under the age of 50 can contribute a max of $18,000. Many financial advisors encourage investing the maximum amount, if you have the means, in order to reap the benefits of valuable tax breaks.

If the maximum amount is out of reach for you, many employers offer a matching contribution that you must qualify for by contributing a specified percentage into your 401(k) plan. You should strive to contribute enough to meet the requirements of your company’s matching contribution so as not to miss out on virtually free money.

What am I investing in?

401(k)s are simple, in that all you must do is specify how much you want to invest, and then your company does it on your behalf. However, where you choose to invest your money is a decision you must make.

There are a number of investment or mutual fund options you can choose. Figuring out the investments that are best for you is something you should take time researching and receiving financial advice on. Stocks generally have the best return in long-term investments, such as retirement, because they typically produce yields that outpace inflation. There’s also the possibility of considerable gains with a diverse portfolio of investments.

How and when do I receive my funds?

At the golden age of 59½ individuals can begin withdrawing money from their 401(k)s without penalty. Withdraw at any age before that and you could get hit with an early withdrawal penalty tax. There are some exceptions to the rule, but for the most part, withdrawing early isn’t a great idea; In addition to the 10% penalty, you will lose out on the tax-deferred growth advantage and have to pay income tax on the full amount distributed.

If you don’t need, or want, to take money out at 59½, you can legally hold off on distributions of funds until age 70½. Then, you are required by law to make minimum withdrawals from your plan. Once of age, you are able to receive funds through the following distribution options: Cash out, rollover, income annuity and installments.

For more money saving tips, check out our post on Building your Emergency Fund