Lauren Davis
REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West | 508-254-0449 | [email protected]


Posted by Lauren Davis on 10/2/2019

We all know that buying a home is expensive. For first-time buyers who donít have the luxury of equity for a down payment, it can be difficult to find a way to finance your home without taking on a huge interest rate and mortgage insurance.

Fortunately, loan programs like those offered by the U.S. Veterans Affairs can be a godsend. However, there is a great deal of confusion around who is eligible for VA loans and how to acquire them.

So, in todayís post, weíre going to cover some of the frequently asked questions of VA loans. That way, you can feel confident in knowing whether or not itís a good financing option for you and your family.

VA Loans FAQ

Who is eligible for a VA Loan?

VA loans arenít just for veterans. Most members of the military, including Reserve and National Guard members can apply. Additionally, spouses of service members who died from a service-related disability and those who died on active duty can apply as well.

How long do you have to service to be eligible?

The VA defines eligibility as having served no less than 90 days of service during wartime and 181 days of continuous service during peacetime.

Who are VA Loans offered by?

Like any other loan, VA loans are offered by private lenders. The difference is that VA loans are guaranteed by the government. That means that the federal government takes on some of the risk of lending to you, therefore making it possible to secure a loan with little or no down payment.

Should I make a down payment on a VA loan?

If you have the means, making a down payment will almost certainly save you money in the long run. If you can put down 10% of your total mortgage amount, you can also significantly reduce the VA Funding Fee.

Will I have to pay private mortgage insurance?

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is something that borrowers pay on top of their mortgage payments and interest. This additional insurance helps borrowers buy a home with a small down payment. VA loans allow you to secure a mortgage without PMI.

Are VA loans different for active duty, National Guard, and Army Reserve members?

Each type of service member is eligible for a VA loan. However, there are some minor differences regarding the VA Funding Fee. With no down payment, an active duty member would pay 2.15% of the loan amount in fees. National Guard and Army Reserve members pay around 2.40% with no down payment.

What does my credit score need to be to get a VA loan?

The VA doesnít have a set minimum credit score. However, the private lenders that offer the loan do. On average, the lowest credit score that you can secure a VA loan with is around 620. That being said, a higher score will secure you a lower interest rate, saving you money over the lifetime of your loan.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Lauren Davis on 9/4/2019

Mortgage interest rates have a remarkable effect on the overall long-term cost of buying a property through financing. Mortgage borrowers are looking for the highest possible rates while lenders have to manage their risk by charging interest rates. Borrowers with good credit histories and stable finances are those who can access a mortgage with lower interest rates. The financial status of borrowers has a significant impact on the interest they can get; government fiscal policy and other economic factors can affect mortgage rates on a global level. Below are some of the factors that can affect your mortgage interest rates:

Inflation 

Inflation causes the price to rise gradually. It is a critical factor in the overall economy and an essential element for mortgage lenders. It reduces the purchasing power of dollars. And, mortgage lenders manage the interest rates such that it will be able to withstand the reduction of purchasing power through inflation to make sure that there is a real net profit on their interest returns.

The Level of Economic Growth

The gross domestic product and the employment rates are the economic growth indicators that have a remarkable effect on mortgage rates. When economic growth rates increase, there is higher income, and there is an increase in the level of consumer's spending which translates to a rise in consumers seeking mortgage loans. 

Federal Reserve Monetary Policy

The monetary policy of the Federal Reserve Bank is one of the essential factors that affect mortgage interest rates and the overall economy. The Federal Reserve Bank does not stipulate a specific price in the mortgage market, but the establishment of the federal funds' rates and the adjustment of money supply upward or downward have a pronounced effect on the mortgage interest rates that are available to borrowers.

Generally, a rise in the supply of money pressures rates downward while a reduction in money supply puts upward pressure on rates.

Housing Market Condition

The conditions and trends in the housing markets can influence mortgage rates. When there is a decrease in the number of new constructions, there is will a reduction in home purchases which automatically leads to a decline in demand for mortgages. This situation makes the interest rates to reduce. Another trend that affects the mortgage rate is the number of consumers renting an apartment instead of buying a home.

The rise and decline of mortgage interest rates operate based on the basic rules of demand and supply. All the factors mentioned above have a pronounced influence on mortgage rates. Most importantly, your financial standing affects your mortgage rate. It is essential to speak to a financial advisor before deciding on starting a home purchase and mortgage process.





Posted by Lauren Davis on 7/11/2018

Many Americans who purchased their home when they had lower credit, a shorter employment history, and less money stand to gain from refinancing their mortgages. However, most miss out on this opportunity or donít realize it in time to save potentially thousands in interest payments.

According to recent data, 5.2 million Americans could save, on average, $215 per month if they refinanced their loan. But many homeowners are hesitant to refinance.

Whether itís because of the inconvenience, the cost of refinancing, the worries about something going wrong, or uncertainty about whether theyíll actually save money if they go through the process, millions of homeowners are missing out.

So, in this article, weíre going to talk about some reasons it may be a good idea for you to refinance. If youíre one of the millions of Americans with a mortgage who are thinking about refinancing, this post is for you.

Riding the wave of the economy

Interest rates on home loans are historically low right now. As a result, homeowners can save by refinancing simply due to changing tides of the real estate market. Although mortgage rates have increased slightly over the past two years, theyíre still on the low end, so this could be your last chance to save.

To consolidate your debt

Credit cards, auto loans, and other forms of debt can add up quickly. If you have a high-interest rate on your other debts, refinancing could be a good way to consolidate and save.

This can be achieved through a home equity loan or by refinancing with a cash-out option. This means you refinance your mortgage for more than you currently owe and take the remainder in cash to pay off your other debts with high-interest payments.

Typically, you need to have at least 20% equity (or have paid off 20% of your mortgage) to be eligible for this option.

Small percentages count for more now

It was once said that refinancing only made sense if you would receive a lower interest rate of at least 1-2%. However, with the prices of homes increasing over the years, sometimes even a small change, such as .75% is enough to save you substantial money on your repayment.

Youíre able to repay early

One of the best ways to save on a home loan is by refinancing to a shorter term. Going from a 30-year loan to a 15-year loan can save you thousands. There are several calculators available for free online that will enable you to estimate how much you could save by refinancing to a 15-year mortgage.

You got a raise

One of the best times to refinance is when you can be certain that you can afford to pay off your loan sooner. As people progress in their career, it isnít uncommon for them to refinance their loan so that they can spend more each month but save in the long run.

Since you have a higher income, and likely higher credit, you can also refinance a variable rate loan to lock in a lower fixed rate.





Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Lauren Davis on 5/23/2018

If youíre finding that your finances are a bit tighter these days, you might need to adjust your budget a bit. Have you ever thought about alternatives in helping you to pay your mortgage? Thereís a few things that you might be able to do in your home to save a few bucks and be more comfortable with your budget and finances. 


Share The Space


This might sound crazy, but it works for many people. If youíre willing to share your living space with others, it could help you to make a dent in your mortgage. This works especially well if you have a home with a separate entrance like an in-law apartment or something similar. 


Make Adjustments To Your Expenses


There are many different costs that come along with owning a home. If you reduce some of these expenses, youíll be able to cut your overall spending. You donít need to completely adjust your entire way of living to do this. Some ideas:


  • Cut the cord on cable and install streaming devices
  • Go on a family cell phone plan
  • Skip the gym membership
  • Use public transportation
  • Cook at home instead of eating out
  • Use coupons


Put Tax Refunds To Good Use


If you normally get a tax refund, you can apply that money to your mortgage instead of using it to buy something else. You could also adjust your withholdings. This would allow you to get a bit more money in your paycheck each week. Youíll get less of a refund during tax time, but the extra money may help you to pay down bills throughout the year. 


Pay More Towards The Principal 


To make the most of your hard-earned savings, use your money wisely and pay down the mortgage faster. Just be sure that thereís no penalty for a prepayment of the loan. You can either make an extra loan payment each month or you can pay a bit over what you owe on the mortgage each month. If you pay the mortgage faster, youíll save potentially thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan. Youíll need to check with your mortgage company to see what their process is for paying more towards the principal of the loan. Keep in mind that the first few yearsĎ worth of your mortgage payments will be going towards interest unless you specify extra payments to go elsewhere.


Whether youíd like a little more of a financial cushion or are just looking to get rid of all those pesky monthly bills, itís never a bad idea to focus on paying your mortgage down as quickly as possible.




Tags: mortgage   finances  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Lauren Davis on 4/18/2018

Most homeowners would love to be able to pay off their mortgage early. However, few see it as a possibility when they take into account their earnings and other bills.

 There are, however, a few ways to pay down your mortgage earlier than planned. But first, letís talk about when it makes sense to try and pay off your mortgage.

 When to consider paying off your mortgage early

If you recently got a promotion, have someone move in with you who contributes to paying the bills, or recently got a secondary form of income, you might want to consider making extra payments on your mortgage.

However, having extra money doesnít always mean you should spend it immediately on your home loan.

First, consider if you have a large enough emergency savings fund. It might be tempting to try and throw any extra money at your mortgage as soon as possible, but there are other financial commitments you should plan for as well.

If you have kids who will be applying to college soon, remember that student aid takes into account their parentsí finances. If your children plan on applying to institutions with high tuition, then your equity will be counted against you.

Refinancing to pay your mortgage early

Refinancing your home loan is one option if youíre considering increasing the payments on your mortgage. If you can refinance a 30-year loan to a 15-year loan with a lower interest rate, youíll save money in two ways--your lower interest rate and the fact that youíll be accruing interest for less time.

There is a downside to refinancing. Once you refinance, youíre locked into your new payment amount. So, if your higher income isnít dependable, it might not make sense to commit to a higher monthly payment that you arenít sure youíre going to be able to keep paying.

Thereís also the matter of refinancing costs. Just like the costs associated with signing on your mortgage, youíll have to pay closing costs on refinancing. Youíll need to weigh the cost of refinancing against the amount youíll save on interest over the term of your mortgage to see if it truly makes sense to go through the refinancing process.

Paying more on your current loan

Even if you arenít sure that refinancing is the best option, there are other ways you can make payments on your mortgage to pay it off years sooner than your term length.

One of the common methods is to simply make thirteen payments each year instead of twelve. To do this, homeowners often use their tax returns or savings to make the thirteenth payment. Over a thirty year mortgage, this could save you over full two years of added interest.

A second option is to make two bi-weekly payments rather than one monthly payment. By making biweekly payments you have the ability to make 26 payments in a year. If you were to just make two payments per month then you would make 24 total payments. Over time, those two extra payments per year add up.




Categories: Uncategorized