Mortgage Rates Remain Extremely Low

As of this August, all major mortgage rates have remained extremely low, thanks to recent economic indicators. The major trends in stock market indexes, oil prices, gold prices and Treasury’s indicate that rates will remain low for at least the near future.

General Rates

The 30 year fixed rate offered by conventional lenders is still at all time lows.  Recent economic news has indicated that rates will not be increasing in the short term.  This is great news for potential homebuyers and homeowners that wish to refinance their loans!

What is keeping Rates so Low?

Four major economic indicators are battling one another to keep the mortgage rates at historical lows.

First and foremost, the average price of oil per barrel has recently increased from $56 to $57 based on the watchful eyes of OilPrice.com. This slight increase reflects overall higher cost for energy, which tends to move prices up in general. Anytime that prices move up, mortgage rates could slightly increase with them.

On the flip side, the price of gold jumped up to $1,429 per ounce from the previous $1,420. Anytime there is a serious upward change in the price of gold, this shows that major investors have developed doubt in the overall economy. Doubt about the economy tends to push mortgage rates down. The latest prices in gold per ounce can be found at https://goldprice.org/

The 10-year Treasury yield, which is the single most indicative indicator of mortgage rates, has moved very slightly from 2.05% to 2.06%. When this yield starts to increase, it usually means that mortgage rates will also soon rise with it.

Global Trade Continues to Have Negative Outlooks

Along with the previous economic indicators, the overall global trade market has continued to keep pressure on lower mortgage rates. While the US and China work out their spat and come to an agreement about tariffs and other issues, many markets are holding their breath to see how the trade talks will affect prices of goods coming from China. This keeps mortgage rates low as some experts fear major price increases for imported goods may soon appear.

There are also talks that trade with Europe may be troublesome in the near future. Tariffs on goods produced in Europe have been threatened in a counter measure to a new rule from France that is imposing taxes on American based organizations within France. More tariffs mean higher prices which is applying pressure to keep mortgage rates at current levels.

Recommendations for Mortgage Rate Locks

Major markets shift up and down throughout the months and years. While it is impossible to predict exact details, broad generalizations can be made which allow people to make educated decisions on mortgage rates.

If you are buying or refinancing a home, and the expected close date is within the next 30 calendar days, then you should definitely talk to your mortgage lender and lock the rate now.  Rates are extremely low and while most of the market indicators show that rates should remain at this level for the next few weeks, you don’t want to gamble on some unforeseen event pushing rates up unexpectedly. Contact your local Inlanta Mortgage loan advisor today about rate locking, refinancing, or purchasing your home!

When is the Right Time to Refinance? Hint: Now!

Interest rates have reached a point that many people never believed would happen. With 30-year fixed rates dipping below 4%, millions of homeowners are in a position to refinance and save significant money. Here are some of the top reasons why you should consider refinancing any existing mortgage.

Better Rate Means Lower Payments

The most obvious reason that attracts most people to refinance is the appeal of a lower interest rate, resulting in a lower payment. For a mortgage of $250,000 a change in 0.75% in rate can lower the monthly payments by $110. A wider gap in rates, such as 1.25% or even 2% can mean a savings of over $200 per month. For most homeowners this is reason enough to consider the costs of refinancing.

Better Term with Similar Payment

There is a lot of math involved in this example, but the bottom line is that a homeowner can save thousands of dollars in the long run.

Suppose you or someone you know took out a home loan approximately 3 years ago at a rate of 5.25% with a beginning balance of $250,000. The balance would likely be around $239,000 as of this writing. By refinancing that $239,000 at 3.95% on a 20-year loan, you could save over $100,000 in interest payments over the next 20 years. The home payment would increase by approximately $50 a month, but it could be a great financial move in the long term.

Improve Your Annual Tax Deduction

In recent years, Congress has changed the rules concerning using mortgage interest for a tax deduction. The interest paid on a 2nd mortgage is no longer deductible if that mortgage was not used to purchase the home. This means that people with a HELOC or a fixed rate 2nd mortgage that was used to consolidate debts or any other reason no longer get the tax deduction for that 2nd mortgage. By combining the existing 2nd mortgage with the 1st and refinancing everything to one loan, you will regain that tax deduction.

Move to a Different type of Mortgage

Some people may have purchased their home using FHA. Others may have used a less than ideal type of mortgage with a high interest rate. If you have made your mortgage and other debt payments on time for the past 12 months, your credit may now be strong enough to refinance to a conventional loan. A conventional loan will have better interest rate and, even if you pay private mortgage insurance, the mortgage insurance will eventually drop off once the balance is low enough. With FHA loans, the new rules state that the private mortgage insurance must remain in place for the life of the loan.

Regardless of your situation, if you have purchased a home within the past 3 to 5 years, now is a great time consider refinancing and taking advantage of these historically low rates. Contact your local Inlanta Mortgage loan expert today to get started.

Buying a Home Despite Student Debt

Whether you’ve just graduated or have been making those pesky monthly payments for a while, student loan debt can be heavy, burdensome and downright defeating.

The weight of Student loan debt doesn’t have to affect other areas of life – such as buying a home. If you’ve been dreaming about homeownership, but aren’t sure exactly how you can obtain such dream while having student loan debt, we’ve got some tips for you:

1. Talk to your Local Mortgage Pro for Advice

First and foremost, talk to a local mortgage pro as early as possible, whether you’re looking to buy a house this year or a few years down the road, to learn more about where your finances need to be to buy a home. Your mortgage pro will be able to tell about the different loan programs available, and what down payment assistance and other first-time homebuying programs may be available to help you achieve the dream of homeownership sooner, and more easily.

2. Don’t Neglect your Payments

There’s one simple rule you must follow: make your student loan payments on time, every time. Missing a payment or even making a payment late could hinder your credit score, which is a key factor in evaluating your home-buying readiness. As difficult as it can be to make those payments, it is important to understand the negative impact it can have on your financial future. Setting up monthly auto payments is a great way prevent any potential issues.

3. Focus on Building Good Credit

Having a good credit score is essential when applying for a mortgage. It provides your lender with a form of proof that you are a responsible borrower and good candidate to repay the loan. Work to build that good credit by staying below your credit card limits, making payments on time and swiping responsibly. Check out a few more tips on building and maintaining healthy credit.

4. Evaluate your DTI

DTI (Debt to Income) ratio is another important factor in determining your readiness to buy a home. Your lender will review your finances to determine your DTI by evaluating see how much debt you have vs. how much pretax income you are bringing in. Talk to your lender about your DTI to determine where you need to be to buy a home. Check out our step-by-step guide to reduce debt to get started.

Bottom Line:

If you’ve got student loan debt, you’re not alone. According to the Student Loan Hero website, about 45 million Americans currently owe more than $1.56 trillion in student loan debt. While it’s a burden to many, it doesn’t have to prevent you from achieving your dream of homeownership. Start working early with an Inlanta mortgage advisor you help determine your financial path to make it happen.

To learn more about the mortgage process or to find a mortgage advisor in your area, contact us today. Discover how we’ve already worked with borrowers like you to evaluate their unique financial situations and how we helped make their dreams of homeownership come true.


How to Make Your Home More Environmentally Friendly

This month, we celebrate World Environment Day – dedicated by the United Nations to encourage worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment. 

If you’re inspired to do your part to help Mother Earth, one of the best places to start is with your own home. With a few simple updates, you can help the environment and even see some cost and energy savings.

Here’s some tips to help make your home more environmentally friendly:

Consider an Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) Loan

If you’re looking to finance energy efficient home upgrades and improvements, learn more about Inlanta’s EEM program. Find a loan officer in your area or contact us for more info. 

Make Small Swaps

Sometimes little changes make a big impact both for the environment and your wallet. Swap out your current light bulbs for LEDs, set your heating/AC systems on a timer to use less energy when you’re not home, or swap out your showerhead to a low-flow one to help conserve water.

Use Reusable

Save the landfills by using rags over paper towels, cloth napkins over paper, and a reusable water bottle over plastic.

Water at Night

Watering lawns or plants during the day wastes water through evaporation. By watering at night, you’ll use less water and have healthier foliage.

Add Window Treatments

Don’t let all of the heat or cold air escape through bare windows! Add window treatments to help insulate your home and keep costs low.

Maximize Appliance Use

Don’t run your dishwasher or laundry half full. It’s better to run your appliances when full, and let dishes ai­rdry rather than use the heated dry, or even go old school and dry clothes on a clothesline. Not only will you save energy, you’ll prolong the life of your dishes and clothing too!

Unplug

Your cell phone charger could be costing you more than you think. Make sure to unplug all of your cords when they are not in use.

Reduce/Reuse/Recycle (RRR)

It’s a great time to make simple changes around your home to help the environment while saving money and energy. There are many more ways to RRR such as installing solar panels, using rain barrels, shopping with reusable bags, donating unwanted items and even learning how to recycle properly or compost.

Help keep the world – our home – a beautiful place!

For more tips on ways to help preserve the environment and our natural resources, visit the United States of Environmental Protection Agency website today.

This June, Celebrate National Homeownership Month

June is National Homeownership month. Americans often think of their homes as more than just a place to “hang their hats.” Homeownership has long been considered part of the greater “American Dream” that includes “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as mentioned in our country’s Declaration of Independence.

Here’s a rundown of key events related to homeownership dating back to our nation’s infancy:

The man who was the second vice president and third president of the United States believed that property ownership was a citizen’s right. Thomas Jefferson pushed for legislation that helped define property lines and a system for purchasing land that was the basis for how real estate and ownership are described and transferred today, called the Land Ordinance of 1785.
President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act into law, which helped establish the western part of the country through migration. Settlers who paid a filing fee and completed five years of continuous residence received ownership of 160 acres of public land. Homesteaders also had the option of purchasing the land from the government for $1.25 per acre. The Homestead Act led to the distribution of 80 million acres of public land by 1900.
Bank collapses, millions of jobs and life savings lost during the Great Depression resulted in up to a quarter of the nation’s mortgages going into default. The number of mortgages dropped dramatically from nearly 6,000 in 1928 to under 1,000 in 1933. U.S. homeownership dropped to its lowest levels of the century in 1940.
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) was formed and provided access to flexible mortgage financing. Prior to establishment of the FHA, mortgages required 50% down payments and terms were generally five or ten years long and usually had large balloon payments due at the end.
Congress passed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act – more commonly known as the GI Bill of Rights. The GI Bill helped veterans pay for college and buy homes. The Veterans Administration (VA) still insures low- to zero-down payment loans for veterans, active-duty service members and their spouses.
A storm was brewing as lending thresholds and interest rates dropped, making mortgages easy to get and driving home prices up.
The nationwide real estate bubble that formed due to frenzied demand amidst loose lending practices burst, and home prices began a multi-year decline that led to approximately eight million foreclosures.
First-time home buyer tax credits and other housing stimulus programs were established to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.
U.S. housing prices bottomed out in March, having dropped by 33%.
U.S. housing values recovered all $9-trillion dollars lost in the housing crisis of the prior decade.
After a long-anticipated span of rising mortgage interest rates that began in 2018, rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages experienced the sharpest one-week drop in over a decade in late March, setting the stage for higher affordability heading into the traditionally busy home buying and selling season.
Questions about home values, mortgage interest rates or the path to homeownership?
We can help! Contact us today!
Sources: Library of Congress, CoreLogic, Freddie Mac, Zillow

Renting vs. Owning a Home

Rent vs. Own

Dogs vs cats, Netflix vs Hulu, pancakes vs waffles… rent vs own? These are some of the great debates of our time and while we understand that renting makes sense for certain situations – we want to make clear that we are totally Team Own on this one. Here’s why:

Owning a Home is More Attainable than you Think

We’re sure you’ve heard this before: you need 20% down to buy a home. We’re here to tell you that statement is not a fact. While putting 20% down on a home allows you to skip the extra PMI payments, today you can put as little as 3.5% down on a home or even no down payment at all if you are a veteran or active military personnel. To put things in perspective – 3.5% down on a $200,000 home is $7,000. 20% down on a $200,000 is $40,000. While some of you may have $7,000 already in your savings, chances are, that $40,000 is way more out of reach.

Owning a Home is an Investment

Some say that when they are renting, they feel like they are throwing money out the window. It may feel this way for renters because their payments are going directly into the pocket of their landlord instead of into something that has ROI. Owning a home allows you to build equity and invest in your future as home values and prices tend to generate upwards.

Owning a Home Offers Fixed Payments vs Rising Rent

It’s no secret – rents can change and are likely to increase over time. One of the many benefits of homeownership is being able to get a hold of your budget by having a fixed mortgage payment each month giving you the security of knowing exactly how much you will spend while avoiding surprise rent hikes from your landlord.

Owning a Home Allows you to Plant Roots

Renters – here are some freeing words for you: when you own a home, you are your own landlord! Want to re-do your kitchen, paint your ceiling, or even remodel your home to take after your favorite childhood cartoon? You can! Owning a home allows you to put roots down in a place that’s yours offering stability, comfort, and community.

Owning a Home is like a Forced Savings Account

Do you set aside money for a 401(k) or a “rainy day” fund? You may be interested to find out that owning a home is similar! Instead of spending your money on rent or other things without return, having a mortgage is like putting aside money into a savings account each month as home values/the equity in your home tends to increase over time.

Bottom line: rates are still at historic lows making now the perfect time to take advantage of the market and invest in homeownership today. Get started now by getting pre-approved with one of our local Inlanta Mortgage loan experts or click this link to apply today with our short/easy online app!

Four Ways to Help you get Out of Debt in 2019

Four Ways to Help you get Out of Debt in 2019

Dealing with debt can be overwhelming and straining on your finances. If it is your goal to be debt free in 2019, take a look at our top tips.

  1. Set a Firm Budget – First and foremost, evaluate your income, debt and expenses, then set a firm budget using those numbers. This is a great way to figure out exactly how you’re currently spending your money, and where you are being frivolous, to help know where to make adjustments. If your income doesn’t cover your expenses, it may be time to consider asking for a raise at work, taking on a second job, or adjusting your lifestyle to live below your means and focus on paying off debt.
  2. Use the “Debt Snowball” Method – If you haven’t heard of this debt reduction strategy, the debt snowball method presented by money management expert Dave Ramsey provides a plan to pay off debts in order of smallest to largest, then as debts are paid, rolling that money into the next smallest balance. Here’s Ramsey’s process:
  • Step 1: List your debts from smallest to largest.
  • Step 2: Make minimum payments on all your debts except the smallest.
  • Step 3: Pay as much as possible on your smallest debt.
  • Step 4: Repeat until each debt is paid in full.
  1. Streamline & Simplify – Create an “automated budget” by setting up auto-payments for each paycheck to cover your bills and add to your savings account. This helps avoid spending income on non-essentials because you’ve spent the money before it even gets into your “spending” account. You can also simplify your lifestyle by cutting out unnecessary spending and putting daily practices into place, like making your coffee at home or packing your lunch for work. While this step can be one the hardest of all – we all love our Starbucks — remember that this is only temporary but is necessary to help give you financial freedom to do even more in the future.
  2. Consider a Refi – if you’re a homeowner, there’s a chance you’re paying a higher interest rate than today’s rates. By refinancing to lower your interest rate, you can save money on your monthly mortgage payments that frees up cash to help pay down debt. Or, depending on how much equity you have, you could even do a cash-out refinance to pay off credit card debt, car loans, personal loans, school loans, etc.

To learn how the right mortgage can help you reduce debt, click here to contact your local Inlanta officer today!

Inlanta Mortgage Named Top Mortgage Company By National Mortgage News

Inlanta Mortgage Named Top Mortgage Company By National Mortgage News

Inlanta Mortgage is kicking off 2019 in a big way!

Just announced at the start of the New Year, Inlanta has been recognized as a top 20 mortgage companies to work for 2019 by National Mortgage News.

The company was pleased to receive news of the award following a survey program sent via National Mortgage News to all Inlanta employees encouraging feedback regarding the company’s culture, benefits, policies, and more.

“This is a testament to our incredible employees and how they do business every day,” said Paul Buege, Inlanta President/COO. “We are so honored for this recognition and grateful to our employees for making this happen through their hard work, dedication, and commitment to delivering an exceptional customer experience every day.  We are one of the best mortgage lenders in our industry, wonderful seeing our company-wide success being recognized on a national level”

As a top mortgage lender, we consistently strive to invest time and resources into our Managers and Loan Officers to help increase sales, grow business, and build relationships year after year.

If you’re looking for a company with solid tenure, strong support, and outstanding culture, we’d love to talk to you about your 2019 goals today!

Please click here to visit our website to fill out a form for us to contact you or, you may contact our branch recruitment division at 262-439-4260 or email partners@inlanta.com.

We are looking to grow with you!

Check out our latest company reviews on SocialSurveyGlassdoor, and Indeed.

PMI vs. MIP – What’s the Difference?

It’s no secret that purchasing a home, especially for the very first time, can feel overwhelming and intimidating. With all of the mortgage and real estate lingo, and the sometimes-overwhelming processes and procedures, it’s no wonder buyers often find themselves confused and with lots of questions. One of the most common ones we hear is, “What is mortgage insurance, and why do I need it?”

What is Mortgage Insurance

Mortgage insurance is typically required of home buyers when their down payments are less than 20 percent for their home loans. Note that mortgage insurance is designed to help protect lenders and guarantee agencies when borrowers don’t have enough equity in their homes, and is not intended to protect the borrowers. There are two types of mortgage insurance – PMI & MIP.

PMI & MIP

Although the concept of insurance protection is similar, there are distinct differences between private mortgage insurance (PMI) and FHA mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) that should be considered when deciding which loan program best suits your financial needs.

PMI, provided by private companies, is typically available in a variety of premium plans and offers payment options that can usually be tailored to the borrower’s needs. There are a number of private mortgage insurance providers and each structure their offerings a bit differently.

MIP is the government-administered mortgage insurance program for the FHA. Since FHA loans offer reduced down payment options, MIP is required to offset the risk of borrowers defaulting on their loans.

Major Differences Between MIP & PMI

Major differences between these insurance programs include:

  • No upfront mortgage premium required with PMI, while an upfront MIP is required
  • Cancellation
    • PMI can be canceled after a stated LTV (loan-to-value) is achieved and favorable payment history has been established
    • MIP is paid for the life of the loan regardless of LTV. In order to remove MIP, borrowers must refinance their FHA mortgage loans, and meet minimum down payment and credit requirements

Contact an Inlanta Mortgage loan professional to discuss your options and ensure that you select the program that is right for you! Click here to find a licensed mortgage loan professional near you or apply online today.

Fraud Awareness and Prevention

Fraud Awareness and Prevention

Fraud, or the broad term describing wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain is, unfortunately, something that happens everywhere, every day, negatively affecting the lives of many.

Fortunately, there are ways one can prevent falling victim to fraudulent acts, starting with educating oneself on the types of dangerous fraud schemes out there as well as what to watch out for.

Mortgage Fraud:

Mortgage fraud happens which is why it is crucial to work with a lender you can trust. According to stopfraud.gov, traditional mortgage fraud involves homebuyers and/or lenders falsifying information in order to obtain a home loan. Struggling homeowners are also often affected by “foreclosure rescue firms” claiming they can help these struggling individuals obtain home loans ultimately leaving them in more debt and distress. The first thing to watch out for in these situations is requests for all cash payments and to work only with credible lenders, real estate agents, and appraisers.

Other Types of Fraud:

According to FindLaw, there are many types of fraud offenses individuals can be duped by (often unknowingly) that include:

Click here to learn more and educate yourself on popular scams occurring today.

Preventing Fraud – What to Watch out for:

Some warning signs of fraud are more obvious, such as the telemarketing or internet schemes that ask you to “send money immediately” to receive an offer, or, those asking directly for your social security number.

Others can be more tricky and deceptive, even imitating people you know personally or professionally asking for help or money via email, false charity organizations asking for donations, or, pyramid schemes that offer big rewards for a “work from home” position.

Here are some things you can do to protect yourself and your family from falling victim to fraud:

  • New forms of fraud pop up every day. Educate yourself on the common scams happening presently
  • Keep your personal information confidential. Never give out personal information, such as your social security number or credit card details, over the phone, through email, or over the internet unless the contact is verified.
  • Update your passwords and PIN numbers monthly to ensure your information is secure. Make sure to use a password that is strong in security and includes letter, numbers, and symbols.
  • Check your statements and online banking records regularly to ensure there are no unusual transactions.

If you think you or someone you know has been affected by fraud, begin by reporting the issue immediately to your local police department. Otherwise, take these steps from USA.gov: