Mortgage Frequently Asked Questions

Tips for completing our online application
Completing our online application is as easy as 1-2-3! We’ll ask you questions about your personal finances and the home. You’ll probably know all the answers off the top of your head.

The application is broken down into sections and you can track your progress through each section at the top of each screen. It should take less than 20 minutes to complete the application.

Move through the application by using the back and next arrows at the bottom of each screen. Don’t use the back and next button on your browser while you’re completing the application.
We use exciting new technology in order to provide you with the most convenient online mortgage application ever! As you answer some of the questions, you’ll note that questions below may change, disappear or new questions are added instantly. We don’t ever want to waste your time asking for information that isn’t important in your situation, so we evaluate the information we need based on your answers.

If you don’t have time to complete the application right now or if you need to gather information before you finish, we’ll save the information you have completed. When you’re ready to finish, return to the site and enter your User ID and password to continue.

Is there a fee charged or any other obligation if I complete the online application?
There’s no cost at all for completing our application. After you have submitted your application, one of our loan officers will contact you to review your loan request. You can then decide whether you which to proceed and pay for the appraisal fee.
I’m nervous about providing personal data online. Is this site secure?
Information About Our Site Security
We use leading-edge technology to ensure that all customer information is 100% safe. We protect our customers by using a combination of security measures that are among the best in the e-commerce industry.

Encryption
All customer information is encrypted using Secured Socket Layer (SSL) technology supported with digital certificates provided by GeoTrust, Inc. This means that your loan application information is safe and secure as it travels over the Internet.

Firewall Security
We use leading firewall and network security technology to protect our internal computer systems from unauthorized access. Our customers can be confident that their personal information is secure.

Will my personal data be shared with other companies?
Our top priority is to provide you, our member, with outstanding products and services. To achieve this goal, we must collect, maintain and use certain personal and financial information. We recognize and respect your privacy concerns and expectations about this information. We want you to know about our privacy policies and practices.

Collection and Use of Member Information

We collect, retain and utilize information about you to operate our business and to make products, services and other opportunities available to you. We obtain information in a variety of ways (for example, directly from you in applications, from your transactions or experiences with us, or our affiliates, and from credit bureaus and other third parties). Also, when you visit our web site, we collect information to measure the use of our site and to improve the content of our site.

Disclosure of Information

We do not sell your name and address to third parties for their independent use. Disclosure may occur under certain situations, including:

• With our Affiliates

We may share information about your account, account history, credit report and application information with other affiliated companies within our corporation to provide you with the products and services they offer. If you do not want the information contained in an application or credit report shared with our affiliates, please advise us in writing.

• With Third Parties

Third parties that assist us in providing products, services and support are contractually bound not to utilize shared information for their independent use. Information is shared with third parties in accordance with the following guidelines:

• To complete transactions that you have initiated
• To other recipients of combined statements
• Whenever required by law
• To others with your consent
• To provide you with additional products or services we wish to offer
• To assist in providing operational, marketing, or advertising support
• To exchange information with credit information agencies, merchants or financial institutions in accordance with standard banking industry practice

Maintenance of Accurate Information

We have established procedures to correct inaccurate information in a timely manner. If you have any reason to believe that your personal information is incorrect, we should be contacted in writing. We will investigate the situation and, when appropriate, update our records accordingly.

Protection of Information

We maintain appropriate procedures to protect the security of your information. Employees receive training and understand the importance of confidentiality and member privacy.

What is a credit score and how will my credit score affect my application?
A credit score is one of the pieces of information that we’ll use to evaluate your application. Financial institutions have been using credit scores to evaluate applications for many years.

Credit scores are based on information collected by credit bureaus and information reported each month by your creditors about the balances you owe and the timing of your payments. A credit score is a compilation of all this information converted into a number that helps a lender to determine the likelihood that you will repay the loan on schedule. The credit score is calculated by the credit bureau, not by the lender. Credit scores are calculated by comparing your credit history with millions of other consumers. They have proven to be a very effective way of determining credit worthiness.

Some of the things that affect your credit score include your payment history, your outstanding obligations, the length of time you have had outstanding credit, the types of credit you use, and the number of inquiries that have been made about your credit history in the recent past.

Credit scores used for mortgage loan decisions range from approximately 300 to 900. Generally, the higher your credit score, the lower the risk that your payments won’t be paid as agreed.

Using credit scores to evaluate your credit history allows us to quickly and objectively evaluate your credit history when reviewing your loan application. However, there are many other factors when making a loan decision and we never evaluate an application without looking at the total financial picture of a customer.

Will the inquiry about my credit affect my credit score?
An abundance of credit inquiries can sometimes affect your credit scores since it may indicate that your use of credit is increasing.
Will I be charged any fees if I authorize my credit information to be accessed?
There is no charge to you for the credit information we’ll access with your permission to evaluate your application online. You will only be charged for a credit report if you decide to complete the application process after your loan is approved.
How are interest rates determined?
Interest rates fluctuate based on a variety of factors, including inflation, the pace of economic growth, and Federal Reserve policy. Over time, inflation has the largest influence on the level of interest rates. A modest rate of inflation will almost always lead to low interest rates, while concerns about rising inflation normally cause interest rates to increase. Our nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve, implements policies designed to keep inflation and interest rates relatively low and stable.
What is an adjustable rate mortgage?
An adjustable rate mortgage, or an “ARM” as they are commonly called, is a loan type that offers a lower initial interest rate than most fixed rate loans. The tradeoff is that the interest rate can change periodically, usually in relation to an index, and the monthly payment will go up or down accordingly.

Against the advantage of the lower payment at the beginning of the loan, you should weigh the risk that an increase in interest rates would lead to higher monthly payments in the future. It’s a trade-off. You get a lower rate with an ARM in exchange for assuming more risk.

For many people in a variety of situations, an ARM is the right mortgage choice, particularly if your income is likely to increase in the future or if you only plan on being in the home for three to five years.

Here’s some detailed information explaining how ARMs work:

Adjustment Period

With most ARMs, the interest rate and monthly payment are fixed for an initial time period such as one year, three years, five years, or seven years. After the initial fixed period, the interest rate can change every year. For example, one of our most popular adjustable rate mortgages is a five-year ARM. The interest rate will not change for the first five years (the initial adjustment period) but can change every year after the first five years.

Index

Our ARM interest rate changes are tied to changes in an index rate. Using an index to determine future rate adjustments provides you with assurance that rate adjustments will be based on actual market conditions at the time of the adjustment. The current value of most indices is published weekly in the Wall Street Journal. If the index rate moves up so does your mortgage interest rate and you will probably have to make a higher monthly payment. On the other hand, if the index rate goes down your monthly payment may decrease.

Margin

To determine the interest rate on an ARM, we’ll add a pre-disclosed amount to the index called the “margin.” If you’re still shopping, comparing one lender’s margin to another’s can be more important than comparing the initial interest rate, since it will be used to calculate the interest rate you will pay in the future.

Interest-Rate Caps

An interest-rate cap places a limit on the amount your interest rate can increase or decrease. There are two types of caps:

1. Periodic or adjustment caps, which limit the interest rate increase or decrease from one adjustment period to the next.
2. Overall or lifetime caps, which limit the interest rate increase over the life of the loan.

As you can imagine, interest rate caps are very important since no one knows what can happen in the future. All of the ARMs we offer have both adjustment and lifetime caps. Please see each product description for full details.

Negative Amortization

“Negative Amortization” occurs when your monthly payment changes to an amount less than the amount required to pay interest due. If a loan has negative amortization, you might end up owing more than you originally borrowed. None of the ARMs SFCU offers allow for negative amortization.

Prepayment Penalties

Some lenders may require you to pay special fees or penalties if you pay off the ARM early. We never charge a penalty for prepayment.

Contact a Loan Officer

Selecting a mortgage may be the most important financial decision you will make and you are entitled to all the information you need to make the right decision. Don’t hesitate to contact a Loan Officer if you have questions about the features of our adjustable rate mortgages.

Should I pay discount points in exchange for a lower interest rate?
Discount points are considered a form of interest. Each point is equal to one percent of the loan amount. You pay them, up front, at your loan closing in exchange for a lower interest rate over the life of your loan. This means more money will be required at closing, however, you will have lower monthly payments over the term of your loan.

To determine whether it makes sense for you to pay discount points, you should compare the cost of the discount points to the monthly payments savings created by the lower interest rate. Divide the total cost of the discount points by the savings in each monthly payment. This calculation provides the number of payments you’ll make before you actually begin to save money by paying discount points. If the number of months it will take to recoup the discount points is longer than you plan on having this mortgage, you should consider the loan program option that doesn’t require discount points to be paid.

Are there any prepayment penalties charged for these loan programs?
None of the loan programs we offer have penalties for prepayment. You can pay off your mortgage any time with no additional charges.
Tell me more about closing fees and how they are determined.
A home loan often involves many fees, such as the appraisal fee, title charges, closing fees, and state or local taxes. These fees vary from state to state and also from lender to lender. Any lender or broker should be able to give you an estimate of their fees, but it is more difficult to tell which lenders have done their homework and are providing a complete and accurate estimate. We take quotes very seriously. We’ve completed the research necessary to make sure that our fee quotes are accurate to the city level – and that is no easy task!

To assist you in evaluating our fees, we’ve grouped them as follows:

Third Party Fees

Fees that we consider third party fees include the appraisal fee, the credit report fee, the settlement or closing fee, the survey fee, tax service fees, title insurance fees, flood certification fees, and courier/mailing fees.

Third party fees are fees that we’ll collect and pass on to the person who actually performed the service. For example, an appraiser is paid the appraisal fee, a credit bureau is paid the credit report fee, and a title company or an attorney is paid the title insurance fees.

Typically, you’ll see some minor variances in third party fees from lender to lender since a lender may have negotiated a special charge from a provider they use often or chooses a provider that offers nationwide coverage at a flat rate. You may also see that some lenders absorb minor third party fees such as the flood certification fee, the tax service fee, or courier/mailing fees.

Taxes and other Miscellaneous required Fees

Fees that we consider to be taxes and other required fees include: State/Local Taxes and recording fees. These fees will most likely have to be paid regardless of the lender you choose. If some lenders don’t quote you fees that include taxes and other required fees, don’t assume that you won’t have to pay it. It probably means that the lender who doesn’t tell you about the fee hasn’t done the research necessary to provide accurate closing costs.

Lender Fees

Fees such as discount points, document preparation fees, and loan processing fees are retained by the lender and are used to provide you with the lowest rates possible.
This is the category of fees that you should compare very closely from lender to lender before making a decision.

Required Advances

You may be asked to prepay some items at closing that will actually be due in the future. These fees are sometimes referred to as prepaid items.

One of the more common required advances is called “per diem interest” or “interest due at closing.” All of our mortgages have payment due dates of the 1st of the month. If your loan is closed on any day other than the first of the month, you’ll pay interest, from the date of closing through the end of the month, at closing. For example, if the loan is closed on June 15, we’ll collect interest from June 15 through June 30 at closing. This also means that you won’t make your first mortgage payment until August 1. This type of charge should not vary from lender to lender, and does not need to be considered when comparing lenders. All lenders will charge you interest beginning on the day the loan funds are disbursed. It is simply a matter of when it will be collected.

If an escrow or impound account will be established, you will make an initial deposit into the escrow account at closing so that sufficient funds are available to pay the bills when they become due.

If your loan requires mortgage insurance, up to two months of the mortgage insurance will be collected at closing. Whether or not you must purchase mortgage insurance depends on the size of the down payment you make.

If your loan is a purchase, you’ll also need to pay for your first year’s homeowner’s insurance premium prior to closing. We consider this to be a required advance.

What is title insurance and why do I need it?
If you’ve ever purchased a home before, you may already be familiar with the benefits and terms of title insurance. But if this is your first home loan or you are refinancing, you may be wondering why you need another insurance policy.

The answer is simple: The purchase of a home is most likely one of the most expensive and important purchases you will ever make. You, and especially your mortgage lender, want to make sure the property is indeed yours: That no individual or government entity has any right, lien, claim, or encumbrance on your property.

The function of a title insurance company is to make sure your rights and interests to the property are clear, that transfer of title takes place efficiently and correctly, and that your interests as a homebuyer are fully protected.

Title insurance companies provide services to buyers, sellers, real estate developers, builders, mortgage lenders, and others who have an interest in real estate transfer. Title companies typically issue two types of title policies:

1. Owner’s Policy. This policy covers you, the homebuyer.
2. Lender’s Policy. This policy covers the lending institution over the life of the loan.

Both types of policies are issued at the time of closing for a one-time premium, if the loan is a purchase. If you are refinancing your home, you probably already have an owner’s policy that was issued when you purchased the property, so we’ll only require that a lender’s policy be issued.

Before issuing a policy, the title company performs an in-depth search of the public records to determine if anyone other than you has an interest in the property. The search may be performed by title company personnel using either public records or, more likely, the information contained in the company’s own title plant.

After a thorough examination of the records, any title problems are usually found and can be cleared up prior to your purchase of the property. Once a title policy is issued, if any claim covered under your policy is ever filed against your property, the title company will pay the legal fees involved in the defense of your rights. They are also responsible to cover losses arising from a valid claim. This protection remains in effect as long as you or your heirs own the property.

The fact that title companies try to eliminate risks before they develop makes title insurance significantly different from other types of insurance. Most forms of insurance assume risks by providing financial protection through a pooling of risks for losses arising from an unforeseen future event, like a fire, accident or theft. On the other hand, the purpose of title insurance is to eliminate risks and prevent losses caused by defects in title that may have happened in the past.

This risk elimination has benefits to both the homebuyer and the title company. It minimizes the chances that adverse claims might be raised, thereby reducing the number of claims that have to be defended or satisfied. This keeps costs down for the title company and the premiums low for the homebuyer.

Buying a home is a big step emotionally and financially. With title insurance you are assured that any valid claim against your property will be borne by the title company, and that the odds of a claim being filed are slim indeed.

What is mortgage insurance and when is it required?
First of all, let’s make sure that we mean the same thing when we discuss “mortgage insurance.” Mortgage insurance should not be confused with mortgage life insurance, which is designed to pay off a mortgage in the event of a borrower’s death. Mortgage insurance makes it possible for you to buy a home with less than a 20% down payment by protecting the lender against the additional risk associated with low down payment lending. Low down payment mortgages are becoming more and more popular, and by purchasing mortgage insurance, lenders are comfortable with down payments as low as 5% of the home’s value. It also provides you with the ability to buy a more expensive home than might be possible if a 20% down payment were required.

The mortgage insurance premium is based on loan to value ratio, type of loan, and amount of coverage required by the lender. Usually, the premium is included in your monthly payment and one to two months of the premium is collected as a required advance at closing.

It may be possible to cancel private mortgage insurance at some point, such as when your loan balance is reduced to a certain amount – below 75% to 80% of the property value. Recent Federal Legislation requires automatic termination of mortgage insurance for many borrowers when their loan balance has been amortized down to 78% of the original property value. If you have any questions about when your mortgage insurance could be cancelled, please contact your Loan Officer.

What is an appraisal and who completes it?
To determine the value of the property you are purchasing or refinancing, an appraisal will be required. An appraisal report is a written description and estimate of the value of the property. National standards govern not only the format for the appraisal; they also specify the appraiser’s qualifications and credentials. In addition, most states now have licensing requirements for appraisers evaluating properties located within their states.

The appraiser will create a written report for us and you’ll be given a copy at your loan closing. If you’d like to review it earlier, your Mortgage Counselor would be happy to provide it to you.

Usually the appraiser will inspect both the interior and exterior of the home. However, in some cases, only an exterior inspection will be necessary based on your financial strength and the location of the home. Exterior-only inspections usually save time and money, but if you’re purchasing a new home, your Loan Officer will contact you to determine if you’d be more comfortable with a full inspection.

After the appraiser inspects the property, they will compare the qualities of your home with other homes that have sold recently in the same neighborhood. These homes are called “comparables” and play a significant role in the appraisal process. Using industry guidelines, the appraiser will try to weigh the major components of these properties (i.e., design, square footage, number of rooms, lot size, age, etc.) to the components of your home to come up with an estimated value of your home. The appraiser adjusts the price of each comparable sale (up or down) depending on how it compares (better or worse) with your property.

As an additional check on the value of the property, the appraiser also estimates the replacement cost for the property. Replacement cost is determined by valuing an empty lot and estimating the cost to build a house of similar size and construction. Finally, the appraiser reduces this cost by an age factor to compensate for depreciation and deterioration.

If your home is for investment purposes, or is a multi-unit home, the appraiser will also consider the rental income that will be generated by the property to help determine the value.

Using these three different methods, an appraiser will frequently come up with slightly different values for the property. The appraiser uses judgment and experience to reconcile these differences and then assigns a final appraised value. The comparable sales approach is the most important valuation method in the appraisal because a property is worth only what a buyer is willing to pay and a seller is willing to accept.

It is not uncommon for the appraised value of a property to be exactly the same as the amount stated on your sales contract. This is not a coincidence, nor does it question the competence of the appraiser. Your purchase contract is the most valid sales transaction there is. It represents what a buyer is willing to offer for the property and what the seller is willing to accept. Only when the comparable sales differ greatly from your sales contract will the appraised value be very different.

I’ve moved around a lot, will that affect my chances of being approved for a mortgage?
If you’ve moved frequently, it really has no effect on your application. We’ll ask for your residence history for the last two years to insure that the proper credit records are considered when obtaining your credit report, but it certainly won’t affect your ability to obtain a mortgage.
I’m currently renting and haven’t told my landlord that I might be moving. Will you need to contact my landlord?
In most cases, we won’t need to contact your landlord at all. However, if you have a limited credit history obtaining information about your rental payment history may help us to approve your loan. Please let us know if you would prefer that we not contact your landlord.
Will I get a copy of the appraisal?
As soon as we receive your appraisal, we’ll update your loan with the estimated value of the home. As a standard practice we will provide a copy of your appraisal at closing.
Are there any special requirements for condominiums?
Since the value and marketability of condominium properties is dependent on items that don’t apply to single-family homes, there are some additional steps that must be taken to determine if condominiums meet our guidelines.

One of the most important factors is determining if the project that the condominium is located in is complete. In many cases, it will be necessary for the project or at least the phase that your unit is located in, to be complete before we can provide financing. The main reason for this is, until the project is complete, we can’t be certain that the remaining units will be of the same quality as the existing units. This could affect the marketability of your home.

In addition, we’ll consider the ratio of non-owner occupied units to owner-occupied units. This could also affect future marketability since many people would prefer to live in a project that is occupied by owners rather than renters.

We’ll also carefully review the appraisal to insure that it includes comparable sales of properties within the project, as well as some from outside the project. Our experience has found that using comparable sales from both the same project as well as other projects gives us a better idea of the condominium project’s marketability.

Depending on the percentage of the property’s value you’d like to finance, other items may also need to be reviewed.

I’ve heard that some lenders require flood insurance on properties. Will you?
Federal Law requires all lenders to investigate whether or not each home they finance is in a special flood hazard area as defined by FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The law can’t stop floods. Floods happen anytime, anywhere. But the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 and the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994 help to ensure that you will be protected from financial losses caused by flooding.

We use a third party company who specializes in the reviewing of flood maps prepared by FEMA to determine if your home is located in a flood area. If it is, then flood insurance coverage will be required, since standard homeowner’s insurance doesn’t protect you against damages from flooding.

I’m self-employed. How will you verify my income?
Generally, the income of self-employed borrowers is verified by obtaining copies of personal (and business, if applicable) federal tax returns for the most recent two-year period. However, based on your entire financial situation, we may not need full copies of your tax returns.

We’ll review and average the net income from self-employment that’s reported on your tax returns to determine the income that can be used to qualify. We won’t be able to consider any income that hasn’t been reported as such on your tax returns. Typically, we’ll need at least one, and sometimes a full two-year history of self-employment to verify that your self-employment income is stable.

Will my overtime, commission, or bonus income be considered when evaluating my application?
In order for bonus, overtime, or commission income to be considered, you must have a history of receiving it and it must be likely to continue. We’ll usually need to obtain copies of W-2 statements for the previous two years and a recent pay stub to verify this type of income. If a major part of your income is commission earnings, we may need to obtain copies of recent tax returns to verify the amount of business-related expenses, if any. We’ll average the amounts you have received over the past two years to calculate the amount that can be considered as a regular part of your income. The bonus income needs to be sourced from the same employer for the past 24 months, and you must be currently working for the same employer at time of application and closing of your loan to benefit from using the bonus income to help you qualify.

If you haven’t been receiving bonus, overtime, or commission income for at least 24 months from the same employer , it probably can’t be given full value when your loan is reviewed for approval.

I am relocating because I have accepted a new job that I haven’t started yet. How should I complete the application?
Congratulations on your new job! If you will be working for the same employer, complete the application as such but enter the income you anticipate you’ll be receiving at your new location.

If your employment is with a new employer, complete the application as if this were your current employer and indicate that you have been there for one month. The information about the employment you’ll be leaving should be entered as a previous employer. We’ll sort out the details after you submit your loan for approval.

How will rental income be verified??
If you own rental properties, we’ll generally ask for the most recent year’s federal tax return to verify your rental income. We’ll review the Schedule E of the tax return to verify your rental income, after all expenses except depreciation. Since depreciation is only a paper loss, it won’t be counted against your rental income.

If you haven’t owned the rental property for a complete tax year, we’ll ask for a copy of any leases you’ve executed and we’ll estimate the expenses of ownership.

I’ve had a few employers in the last few years. Will that affect my ability to get a new mortgage?
Having changed employers frequently is typically not a hindrance to obtaining a new mortgage loan. This is particularly true if you made employment changes without having periods of time in between without employment. We’ll also look at your income advancements as you have changed employment.

If you’re paid on a commission basis, a recent job change may be an issue since we’ll have a difficult time of predicting your earnings without a history with your new employer.

I am retired and my income is from pension or social security. What will I need to provide?
We will ask for copies of your recent pension check stubs, or bank statement if your pension or retirement income is deposited directly in your bank account. Sometimes it will also be necessary to verify that this income will continue for at least three years since some pension or retirement plans do not provide income for life. This can usually be verified with a copy of your award letter. If you don’t have an award letter, we can contact the source of this income directly for verification.

If you’re receiving tax-free income, such as social security earnings in some cases, we’ll consider the fact that taxes will not be deducted from this income when reviewing your request.

I’m getting a gift from someone else. Is this an acceptable source of my down payment?
Gifts are an acceptable source of down payment, if the gift giver is related to you or your co-borrower. We’ll ask you for the name, address, and phone number of the gift giver, as well as the donor’s relationship to you.

If your loan request is for more than 80% of the purchase price, we’ll need to verify that you have at least 5% of the property’s value in your own assets.

Prior to closing, we’ll verify that the gift funds have been transferred to you by obtaining a copy of your bank receipt or deposit slip to verify that you have deposited the gift funds into your account.

What will be required if I withdraw money from a 401(K) account for my down payment?
If you’ll be withdrawing funds from a 401(K) or retirement account to fund your down payment, we’ll probably ask you to provide evidence that you have the funds available by providing a recent statement. We may also need to verify whether or not repayment is required. If repayment is required, it’s not a problem. We’ll just consider that monthly payment when making your loan decision.
If my property’s appraised value is more than the purchase price can I use the difference towards my down payment?
Unfortunately, if you are purchasing a home, we’ll have to use the lower of the appraised value or the sales price to determine your down payment requirement.

It’s still a great benefit for your financial situation if you are able to purchase a home for less than the appraised value, but our investors don’t allow us to use this “instant equity” when making our loan decision.

I’ve co-signed a loan for another person. Should I include that debt here?
Generally, a co-signed debt is considered when determining your qualifications for a mortgage. If the co-signed debt doesn’t affect your ability to obtain a new mortgage we’ll leave it at that. However, if it does make a difference, we can ignore the monthly payment of the co-signed debt if you can provide verification that the other person responsible for the debt has made the required payments, by obtaining copies of their cancelled checks for the last six months.
I have student loans that aren’t in repayment yet. Should I show them as installment debts?
Any student loan that will go into repayment within the next six months should be included in the application. If you are not sure exactly what the monthly payment will be at this time, enter an estimated amount.

If other student loans are reflected on your final credit report, which will not go into repayment in the next six months, we may need to ask you for verification that repayment will not be required during this time period.

How will a past bankruptcy or foreclosure affect my ability to obtain a new mortgage?
If you’ve had a bankruptcy or foreclosure in the past, it may affect your ability to get a new mortgage. Unless the bankruptcy or foreclosure was caused by situations beyond your control, we will generally require that two to four years have passed since the bankruptcy or foreclosure. It is also important that you’ve re-established an acceptable credit history with new loans or credit cards.
How do you decide what you need from me to process my loan?
We take full advantage of an automated underwriting system that allows us to request as little information as possible to verify the data you provided during your loan application. Gone are the days when it was necessary to verify every piece of data collected during the application. The automated underwriting system compares your financial situation with statistical data from millions of other homeowners and uses that comparison to determine the level of verification needed. In many cases, your last two years W-2’s, most recent pay stubs covering the last 30-days, and you most recent two months bank statements showing where the down payment and closing costs are coming from for a purchase, or to verify reserves for a refinance.
The interest rate you offer is just a little less than what I am paying now. How do I know if it makes sense to refinance?
The simple rule of thumb for determining if it makes sense to refinance is to analyze the amount that it will cost you to refinance compared to the monthly savings you’ll have by reducing your payment. By dividing the cost of refinancing by the monthly savings you can determine how many monthly payments you’ll have to make before you’ve recaptured the initial refinance cost. If you plan on staying in your home longer than the recapture time it may make sense for you to refinance.

To fully analyze whether it’s the time to refinance you’ll have to look deeper. The remaining term of your current loan must also be considered, as well as your tax bracket. Our refinance calculator can help you determine if it’s the right time to refinance.

What happens at the loan closing?
The closing will take place at the office of a title company or attorney in your area who will act as our agent. If you are purchasing a new home, the seller may also be at the closing to transfer ownership to you, but in some states, these two events actually happen separately.

During the closing you will be reviewing and signing several loan papers. The closing agent or attorney conducting the closing should be able to answer any questions you have or you can feel free to contact your Loan Officer if you prefer.

Just to make sure there are no surprises at closing, your Loan Officer will contact you a few days before closing to review your final fees, loan amount, first payment date, etc.

Can I lock in an interest rate and discount points before I find a home?
Unfortunately, we’ll need to gather some information about your new home before we can offer a rate lock, so you’ll need to have an accepted contract to purchase your new home before we can lock in your interest rate.
My loan wasn’t approved online. Does that mean you don’t want to provide me with financing?
Some situations are just more complicated than others and require a “personal touch” before an approval can be provided. The fact that we weren’t able to approve your request online doesn’t mean that we can’t provide the financing you are looking for. One of our experienced Loan Officers will be assigned to your file and will do a complete review of the information you provided.

We also know how difficult it is to wait for a decision and we will contact you as soon as we can.

If for any reason we aren’t able to provide the financing you have applied for, part of the Loan Officer’s job is to come up with other options you may want to consider. It’s our goal to offer choices to all of our members.

Should I share my pre-approval letter with real estate brokers or sellers?
A pre-approval letter can be very comforting to any seller you might be negotiating with. It tells them that if they accept your offer, they won’t have to worry that you won’t qualify for the financing you need to buy their home. You may provide it to your real estate broker or to sellers – the decision is yours!
Why do you need information about properties I own if I am not financing them?
We need information about all the real estate you own to insure we have a reasonable estimate of your net worth. If you don’t know the exact value of your real estate holdings, provide your best guess – in most cases that is all we will need to process your new mortgage request.
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