Understanding the “Adjustable Rate Mortgage” (ARM) and How This Type of Mortgage Works

Understanding the Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM)When applying for a new home loan, there are several different types of mortgage programs available to most applicants. While there are various home loan programs to choose from, the most significant difference between the various options relates to a fixed rate mortgage or an adjustment rate mortgage. Understanding what an adjustable rate mortgage, or ARM, is in comparison to a fixed rate mortgage can help applicants make a more informed decision about their mortgage plans.

What is an Adjustable Rate Mortgage?

A fixed rate mortgage is one with an interest rate fixed for the entire term length. This means that a home loan with a 30-year term has an interest rate that will remain the same for the full 30 years, and this also means that the mortgage payments will remain the same over 30 years. On the other hand, an ARM will have an adjustable rate that will fluctuate periodically over the life of the loan, and the mortgage payment will also fluctuate as a result.

How is an ARM Beneficial?

There are several benefits associated with an ARM. For example, the initial interest rate and related mortgage payment are typically lower than with a fixed rate mortgage. In addition, if rates decrease over the life of the loan, the mortgage payment will lower as a result without the need to refinance to take advantage of the lower rate.

Before Applying for an ARM

Before applying for an adjustable rate mortgage, there are a few points that the applicant should keep in mind. Just as the interest rate may go down over the life of the loan, the rate and the mortgage payment may increase. The loan applicant should ensure that the upper limit for the interest rate and mortgage payment will be affordable for their personal budget before applying for this type of loan.

Each loan program available to a mortgage applicant has its pros and cons, and this holds true for an adjustable rate mortgage as well. Understanding how each loan program works and what the benefits and drawbacks for each are can help an applicant make an informed decision when applying for a mortgage. Those who are interested in applying for a new mortgage for a purchase or a refinance in the coming days or weeks may reach out to a mortgage broker to inquire about the different loan programs available.

The Pros and Cons of Paying Your Mortgage Bi-weekly Vs. Monthly

The Pros and Cons of Paying Your Mortgage Bi-weekly Vs. Monthly When applying for a new mortgage or after closing, many may have the option to choose between a single monthly mortgage payment or smaller bi-weekly payments. There are benefits and drawbacks associated with both options, and some personal financial considerations may need to be reviewed in order to make a decision that is best for the individual. With a closer look at the pros and cons of both options, homeowners or home mortgage applicants can make a more informed decision.

Easy Budget Management For Some

With a single monthly mortgage payment, there is often a need for those who get paid two or more times per month to properly budget so that they can comfortably manage the large mortgage payment with all of their other expenses throughout the month. With bi-weekly payments, the two smaller payments may be easier for some who are paid multiple times per month to manage and budget for. When an individual gets paid one time per month, the individual pay prefer to make the single payment each month.

Faster Debt Reduction

With a monthly payment schedule, 12 full payments will be made per year, and this is in contrast to a bi-weekly schedule which will result in the equivalent of 13 full payments being made per year. Essentially, the extra full payment that will be made with a bi-weekly payment schedule will result in faster debt reduction and in greater accumulation of equity over time. This can improve the homeowner’s financial standing over time.

Lower Interest Charges Over The Life Of The Loan

Because the principal balance will be reduced at a faster rate over time with bi-weekly mortgage payments, the total interest that is assessed on the loan will be reduced in comparison to monthly payments. Depending on the size of the loan and the interest rate on the loan, this may equate to a savings of tens of thousands of dollars or more in some cases.

Each homeowner’s or home applicant’s financial situation will be unique, and factors related to income, payment schedule, the desire to increase equity quickly and more should all be carefully considered. Bi-weekly payments often can be established during the loan application process, but they may also be set up after closing. Those who are interested in establishing affordable mortgage payments can speak with a mortgage representative about some of the different options available.

Start with the Basics: How to Create a Budget to Determine How Much Mortgage You Can Afford

Start with the Basics: How to Create a Budget to Determine How Much Mortgage You Can AffordA mortgage is typically one of the biggest monthly payments and financial responsibilities that a person is responsible for. Mortgage payments usually impact the person’s budget significantly for several decades or longer.

While there are mortgage calculators online that can be used to estimate an affordable mortgage payment, it is important to start with a basic budget. A budget will allow you to more accurately determine how large of a mortgage payment is truly affordable before applying for a new mortgage.

List Income From All Sources

The first step to take to prepare a budget is to list all sources of income that is received regularly. This may include regular paychecks from both spouses, dividends, annuities, and any other sources of income that the individual or the family receives on a regular basis. Most budgets are prepared on a monthly basis, so ensure that the total amount of take-home income for a typical month is included in the budget.

List Recurring Expenses

Create a list of all expenses for the month to complete the next step in the budget-making process, and this should include utilities, minimum credit card payments, car loans, monthly food and gas expenses, and more. Ideally, it will include an allotment for savings, home maintenance expenses, and other expenses that the individual or the family may have. The more accurate the list of expenses is for the budget, the easier it will be to estimate a new mortgage payment amount that is actually affordable.

Think About Irregular Income and Expenses

It is important to think about irregular sources of income and irregular expenses. This may include seasonal income from a part-time or temporary job that is expected to continue into the future, as well as quarterly payments for homeowners’ insurance or annual property insurance premiums. While these are not monthly income sources or expenses, they nonetheless should be accounted for.

When a person takes on a larger mortgage payment than the budget allows for, it can quickly become unaffordable for the individual to continue to pay over time. A high mortgage payment also increases the risk of a default in the event of unforeseeable circumstances.

It is best to set up a monthly mortgage payment that is affordable for the individual’s or family’s budget, and these steps provide basic guidance for establishing a budget. A trusted mortgage professional can assist with setting up a mortgage payment that is affordable based on the budget that is created.

Four Surefire Ways to Ensure That You Get the Best Possible Deal on Your Mortgage

Four Surefire Ways to Ensure That You Get the Best Possible Deal on Your Mortgage Taking time to set up your home mortgage is one of the best steps that you can take to promote financial health and security. The best home mortgage is one with an affordable payment, that does not empty your bank accounts of necessary financial reserves and that will help you to establish equity at a fast pace. If you want to ensure that you get the best deal on your mortgage focus on these tips.

Consider the Loan Term Carefully

The most common loan term options are a 15, 20 and 30 year term. There will be a slight interest rate difference between these options, but the term itself will play a critical role in how quickly your equity increases as well as what your mortgage payment is. The payment should be affordable, and you do not want to set up a payment that is so high that you run the risk of defaulting. However, a shorter term with a higher monthly payment can result in less interest charges and faster debt reduction.

Think About the Pros and Cons of a Larger Down Payment

The amount of your down payment is also critical to setting up the right mortgage. When you make a larger down payment, you will have lower payments and may even qualify for a better rate. However, you also may be tying up your extra funds that could be used for investments or for debt reduction into your mortgage.

Shop For the Best Interest Rate

The interest rate variation from lender to lender may be fairly minimal when factors like the down payment, the term and your credit rating are constant. However, even a quarter or a half-percent difference in the interest rate will impact your payment amount and equity growth significantly. It can also impact your interest charge for your annual tax deduction.

Review the Closing Costs

A final point to consider is the closing costs. Some lenders may take on a higher fee with closing costs in exchange for a lower interest rate. It is important that you consider the difference in the mortgage payment and equity growth over time. Think about how long it will take you to recoup the up-front cost differential with the monthly payment differential. This can help you to determine which loan option is the most affordable overall.

Many will pay attention to the interest rate and loan term when shopping for a new mortgage. These are important factors to consider, but they are not the only ones that are important and relevant. Keep each of these points in mind if you want to set up the best overall mortgage.

The Pros and Cons of Using Spare Funds to Pay Your Mortgage Down Faster

The Pros and Cons of Using Spare Funds to Pay Your Mortgage Down Faster A home mortgage payment can be a large or even the largest expense in a person’s budget, and not having this payment any longer can be a life changing experience. Because of this, you may be dreaming about the day when you no longer have to make this payment. Some people may even actively make extra payments to their mortgage in order to pay the outstanding balance off more quickly. These may be funds from an IRS tax refund, cash received from the holidays or a birthday or some other windfall. Before you make the decision about whether to use spare funds to pay your mortgage down more quickly, consider these pros and cons.

The Benefits of Making Extra Mortgage Payments

You can shave many years off of your home mortgage when you make even a single extra payment each year. This can help you to achieve long-term financial goals, build equity and avoid paying more than necessary in interest charges. Keep in mind that any principal that is removed from the outstanding balance now will not generate interest charges going forward. This can have a snowball effect on your home equity, and this is especially true when you make extra payments on a regular basis.

Why Extra Payments Are Not Always the Best Option

Clearly, there are some great benefits associated with making extra payments on your home mortgage. However, there are also some downsides to consider before you take this step. Your home mortgage may be one of your debts with the lowest interest rate.

For example, many mortgage interest rates today are below five percent while some credit card rates may exceed 15 or 18 percent. Over the long-term, you may benefit more from savings on interest charges by reducing higher interest rate debts. Even if you have no other debts besides your home mortgage payment, you may be able to invest the money for a higher return than the interest rate on the mortgage.

Each person has different short and long term goals as well as a different financial situation to consider. With how low mortgage rates are today, however, many will benefit from paying off high interest rate debts and making smart investment decisions with any extra money they have.

Which is Better: Bi-weekly or Monthly Mortgage Payments? Let’s Take a Look

Which is Better: Bi-weekly or Monthly Mortgage Payments? Let's Take a Look When you apply for a new mortgage, your lender may ask if you want to set up monthly payments or bi-weekly payments. At one time, monthly payments were common, but bi-weekly payments are increasing in popularity. This is because they break a large expense up into two smaller and seemingly more manageable payments. In addition, you can also make what equates to a full extra payment on the mortgage each year with a bi-weekly payment structure. Before you decide which is best for you, consider a few factors.

Your Personal Budget

Many people may believe that if they get paid every two weeks, a bi-weekly mortgage payment is a better option than a monthly mortgage payment. This is not always the case. You should consider other sources of income and how much your payment is in relation to your paychecks. In addition, consider which part of the month your other regular bills are due. This is critical to establishing the best payment plan for you.

Control Over the Payments

You can still enjoy the benefit of making an extra payment per year with a monthly mortgage payment schedule. For example, you would simply need to pay $100 per month more each payment to realize the same results. When you establish a bi-weekly payment plan, this extra payment is automatic. This may be ideal if you do not think you would stick with paying more per month on your own. However, if you want more control over your monthly payment amount and when you make the extra payment, it may be best to choose a monthly mortgage payment.

The Financial Obligation

A final factor to consider is the financial obligation. When you set up bi-weekly payments, your total amount paid per month will be higher. This means that your total financial obligation will be higher than if you had a monthly payment plan. This financial obligation may impact your ability to qualify for other loans or to achieve other goals.

If you want to pay your mortgage off early, you can choose to make an extra small payment with each monthly payment or set up a bi-weekly payment plan. While each will give you the same overall result over the course of the long term, one option may be preferred for your financial situation. Consider the pros and cons of each option carefully to make a better decision for your financial circumstances.

Save Some Additional Cash with Our Guide to Lowering Your Monthly Mortgage Payment

Save Some Additional Cash with Our Guide to Lowering Your Monthly Mortgage Payment If you are like many other homeowners, your home mortgage payment is the single largest expense in your monthly budget. This is a fixed expense that you will typically be responsible for until your loan is paid in full or until you sell your home, and you may have a 15, 20 or even 30 year term on your mortgage.

If your home mortgage payment has become unaffordable or burdensome for you to manage with your current financial situation, rest assured that you may be able to save some additional cash each month without selling your home. Refinancing your existing mortgage can provide you with important financial benefits to help you better manage your budget.

How Refinancing Lowers Your Mortgage Payment

Refinancing your existing mortgage essentially will replace your existing loan with a new loan, but you may not understand how this will result in a lower mortgage payment. When you initially applied for your current mortgage, your payment was fixed based on the interest rates at the time as well as the original loan balance. Since that time, you likely have reduced your loan balance considerably, and interest rates may be improved as well. In fact, some homeowners are able to refinance to a lower rate as well as pull equity out of their home in the process.

How Home Equity Could Further Reduce Monthly Expenses

While your main goal for refinancing a home mortgage may be to reduce the large monthly mortgage payment that you are responsible for, the fact is that you may be able to use your home equity to further reduce your monthly expenses. For example, you can use extra funds provided to you through a refinance to pay off an outstanding student loan, a car payment or a credit card balance. Some homeowners may even be able to pay off most or all of their debts by tapping into their home equity.

It is common for homeowners who have a high and unmanageable mortgage payment to feel overwhelmed and even trapped by their financial situation. However, as you can see, lowering your mortgage payment and even reducing some of your other expenses may be easier to do than you might think. If you are interested in learning more about how refinancing your mortgage may help you to improve your financial situation, you can speak with an experienced mortgage professional today.

Should You Be Worried About Skipping Multiple Mortgage Payments? Yes, and Here’s Why

Should You Be Worried About Skipping Multiple PaymentsFrom time to time, a homeowner may struggle to make a mortgage payment on time. Most will be able to make the missing payment a week or two later when the next paycheck arrives. However, others may find themselves in a situation where they are unable to make multiple payments in a row.

If you are skipping multiple mortgage payments, you should be concerned about your financial situation. There are several important reasons why you may want to take action to improve your situation or to work out a payment arrangement with your mortgage company.

Falling Too Far Behind To Catch Up

A mortgage payment is generally among the largest expenses in a personal budget, and a considerable portion of your take-home income may be applied to a single payment each month. When you miss multiple payments, you may find that you have fallen too far behind to catch up with your payments.

This can effectively make it nearly impossible for you to improve your financial situation without taking drastic action, such as selling your home or borrowing money.

The Negative Impact On Your Credit Report

Late payments are reported to the credit bureaus as soon as the payment is at least 30 days past due. While your lender may charge you a late fee on your mortgage after the grace period expires, you still typically have extra time to make the payment that month without seeing an impact on your credit rating. However, when you have missed a second mortgage payment, your first missed payment has typically exceeded this 30-day mark. This means that you will likely see a negative impact on your credit rating.

The Potential For A Foreclosure

You are contractually obligated to make timely payments to your mortgage lender, and when you fail to do so, the lender has the legal right to begin foreclosure proceedings. This process can impact your credit rating. More than that, it can result in the loss of your home, including erasing any home equity that you have established in it.

As soon as you realize that you are unable to make a payment on a given month, you may consider reviewing financial options available to you. You may also speak with your lender about possibilities. A final option is to reach out to a mortgage professional to review refinancing options that may be available to you.

How Does Making Lump Sum Payments Affect Your Mortgage? Let’s Take a Look

How Does Making Lump Sum Payments Affect Your Mortgage? Let's Take a Look Periodically, many homeowners will receive a rather sizable amount of extra cash. This may be from a bonus from your employer, a refund on your tax return, a financial gift from a relative or something else altogether.

While there are many things that you could do with your windfall, you may be wondering if paying down your mortgage balance is a wise idea. Before you make your decision about how to spend your money, consider what impact your lump sum payment will have on your mortgage.

Reduction in Principal Balance

The most obvious impact a lump sum payment will have on your mortgage is an immediate reduction in your outstanding principal balance. Your regular monthly payments will be applied to both interest and principal, but your lump sum payment will be entirely applied to principal. Therefore, you can expect to see a rather sizable reduction in the outstanding balance, and this will have a direct and positive impact on your home equity.

More Effective Loan Payments

Your required monthly mortgage payments will not be lowered when you make a lump sum payment on your mortgage, and you will still be required to pay the same amount to your lender going forward. However, your interest charges for each month will be adjusted. Your interest will be calculated based on the current loan balance each month. A reduction in outstanding balance lowers the interest charges. This essentially makes your future payments more effective at debt reduction and reduces the amount of interest you will pay over the life of your loan.

A Change to the Final Loan Payment Date

Because each of your loan payments going forward will be more heavily weighted on principal reduction than on interest charges, the fact is that your final loan payment date can be accelerated. Depending on the amount of the lump sum payment that you make toward your mortgage, this may be an acceleration of a single month, several months or even several years in some cases.

Making a lump sum payment on your mortgage can have many positive effects for you. However, this is not the only option available when deciding how to spend or invest your windfall. Compare these benefits against the benefits of other options available to determine your best course of action. You may also speak with a mortgage professional for personal guidance and assistance.

3 Reasons Why Your Mortgage Lender Might Ask for Your Tax Returns – And Why You Should Provide Them

3 Reasons Why Your Mortgage Lender Might Ask for Your Tax Returns - and Why You Should Provide Them After you have completed the initial loan application and have signed the preliminary loan disclosures, your mortgage loan application will generally receive a preliminary prequalification. This prequalification will be based in large part on your ability to provide documentation to support your statements on your loan application, including your stated income and assets. Typically, a lender will include a request for least the last two to three years of your income tax returns with this documentation. There are several reasons why a lender may need to review your tax returns and why you should provide requested documentation as soon it is requested.

To View All Sources Of Income

Your mortgage lender will typically request a copy of your W2 tax forms, which will show your salary and compensation from your employer. However, the W2 form will not show all sources of income that you may receive. For example, rental property income, dividend income and even alimony or child support are just some of the many types of income that you can document through your tax returns.

To Average Income From Self-Employment

Most lenders will require self-employed borrowers to document their income through their tax returns. They will receive income as well as business-related expenses on the tax return. It is common for mortgage lenders to average this type of income for the previous two to three years. Typically, this is the only way that self-employed income is verified for mortgage purposes.

To Comply With Underwriting Guidelines

There are various types of mortgage loans that you may apply for, including stated income loans and low documentation loans. While not every type of loan that you apply for will require you to submit tax returns, some loans will have this as a firm requirement. Your loan request simply will not be reviewed and approved until you provide the required documentation to the lender.

If you want to be approved for your mortgage, it is important to comply with lender requirements. Providing documentation as soon as it is requested can speed the application process up, and your personal income tax returns may only be some of several documents that you will be required to submit to the underwriter for your loan request. You can speak with your mortgage representative about questions you have regarding required documentation, and you can work diligently to comply with underwriting information requests.