VA Loan Offers More Than $0 Down

To all United States service members, veterans and spouses, thank you for your service and sacrifice to our nation.

If you are preparing to buy or refinance a home, take a look at your VA Loan option, which offers lower out-of-pocket financing than traditional lending options. Here are five benefits of VA Loans.

No. 1. 100% Financing

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) guarantees this loan, allowing you  to finance the entire purchase price of the home. Nearly all conventional and FHA loans require the loan-to-value to be below 100%.

No. 2. No Monthly Mortgage Insurance Costs

Most loans with less than a 20% down payment require you to pay for a mortgage insurance premium (for FHA loans) and private mortgage insurance, commonly referred to as PMI, for conventional loans.

While there is no monthly mortgage insurance, there is a one-time funding fee, which ranges from 1.5% – 3.3%, based on your eligibility and down payment. You may also be exempt from the funding fee if you were awarded a service-related disability.

You are also able to roll your funding fee into the loan to help keep your out-of-pocket expenses lower at closing.

No. 3. More Flexible Underwriting Standards

A VA Loan is the only loan that does not require student loans deferred over  one year to be included in the debt–to-income ratio, which is used by lenders to determine how much you can afford to borrow. Also, a VA loan allows for higher debt ratios than other loans like FHA, conventional and rural development.

No. 4. You Can Have Two VA Home Loans at a Time

VA does allow you to purchase another home if you are choosing to move prior to selling your current VA-financed home. It depends on how much entitlement you have left from the previous purchase and the loan limits in the area where you are buying your new home. Your mortgage lender can help you calculate your entitlement and qualification.

No. 5. VA Jumbo Option Available 

In most counties today, the maximum loan limit for conforming conventional and VA loans is $484,350. However, there are certain counties where the VA maximum loan limit exceeds $484,350; these loans are known was VA Jumbo loans. These amounts are current as of the time of writing this article. Most Jumbo loans require 20% down payment; however, VA loans do not. Depending on your eligibility, you may be able to pay a 10% or less down payment.

You can learn more about eligibility requirements at www.benefits.va.gov. Search VA home loans.

When it comes to obtaining a VA Loan, you want to work with a qualified VA mortgage lender.  RCB Bank is proud to offer a VA loan benefit to our active duty service members and veterans. We can help you determine your eligibility and what you qualify for. Plus, once you start the loan process, we’re here to walk you through start to finish.

Connect with a local RCB Bank lender to get answers to your lending questions. Give us a call or visit our online Mortgage Center.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only.  For specific questions regarding your personal lending needs, please call RCB Bank at 855-BANK-RCB. With approved credit. Some restrictions apply. Equal Housing Lender, Member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151. Kenneth Wohl NMLS #453934.

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The Truth on Three Spooky Mortgage Myths

With Halloween around the corner, here are three spooky myths about getting a mortgage.

mortgage myths

There is a lot of incorrect information out there that may persuade you not to pursue getting a home. Before you run in fear, talk to a lender first about your concerns, so we can help you know what is truth or myth.

Myth #1: You have to have a 20% down payment in order to get a mortgage – WRONG.

There are many down payment options. For instance, if you are a veteran, or buying in a rural location, you could potentially get into your new home with little to no down payment.

Several first-time homebuyer loan options start with a 3% down payment, and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) offers financing options starting with a 3.5% down payment.

With all of these down payment options, homeownership may be more BOOlievable than you think.

Myth #2: Being Pre-Qualified is the same as being Pre-Approved – WRONG.

Pre-qualification is based on un-verified information. This is an initial look at your application to make sure there are no major red flags that may prevent you from getting a mortgage. For example, a pre-qualification may use an estimate of your credit score and compare your income with your debts to see if you can support a mortgage payment. The pre-qualification process is quick and is based on information you provide to your lender. A pre-approval is a more extensive process where the lender uses verified information (e.g., your credit report and pay stubs) to determine which mortgage you actually qualify for.

Without a pre-qualification or pre-approval, home shopping may become a frightfully batty experience.

Myth #3: Shopping around for lenders will hurt your credit – WRONG.

Multiple inquiries can hurt your credit, but FICO allows for rate shopping by grouping all similar inquiries made within a 30-day timeframe as one hard-hit. This allows you to shop around as long as it is within 30 calendar days.

When shopping lenders, be sure to ask what fees they charge, what the interest rate and annual percentage rate (APR) are, and if you aren’t putting 20% down, what is the cost for private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Don’t be spooked by misinformation about mortgages. Talk to a lender and get the truth. I’m here to help you have a FANGtastic homebuying experience, even if you are not an RCB Bank customer. Connect with a local RCB Bank lender to get answers to your lending questions. Give us a call or visit our online Mortgage Center.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. For specific questions regarding your personal lending needs, please call RCB Bank at 855-BANK-RCB. With approved credit. Some restrictions apply. Equal Housing Lender, Member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151. Alex Penny NMLS #1535836.
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Home Appraisal Guide

One of the most important aspects of getting a mortgage is the appraisal.

Mortgage appraisal— a professional opinion of a property’s market value, determined by a licensed appraiser.

An appraiser will visit the property and examine the interior and exterior of the property. They will take pictures, measure rooms, note upgrades and examine other aspects of the house for functionality. Once they finish looking at the property, they will research similar homes through various assessor databases and local real estate portals.

Appraisal guidelines protect consumers. Lenders are required to give you copies of all appraisal reports and other written valuations. If you have questions, talk to your lender. Open and honest communication will help you better understand the mortgage process.

May I choose my appraiser?

No. Your lender must request the order. Lenders, realtors and appraisers must follow Appraiser Independence requirements to ensure the appraisal is fair. You can read the guidelines on Fannie Mae’s website, fanniemae.com.

Why are appraisals important?

An appraisal is important because it provides you with valuable information about the property so, as a buyer, you do not pay more than the home is actually worth. It can also play a big role in determining the amount of money you may borrow when purchasing or refinancing your home.

I got a home inspection; do I still need an appraisal?

Yes. The home inspection does not replace an appraisal and vice versa. A home inspection is an in-depth, objective examination of the physical structure and major components of a home. A home inspector will not determine the value of the home; they help you assess potential risks that may affect your investment.

How long before I receive my appraisal?

Appraisals can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to complete due to many variables that may affect the time frame. For instance, during the peak of real estate season, it may take longer due to the backlog of requests. Rural, luxury or complex properties also take more time to complete based upon availability of comparable sales data.

We are to here to help, even if you are not an RCB Bank customer. Connect with a local RCB Bank lender to get answers to your lending questions.

Invest in yourself. RCBbank.com/GetFit

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. For specific questions regarding your personal lending needs, please call RCB Bank at 855-BANK-RCB, With approved credit. Some restrictions apply. RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151. Kenneth Wohl NMLS #453934.

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3 Ways to Finance Vacation Property

With loan rates still low, now may be time to buy

Vacation home lake front mountains

When I take a family vacation, I typically rent a home versus a hotel for the home-like atmosphere and amenities. This has me wondering why I don’t invest in my own vacation property. With mortgage rates still near historic lows, now may be the time to buy property in your favorite vacation destination.

Since government loan programs (FHA, VA, USDA) are not available for second home financing, let’s look at other options for financing vacation property.

Cash-Out Refinance

Cash-out refinance involves refinancing your primary residence mortgage and receiving cash for the remaining equity. You need sufficient equity in your home for this to be an option. For example, if you owe $100,000 on your home worth $500,000, you may be able to cash out up to 80% loan-to-value (LTV), which would be $400,000 minus the $100,000 you owe. This leaves you with $300,000 in cash to purchase your vacation property. You can choose term options from 10-30 years fixed or adjustable, plus you’ll have one monthly payment, not two.

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

HELOC involves attaching your loan to your primary residence. Typically, this loan will not pay off your current mortgage, but be a second lien adding to your monthly expense on top of your current mortgage. Depending on the lender, this loan may go to a LTV higher than 80%, which helps if you need more funds than what 80% will allow. The drawback is this type of loan is typically adjustable and at a higher rate than today’s conforming loans.

Conventional Financing

Conventional Financing obtains a loan on your vacation property, not your current primary as discussed in the prior two options. The loan process is similar to purchasing a primary residence with small differences in minimum down payment and reserve requirement. Second homes require at least 10% down. The lender will need to verify you have sufficient funds for closing and between 2-6 months’ worth of reserves to cover both your primary and second home loan payments.

Defining a Second Home

There are specific requirements for defining a second home, e.g., needs to meet minimum distance requirements from your primary residence, or located in a recreational area, such as a lake or ski resort. Fannie Mae’s second home requirements are:

  • Occupied by the borrower for some portion of the year
  • Restricted to one-unit dwellings
  • Suitable for year-round occupancy
  • Borrower must have exclusive control over the property
  • Must not be rental property or timeshare arrangement
  • Cannot be subject to any agreements that give a management firm control over the occupancy of the property

Purchasing a second home in the same city where your child is going to college does not qualify as a second home; it is defined as an investment property, which has stricter guidelines and higher down payment requirements.

Scouting a Second Home

One way to start scouting for a second home is to find a real estate agent who is familiar with your desired location. They can fill you in on weather and traffic patterns, help you evaluate the location and amenities of a property and provide information about comparable sales, resale prospects and long-term property value.

Before you start your search, talk with a lender so you know upfront what you can afford and your specific financing options.

We are to here to help, even if you are not an RCB Bank customer. Connect with a local RCB Bank lender to get answers to your lending questions.

Invest in yourself. RCBbank.com/GetFit

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. With approved credit. Some restrictions apply. RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151. Kenneth Wohl NMLS #453934.
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Q&A: Accepting Mortgage Gift Funds

accepting gift funds

Gift Funds 101

If you plan to accept a monetary gift to help you cover homebuying costs, familiarize yourself with how gift funds may be used and who are acceptable donors.

May I use gift funds on all types of purchases?

Borrowers seeking a mortgage to secure a principle residence or second home may use funds received as a personal gift from an acceptable donor. Restrictions vary between loan types as to how gift funds may be used, for down payment, closing costs or reserves subject to minimum borrower contribution requirements. Gifts are not allowed on an investment property.

Who can give a gift?

Gift funds can only come from acceptable donors. A gift can be provided by a relative, fiancé or domestic partner.  A relative is more closely defined as the borrower’s spouse, child, dependent or any other individual who is related to the borrower by blood, marriage, adoption or legal guardianship.

What documentation is required?

Gifts may be evidenced with a gift letter signed by the donor. The gift letter must specify gifted dollar amount, date funds were transferred, donor statement that no repayment is expected and donor identification, including name, phone, address and relationship to the borrower.

How are gift funds verified?

Lenders will gather documentation to confirm sufficient funds are in the donor’s account or have been transferred to the borrower’s account. There are three different ways to verify funds:

  • Copy of the donor’s check and borrower’s deposit slip
  • Copy of the donor’s withdrawal slip and borrower’s deposit slip
  • Lender can document donor gave closing agent the gift funds in the forms of a cashier’s check, certified check or another official check.

Can equity be gifted?

Gifts of equity are allowed by the seller to the buyer on principle residences and second home purchases. The gift represents a portion of the seller’s equity in the property, and is transferred to the buyer as a credit. This still requires a gift letter and the settlement statement listing the gift of equity.

Gift donors also should familiarize themselves with the IRS annual gift tax rules.

Taxes may be owed if the gift amount exceeds the annual exclusion. Please consult with a tax professional.

We are to here to help, even if you are not an RCB Bank customer. Connect with a local RCB Bank lender to get answers to your lending questions.

Invest in yourself. RCBbank.com/GetFit

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of April Bow and meant for generic illustration purposes only. RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151. April Bow NMLS #1446997.
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Homebuilding Financing Simplified

Building a house is a two-loan process.

First, you need temporary construction financing to cover the building costs. Then, you need permanent financing for your mortgage. Eliminate unnecessary stress by obtaining both loans at one location. Here are three reasons why.

No. 1. Cost Savings

Financing both loans at one place, like a bank, streamlines your loan process. You provide information to one place, which uses it to prepare both loans. You may save on appraisal costs too. By using the same bank for both loans, you may only have to pay for one appraisal and then a less expensive appraisal certificate to certify the construction is complete.

No. 2. Mortgage Pre-Approval

Securing both loans through the same bank may reduce your risk of mortgage delays by allowing you to get pre-approved early for permanent financing. A pre-approval is based on documentation you provide at the time, assuming your situation does not change.

No. 3. Efficiency

During construction, your lender works with the builder or contractor to ensure invoices are paid based on the work done and materials provided. Your lender monitors the progress of the project so payments are only made for work completed.

By financing both loans through the same bank, the lender can schedule closing on your mortgage to occur quickly once the contractor gives the okay to move in.

You can have as much or as little involvement in the construction process as you want. Some customers prefer the builder to work directly with the bank. Others prefer to be hands on.

Find a lender you trust. At RCB Bank, we are flexible and adapt to your needs. We’re reachable, by phone, in person, or at the job site, if necessary. Let us help you save time, money and hassle on your homebuilding project. Connect with a local RCB Bank lender to get answers to your lending questions.

Invest in yourself. RCBbank.com/GetFit

This article is published in Value News, April  2019 Issue, valuenews.com.
Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. For specific questions regarding your personal lending needs, please call RCB Bank at 855-BANK-RCB, RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151. Jake Dwyer NMLS #1413664
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How to avoid delays in your mortgage process

Get$Fit Tip: Limit financial changes

Proceed with caution Mortgage Matters

Obtaining a mortgage requires a lot of documentation, multiple forms, financial records, third-party paperwork; not to mention multiple layers of inspection to verify your information is accurate. Financial changes during your loan process can invalidate paperwork and delay your loan closing. Here are four ways to avoid delays in the loan process.

No. 1: Inform lender of a job change ASAP.

You submit pay stubs and W2’s to your lender, but, right before closing, your lender may request employment verification from your employer. If your job or income status changes, this can potentially create a holdup in the loan process; or worse, your loan may be denied, even if you were pre-approved. A job change requires updated documentation and approval verification. Some jobs have a probationary period, which too may affect your loan approval process. If you are planning a job change, let your lender know as early as possible as this can also help you avoid delays.

No. 2: Resist increasing debt.

A few days before closing, your lender runs a final credit check to check for new debt. If you open a new credit card, finance new appliances or furniture, buy a car, co-sign on another loan or take on more debt, new documentation is required. Resist the urge to make big purchases during your loan process. New debt may affect your loan qualification.

No. 3: Avoid big financial changes.

Most lenders require up to two months of bank statements for proof of funds used for your home transaction. Changing banks during your loan process may cause a delay in obtaining the necessary statements. Moreover, any large deposits made into your account need explanation. Most loans will allow a gift, but these funds require additional documentation signed by you and the person making the gift.

No. 4: Keep credit card balances low.

A large portion of your credit score reflects your credit utilization. Keeping credit card balances under 20 percent of your available balance helps your credit score. When it comes to your mortgage, your credit score helps determine both your interest rate and mortgage insurance (if required). A higher credit score helps you qualify for better rates, saving you money over the life of your loan.

Before you make major financial changes, talk to your lender first. This will help you avoid delays or setbacks during your mortgage process.

We are here to help even if you’re not an RCB Bank customer. Connect with a local RCB Bank lender to get answers to your lending questions.

Invest in yourself. RCBbank.com/GetFit

This article is published in Value News, November 2018 Issue, valuenews.com.
Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of Kenneth Wohl and meant for generic illustration purposes only. For specific questions regarding your personal lending needs, please call RCB Bank at 855-BANK-RCB, RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151. Kenneth Wohl NMLS #453934
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Ways to save at closing

Get$Fit Tip: Compare lender fees for better savings.

Woman dreaming about house holding piggy bank.

Did you know closing costs vary between lenders? If you want to save the most money on your closing costs, it pays to shop around. Here’s why.

Interest rates are restricted by market conditions. Your options are limited.

Buyers often shop interest rates, choosing the lowest rate possible to help their overall savings over the life of the loan. Yet, rates change daily, sometimes more than once per day depending on different economic factors.

When comparing lenders’ rates for secondary market financing, all lenders base their rates off the same market trading; therefore, all quotes should be similar, typically within .125 percent, .250 percent at most.

Lender fees vary from lender to lender giving you more options to lower your costs.

Lender origination charges, application fees, processing and underwriting fees can vary significantly between lenders. The best way to compare lenders is to request Loan Estimates. Their fees will be listed under Closing Cost Details on page 2, section A.

You can also cut costs by comparing homeowner’s insurance coverage and premiums.

Oftentimes, the largest expense on your Closing Disclosure is homeowner’s insurance, another expense that varies between companies.

Generally, you will need 14 months of homeowner’s insurance set aside in your escrow account paid at closing. If you choose a policy that charges $1,800 annually versus a $2,500 annual policy, you can save $800 at closing.

Know where your money is going.

Ask your lender plenty of questions. A good lender can answer all your questions and make you feel comfortable about your spending decisions. Buying a house is one of the most expensive things you will buy. Why spend more than you have to?

Talk to a lender to explore your options. Lenders at RCB Bank are happy to help answer questions even if you are not a customer. Give us a call or visit our online Mortgage Center.

Invest in yourself. RCBbank.com/GetFit

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of Alex Penny and meant for generic illustration purposes only. For specific questions regarding your personal lending needs, please call RCB Bank at 855-BANK-RCB, RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151. Alex Penny NMLS #1535836.
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Financing options for new home construction

Get$Fit Tip: Plan short-term and long-term financing before you build.

home under constrcution

When it comes to financing the construction of a new home, you have two options.

1. Let a builder finance construction.

Common with larger building companies. The builder may ask you to put down a deposit while the company carries the cost of the construction. You get to choose floor plans, paint colors, fixtures and so on.

When construction is complete, you will obtain a typical mortgage, as if you purchased an existing home. Construction costs are built into the purchase price.

2. You finance construction.

Typical with smaller building companies or individual builders. You may choose to the carry the construction loan yourself. This type of financing is usually offered only at your local or regional banks and credit unions.

Your lender will determine the value of your home during your loan application by ordering an appraisal on the building and design specs.

Construction loans are short-term loans, generally 12-18 months. Costs vary by lender, so do your homework.

The majority of lenders will finance up to 80 percent of the property’s value.

Once approved, your loan is a closed line of credit. You can withdraw from the account as certain construction stages are completed. For example, after you acquire the land, you will need to pay for dirt work, then the foundation, the framework and so on.

Your lender will likely prepare a payment plan – a draw schedule – to guide the disbursement of funds through each stage. Periodically, the bank will send someone to check on the progress and verify draw schedule and budget.

Plan before you build.

Cost overruns

There will always be cost overruns or change orders. You may decide to add a larger patio or extra lighting. These items seem small individually, but they add up quickly. When planning your budget, conservatively allow for a 10 percent overage.

Variable monthly payments

Construction loans are short-term loans with adjustable interest rates. Think of it like a credit card payment. You pay the interest each month on the amount you borrowed. Prepare for payment fluctuation.

Permanent financing

Make sure you are qualified for permanent financing before taking out a construction loan. Some lenders may do construction loans but not permanent mortgages. Others do both.

Get pre-qualified for your permanent mortgage before you build.

Make certain you are pre-qualified for long-term financing before you build to avoid a potential financing nightmare when your new home construction is complete.

Talk to a lender to explore your options. Lenders at RCB Bank are happy to help answer questions even if you are not a customer. Give us a call or visit our online Mortgage Center.

Invest in yourself. RCBbank.com/GetFit

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of Alex Penny and meant for generic illustration purposes only. For specific questions regarding your personal lending needs, please call RCB Bank at 855-BANK-RCB, RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151. Kenneth Wohl NMLS #453934.
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Rural Development Home Loan Advantage

Get$Fit Tip: Know all your financing options before you start home shopping.

Rural Neighborhood

USDA Rural Loan Requirements

If you feel like homeownership may be out of reach because you don’t have a large down payment, look into the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development loan (RD) program, which provides up to 100 percent financing to qualified households in eligible areas.

Fun fact: Rural America includes 72 percent of the nation’s land mass, according to the USDA RD 2017 Performance Report.

Rural Development Loan Advantages

100% financing

Rural Development loans may only require you to pay closing costs. The majority of other loan programs may require at least 3 percent down.

Lower Interest Rate

Because Rural Development loans are backed by the government, they typically are lower interest rate loans than most conventional loans.

Keep in mind, interest rates vary daily and depend on a number of factors, such as loan amount, credit score and rate lock.

Seller Concessions

Rural Development loans allow the seller to contribute up to 6 percent of your closing costs, which may cover your out of pocket needs entirely.

Mortgage Insurance Reduction

Most loans require mortgage insurance (PMI) if you pay less than a 20 percent down payment. PMI covers the loan in case of default and may require an upfront fee and/or is included in your monthly loan payment. With a Rural Development loan you may be able to finance the upfront portion and receive a discounted rate on the monthly fee.

Talk to a lender to explore your options, and to find out if you qualify for a Rural Development loan.

Lenders at RCB Bank are happy to help answer questions even if you are not a customer. Give us a call or visit our online Mortgage Center.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of Alex Penny and meant for generic illustration purposes only. For specific questions regarding your personal lending needs, please call RCB Bank at 855-BANK-RCB, RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151. Alex Penny NMLS #1535836.
Source: USDA, https://www.rd.usda.gov/
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Guide to defining your second home

Vacation home

When it comes to buying a second home, understanding how to define the property will help you better understand your mortgage options.

Let’s go over the basic home types defined by Fannie Mae.

Principle Residence, a property the borrower occupies as his or her primary residence.

Second Home, a property that must be occupied by the borrower for some part of the year, restricted to residences suitable for year-round occupancy. Borrower must have exclusive control of the property, must not be rental property or timeshare, and cannot be subject to any agreements that give management firm control over the occupancy of the property.

Investment Property, a property owned but not occupied by the borrower.

The property types seem straightforward, but here are a couple examples of when it gets tricky.

College homes

Many parents planning to purchase a home for their kids while they attend college will often apply for a second home mortgage.

If a home is considered as someone’s primary residence, regardless if that person (or student) is obligated or not on the loan, the home cannot be someone else’s secondary. In this case, the college home is an investment property.

Vacation homes

Another area of confusion are timeshares or homes managed by a management group, e.g., rental company. Most often, these do not qualify for conventional financing.

Your vacation home may qualify as a second home if it is in your full control and not generating income.
Remember, second homes are a second residence for the borrower to enjoy or use when not occupying their primary residence.

If you plan to rent the property while you are not using it, it may not qualify as a second home.

If you’re planning to purchase a vacation home or second property speak to a lender before you start the mortgage process.

The more you know about your loan options and your individual qualifications, the more satisfying your homebuying experience is.

Lenders at RCB Bank are happy to help answer questions even if you are not a customer. Give us a call or visit our online Mortgage Center.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only.  RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151. Kenneth Wohl NMLS #453934. 
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Benefits of an escrow account

A home ownership payment manager

House and calendar

It should be no surprise that as a homeowner you are responsible for expenses beyond your mortgage payment, such as property taxes, homeowner insurance and mortgage insurance, to name a few.

Benefit #1: Escrow is a personal payment manager

An escrow account is a service provided by your lender to help you manage and budget home-related costs. A benefit of an escrow is you make one monthly payment that includes your mortgage principle and interest, plus a percentage of your insurance and tax expenses. Your lender takes care of paying the various bills due throughout the year.

Most lenders require escrow accounts on mortgages greater than 80 percent loan-to-value and are set up at closing.

Benefit #2: Escrow lets you spread out annual costs over time.

Another benefit of an escrow is you don’t have to stress to come up with large lump sum payments.

How escrow works

Your lender adds up your additional home-related costs outside your mortgage payment – taxes, homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance, flood insurance, etc. – They divide the total cost of these payments by 12 (months) and add it to your monthly mortgage payment.

Generally, a cushion of 1/6 of the total escrow charges is collected at loan closing to account for any unexpected increase in premiums when it’s time for the lender to make the yearly payment.

Your escrow account builds with each monthly payment. Funds are withdrawn from your escrow to pay for bills as they are due.

Can your escrow payment change over time? 

Yes, if there are changes in insurance costs and taxes, your escrow payment will also change.

Annually, your lender will review your escrow. The review looks at updated taxes and insurance costs to ensure the amount paid into the account is enough to cover costs. If costs have decreased, due to a change in insurance for example, there may be an overage and you would be issued a refund. If costs have increased, you will be required to make up the shortfall.

There are usually two ways to cover a shortfall.

1. Pay the shortfall in one lump sum.

Your full payment covers the past payments and brings your account to balance. An increase in monthly payments is necessary to cover the increased costs for future payments.

2. Divide and pay the amount over the next 12 payments.

Paying back your shortage over time will increase your monthly payment more than paying a lump sum because you are paying the shortage plus the increase in costs over the next year.

It’s important to understand, if insurance costs and taxes increase, your monthly payment will also increase going forward.

Get$Fit Tip: Shop around for insurance.

If you want to keep your monthly payment as close as possible to what you pay now, an annual check on your homeowner policy or other insurance plans may help. It is your responsibility to review your policy and shop around for the best deal, not your lender.

Make sure your policy is in line with current market rates and has not increased more than a few percentages, which is typical for some insurance companies. It’s always a good idea to comparison shop and request quotes. If you find a better deal, contact your lender to update your escrow account information.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of Kenneth Wohl and meant for generic illustration purposes only. For specific questions regarding your personal lending needs, please call RCB Bank at 855-BANK-RCB. RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151. Kenneth Wohl NMLS #453934.
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What NOT to do during your mortgage process

Four tips to avoid closing delays

Woman holding hand up

You found your dream home, made an offer and it was accepted. You’re pre-approved for a loan and feeling good. Your mind is now focused on moving. Hold on. A pre-approval is not a loan guarantee. To ensure a smooth mortgage process, avoid these four things during closing.

DO NOT take on new debt.

I realize with a new home comes the desire to purchase new furniture, appliances and sometimes even a shiny new car for the garage. Some stores offer no-money down and zero percent interest credit. It’s tempting to start purchasing.

Taking on new debt may raise your debt ratio (the relationship of income to debt). Banks and mortgage companies weigh this number heavily to determine your credit worthiness. Raising it could cause heartache at the end of your transaction. Loan officers run another credit check a few days before closing to verify no new debt has been obtained.

DO NOT Change Jobs.

The stability of your job and income are essential to your loan approval. Your capability of repayment is ultimately what the lender needs to see. Changing jobs during the purchase process could complicate things. For example, if switching from a W-2 salaried status to a contractor or full commission job would most likely disqualify you (that income typically needs two years of income for calculation). A bank typically needs to see 30 days on the job, at least one pay stub and time to verify employment. Verification of income is sent to the employer to make sure the income matches the paystub and that you are still employed, as well as a verbal verification a day or so before closing.

DO NOT stop paying your bills.

A new home purchase can become expensive when you are out closing costs that aren’t part of your typical monthly obligations. You have additional costs like movers. Even if money gets tight, pay your bills. Remember, loan officers will re-pull credit at the end of the transaction.

DO NOT pack up important papers.

You’re stoked about moving. Maybe you’ve already started packing. Make sure you don’t pack up tax documents, bank statements, paystubs or any other important documents that might be requested by your loan officer. The quicker you can respond to the processing requests of your loan, the quicker it will be approved. Delaying the response can delay closing.

Buying a home is exciting, but until you sign the papers at closing, your mortgage isn’t final. Loan officers issue a pre-qualification based on the documentation you provide. The final approval is issued on documents retrieved between signing the contract and loan closing. The final underwriting decision is made on a final credit review, tax transcripts, verification of employment and verification of deposit, NOT the initial credit, tax returns, paystubs and bank statements.

Loan officers are here to make this process as smooth and as simple as possible. Be open with your loan officer and make sure they completely understand your situation and that one of the above doesn’t become a gotcha moment.

Lenders at RCB Bank are happy to help answer questions even if you are not a customer. Give us a call or visit our online Mortgage Center.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only.  RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151. Kenneth Wohl NMLS #453934. 
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Talking Mortgage

Talking Mortgage graphic

Lending officers have their own language. We try not to use unfamiliar jargon when working with customers, but “talking mortgage” is second nature to us. Let me clarify some lingo my customers have called me out on.

1003

Your loan application. Pronounced ten-o-three. This is a uniform document all lenders use as their mortgage application.

LTV

Loan-to-value. This is a ratio of what you owe on your home versus what it is worth. In a home purchase transaction, this is also your loan balance versus your purchase price. The industry uses the lower ratio — appraised or purchase price — as the value of the home. Therefore, your purchase LTV may be higher than your actual LTV if your appraisal comes in higher than your purchase price.

CLTV

Combined loan-to-value. This is like your LTV, but includes the overall loan amount versus the overall value when combining a first and second mortgage.

DTI

Debt-to-income ratio. Also known as back-end ratio. A percentage of a consumer’s monthly gross income that goes toward paying debts.

Front-end ratio

Mortgage-to-income ratio. Indicates which portion of an individual’s income is used to make mortgage payments. It is computed by dividing your projected monthly mortgage payment by your monthly gross income. Front-end and back-end ratios are used by lenders to determine how much you can afford to borrow.

PMI

Private mortgage insurance. Commonly referred to as MI or mortgage insurance.  This is required on loans for which the buyer makes less than a 20 percent down payment or has less than 20 percent equity on a refinance. This insurance policy protects the lender in case the borrower ends up in foreclosure.

CD

Closing disclosure. A required disclosure given to all borrowers on mortgage loans three days prior to closing. This is a five-page document that details loan terms, payments, fees and other costs.

LE

Loan estimate. This document mirrors the closing disclosure, but is issued at the beginning of the loan application. Since the two documents look alike, it is easy to compare fees, costs and changes from start to finish.

Hazard Insurance

Homeowners insurance.

 

When it is time to buy or refinance a home, talk to a local lender first. The more you know about the mortgage process, available loan options and your individual qualifications, the more satisfying your homebuying experience is.

Lenders at RCB Bank are happy to help answer questions even if you are not a customer. Give us a call or visit our online Mortgage Center.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of Kenneth Wohl and meant for generic illustration purposes only.  For specific questions regarding your personal lending needs, please call RCB Bank at 855-BANK-RCB, RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151. Kenneth Wohl NMLS #453934.
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Homebuying Property Inspection Waiver

What you need to know

Large Home

Appraisals are a necessary part of the homebuying process, and for years, they were required to obtain mortgage financing on all new purchases or refinances.

Now, in some cases, the Federal National Mortgage Association, known as Fannie Mae, may waive an appraisal for eligible transactions.

Not all homes qualify.

In fact, Fannie Mae states that the majority of transactions will not receive a Property Inspection Waiver (PIW), meaning an appraisal is required to establish the market value.

Minimum standards for a PIW include one unit properties at or below 80-percent loan-to-value for principal residences and second homes.
Fannie Mae uses a database of more than 26 million appraisal reports as well as a proprietary analytics system to determine if the current market value of a property is acceptable or should be confirmed. For example, properties located in disaster-impacted areas will require new appraisals.

If your property receives the inspection waiver, you still have a choice to order your own appraisal.

Appraisals are important.

An appraisal verifies the value of the property you are purchasing. It helps you and your lender ensure you are not overpaying based on current market conditions.

A PIW, in my opinion, will best serve refinances. There are limitations for refinances too. Not all will qualify.

Do your homework.

A PIW may shorten your mortgage process by eliminating the need to schedule an appraisal, which will lead to a reduction in loan origination costs.

It’s important to be informed and get all the facts regarding your mortgage financing options.

I can help answer your questions, even if you are not an RCB Bank customer. Give me call at 405.608.5291 or email me at kwohl@bankrcb.net.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. For specific questions regarding your personal lending needs, please call RCB Bank at 855-BANK-RCB, RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151.
Source: Fannie Mae Property Inspection Waiver Fact Sheet
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How new tax law affects mortgage deductions

W-4 tax sheet with money and house on it

You’ve likely heard about the new tax plan and the changes coming to our tax code. I am not a certified public accountant (CPA) and cannot speak to how this may directly affect you individually, but I can share how the changes may affect your mortgage tax deduction.

One benefit of home ownership is being able to deduct your property taxes and mortgage interest on your income taxes.

For example, let us say you buy a home for $275,000 and the taxable value of the home is 1.25 percent of the sales price. On a mortgage at 80 percent loan-to-value accruing interest at 4 percent, you can expect to pay around $8,700 in interest and $3,400 in taxes, a total of $12,100, the first year. This amount will decrease each year as you pay down your principal.

Under the current tax code, the standard deduction is $6,350 for single filers and $12,700 for married filing jointly. If you had no other deductions, it would benefit you to itemize if you were single but not if you were married filing jointly.

The proposed tax plan will increase the standard deduction for single filers to $12,500 and married filing jointly to $24,000.

Using our example, the $12,100 mortgage deduction falls below the standard deduction for both single and married filing jointly.

Owning a home is an American dream for many people, and there are benefits to home ownership other than a tax break. Before you decide to purchase, be sure to look at the full picture of ownership.

With many current deductions and potential phase-outs of those deductions if the new tax proposal passes, it’s important to do your homework. Talk with your CPA and ask them to show you a future tax plan based on the proposed law.

When you decide to buy or refinance, first talk to a local lender. The more knowledge you have about the mortgage process, available loan options and your individual qualifications, the more satisfying your home buying experience will be.

Lenders at RCB Bank are happy to help answer questions even if you are not a customer. Give us a call or visit our online Mortgage Center.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of Kenneth Wohl and meant for generic illustration purposes only.  For specific questions regarding your personal lending needs, please call RCB Bank at 855-BANK-RCB, RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151. Kenneth Wohl NMLS #453934.
Sources: taxpolicycenter.org and irs.gov
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Common homebuyer mistakes

And how to fix them.

Couple looking at house

Purchasing a home is one of the largest investments you’ll make, and the emotions wrapped around that decision can range from excitement to fear, from joy and to frustration. Enjoy a less stressful homebuying experience by avoiding these common mistakes.

Mistake #1: Failure to get pre-approved first.

The joy of homebuying is house hunting, and often it is a homebuyer’s first step. The problem is this opens the door to potential heartache when the home you fall deeply in love with doesn’t fit in your budget.

The fix: The first and most important step in homebuying should be to get pre-approved for a loan. Knowing and understanding your budget allows you to shop the neighborhoods in your price range and help you avoid yearning for homes you cannot afford.

Mistake #2: Letting your lender pre-qualify you for the maximum allowed loan.

Buying a home based on your maximum loan qualification is a potential set up for financial struggles. Loan eligibility is based on your gross income, earnings before taxes and withholdings. Your monthly mortgage payment is made from your net pay, your take home cash. What you qualify for and what you can actually afford to pay each month may be different depending on your living expenses and spending habits.

The fix: Work from your budget. Figure your current take home pay and expenses. Then determine a comfortable payment you can afford that will also allow you to put away money each month for emergencies, retirement or other financial goals. Ask your lender to factor your goals and budget into your loan pre-qualification.

Mistake #3: Shopping rates and loans from the couch.

Online lenders may or may not live in your area. They may be offering teaser rates for which you may not qualify. While scoping out the field online will give you a general idea of current rates and options, shopping for a home loan is a process you should do locally in person.

The fix: Speak with a local mortgage banker or two. They are informed on specific loan options available in your particular area. They can provide a loan estimate tailored to your individual needs, and can work with you directly to help you get the best option based on your qualification.

Mistake #4: House hunting in the present.

When purchasing a home you need to consider what might happen in the future. Might your job relocate? Are you planning on kids? Are you buying in a good school district? It’s easy to live and shop in the now, but your decision may cause distress down the road.

The fix: Know your personal and family goals and shop accordingly. Choose a home you can grow in or one that is marketable to sale in the future, if you need to make a move.

Buying a home doesn’t have to be complicated or daunting. When you decide it’s time to buy or refinance a home, first talk to a local lender. The more knowledge you have about the mortgage process, available loan options and your individual qualifications, the more satisfying your homebuying experience will be.

Lenders at RCB Bank are happy to help answer questions even if you are not a customer. Give us a call or visit our online Mortgage Center.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of Kenneth Wohl and meant for generic illustration purposes only.  For specific questions regarding your personal lending needs, please call RCB Bank at 855-BANK-RCB, RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151. Kenneth Wohl NMLS #453934.
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